Tuesday, October 27, 2015

People v. White (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 27, 2015)

I agree with Justice Yegan:

"Hillary Travon White has a strong arm. He threw a metal showerhead at reinforced glass with sufficient force to shatter the glass, causing particles to hit peace officers on the other side As we shall explain, this conduct may constitute assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury. . . .

On December 3, 2013, appellant was incarcerated at a CYA facility and got into a fist fight with another inmate. Appellant refused to stop fighting and was "pepper sprayed" by CYA Correctional Counselor Elmore. Angry, appellant called Elmore a "bitch" because he was the only one "pepper sprayed."

Appellant was permitted to wash off in a shower that had a window facing the control desk where Elmore and Parole Agent Zavala were seated. The desk was six feet away from the shower window, which was a multi-paned partition constructed of wire-reinforced glass. Some glass panes were missing.

Appellant broke off the metal showerhead and threw it in the direction of the window. Elmore heard a "loud thud and shattering glass." The showerhead bounced back but broke a window pane, spraying glass particles on Elmore and the desk countertop. Elmore felt a sliver of glass hit her eye, alerted her coworkers, and went to the restroom to treat her eye.

Appellant moved to within one or two feet from the window, picked up the showerhead, and threw it again. Zavala heard "another loud bang" and felt a shower of glass particles hit her. A piece of glass cut her lip. The showerhead penetrated the window and landed near the desk. . . .

Appellant argues that a reasonable person would assume the window was unbreakable because it was wire-reinforced glass. He amplifies the argument stating that if he wanted to harm the victims, he could have thrown the showerhead through a window pane that had no glass. That appellant had a poor aim or that the window had a safety feature are not defenses. The assault charges did not require a specific intent to injure the victims or a substantial certainty that an application of physical force will result. (People v. Williams, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 788.)

Appellant also argues that he could not be convicted based on facts he did not personally know, i.e., that reinforced glass could be broken. But that is not the test. (Ibid.) The test is whether a reasonable person would reasonably believe that a metal object, if thrown with great force, would directly and probably injure a person on the other side of the window. (Ibid.) "[A] defendant who honestly believes that his act was not likely to result in a battery is still guilty of assault if a reasonable person, viewing the facts known to defendant, would find that the act would directly, naturally and probably result in a battery." (Id., at p. 788, fn 3.)

Shooting a firearm at a victim who is protected by bulletproof glass is an assault. (People v. Valdez (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 103, 108.) This is akin to what happened here."

I'll add that it's not just assault.  It's assault that's likely to produce great bodily injury.

Even if the glass is reinforced, and even if the other guy's wearing a bulletproof vest.