Supreme Court of California Justia
Docket No. S015381
People v. Carter

Filed 6/19/03



Plaintiff and Respondent,




Los Angeles County

Defendant and Appellant.

Super. Ct. No. A950222

A Los Angeles County jury convicted defendant Tracey Lavell Carter of

the robbery and murder of David Thompson, the robbery of Namora Thompson,

the murder and attempted robbery of Leopoldo Salgado, and the attempted robbery

and attempted premeditated murder of Manuel Figueroa. (Pen. Code, §§ 187, 211,

664; unless otherwise specified, further statutory references are to the Penal

Code.) With respect to each charge, the jury found that a principal was armed

with a handgun and that defendant personally used a firearm. (§§ 12022, subd.

(a), 12022.5.) With respect to both murder counts, the jury found true robbery-

murder and multiple-murder special-circumstance allegations. (§ 190.2, subd.

(a)(3), (17)(A).) The jury returned a verdict of death for the murder of David

Thompson and one of life imprisonment without possibility of parole for the

murder of Leopoldo Salgado. The trial court imposed sentence accordingly, and

this appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment.


A. Guilt Phase

1. Prosecution case

a. Thompson murder and robbery

On the evening of April 9, 1987, David Thompson and his wife Namora

Thompson, residents of Tustin in Orange County, drove their 1987 Hyundai to Los

Angeles to attend a church-related function. The event ended around 11:00 or

11:30 p.m. One of the members of their church then told Mr. Thompson that the

bus carrying fellow church members to Los Angeles had broken down. Mr.

Thompson attempted unsuccessfully to telephone the pastor of the church; then,

along with his wife, he went to the location of the inoperative bus to see whether

he could be of assistance. When efforts to start the bus failed, Mr. and Mrs.

Thompson got back into their car and drove to a telephone booth to try again to

contact their pastor. They rejected the first booth they encountered because it was

poorly lit and they were concerned for their safety.

Driving further, they stopped at a well-lit gas station with four telephone

booths. Mr. Thompson parked the car about six feet away from the booths and got

out to make the call while Mrs. Thompson remained in the car. Suddenly, two

men approached from behind the car. The first one, who was tall and “kind of fair

skinned,” got into the phone booth next to Mr. Thompson’s. The second, who was

more fair skinned than the first man and about three inches shorter than Mr.

Thompson, stood in front of Mr. Thompson. The second man then opened the

driver’s side door of the Thompsons’ car, reached in and told Mrs. Thompson to

give him the car keys. At that point, a third man, who appeared to be about Mrs.

Thompson’s height (five feet six inches tall) knocked on the passenger’s side

window and told her to get out of the car without turning around. She complied.


The first man, now standing in front of Mr. Thompson, was telling him to hang up

the phone, cursing at him and demanding his money. The man who was standing

behind Mrs. Thompson asked if she had any money. She told him she would see,

took the wallet from her purse, removed a $10 bill and handed it to him over her

right shoulder. When he asked if that was all she had, she told him to look for

himself and gave him her wallet, whereupon he insisted she look. The man

instructed her to walk towards the back of the car. He then came around the back

of the car and got into the back seat on the driver’s side, while the first man, who

had been at the phone booth, started to get into the driver’s seat. As Mr.

Thompson hung up the receiver, the first man got out of the car, returned to the

phone booth and put the gun to Mr. Thompson’s head. As Mr. Thompson prayed

aloud, the man shot him. All three men then got into the car and drove away.

Later on the night of the shooting, being under great stress, Mrs. Thompson

told police she was unable to identify any of the assailants, and she failed to make

an identification from a photographic lineup. At the preliminary hearing and at

trial, however, she identified defendant as the man who had shot her husband.

At the time of the Thompson murder, George Austin was driving east on

the inside lane of Slauson. As he approached a Mobil station located at Slauson

and Broadway, he heard a gunshot. Looking in the direction of the shot, he

observed several phone booths, a small gray car and three Black males near the

car. Two were getting in on the passenger’s side of the car, while the third was

coming from the phone booth and entering the driver’s side of the vehicle. Austin

described the third man as a Black man of medium build, five feet six inches to

five feet eight inches in height. Although Austin failed to identify defendant at the

preliminary hearing, at trial he identified defendant as the man he saw walking

back to the car from the phone booths.


Around 11:00 on the night of the Thompson murder, Homer Butler was at

the Mobil station at the corner of Broadway and Slauson. He was often there,

assisting people in getting gas, checking oil and doing things of that nature in

exchange for some change. On that occasion, Butler heard a woman screaming

and, near the telephone booths, saw a man going through a purse, a man in a suit

inside the phone booth and a young Black male going through his pockets. Two

young Black males were near the woman who was screaming. Realizing a

robbery was in progress, Butler hid behind the gas station cashier’s booth so he

would not be seen. Butler then ran across the street to a barbecue restaurant to dial

911. As he was doing so, he heard a gunshot coming from the robbery scene.

Looking over, he saw three to four people drive away. After calling 911, he

rushed back across the street. The woman was still screaming hysterically; the

man had been fatally shot.

Butler spoke with the police. Detective William Baird testified that Butler

had identified defendant’s picture in a photographic lineup as looking “familiar to

one of the guys in the car[’s] right front passenger seat.” Subsequently, at some

point prior to trial, Baird again spoke with Butler, who said of defendant’s picture

in the photo lineup, “That’s the guy, but I’m not going to testify to it.” Butler

indicated he feared he would be in danger if he identified anyone and, if called to

testify, would deny having done so.

The Thompsons’ damaged car was found abandoned in the area of 70th and

Estrella, its battery and radio missing. Todd Lavera admitted to Detective Baird

that he had thrown Mr. Thompson’s wallet into a storm drain at Hoover Street and

Florence; Baird drove there and recovered the wallet.

Detective Baird participated in the arrest of both defendant, then age 18,

and Todd Lavera, then age 22. In the course of their booking, the police

determined defendant’s height to be six feet one inch and that of Lavera to be six


feet two inches. Detective Morton Duff took part in arresting Andre Moore, then

age 16, whose height was determined, during booking, to be five feet five inches.

b. Offenses against Salgado and Figueroa

On April 10, 1987, Rochelle Stewart lived on Hoover Street next door to

Tom’s Liquor Store. Around 1:00 a.m. that night, she left that store and was

walking south on Hoover toward her house when she noticed two men whom she

described as “Mexican” and whom she did not know (later identified as Manuel

Serrano Figueroa and Leopoldo Magania Salgado) in a small blue car. They asked

her to get in the car with them, but she refused. Todd Lavera, whom she knew as

Buster, approached from behind and asked what she was doing talking to the

Mexicans. Two other men walked up behind her; one was short, about five feet

four inches, and the other about five feet eleven inches or about the same height as

Lavera. The short man, whom she had seen before but whose name she did not

know, went up to the blue car, stuck a gun in the driver’s window and said, “Give

me the money.” As the driver (Figueroa) started to roll up the window, the short

man fired four shots from what appeared to Stewart to be a small .22- or .25-

caliber gun, breaking the window on the driver’s side. The Mexican man on the

passenger side (Salgado) got out of the car, whereupon the short man fired three

more shots at him. The driver pulled out of the driveway. As Lavera stood near

Stewart, the other tall man took the gun from the short man and fired two more

shots at the passenger. Lavera and the two unknown men then ran to an alley

connecting Hoover Street and 73d Street. Salgado’s wounds proved fatal.

In speaking with the police later that night, Stewart initially told them she

“didn’t know who did what,” but later identified Lavera, Moore and defendant in

separate photo lineups. With respect to defendant’s photo, she told the police,

“That kind of look [sic] like the last person that shot the gun.” At the preliminary


hearing in this case, Stewart identified Lavera, but testified she did not see the

other two men in the courtroom. At trial, she acknowledged she had in fact

recognized the other two men at the preliminary hearing, but had been too fearful

to identify them because she was then still living in the neighborhood. At

Lavera’s separate trial, Stewart had identified Moore as the first shooter when he

was brought out for her to see, and she testified Lavera was the man who stood

beside her during the crime, but she did not recognize defendant as being the

second shooter when he was brought out. At defendant’s trial, Stewart denied

seeing the second shooter anywhere in the courtroom and denied that defendant

looked anything like the photograph she had identified as being the second

shooter. She also denied ever telling the prosecutor and her investigator that she

was afraid to testify.

Vivian Bivians, Todd Lavera’s sister, testified she had long known

defendant and Andre Moore, and both men were friends of her brother. On the

night of the offenses, defendant and Moore were visiting with Lavera at the back

of the house where she and Lavera lived with their mother. The house was located

about a block from Tom’s Liquor Store. At one point their mother asked Lavera

to go to Tom’s Liquor Store, get a broom and come right back home with it.

Lavera left to go to the store, closely followed by Moore and defendant. Ten to 15

minutes later, Bivians heard two or more gunshots and, thinking Lavera might

have been shot, ran to the corner. There she saw defendant walking down Hoover

Street with four or five girls. She asked defendant where Lavera was; he replied

he did not know. An hour later, she saw Lavera in a police car. Neither Lavera,

Moore or defendant ever returned to her house with the broom or any explanation

of what had happened.

Manuel Figueroa testified at the preliminary hearing. As he had died of

natural causes by the time of trial, his former testimony was read into evidence.


Figueroa testified that around 1:15 a.m. on April 10, 1987, he and Salgado were

sitting in Figueroa’s car at Tom’s Liquor Store when a young Black woman

walked by. Figueroa and Salgado had been drinking at a club, and Salgado began

to flirt with the woman. Three Black men, whose ages he estimated as 20 to 22

years, walked up behind the woman and then approached his car. One of the men

walked up to his open window, said, “I’m going to kill you,” and took out his gun.

The other two men lined up behind the man with the gun, who fired four shots.

The second and third shots grazed the back of his head and neck as he ducked

forward; the fourth shot hit him behind his right ear. After the fourth shot was

fired, Salgado got out of the car. Figueroa unsuccessfully tried to stop him.

Figueroa then pulled out of the lot and drove away. He identified Moore as the

shooter and Lavera and defendant as the two men lined up behind Moore.

When Figueroa first spoke with the police about the crime, he did not want

to cooperate because he was afraid of reprisal. He therefore told the police he

could not identify the three attackers and could only describe them as being young

and Black. By the time of the preliminary hearing, however, his fear had

diminished because he had moved to a new residence, having been paid $1,000 as

part of a relocation effort by the district attorney’s office.

Officer Arthur Duran of the Los Angeles Police Department was on patrol

with his partner in a marked police car during the early morning hours of April 10,

1987. As he reached 73d Street and Vermont Avenue, a radio broadcast informed

him that a shooting had occurred at Tom’s Liquor Store and that the suspects,

three Black men, were running westbound on 73d Street. Duran stopped the patrol

car at 73d and Florence and observed three Black males walking westbound on the

sidewalk, two walking together and a third some 20 or 30 feet behind the others.

When the car’s headlights shone on them, the three men ran into the yards of the

residences at 936 and 932 West 73d Street. A canine unit responded to the


residence toward which Duran had seen the first two suspects flee; Lavera was

found hiding at the rear of that location. The other two suspects were not found.

Lavera underwent a gunshot residue test with negative results.

Later that day, Jose Alvarado was cleaning his yard at 940 West 73d Street,

across from Tom’s Liquor Store, when he found a gun missing its cylinder. He

gave it to his mother-in-law, who gave it to the police.

During the autopsy of Salgado, the coroner, Dr. Susan Selzer, retrieved a

.22-caliber slug from Salgado’s chest. The slug was compared with the gun found

in Alvarado’s yard.1 Detective Donald Richards testified that, depending on the

brand of revolver and the cylinder used, a .22-caliber revolver could fire between

five and nine shots. In his experience, a nail could be used as well as a pin to

make the revolver operable.

c. Johnny Davenport’s extrajudicial statement and testimony

After defendant, Moore and Lavera were arrested, Detective Morton Duff

twice interviewed Johnny Davenport, who knew all three suspects and who, by the

time of trial, was incarcerated at Avenal State Prison on a 1987 robbery

conviction. During the second interview, Davenport gave a statement that,

redacted to eliminate minor irrelevancies, read as follows:

“It was about Noon when this guy from the Eight-Trey I know as Blackie

came over. He was telling me, Tracey [Carter], Andre [Moore], and Todd

[Lavera] that he had gotten into a fight with an East Coaster who killed a guy

named Otis that was from our set. Todd got real mad about it and said he had a

‘gat’ (a gun) and he wanted to go bust on the East Coast. Todd left for five to ten


The record does not reflect whether any conclusions were drawn as a result

of this comparison.


minutes and then came back with this old raggedy .22 pistol. When he showed it

to us it had a nail holding the cylinder. When he pulled out the nail, it fell apart.

Todd was asking if anyone had some more shells because he only had about (4) in

the gun. [¶] . . . I stayed around the house until 12:00 or 1:00 p.m. then I went

over to Andre’s. Andre started telling me about the Mexicans at the liquor store.

Andre said he tried to jack them and when he stuck the gun up to the window, the

guy tried to roll the window up on his hand. Andre said he dropped the gun and

when he picked it up he started shooting at both the Mexicans. Andre said he shot,

he ran. While Andre was telling about the Mexicans at the liquor store at Florence

and Hoover, Tracey came up. That’s why I was wondering why the hood got hot,

the police were everywhere. After Andre finished telling me about shooting the

Mexicans, they both, Tracey and Andre, started telling me about a preacher they

jacked. Tracey said when he walked up the preacher was at the telephone booth.

Tracey told the preacher to give him the money. That’s when the preacher started

praying. That’s when Tracey said he shot the preacher. Tracey said it was at

Slauson and Broadway where it happened. I don’t know whether it was the same

day or the next day. [¶] Andre said they got a car. Then it was Andre who told me

about the lady. They got her out of the car and they jetted out. He said they

parked the car and threw the keys on the roof. While Andre was telling me about

the car, Tracey was there along with some others, but I don’t remember who else.

It was both Tracey and Andre that was telling me about Todd getting picked after

the police dog found him running or hiding on 73rd and Hoover. After the police

took him to jail, they let him go. I don’t remember whether it was Andre or

Tracey that said they threw the gun after they ran from the liquor store.”


On direct examination, Davenport testified that he and Moore were

members of the 7-4 Hoover Crips, while defendant was a member of the 84

Kitchen Crips.2 The 7-4 Hoover Crips and the Kitchen Crips would hang out

together. Sometimes Davenport would hang out at 70th Street and Bonsallo

Avenue with other 7-4 Hoover Crips, and defendant and Moore were sometimes

present. Davenport denied having made substantial portions of his extrajudicial

statement. Davenport recalled having a conversation, prior to the Thompson

murder, with Moore, Lavera and someone named Black concerning the killing of

Otis Jones, a member of the 7-4 Hoover Crips, and how Black had had a fight with

a member of the East Coast Crips who may have had something to do with Jones’s

death. Davenport first denied telling the police defendant was present during that

conversation, then said he did not remember whether he told them that. Davenport

denied telling the police the conversation angered Lavera, or that Lavera said he

had a “gat” (i.e., a gun) and wanted to go “bust” on the “East Coast,” although he

recalled that Lavera went home at that point and later returned with a small gun

with a nail holding the cylinder in place. Davenport claimed not to recognize

People’s exhibit No. 6, the gun found by Jose Alvarado, but acknowledged that

during Lavera’s trial he had testified the gun looked similar to the one Lavera had

possessed during their conversation. The day after the conversation, Davenport

testified, he spoke with Moore in the driveway of Moore’s residence on Bonsallo

Avenue. Moore told Davenport “some Mexicans had got killed.” Davenport

denied telling the police that Moore told him he tried to “jack” (i.e., rob) them and

when he put the gun to the window “the guy tried to roll the window up on his

hand.” Davenport further denied telling the police that Moore had told him he


Davenport denied that Lavera was a Crip.


dropped the gun and, when he picked it up, he started shooting at both the

Mexicans. Davenport denied telling the police that, as Moore was telling him

about the Mexicans at the liquor store, defendant came up to them; or that, after

Moore finished telling him about shooting the Mexicans, Moore and defendant

both started to tell him about how they had “jacked a preacher.” Davenport denied

telling the police that defendant said the preacher was at the phone booth and that

defendant shot the preacher after demanding that he give defendant his money.

