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People v. Pena

California Courts of Appeal
197 Cal. Rptr. 264 (1983)


Russell Pena and his girlfriend Sara Marrufo were asleep in a parked car at four a.m. on November 1st when Sheriff’s Deputy Webb noticed them. Webb approached the car, allegedly smelled alcohol, ordered Pena and Marrufo out of the car, demanded their identification, and searched them for weapons. Marrufo was dressed in a Halloween costume that consisted of a coat over a short, transparent nightgown. Webb made Marrufo hold her coat open while he examined her by flashlight, and then turned her around, lifted up her coat, and continued examining her from the rear. Webb ordered Marrufo into his patrol car over her protests, told her he was taking her home, and drove away, leaving Pena. Pena drove after the patrol car, allegedly because he feared for Marrufo’s safety with Webb. Webb testified that he drove Marrufo directly home, noticed at that point that Pena had followed them, administered a field sobriety test to Pena, and arrested him for driving while intoxicated. Pena and Marrufo both testified that Webb had actually stopped the patrol car near some railroad tracks, at which point he noticed Pena and only then continued on to Marrufo’s house, where he arrested Pena without performing any field sobriety tests. Pena was charged with driving while intoxicated. At the trial Pena attempted to assert the defense of necessity, alleging that he had only driven out of fear for Marrufo’s immediate physical safety. The trial court refused to consider Pena’s claimed defense, and further instructed the jury that a justification defense was no defense to the charge. Pena appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bernstein, J.)

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