Filed 10/13/20 P. v. Buford CA4/2
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for
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IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
Plaintiff and Respondent, E072474
v. (Super.Ct.No. FSB17004057)
TIMOTHY BUFORD, OPINION
Defendant and Appellant.
APPEAL from the Superior Court of San Bernardino County. Harold T. Wilson,
Judge. Affirmed as modified.
Benjamin Kington, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and
Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney
General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Michael Pulos and Britton B. Lacy,
Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Defendant and appellant Timothy Buford was convicted of first degree burglary in
violation of Penal Code section 459.1 In a bifurcated proceeding, the court found defendant
had one prior serious felony conviction (§ 667, subd. (a)), one “strike” prior (§§ 667,
subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12, subds. (a)-(d)), and had served five prior prison terms (§ 667.5,
subd. (b)). Defendant was sentenced to 22 years.
Defendant raises two contentions on appeal: (1) there was insufficient evidence to
sustain the burglary conviction; and (2) the prior prison term enhancements should be
stricken because the amended version of section 667.5, subdivision (b), does not apply to his
circumstances. We agree that the prison priors should be stricken and otherwise affirm the
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
A. Prosecution Evidence
On October 23, 2017, defendant and a few other people were at M. B.’s (the victim)
house in Big Bear. At some point, the victim looked out the window and saw defendant
walking down the street with a blue guitar that belonged to the victim’s roommate. The
victim assumed defendant took the guitar as collateral for a debt his roommate owed
The next day, defendant went back to the victim’s house a little before 5:00 p.m. The
victim was inside playing a guitar. Defendant knocked on the door and barged in when the
1 All further statutory references are to the Penal Code.
victim answered. Defendant was angry with the roommate. Defendant went directly to the
common area of the house where the roommate would have been and asked the victim
where that “mother effer” was. The roommate was not home at the time. Defendant then
picked up a red guitar worth $1,200, an amplifier head worth $390, and a sound effects
pedal worth $130. All three of these items belonged to the victim. The victim told
defendant the items were his, not the roommate’s. Defendant responded, “I don’t care. I’m
taking it anyway.” The victim tried to stop defendant by standing in his way. Defendant
told the victim to get out of his way and said he was “strapped.” He told the victim, “Don’t
make me use this.” Defendant lifted his shirt and gestured to the handle of what the victim
believed to be a gun tucked into his waistband. The victim got out of defendant’s way.
Defendant called out to a friend who was across the street in his truck. (The friend was later
identified in the defense case as R.G.) R.G. came over and helped defendant carry the
equipment out to the truck, then they left. The victim called law enforcement about 10
minutes later. He told the responding deputy what happened and gave a description of
R.G.’s truck. The deputy described the victim as being shaken up and in distress.
After leaving the victim’s house, defendant and R.G. drove to J.L.’s house in nearby
Sugar Loaf. Defendant had been to J.L.’s house earlier in the day asking to borrow $45 or
$50. He returned later with the musical equipment. Defendant left the equipment at J.L.’s
house as collateral for the money J.L. loaned him. Defendant told J.L. he got the equipment
from a friend who owed him “a grip” of money, which J.L. understood to mean $100.
Defendant said he would come back for the equipment the next day after the friend paid him
back, and he would repay J.L. then.
Sheriff’s deputies pulled R.G. over an hour or two after the victim reported the
incident. Defendant was still in the truck. Defendant had a folding pocketknife on him, but
not a gun. Deputies later recovered the musical equipment from J.L.’s house and returned it
to the victim.
B. Defendant’s Motion for an Acquittal
Following the close of the prosecution’s case-in-chief, defendant moved for an
acquittal on the burglary charge under section 1118.1. The trial court denied the motion.
Defendant then testified in his own defense.
C. Defense Evidence
Defendant testified that he had known the victim for around five years. The two men
had previously bought, sold, and traded musical equipment with each other. Defendant had
also loaned the victim money several times. When he did this, the victim would leave an
item with defendant as collateral until he could pay defendant back.
At some point before the incident, defendant loaned the victim around $45.
Defendant went over to the victim’s house on October 24, 2017, to see if the victim had the
money to pay him back. The victim did not have the money, so he gave defendant the red
guitar to hold as collateral until he could pay defendant back. The victim loaned defendant
the amplifier to use at a gig and also loaned defendant the sound effects pedal to try out to
see if he wanted to buy it. Defendant did not take any of these items against the victim’s
wishes. Defendant had a folding knife clipped to his belt that day, but he never lifted his
shirt to show the victim the knife, nor did he tell the victim he was “strapped.” He did not
have a gun with him.
Defendant was interviewed by a sheriff’s deputy on October 25, 2017. Defendant
told the deputy he had not stolen a guitar from a house in Big Bear the day before, nor had
he been to Sugar Loaf that day. He also told the deputy that no one owed him any money.
SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE
Defendant contends there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for
burglary because the evidence did not show he entered the victim’s home with the intent to
commit a theft.
Defendant’s insufficiency argument is two-part. He argues the overall evidence was
insufficient as a matter of law, and also that the trial court erred in denying his motion for an
acquittal under section 1118.1, because the evidence in the prosecution’s case-in-chief was
insufficient to sustain the conviction. We review both contentions under the same standard
of review, the difference being the extent of the evidence we assess. In cases where a
defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal, “we review the whole record
in the light most favorable to the judgment below to determine whether it discloses
substantial evidence—that is, evidence that is reasonable, credible, and of solid value—from
which a reasonable trier of fact could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
[Citations.]” (People v. Thomas (1992)
, 514.) “When reviewing a claim the
trial court erred by denying a motion for acquittal under section 1118.1, we apply the same
standard as when evaluating the sufficiency of evidence to support a conviction, except that
we consider only the evidence in the record at the time the motion was made.” (People v.
