CALIFORNIA CASE LAW UPDATE – Selected California Cases
California Supreme Court (September 1-30, 2011)
Witness-Killing Special Circumstance Upheld. People v. Clark (8/29/11, S045078) 52 C4th 856: Majority upholds the witness-killing special. Kennard dissents explaining why the facts show that the killing wasn’t separate from the crime witnessed; the whole thing was one event.
Grants of Review
People v. J.I.A. REV GTD (9/14/2011, S194841) 196 CA4th 393: Briefing deferred pending decision in People v. Caballero REV GTD (4/13/2011, S190647) 191 CA4th 1248, which presents the following issue: Does a sentence of 110 years to life for a juvenile convicted of committing non-homicide offenses constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment on the ground it is the functional equivalent of a life sentence without the possibility of parole? (See Graham v. Florida (2010) 560 US ____ [176 LEd2d 825; 130 SCt 2011].)
Magness v. Superior Court REV GTD (9/21/2011, S194928) 196 CA4th 630: Did defendant “enter” a home for purposes of first-degree burglary when he used a remote control to open the garage door, but no part of his body or any instrument entered the garage?
People v. Superior Court (Gilbert) REV GTD (9/28/2011, S195336) 196 CA4th 1355: Briefing deferred pending decision in In re Lucas REV GTD (6/17/2010, S181788) 182 CA4th 797, and People v. Superior Court (Sharkey) REV GTD (6/17/2010, S182355) 183 CA4th 85, which present the following issues: (1) What constitutes “good cause” for the imposition of a 45-day hold and extension of a scheduled parole date under W&I 6601.3 to permit evaluation of the defendant under the Sexually Violent Predator Act? (2) Is California Code of Regulations, title 15, section 2600.1(d), which defines the term “good cause” as used in section 6601.3 as “some evidence” that the inmate has a prior qualifying conviction and is likely to engage in predatory criminal behavior, a valid regulation? (3) Does the “good faith mistake of law or fact” exception apply in these cases?
The following cases were transferred for reconsideration in light of Stark v. Superior Court (2011) 52 C4th 368:
People v. Bradley REV GTD (12/13/2006, S146985) 142 CA4th 247
People v. Aldana (8/19/2009, S174836) 174 CA4th 1025
California Courts of Appeal (September 1-30, 2011)
Possession Of Gang Artwork Insufficient To Prove Gang Membership. In re Cabrera (9/8/2011, F059511) 198 CA4th 1548, modified 2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 1278: Photocopied artwork by a validated gang member is insufficient to validate the possessor as a member of the same gang.
Enhancement Of Vehicular Manslaughter For GBI. People v. Julian (9/8/2011, D057741) 198 CA4th 1524: The sentence in a vehicular manslaughter case may be enhanced for great bodily injury, within the meaning of PC 12022.7, for persons who were injured in addition to the sentence for manslaughter.
Guilty Plea: Loss Of Citizenship. People v. Gari (9/12/2011, G044493) 199 CA4th 510: The entry of a plea of guilty, without paying heed to the dates alleged and without knowledge of the legal significance of the plea to a revocation of citizenship, may not be set aside through a petition for writ of coram nobis or by a motion to withdraw the plea based on PC 1016.5.
Attempted Lynching Is A Felony. In re Maria D. (9/13/2011, B231186) 199 CA4th 109: The misdemeanor of incitement to riot (PC 404.6(a)) does not punish attempted lynching, which is a felony violation of sections 664 and 405a.
Impeachment: Collateral Matter. People v. Morrison (9/14/2011, B225879) 199 CA4th 158: A defendant’s testimony on a collateral matter may be the subject of impeachment by a rebuttal witness.
Battery Is LIO Of Lewd And Lascivious Act. People v. Gray (9/14/2011, B224430) 199 CA4th 167: Every lewd act is also a battery; therefore, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on battery (PC 242), as a lesser included offense of a lewd and lascivious act (PC 288(a)).
Gang Statute: Applicability To Individual Acting Alone. People v. Gonzales (8/26/2011, G043384, pub’d 9/15/2011) 199 CA4th 219: The substantive criminal street gang offense of PC 186.22(a) applies in circumstances where an active gang participant acts alone.
Multiplicity: Pornographic Photos. People v. Shields (9/16/2011, G043124) 199 CA4th 323: The production of three photographs of the same child in different pornographic poses supports three separate convictions.
Withdrawal Of Plea: Failure To Advise Of Consequences. People v. Aguirre (9/16/2011, B227019) 199 CA4th 525: There was no abuse of discretion in denial of a motion to set aside a guilty plea made on the basis that the defendant was not advised that the guilty plea might be used against him in a federal criminal prosecution.
Variance: Due Process – Notice. People v. Amperano (9/19/2011, B226343) 199 CA4th 336: Attempted murder conviction is sustained despite a variance in the named victim and the true, intended victim. The variance between the information and the proof at trial was immaterial because there was adequate notice of the charges such that the defendant had a meaningful opportunity to defend against the charge.
Moral Turpitude: Possession Of Firearm. People v. Robinson (9/28/2011, B223311) 199 CA4th 707: A prior conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon is a crime of moral turpitude and is admissible to impeach the defendant if the trial court conducted the analysis required by EC 352.
Enhancement: Not True Verdict – Judge Erroneously Asked Jurors To Reconsider. People v. Espiritu (9/28/2011, B224887) 199 CA4th 718: Once a jury has returned a “not true” finding on an enhancing allegation, the trial court violates PC 1161 by ordering the jury to review their findings and then recording a “true” finding on the same enhancing allegation.
Jessica’s Law: “Single Subject” Rule. People v. Kisling (9/28/2011, C063911) 199 CA4th 687: Proposition 83, the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act (Jessica’s Law), does not violate the “single-subject” rule because it involves criminal punishment as well as civil commitments.
Outrageous Government Misconduct. People v. Uribe (9/30/2011, H035320) 199 CA4th 836: Trial court erred in dismissing the matter due to prosecutorial misconduct, or outrageous governmental misconduct since it did not impair appellant’s substantial due process rights under Rochin v. California (1952) 342 US 165.