CALIFORNIA CASE LAW UPDATE – Selected California Cases
California Supreme Court (April 1-30, 2013)
Judge Has Sua Sponte Duty To Instruct On Accomplice Liability. People v. Delgado (4/4/2013, S192704) 56 CA4th 480 (mod’d 6/12/2013, 2013 WL 2631124): Jury instructions on an aiding and abetting theory of liability must be given when such derivative culpability forms a part of the prosecution’s theory of criminal liability and substantial evidence supports the theory. This error, however, did not constitute failure to instruct on an element of the offense and did not lessen the People’s burden of proof. The jury was fully instructed on all required elements, including asportation, as well as the People’s burden. Because there was no federal constitutional error, the court assessed prejudice under the People v. Watson (1956) 46 CA2d 818, 836 standard.
Court May Not Reject A Jury Verdict It Believes Is Erroneous. People v. Carbajal (4/8/2013, S195600) 56 CA4th 521: No statute permits a court to refuse to hear a verdict it believes to be erroneous or to direct the jury to deliberate further without the declaration of one or more jurors that the announced verdict is in error. Additionally, aside from a limited exception set forth in PC 1161, a court may not decline to accept or hear a jury verdict merely because it is inconsistent with another verdict the jury rendered in the case.
Double Jeopardy: Failure To Find Predicate For Special Allegation. People v. Carbajal (4/8/2013, S195600) 56 CA4th 521: A jury cannot return a valid verdict on a special allegation where it has not first arrived at the underlying verdicts that comprise the essential predicate for the allegation and, if it nevertheless reaches a verdict on the allegation, the finding is unauthorized and has no double jeopardy consequences. Without this essential predicate, the jury had no authority to consider the multiple victim allegation.
Judge Must Ask Jurors If They Have Agreed Upon A Verdict. People v. Anzalone (4/15/2013, S192536) 56 CA4th 545 (mod’d 6/12/2013, 2013 WL 2631122): Under PC 1149, the jury must be queried as to whether they have agreed upon a verdict.
Judicial Plea Bargaining. People v. Clancey (4/18/2013, S200158) 56 CA4th 562: To demonstrate that a trial court has given a valid indicated sentence rather than engaged in prohibited judicial plea bargaining, the record must reflect that the term is appropriate regardless of whether defendant pled or went to trial.
Person Who Aid A Parolee To Abscond Is Accessory To Underlying Offense. People v. Nuckles (4/22/2013, S200612) 56 CA4th 601: One who aids a parolee in absconding from parole supervision is guilty of being an accessory to the underlying felony that was committed by the parolee.
California Supreme Court (April 1-30, 2013)
Grants of Review:
People v. Silva REV GTD (4/10/2013, S208313) 2012 WL 1714753, 2012 WL 6721537: Briefing deferred pending decision in People v. Gutierrez REV GTD (1/3/2013, S206365) 209 CA4th 646 and People v. Moffett REV GTD (1/3/2013, S206771) 209 CA4th 1465, which present issues concerning the sentencing of juvenile offenders under PC 190.5(b), in light of Miller v. Alabama (Nos. 10-9646 & 10-9647, 6/25/2012) ___ US ___ [183 LEd2d 407; 132 SCt 2455].
People v. Shazier REV GTD (4/17/2013, S208398) 212 CA4th 520: Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed an order of commitment as a sexually violent predator. This case presents the following issue: Did the Court of Appeal correctly reverse the order of commitment in this case for prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct at a third commitment trial under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (WI 6600 et seq.)?
People v. Vangelder REV GTD (10/19/2011, S195423) 197 CA4th 1: On 4/17/2013 the court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs addressing the effect, if any, of: (1) HS 100700 and 100701; (2) California Code of Regulations, title 17, sections 1221.2 [concerning performance standards for breath – alcohol analysis machines] and 1221.3 [concerning a “Conforming Products list” for approved breath-alcohol analysis machines]; and (3) 58 Federal Register 48705, 48707-48708 (Sept. 17, 1993) [“Model Specifications for Evidential Breath Testing Devices” – providing that no machine can meet federal standards unless it “measure[s] the alcohol content of deep lung breath with sufficient accuracy for evidential purposes”]; 72 Federal Register 71480, 71481-71483 (Dec. 17, 2007) [“Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Measurement Devices” at time of trial]; 77 Federal Register 35747, 35748-35751 (June 14, 2012) [current “Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Measurement Devices”].
