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Criminal Law Keyed to Lee
People v. Brown
Citation:6 Cal.App.4th 1489, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 513 (1992)
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Jason Neal, a bricklayer, entered into a contract with the defendant. He was supposed to lay a brick flower bed at the defendant’s home, and the defendant was to pay him for labor and materials. They had a minor disagreement regarding Neal’s performance, but Neal was to finish the job.
On April 14, Neal brought an acquaintance, Butler, to the defendant’s residence to help him.
Neal testified that as soon as he arrived at the defendant’s house, the defendant told him that he thought he would get there earlier that morning. The defendant told Neal that he should leave and not finish the job. He told him that he was going to keep the tools Neal had stored in the backyard because he had paid for them. Neal testified that while this was a disagreement, it never escalated to anything more than a “man to man” discussion. Neal took his tools, put them beside his car, and then walked back to the house with a hammer in his hand. He went on the front porch and knocked the top layer of bricks off of the flower bed because he was angry. He testified that he was facing away from the door. Neal then heard a gun go off and he was shot in the leg. Neal denied threatening or attacking the defendant.
Butler testified that Neal was facing the front door when he was hitting the bricks. Defendant came to the screen door and told Neal “you better,” then shot him in the leg. Butler could not remember how high Neal swung the hammer, but stated Neal was just hammering on the bricks.
The defendant testified that he heard a hammering noise and saw Neal hammering away at the flower bed. He opened his screen door and told him to stop multiple times. Once the defendant stepped outside the screen door, Neal whirled around and began moving towards the defendant with the hammer raised. When the defendant realized that only the screen door stood between them, he picked up his hand gun and shot Neal in the leg. Defendant was afraid and knew Neal was going to attack him. He intended to shoot down at the ground and sidewalk. He was just trying to stop Neal.
At trial, the defendant requested a jury instruction on § 198.5 as a defense. The trial court refused the request because the court found no evidence of “entry” into the “residence.”
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