Friday, March 09, 2007

People v. James (Cal. Ct. App. - March 8, 2007)

When it gets really sunny and nice in California -- in San Diego, in the 60s today, the 70s tomorrow, and the 80s on Sunday -- apparently everyone takes a three-day weekend. Not that I blame them. Still, that means nothing published thus far by the California Court of Appeal and only a tiny amendment (alongside a dissent from failure to take the case en banc) from the Ninth Circuit. So not much to write about today. Perhaps I too should start my three-day weekend?

No such luck, however. I've got class; or, more accurately, a class (to teach). Plus a faculty colloquium. So instead of writing about nothing today, I'll write about a case from yesterday that I didn't have a chance to comment on yet. A case which helps establish -- if one didn't know it already -- that the real world is very rarely identical to the movies.

For example, in many ways, the crime in this case is very similar to the one in Ocean's Eleven. As in Ocean's Eleven, the ringleader -- here, Gregory James -- and several accomplices got a ton of money from robbing a casino in a daring, sophisticated robbery. Okay, well, maybe it wasn't an actual casino, or in glamorous Las Vegas; instead, it was the Bingo Club in the much-less-exciting Hawaiian Gardens. And it also wasn't $150 million; instead, it was only $60,000. Still, that's a pretty good piece of change, and certainly much better than you'd typically do at a liquor store or a bank. Finally, I admit that it wasn't totally a sophisticated operation; still, it was at least a tiny bit more planned than your usual smash n' grab. Plus, James and his gang had done an identical robbery at the same place just six months previously, so it took at least a minimal amount of cajones to try to get away with the same thing again.

But Greg James is no George Clooney. And while George continues to live a blessed single life in L.A., Greg's dates for the foreseeable future are, shall be shall, less appealing. 'Cause George got away with it in the movies, but Greg gets convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Plus 10 more years for the gun.

Don't steal. Don't get caught stealing. And don't move anyone more than minimally during the robbery, otherwise -- as Justice Croskey holds -- it's kidnapping for robbery. And life in prison accordingly awaits.