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Law offices of David. K. Uthman.

Articles Posted in General Criminal Defense

People v. Mendoza, 2020 WL 562981 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2020)

Conviction for transporting cocaine reversed because of no reasonable suspicion to detain

Facts:  Blanca Luna Mendoza was convicted of transporting for sale more than four kilograms of cocaine based on evidence a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent acquired after a traffic stop on Interstate 15. Mendoza argued that  the agent did not have reasonable suspicion she was engaged in criminal activity when he stopped her and the evidence should be excluded.

Thomas Keel will have his 1987 conviction for Second Degree Murder vacated after San Francisco Assistant Deputy District Attorney Allison Macbeth stipulated that Mr. Keel was eligible for re-sentencing under SB 1437, at a hearing in San Francisco Superior Court held on February 7, 2009.   Superior Court Judge Brendan Conroy will re-sentence Mr. Keel on February 21, 2020 to a residential robbery or burglary. At that time, Mr. Keel’s conviction for a second-degree murder, to which he pled guilty in a joint-deal with his co-defendant Ronnie Wingfield, will be vacated.

Re-sentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95

 Penal Code section 1170.95, subdivision (a) provides that , a person convicted of first degree or second degree murder under a theory of  “felony murder or under the natural and probable consequences theory  may file a petition with the court that sentenced the petitioner to have petitioner’s murder conviction vacated and to be re-sentenced on any remaining counts.”

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CHARLES PATRICK ELLIS, Defendant and Appellant., 2019 WL 7161342 (Cal.App. 5 Dist.) (Cal.App. 5 Dist., 2019)

 SB 1393 gives trial courts discretion to strike five-year prior serious felony enhancements

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill No. 1393 amended Penal Code sections 667, former subdivision (a)(1), and 1385, former subdivision (b), granting  trial courts the discretion to strike or dismiss the previously mandatory five-year prior serious felony conviction enhancement under section 667, subdivision (a)(1).1 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1013, §§ 1, 2 (Senate Bill No. 1393 or Sen. Bill No. 1393).)

People v. Yanez (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 15, 2019, No. A156074) 2019 WL 6043474

While awaiting trial, the court had imposed home detention subject to electronic monitoring as a condition of reducing Yanez’s bail from $480,000 to $100,000. Yanez had spent 555 days on electronic home detention, in a program authorized by Alameda County.

The trial court sentenced Yanez to serve five years and eight months in state prison. The court only granted him custody credits for his 555 days of home confinement (see § 2900.5, subd. (a)), and deemed him ineligible for conduct credits. It rejected Yanez’s argument that denying him eligibility for conduct credits violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection because post-judgment home detainees are eligible for conduct credit under section 4019. Yanez appealed.

Gardner v. Appellate Division of Superior Court of San Bernardino County (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 12, 2019, No. E066330) 2019 WL 5886241, at *1–4

Right to appointed counsel on appeal in a misdemeanor case

 The California Supreme Court held that, when the People appeal from a suppression order in a misdemeanor case, the defendant, if indigent, has a right to appointed counsel. This case was remanded to determine whether the Public Defender’s appointment for purposes of trial continues for purposes of the appeal, or whether, the appellate division must appoint new counsel. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court is not statutorily authorized to appoint the Public Defender under these circumstances.

In re Jeremiah S. (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 18, 2019, No. A155856) 2019 WL 5302782, at *1–7

 The robbery, detention, pat search and arrest arrest of Jeremiah S.

On July 2, 2018, Ornin Gosuwin was carrying a shoulder bag and holding an iPhone as she walked on Spear Street toward Market Street in San Francisco. Two young men, both wearing hoodies, came from around the corner. Gosuwin stopped to let the young men pass. One of them pushed her left shoulder and caused her to fall to the ground and both stood over her and pulled her bag and phone away. The assailants continued on Market Street in the direction of the Embarcadero.

People v. Sanchez, 2019 WL 5304531 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.) (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 2019)

Summary:

Angel Sanchez (Sanchez) was charged by re-filed complaint with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon on a transit passenger, and receiving stolen property. The  magistrate granted Sanchez’s  motion to dismiss the complaint for prosecutorial vindictiveness,  The Superior Court, San Francisco County, No. MCN17010380, Garrett L. Wong, J., denied reinstatement of complaint. The People appealed.

Dickerson v. Superior Court of Alameda Cty., 40 Cal. App. 5th Supp. 1, 252 Cal. Rptr. 3d 871, 874–82 (Cal. App. Dep’t Super. Ct. 2019)

Petitioners contend that delays in charging each of them resulted in a deprivation of due process rights under the California Constitution. In both cases, the trial court found that Petitioners suffered prejudice due to the prosecution’s delays in charging them. The trial court then erred in failing to require competent evidence justifying the delay by the prosecution.

People v. Buggs-Ten Month delay in filing of complaint

Felony Murder Rule Changed by SB 1437

Senate Bill No. 1437 revised the felony murder rule in California.  Under the felony murder rule, someone who aided and abetted an underlying felony was strictly liable for murder if a co-participant killed someone during the commission of the felony (People v. Cavitt (2004) 33Cal 4th, 187, 197.) SB 1437 amended Penal Code section 189, subdivision (e) effective January 1, 2019.  Now a participant in an enumerated felony in which a death occurs is liable for murder only if one of the following is proven:

  • The person is the actual killer.