Davenport denied telling the police that Moore said they got “the lady” out of the

car and “jetted out,” then parked the car and threw the keys onto the roof. He

denied telling the police he didn’t remember whether it was Moore or defendant

who said they threw the gun after they ran from the liquor store. The prosecutor

showed Davenport a three-page statement, marked as People’s exhibit No. 31;

Davenport acknowledged that the first time he had seen the statement was at the

police station in 1987 and that the initials on various lines, as well as the signature

at the bottom of each page, were his own. He acknowledged traveling to Lavera’s

trial by helicopter, accompanied by Detective Duff. He denied, however, telling

Duff that everything contained in the statement was true but he could not say so in

court because he had to live in the prison system.

On cross-examination, Davenport testified he was first contacted by the

police two or three days after the incidents when at least five officers, including

Detective Duff, came to his house, handcuffed him and drove him in an unmarked

car to the Newton Community station. There he was uncuffed and placed in a

small room where he was interviewed by Duff and another officer. Davenport

testified the officers had told him something to the effect that they had information

that he was with Moore on the day of the crimes, although on redirect examination

he acknowledged the officers might have said they had information he and Moore

had been talking about the killings. The officers talked with Davenport for six to


seven hours, with breaks. At first, he told them nothing, but after they told him

they knew he had information about the incident and that he was going to stay in

jail until he told them something, he lied to them. Duff wrote down Davenport’s

statements. Davenport was then released. The following day, officers again

picked him up and brought him to Newton station, telling him they knew

everything he had said was a lie. Davenport feared they would charge him with

the murders, too. Because the officers said his first statement was not good

enough, Davenport gave them another statement, like the first “almost all of it”

lies. As Duff wrote down Davenport’s statement, he altered it, putting in names

where Davenport was omitting them. After the statement was complete, Duff

allowed Davenport to read the statement and told him to sign it. Davenport

complied because he “figured at the time that was the only way for me to get out

of jail.”

On redirect, however, Davenport acknowledged he had testified at the

preliminary hearing in this case that he was not afraid because he knew he had had

nothing to do with the murders. He testified further on redirect that he did not

remember giving the statement in People’s exhibit No. 31, or parts of it, to

Detective Duff; that he had not read the whole statement, but knew that any names

it contained were added by Duff because he did not name any names; and that he

did tell Duff the matters set forth on the first page, but not the second or third

page, of the statement. Davenport acknowledged that if he admitted the matters

contained in his statement, he would get a “snitch jacket”3 in prison, but denied

that this caused him any concern.


That is, acquire a reputation as an informant.


Detective Duff testified about the circumstances of his interviews with

Davenport. Davenport was not a suspect in the two murders and was told he had

been named as a person present when the crimes were being discussed. The first

interview with Davenport lasted about 30 to 45 minutes. Davenport was asked if

it was true he had been present during a discussion of the homicides; he

disclaimed being present or knowing anything about it. Duff testified Davenport

had lied when he testified the first interview lasted six or seven hours, the second

interview lasted seven or eight hours, and that Duff had told him he would be kept

in custody until he told the officers what Duff wanted to hear. Duff had heard

Davenport lie on other occasions, including once under oath. Duff testified that

People’s exhibit No. 31 was a summary of what Davenport had told the police.

Following the interview Davenport was given an opportunity to read the

statement. Apart from adding the word “Andre” to the third line of the statement,

Davenport indicated he had no additions or corrections or anything he wanted to

delete from the statement. Duff also testified that Davenport told him everything

contained in his statement was true, but that he could not testify to it because he

was in prison and if he testified the statement was true he would be a dead man.

On cross-examination, Duff acknowledged that, although the police station had

equipment capable of surreptitiously recording a witness’s statement, he chose not

to use it while interviewing Davenport.

2. Defense case

The defense presented no witnesses. Defense counsel argued, in closing,

that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in view

of the questionable identification evidence, Davenport’s credibility problems and

the assertedly poor police practices in certain aspects of the investigation.


B. Penalty Phase

1. Prosecution case

The prosecution presented evidence that defendant had previously been

convicted of possessing cocaine (§ 190.3, factor (c)) and that he had engaged in

other violent criminal activity, namely the attempted murder of two rival gang

members while in pretrial custody in April 1989 and a September 1985 grand theft

and robbery (§ 190.3, factor (b)).

a. Jailhouse stabbing

On April 3, 1989, Joevone Elster and Mark Oropeza were incarcerated in

the Los Angeles County jail and enrolled in the “Honor Row,” a voluntary school

program for inmates. Defendant was also enrolled in the Honor Row. All

enrollees had cells on the same row. On that date, Elster and Oropeza were

attacked as they were returning from school to their cell row. Elster received a

five- or six-inch stab wound on his left arm and a laceration to the top of his head.

Oropeza suffered multiple wounds on his left arm and hand, a puncture wound

behind his ear and another puncture wound to the temple. Elster testified he did

not know who had stabbed him or how many people had attacked him. Oropeza

likewise testified he did not know who had wounded him. Elster denied being an

East Coast Crip; Oropeza admitted he and Elster were East Coast Crips, but denied

telling Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Plass, who administered the Honor

Row program, or jail Deputies Reppucci and Weinman, of his gang affiliation.

Elster admitted talking with Deputy Weinman immediately after the attack, but

denied telling him that someone had yelled “East Coast Killers” at him. Oropeza

denied talking with any jail deputies about the incident and even claimed he did

not know what a “shank” was.

Deputy Mark Reppucci testified that around 1:00 p.m. on April 3, 1989,

after he had just finished escorting inmates back from school and was closing the


gate leading to their row, he saw four men—defendant, an inmate named Paul

Brown, Elster and Oropeza—fighting. Reppucci and his partner, Deputy

Weinman, told the inmates to stop fighting. When the backup summoned by

Weinman arrived, the deputies broke up the fight. Reppucci searched all the

inmates involved in the fight and found a shank, a “jail-made stabbing device,” in

Brown’s front pocket. Although he found nothing on defendant, defendant

admitted he had thrown something down the row. Elster and Oropeza had no

weapons on them. Elster told Reppucci that as he was coming back from school,

Brown approached him and started shouting “East Coast Killers,” which Elster

understood to mean that Brown and defendant killed East Coast Crips. Reppucci

testified that based on his independent knowledge and defendant’s tattoos with the

letters “K” and “C,” defendant was a Kitchen Crip, and Elster and Oropeza were

East Coast Crips.

Deputy Plass testified that he interviewed and screened inmates, including

defendant, who volunteered for the Honor Row program. Plass testified he made

it clear to all interested inmates that participants would be required to set aside any

anger and resentment towards members of rival gang-sets who might be

participating in the program. He informed them that any violation of the rules

would be enough to remove them from the program. When defendant was

selected, he had no significant disciplinary problems and appeared eager to get

into the program.

In the course of investigating the assault on Elster and Oropeza, Plass

interviewed defendant. After being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights,4

defendant told Plass that he and Paul Brown, a fellow Kitchen Crip, had heard


Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436 (Miranda).


rumors that members of the East Coast Crips were going to “get up at” or attack

the Kitchen Crips. Because defendant and Brown felt insecure in being the only

Kitchen Crips on the Honor Row, they decided to strike first. Accordingly,

defendant made a shank by melting an underarm deodorant container, rolling it to

a desired length and thickness, and sharpening it to a point with a cutting edge.

The completed weapon was four to six inches in length, with a two- to three-inch

blade. The day before the attack, defendant packed all his belongings in his cell

and removed the pictures from his cell walls, as if—Plass testified—he anticipated

leaving the module. Then, when he, Brown, Elster and Oropeza walked onto the

row after returning from school on April 3, 1989, defendant put the shank in the

palm of his hand and began to punch with his fist and stab with the shank, yelling

“East Coast Killers.” After defendant used the shank, he threw it down the

“freeway” or corridor leading to the back of the row. Plass testified that the

module was searched for the shank, without success. For deputies to fail to find

such items was not uncommon, as they can easily be placed in a toilet and flushed

into the main sewer system. Defendant’s attitude as he told Plass what happened

was “cavalier”; he showed no remorse and told Plass he had wanted to get as

many East Coast members as he could.

b. Robbery of pickup truck

On September 24, 1985, Margarito Gomez was sitting with his daughter

Yadira in his green 1976 Chevrolet pickup truck in the parking lot of a junior high

school. Two men approached the driver’s side of the truck. One pulled out a gun

and asked for Gomez’s keys. Gomez gave him the keys. The man then asked

Gomez to get out of the truck, and Gomez complied. The other man had gone to

the passenger’s side of the truck and asked the daughter to get out; she did so. The

men then got into the truck and drove away.


The next day, Gomez reported the robbery to the police. Deputy Sheriff

Anthony Pachot testified that when he showed Gomez a photo lineup, Gomez

tentatively identified defendant’s picture as that of the person who had pointed the

gun at him. Pachot testified further that Gomez’s daughter was unable to identify

anyone from the same photo lineup, but she did provide descriptions of the

suspects, one of which fit defendant almost “to a ‘T.’ ”

Defendant’s mother, meanwhile, had gone to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s

Department Firestone station with what turned out to be Gomez’s stolen pickup

truck. She told Deputy Pachot that defendant had informed her he had purchased

the truck, but because he had no bill of sale she wanted the station to check the

truck and make sure it was not stolen. Based on this information, Pachot went to

El Camino High School in Woodland Hills to question defendant, who was a

student there. After being advised of his rights and waiving them, defendant

stated he had purchased the truck from an individual named Eric for $800 in cash

at the intersection of Gage Avenue and Figueroa Street. Defendant claimed to

have known Eric for four years but not to know Eric’s last name or where he lived.

Nor did defendant, who was not employed and whose mother had not given him

money, appear to possess the means to make such a purchase. Based on his

investigation, Pachot booked defendant on charges of grand theft and robbery.5

2. Defense case

The defense presented the testimony of several of defendant’s friends and

family members in order to show that defendant had originally been a person of

good character before he started making bad choices as a result of immaturity, low


Defendant testified that the charges were dismissed at the preliminary



intellect and poor environment. Dr. Michael Maloney testified regarding the

results of interviews and psychological testing conducted with defendant.

Defendant also testified in his own behalf, discussing the offenses he was alleged

or found to have committed and expressing remorse for the Thompson and

Salgado killings. In closing argument, counsel suggested the state of the evidence

supported a lingering doubt as to whether defendant or Lavera was the triggerman

in the Thompson and Salgado murders.

Defendant’s uncle, Curtis Carter, testified that defendant was an industrious

child who did well in school and had a close relationship with Carter’s daughter.

Defendant lived with his grandmother, Helen Williams, from early childhood until

age 14, when he moved in with his mother. Defendant began to get into trouble

around age 14 for stealing, incurring commitments to Camp Scott and, about two

months after his release from camp, to the California Youth Authority. At some

point defendant was returned to custody for selling dope. The first time Carter

ever heard that defendant was involved in gang activity was when he was arrested

in the present case. Since his arrest, Carter had visited defendant in jail some 15 to

20 times, where he seemed scared and remorseful. Carter opined that defendant

was a decent human being who could make something of his life if he had the


Roy W. Roberts II, the executive director of the Watts/Willowbrook Boys

and Girls Club, testified he had known defendant since the latter was five years

old. Defendant was a member of the club from the approximate ages of seven to

12. Roberts had found him an energetic young man, who wanted to do well and

make his mother proud of him. Defendant’s family moved away and Roberts lost

contact with him when defendant was about 12; Roberts was unfamiliar with the

details of defendant’s juvenile record of theft and violence.


Audrey Carter, defendant’s mother, testified she was currently employed as

an emergency room nurse. She was 16 years old when defendant was born and

thereafter attended school at night while her mother and sister cared for defendant.

Defendant’s father was Michael Hall, who was killed when defendant was three

years old. Ms. Carter moved out of her mother’s house when she was 21, but

because she was still in school and needed help raising defendant, he stayed with

her mother during the week until he was about 14 or 15. Until about age 13,

defendant would go to church and would read and talk about the Bible. When

defendant initially went to school, he got along well there and had no problems

apart from stuttering. He was, in her opinion, a follower rather than a leader at

that point in his life. When defendant was about 15 or 16, however, he began

hanging around with members of the Kitchen Crips who lived near his

grandmother’s home, including Johnny Davenport and Andre Moore. Although

she told him not to hang around with them, he did so anyway. She confirmed

many details of defendant’s juvenile misconduct. She urged the jury to spare

defendant’s life.

Defendant’s aunt, Gwendolyn Jones, grew up with defendant and was like a

“bigger sister.” He was a good person who helped the family all the time. After

his return from juvenile camp, defendant appeared to be trying to act tougher and

was hanging out with the gang more. After defendant’s arrest in this case, she

visited him in county jail, where he appeared nervous, scared and sorry about

being in this situation.

Carolyn Jones, Gwendolyn’s sister and another of defendant’s aunts, also

lived and grew up with defendant. Defendant was a shy child who was scared of

lots of things, including a nearby park where members of the Bloods would beat

up on children. When defendant was 11 years old, he became friendly with

members of the Kitchen Crips. He would get into trouble because he would hang


around with gang members as they went to rob people. Before he went to jail, he

was “like the quiet type.” After, he was “a little noisier than what he was.” After

his arrest in this case, he told her he was sorry for being involved. She urged the

jury to spare his life.

Helen Williams, defendant’s grandmother, and Doris Hamilton, his aunt,

testified, inter alia, regarding his religious upbringing. Ms. Williams testified that

defendant had told her he did not commit the crimes; Ms. Hamilton opined that

defendant was innocent; both expressed the hope the jury would spare his life.

Dr. Michael Maloney, a clinical and forensic psychologist and clinical

professor of psychiatry, interviewed defendant before and after the jury returned

guilt verdicts and spoke with defendant’s family members, administered various

psychological tests, and reviewed defendant’s school records and the preliminary

hearing transcript. Defendant’s intelligence fell in the “borderline” range; he was

“certainly not mentally retarded,” but was “functioning below average.”

Academic achievement testing put defendant at the seventh grade level in reading

and fifth grade level in arithmetic. Administration of the Minnesota Multiphasic

Personality Inventory (MMPI) revealed a high elevation for hypomania (a

tendency to be impulsive and overly energetic and to experience periods of

irritability, hostility and aggressive outbursts) and a lesser elevation for

psychopathic deviancy or what today would be called antisocial personality

disorder. Neither the MMPI nor the other standard tests administered by Dr.

Maloney suggested that defendant had any significant mental disorders. In the

postverdict interview, defendant tearfully said he was sorry about the whole

situation and spoke of the impact it might have on his family and that of the

victims. He admitted participating in the robberies, but denied killing anyone. On

cross-examination, the prosecutor explored certain discrepancies between her own

records of defendant’s juvenile misconduct and the self-reported history on which


Dr. Maloney had exclusively relied. Dr. Maloney testified that none of the records

of defendant’s juvenile adjudications would change his opinion of defendant’s

credibility or psychological profile.

Defendant testified in his own behalf. Regarding the jailhouse stabbings of

Elster and Oropeza, he testified he had heard rumors from friends belonging to the

Compton Crips set that the East Coast Crips were going to kill him. He could not

tell the police of these rumors because “snitches die”; thus, according to

defendant, he had to protect himself. The day he attacked Elster and Oropeza, he

knew something was going to happen because some East Coast gang members

were talking “crazy” and “disrespectful,” yelling “Kitchen Killer” and spitting on

his friend Paul Brown. Neither Elster nor Oropeza said anything to him, stared at

him or insulted him, but he thought they would be involved in the rumored attack

because they were East Coast Crips members. Defendant did not plan the attack,

which he considered to be an act of self-defense, or speak with Brown about it, in

advance. On cross-examination, defendant admitted he had received several

disciplinary measures in jail for insubordination, possessing a shaving razor in his

cell and disrespecting staff.

Regarding the Thompson and Salgado murders, defendant testified that

after he was arrested, Detective Duff asked him if he wanted to speak about the

case. At first he told Duff he would not speak to him unless a lawyer were

present. Later, however, he chose to speak with the police without a lawyer and to

tell them what happened. The day of the Thompson murder, defendant met Todd

Lavera and Andre Moore at a hamburger stand; Lavera asked him if he had any

bullets for Lavera’s gun. Lavera talked about “busting” on the East Coast, and the

three engaged in “small talk” about carrying out robberies. Knowing Lavera had a

loaded gun, defendant walked with Lavera and Moore to Broadway and Slauson.

There they encountered Clyde Moore, whom defendant knew from the California


Youth Authority. Clyde informed them he had seen a man in a telephone booth,

commenting, “There go a jack right there.”

Defendant, Lavera and Andre Moore walked over to the telephone booth.

Moore pulled out a fake gun and robbed Mrs. Thompson; Lavera walked up to the

phone booth and shot Mr. Thompson. Defendant, meanwhile, was hanging back

near the Thompsons’ car; Moore handed him the money, and they all drove off in

the car. According to defendant, he and Lavera are the same height, color and

build, and he could be mistaken for him. Defendant felt bad because it was only

supposed to be a robbery, “not taking no man’s life.”

