PEOPLE v. DEUEL

No. F071838.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. DANIEL RAY DEUEL, Defendant and Appellant.

Court of Appeals of California, Fifth District.


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Peter J. Boldin , under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Office of the State Attorney General, Sacramento, California, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

OPINION

THE COURT*

The jury convicted Daniel Ray Deuel of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and domestic violence. After a thorough review of the record, appellate counsel failed to identify any arguable issues in this case. Our independent review of the record also failed to identify any arguable issues. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY

The information charged Deuel with assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(4)),1 and infliction of corporal injury upon a co-habitant (§ 273.5, subd. (a)). Each count also alleged Deuel inflicted great bodily injury during an act of domestic violence within the meaning of section 12022.7, subdivision (e), and Deuel had served a prior prison term within the meaning of section 667.5, subdivision (b).

The victim, Angela Long, was the first witness at the trial. Long testified she was engaged to be married to Deuel, she lived with him since October 2014, and became engaged in December 2014. She admitted she loved Deuel, and hated having to testify.

The incident occurred on February 21, 2015. Long admitted placing a call to the emergency operator, but could not recall what was said. The recording of the call was played for the jury. Thereafter, Long admitted she made the call from a nearby gas station and reported to the emergency operator that Deuel held her down and beat her up.

Long then explained she and Deuel had an argument because Deuel thought she was cheating on him. Long was mad because Deuel was discussing the issue with one of Long's friends. Deuel left after a while, and Long took a prescription sleeping pill and went to bed. When Deuel returned, he woke Long and the two began arguing again.

Long claimed to not remember much of the events that day. She admitted Deuel grabbed her by her chin, and that both had been drinking that day. The two wrestled on the bed, and at one point ended up on the floor. Long was hitting Deuel in an attempt to get him off of her. The wrestling went on for a while, and then Long went to the bathroom. When Long exited the bathroom, Deuel had fallen asleep, so she ran to the gas station. Long ran away because she felt she was in danger. Long did not have any recollection of Deuel hitting her that night. She recalled speaking with a deputy, but did not recall what she said to him that night. Long testified she did not recall making any of the statements the deputy attributed to her.

Long admitted her throat was hurting her that night. She also had marks on her neck, abrasions on her face, and bruises on her shoulders. Long attributed her injuries to wrestling with Deuel, but admitted he grabbed her around the neck. Long did not seek medical treatment.

Long admitted speaking with Deuel while he had been incarcerated. Recordings of several calls between Long and Deuel were played for the jury. These calls contained statements by both parties that incriminated Deuel.

During cross-examination, Long admitted she was upset with Deuel that night because she had heard rumors that he had a sexual relationship with one of Long's friends.

Deputy Sheriff Rodney Jones responded to Long's call to the emergency operator. He contacted Long when he arrived at the gas station. Long was very upset, and had a difficult time speaking, apparently because of the injury to her throat. She had socks on her feet, but no shoes. Deputy Jones did not detect the odor of alcohol emanating from Long's person and did not observe any signs indicating she was intoxicated. Long did not state she had taken sleeping pills that night. Deputy Jones photographed the scratches on Long's face, a black eye, and ligature marks on her neck.

Long told Jones that Deuel had choked her unconscious. Long explained she and Deuel were arguing about Deuel's drinking, and Deuel left the residence. Long then went to bed. When she woke up, Deuel was on top of her, grabbing her face. He struck Long several times, and yelled at her. Deuel refused to get off of Long. Long tried to push Deuel off of her, but he was too strong. Long was afraid and thought Deuel might kill her. After about 30 seconds, Deuel got off of Long and went into another room.

Deputy Jones asked Long why she did not call the emergency operator at that time, and she stated Deuel had taken her phone. Approximately 10 minutes later, Deuel returned to the bedroom and recommenced yelling and hitting Long. Deuel then grabbed her by the throat with both hands. Long apparently passed out, and when she regained consciousness Deuel was still striking her. Deuel again left the room, and Long went into the bathroom. Deuel followed her into the bathroom and began throwing her around. At one point, Deuel slipped, and Long was able to run to the gas station.

Deputy Jones and his partner drove to the residence and arrested Deuel. Jones took photographs of Deuel which showed scratches on his face and neck. Jones could smell the odor of alcohol coming from Deuel.

The prosecutor focused on the evidence during closing arguments, placing great reliance on the phone calls between Long and Deuel, and Long's call to the emergency operator. She then argued the testimony of Deputy Jones provided an accurate depiction of the events that occurred that night, and the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the charges.

Defense counsel argued that neither story provided by Long was believable, claiming instead that Long attacked Deuel because he was having an affair with one of her friends. She placed great reliance on the discrepancies between Long's testimony and Deputy Jones's testimony. She dismissed the phone calls as part of Long's plan to obtain a conviction. She also suggested that if an assault occurred, it was misdemeanor assault because Long did not suffer serious or significant injury.

The jury notified the court it had reached a verdict after about 60 minutes of deliberation. On each count the jury returned a guilty verdict, and found the great bodily injury enhancement true. In a bifurcated proceeding, Deuel waived the right to a jury determination on the prison prior, and the trial court found it true.

The trial court sentenced Deuel to the midterm of three years for the assault count, enhanced by four years for the great bodily injury enhancement and one year for the prior prison term enhancement, for a total sentence of eight years in prison. The sentence on the domestic violence count was imposed and stayed pursuant to section 654.

DISCUSSION

Appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 asserting that after a thorough review of the case he could not identify any arguable issues. By letter dated June 21, 2015, we invited Deuel to inform us of any issues he wished us to address. Deuel did not respond to our invitation.

After a thorough review of the record, including the phone calls admitted as exhibits, we agree with appellate counsel that there are no arguable issues in this case. The trial was uncomplicated with only two witnesses. There were no issues during the trial, and closing arguments closely followed the evidence and the applicable law. The verdict is not only supported by substantial evidence, but by overwhelming evidence. The sentence imposed was well within the trial court's discretion.

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed.

FootNotes


* Before Franson, Acting P.J., Smith, J., and Meehan, J.
1. All statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise stated.

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