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Since 1985 San Francisco Traffic Law Clinic

We are happy to announce that we have resumed normal office hours from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Thursday, to assist you with your essential legal matters and needs. For the short term we will remain closed on Fridays. We encourage clients to try and communicate with us by phone and email. If you do need to come into the office, we require face masks and we are maintaining social distancing

ALICIA URBIETA ISLAS, Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Respondent; THE PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. (Cal. Ct. App., May 20, 2022, No. H049445) 2022 WL 1597051, at *1–3

Summary: Islas was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). (Veh. Code, § 23152, subds. (a) and (b).) She moved for pretrial diversion under Penal Code section 1001.95, which gives judges discretion to offer diversion to misdemeanor defendants. The trial court denied diversion based on Vehicle Code section 23640, under which DUI defendants are categorically ineligible for diversion. Two appellate courts have published decisions finding misdemeanor DUI defendants similarly situated to petitioner categorically ineligible for Penal Code section 1001.95 diversion. (Grassi v. Superior Court (2021) 73 Cal.App.5th 283 (Grassi); Tan v. Superior Court (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 130 (Tan).) We agree with the reasoning in those authorities and will therefore deny the petition for writ of mandate.

Issue: Whether misdemeanor DUI defendants are categorically ineligible from Penal Code section 1001.95 diversion by operation of Vehicle Code section 23640.

People v. Henderson (Cal. Ct. App., May 11, 2022, No. C088883) 2022 WL 1485820, at *1

Summary: Henderson was convicted of one count of second degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187)1 and one count of attempted murder (§§ 664/187) and found true enhancement allegations that defendant personally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death (§ 12022.53, subd. (d)) as to each count. The trial court sentenced defendant to serve an aggregate determinate term of seven years plus an aggregate indeterminate prison term of 65 years to life.

On appeal, Henderson contends: (1) the trial court prejudicially abused its discretion and violated his federal constitutional right to a jury drawn from a representative cross-section of the community by excusing two African-American prospective jurors for cause based on their stated belief that the criminal justice system treats African-Americans unfairly and because they were sympathetic towards him.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RODRIGO FUENTES, JR., Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., May 12, 2022, No. E075745) 2022 WL 1498334, at *1

Summary:Fuentes was convicted of both : (1) fleeing a police officer while driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property (wanton disregard while fleeing) pursuant to Vehicle Code section 2800.2; and (2) resisting a police officer pursuant to Penal Code section 148, subdivision (a)(1).

On appeal, He raised an issue of first impression, contending that resisting a police officer is a lesser included offense of wanton disregard while fleeing. The court of appeal held that resisting a police officer is not a lesser included offense of wanton disregard while fleeing.

People v. Perez (Cal. Ct. App., May 2, 2022, No. B300396) 2022 WL 1302282, at *1

Summary: Appellants Perez,Rosas and Sanchez engaged in a fist fight with two men outside of a liquor store in the middle of the day. During the fight, Perez retrieved a gun from his car and fired at the two men as they ran into a busy street. Perez’s shots missed the men, but struck three passing vehicles, including a four-year-old boy in the backseat of his mother’s car. Appellants challenge the application of the natural and probable consequences doctrine to Rosas’s and Sanchez’s convictions. The Coirt of Appeal held the attempted murder must be reversed

Senate Bill 1437 and the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine

People v. Padilla-Martel (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 29, 2022, No. A162872) 2022 WL 1284091, at *1

Summary: In these civil actions, the People, by the San Francisco City Attorney (City) allege defendants Christian Noel Padilla-Martel, Victor Zelaya, Jarold Sanchez, and Guadaloupe Aguilar-Benegas are street-level drug dealers whose drug-dealing activities in the Tenderloin neighborhood create a public nuisance (Civ. Code, §§ 3479, 3480) and violate the unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) (UCL).

Before trial, the City moved for preliminary injunctions against defendants that would prohibit them from entering a 50-block zone in the Tenderloin. The area is “facing a drug-related health crisis,” and the trial court found the City established the neighborhood is “rife with illegal drug-dealing.” The City has authority to seek injunctive relief to address public nuisances and UCL violations; defendants and the trial court that the City could enjoin individuals from engaging in illegal drug selling in the Tenderloin.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RONALD RAY ANDERSON, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 28, 2022, No. A162633) 2022 WL 1261422, at *1

Summary: Anderson was convicted of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of robbery, and one count of burglary, and sentenced to 25 years to life. He appealed the denial of his Penal Code section 1170.95 petition, Anderson argued that the trial court erred by admitting in the section 1170.95 evidentiary hearing, testimony from Anderson’s parole suitability hearings. He argued that the testimony should have been excluded under People v. Coleman (1975) 13 Cal.3d 867 (Coleman). The Court of Appeal concluded that Anderson has not established that the trial court erred in considering testimony from his parole suitability hearings.

1170.95 petition

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CHRISTIAN BIRDSALL, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 22, 2022, No. A159555) 2022 WL 1198020

Summary: Birdsall was convicted of first degree murder committed by means of lying in wait and during a robbery and a burglary (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(15), (17)(A), (G)). The trial court sentenced Birdsall, who was 16 years old at the time of the crime, to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for the murder, plus a consecutive five-year term for arson.Birdsall challenged his sentence on constitutional and other grounds. Because a youth offender parole hearing will be available to Birdsall during his 25th year of incarceration (when he will be 41 years old), the sentence imposed on him, although denominated LWOP, does violate the Eighth Amendment

Eighth Amendment Claims and sentencing under PC 190.5

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. JUAN PANTOJA, Defendant and Respondent. (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 24, 2022, No. A162591) 2022 WL 1102119

Summary: Pantoja filed a motion to suppress evidence of a firearm found on his person when he was patted down during a traffic stop. The trial court granted defendant’s motion and then dismissed the case. The District Attorney appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed

Factual And Procedural Background

Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES et al., Defendants and Appellants. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 15, 2022, No. B305604) 2022 WL 1125370

DMV Administrative Hearings after DUI Arrests and challenge by California DUI Lawyers

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) conducts administrative hearings to suspend a driver’s license after an arrest for driving under the influence. At these hearings, the DMV hearing officers act both as advocates for the DMV and as triers of fact. The DMV authorizes its managers to change hearing officers’ decisions, or order the hearing officers to change their decisions, without notice to the driver.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. LAMONTE SHERMALE BANNER, Defendant and Appellant. In Re LAMONTE SHERMALE BANNER, On Habeas Corpus. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 8, 2022, No. F079770) 2022 WL 1055186

Background: Banner was convicted of two counts of attempted robbery (§ 212.5). The charges included allegations of prior strike and prior serious felony convictions. (§§ 667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12, subds. (a)-(d), & 667, subd. (a).) He was sentenced to serve nine years in state prison, calculated as the middle term of two years for attempted robbery, doubled for the prior strike conviction, plus five years for the prior serious felony conviction.

AB 124 Applies Retroactively

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