Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

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. Bay, 2019 WL 4564854 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.), 1 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 2019)

The Stop and Search

A Napa County Sheriff’s deputy was on patrol at 2:00 a.m. on September 9, 2017, when he noticed a Cadillac SUV parked illegally near a popular overlook. The deputy approached and saw three people in the vehicle, including Bay, in the driver’s seat. When asked what they were doing, Bay said “they were just sitting there looking at the view and asked … if they were doing something wrong.” The deputy cited a no-parking sign and asked Bay for identification. Bey had none and provided a false name. Knowing that Bay was on post-release community supervision (PRCS) and subject to a warrantless search, the deputy asked him to get out of the vehicle.

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.

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. 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. 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.

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

Trial Court may impose additional release conditions even after a defendant has posted bail

In re Webb, 2019 WL 2220410, S247074,May 23, 2019

Bettie Webb was arrested and charged with two felony counts of bringing controlled substances in to state prion and unauthorized possession of a controlled substance in a prison. She posted $50,000 bail and was released from custody. At arraignment, she pleaded not guilty to the charges. Over her objection, the court imposed, as an additional condition of release, that she waive her Fourth Amendment right to be free of warrantless or unreasonable searches.