People v. BernalAnnotate this Case
Security cameras captured Bernal ransacking a home. A witness later saw him breaking into a car in a driveway and called 911. Arrested, Bernal had in his possession the items taken from the car and other stolen property. Bernal was released on bail. A business owner later reported computers, cash, and credit cards stolen from his car. Security video from a store showed Bernal using a stolen credit card. Bernal displayed a knife to escape a man who found Bernal inside his car. He was arrested and again released. Days later, a woman reported items missing from her car. Her work badge and personal checks were found in Bernal’s pocket when he was arrested. Released on bail, he broke into two more cars and stole jewelry. Police obtained a warrant to search Bernal’s apartment and found jewelry, multiple driver’s licenses, other stolen items, and methamphetamine pipes. Bernal was convicted of residential burglary, identity theft, assault with a deadly weapon, auto burglary, tampering with a vehicle, receiving stolen property, and child endangerment, with two prior serious felonies, prior prison terms and committing new offenses while released on bail and was sentenced to 85 years to life.
The court of appeal affirmed the convictions, rejecting Bernal’s arguments that his constitutional rights were violated when his attorney conceded guilt on certain charges in closing argument, that there was insufficient evidence to support two of his convictions, and that his attorney provided ineffective assistance. The court remanded so the trial court can exercise its discretion regarding prior conviction enhancements under Penal Code 667(a) (mandatory at the time of sentencing but now discretionary).