The three drove to 69th and Broadway, where Moore parked the car and

gave an acquaintance the keys. Defendant then went to his house and checked on

his mother, then proceeded to Lavera’s house, where they sat around talking.

They went to the liquor store, bought two 40-ounce bottles of Old English and

three packs of cigarettes, and returned to Lavera’s house. While there, Lavera and

Moore decided to pull a “jack” on someone, and all three walked back to the

liquor store. They saw “the Mexicans” in a car parked in the lot at the back of the

store. Defendant went inside for a moment to talk to a man named Carl, who

worked there. When defendant left the store, Moore was standing at the driver’s

window of the Mexicans’ car with the gun in his hand. The driver rolled up the

window and started to drive off. Moore fired the gun three times; the gun fell to

the ground, whereupon Lavera picked it up. The passenger jumped out of the car

and tried to run; Lavera fired three more times, and the man fell. Defendant told

the police he did not kill Mr. Thompson and did not know that Moore or Lavera

would kill anyone in the liquor store robbery.



A. Guilt and Special Circumstance Phase

1. Admission of gang evidence

Denying a defense motion in limine to preclude the admission of gang

evidence, the trial court allowed the prosecution to present testimony by witness

Johnny Davenport that defendant was a member of the 84 Kitchen Crips gang set.

The court also allowed expert testimony by Mark J. Arneson, a Los Angeles police

detective who specialized in investigations of gang-related crimes, regarding the

state of the relations between the 7-4 Hoover Crips, their allies the Kitchen Crips,

and their enemies the East Coast Crips; the gangs’ respective territories; and the

significance of the phrase “bust on the coast.” Detective Arneson also testified

that if a 7-4 Hoover Crip entered East Coast Crips territory, he would not have

done so mistakenly. Defendant contends this evidence, to which we refer

collectively as the “gang evidence,” was irrelevant and prejudicial, and that its

erroneous admission violated his state and federal constitutional rights to due

process and a fair trial.

Reviewing the trial court’s ruling on this evidentiary question for abuse of

discretion (People v. Champion (1995) 9 Cal.4th 879, 923), we find no error.

Although evidence of a defendant’s gang membership creates a risk the jury will

improperly infer the defendant has a criminal disposition and is therefore guilty of

the offense charged—and thus should be carefully scrutinized by trial courts—

such evidence is admissible when relevant to prove identity or motive, if its

probative value is not outweighed by its prejudicial effect. (People v. Williams

(1997) 16 Cal.4th 153, 193.)

In the present case, the relevancy of the gang testimony lay in the following

circumstances: The 84 Kitchen Crips, to which set defendant belonged, enjoyed


friendly relations with the 7-4 Hoover Crips, to which set coperpetrators Andre

Moore and Todd Lavera belonged. The 7-4 Hoover Crips, however, were on bad

terms with the East Coast Crips, who were known to meet at the Mobil gas station

at Slauson and Broadway, where the Thompson robbery murder was committed.

Around noon on the day of the offenses at issue in this case, a member of the

Eight-Trey set, named Black or Blackie, talked with Davenport, Lavera, Moore

and defendant about the killing of a 7-4 Hoover Crip named Otis Jones by an East

Coast Crip. Lavera reacted angrily, declaring he wanted to go “bust on the coast”;

he left and returned with the distinctive handgun later used in the Thompson and

Salgado crimes. Lavera asked his companions for more shells, as he had only four

in his gun. The term “bust on the coast” signified an intention to commit a

retaliatory shooting in East Coast Crip territory.

Identity was an issue in the case. From the foregoing evidence the

prosecution sought to have the jury infer that defendant, Moore and Lavera went

armed to the Mobil gas station in order to carry out a shooting in a rival gang’s

territory. The evidence of Davenport’s prior statement tended to establish that

defendant, Moore and Lavera were together before the Thompson shooting and, to

the extent the eyewitness identifications of Moore and Lavera as having been

involved in the Thompson and Salgado offenses were stronger than those pointing

to defendant, that defendant, too, was present during those offenses. Motive

likewise was significant insofar as it shed light on defendant’s intent in being

present at the scene of the Thompson shooting and, in particular, on whether

defendant entertained an intent to kill, as required for the prosecution to prove the

robbery-murder special-circumstance allegation in this Carlos-era case. (See

Carlos v. Superior Court (1983) 35 Cal.3d 131; People v. Vidaurri (1980) 103

Cal.App.3d 450, 461.)


Defendant disputes these conclusions, arguing the prosecution failed to

demonstrate the existence of any connection between the crimes against the

Thompsons and the fact they occurred in East Coast Crip territory. Defendant

observes that the evidence failed to suggest that Thompson or Salgado were East

Coast Crips, or that he intended specifically to shoot them because of their

perceived gang membership. In our view, however, the prosecutor was not

required to establish such circumstances as a predicate to the admission of the

challenged gang evidence. Notably, Detective Arneson testified that the phrase

“bust on the coast” meant “to shoot someone in East Coast Crip territory,” not to

shoot an East Coast Crip specifically, and that a known meeting location for the

East Coast Crips was the very Mobil gas station where the Thompson shooting

occurred. The jury might reasonably infer that for a gang to commit a shooting at

a rival’s meeting place would be a hostile and perhaps retaliatory show of force,

whether or not the victim was a member of that rival gang. And, as the Attorney

General points out, if the jury had believed defendant to have been merely an aider

and abettor of the killing, his motive in accompanying two 7-4 Hoovers to an East

Coast Crip meeting place would have been the only evidence suggesting he

possessed the intent to kill or to aid Moore and Lavera in killing the victim. That

the jury in fact found defendant was the actual killer could not have been predicted

with certainty when the question was hotly contested at trial. Thus, the gang

evidence was quite significant and not cumulative of any other evidence

introduced on the issues of motive and intent. The trial court, moreover, properly

instructed the jury on the limited purposes for which it was admitting the gang

evidence. Accordingly, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in

admitting the challenged evidence. Defendant’s claims of federal constitutional

error, entirely dependent as they are on his claim of state law error, likewise must



2. Admission of Andre Moore’s extrajudicial statements

Defendant contends the trial court erroneously admitted Johnny

Davenport’s prior written statement to the police describing, inter alia, a

conversation in which Andre Moore recounted the Salgado robbery and shooting

and which defendant at some point joined. Prior to Davenport’s testimony, the

defense moved to exclude as hearsay any statements by Davenport concerning

what Moore and Lavera had told him. The prosecution argued, and the trial court

ultimately agreed, the statements regarding the Salgado offenses were admissible

against defendant as adoptive admissions. Defendant contends this ruling violated

state evidentiary law (Evid. Code, § 1221) and his state and federal constitutional

right of confrontation.6

Pursuant to Evidence Code section 1221, “[e]vidence of a statement offered

against a party is not made inadmissible by the hearsay rule if the statement is one

of which the party, with knowledge of the content thereof, has by words or other

conduct manifested his adoption or his belief in its truth.” Defendant contends

Davenport’s statement does not establish that defendant was present when Andre

Moore spoke of the Salgado offenses; lacking proof, therefore, that defendant

knew what Moore had said in this regard, he contends the trial court abused its

discretion in admitting Moore’s statements under the doctrine of adoptive


An even more fundamental problem with treating as an adoptive admission

defendant’s failure to contradict Moore’s recounting of the Salgado offenses is

that nothing in Moore’s remarks referred to defendant or accused him of anything.


We note that defendant forfeited his constitutional claims by failing to

object on these grounds at trial. (People v. Millwee (1998) 18 Cal.4th 96, 128-


There being, in essence, nothing for defendant to deny, a condition of the hearsay

exception for adoptive admissions did not exist, and the trial court therefore erred

in concluding Moore’s remarks were admissible as adoptive admissions. (See

People v. Edelbacher (1989) 47 Cal.3d 983, 1011.)

The error, however, was harmless under any standard (Chapman v.

California (1967) 386 U.S. 18, 24; People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836-

837) in view of the testimony of Rochelle Stewart identifying defendant as one of

the shooters in the Salgado killing; Vivian Bivians’s testimony placing defendant

in the company of Lavera and Moore near the scene, shortly before the murder;

and the absence in Moore’s statement to Davenport of any mention of defendant

as having been present at, or taken part in, the Salgado killing.

3. Trial court’s failure to instruct sua sponte with CALJIC No. 2.71.5

Defendant contends the trial court erred prejudicially in failing to instruct

the jury, sua sponte, with CALJIC No. 2.71.5, concerning adoptive admissions,7 in

connection with the statements by Moore and Lavera as recounted in Davenport’s

extrajudicial statement. Several Court of Appeal decisions have held the court has


As applicable to this case, CALJIC No. 2.71.5 provides: “If you should

find from the evidence that there was an occasion when the defendant (1) under
conditions which reasonably afforded him an opportunity to reply; (2) failed to
make a denial in the face of an accusation, expressed directly to him or in his
presence, charging him with the crime for which this defendant now is on trial or
tending to connect him with its commission; and (3) that he heard the accusation
and understood its nature, then the circumstance of his silence and conduct on that
occasion may be considered against him as indicating an admission that the
accusation thus made was true. Evidence of an accusatory statement is not
received for the purpose of proving its truth, but only as it supplies meaning to the
silence and conduct of the accused in the face of it. Unless you find that the
defendant’s silence and conduct at the time indicated an admission that the
accusatory statement was true, you must entirely disregard the statement.”


a sua sponte duty to give an instruction like CALJIC No. 2.71.5. (People v. Smith

(1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 666, 679-680; People v. Humphries (1986) 185

Cal.App.3d 1315, 1335-1336; People v. Vindiola (1979) 96 Cal.App.3d 370, 382;

People v. Atwood (1963) 223 Cal.App.2d 316, 332-333.) But People v. Smith and

People v. Humphries contained no analysis, and the other two decisions lack

continuing validity in view of People v. Collie (1981) 30 Cal.3d 43.8 In Collie, we

held that the trial court has no sua sponte duty to instruct on the limited purpose

for which evidence of other crimes was admitted. We distinguished such

evidentiary matters from the sua sponte duty to instruct regarding defenses and

lesser included offenses, which “are required because those matters are ‘closely

and openly connected’ with the evidence and the fate of the defendant in cases to

which they apply.” (People v. Collie, supra, at p. 63.) We concluded that the

defendant had “fail[ed] to show that the limited admissibility of particular bits of

evidence of past criminal conduct normally deserves similar unsolicited

recognition and instruction by the trial court.” (Id. at pp. 63-64.) The same

reasoning applies to CALJIC No. 2.71.5. Trial courts are not to be “saddle[d] . . .

with the duty . . . to review the entire record at trial’s end in search of” adoptive

admissions. (People v. Collie, supra, at p. 64.)

As CALJIC No. 2.71.5 explains, adoptive admissions require certain

foundational facts. Trial courts may certainly instruct on the matter if they think it

best to do so. But, as the Evidence Code makes clear, courts are required to so

instruct only at a defendant’s request. When the court admits evidence subject to


In People v. Pensinger (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1210, 1268-1269, we hinted at the

possible existence of a sua sponte duty to instruct the jury with CALJIC No.
2.71.5, although our opinion spoke only of an obligation to instruct the jury to
view a defendant’s admissions with caution.


the existence of preliminary facts, it “[m]ay, and on request shall, instruct the jury

to determine whether the preliminary fact exists and to disregard the proffered

evidence unless the jury finds that the preliminary fact does exist.” (Evid. Code,

§ 403, subd. (c)(1), italics added.) “On its own terms, this provision makes it

discretionary for the trial court to give an instruction regarding a preliminary fact

unless the party makes a request.” (People v. Lewis (2001) 26 Cal.4th 334, 362.)

In a given case, it may be far from clear whether the defendant would wish

the court to give CALJIC No. 2.71.5. The instruction is largely a matter of

common sense—silence in the face of an accusation is meaningful, and hence may

be considered, only when the defendant has heard and understood the accusation

and had an opportunity to reply. Giving the instruction might cause the jury to

place undue significance on bits of testimony that the defendant would prefer it

not examine so closely. (Cf. People v. Phillips (1985) 41 Cal.3d 29, 73, fn. 25 [for

similar reasons, a court has no sua sponte duty to instruct on the elements of other

crimes at the penalty phase of a capital trial].)

For these reasons, we hold that a trial court must give CALJIC No. 2.71.5

only when the defendant requests it. Consequently, the trial court in this case did

not err in this regard.

4. Trial court’s failure to admonish jury pursuant to section 1122

Defendant contends the trial court erred reversibly in failing to admonish

the jury at each adjournment, pursuant to section 1122,9 not to converse among


At the time of trial, section 1122 provided: “The jury must also, at each

adjournment of the court before the submission of the cause to the jury, whether
permitted to separate or kept in charge of officers, be admonished by the court that
it is their duty not to converse among themselves or with anyone else on any
subject connected with the trial, or to form or express any opinion thereon until the
cause is finally submitted to them.” (Stats. 1969, ch. 520, § 2, p. 1131.)

(footnote continued on next page)


themselves, or with anyone else, on any subject connected with the trial, or to

form or express an opinion about the case until the cause was finally submitted to

them. Indeed, defendant asserts the trial court never properly admonished the jury

at any point during the trial. The Attorney General, however, cites three instances

during the voir dire process in which the trial court admonished the jury venire

along the lines of section 1122. The Attorney General also cites several instances

in which the clerk’s transcript refers to the jury’s having been admonished

although no corresponding language can be found in the reporter’s transcript.

Defendant relies on the principle that, where the clerk’s and reporter’s transcripts

conflict, the latter controls when, under the circumstances, it is the more reliable

(see People v. Smith (1983) 33 Cal.3d 596, 599; In re Moss (1985) 175

Cal.App.3d 913, 928), while the Attorney General contends defendant has not met

his burden of “developing the record by resorting to whatever methods of

reconstruction might be available.” We agree with defendant that nothing before

(footnote continued from previous page)

Subsequent to the trial in this case, section 1122 was amended to designate

the existing text as subdivision (b) and to add subdivision (a), as follows: “After
the jury has been sworn and before the people’s opening address, the court shall
instruct the jury generally concerning its basic functions, duties, and conduct. The
instructions shall include, among other matters, admonitions that the jurors shall
not converse among themselves, or with anyone else, on any subject connected
with the trial; that they shall not read or listen to any accounts or discussions of the
case reported by newspapers or other news media; that they shall not visit or view
the premises or place where the offense or offenses charged were allegedly
committed or any other premises or place involved in the case; that prior to, and
within 90 days of, discharge, they shall not request, accept, agree to accept, or
discuss with any person receiving or accepting, any payment or benefit in
consideration for supplying any information concerning the trial; and that they
shall promptly report to the court any incident within their knowledge involving an
attempt by any person to improperly influence any member of the jury.” (§ 1122,
as amended by Stats. 1994, ch. 869, § 4, pp. 4404-4405.)


us suggests a “lacuna” in need of “reconstruction” by settled statement or other

means, as opposed to a simple failure to admonish, and that the trial court thus


We depart from defendant, however, and conclude he has failed to show

prejudice, as required for reversal. (People v. Gastelum (1965) 237 Cal.App.2d

205, 207.)10 First, we observe that the trial court did, during the voir dire process,

several times admonish the venire in the spirit of section 1122. Second, none of

the circumstances defendant cites as demonstrating prejudice actually establish

that any juror violated the statutory admonition. In particular, Juror H.’s posttrial

statement that he made up his mind to vote for death after hearing a rereading of

testimony, which assertedly occurred only during guilt phase deliberations, is

insufficiently specific to constitute an admission of misconduct and would appear

inadmissible under Evidence Code section 1150, subdivision (a) in any event.

And Juror H.’s alleged statement to trial counsel suggesting that H.’s taking

another juror out to dinner during penalty phase deliberations enabled the jury to

reach a verdict did not establish that defendant’s case impermissibly served as a

topic of conversation during the alleged dinner. The failure to show prejudice

likewise dooms defendant’s derivative claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Reversal, therefore, is not required.