197Cal. App. 4th920
To sustain a conviction for burglary, the evidence must establish that the defendant
entered the premises with the intent to commit a felony or theft. (People v. Holt (1997)
, 669; § 459.) The focus of the analysis is the defendant’s intent at the time he or
she entered the building. “One may b[e] liable for burglary upon entry with the requisite
intent . . . regardless of whether the felony or theft committed is different from that
contemplated at the time of entry, or whether any felony or theft actually is committed.”
(People v. Montoya (1994)
, 1041-1042.) The intent to commit a theft is
rarely susceptible of direct proof and may be inferred from all the facts and circumstances
disclosed by the evidence. This includes the defendant’s conduct before, during, and after
entry into the home. (People v.
, 15 Cal.4th at pp. 669-670.) When the evidence
justifies a reasonable inference of felonious intent upon entry, the verdict may not be
disturbed on appeal. (Id. at p. 670.)
We start our analysis by addressing defendant’s section 1118.1 claim because our
conclusion on this issue is dispositive of defendant’s broader claim that the evidence did not
establish that he entered the home with the intent to commit a theft.
The evidence presented in the prosecution’s case-in-chief showed that defendant
went to the victim’s house to collect on a debt. Defendant barged in when the victim
answered the door and angrily demanded to see the roommate. When he found out the
roommate was not there, he immediately began taking musical equipment from the common
area of the home. The victim tried to stop defendant by standing in his way and telling
defendant the items belonged to him and not the roommate. Defendant responded by lifting
his shirt, showing the handle of a weapon and telling the victim, “Don’t make me use this.”
Defendant then called out to a friend who was waiting outside in a truck to help him carry
Reviewing these facts in the light most favorable to the judgment, there was
sufficient evidence from which the jury could have concluded that defendant had the intent
to commit a theft when he entered the home. Defendant came to the home armed and angry,
and he showed no regard for the fact that the victim did not want him to take the equipment.
He took the equipment under threat of force within minutes of entering the home, and he
had a friend waiting in a truck outside to help him load the equipment and take it away. He
also took approximately $1,720 in musical equipment to satisfy a debt that he told J.L. was
for around $100. When a defendant commits “theft or a felony in a building shortly after
entering it, no great inferential leap is necessary to conclude that the intent to commit the
supporting offense existed at the time of entry.” (People v. Kwok (1998)
63Cal. App. 4th1236
Defendant argues the evidence showed that whatever intent he had in entering the
home was directed at the roommate, not the victim; and that he did not form the intent to
steal the victim’s property until after he entered the home and found out the roommate was
not there. Defendant cites no case law, and we are aware of none, that requires the
defendant’s intent to commit theft upon entry be directed toward a specific resident inside
the home. We do not believe the intent requirement is that narrow. (Cf. In re Jesus O.
, 868 [theft requires an intent to steal, not an intent to steal specific
property].) Moreover, defendant’s argument does not take into consideration the fact that a
burglary charge is based on what the defendant intended at the time of entering the building,
not on what ultimately happened inside. (People v.
, 7 Cal.4th at pp. 1041-
1042.) In other words, as long as the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant entered
the victim’s home with the intent to commit a theft—which it was—it does not matter
whether the property he ultimately took belonged to the victim or the roommate.
Accordingly, the court did not err in denying defendant’s section 1118.1 motion.
We also reject defendant’s additional claim that the overall evidence was insufficient
to sustain the burglary conviction. Defendant testified in his own defense and provided the
jury with a differing version of events than was presented in the prosecution’s case-in-chief.
As the triers of fact, the jury assessed the credibility of all witnesses and were free to accept
or reject the defendant’s testimony. (People v. Baker (2002)
98Cal. App. 4th1217
They found the prosecution’s evidence more credible and, as addressed ante, there was
sufficient evidence in the record to support their verdict.
In sum, we conclude the evidence presented in the prosecution’s case-in-chief was
reasonably susceptible to an interpretation supporting the jury’s verdict of guilt, and the jury
was free to accept or reject any further evidence presented by the defense. We therefore
affirm defendant’s conviction for burglary.
IMPOSITION OF THE PRISON PRIORS
Defendant next contends that under Senate Bill No. 136 (2019-2020 Reg. Sess.), his
prior prison term enhancements must be stricken. The People concede the point. We agree.
Senate Bill No. 136 went into effect on January 1, 2020. It amended section 667.5,
subdivision (b), to eliminate all prior prison term enhancements, unless the prior prison term
was for a sexually violent offense. (People v. Lopez (2019)
42Cal. App. 5th337
Senate Bill No. 136 applies to all defendants whose convictions are not yet final. (People v.
, 744-748.) Defendant’s conviction is not final and none of his prior prison terms were
for sexually violent offenses. Accordingly, we strike the prison prior enhancements.
Generally, when an error affects part of a sentence, we must remand for a full
resentencing on all counts and allegations. (People v. Buycks (2018)
But where, as here, the trial court has already imposed the maximum possible sentence, a
remand for resentencing is unnecessary. (Id. at p. 896, fn. 15.) We may simply strike the
enhancements and affirm the judgment as modified. (People v.
Cal.App.5th at p. 342.) Hence, we will strike the prior prison term enhancements and
modify the sentence accordingly.
The sentence is modified to strike defendant’s five one-year prior prison term
enhancements imposed under former section 667.5, subdivision (b). As so modified, the
judgment is affirmed. The trial court is directed to prepare an amended abstract of judgment
and forward it to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS