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People v. Hicks

Filed 12/28/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S232218 v. ) ) Ct.App. 2/5 B259665 MARVIN TRAVON HICKS, ) ) Los Angeles County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. MA058121-01 ____________________________________) In this case, we decide whether during a retrial of a second degree murder charge, after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict on that charge but convicted the defendant of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (along with other offenses), the new jury should be informed of the specific convictions that resulted from the previous jury’s deliberations. We conclude that the trial court errs if it informs the new jury of such specific convictions. The trial court does not err, however, if pursuant to Penal Code sections 1093 and 1127, it instructs the retrial jury along the following lines: “Sometimes cases are tried in segments. The only question in this segment of the proceedings is whether the prosecution has proved the charge of murder. In deciding this question, you must not let the issue of punishment enter into your deliberations. Nor are you to speculate about whether the defendant may have been, or may be, held criminally responsible for his conduct in some other segment of the proceedings.” The foregoing instruction, which need only be given upon request, would prevent the jury from wrongly 1 SEE DISSENTING OPINION assuming that an acquittal on the murder charge would result in the defendant escaping criminal liability altogether, and it would do so without introducing matters that are extraneous to the retrial. Here, defense counsel requested a specific instruction informing the retrial jury of defendant’s gross vehicular manslaughter conviction, and the trial court refused such an instruction, stating that it was “going to preclude any reference to the prior trial, or the prior verdict.” In light of the court’s broad statement, the defense cannot be faulted for failing to request an instruction like the one we approve today. Therefore, we must consider the question of prejudice. We conclude that the failure of the trial court to give the instruction we approve today was not prejudicial, and we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND High on marijuana and phencyclidine (PCP), defendant Marvin Travon Hicks fled police in his black Toyota Camry, running several red lights and reaching speeds of about 100 miles per hour. Defendant eventually plowed into the side of a blue Lexus, killing two-year-old Madison Ruano, and injuring Tina Ruano, Madison’s mother. The District Attorney of Los Angeles County filed an information charging defendant with murder (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a)) (count 1), evading an officer resulting in injury (Veh. Code, § 2800.3, subd. (a)) (count 2), evading an officer resulting in death (Veh. Code, § 2800.3, subd. (b)) (count 3), gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Pen. Code, § 191.5, subd. (a)) (count 4), and driving under the influence causing injury (Veh. Code, § 23153, subd. (a)) (count 5). After a jury trial, …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court