5. Trial court’s failure to request special jury finding on intent to kill

Because the Thompson and Salgado murders were committed during the

“window” period between our decisions in Carlos v. Superior Court, supra, 35

Cal.3d 131 and People v. Anderson (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1104, in order to find true


We also reject defendant’s unsupported assertion that the error affected the

entire framework of the trial and requires reversal per se.


the robbery-murder special-circumstance allegations in this case the jury had to

find that defendant intended to kill the victims. (See also People v. Turner (1984)

37 Cal.3d 302, 328-329 [pre-Anderson decision holding multiple-murder special

circumstance required intent to kill].) Accordingly, the trial court instructed the

jury with CALJIC No. 8.80, setting forth such intent requirement. Defendant

asserts this instruction conflicted with the instructions defining the robbery-murder

and multiple-murder special circumstances, CALJIC Nos. 8.81.17 and 8.81.3, and

contends the jury’s special circumstance findings in his case are fatally flawed in

the absence of specific written findings that he possessed the intent to kill. We

reject both contentions as a matter of state law: Read together, the instructions

adequately informed the jury that it had to find intent to kill for a true finding on

either special circumstance allegation (People v. Duncan (1991) 53 Cal.3d 955,

974), and no written findings on the point were required (§§ 1150 [generally

requiring jury to reach general verdict], 190.4, subd. (a) [containing no

requirement of specific written findings of intent on special circumstance

allegations]; People v. Arias (1996) 13 Cal.4th 92, 157-158 [provided jury is

properly instructed, special findings on each fact or element underlying a special

circumstance verdict are not required]). Although in an appropriate case the trial

court may protect the record by requiring the jury to explain, in special findings,

which of several alternate theories was accepted in support of a general verdict

(Arias, supra, at p. 158, citing People v. Webster (1991) 54 Cal.3d 411, 446-447),

in this case the defense never requested such findings, and defendant cites no

authority requiring the trial court sua sponte to direct the jury to make such

findings. Because defendant cites no authority dictating a different conclusion

under the federal Constitution, we reject his contention that the absence of a

special finding on intent to kill violated his state and federal constitutional rights


to a fair trial, due process of law, and a reliable special circumstance and penalty


B. Penalty Phase

1. Admission of gang evidence

Defendant contends that the admission, during the penalty phase of trial, of

assertedly irrelevant and prejudicial gang evidence violated state law and deprived

him of his state and federal constitutional rights to a fair trial, a reliable penalty

determination and due process of law. During her redirect examination of Deputy

Frank Plass, the senior sheriff’s deputy assigned to the custody division at the

men’s central jail, the prosecutor asked him whether he saw any other Kitchen

Crips in the courtroom that day, and Plass answered in the affirmative. Over

defense counsel’s relevancy objection, the trial court allowed the evidence in order

to show Plass’s familiarity with the gang. Defendant also argues that the trial

court’s expression of concern that no members of the audience should sit directly

behind the jurors contributed to an atmosphere of fear in the courtroom and to the

denial of his constitutional rights.

Because defendant objected at trial only to the question asked Plass, and to

that only on relevancy grounds, he forfeited the constitutional claims he now seeks

to raise. (People v. Earp (1999) 20 Cal.4th 826, 884.) Even were the claims

properly preserved for appeal, we would find they lack merit. As the trial court

ruled, the questioning was relevant in response to the defense cross-examination of

Plass with respect to his expertise in the field of gangs. Defendant argues that the

testimony, coupled with the court’s concern over seating arrangements in the

courtroom, implicated cases dealing with courtroom security arrangements, in

which courts have held some practices to be inherently prejudicial. (E.g., Estelle

v. Williams (1976) 425 U.S. 501, 503-504, 512 [fair trial right requires that


defendant not be forced to wear prison clothing when appearing before a jury];

Illinois v. Allen (1970) 397 U.S. 337, 344 [requiring disruptive defendant to appear

before the jury bound and gagged should be considered only as a last resort, due in

part to concomitant reduction in the defendant’s ability to communicate with

counsel, an important incident of the right of presence]; Kennedy v. Cardwell (6th

Cir. 1973) 487 F.2d 101, 108 [presence of a security force inside the courtroom

may deny a fair trial by creating a prejudicial impression that defendant is

dangerous].) We disagree with defendant that the challenged redirect examination

of Deputy Plass may be so categorized. The questioning was brief and

noninflammatory, and went unmentioned in the parties’ respective closing

arguments, and thus was not inherently prejudicial. The trial court therefore did

not abuse its discretion in allowing the testimony. As for the trial court’s directive

regarding courtroom audience seating, the Attorney General correctly observes

that the record contains no indication whether the persons asked to move were

gang members or whether the jury likely would have inferred such membership;

nor does the record suggest the move would have been interpreted as a security

measure. Consequently, on this record defendant fails to establish that an error of

constitutional dimension occurred.

2. Boyd error

Defendant contends the trial court violated his state and federal

constitutional rights to due process of law, a fair trial, a reliable penalty

determination and equal protection, as well as applicable state sentencing law

(§ 190.3, factors (b), (c)), by permitting the prosecutor to cross-examine certain

defense witnesses concerning defendant’s juvenile court record and aspects of his

custodial history not falling within the statutory aggravating factors. Under well-

established law, evidence of a defendant’s background, character or conduct that is


not probative of any specific sentencing factor is irrelevant to the prosecution’s

case in aggravation and therefore inadmissible. (People v. Boyd (1985) 38 Cal.3d

762, 773-774.) As will appear, assuming for argument’s sake the claim is

cognizable on this appeal, we conclude it lacks merit.

The issue arises in the following context: The defense called Roy W.

Roberts II, the executive director of the boys and girls club defendant had attended

between the approximate ages of seven and 12, to testify that defendant was an

energetic child who enjoyed sports and did not cause problems at the club. On a

number of occasions, Roberts testified, defendant had told him he wanted to stay

in school, do well and make his mother proud of him. On cross-examination, the

prosecutor asked Roberts if he was aware of defendant’s various juvenile

adjudications and confinements, including a robbery and a car theft at age 12; an

incident, occurring when defendant was still age 12, in which he was found to

have thrown rocks at some people; an incident in which defendant was found to

have possessed ammunition; a 1982 robbery adjudication; an adjudication for

stealing a bike a couple of months after his release from a youth camp;11

defendant’s Youth Authority commitment at age 14 for a robbery he admitted

doing; his commission of another robbery only a month after his release from the

Youth Authority; his return to custody in September 1985 on a Youth Authority

hold; another return to custody in December of that year; and his conviction of

selling cocaine at a school campus in Woodland Hills and consequent return to

custody until a mere two months before the commission of the capital offenses.


To this point in her cross-examination, the prosecutor had erroneously

referred to these juvenile adjudications as “convictions,” whereupon the trial court
sustained a defense objection to the use of that term.


During the course of cross-examination, the defense objected: “Your

Honor, I believe the witness answered that he lost contact [with defendant around

age 12], and I will object to reading off every contact that Mr. Carter has had with

law enforcement because I think it’s improper and I think it gives the jury the

wrong impression. [¶] I think it’s intentionally misleading them.” The prosecutor

responded: “[The witness] has essentially been called as a character witness for

Mr. Carter and has indicated that he has knowledge of Mr. Carter. [¶] I think I’m

entitled to a very broad cross-examination as to what in fact he knows about Mr.

Carter and some of the stuff he has indicated that he had heard about and some of

the stuff he has indicated he hasn’t heard about. [¶] The stuff he hasn’t heard

about I think the jury should be entitled to consider when weighing his opinion

and how much weight to give it. I think this is the typical cross-examination of

any kind of character witness.” The trial court sustained the defense objection

only to the extent the prosecutor had referred to a robbery without specifying

whether it had led to a sustained petition, a probation violation or some other


The Attorney General argues, preliminarily, that defendant failed to

preserve fully, with timely and specific objections at trial, the claim he currently

raises and fails here to demonstrate, by citations to relevant authority, how the

alleged error implicates the state or federal Constitution. Our review of the record

reveals that defense counsel objected to the just quoted line of cross-examination

only on the grounds that the prosecutor was, in effect, misleading the jury by

incorrectly referring to “convictions” instead of juvenile “adjudications,” by cross-

examining the witness as to defendant’s record despite the latter’s

acknowledgment that he had lost contact with defendant by age 12, and by failing

to specify the nature of the disposition of one robbery allegation. The defense

objection did not cite any of the constitutional grounds to which defendant’s


briefing now alludes, nor did it assert that this pattern of cross-examination

questions and answers constituted nonstatutory aggravation. We therefore

conclude that, apart from the contention that the trial court erred in permitting the

prosecutor to inquire about the witness’s awareness of defendant’s juvenile

“convictions,” defendant failed to preserve for appeal the claims he now asserts.

Even were the claims cognizable, they would lack merit. Contrary to

defendant’s current argument, it is apparent that Roberts was indeed called as a

character witness and accordingly testified that, as a child, defendant did not cause

problems at the boys and girls club and wanted to stay in school and make his

mother proud of him. The prosecution thus was entitled to rebut this evidence

with other evidence “suggesting a more balanced picture of his personality”

(People v. Rodriguez (1986) 42 Cal.3d 730, 791), even if some of it fell outside

the scope of section 190.3, factor (b) (evidence of criminal activity involving force

or violence) or factor (c) (prior felony convictions) (In re Ross (1995) 10 Cal.4th

184, 209; People v. Mitcham (1992) 1 Cal.4th 1027, 1072-1073). The

prosecutor’s cross-examination of Roberts did no more than was proper.12

Defendant also challenges on the same basis the cross-examination of his mother

and other relatives. The direct testimony of defendant’s mother (and other

relatives) was, as defendant suggests, in part “foundational” as to his background

and upbringing; but it also, in part, conveyed opinions about his character.

Defendant also suggests he was denied his constitutional rights by the

prosecutor’s cross-examination of defendant concerning his disciplinary violations

while in pretrial custody, but he failed to preserve the claim by contemporaneous


With the exception of the erroneous references to juvenile “convictions,”

objection to which the trial court sustained.


objection below. (People v. Earp, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 884.) The latter claim

also lacks merit, as the particular cross-examination was proper to impeach

defendant’s direct testimony that, apart from the incident involving Elster and

Oropeza, he had no problems in county jail. Contrary to defendant’s assertion,

therefore, the challenged evidence was not irrelevant, even had defendant not

forfeited the claim by his failure to object on this ground at trial. (Ibid.) Because

the cross-examination of which defendant complains was not improper, his

derivative claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to object (or to

move for a Phillips hearing; see People v. Phillips, supra, 41 Cal.3d at p. 72, fn.

25) likewise lacks merit.

3. Restriction on argument concerning effect of execution on

defendant’s family members

During closing argument, defense counsel sought to discuss the likely

effect of defendant’s execution on his family and friends. The trial court sustained

the prosecutor’s objection to this line of argument. Defendant contends the ruling

violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to a reliable penalty

determination, a fair trial and due process of law, in that it prevented the sentencer

from considering and giving effect to evidence relevant to his background or

character or to mitigating circumstances. (See Penry v. Lynaugh (1989) 492 U.S.

302, 318, citing Eddings v. Oklahoma (1982) 455 U.S. 104, 113-114.) Defendant

acknowledges our holding in People v. Ochoa (1998) 19 Cal.4th 353, 456, that the

jury must decide whether a defendant deserves to die, not whether the defendant’s

family deserves to suffer the pain of a member’s execution, but may consider the

positive qualities of his background or character that would be illuminated by the

impact his execution would have upon his family. Defendant argues that

counsel’s argument fit within the parameters of Ochoa or, alternatively, that

counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to make an offer of proof as to


the specific qualities of defendant’s background or character that would have been

illuminated by the effects of his execution on his family.

We find no error in the trial court’s ruling. Counsel’s bare invitation to the

jury to consider the likely effect of a death sentence on defendant’s friends and

family did not articulate a factor relevant to the jury’s penalty determination. In

view of counsel’s numerous other references during his closing argument to the

testimony concerning defendant’s family and their mutual devotion to each other,

moreover, defendant suffered no prejudice as a result of the ruling and thus was

not deprived of the effective assistance of counsel.

4. Alleged prosecutorial misconduct

Defendant contends the prosecutor engaged in misconduct in cross-

examining him during his penalty phase testimony concerning his extrajudicial

statements to police, resulting in a denial of various constitutional rights. We

conclude defendant has failed to preserve his claims, which in any event lack


First, defendant contends the prosecutor improperly cross-examined him

concerning his invocation of the right to counsel during custodial questioning.

The issue arises in the following context: Prior to trial, the superior court held a

hearing on defendant’s motion to preclude the prosecution from introducing into

evidence his custodial statements to Detective Baird and Detective Duff on the

ground such statements were obtained involuntarily in violation of his right to

counsel, his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to due process.

Detective Baird testified at this hearing that defendant was informed of, and

expressly waived, all his rights before making his statement; Baird also testified he

made no threats and promised nothing to defendant. Defendant then testified,

denying he was informed of his rights and stating that, although he repeatedly told


the detectives he did not want to speak with them, they kept on “pressuring” him

to talk. Ultimately, he agreed to give a statement when the detectives confronted

him with statements by Lavera and Moore naming him as the triggerman. The

trial court ruled that defendant had knowingly and voluntarily waived his

constitutional rights and that his statements therefore were admissible.

The prosecutor did not introduce defendant’s statements in her penalty

phase case-in-chief. On direct examination, defendant testified about the

Thompson and Salgado murders, admitting he intended to rob the victims but

denying he intended to kill or actually killed them. Defendant also testified about

his postarrest statements to police, stating he initially did not want to talk with

them but changed his mind when he learned that Andre Moore had given a

statement to the police; at that point, he testified, he “wanted the truth to come

out.” On cross-examination, defendant testified he could not recall the details of

Moore’s statement. The prosecutor asked: “Well, you indicate that Andre Moore

made you the shooter in both incidents, both killings, is that correct?” Defense

counsel objected on the ground the question misstated the evidence. The trial

court sustained the objection and directed the prosecutor to lay a foundation. The

prosecutor then asked defendant if he had testified on direct examination about

having previously testified in the present case just before the trial began, and

defendant acknowledged he had. The prosecutor asked whether, at that time,

defendant was trying to establish that his postarrest statement was taken from him

against his will. Defense counsel objected that the question misstated the

evidence; the trial court sustained the objection, but refused to admonish the jury.

The prosecutor proceeded to ask defendant if he had testified in the earlier hearing

that he was “pressured” into talking to the police. Defendant replied: “I wouldn’t

call it pressured, but I told Detective Duff I would not talk to him unless a lawyer

was present, and then he kept on asking me to talk to him. I kept on telling him


no.” In response to the prosecutor’s further questioning, defendant denied saying

the detectives “made” him talk, but acknowledged “[w]hen they showed me Andre

Moore’s statement, that’s when I talked.” Asked: “You were not going to talk to

Detective Duff or Detective Baird without a lawyer; is that correct?” defendant

responded affirmatively. Asked: “And you insisted at the first hearing that you

had not been given your rights; is that correct?” defendant likewise responded

affirmatively. Defendant acknowledged that, during his postarrest interview,

detectives showed him statements by Moore and Lavera, each to similar effect,

identifying him as the shooter of Thompson and Salgado. The prosecutor asked:

“And after you read those statements, that’s when you decided to come clean and

tell the truth; is that correct?” Defendant answered, “Yes.” The prosecutor

followed up: “This was after you had told Detective Duff that you had nothing to

do with the shootings, you weren’t even there, is that correct?” Defendant agreed.

Defendant complains that this line of questioning was directed at eliciting

the irrelevant fact that, at a pretrial hearing, he claimed he had exercised his

constitutional rights not to talk with police unless a lawyer was present. Citing

Fletcher v. Weir (1982) 455 U.S. 603 and Doyle v. Ohio (1976) 426 U.S. 610,

617-620, defendant urges that this cross-examination violated his Fifth

Amendment rights. Defendant further contends that counsel’s objection at the

outset of the line of questioning (on the ground that the prosecutor was misstating

the evidence) sufficiently preserved the issue for appellate review, and any further

objection would have been futile because the trial court had already refused to

admonish the jury. Moreover, according to defendant, the prosecutor’s asserted

misconduct was of such a serious nature that an admonition would not have cured

the resulting harm.

We conclude that the claim defendant now raises was not preserved for

appeal, as defense counsel’s solitary objection at the outset of the line of


questioning failed to specify the grounds he now urges. (See People v. Benson

(1990) 52 Cal.3d 754, 786, fn. 7.) We further find the requirement of specific

contemporaneous objection was not excused under these circumstances, in that—

assuming arguendo some impropriety in the prosecutor’s questioning—defendant

has failed to show that a prompt admonition to disregard the reference to his

assertion of the right to counsel would not have cured any harm.

