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People v. Barraza

Supreme Court of California, In Bank
591 P.2d 947 (1979)


Facts

Barraza (defendant) was charged with two counts of selling heroin. At trial, a female narcotics agent testified that she called Barraza at the Golden State Mental Health Detoxification Center, where he worked as a patient care technician, and asked him if he had “anything.” The agent testified that Barraza instructed her to come to the Center. After she arrived, the two spoke briefly and then the agent testified that Barraza was hesitant to deal because “he had done a lot of time in jail and he couldn't afford to go back to jail...” The agent convinced Barraza that she “wasn’t a cop” and he proceeded to give the agent a note which read: “Saw Cheryl [the agent]. Give her a pair of pants [code word for heroin].” The agent then testified that she obtained the heroin from the dealer Stella, who was Barraza’s wife. Barraza’s version of the events varied greatly. He testified that the agent had been calling him constantly and only agreed to meet with her because he was “fed up with her” and wanted her to stop calling him. Barraza testified that when the two eventually met he insisted to the agent that he did not have any drugs to sell and did not want to jeopardize his good job. Barraza demanded that the agent stop “bugging” him. However, after about an hour of conversation and the agent persisting, Barraza testified that he gave her the note to get her off his back. Barraza was convicted on two counts of selling heroin and he appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Richardson, J.)

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Dissent (Clark, J.)

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