Carjacking Conviction Appeal in California

In People v. Coleman (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1363, an owner had parked his truck (a Silverado) in front of his shop and placed the keys in the back work area. (Id. at. p. 1366.) The shop owner left and there was one employee working in the shop when the defendant approached her. The defendant demanded the keys to the truck at gunpoint and the employee gave them to him. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the "immediate presence" element of his carjacking conviction. The Court of Appeal "acknowledge[d] that a carjacking may occur where neither the possessor nor the passenger is inside or adjacent to the vehicle," but held that a carjacking had not occurred under these particular facts because "[the employee] was not within any physical proximity to the Silverado, the keys she relinquished were not her own, and there was no evidence that she had ever been or would be a driver of or passenger in the Silverado." (Id. at p. 1373.) In People v. Coleman (2007) the defendant entered a shop and told the employee at gunpoint to give him the keys to a vehicle owned by the shop owner. The employee complied. The appellate court held that "[t]he victim--a store employee in the general vicinity of the store owner's car keys--does not fall within the category of persons that the carjacking statute was designed to protect." (Id. at p. 1372.) There was no evidence that the employee had ever been or would be a driver of or a passenger in the vehicle. (Id. at p. 1373.)