In any event, we conclude the challenged line of cross-examination did not

constitute misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct involves the use of deceptive or

reprehensible methods in an effort to persuade the jury (People v. Hill (1998) 17

Cal.4th 800, 819 [misconduct violating state Constitution]) or actions so egregious

as to infect the trial with unfairness (People v. Gionis (1995) 9 Cal.4th 1196, 1214

[misconduct violating federal Constitution]). The prosecutor’s aim apparently was

to show that, contrary to defendant’s assertion on direct examination that he

“wanted the truth to come out,” in fact defendant made his limited admissions of

culpability only after he had learned that Moore and Lavera had named him as the

actual killer of Thompson and Salgado. The initial defense objection to the

questioning, on the ground that it misstated the evidence, prompted the trial court

to request the prosecutor to “lay a foundation” for further questions concerning the

circumstances under which defendant made his statement to police. As the

Attorney General argues, in order to impeach defendant’s direct testimony, the

prosecutor thus needed to establish, as defendant’s motivation for speaking with

the police, his knowledge of the inculpatory statements by Moore and Lavera.

The prosecutor’s subsequent effort to lay such a foundation—by asking whether

defendant had testified at the prior hearing for the purpose of establishing that his

statements were involuntary—having drawn a successful objection (on the ground

of misstating the evidence), she was then forced to resort to more specific

questions regarding the reasons why defendant had testified in the prior hearing.


For all that appears in this record, the subsequent questioning was thus an effort to

comply with the trial court’s ruling on the defense objection rather than any

attempt to mislead the jury or to focus its attention on inadmissible matters.

Moreover, the prosecutor’s questioning did not, on its face, tend necessarily to

elicit an answer mentioning a request for counsel, and in her closing argument the

prosecutor never referred to that request.

In sum, we reject defendant’s claim that the prosecutor improperly inquired

into his assertion of his right to counsel. Consequently, we conclude his derivative

claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to object to the challenged

inquiry lacks merit.

Defendant also contends the prosecutor engaged in misconduct in cross-

examining him concerning Moore’s and Lavera’s extrajudicial statements, which

assertedly constituted inadmissible hearsay, thereby depriving him of his

constitutional right of confrontation under the principles set forth in People v.

Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518 and Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123.

The misconduct, he asserts, denied him a fair trial, due process of law, and a

reliable and fair penalty determination. Defendant acknowledges that his trial

counsel failed to object to the questioning, but contends that because an

admonition would not have cured the harm caused by the asserted misconduct the

claim was not forfeited.

We conclude the challenged cross-examination did not constitute

misconduct. First, we note the evidence of the statements did not, contrary to

defendant’s argument, come within the compass of the Aranda-Bruton principles,

which apply in the case of a statement inculpating the defendant made by a

nontestifying codefendant at a joint trial. (People v. Harris (1989) 47 Cal.3d

1047, 1070 & fn. 8, disapproved on other grounds in People v. Wheeler (1992) 4

Cal.4th 284, 299, fn. 1.) Second, the evidence did not constitute inadmissible


hearsay: The prosecutor’s apparent aim in inquiring into defendant’s knowledge

of Moore’s and Lavera’s statements was not to establish the truth of the matters

asserted therein but to shed light on defendant’s state of mind in admitting his own

involvement in the Thompson and Salgado offenses and the credibility of his trial

testimony that his admission was motivated by a desire to bring forth the truth.13

(See Tennessee v. Street (1985) 471 U.S. 409, 414 [nonhearsay use of

codefendant’s confession raised no confrontation clause concerns].) Finally, even

assuming prosecutorial misconduct in cross-examining defendant and mentioning

in summation Moore’s and Lavera’s statements, we find no prejudice because it is

not reasonably possible the misconduct affected the death judgment, given the

circumstances of the capital offenses and the other evidence in aggravation.

Significantly, the jury’s ability to focus on the particular facts of each of the two

murders appears to have been unimpeded by the claimed misconduct, as shown by

its verdict of life without possibility of parole for the Salgado murder.

5. Ineffective assistance of counsel

Defendant contends his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in

failing to object to the introduction of his statements to Deputy Plass made during

an interview concerning the jailhouse assault. Because that interview was

conducted without notice to the attorneys representing defendant in connection

with his then pending capital charges, defendant argues it violated his Sixth


The nonhearsay purpose of the questioning may be said to have been

somewhat undermined by the prosecutor’s later comment, in her closing argument,
that in order to believe defendant the jury would “have to disbelieve Andre
Moore’s statement to the police where he said that Tracey Carter was the guy who
shot the preacher and who shot Mr. Salgado. [¶] You have to disregard Todd
Lavera’s indication to the same effect to the police that Tracey Carter was the one
that killed both of these men.” Nonetheless, the defense made no objection and
sought no limiting instruction.


Amendment right to counsel, as recognized in a line of cases beginning with

Massiah v. United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201, and the incriminating statements he

made in the course thereof should have been suppressed on a timely objection.

Despite the general rule that the failure to object is a matter of trial tactics that an

appellate court will seldom second-guess (People v. Farnam (2002) 28 Cal.4th

107, 201), here, he contends, there could be no satisfactory explanation for the

failure to object. Consequently, defendant reasons, and because the statements

prejudiced him, the penalty judgment should be reversed.

We disagree. Because an objection on Sixth Amendment grounds to the

introduction of defendant’s statements would have lacked merit, counsel were not

ineffective in failing to object. (People v. Thomas (1992) 2 Cal.4th 489, 531.)

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is offense specific, attaches at the

institution of judicial proceedings, and may be waived. (McNeil v. Wisconsin

(1991) 501 U.S. 171; Patterson v. Illinois (1988) 487 U.S. 285.) While it is true

that when defendant was interviewed by Deputy Plass, counsel had already been

appointed to represent him in his capital case, Plass did not question him about the

capital case but rather about the as yet uncharged assault. Before questioning

defendant, Plass recited the standard Miranda advisements, including that any

statement defendant made could be used against him in a court of law. (Miranda,

supra, 384 U.S. 436.) Defendant then waived his Fifth Amendment right to the

presence of counsel during questioning. It is true that the high court in Patterson

v. Illinois found it significant that the defendant in that case had not retained or

accepted the appointment of counsel at the time he was questioned, noting, “[o]nce

an accused has a lawyer, a distinct set of constitutional safeguards aimed at

preserving the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship takes effect.” (Patterson

v. Illinois, supra, at p. 290, fn. 3.) We do not, however, understand the high court

to have mandated that counsel previously appointed or retained in an unrelated


case be notified whenever jail authorities seek to question an inmate about

possible criminal acts committed while in custody. Defendant insists that the rule

he advocates would pose no interference with such investigations because the

prosecution could simply refrain from introducing a defendant’s statements

obtained during such questioning. Defendant, however, minimizes the

consequences to law enforcement of such a rule. Statements made by incarcerated

defendants to jail authorities in a wide variety of contexts might be highly relevant

to criminal proceedings, and it would be impractical to surround each of them with

the full panoply of counsel rights, on pain of the loss of such evidence.14 For

present purposes, however, suffice it to say that the Massiah rule (Massiah v.

United States, supra, 377 U.S. 201) was not violated here, where defendant was

not questioned about the charged offenses and was offered (and waived) the

assistance of counsel before any questioning concerning the jailhouse stabbing, as

to which adversary proceedings had not commenced.

Defendant further contends his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance

in permitting certain aggravating evidence to emerge during the penalty phase. He

contends that, in fact, by virtue of counsel’s acts and omissions, the jury heard

more damaging evidence during the defense portion of the penalty phase than it

did during the prosecution’s case in aggravation. Enumerating various instances

in which defense witnesses were cross-examined regarding their knowledge of


For example, jail medical personnel might query an inmate awaiting trial

about claimed psychiatric symptomatology in the course of assessing a need for
medication, and the inmate’s statements might be relevant in a number of respects
to issues concerning his or her trial or sentence. In such a situation, jail personnel
might legitimately need to converse with a defendant, without engaging in
interrogation about his or her charged offense, and it would be impracticable to
require that counsel be advised and given the opportunity to participate in every
such instance.


defendant’s juvenile offenses and incarcerations, and citing Dr. Maloney’s

findings regarding defendant’s lack of significant mental disturbance and

antisocial personality disorder, as well as defendant’s own testimony confessing

his knowledge of his confederates’ intention to commit robbery on the occasion of

each of the capital offenses, defendant contends counsel’s penalty phase

performance prejudiced him.

In assessing claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, we consider

whether counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of

reasonableness under prevailing professional norms and whether the defendant

suffered prejudice to a reasonable probability, that is, a probability sufficient to

undermine confidence in the outcome. (Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S.

668, 694; People v. Ledesma (1987) 43 Cal.3d 171, 217.) A reviewing court will

indulge in a presumption that counsel’s performance fell within the wide range of

professional competence and that counsel’s actions and inactions can be explained

as a matter of sound trial strategy. Defendant thus bears the burden of establishing

constitutionally inadequate assistance of counsel. (Strickland v. Washington,

supra, at p. 687; In re Andrews (2002) 28 Cal.4th 1234, 1253.) If the record on

appeal sheds no light on why counsel acted or failed to act in the manner

challenged, an appellate claim of ineffective assistance of counsel must be rejected

unless counsel was asked for an explanation and failed to provide one, or there

simply could be no satisfactory explanation. (People v. Mendoza Tello (1997) 15

Cal.4th 264, 266.) Otherwise, the claim is more appropriately raised in a petition

for writ of habeas corpus. (Id. at pp. 266-267.)

Defendant falls short of meeting this demanding standard, for he fails to

persuade us that reasonably competent counsel would not have presented the

testimony of friends and family members regarding defendant’s background and

upbringing, his original good character, and their wish that his life be spared, even


though such testimony necessarily would be tested on cross-examination with

questions pertaining to his juvenile misconduct. As the Attorney General argues,

trial counsel appear to have sought, in the penalty phase, both to humanize their

client by portraying him to have been a young person of good morals who fell into

bad ways as a result of a limited intellect, immature character and bad

environment, and to raise a lingering doubt whether he was the actual killer of

Thompson and Salgado. To have chosen not to present the testimony of family

members and friends in mitigation would have left this penalty phase jury with

little from which to generate sympathy for defendant. Not to have put Dr.

Maloney on the stand—given his findings that defendant had no impairment in

reality testing and no major mental disturbance, but that a personality test did

reveal what today would be termed antisocial personality traits—might well have

been a reasonable professional judgment, but we cannot say that counsel’s

decision to use Dr. Maloney was unreasonable when his testimony regarding

defendant’s low intelligence, limited ego strength and hypomanic traits provided

some support for an inference that defendant did not possess the mental

wherewithal to act as anything but a follower in the Thompson and Salgado

offenses. Defendant’s own testimony reinforced this inference.

Finally, the fact that Associate Counsel De Blanc did not attend every court

session or bill every hour of each working day to this case has no tendency to

establish either deficient performance or prejudice, and thus does not further

defendant’s claim of ineffective assistance.

In sum, defendant fails to show, on this record, that trial counsel rendered

ineffective assistance in presenting the penalty phase evidence they did, or in

failing to object to the admission of other evidence. Defendant’s other claims of

ineffective assistance of counsel, in failing to object to certain evidence, or to


request or submit certain jury instructions, are discussed in connection with the

other claims of error to which they relate.

6. Jury issues

a. Jury inquiry

During the presentation of the defense case in mitigation, the jury sent the

trial court a note asking for answers to four questions: “1. How important is our

decision on this portion of the trial? 2. Does the decision have to be unanimous?

3. Are we rendering an opinion or a decision? 4. What would happen if we are

unable to agree unanimously?” Upon receiving the note, the trial court called

counsel for both parties into chambers, read them the note, and proposed “to tell

them . . . that they are not to discuss the case among themselves, period. That we

are still in the process of presenting evidence to them. [¶] That after the evidence

is presented there will be argument by both sides. Then they will be instructed on

the law. [¶] At that time they will go back into the jury room, select a foreperson,

and deliberate. And that’s it.” Both counsel agreed to the court’s proposal.

At the conclusion of the in camera session, the court advised the jury: “I’d

like to admonish you as to certain things. [¶] One, you should not be discussing

this portion of the case. [A juror interjected: “We weren’t.”] At this time,

period.” The court continued: “Two, this case, this phase of the case will

essentially be similar to the first phase. [¶] In other words, you are hearing

evidence right now. Counsel will argue. After all of the evidence is presented.

[¶] And then I am going to give you final instructions. After you get those

instructions, then you will go back into the jury room and re-deliberate and come

back with a decision. [¶] So, you should not be discussing this case among

yourselves or anything of that nature until the case is finally submitted to you for

your decision.”


At the conclusion of the evidentiary portion of the penalty phase, the trial

court instructed the jury with, inter alia, CALJIC No. 8.88, charging the jury with

the duty to determine unanimously which of the two penalties, death or life

imprisonment without possibility of parole, should be imposed on defendant. As

requested by the defense, the trial court also instructed the jury in the following

terms: “You are to presume that if a defendant is sentenced to life without the

possibility of parole, he will spend the rest of his life in state prison. [¶] You are

to presume that if a defendant is sentenced to death, he will be executed in the gas


Defendant now contends that the trial court, upon receipt of the note, was

obliged to dispel the jury’s confusion by immediately providing specific answers

to its questions. Defendant further contends that the trial court’s eventual penalty

phase instructions did not fully address those questions and that its failure to do so

deprived him of his rights to due process and a reliable and fair sentence. (See

Caldwell v. Mississippi (1985) 472 U.S. 320, 328-329 [to suggest to the jury that

responsibility for determining the appropriateness of the death penalty lies

elsewhere violates the Eighth Amendment to the federal Constitution].)

We find no error. At the point during the trial when the jury submitted the

note, its duty, as the trial court correctly advised, was to refrain from discussing

the case. Had the trial court done otherwise, it would have risked diverting jurors

from their immediate responsibility to attend to the evidence. Later, as the case

was submitted to the jury, the trial court properly instructed jurors that their

determination had to be unanimous and that they were to presume their

determination would be carried out, thus disabusing them of any possible belief

their decision was unimportant. (See People v. Kipp (1998) 18 Cal.4th 349, 378-

379 [jury should be instructed to assume the chosen penalty will be carried out

when reason exists to believe the jury harbors some concern or misunderstanding


in this regard].) Contrary to defendant’s argument, the trial court was not required

to advise the jury of the legal consequences of a failure to reach a verdict. (People

v. Hines (1997) 15 Cal.4th 997, 1075; People v. Rodrigues (1994) 8 Cal.4th 1060,

1193-1194.) Unlike in Caldwell v. Mississippi, supra, 472 U.S. 320, nothing said

to the jurors in this case implied any diminution of responsibility for the penalty

determination. Absent any error in the trial court’s response, defendant’s

derivative claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in the failure to demand that

the court specifically address the jury’s inquiries likewise must fail.

b. Trial court’s failure to advise counsel of jury inquiries

Defendant contends the trial court violated his constitutional rights to a fair

trial, the effective assistance of counsel, a reliable penalty determination, and due

process of law, by failing to inform his counsel of certain requests made by the

jury during its penalty phase deliberations. As explained below, we conclude

defendant has not shown entitlement to relief on this record.

The jury retired to begin its penalty deliberations around 3:16 p.m. on

November 20, 1989. Counsel asked to be advised of any request for a readback of

testimony, and the court agreed. At some point that afternoon, the jury handed

two notes to the bailiff. The jury was then excused at 4:10 p.m. The clerk’s

transcript for the following day (November 21) records that “at 3:45 p.m. the court

receives question from the jury. The court responds via the bailiff to question

submitted.” The reporter’s transcript, however, contains no record of any

proceedings related to the jury’s “question” on November 21.15


Thereafter, the only discussion in open court of a jury question occurred on

November 27, 1989, when the jury sent the judge a note asking what would
happen if they failed to agree unanimously and commenting that they appeared to
be deadlocked, and the judge thereupon discussed the question with counsel and
called the jury in to respond.


Observing that the jury’s written notes requested material alluded to in

cross-examination of defense witnesses but never admitted into evidence,16

defendant argues that the trial court’s apparent failure to inform counsel of its

receipt of the notes constituted a prejudicial irregularity that prevented the defense

from asking the court to redirect the jury’s focus back to admissible evidence. The

Attorney General does not contest that the trial court had a constitutional and

statutory obligation to notify counsel and give them an opportunity to respond

before answering the jury’s notes. (§ 1138; Rushen v. Spain (1983) 464 U.S. 114,

119; People v. Hawthorne (1992) 4 Cal.4th 43, 68-69.) He suggests, however,

that—absent any contrary indication in the record—we should assume the court

followed established law by contacting trial counsel and affording them an

opportunity to respond before communicating with the jury. (Evid. Code, § 664

[presumption that official duty is regularly performed]; see People v. Diaz (1992)

3 Cal.4th 495, 567.) The Attorney General points out that in their postverdict

briefing, defendant’s attorneys referred to the jury’s requests without suggesting

they had not received proper and timely notice thereof. The Attorney General

further contends that, as the record does not contain the substance of the judge’s

response to the jury, this court should presume she responded appropriately.

