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People v. Hernandez, No. A119501

Conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and by force likely to produce great bodily injury is reversed where the trial court abused its discretion by authorizing a uniformed and armed deputy sheriff to stand or sit behind defendant during his testimony based on: 1) the court's failure to inquire whether defendant posed any danger to courtroom security; 2) the absence of a showing defendant presented such a danger; 3) the likelihood that the challenged procedure prejudiced defendant in juror's eyes; and 4) the refusal to give a cautionary instruction that might have diminished the possibility that the jury would infer from the deployment of the armed guard that defendant was dangerous and untrustworthy.    

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Appellate Information
Appeal from Contra Costa County Super. Ct. No. 050707604.
Filed: July 10, 2009

Before Kline, P.J., Richman, J., Haerle, J.
Opinion by Kline, P.J.
Dissenting opinion by Haerle, J.

For Appellant: Gail E. Chesney, by Appointment of the Court of Appeal.

For Appellee: Edmund G. Brown Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Asst. Atty. General, Gerald A. Engler, Senior Asst. Atty. General, Rene A. Chacon, Supervising Dep. Atty. Gen., Joan Killeen, Deputy Attorney General.