California v. VillasenorAnnotate this Case
Defendant Gerardo Villasenor, a Sureno gang member, shot two rival gang members on two separate occasions. With respect to the first shooting, defendant was charged with one count of attempted murder (Count One) and one count of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle (Count Two). With respect to the second shooting, he was charged with one count of attempted murder (Count Four) and one count of shooting from a motor vehicle at another person outside that vehicle (Count Five). Each count alleged a gang enhancement; with the exception of Count Two, each count also alleged defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury. After the trial court severed trial on the counts relating to the first shooting (first trial) from trial on the counts relating to the second shooting (second trial), separate juries found defendant guilty and found each enhancement allegation to be true. Defendant was sentenced to serve an aggregate indeterminate prison term of 50 years to life, plus an aggregate determinate prison term of 24 years, eight months. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court prejudicially erred and violated his federal constitutional rights by admitting into evidence statements defendant made to police after he invoked his right to remain silent. Defendant also argued the trial court prejudicially erred and violated his state and federal constitutional rights in the second trial by denying his request for a removal order for a proposed defense witness, who was an inmate in an out-of-county prison at the time of trial, thereby preventing him from calling a necessary and material witness. Furthermore, he argued the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and a clerical error in the abstract of judgment had to be corrected. The Court of Appeal disagreed with the first two contentions: because defendant’s showing of necessity and materiality was lacking, the trial court neither abused its discretion nor violated defendant’s constitutional rights by denying his request to remove this particular inmate from prison. The evidence was also more than sufficient to support defendant’s convictions and the enhancement findings with respect to each shooting. The Court did, however, agree the abstract of judgment had to be corrected.