(Evid. Code, § 664; United States v. Throckmorton (9th Cir. 1996) 87 F.3d 1069,

1072-1073.) We agree. Defendant bore the burden of developing a record

sufficient to ensure review of his claim, as by settled statement (People v. Osband

(1996) 13 Cal.4th 622, 663), and nothing in the present record suggests that any


Namely, a notebook containing details of defendant’s juvenile record

(erroneously referred to as defense exhibit F). Defendant does not assert the jury
was in fact given this notebook.


irregularity in these proceedings prejudiced him (People v. Delgado (1993) 5

Cal.4th 312, 330-332).

c. Alleged misconduct

Defendant contends the trial court erred in failing to hold a posttrial

evidentiary hearing in the face of evidence that several jurors engaged in

misconduct. The error, he claims, violated his rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth

and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution and analogous state

constitutional provisions. The issue arose in the following context:

After the jury returned its penalty verdict, trial counsel spoke to several of

the jurors. Counsel wondered how the jury had come to a decision, since the

previous day the jury had indicated it was having difficulty doing so. One juror

(who counsel initially believed was Juror B. but later concluded was Juror H.)

commented he had taken another juror (who counsel believed was Juror M.) out to

dinner. From the juror’s comment, counsel inferred that one or more jurors had

violated the admonition against discussing the case except when all jurors were

present. Accordingly, counsel moved for a new penalty trial on the ground that

defendant was denied a fair and impartial jury.

Seeking factual support for the motion, the defense interviewed several of

the jurors, employing a five-page questionnaire designed to elicit information

about possible juror misconduct. Jurors M. and B. declined to answer the

questionnaire. Juror B. told the investigator he had “spent enough time on the

Carter case and that he did as was instructed by [the] court.” Juror M. informed

the investigator that she had contacted her attorney and the court clerk, and was

informed she did not have to speak with the defense and, if she did, a court officer

or the district attorney had to be present; to the investigator she “appeared to be

somewhat adamant” and said she did not wish the defense to contact her further.


Under penalty of perjury, Juror H. generally denied any misconduct on the part of

any juror and specifically denied discussing the case during the period when the

jury was deliberating, with any other juror or jurors when the entire jury was not

present. In response to the question “If you did not initially intend to vote for

death, what changed your mind?” Juror H. answered: “What change[d] my mind

to vote for the death penalty was when the court reporter came in and read the

transcrip[t]s, the evidence.” Defense Counsel De Blanc, under examination by

Cocounsel Alexander, testified that in the postverdict conversation when he had

asked Juror H. “How was it that they had such difficulty and changed their

position,” Juror H. had said: “ ‘It [was] extremely difficult, we had a very hard

time.’ [¶] Then he said, ‘I had to take a certain person’—and he said something

that caused me to believe it was Miss [M.] ‘I had to take a certain person to dinner

to get her straightened out.’ ” The court interjected: “To straighten her out?”

De Blanc replied, “Something to that effect.” Jurors M. and H. were subpoenaed

and available when the parties argued the question whether the defense had made

a sufficient showing to compel them to submit to examination. The trial court,

however, found the defense showing to be too speculative to warrant putting the

jurors on the stand and denied the motion. Defendant contends this ruling

constituted error.

We review for abuse of discretion the trial court’s denial of defendant’s

postverdict request for an evidentiary hearing into allegations of jury misconduct.

(People v. Williams (1997) 16 Cal.4th 635, 686; People v. Cox (1991) 53 Cal.3d

618, 694.) When a trial court is aware of possible juror misconduct, it must make

whatever inquiry is reasonably necessary, but “only when the defense comes

forward with evidence that demonstrates ‘a strong possibility’ of prejudicial

misconduct.” (People v. Hayes (1999) 21 Cal.4th 1211, 1255, quoting People v.

Hedgecock (1990) 51 Cal.3d 395, 419.) “Even upon such a showing, an


evidentiary hearing will generally be unnecessary unless the parties’ evidence

presents a material conflict that can only be resolved at such a hearing.”

(Hedgecock, supra, at p. 419.) “Normally, hearsay is not sufficient to trigger the

court’s duty to make further inquiries into a claim of juror misconduct.” (Hayes,

supra, at p. 1256.)

In Hayes, the defendant, in a motion for new trial, offered to submit both a

juror’s unsworn statement and the defense investigator’s affidavit recounting the

juror’s statement to him concerning reading newspaper articles about the

defendant during the trial. The juror refused to submit that statement under oath

and later made an unsworn denial of having made the statement. (People v.

Hayes, supra, 21 Cal.4th at pp. 1253-1255.) We found no abuse of discretion in

the trial court’s denial of the new trial motion without a hearing, noting that the

court was justified in according little, if any, credence to the hearsay assertions the

juror would not verify. (Id. at p. 1256.)

Similarly, in Cox, in connection with a motion for new trial, the defense

obtained an unsworn statement from a juror (as well as the defense investigator’s

affidavit verifying the juror’s statement) that the jury received and considered a

letter that was not admitted into evidence in the case. We held that the trial court

did not abuse its discretion in refusing to conduct an evidentiary hearing because it

was entitled to accord little, if any, credence to assertions that the juror herself was

unwilling to verify. We stated: “[T]he trial court was confronted not with

conflicting evidence but one juror disinclined, for whatever reason, to aver under

penalty of perjury statements she assertedly had made to a defense investigator.

Moreover, the representations of counsel did not suggest ‘a strong possibility that

prejudicial misconduct ha[d] occurred.’ [Citation.] Without some elaboration of

the context in which the reference to the . . . letter . . . arose, the court had no basis


for concluding the jury actually considered evidence not received at defendant’s

trial.” (People v. Cox, supra, 53 Cal.3d at p. 698, fn. omitted.)

The facts before us present an even more compelling case for denial of an

evidentiary hearing. The showing here consisted of sworn statements by Juror H.

that (1) generally denied the occurrence of any misconduct, and (2) specifically

denied that he had discussed the case with any other juror or jurors when the entire

jury was not present. There was no evidence from the other juror allegedly

involved. Not only were Juror H.’s sworn statements uncontradicted, but even the

defense investigator who interviewed Juror H. reported that Juror H. appeared

very sincere. True, defense counsel testified that Juror H. stated, during a

conversation relating to the jury’s deliberations, “[s]omething to th[e] effect” that

“I had to take a certain person to dinner to get her straightened out.” But counsel’s

testimony lacked specifics and was based on hearsay; thus, it presented no

material conflict requiring an evidentiary hearing, and it matters not that Juror H.

and another juror had been subpoenaed in anticipation of such a hearing.

With respect to the suggestion that Juror H. prejudged the determination of

penalty because he stated he was ultimately moved to vote for death by a readback

of testimony, which apparently occurred only during the guilt phase, on this record

we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing the defense

request for an evidentiary hearing. While the reporter’s transcript does not reflect

that the court reporter was ever directed to enter the jury deliberation room during

the jury’s penalty deliberations for a readback of testimony, the clerk’s transcript

does include two notes that the jury submitted to the trial court on the first day of

its deliberations requesting various items of evidence (defendant’s “confession of

his involvement in the Thompson and Salgado murders and the attack on the 2


inmates in the Honor Row”), written jury instructions and certain documentary

evidence.17 The record does not clearly set forth how the trial court responded to

the notes; the reporter’s transcript is silent on the matter, and the clerk’s transcript

merely states that the court received a “question” from the jury and responded “via

the bailiff to the question submitted.” It may be that Juror H. in his questionnaire

was referring, albeit somewhat imprecisely, to this request for evidence. Juror H.

also referred generally, in his questionnaire response, to “the evidence” as

motivating his verdict; he may have been referring to his recollection, during

deliberations, of the testimony read back during the guilt phase. Defendant never

asked the trial court to inquire further, and any such inquiry into the motivation for

the juror’s vote for a death verdict would, in any case, conflict with Evidence

Code section 1150, subdivision (a), which renders inadmissible any evidence

concerning the mental processes by which a verdict is determined.

7. Instructional issues

a. Failure to reinstruct jury at penalty phase

At the conclusion of the penalty phase, the trial court instructed the jury

with CALJIC No. 8.84.1, as follows in pertinent part: “You are now being

instructed as to all of the law that applies to the penalty phase of the trial. [¶] You

must determine what the facts are from the evidence received during the entire

trial unless you are instructed otherwise. You must accept and follow the law that

I shall state to you. Disregard all other instructions given to you in other phases of

this trial.” The court proceeded to instruct the jury with CALJIC Nos. 8.85,

enumerating the factors for the jury’s consideration in determining defendant’s


That is, Dr. Maloney’s reports, “disciplinary reports” pertaining to

defendant during his recent incarceration, the record of defendant’s “cocaine
arrest,” and defendant’s juvenile record.


penalty, 8.86, requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a prior conviction

offered in aggravation, 8.87, requiring such proof of other criminal activity offered

in aggravation, 2.90, covering the presumption of innocence and defining the

burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, 17.47, admonishing against disclosure

of the jury’s balloting, 17.48, pertaining to a juror’s use of notes, and 8.88, setting

forth the concluding instructions for the penalty phase.18 Contrary to the

recommendation contained in the Use Note to CALJIC No. 8.84.1, however, the

trial court did not instruct the jury with applicable evidentiary instructions from

CALJIC Nos. 1.00 through 3.31.19

As defendant points out, the trial court normally must, even in the absence

of a request, instruct on general principles of law that are closely and openly

connected to the facts and that are necessary for the jury’s understanding of the

case. (People v. Montoya (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1027, 1047.) Among the instructions

omitted here were several that previous decisions have held to be required in all

criminal cases, including CALJIC Nos. 2.20, on the credibility of a witness, 2.22

on weighing conflicting testimony, 2.80 on expert testimony, and 3.11 and 3.12


The court also gave the jury two instructions proposed by defendant, one

stating a presumption that a defendant sentenced to life without possibility of
parole will spend the rest of his life in prison and a defendant sentenced to death
will be executed, and the other based on CALJIC No. 17.30, instructing the jury
not to take any cue from the judge.

This case is thus distinguishable from People v. Wharton (1991) 53 Cal.3d

522, 600, and People v. Daniels (1991) 52 Cal.3d 815, 884-885, where the trial
court failed to reinstruct the jury at the penalty phase with certain evidentiary
instructions given at the guilt phase, but did not direct the jury to disregard the
earlier instructions, or People v. Cooper, supra, 53 Cal.3d at page 846, where the
trial court affirmatively instructed the jury to apply all of the guilt phase
instructions, “except as hereinafter provide[d],” and further instructed that “in
deciding the appropriate penalty you may consider pity, sympathy or mercy for the


pertaining to accomplice testimony and corroboration thereof. (People v. Rincon-

Pineda (1975) 14 Cal.3d 864, 884; People v. Ruiz (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 852, 864-

865; see § 1127b.) Defendant contends the omission of standard evidentiary

instructions in his case violated his Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment

rights to due process, a fair and reliable trial, and a reliable penalty determination,

and requires reversal of the death judgment.

In opposition, the Attorney General argues that (1) no reasonable jury

would have taken literally the instruction to disregard all guilt phase instructions,

(2) the trial court had no sua sponte duty to give such evidentiary instructions in

the penalty phase, and (3) any error in the omission of these instructions was

harmless under state and federal standards of review.

The Attorney General’s first contention appears to conflict with the oft-

stated presumption that the jury does as it is instructed to do. (E.g., People v.

Sanchez (1995) 12 Cal.4th 1, 79; People v. Bonin (1988) 46 Cal.3d 659, 699,

overruled on another point in People v. Hill, supra, 17 Cal.4th at p. 823.)

The Attorney General’s second contention, if accepted, would mark an

extension of principles announced or reiterated in such decisions as People v.

Livaditis (1992) 2 Cal.4th 759, 782-784, People v. Memro (1995) 11 Cal.4th 786,

881, and People v. Holt (1997) 15 Cal.4th 619, 682-684. In Holt, referring to a

claim of error in the failure to instruct on the standard for resolving factual

disputes as to the existence of aggravating and mitigating factors, we reasoned that

“because capital sentencing is a moral and normative process, it is not necessary to

give instructions associated with the usual factfinding process.” (Holt, supra, at p.

684.) Memro followed earlier decisions in rejecting a claim that the trial court

erred in failing to instruct the penalty phase jury as to the elements of

unadjudicated offenses shown by the evidence, inasmuch as the defense might not

wish to have the jury’s attention unduly focused on those crimes. (Memro, supra,


at p. 881.) Livaditis, more specifically, concluded that the instruction to view a

defendant’s admissions with caution need not be given sua sponte in the penalty

phase. (Livaditis, supra, at p. 784.) In that case we reasoned: “At a penalty

phase, the distinction between mitigation and aggravation is often more blurred

than the distinction between a statement that incriminates and one that does not. A

statement, for example, that the defendant is sorry he stabbed the victim to death is

both mitigating and aggravating. It admits guilt but also expresses remorse. It is

unclear whether the defense would desire the court to tell the jury to view such a

statement with caution. Therefore, the guilt-phase sua sponte duty should not

apply to the penalty phase. The cautionary instruction need be given at a penalty

phase only upon request.” (Ibid.) Observing that the effect in this case of

omitting such instructions as CALJIC Nos. 1.02, concerning statements of

attorneys, and 2.80, concerning expert testimony, might have been to cabin less

strictly the jury’s consideration of mitigating evidence, or to avoid an unfavorable

focus on the aggravating evidence, and thus may actually have benefited

defendant, the Attorney General urges us to adopt the rule that evidentiary

instructions need be given only upon request in the penalty phase.

We need not adopt the proposed rule in order to resolve defendant’s claim,

for he fails to demonstrate that the omission of the evidentiary instructions here

resulted in prejudice. For example, although in the absence of CALJIC No. 1.02

the jury assertedly might, as defendant contends, have considered in aggravation

information about defendant’s juvenile record that was not admitted in evidence

but was merely employed in cross-examining defense witness Roberts, by the

same token the jury also might have considered conditions of confinement

mentioned in defense counsel’s closing argument urging a verdict of life without

parole. And, in the absence of CALJIC No. 2.80, which informs the jury it is not

bound by expert testimony but may accord such testimony whatever weight the


jury feels it deserves, the Attorney General suggests the jury was likely to have

accorded greater rather than lesser weight to the testimony of the defense expert,

Dr. Maloney. Whether or not the suggestion is valid, we see no reason to assume,

as defendant apparently does, that in the absence of the instruction the jury must

have “totally disregarded” Dr. Maloney’s testimony. Notwithstanding defendant’s

complaint that the jury was left “in the complete dark” as to how to evaluate

Maloney’s testimony and that of other witnesses, the jury expressed no confusion

or uncertainty in this regard and never requested clarification. Although, as

defendant points out, circumstantial evidence of his unadjudicated crimes was

introduced in the penalty phase, he fails to suggest how the jury, lacking CALJIC

Nos. 2.00 and 3.01, might have misunderstood or misused that evidence.

Similarly, defendant demonstrates that various other evidentiary instructions were

applicable on the facts of this case, but he does no more than speculate that their

absence somehow prejudiced him. Under the applicable test of a claim that the

failure to instruct a sentencing jury deprived a defendant of rights under the Eighth

and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution, defendant fails to

demonstrate that the instructions given in his case, to a reasonable likelihood,

precluded the sentencing jury from considering any constitutionally relevant

mitigating evidence. (Buchanan v. Angelone (1998) 522 U.S. 269, 276-278;

Boyde v. California (1990) 494 U.S. 370, 380.) Contrary to defendant’s argument,

the lack of evidentiary instructions here did not constitute structural error as

defined in Arizona v. Fulminante (1991) 499 U.S. 279, 309-310: it did not deprive

defendant of “ ‘basic protections’ [such as an unbiased judge, an impartial jury, or

the assistance of counsel] without which a criminal trial cannot reliably serve its

function as a vehicle for determination of guilt or innocence [or punishment] . . .

and no criminal punishment may be regarded as fundamentally fair.’ ” (Neder v.


United States (1999) 527 U.S. 1, 8-9, quoting Rose v. Clark (1986) 478 U.S. 570,


Thus, assuming error in the trial court’s failure to reinstruct the jury with

evidentiary instructions in the penalty phase, defendant fails, under the state

standard of review, to establish a reasonable possibility that the error affected the

verdict. (People v. Brown (1988) 46 Cal.3d 432, 446-448.) Under the federal

standard of review of constitutional error, it appears beyond a reasonable doubt

that the assumed error did not contribute to the death verdict. (Chapman v.

