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Name: People v. Tuggles et al.
Case #: C054250
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/29/2009
Summary

Impeachment testimony by the prosecution to counter permissible character evidence introduced by the defense is not hearsay that would be subject to exclusion. Tuggles and Mollett were convicted of first degree murder involving a firearm. The shooting resulted from an altercation between two groups. In cross-examination of a prosecution witness, the defense elicited testimony to show that Tuggles had a reputation for nonaggression and was not prone to violence. The prosecution then questioned the witness as to whether he had heard in the neighborhood that Tuggles wanted to shoot up the block where the victim resided. This statement was admissible as it was not hearsay offered for the truth, but was offered to undermine the witness’ prior testimony as to Tuggles’ reputation for non violence.
CALCRIM nos. 315 and 335 read together do NOT erroneously instruct the jury that an accomplice’s prior out-of-court statements can be used to corroborate his in-court testimony to convict of murder.
Penal Code section 1127c requires a flight instruction only if the prosecution relies on such evidence to prove guilt and not upon introduction of evidence that might be construed as flight.
When a defendant moves for a new trial on the basis of juror misconduct, the trial court has the discretion to conduct a hearing to determine the truth of the allegations. In this case, appellants argued that the trial court erred in denying them access to the jurors’ personal contact information in order to investigate juror misconduct. The appellate court agreed that the trial court correctly refused to disclose personal contact information of the jurors but found that the trial court erred in concluding that it had no discretion to order the jurors to appear for a post-trial hearing after they declined to discuss the case with counsel. Code of Civil Procedure section 206 codifies the prerogative of jurors to speak to anyone, other than the court, post trial, and a juror cannot be compelled to speak to the parties if he/she chooses not to do so. Code of Civil Procedure section 237 sets forth the procedure by which counsel can attempt to obtain access to juror identification. If defendant makes a prima facie showing of juror misconduct, the trial court must conduct a hearing. Testimony by jurors may or may not be necessary, depending on the case, and the court has the discretion to order juror presence at a hearing on juror misconduct. Here, despite the trial court’s misunderstanding as to its discretion, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.