People v. BaughAnnotate this Case
Baugh was stopped while driving a car with an inoperable headlight. Baugh regularly drove the car, which was registered to a friend. Officers noted a .22 caliber round in the coin tray and that the ignition switch was torn out. Suspecting vehicle theft, they ordered Baugh out of the car and began a search. As Baugh exited the vehicle, an officer saw a small wooden bat wedged between the driver-side door and seat. He found bags of ammunition under the seat and a loaded rifle protruding from the trunk. Baugh was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm and of ammunition, and with possessing a billy club (Penal Code 22210), with a prior strike for assault with a deadly weapon upon a police officer. Baugh claimed the bat was a “tire thumper,” an essential tool for safety inspections by a commercial truck driver. The prosecution noted that Baugh was neither driving a truck nor steadily employed with a trucking company and, highlighting Baugh’s statement that he had been recently jumped, argued that it was for self-defense. A jury returned a guilty verdict as to the billy, but failed to reach a verdict on the other charges. The court of appeal affirmed, upholding a jury instruction that a charge of possessing a billy does not require the prosecution to prove he intended to use it as a weapon.