Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
People v. Barraza
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Barraza (Defendant) was charged with two counts of selling heroin. At trial, a female narcotics agent testified that she called Defendant 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 Defendant instructed her to come to the Center. After she arrived, the two spoke briefly and then the agent testified that Defendant 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 Defendant 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 Defendant’s wife. Defendant’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. Defendant 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. Defendant demanded that the agent stop “bugging” him. However, after about an hour of conversation and the agent persisting, Defendant testified that he gave her the note to get her off his back. Defendant was convicted on two counts of selling heroin and he appealed.
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