Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Knowledge Elements May Be Negated by Mental Impairment
September 17th, 2020

PC 190.2 (d) provides that, “for the purposes of those special circumstances based on the enumerated felonies in paragraph (17) of subdivision (a), which include robbery and burglary, an aider and abettor must have been a “major participant” and have acted “with reckless indifference to human life…’.” (People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 609.) […]


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Knowledge Elements May Be Negated by Intoxication
September 12th, 2020

PC 190.2 (d) provides that, “for the purposes of those special circumstances based on the enumerated felonies in paragraph (17) of subdivision (a), which include robbery and burglary, an aider and abettor must have been a “major participant” and have acted “with reckless indifference to human life…’.” (People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 609.) […]


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,



Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Is There Ever a Need or Reason to Instruct on “Inherently” Deadly Weapons?
September 10th, 2020

In People v. Aledamat (2019) 8 Cal.5th 1, 15-16 the CSC cautioned judges regarding use of the term “inherently deadly weapon” with regard to the substantive offense of assault with a deadly weapon and enhancement allegations regarding deadly weapons: As this case demonstrates, the standard instructions on assault with a deadly weapon and use of […]




“So-Called” Identity Theft Is Not Covered by Prop. 47
September 7th, 2020

People v. Jimenez (2020) 9 Cal.5th 53 held that misuse of identifying information in violation of PC 530.5(a) cannot be reclassified as shoplifting because section 530.5(a) is not a theft offense. (Jimenez, supra, 9 Cal.5th at pp. 58-59; see also People v. Harrell (Aug. 10, 2020, A156017) ___ Cal.App.1st ___ .) Jimenez discusses several reasons […]


Tags: , , , , , , ,



CSC Neither Tightens Nor Lessens Standard of Prejudice for Alternate Theory Error
September 4th, 2020

People v. Aledamat (2019) 8 Cal.5th 1 a divided court held that the same standard of prejudice which applies to the misdescription or omission of elements of the charge applies to alternate theory error: i.e., instruction on both a correct and incorrect theory of guilt: “the same Chapman analysis of harmless error applies to alternative-theory […]


Tags: ,



SB 1437 and Attempted Murder
August 27th, 2020

A recurring issue in Court of Appeal opinions is whether SB 1437 applies to attempted murder liability under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, and there is currently a split in authority. The California Supreme will consider this issue in People v. Lopez (2019) 38 Cal.App.5th 1087, review granted 11/13/2019 (S258175/B271516). See this post: Two […]


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Dismissal of Deliberating Juror: “Great Caution” and “Heightened Standard of Review” are Required
August 20th, 2020

A trial court may dismiss a juror if the court finds the juror is “unable to perform his or her duty.” (PC 1089; People v. Armstrong (2016) 1 C5th 432, 450.) Dismissal may be appropriate, for example, when a juror is emotionally unable to continue or expresses a fixed conclusion at the beginning of deliberations […]


Tags: ,



Deficiencies in Defense Evidence Cannot Make up for Shortcomings in Prosecution’s Evidence
August 13th, 2020

[Update of February 3rd, 2015 post] People v. Centeno (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 659 provides an important clarification of the presumption of innocence and the prosecution’s burden of proof: “…[D]eficiencies in the defense case [cannot] make up for shortcomings in [the prosecution’s case].” (Id., at 673.) For example, in People v. Brito (Sep. 19, 2019, […]


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Proposition 47 Applies to Joy Riding Because Temporary Taking Is LIO of Permanent Taking
August 7th, 2020

Proposition 47 provides that theft of $950 or less is just a misdemeanor. People v. Page (2017) 3 C5th 1175 held that a violation of VC 10851 (aka joyriding) for stealing a car worth $950 or less is covered by Proposition 47. However, VC 10851 describes both taking the car and driving the car and […]


Tags: , , , , , , , ,



CSC Clarifies Exception to Proposition 47 in Cases Involving Forgery and Identity Theft
July 1st, 2020

Proposition 47 reduced the punishment for certain nonserious, nonviolent crimes previously classified as “wobblers,” which were punishable either as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Among the offenses it amended was forgery not exceeding $950 dollars. (PC 473(b).) However, Proposition 47 is not “applicable to any person who is convicted both of forgery and of […]


Tags: ,