PEOPLE v. TAYLOR

Reset A A Font size: Print

Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California.

The PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Jay Coy TAYLOR, Defendant and Appellant.

G 000672.

Decided: May 29, 1984

Gary Bock, Los Angeles, for defendant and appellant. John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Daniel J. Kremer, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Harley D. Mayfield, Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert M. Foster and Robert B. Shaw, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

OPINION

Jay Coy Taylor appeals his conviction of burglary (Pen.Code § 459),1 robbery (§ 211), assault with intent to commit murder (§ 217),2 attempted murder (§ 664/18764187), rape by foreign object (§ 289), assault with a deadly weapon (§ 245, subd. (a)), false imprisonment (§ 236), transportation of a controlled substance (Health and Saf.Code, § 11379), administering a stupefying drug (§ 222), and the finding he used a firearm (§ 12022.5).   The jury further found he was sane when he committed the crimes of assault with intent to murder, attempted murder and rape by foreign object.

Taylor decided to rob Andrea C. who recently purchased the home of Taylor's friends.   Using the ruse he was looking for his friends, and Andrea C. would have their addresses, Taylor was allowed to enter her home.   When she went to her purse, Taylor removed a gun, ordered her to the kitchen, and placed her in plastic handcuffs.   Taylor ripped gold chains from her neck and demanded valuables.   He then put on gloves and told her it was time for a nap.

From a prescription bottle, Taylor removed a pill and placed it in her mouth.   She spit it out, telling him she would die from any improperly administered medication.   Taylor then forced her to swallow a pill and she became drowsy.   Taylor then proceeded to rip off her clothes, stuff a towel in her mouth, place tape over the towel and force a bud vase into her rectum.   The assault completed, the victim was placed in a bathtub where her head was forced under water.   She blacked out and Taylor left.

The victim's husband found her and notified police.   Blood taken from her was analyzed and found to contain methaqualone.   The same drug was found on the bedroom floor.

Taylor was soon discovered in Indiana and arrested.   In statements given to the police, he admitted the offenses but provided the police with the picture of a mentally disturbed individual.

The jury convicted him of all charges and rejected his not guilty by reason of insanity plea.  (§ 1026.)

I–V 3

VI

Finally we reach an issue raised by appellant which, given the gruesome nature of the crime and the time required to try it, unfortunately requires reversal.4  At the time the jury was selected, the court made promises to jurors regarding a completion date, a decision fraught with danger.   The promise which concerns us was made to Juror Martin.   Jury selection commenced on October 26.   Juror Martin was promised she could leave on vacation on November 24.

As luck would have it, the jury was instructed and retired to deliberate on Taylor's sanity beginning Thursday, November 19.   In the afternoon, just prior to excusing the jury for the night, the court received a note from Juror Martin reminding the court of its promise.5  Although the jury had been told previously it would not work on Fridays, the court probed with the jurors the possibility of working the next day to avoid the Martin conflict.   When some jurors balked at having to rearrange previously made plans, the court told the jurors the consequence of not reaching a verdict by Monday afternoon.6  The consequence, having to begin deliberations anew, was so controlling, a juror with obvious scheduling problems the next day chose to rearrange them and return to deliberations.7

The jury resumed deliberations on Friday, November 20.   The jury returned to the courtroom on Friday afternoon requesting the rereading of instructions on the definition of insanity.   The instructions were read and provided to the jury in writing.   When the jury was asked whether they intended to continue deliberations that evening or recess to Monday, the foreman informed the court they would go home.   Again a conversation ensued with Juror Martin.8  The clear import was she was feeling pressure from the jury.   The court's response was to again remind the jurors of the consequence of their failure to reach a verdict.9

On Monday afternoon, November 23, the jury reached its verdict finding Taylor sane as to counts III (§ 217), IV (§§ 664/18764187) and V (§ 289).   Taylor argues, taken as a whole, the court's comments coerced a verdict.   We agree.

No decision has expressly held informing a jury of the consequences of not reaching a verdict by a time certain results in a coerced verdict.   In People v. Gainer (1977) 19 Cal.3d 835, 139 Cal.Rptr. 861, 566 P.2d 997, the Supreme Court abolished the giving of the Allen instruction, ordering the jury to reconsider its views in light of the majority.   Gainer's conviction was reversed since it is the duty of the courts to insure fairness of criminal trials.   The issue background evidenced prior mental illness and the crime itself, bizarre as it was, supports the reasonable possibility it was the result of mental illness.   But the most telling factor is the time the jury deliberated.   In Cook the Supreme Court reversed after noting it was a mere 14 minutes after the trial court commented upon the evidence the jury returned its guilty verdict, hardly enough time for a deadlocked jury to reconsider the evidence and reflect.   Here the jury had a Monday evening deadline;  reach a verdict by then or suffer the consequence of redoing their efforts.   The verdict was returned Monday afternoon.   We cannot say the verdict would not have been different had the jury not been influenced by the court's improper remarks.

The judgment finding appellant sane as to assault with intent to commit murder, attempted murder and rape by foreign object are reversed and remanded.   In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed consistent with the opinions expressed.

FOOTNOTES

1.   All statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise stated.

2.   Section 217 was repealed by the Legislature effective January 1, 1981.  (Stats.1980, c. 300, p. 628, §§ 1, 2.)   These offenses were committed in 1980.

3.   See footnote * ante.

4.   Although Taylor raises numerous sentencing issues, our reversal of the sanity phase will necessitate a new sentencing hearing.

5.   “THE COURT:  Mrs. Martin handed me a note this morning that said that she's leaving on vacation next Tuesday and because of that she really should go into work on Monday.   And I can remember personally assuring Mrs. Martin that this case would be over long before now.   So it really looks to me as though deliberation tomorrow would be a good thing.   But I understand there is some problem about that, too.”

6.   “JUROR:  It would be kind of hard this late in the game.   We never have had to stay away on Friday before, so I made those plans.“THE COURT:  I understand that.   Let me explain to you what the problem is.   If we put this over until Monday and Mrs. Martin has to be replaced, everything you did today is lost because Mrs. Gonzales will be brought in to substitute and the whole discussion will have to commence anew.”

7.   “JUROR:  My problem is primarily because I was just totally ignorant of court procedure.   I never dreamed we would have to be back tomorrow.   I have been still maintaining myself at my job by going in early and gathering materials and so on, and I released by [sic] substitute for tomorrow and also scheduled parent interviews.   After hearing the compelling reasons here with Mrs. Martin and so on, I think I will withdraw my request to be off tomorrow and I will make it.”

8.   “MRS. MARTIN:  I just feel like if the other jurors would rather have me come in on Monday, then I will come in on Monday.   And if that makes a difference on how long, fine.“THE COURT:  Well, it has to make a difference in how long you will deliberate.”

9.   “MRS. MARTIN:  Again, however, since my vacation does start Tuesday, and if the deliberations are not through on Monday․“THE COURT:  Then we will have to call Mrs. Gonzales for sure.”

SONENSHINE, Associate Justice.

TROTTER, P.J., and CROSBY, J., concur.