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Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

People v. Stamps, 2020 WL 3525176 (California Supreme Court; S255843: June 25, 2020)

Summary:

Stamps agreed to a plea bargain that included a prior serious felony enhancement (Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (a)). While his appeal was pending, a new law went into effect that gave the trial court authority to strike a serious felony enhancement in furtherance of justice (Pen. Code, § 1385, subd. (a)), a power it did not previously have. The California Supreme Court held that a certificate of probable cause (Pen. Code, § 1237.5) was not necessary to claim on appeal that the new law applied to him retroactively;

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. Wear (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 4, 2020, No. A152732) 2020 WL 549310

FACTS: Defendant James Wear and his friend, Brandon Lowell, arranged to meet an acquaintance, Ryan Rossknecht. Wear intended to buy or steal a gun from Rossknecht and possibly to supply him with heroin. During the meeting, an argument erupted and Rossknecht, who had two guns with him, shot Lowell once with one of them. Wear, who was unarmed, then seized that gun, shot Rossknecht twice with it, and fled with the other gun. Lowell and Rossknecht died of their injuries.

Wear was charged with the murders of both Lowell and Rossknecht. The jury was unable to return a verdict on Lowell’s murder.  But the jury found Wear guilty of first degree murder and found true an allegation that Wear personally and intentionally discharged a firearm causing the death of Rossknecht.  The jury was unable to return a verdict on a special-circumstance allegation that Wear murdered Rossknecht during a robbery. After Wear admitted two prior convictions, one of which was a strike, the trial court sentenced him to 80 years to life in prison.

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. Daniel Cervantes, Defendant and Appellant.(Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6); No. B298077; Filed 1/30/2020; 2020 WL 486867

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 the “felony murder or murder under a 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 resentenced on any remaining counts.”

People v. Arredondo, 2019 WL 6834808 Supreme Court of California, S244166, December 16, 2019

John Arredondo was convicted of lewd acts on child under age 14, lewd act on child under age 16, oral copulation with a child under age 14, and sexual penetration with child under age 14 and was sentenced to 33 years plus 275 years to life in state prison.

Supreme Court grants review

Fish v. Superior Court of San Diego County, 2019 WL 6337434 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2019)

Synopsis:

Mason Fish, charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated filed a petition seeking to prevent trial court from reviewing his psychotherapy treatment records and to require trial court to grant his motion to quash the subpoenas for those records based on the psychotherapist-patient privilege.

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).)

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. KEANDRE DION WINDFIELD et al., Defendants and Appellants. (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 20, 2019, No. E055062) 2019 WL 6974388

Facts: Defendants Harquan Johnson and KeAndre Windfield were each convicted of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, along with gun discharge and gang enhancement allegations as to the murder and attempted murder counts. The charges arose from the shooting of two members of their own gang, the Ramona Blocc Hustlas, resulting in the death of one of them. Both were sentenced to prison for 90 years to life. They appealed raising various claims. In the original opinion, filed August 19, 2014, we affirmed the convictions for both defendants, but reversed Johnson’s sentence pursuant to People v. Gutierrez (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1354, because, as a juvenile at the time of the crime, his sentence of 90 years to life was the functional equivalent of a term of life without possibility of parole and we directed other modifications of the sentence and abstracts of judgment.

On May 26, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its decision in People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261 (Franklin), and retransferred this case to our court with directions to reconsider Johnson’s sentence in light of Franklin. We reconsidered Johnson’s sentencing claim in light of Franklin.

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