CALIFORNIA CASE LAW UPDATE – Selected California Cases
California Supreme Court (January 1-31, 2013)
There were no relevant California Supreme Court cases.
California Supreme Court (January 1-31, 2013)
Grants of Review:
People v. Gutierrez REV GTD (1/3/2013, S206365) 209 CA4th 646: Does the sentence of life without parole imposed on this juvenile offender under PC 190.5(b) violate the Eighth Amendment under Miller v. Alabama (Nos. 10-9646 & 10-9647, 6/25/2012) ____ US ____ [183 LEd2d 407; 132 SCt 2455]?
People v. Moffett REV GTD (1/3/2013, S206771) 209 CA4th 1465: Did the Court of Appeal err in remanding for resentencing in light of Miller v. Alabama (Nos. 10-9646 & 10-9647, 6/25/2012) ____ US ____ [183 LEd2d 407; 132 SCt 2455], although PC 190.5(b) does not mandate a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile convicted of a special circumstance murder?
In re Taylor REV GTD (1/3/2013, S206143) 209 CA4th 210: Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed orders granting relief on petitions for writ of habeas corpus. The court limited review to the following issue: Does the residency restriction of PC 3003.5(b), when enforced as a mandatory parole condition against registered sex offenders paroled to San Diego County, constitute an unreasonable statutory parole condition that infringes on their constitutional rights? (See In re E.J. (2010) 47 CA4th 1258, 1282, fn. 10.)
People v. Infante REV GTD (1/16/2013, S206084) 209 CA4th 987: Did the Court of Appeal correctly determine that defendant committed independent felonious conduct that elevated his otherwise misdemeanor firearm possession to a felony and supported the charge of being an active participant in a criminal street gang in violation of PC 186.22(a)?
In re Alonzo J. REV GTD (1/23/2013, S206720) 209 CA4th 1301: May a juvenile court accept a plea of no contest (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 5.778(e)) from a minor without the consent of the minor’s counsel?
People v. Black REV GTD (1/30/2013, S206928) 2012 WL 5264545: Should a conviction be reversed because of the erroneous denial of challenges for cause to prospective jurors when the defendant exhausts his peremptory challenges by removing the jurors, seeks to remove another prospective juror who could not be removed for cause, and is denied additional peremptory challenges, or must the defendant also show that an incompetent or biased juror sat on the jury?
People v. Buza REV GTD (10/19/2011, S196200) 197 CA4th 1424, mod. 198 CA4th 1234a. The court ordered further proceedings deferred pending the decision of the United States Supreme Court decision in Maryland v. King (Md. 2012) 42 A3d 549, cert. granted Nov. 9, 2012 [No. 12-207], ____ US ____ [184 LEd2d 390;133 SCt 594].
California Courts of Appeal (January 1-31, 2013)
SVP: Equal Protection Challenge Rejected. People v. McKnight (12/12/2012, A123119) 212 CA4th 860: Because the sexually violent predator (SVP) individual is differently situated from the mentally disordered offender (MDO) and the not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI) individual, disparate treatment is justified and there is no violation of equal protection.
Rape: Impersonation Of Spouse. People v. Morales (1/2/2013, B233796) 212 CA4th 583: A defendant who engages in sexual intercourse by impersonating someone other than a married victim’s spouse does not commit rape of an unconscious person within the meaning of PC 261(a)(4). Note: Following the Morales decision, the California Legislature introduced legislation in both the Senate and the Assembly to amend PC 261. Senate Bill No. 59 would amend subdivision (a)(5) to replace “spouse” with “sexually intimate partner” and, if enacted, would take effect immediately as an urgency statute. Assembly Bill No. 65 would amend subdivision (a)(5) to include “cohabitant, fiancé, fiancée, or someone with whom the victim has a dating relationship, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 243.”
Excluded Disruptive Defendant: No Right To Video Feed. People v. Mayham (1/10/2013, B237074) 212 CA4th 847: Appellant’s constitutional rights were not violated by failure to provide him with a video feed of the victim’s testimony after he was excluded from the court room because of his disruptive behavior.
PC 76: Threat By Incarcerated Person. People v. Avila (1/10/2013, B232977) 212 CA4th 819: Despite subdivision (c), PC 76 can be violated where substantial evidence establishes that the incarcerated defendant has the apparent ability to carry out his threat, even if he has not been given a release date.