California, supra, 386 U.S. at p. 24.) Having thus found no prejudice in the

omission of evidentiary instructions, we likewise reject defendant’s claim of

ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to request them.

Despite the absence of prejudice in this case, we strongly caution trial

courts not to dispense with penalty phase evidentiary instructions in the future.

The cost in time of providing such instructions is minimal, and the potential for

prejudice in their absence surely justifies doing so.

b. Instruction to render separate penalty verdicts for each murder


Before the commencement of its penalty deliberations, the trial court

submitted to the jury separate verdict forms for each of the two murder

convictions. The jury returned a verdict of life without parole for the Salgado

murder and death for the Thompson murder. Defendant now contends the use of

separate verdict forms abrogated the jury’s ultimate responsibility to determine the

appropriate punishment and risked placing undue emphasis on the characteristics

of the individual victims, thus violating his state and federal constitutional rights

to due process and equal protection of the law, a fair trial, and a reliable penalty

determination. Defendant acknowledges we resolved the same arguments

unfavorably to him in People v. Sandoval (1992) 4 Cal.4th 155, 197, but asks us to


reconsider that decision. He offers no persuasive reason for departing from our

prior holding on this point, and we therefore decline to do so.

c. Failure to instruct with CALJIC No. 3.18

Defendant contends the trial court violated his state and federal

constitutional rights to a fair trial, a reliable penalty determination and due process

of law in failing to instruct the jury on its own motion, pursuant to CALJIC No.

3.18, to view the testimony of an accomplice with care and caution.20 In cross-

examining defendant during his penalty phase testimony, the prosecutor elicited

the fact that Andre Moore had told the police that defendant was the person who

shot and killed David Thompson, and that Todd Lavera had told the police that

defendant had fired the shots that killed Leopoldo Salgado. In both the guilt and

penalty phases of trial, the court ordinarily must instruct the jury sua sponte with

CALJIC No. 3.18 when out-of-court statements by accomplices to police are

admitted into evidence. (People v. Mincey (1992) 2 Cal.4th 408, 461; People v.

Andrews (1989) 49 Cal.3d 200, 214.) We have recognized an exception, however,

when the penalty phase accomplice testimony relates to an offense of which the

defendant has already been convicted. (People v. Easley (1988) 46 Cal.3d 712,

734; People v. Williams, supra, 16 Cal.4th at p. 276.) In such circumstances, we

reasoned, a jury had already found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt


At the time of trial, CALJIC No. 3.18 provided: “The testimony of an

accomplice ought to be viewed with distrust. This does not mean that you may
arbitrarily disregard such testimony, but you should give to it the weight to which
you find it to be entitled after examining it with care and caution and in the light of
all the evidence in the case.” (CALJIC No. 3.18 (5th ed. 1988).) In 1999, the first
sentence of the instruction was revised to provide: “To the extent that an
accomplice gives testimony that tends to incriminate the defendant, it should be
viewed with caution.” (See People v. Guiuan (1998) 18 Cal.4th 558, 569.)


of the offense and thus no further cautionary instruction was required as to that

offense. (Ibid.)

The same rationale applies here, for the jury in this case had already

convicted defendant of the Thompson and Salgado murders when it heard the

accomplice statements through defendant’s cross-examination testimony.

Defendant urges that the Easley exception should not govern here. That is, he

contends that although the jury had already determined his guilt of murder, an

unresolved penalty phase issue was the extent of his culpability as either the actual

killer or, as he maintained, merely an aider and abettor. We disagree. The jury’s

guilt phase verdict not only found defendant guilty of murder; it found beyond a

reasonable doubt that he had personally used a deadly weapon. As in People v.

Williams, supra, 16 Cal.4th 153, and People v. Easley, supra, 46 Cal.3d 712, the

cautionary instructions were not required.

Defendant makes the related contention that his trial counsel rendered

ineffective assistance in failing to request that the jury be instructed to view the

extrajudicial statements of Lavera and Moore with care and caution. The claim

fails in the context of this direct appeal because the record does not reveal whether

counsel had a plausible tactical reason for not requesting the instruction, such as to

avoid unduly focusing the jury’s attention on those statements. (People v.

Mendoza Tello, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 266.) In any event, it is not reasonably

probable that the giving of such an instruction would have led to a more favorable

outcome, given the weight of the aggravating evidence and the jury’s guilt phase

findings that defendant personally used a deadly weapon in committing the



d. Refusal to instruct jury not to consider deterrence or cost

Defendant argues the trial court violated his Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth

Amendment rights to a fair trial, due process and a reliable penalty verdict, and

analogous state constitutional rights, by refusing a proposed defense instruction

that would have directed the jury not to consider the issues of deterrence or cost in

choosing whether to impose the death penalty. The trial court did not err. While

the proposed instruction was legally correct, defendant points to nothing in the

record expressly or impliedly raising these issues. (People v. Benson, supra, 52

Cal.3d at p. 807.) As we said in People v. Welch (1999) 20 Cal.4th 701, 766:

“While instructing the jury on this point may be appropriate in some cases, it was

not error for the trial court to refuse such an instruction. The jury was adequately

informed that it was supposed to limit itself to the statutory aggravating and

mitigating circumstances in making its penalty determination. The prosecutor

never attempted to comment or introduce evidence regarding issues of cost and

deterrence. The trial court was not required to furnish an instruction exhorting the

jury to refrain from considering factors which, under a reasonable understanding

of the jury instructions, it should have known were improper to consider.” We

disagree with defendant’s contention that the refusal of this proposed instruction

precluded trial counsel from arguing the concepts encompassed in it.

e. Refusal to instruct that the jury could take into account

punishment received by coperpetrators

Defendant requested, and the trial court refused, a proposed instruction that

would have directed the jury to consider the sentences received by separately tried

coperpetrators Lavera and Moore.21 Acknowledging we have previously held that


Defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 21 read as follows: “Another

factor for your consideration in determining the appropriate penalty is the concept
of fairness. Not only must the judicial system strive to accomplish equal justice;

(footnote continued on next page)


a codefendant’s sentence is irrelevant to the jury’s penalty determination (see, e.g.,

People v. Hines, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 1068), defendant urges us to reconsider the

issue. We decline to do so for, as the People point out, defendant fails to cite any

new legal developments—for example, scholarly criticism, contrary decisions of

sister state courts, or federal authorities—casting doubt on our rule.22 Because

such evidence is irrelevant as a matter of law, counsel were not ineffective in

failing to attempt to introduce it in this trial.

f. Refusal to instruct on sufficiency of any mitigating evidence or


The defense requested that the court instruct the jury that any mitigating

evidence could be the basis for deciding that life without possibility of parole was

the appropriate punishment. The prosecutor successfully interposed an objection

to the proposed instruction on the ground it was argumentative. Defendant now

(footnote continued from previous page)

but just as importantly, it should clearly appear to all observers as though justice is
being accomplished. [¶] In this case, a co-defendant, Mr. Andre Moore, who is
equally culpable as a principal in these crimes, and who has a prior history of
criminal activity, was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense of first degree
murder without special circumstances, for which he received a sentence of life
imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Another co-defendant, Mr. Todd
Lavera, who is equally culpable as a principal in these crimes, did not face the
death penalty because the People elected not to seek such penalty in that case.
[¶] Measured against this, you are given a choice of only two sentencing
alternatives with respect to the defendant—life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole or death. [¶] You may consider the disparity of treatment
between the co-defendants and the defendant in selecting the sentence to be

We observe, too, that defendant’s proposed jury instruction was

argumentative and could have been refused on this basis as well. To the extent
defendant asserts counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to propose a
nonargumentative instruction on this topic, his contention must fail because, as
noted in the text, the underlying facts were legally irrelevant.


contends that, in sustaining the objection, the trial court violated his Eighth

Amendment right to a reliable penalty determination, due process and equal

protection of the law. We find no error.

The proposed instruction was indeed argumentative, in that it invited the

jury to draw inferences favorable to only one party from the evidence presented at

trial by informing the jury that any mitigating evidence might carry dispositive

weight, without also advising that a single aggravating circumstance could have

the same effect. (People v. Hines, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 1069; People v. Mickey

(1991) 54 Cal.3d 612, 697.) Contrary to defendant’s argument, the prosecution’s

failure to request its own special instruction remedying that deficiency did not

“waive” its objection to defendant’s proposed instruction. Having thus concluded

the trial court properly sustained the prosecution’s objection to defendant’s

proposed instruction on this ground, we need not address the Attorney General’s

contention that the instruction was also objectionable as duplicative.

The defense also requested that the court instruct the jury that any one

mitigating factor, standing alone, could support a decision that death was not the

appropriate punishment in this case. As with defendant’s proposed instruction

concerning mitigating evidence, the court also properly rejected as argumentative

the instant proposed instruction concerning mitigating factors.

Defendant makes the related contention that his trial counsel rendered

ineffective assistance in failing to submit proposed instructions not couched in

objectionably argumentative terms. The claim fails in the context of this direct

appeal because the record does not reveal whether counsel had a plausible tactical

reason for not submitting such an instruction. (People v. Mendoza Tello, supra, 15

Cal.4th at p. 266.) In any event, because the standard instructions actually given

fully informed the jury of the principles governing its sentencing determination, it

is not reasonably probable that the giving of instructions of the sort defendant


contends counsel should have requested would have led to a more favorable


Defendant, finally, may be understood to argue that the trial court was

obliged to read the jury his proposed instructions in order to remedy certain

asserted deficiencies in CALJIC No. 8.88, with which the jury was instructed.

Defendant complains that the standard instruction’s references to “mitigating

circumstances” and “aggravating circumstances” incorrectly suggest that a single

mitigating circumstance could not outweigh any and all aggravating

circumstances, which in turn failed to convey to jurors that if mitigation

outweighed aggravation, they were required to impose a sentence of life without

possibility of parole. He further contends the “so substantial” standard employed

here for comparing aggravating and mitigating factors was unconstitutionally

vague, conducive to arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking, and created an

unconstitutional presumption in favor of death. We reject the premise of his

argument: As we have repeatedly held, CALJIC No. 8.88 adequately guides the

jury’s sentencing discretion. (E.g., People v. Gurule (2002) 28 Cal.4th 557, 661-


g. Refusal of requested instructions on mercy and jury’s

prerogative to spare defendant’s life for any reason deemed

At defendant’s request, the trial court instructed the jury that, at the penalty

phase, it was free to consider sympathy, pity, compassion or mercy.23 Defendant


As read to the jury, defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 28 provided:

“An appeal to the sympathy or passions of a jury is inappropriate at the guilt phase
of the trial. However, at the penalty phase, you may consider sympathy, pity,
compassion, or mercy for the defendant that has been raised by any aspect of the
offense or of the defendant’s background or character in determining the
appropriate punishment.”


contends the trial court denied him a reliable penalty determination and due

process of law, as guaranteed by the state and federal Constitutions, by refusing to

instruct further on how the jury was to consider mercy.24 We agree with the trial

court’s conclusion that the proposed instruction was argumentative in inviting the

jury to draw inferences favorable to only one side. As defendant acknowledges,

moreover, we have previously held that a trial court is not required to instruct the

jury that it may impose a sentence of life without possibility of parole even if it

concludes the circumstances in aggravation outweigh those in mitigation. (E.g.,

People v. Hines, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 1070.) Thus, the trial court did not err in

refusing the requested instruction. To the extent defendant asserts his trial counsel

rendered ineffective assistance in failing to propose an acceptable version of this

refused instruction, or that the trial court should have remedied on its own motion

any flaws in the instruction, we conclude that even assuming deficient

performance, prejudice is lacking inasmuch as the standard instructions given in

this case adequately informed the jury as to how to make its penalty determination.

Defendant also contends the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury

that “You may spare the defendant’s life for any reason you deem appropriate and

satisfactory.” The trial court properly sustained the prosecutor’s objection that this

instruction was argumentative.


The unnumbered instruction in question read as follows: “In a capital case

mercy comes into play after the jury has determined that the aggravating
circumstances outweigh the mitigating. At that point a jury exercises mercy by
returning a verdict of life without the possibility of parole, a sentence less than it
thinks the defendant deserves.”


h. Failure to instruct sua sponte on elements of robbery and

attempted murder

As noted above, as relevant to section 190.3, factor (b), the prosecution

presented evidence that defendant had robbed Margarito and Yadira Gomez and

attempted to kill Joevone Elster and Mark Oropeza. Defendant contends the trial

court violated his state and federal constitutional rights to due process of law and a

reliable penalty determination in failing to instruct, sua sponte, on the elements of

robbery and attempted murder in connection with the evidence of these offenses.

Defendant acknowledges we have long and consistently held that, in view of the

possible tactical reasons why the defense might not want the jury to focus unduly

on a defendant’s other alleged offenses rather than on the central question of the

appropriate penalty, a trial court has no sua sponte duty so to instruct. (E.g.,

People v. Memro, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 881; People v. Hardy (1992) 2 Cal.4th

86, 206-207.) Defendant presents no persuasive reason to depart from these


Defendant further contends that, if the jury is not to be instructed on the

elements of other alleged offenses involving the use of force or violence, the

Eighth Amendment’s guarantee of reliability in sentencing should be interpreted to

require the trial court to obtain the defendant’s express personal waiver of such

instructions. But, as the Attorney General suggests, such a requirement risks

infringing upon trial counsel’s authority, as “ ‘captain of the ship,’ ” to “make all

but a few fundamental decisions for the defendant.” (People v. Carpenter (1997)

15 Cal.4th 312, 376.) Finally, on this record we find no merit in defendant’s

suggestion that, absent instruction on the elements of robbery and attempted

murder, the jury in this case had no principled way to determine whether the

alleged offenses were criminal or involved force or violence. If the jury was

convinced of defendant’s guilt of the alleged activity by the requisite standard of


proof, it surely would have had no difficulty determining that the acts fell within

section 190.3, factor (b). Because defendant fails to demonstrate that the lack of

instructions defining the elements of the unadjudicated offenses prejudiced him,

his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to request such

instructions must fail.

i. Refusal of requested instructions on defendant’s good character

and consideration of defendant’s background

The defense asked the court to instruct the jury that it could consider, in

mitigation, evidence of defendant’s good character for nonviolence. The trial

court refused, observing no such evidence had been offered. Defendant contends

the ruling was erroneous as a factual matter, in that (1) defendant’s mother

testified he was a good and loving person with a good heart; (2) his Aunt Doris

testified he was a caring, warmhearted person who cared about people and about

life; (3) Roy W. Roberts II, the executive director of the Watts/Willowbrook Boys

and Girls Club, testified that defendant had not gotten into trouble when he

belonged to the club; and (4) Deputy Sheriff Frank Plass testified that defendant

took part in the Honor Row program in county jail. The trial court’s refusal of the

requested instruction, defendant argues, violated his state and federal rights to a

reliable penalty determination and due process of law. Implicitly acknowledging

that none of these witnesses stated, in so many words, that defendant had a

nonviolent character, defendant nevertheless argues their testimony constituted

circumstantial evidence thereof. The Attorney General disagrees, reasoning that

goodness and nonviolence are not necessarily synonymous, and evidence showing

the former does not compel instruction on the latter. The Attorney General also

contends the requested instruction was argumentative and duplicative of others

given to the jury.


We find the Attorney General’s arguments persuasive and conclude the trial

court did not err in refusing the instruction. Contrary to defendant’s argument, the

court’s ruling in no way precluded the jury from considering evidence of

defendant’s good character under the other instructions given.

Defense counsel also asked the court to instruct the jury that any aspect of

defendant’s background or character could be considered as a mitigating factor.

The trial court refused on the ground that the proposed instruction was duplicative

of CALJIC No. 8.88. Noting his proposed instruction referred to “background,”

while the cited CALJIC instruction referred to a defendant’s “record,” defendant

contends the trial court erred.

We disagree. Nothing on this record suggests the jury would have

understood “record” to refer exclusively to defendant’s criminal record, as he now

urges, or felt somehow precluded from considering his upbringing or education.

