People v. GarciaAnnotate this Case
A jury found Garcia and Austin guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes for a 2012 home invasion robbery and murder. On appeal, they challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, evidentiary rulings and jury instructions, the constitutionality of one crime of conviction, the effectiveness of their attorneys, and aspects of their sentences. The court of appeal affirmed Garcia’s conviction but vacated his sentence; his one-year prior prison term enhancement must be stricken under current law and the trial court must determine whether Garcia was afforded sufficient opportunity to make a record for his eventual youth offender parole hearing. For Austin, the court vacated a special circumstance finding and his sentence and remanded so that the prosecution may elect whether to retry Austin on the special circumstance allegation. The jury was given a legally invalid theory—that the jury could find true the special circumstance allegation if it concluded that Austin did an act that “caused” the victim’s death (by handing duct tape to a co-perpetrator) even if Austin did not personally kill him. At Austin’s resentencing, the trial court shall strike the 10-year gang enhancement imposed under Penal Code section 186.22 (b)(1)(C) and must decide whether it will exercise its discretion to strike the prior conviction enhancements under Penal Code section 667(a). The court rejected all of Austin’s other claims of error.