Proving “Strike” Under 2011 Realignment Act. People v. Griffis (1/14/2013, C070266) 212 CA4th 956: Under the 2011 Realignment Act, a prior “strike” conviction disqualifying a defendant from local custody need not be pled and proven, but there must be sufficient evidence that the out-of-state conviction qualifies as a California “strike.”
Prosecution Misconduct During Argument To Jury. People v. Caldwell (1/17/2013, H036965) 212 CA4th 1262: Prosecutor did not improperly vouch for prosecution witnesses, state facts not in evidence, or disparage defense counsel.
Possession Of Unassembled Assault Weapon. People v. Nguyen (1/18/2013, G0460810) 212 CA4th 1311: Conviction for attempted possession of an assault weapon was proper where AK-47 kit was not yet fully assembled.
Dissuading A Witness From Reporting A Crime (PC 136.1(b)(1)). People v. Navarro (1/22/2013, B235448) 212 CA4th 1336: Statute prohibiting dissuading a witness from reporting a crime is not vague and does not violate First Amendment.
SVP: IAC. People v. Smith (1/23/2013, A132152) 212 CA4th 1394: Smith’s attorney provided ineffective assistance in failing to request a hearing pursuant to section WI 6605. There was a reasonable probability that but for counsel’s failure to request a proceeding under section 6605, the result would have been more favorable to Smith, and therefore reversal and remand was required.
Proposition 36: Three Strikes. People v. Yearwood (1/29/2013, F063712) 2013 WL 323508: Resentencing based on revisions to strikes law is not available on appeal to otherwise qualified defendants whose case is not yet final and who received a life term prior to the effective date of Proposition 36.
Multiplicity: Grand Theft. People v. Whitmer (1/29/2013, B2310380) 2013 WL 331074: Under People v. Bailey (1961) 55 CA2d 514, numerous grand theft counts may be brought based on a series of distinct and separate thefts.
PC 12022.53(e)(1): Definition Of “Principal.” People v. Lisea (1/31/2013, C067767) 2013 WL 364298: The term “principal” in PC 12022.53(e)(1) enhancement includes aiders and abettors under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
(January 1-31, 2013)
Judge Bias: Right To Evidentiary Hearing On Habeas Corpus. Hurles v. Ryan (1/18/2013, 9th Cir., No. 08-99032) 2013 WL 219222: Remand for an evidentiary hearing was required where judge became involved in capital defendant’s appeal by making statements concerning guilt before the trial. The Constitution requires judicial recusal in cases where the probability of actual bias is too high to be constitutionally tolerable. Hurles was not given the opportunity to develop his claim that the trial judge was biased. Because the allegation of judicial bias could entitle Hurles to habeas relief, the district court erred when it denied his claim without an evidentiary hearing.
Miranda: “Two Step” Interrogation – Application Of Missouri v. Seibert (2004) 542 US 600 To Federal Habeas Corpus. Thompson v. Runnels (1/24/2013, 9th Cir. No. 08-16186) 2013 WL 263909: “Clearly established federal law” is assessed as of the time of the final state court adjudication on the merits. Thus, defendant’s inculpatory post-Miranda statements were admissible in the absence of police coercion.
Confidential Informant: Wearing Disguise During Testimony. U.S. v. Jesus-Casteneda (1/30/2013, 9th Cir. No. 11-10397) 2013 WL 336662: Allowing confidential informant to testify while in disguise does not violate a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers or due process.
United States Supreme Court
(January 1-31, 2013)
Conspiracy: Withdrawal – Burden Of Proof. Smith v. United States (1/9/2013, No. 11-8976) ____ US ____ [____ LEd2d ____; 133 SCt 714]: Due process does not require the prosecution to disprove a defendant’s withdrawal from a conspiracy within the statute of limitations. While a state may not shift to a defendant the burden of proving an affirmative defense when it would negate the element of a crime, here, the defense would have excused conduct otherwise criminal. Withdrawal prior to the limitation period would not controvert any element of the conspiracy crimes charged, for it presupposes that Smith committed the offense. As for Smith’s statutory challenge, had the Legislature chosen to allocate to the prosecution the burden of proving the nonexistence of a withdrawal, it could have done so.