Articles Posted in New Case Law

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

People v. Wehr, No. E070345, 2019 WL 5166227, at *1–8 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 15, 2019)

Proposition 47 and Receipt of Stolen Property

The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47) amended Penal Code § 496 so that receiving any stolen property worth $950 or less is a misdemeanor. (§ 496, subd. (a).) Receipt of a stolen vehicle (Penal Code §496, subd. (a).)  is a ‘wobbler,’ an offense that may be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Here, the Court of Appeal determined which statute governs when a defendant receives a stolen vehicle worth $950 or less.

Barajas v. Appellate Division of Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 2019 WL 4894231 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.) (Cal.App. 2 Dist., 2019)

Arraignment on Misdemeanor charge of carrying a dirk or dagger

Eliseo Barajas was arrested and arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a dirk or dagger. Barajas sought to have the case dismissed for lack of probable cause pursuant to Penal Code section 991.1. Barajas argued that his initial detention was not based on conduct that could give rise to a reasonable suspicion that criminal conduct had occurred. He also argued that the evidence establishing probable cause was illegally obtained and should be excluded from the probable cause determination. And he asked that the misdemeanor complaint be dismissed.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff & Respondent, v. MICHAEL DAMION JUDE MEDRANO, Defendant & Appellant, No. E070042, 2019 WL 4894333 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 4, 2019)

Medrano sentenced to life at age 19

Michael Damion Jude Medrano was 19 years old when he committed the crimes of one count of first degree murder (Pen. Code,1 § 187, subd. (a); count 1), two counts of second degree robbery (§ 211; counts 2 & 4), and one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury (§ 245, subd. (a)(4); count 3). Medrano was sentenced in December, 2017 to 25 years to life, plus seven years. His sentencing took place one and one-half years after the Supreme Court decided People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261 (Franklin), which held that a juvenile offender who is sentenced to an indeterminate life sentence, must be “given adequate opportunity at sentencing to make a record of mitigating evidence tied to his youth.” (Id. at p. 269.) The Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether the juvenile offender had been given an adequate opportunity to make such a record. (Id. at pp. 286-287.)

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. 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