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Articles Posted in General Criminal Defense

People v. Rodriguez, 2020 WL 2563833 (Cal.) (Cal., 2020) Supreme Court of California; S251706; May 21,2020

Summary: The California Supreme Court held that a prosecutor impermissibly vouched for witness credibility by telling the jury in closing argument that two testifying officers would not lie because each would not put his “entire career on the line” or “at risk” and would not subject himself to “possible prosecution for perjury.” The Supreme Court found that the error was prejudicial and reversed the judgment of conviction.

Rodriguez charged with assault on a correctional officer

Summary:

Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court, San Francisco County, of domestic battery, and he appealed from denial of his motion to suppress evidence.

The Superior Court, Appellate Division, held the State could not rely on “collective knowledge” doctrine to justify the defendant’s warrantless detention. The trial court failure to suppress evidence discovered during an unconstitutional, warrantless stop of defendant was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The conviction was reversed.

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.

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