California Courts of Appeal (April 1-30, 2013)
SVP: Equal Protection. People v. McDonald (3/28/2013, G044963) 214 CA4th 1367: Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) does not violate equal protection by providing for indeterminate commitment and by placing burden on defendant to obtain release.
Instruction Erroneously Permitted Consideration Of Gang Membership. People v. Rivas (3/29/2013, H036974) 214 CA4th 1410: The trial court erred in instructing the jury with a modified version of CALCRIM 1403, that it could consider evidence of the defendants’ activities with other gang members in determining whether they were guilty of the charged murder.
Error To Give Inapplicable Instructions On Unintended Consequences. People v. Rivas (3/29/2013, H036974) 214 CA4th 1410: It was error to give CALCRIM 400 regarding unintended but foreseeable crimes where the prosecution did not rely on the theory of natural and probable consequences.
Accomplice Liability: Identity Of Perpetrator Not Required. People v. Quiroz (4/3/2013, B229432) 215 CA4th 65: Quiroz claimed that aiding and abetting instructions should not have been given until the prosecution produced sufficient evidence regarding the identity of the principal. This is not required, however, because the intent of the shooter may be determined based on the evidence without identifying the killer.
Accomplice Liability Theory: Adequacy Of Notice. People v. Quiroz (4/3/2013, B229432) 215 CA4th 65: Under California’s short form pleading, however, charging a defendant as a principal is deemed to charge him as an aider and abettor (PC 971). Although no case holds this practice, without more, provides constitutionally sufficient notice of the alternate charges, here, the prosecution requested aiding and abetting instructions during voir dire. This provided adequate notice of the alternative theory.
Property Loss Enhancement: Does Not Include Lost Income And Profits. People v. Evans (4/9/2013, D059607) 215 CA4th 242: For the purpose of PC 12022.6 (enhancement for property loss), loss means the value of the property taken or destroyed and does not include lost income and profits.
Mistake Of Fact Instructions Not Required Sua Sponte. In re Marcos B. (3/7/2013, G046268) 214 CA4th 299: The trial court must ensure that a police agency’s claim of privilege for a surveillance location is supported by evidence sufficient to demonstrate that the agency’s need for continued secrecy outweighs that of defendant’s need for disclosure during the course of criminal prosecution.
Multiplicity: Carjacking And Weapon Use Enhancement. People v. Lawson (4/4/2013, E053349) 215 CA4th 108: The trial court is not required to instruct, sua sponte, on the defense of mistake of fact if the jury is otherwise instructed on the required mental state of the offense.
Criminal Incest: Due Process. People v. McEvoy (4/15/2013, A132360) 215 CA4th 431: Criminalizing incest between consenting adults does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Dirk Or Dagger Concealed In Backpack. People v. Pellecer (4/17/2013, B238949) 215 CA4th 508: Carrying knives in a backpack does not result in a violation of former Penal Code section 12020, subdivision (a)(4) (carrying a concealed dirk or dagger), because the statute requires that the item be concealed upon his or her person.
Faretta Advice As To Availability Of Advisory Counsel. People v. Harrison (4/18/2013, A132915) 215 CA4th 647: After granting defendant’s Faretta motion trial court had no duty to advise defendant of an option to request advisory counsel.
Criminalizing “Loud Noise” Does Not Violate First Amendment. In re Curtis S. (4/19/2013, D062081) 215 CA4th 758: Finding that a minor violated PC 415, prohibiting a person from disturbing another person with loud and unreasonable noise did not violate the First Amendment.
DNA And Confrontation. People v. Barba (4/19/2013, B185940) 215 CA4th 712: DNA evidence did not violate defendant’s confrontation right because it was not testimonial.
MDO: Advice As To Jury Trial Right. People v. Blackburn (4/23/2013, H037207) 215 CA4th 809: Although record fails to show trial court advised mentally disordered offender (MDO) of jury trial right, the error was harmless. Defendant was subject to commitment proceedings under the Mentally Disordered Offender Act (Act) (PC 2960 et seq.).