Notably, the trial court did instruct the jury, as defendant requested, that in

determining the appropriate punishment it could consider sympathy, pity,

compassion or mercy for defendant raised by any aspect of defendant’s

background or character. The trial court also instructed the jury pursuant to

section 190.3, factor (k) that it should be guided in its decision by the existence of

“any other circumstances which extenuates the gravity of the crimes even though

. . . it is not a legal excuse for the crimes and any sympathetic or other aspect of

the defendant’s character or record that the defendant offers as a basis for a

sentence less than death, whether or not related to the offenses for which he is on

trial” and that the jury was “free to assign whatever moral or sympathetic value” it

“deem[ed] appropriate to each and all of the various factors [it was] permitted to

consider.” Defendant acknowledges that another instruction he requested was, at

least in part, argumentative, but he appears to suggest the trial court should have

deleted the objectionable part and given the rest to the jury. Defendant fails,


however, to support the implicit assertion that the trial court has the burden of

modifying an improper instruction.

Defendant makes the related contention that his trial counsel rendered

ineffective assistance in failing to submit a proposed instruction not couched in

objectionably argumentative terms. The claim fails in the context of this direct

appeal because the record does not reveal whether counsel had a plausible tactical

reason for not submitting such an instruction. (People v. Mendoza Tello, supra, 15

Cal.4th at p. 266.) In any event, as noted above, because the standard instructions

fully informed the jury of the principles governing its sentencing determination, it

is not reasonably probable that the giving of instructions of the sort defendant

contends counsel should have requested would have led to a more favorable


j. Refusal of requested definition of mitigating circumstance and

requested instruction as to which factors are mitigating and
which aggravating

The trial court defined “mitigating circumstance” for the jury with the

language of CALJIC No. 8.88, as follows: “A mitigating circumstance is any fact,

condition or event which as such, does not constitute a justification or excuse for

the crime in question, but may be considered as an extenuating circumstance in

determining the appropriateness of the death penalty.” The defense requested, and

the trial court refused, an expanded definition of mitigating circumstance.25


Defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 23 read as follows: “A

mitigating circumstance does not constitute a justification or excuse for the
offense in question. A mitigating circumstance is a fact about the offense, or
about the defendant, which in fairness, sympathy, compassion or mercy, may be
considered in extenuating or reducing the degree of moral culpability or which
justifies a sentence of less than death, although it does not justify or excuse the


Noting we approved the requested instruction in People v. Ray (1996) 13 Cal.4th

313, 354, footnote 20, and People v. Osband, supra, 13 Cal.4th at pages 705-706,

defendant assigns this ruling as error under the Eighth and Fourteenth

Amendments to the federal Constitution. Although the trial court would not have

erred in giving the requested instruction, its refusal to do so did not constitute

error. The pattern instruction adequately defined the concept of mitigation for the

jury, and the requested instruction thus would have been largely duplicative.

Defendant further contends the trial court denied him his state and federal

constitutional rights to a reliable penalty determination and due process of law in

refusing to give his proposed jury instructions Nos. 17, 18 and 19 specifying

which sentencing factors are mitigating and which aggravating, and listing

numerous factual circumstances the jury might consider in mitigation.26 But as


Defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 17 read as follows: “In

determining which penalty is to be imposed on the defendant, you shall consider
all of the evidence which has been received during any part of the trial of this case,
except evidence that I have ordered stricken or have instructed you to disregard.
You shall weigh, consider, take into account and be guided by the following
aggravating or mitigating factors, if applicable: [¶] (a) As either an aggravating or
mitigating factor: [¶] The circumstances of the crime of which the defendant was
convicted in the present proceeding, and the existence of any special
circumstance[s] found to be true. [¶] (b) As either an aggravating or mitigating
factor: [¶] The presence or absence of criminal activity by the defendant, other
than the crime[s] for which the defendant has been tried in the present
proceedings, which involved the use or attempted use of force or violence or the
express or implied threat to use force or violence. [¶] (c) As either an aggravating
or mitigating factor: [¶] The presence or absence of any prior felony conviction,
other than the crimes for which the defendant has been tried in the present

Defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 18 read as follows: “The factors

set forth in subparagraphs (a), (b), and (c) above are the only factors that can be
considered by you as aggravating factors. [¶] However, you may find one or more
of these factors to be [a] mitigating factor[s]. You are not required to find that any
of these factors are aggravating. It is up to you to determine whether these factors

(footnote continued on next page)


defendant acknowledges, we have previously rejected this claim (e.g., People v.

Kipp, supra, 18 Cal.4th at pp. 380-381); he advances no persuasive reason why we

should reconsider the point. As the trial court concluded, moreover, defendant’s

proposed jury instruction No. 17 was duplicative of CALJIC No. 8.85, proposed

jury instruction No. 18 posed the risk of confusing the jury with its cross-

references to subparagraphs contained in other proposed instructions, and

proposed jury instruction No. 19 was clearly argumentative. All three proposed

jury instructions thus were properly refused.

8. Cumulative error

Finally, defendant claims that cumulative error in the penalty phase denied

him his state and federal constitutional rights to due process, a fair trial, the

effective assistance of counsel, and a reliable and nonarbitrary sentencing

determination. We have found error only in the trial court’s failure to admonish

the jury pursuant to section 1122 and to reinstruct the jury with general evidentiary

principles in the course of its penalty phase charge, and have found these errors

individually to be nonprejudicial. Viewing them cumulatively, we conclude

defendant is not entitled to reversal on this record.

(footnote continued from previous page)

exist, and if they do exist, whether they are mitigating or aggravating. [¶] The
factors set forth in subparagraphs (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) below can
only be considered by you to be mitigating factors. The absence of a mitigating
factor is not, and cannot be considered by you as, an aggravating factor.”

Defendant’s proposed jury instruction No. 19, spanning some 11 pages, sets

out for the jury’s consideration numerous assertedly mitigating circumstances
disclosed by the evidence in the case.



The judgment is affirmed.





See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion People v. Carter

Unpublished Opinion
Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted

Rehearing Granted


Opinion No.
Date Filed: June 19, 2003

County: Los Angeles
Judge: Jean E. Matusinka


Attorneys for Appellant:

Ronald S. Smith, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.


Attorneys for Respondent:

Daniel E. Lungren and Bill Lockyer, Attorneys General, George Williamson and David P. Druliner, Chief
Assistant Attorneys General, Carol Wendelin Pollack, Assistant Attorney General, William T. Harter,
Susan Lee Frierson, Emilio Eugene Varanini IV and Corey J. Robins, Deputy Attorney General, for
Plaintiff and Respondent.


Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Ronald S. Smith
6500 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1600
Los Angeles, CA 90048-4920

Corey J. Robins
Deputy Attorney General
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 897-2286


Opinion Information
Date:Docket Number:
Thu, 06/19/2003S015381

1The People (Respondent)
Represented by Attorney General - Los Angeles Office
Corey J. Robins, Deputy Attorney General
300 South Spring St., Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA

2Carter, Tracey Lavell (Appellant)
Represented by Ronald S. Smith
A Law Corporation
8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA

Jun 19 2003Opinion: Affirmed

Apr 20 1990Judgment of death
May 3 1990Filed certified copy of Judgment of Death Rendered
May 26 1994Compensation awarded counsel
May 26 1994Counsel appointment order filed
  appointing Ronald S. Smith to represent applt on his automatic appeal, including any related habeas proceedings. J. Jeffries Goodwin, is appointed as associate counsel. (*Note: J. Jeffries Goodwin was later relieved as associate counsel on 5-31-95.)
Jun 21 1994Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Applt to request correction of Record.
Jun 24 1994Extension of Time application Granted
  To Applt To 8-25-94 To request Corr. of Record.
Aug 22 1994Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Applt to request correction of Record.
Aug 26 1994Extension of Time application Granted
  To Applt To 10-24-94 To request Corr. of Record.
Oct 19 1994Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Aplt to request correction of Record.
Oct 24 1994Extension of Time application Granted
  To Applt To 12-23-94 To request Corr. of Record.
Dec 21 1994Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Applt to request correction of Record.
Dec 28 1994Extension of Time application Granted
  To Applt To 2-21-95 To request Corr. of Record.
Feb 21 1995Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Applt to request correction of the Record.
Feb 27 1995Extension of Time application Granted
  To Applt To 4-24-95 To request Corr. of Record. no further Extensions of time Are Contemplated.
Mar 28 1995Motion filed
  By Applt (Confidential).
Apr 5 1995Filed:
  Confidential Document Re motion filed 3-28-95.
Apr 24 1995Filed:
  Confidential Document Re motion filed 3-28-95.
Apr 26 1995Received:
  Copy of Applt's request for correction of Record & Applic. to Augment and Settle Record (20 Pp.)
May 5 1995Motion filed
  By Atty Jeff Goodwin to withdraw as Associate Counsel.
May 9 1995Filed:
  Reply of Atty Ronald Smith to motion of Assoc. Counsel to Withdraw.
May 31 1995Order filed:
  The motion of J. Jeffries Goodwin to withdraw as associate counsel for appellant Tracy Lavell Carter, filed 5-5-95, is hereby granted. The order filed on 5-26-94, is hereby vacated insofar as it appoints J. Jeffries Goodwin as associate counsel for appellant Tracy Lavell Carter.
Aug 19 1996Application for Extension of Time filed
  By Applt to request correction of the Record. (filing Stricken; Ct. Does not extend time for filing of Subsequent Record Corr. Motions).
Apr 16 1997Compensation awarded counsel
Sep 4 1997Record on appeal filed
  C-13 (3,362 Pp.) and R-46 (6,071 Pp.); Clerk's Transcript includes 2,184 pages of Juror Questionnaires.
Sep 4 1997Appellant's opening brief letter sent, due:
Oct 14 1997Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Oct 16 1997Extension of Time application Granted
  To December 15,1997 To file AOB
Dec 15 1997Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Dec 17 1997Extension of Time application Granted
  To 2-13-98 To file Aob.
Jan 30 1998Compensation awarded counsel
Feb 9 1998Compensation awarded counsel
Feb 13 1998Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Feb 17 1998Extension of Time application Granted
  To 4-14-98 To file Aob.
Apr 14 1998Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Apr 15 1998Extension of Time application Granted
  To 6-15-98 To file Aob.
May 21 1998Motion filed
  By Applt to Augment the Record & Applt's Proposed Augmentation of Record on Appeal.
Jun 1 1998Opposition filed
  By Resp to motion to Augment.
Jun 4 1998Filed:
  Reply to Opposition to motion to Augment.
Jun 5 1998Compensation awarded counsel
Jun 15 1998Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Jun 19 1998Extension of Time application Granted
  To 8-17-98 To file Aob.
Jul 15 1998Filed:
  Resp's Notice of Withdrawal of Opposition to motion to Augment.
Jul 29 1998Order filed:
  Good cause appearing therefore, appellant's "Motion to Augment the Record on Appeal to Include Jury Instructions Submitted by Appellant's Trial Counsel At The Penalty Phase Of The Trial" (filed 5-21-98) is granted. The record on appeal is hereby augmented to include the proposed jury instructions contained in Appellant's Proposed Augmentation Of Record On Appeal.
Aug 17 1998Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Aug 20 1998Extension of Time application Granted
  To 10-16-98 To file Aob. no further Extensions of time Are Contemplated.
Aug 26 1998Compensation awarded counsel
Oct 16 1998Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Aob.
Oct 28 1998Extension of Time application Granted
  To 12-16-98 To file AOB no further Extensions of time will be Granted.
Dec 3 1998Filed:
  Applic. of Applt to file Oversized Aob.
Dec 9 1998Order filed:
  Granting Applt's Applic. for an Order Granting Applt Leave to file an Oversized Opening brief.
Dec 16 1998Appellant's opening brief filed
  (306 Pp.)
Jan 13 1999Filed:
  Confidential Decl of Atty Ronald Smith.
Jan 19 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Respondent's brief.
Jan 21 1999Compensation awarded counsel
Jan 21 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 3-16-99 To file Respondent's brief
Mar 19 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Resp's brief.
Mar 29 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 5-17-99 To file Respondent's brief
May 14 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Resp's brief.
May 20 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 7-16-99 To file Respondent's brief
Jul 15 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Resp's brief.
Jul 16 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 9-14-99 To file Respondent's brief
Sep 13 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Resp's brief.
Sep 22 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 10/14/99 To file Resp's brief.
Oct 13 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file Respondent's brief To 10-28-99
Oct 21 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 10/28/99 To file Resp's brief.
Oct 27 1999Application filed to:
  File brief in Excess of the page Limittation for Resp's brief. [App & brief submitted Under Separate Cvrs]
Nov 4 1999Order filed:
  Resp's Appl for Leave to file Resp's brief in Excess of 280 pages Is Granted.
Nov 4 1999Respondent's brief filed
  (387 Pps.)
Dec 13 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief.
Dec 17 1999Extension of Time application Granted
  To 1/24/2000 To file reply brief.
Jan 24 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief.
Jan 27 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  To 3/24/2000 To file reply brief.
Mar 24 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief.
Mar 29 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  To 5/25/2000 To file reply brief.
May 1 2000Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Smith
May 25 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief.
Jun 1 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  To 7/24/2000 To file reply brief.
Jun 8 2000Change of Address filed for:
Jul 24 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief. (5th request)
Aug 2 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  to 9-22-2000 to file reply brief. No further extensions of time are contemplated.
Sep 5 2000Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Sep 21 2000Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Sep 22 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief. (6th request)
Sep 28 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  To 11/21/2000 to file reply brief. No further ext. of time will be granted.
Nov 3 2000Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Nov 21 2000Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Nov 21 2000Application for Extension of Time filed
  To file reply brief. (7th request)
Nov 29 2000Extension of Time application Granted
  To 1/2/2001 to file reply brief. No further ext. of time will be granted.
Jan 2 2001Appellant's reply brief filed
  (106 pages)
Jan 5 2001Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Feb 22 2001Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Smith
Mar 8 2001Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Apr 2 2001Note:
  related habeas corpus petition filed this date, no. S096438.
Apr 4 2001Counsel's status report received (confidential)
Apr 23 2001Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Smith
Apr 23 2001Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Smith
Jun 25 2002Habeas funds request filed (confidential)
Jul 10 2002Order filed re habeas funds request (confidential)
  Brown, J., was absent and did not participate.
Mar 6 2003Case ordered on calendar
  4-1-03, 2pm, L.A.
Mar 7 2003Received letter from:
  attorney Ronald Smith (via fax), dated 3-7-20003, requesting continuance of oral argument.
Mar 7 2003Letter sent to:
  counsel advising that court has considered request for continuance of oral argument and has determined that it should be denied. Any request for additional time to argue, notification of requirement for two counsel, or advisement of "focus issues" due no later than 3-17-2003.
Mar 11 2003Received:
  attorney Ronald Smith's original letter, dated 3-7-2003, which was faxed to the court that date.
Mar 17 2003Filed letter from:
  Appellant's counsel, dated 3/13/2003, re focus issues for oral argument and requesting 45 minutes for argument.
Mar 17 2003Filed letter from:
  Respondent's counsel, dated 3/17/2003, re: focus issues for oral argument and 45 minutes for argument.
Mar 19 2003Order filed
  The request of appellant for 45 minutes for oral argument is granted.
Mar 19 2003Order filed
  The request of respondent for 45 minutes for oral argument is granted.
Apr 1 2003Received letter from:
  respondent, dated 3-27-2003,
Apr 1 2003Cause argued and submitted
Apr 9 2003Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Smith
Jun 19 2003Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full
  OPINION BY: Werdegar, J. ---- joined by George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Chin, Brown, Moreno, JJ.
Jul 3 2003Request for modification of opinion filed
  by non-party, Paul L. McKaskle.
Jul 3 2003Rehearing petition filed
  by appellant. (24 pp.)
Jul 8 2003Time extended to consider modification or rehearing
  to 9/17/2003, or the date upon which rehearing is either granted or denied, whichever comes first.
Aug 13 2003Opinion modified - no change in judgment
  THE COURT: The opinion herein, appearing at 30 Cal.4th 1166, is modified as follows: The second sentence of the second full paragraph on page 1194 is revised to read: "Although evidence of a defendant's gang membership creates a risk the jury will improperly infer the defendant has a criminal disposition and is therefore guilty of the offense charged -- and thus should be carefully scrutinized by trial courts -- such evidence is admissible when relevant to prove identity or motive, if its probative value is not substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect. (People v. Williams (1997) 16 Cal.4th 153, 193.)"
Aug 13 2003Rehearing denied
Aug 13 2003Remittitur issued (AA)
Nov 6 2003Received:
  Copy of appellant's cert petition. (76 pp. - excluding appendices)
Nov 12 2003Received letter from:
  U.S.S.C, dated 11/6/2003, advising cert petition filed on 11/5/2003 as No. 03-7321.
Jan 12 2004Certiorari denied by U.S. Supreme Court

Dec 16 1998Appellant's opening brief filed
Nov 4 1999Respondent's brief filed
Jan 2 2001Appellant's reply brief filed
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