People v. Wilson

2008 | Cited 0 times | California Court of Appeal | December 23, 2008


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Pursuant to a plea bargain, defendant Alexander Robert Wilson pled no contest to two counts of possession of marijuana for sale (Health & Saf. Code, § 11359) and was sentenced to two years eight months in state prison. Counsel has advised that examination of the record reveals no arguable issues. (Anders v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 738; People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436.) Counsel has advised defendant that he may personally file a supplemental opening brief but defendant has not done so. We conclude there are no arguable issues and affirm.


In January 2007, defendant was charged in case No. SCR502360 with the December 2006 possession of marijuana for purposes of sale and transportation of marijuana (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11359, 11360, subd. (a)). On bail enhancements (Pen. Code, § 12022.1) were alleged as to both counts, and a prior prison term (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)) was also alleged. In February 2007, defendant was charged in case No. SCR500048 with the November 2006 possession of marijuana for purposes of sale and transportation of marijuana (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11359, 11360, subd. (a)). A prior prison term (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)) was again alleged.

In February 2007, defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence discovered in each case. The motions were considered at a single suppression hearing and the two cases were ordered consolidated.

In March 2007, a consolidated information charged defendant with possession of marijuana for sale (counts 1 and 3) and transportation of marijuana (counts 2 and 4) An on bail allegation was alleged as to counts 3 and 4 and a prior prison term was again alleged.

November 13, 2006 Incident At about 12:15 a.m., Healdsburg Police Officer Garcia spotted defendant's car parked in a carpool parking lot. When Garcia approached he saw defendant asleep in the driver's seat. Garcia tapped on the window, which caused defendant to awake. Garcia asked defendant to open his door, and defendant complied. Garcia informed defendant that a city ordinance prohibited sleeping in cars, and asked him for identification. When defendant opened the car door Garcia noted a strong odor of marijuana smoke and saw a marijuana pipe on the front passenger seat. Garcia suspected there might be more marijuana in the car. After defendant kept fidgeting in his pockets, Garcia asked defendant to "step out of the car real quick" and "let me pat you down and make sure you don't have any weapons or anything."

Garcia retrieved defendant's California identification card and performed a warrant check which revealed outstanding warrants. Garcia then arrested defendant on the warrants and searched defendant's car. The search turned up large quantities of marijuana, cash, and marijuana paraphernalia.

The trial court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress after determining Garcia's investigatory actions were reasonable under the circumstances.

December 17, 2006 Incident

At about 8:20 p.m., Petaluma Police Officer Cox was on patrol at the Castania Gas and Shop, an area commonly used by drug traffickers and narcotics users. Cox pulled his patrol car behind a car occupied by defendant and Yvonne Duncan. Cox approached the passenger's side of the car, looked inside the partially open window, and asked if he could talk to them. Duncan answered affirmatively and Cox asked to see her identification. In the car's ashtray, Cox saw a glass marijuana pipe containing a burned substance. Cox radioed for a backup officer and asked defendant for his identification, which defendant provided. After seeing the pipe, Cox asked defendant if there was any marijuana in the car. Defendant responded that he had about eight ounces of marijuana in the car.

Cox then conducted a records check on Duncan and defendant, which revealed that Duncan had an outstanding no bail arrest warrant for methamphetamine possession. It also revealed defendant had a suspended license. Duncan was asked to exit the car and was arrested. Defendant told Cox he had been previously arrested for marijuana possession and mentioned a medical marijuana card. When Cox asked defendant if he had such a card, defendant produced it and it appeared to be legitimate. Cox noticed a large amount of United States currency in defendant's wallet when defendant was removing the medical marijuana card.

Cox then searched the car to make sure defendant was in compliance with the law regarding marijuana possession by medical marijuana cardholders. Cox's search turned up seven packaged bags of marijuana, each weighing about 30 grams, $2,328 in currency, scales, and packaging material.

The court properly denied defendant's suppression motion. Cox's initial approach and request for identification was reasonable given that the car was parked in a location known for drug use and trafficking. Once Cox saw the marijuana pipe in plain view and defendant admitted there was marijuana in the car, the officer had probable cause to determine whether defendant was possessing the marijuana for personal medical needs and was adhering to the statutory limits on possession. (See People v. Strasburg (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1052, 1058-1060.)

Plea and Sentencing In February 2008, defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement in which he pled no contest to two counts of possession of marijuana with a stipulated prison term of two years eight months in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining charges. Defendant also agreed to the denial of probation and the forfeiture of the money and marijuana seized upon his arrest. After proper advisement, the court (Judge Wick) accepted defendant's pleas and found them knowing, intelligent and voluntary.

At the March 2008 sentencing hearing, defendant agreed to be sentenced by Judge Labowitz, although Judge Wick had taken defendant's plea. The court followed the recommendation of the probation department and sentenced defendant to two years eight months in prison pursuant to the plea agreement. The sentence was ordered to run concurrent to a 16 month sentence in Contra Costa County. Pursuant to the parties' stipulation, the court properly ordered the forfeiture of the $5,102 seized in the two searches. Defendant was properly ordered to pay a $400 restitution fine (Pen. Code, § 1202.4) and a $20 court security fee. A $400 parole revocation fine was imposed and stayed (Pen. Code, § 1202.45). Defendant was properly ordered to register as a narcotic offender (Health & Saf. Code, § 11590) and to provide blood and saliva samples (Pen. Code, § 296). He was properly granted seven days of presentence custody credit.

We conclude defendant was competently represented by counsel at all stages of the proceedings. There was no error in the proceedings or the sentence imposed.


The judgment is affirmed.

We concur. NEEDHAM, J., DONDERO, J.1

1. Judge of the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution.

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