CALIFORNIA CASE LAW UPDATE – Selected California Cases
California Supreme Court (September 1-30, 2009)
There were no relevant California Supreme Court cases.
Grants Of Review:
People v. Hernandez REV GTD (9/9/2009, S175615) 175 CA4th 940: Did the trial court abuse its discretion in requiring a uniformed, armed deputy sheriff to stand or sit immediately behind the defendant during his testimony?
Steen v. Appellate Division REV GTD (9/9/2009, S174773), original proceeding. The court issued an order to show cause why petitioner’s misdemeanor conviction for failure to appear in court on a traffic infraction should not be vacated, as requested in the petition for writ of mandate, on the ground that PC 959.1(c)(1) violates the separation of powers doctrine (Cal. Const., art. III, § 3) by permitting a clerk of court, rather than a prosecutor, to issue a complaint “for the offenses of failure to appear, pay a fine, or comply with an order of the court.”
People v. Kopay REV GTD (9/9/2009, S174154) 2009 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3751: Briefing deferred pending decision in People v. Cobb REV GTD (3/12/2008, S159410) 157 CA4th 393 which presents the following issues: (1) Was defendant denied due process and a fair trial by delay in the prosecution of a petition for continued involuntary treatment and continued detention until 23 days after his release date? (2) Did defendant’s pre-parole certification as a mentally disordered offender, which required him to accept treatment as a condition of parole, suffice to justify his continued detention pending trial on a petition for continued involuntary treatment?
Moore v. Superior Court (9/17/2009, S174633) 174 CA4th 856: Can the trial in a commitment proceeding under the Sexually Violent Predator Act be held while the defendant is incompetent?
People v. Johndrow (9/17/2009, S175337) 175 CA4th 719: Briefing deferred pending decision in People v. McKee REV GTD (7/9/2008, S162823) 160 CA4th 1517, which presents the following issues: Does the amended Sexually Violent Predator Act violate appellant’s constitutional rights to due process of law, is it an illegal ex post facto law, and does it violate equal protection?
Review in the following cases was dismissed in light of People v. Towne (2008) 44 C4th 53 and People v. Nguyen (2009) 46 C4th 1007:
People v. Steele REV GTD (7/11/2007, S153296) 2007 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3543
People v. Brown REV GTD (10/17/2007, S155093) 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7721
People v. White REV GTD (1/3/2008, S158179) 133 CA4th 473
People v. Linarez REV GTD (1/16/2008, S158154) 155 CA4th 1393
People v. Rodriguez REV GTD (4/9/2008, S160514) 2007 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 10474
People v. Nichols REV GTD (4/16/2008, S160709) 2008 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 316
Review in the following cases was dismissed in light of People v. Nguyen (2009) 46 C4th 1007:
In re Antonio P. REV GTD (10/24/2007, S156335) 153 CA4th 1540
People v. Tu REV GTD (12/12/2007, S156995) 154 CA4th 735
People v. Grayson REV GTD (12/19/2007, S157952) 155 CA4th 1059
The following case was transferred for reconsideration in light of People v. Towne (2008) 44 C4th 53:
People v. Daniels REV GTD (2/20/2008, S159866) 2007 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9903
California Courts of Appeal (September 1-30, 2009)
Doe v. Brown (9/3/2009, D053982) 177 CA4th 408: A person who is required to register in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration Act (act) and whose conviction is for an offense specified in PC 290.46 remains subject to the Internet publication requirement of Megan’s Law, notwithstanding having obtained relief under PC 1203.4.
People v. Cardona (9/4/2009, F054344) 177 CA4th 516: A defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to jury trial is not violated by the trial court’s finding that defendant is unfit to be dealt with under the juvenile court law.
Birotte v. Superior Court (9/8/2009, B213606) 177 CA4th 559: Under PC 803(g)(1), the statute of limitations for specified sex offenses does not commence to run until the suspect’s identity is conclusively established, which requires that the DNA match is evaluated and verified under established laboratory protocols.
