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California Prisoner's Syringe Possession Conviction Upheld

The Fifth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals affirmed a prisoner's conviction for possessing a syringe.

On January 18, 2007, guards at the Shafter Community Correction Facility witnessed Vicente Perez and another prisoner acting suspiciously. They searched the prisoners and discovered a syringe and a small bindle containing a white powdery substance in Perez's hand. They also found a plastic bag tied to the inside of his clothes, and drugs in his mattress. In all, they recovered 88.2 grams of marijuana and 35.7 grams of methamphetamine.

On April 27, 2007, Perez was charged with possession of marijuana and/or methamphetamine by a prisoner (Pen. Code § 4573.6) and possession of a syringe by a prisoner (§ 4573.8) with a prior prison term enhancement (§ 667.5(b)). On June 6, 2007, Perez pled guilty to syringe possession and the drug charge and enhancement were dismissed.

On July 5, 2007, Perez was sentenced to 16 months in prison, consecutive to the prison term he was already serving. The court also imposed a $20 court security fee, a $200 restitution fine, pursuant to Penal Code § 1202.4 and another $200 restitution fine, pursuant to § 1202.45, suspended pending successful parole.

Perez appealed, but his attorney filed a brief which raised no issue. It asked only that the Court independently review the record under People v. Wende, 25 Cal.3d 436 (1979). The Court invited Perez to submit additional briefing and state any grounds for appeal he wishes the court to consider, but Perez failed to do so. The court then affirmed, concluding after independently reviewing the record that no reasonably arguable legal or factual arguments exist. See: People v. Perez, 2008 Cal.App.Unpub. LEXIS 3654 (Ca App Ct., 5th App. Dist. 2008).

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Related legal case

People v. Perez