Grand Jury: Providing Exculpatory Documents. Breceda et al. v. Superior Court (4/25/2013, B244574) 215 CA4th 934: Exculpatory documents that are available in the district attorney’s office must be provided to a grand jury under PC 939.71 even if the district attorney handling the case has no personal knowledge of the documents.
NGI Extension Proceeding: Advice OF Jury Trial Right. People v. Fuquay (4/25/2013, H037195) 215 CA4th 883: In an NGI extension proceeding, PC 1026.5 requires that the court advise the NGI of the right to a jury trial but does not require an NGI’s personal jury trial waiver.
Declaration Against Penal Interest. People v. Tran (4/29/2013, H036764) 215 CA4th 1207: Declarant’s statement to his friend that the appellant shot someone and the declarant helped him burn a car was admissible as a declaration against penal interest because it rendered him potentially liable for arson and as an accessory to murder and was reliable.
DNA: Random Match Probabilities. People v. Xiong (4/30/2013, F062474) 215 CA4th 1259: Statistical evidence of random match probabilities in a DNA cold hit case is relevant.
Burglary: Inhabited Structure – Mobile Home. People v. Goolsby (4/30/2013, E052297) 155 CR3d 850 (previously pub’d at 215 Cal.App.4th 1251): A motor home that is not somehow fixed in place is not an inhabited structure for the purpose of arson, as defined in PC 451(b).
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
(April 1-30, 2013)
Deliberate Delay Of Miranda Warnings Was A Prohibited “Two-Step” Interrogation. United States v. Barnes (4/18/2013, 9th Cir. No. 11-30107) 713 F3d 1200: Defendant’s federal drug conviction reversed where FBI agents deliberately delayed giving Miranda warnings in an effort to induce self-incrimination.
Batson. Jamerson v. Runnels (4/24/2013, 9th Cir. No. 12-56064) 713 F3d 1218: State trial court’s denial of petitioner’s Batson motion was not unreasonable given comparative analysis and prosecution’s race-neutral reasons for striking jurors.
Batson: Reconstructing Racial Mix Of Jurors. Jamerson v. Runnels (4/24/2013, 9th Cir. No. 12-56064) 713 F3d 1218: The court was not prohibited from considering pictures of the jury venire in conducting its comparative analysis. The prosecution challenged the use of driver’s license photographs to reconstruct the racial makeup of the jury venire, as this information was not before the state appellate courts. However, use of these photos was not prohibited by Cullen v. Pinholster (2011) ___ US ___ [179 LEd2d 557; 131 SCt 1388], which “barred consideration of evidence adduced for the first time in a hearing in federal district court,” limiting review to the record before the state court. Where a habeas petitioner alleges a Batson violation and the state court has not performed a comparative analysis, the reviewing court must do so. To execute this duty, the reviewing court may consider evidence reconstructing the racial composition of the jury venire. Further, the physical attributes of the jury venire were visible to the state trial court.
United States Supreme Court
(April 1-30, 2013)
Request For Counsel By Previously Self-Represented Defendant. Marshall v. Rodgers (4/1/2013, No. 12-382) ___ US ___ [185 LEd2d 540; 133 SCt 1446]: California trial court did not violate Sixth Amendment right to counsel by refusing to appoint counsel postconviction for purposes of filing new trial motion. Rodgers was convicted in state court of making criminal threats and firearm offenses. During the state court proceedings he was at several points represented by counsel and, at others, self-represented. After a guilty verdict, Rodgers’ request for appointment of counsel to file a new trial motion was denied. The Supreme Court found that California’s procedure which resulted in the denial of the request for counsel was not contrary to general standards established by the Supreme Court’s assistance of counsel cases.
Drunk Driving: Dissipation Of Alcohol In Blood Does Not Justify Involuntary Or Warrantless Blood Test. Missouri v. McNeely (4/17/2013, No. 11-1425) ___ US ___ [185 LEd2d 696; 133 SCt 1552]: In drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream, alone, does not constitute a per se exigent circumstance that justifies taking a blood sample without a warrant or consent.