People v. Lawrence (9/8/2009, F055219) 177 CA4th 547: CALCRIM 105 and 226 (believability of witness) and 600 (mental state and act of attempted murder) correctly state the law. Appellant was convicted of numerous offenses stemming from an incident where he argued and fought with the victim and, after the victim ran into his apartment, fired a sawed-off shotgun into the apartment, injuring the victim. At trial, a witness, who was granted immunity, testified against appellant. The appellate court rejected appellant’s arguments that CALCRIM 105 and 226 failed to adequately convey to the jury that it should disbelieve a witness’ testimony that is willfully false in a material part unless parts of the witness’ testimony appear to be true. The purpose of these instructions is to provide a common sense principle for evaluating witness credibility and there is no presumption, burden, or legal policy the proponent of the witness must overcome before the testimony can be accepted. As to CC 600, the instruction as a whole makes it clear that in order to find an attempt, the jury must find two distinct elements: an act and intent. Further, there is no substantive difference between CALCRIM 600 and CALJIC 8.66, the language of which was approved by the California Supreme Court in People v. Dillon (1983) 34 C3d 441.
People v. Gutierrez (9/9/2009, B211622) 177 CA4th 654: Melendez-Diaz – Narrative Sexual Examination: Admission of the narrative portion of a sex assault exam was a violation of the right to confrontation but was not prejudicial error. The appellate court held first that People v. Geier (2007) 41 C4th 555 was still controlling law after Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (6/25/2009, No. 07-591) 557 US ____; [174 LEd2d 314; 129 SCt 2527]. The two cases are distinguishable because in Geier, the supervisor of the analyst who prepared the reports testified at trial. Also, Melendez-Diaz involved reports prepared a week after the tests were performed, where Geier involved contemporaneous reports prepared at the time of the tests. Here, as in Geier, the supervisor testified at trial and was subject to cross-examination. Also, the report was prepared at the time the tests were performed. Therefore, the contemporaneous notations about the observations of the victim’s body were not testimonial under Geier. However, the parts of the narrative portion of the report that constituted a recordation of past events were testimonial.
In re Edward Q. (9/17/2009, G041281) 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 1542: Drugs – Bringing Drugs Into Juvenile Hall: A person who brings controlled substance or other contraband into juvenile hall is properly charged under WI 871.5, not PC 4573.
Garcia v. Superior Court (9/17/2009, H033111) 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 1533: Reopening Prelim: Judge erred in granting DA’s request to reopen the preliminary hearing, ostensibly under authority of PC 995a, to permit superior court judge sitting as magistrate to hear new evidence before ruling on defendant’s PC 995 motion, when new evidence filled evidentiary vacuum concerning the gravamen of the offense. The additional evidence did not constitute “minor errors of omission, ambiguity, or technical defect which can be expeditiously cured or corrected without a rehearing of a substantial portion of the evidence.” The error here was not minor, as it went to an element of the offense. See also Loverde v. Superior Court (1984) 162 CA3d 102.
In re M.M. (9/24/2009, E045714) 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 1584: Resisting Arrest – Campus Security Officer Is Not Public Officer: Conviction for violating PC 148 was not supported by substantial evidence because a campus security officer is not a public officer. (See In re Eddie D. (1991) 235 CA3d 417.)
People v. Thompson (9/29/2009, A123269) 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 1605: Sex registration – Hofsheier – Voluntary Sodomy: Mandatory sex registration following conviction for sodomy with 17-year-old violates equal protection.
9th Circuit (September 1-30, 2009)
Smith v. Curry (9/9/2009, 9th Cir. No. 07-16876) 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 20021: Judicial Coercion During Deliberations – “Allen” Instruction To Holdout Juror: A supplemental instruction to the deadlocked jury, addressing concerns of a hold-out juror, concerns which are known to the judge, is a denial of defendant’s Sixth Amendment right.
Hamilton v. Ayers (9/18/2009, 9th Cir. No. 06-99008) 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 21107: Death Penalty – IAC: Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance at penalty phase by failing to investigate and present “the wealth of classic mitigating evidence that was available to him.”