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San Francisco Traffic Law Clinic
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Since 1985 San Francisco Traffic Law Clinic

People v. Gutierrez-Salazar, 38 Cal. App. 5th 411, 251 Cal. Rptr. 3d 178 (Ct. App. 2019), reh’g denied (Aug. 30, 2019)

Defendant Dionicio Gutierrez-Salazar was by a jury of two murders for homicides committed in 2013 and 2015. As to the 2013 homicide, defendant was convicted of first degree murder on a felony-murder theory.

SB 1427 Amends Felony Murder Rule in California

People v. Hall, No. 2D CRIM. B292330, 2019 WL 4267761 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 10, 2019)

Proposition 64 and reduction of marijuana convictions

Proposition 64, an initiative measure known as “the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” amended section 11360 and added new sections 11361.8 and 11362.1. (Stats. 2017, ch. 27 § 129.) It reduces or eliminates penalties for marijuana offenses.

People v. Force, No. G055482, 2019 WL 4071849 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 29, 2019)

Denial of Fair Trial

Appellant Steven Force, a sexually violent predator receiving treatment at a state mental hospital for pedophilia and exhibitionism challenged the trial court’s order denying his petition to be placed in a conditional release program known as CONREP that  includes daily monitoring with GPS technology, drug testing, polygraph assessments, weekly treatment, and job and housing assistance. The Court of Appeal ruled that he was denied a fair trial because the prosecutor interfered with his right to testify, and the trial court erroneously refused to admit his release plan into evidence.

People v. Millan Rodriguez, 2019 WL 3852665 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Vacating a conviction because of inability to understand immigration consequences (Penal Code Section 1473.7)

On January 1, 2017, Penal Code section 1473.7 went into effect. It allows a defendant to challenge a conviction based on a guilty plea where prejudicial error affected the defendant’s ability to understand the immigration consequences of the plea.

(People v. Flores (Aug. 12, 2019, No. G055861) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 740, at *1].)

Gang Investigation Leads to Detention

A team of Huntington Beach police officers investigating the “Looney Tunes Crew,” also known as the “LTK” street gang, saw the defendant in an area where they knew criminal activity took place. Defendant was walking briskly and was not a suspect in a particular crime nor in the process of committing a crime.

(People v. Abdullah (Aug. 1, 2019, No. B290563) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 709].)

In 2002, Warith Deen Abdullah was convicted of 13 counts of armed robbery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon, and sentenced to 48 years four months in state prison. The sentence included firearm enhancements under Penal Code former section 12022.531 that were mandatory at the time of the sentencing. In 2017, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) sent a letter to the trial court calling attention to errors in Abdullah’s abstract of judgment. Before the trial court, Abdullah argued that the court must hold a new hearing to sentence him “in the same manner as if he … had not law that came into effect after his original sentencing.

Abdullah argued that the court must exercise its discretion whether to strike his firearm enhancements pursuant to recently enacted Senate Bill No. 620 The trial court refused to consider striking the enhancements and instead simply corrected the errors in the abstract of judgment without altering the length of Abdullah’s sentence.

People v. Cooper (July 18, 2019, No. B286201) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 648].

A jury convicted defendant and appellant Sheila Cooper of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a prior driving under the influence offense. On appeal, Cooper contends the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress statements she made to police during field sobriety tests administered at the police station. Cooper claimed a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights under (Miranda).

The accident and Cooper’s demeanor

Governor Newsom has selected a technology consultant from Silicon Valley, Steve Gordon, to modernize the DMV’s decades old computer system which is in part responsible for the long wait times and dysfunction which has beset the agency. Anticipating long wait lines as Californians obtain Real ID’s- federally mandated identification cards-the Governor aims to restore trust in DMV operations after the agency mishandled the rollout of an automatic voter registration system.

Governor Newsom is thinking outside the box in not appointing a career bureaucrat to head to DMV, but a Silicon Valley outsider. It should be interesting to watch. Often times when people with business backgrounds enter government service, they run into trouble because they are not used to dealing with the general inherent governmental bureaucracies and inefficiencies. The DMV has long been mired in bureaucratic missteps and poor access.

Gordon applied for the job on the DMV website and the Governor credited his initiative and background at Cisco systems, where he was Vice President of technical services from 1993-2011. Gordon’s experience addressing things that were going wrong should help improve customer service at the DMV where wait times in excess of two hours is a regular occurrence. DMV Director Jean Shiomoto retired in December.Newsom took office in January and formed a “strike team” to fix the DMV, calling the department “chronically mismanaged.”

Marinelarena v. Barr, 2019 WL 3227458; (9th Cir. July 18, 2019)

Immigrants with drug convictions are eligible for immigration relief when the record of conviction is vague as to the type of controlled substance.

Conviction for conspiracy to sell and transport a controlled substance

United States v. Haymond (2019) ___U.S.___ [139 S.Ct. 2369], 2019 U.S. LEXIS 4398; No. 17-1672


Supreme Court of the United States,, Decided June 26, 2019. 

Imposition of a new and higher mandatory prison term for a parole violation requires jury trial