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Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

Favor v. Superior Court of San Bernardino County (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 13, 2021, No. E075340) 2021 WL 118005 

Summary: The right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days of arraignment “is absolute absent a defendant’s personal waiver.” (Ramos v. Superior Court (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 719, 729, 53 Cal.Rptr.3d 189.)

Here, Favor agreed to a limited waiver of this right and consented to a new deadline that was 76 days after arraignment. The preliminary hearing was not held by that date, so Favor moved for mandatory dismissal under Penal Code section 859b. The People argue that there can be no limited waiver of the 60-day deadline, so Favor’s waiver was a general one that allowed the preliminary hearing to be set later than he authorized, even without a further waiver.

In re Gadlin Supreme Court of California. December 28, 2020 — P.3d —- 2020 WL 7690154

 Proposition 57- nonviolent felony parole consideration

In 2009, a three-judge federal district court panel ordered the CDCR “to reduce the prisoner population to 137.5% of the adult institution’s total design capacity.” (Coleman v. Schwarzenegger (E.D.Cal. 2009) 922 F.Supp.2d 882, 962; see also Brown v. Plata (2011) 563 U.S. 493, 501–503, 131 S.Ct. 1910, 179 L.Ed.2d 969.) The California Legislature and electorate subsequently enacted several measures aimed to reduce the prison population, including Assembly Bill No. 109 (Stats. 2011, ch. 15, § 482 (2011–2012 Reg. Sess.); criminal realignment) and Proposition 36 (the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000). In February 2014 the federal district court ordered the Department to implement additional measures.

People v. Brooks (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 22, 2020, No. A158988) 2020 WL 7586811, at *1

Summary: Jason Brooks appealed  the denial of a petition seeking recall of his sentence pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.91. Brooks agreed to a stipulated term of years in a plea bargain 13 years ago, and  sought recall of his sentence under section 1170.91, subdivision (b)(1), invoking an amendment to section 1170.91 enacted two years ago. The Court of Appeal upheld the summary denial of his petition.


People v. Gentile, Supreme Court of California, (S256698), December 17, 2020 — P.3d —- 2020 WL 7393491

Aider and abettors and liability under the natural and probable consequences doctrine

An accomplice who aids and abets a crime is liable  for both that crime and any other offense committed that is the natural and probable consequence of the aided and abetted crime. Liability under the natural and probable consequences doctrine can be imposed even if the accomplice did not intend the additional offense. (People v. McCoy (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111, 1117, 108 Cal.Rptr.2d 188, 24 P.3d 1210 (McCoy).

David Peter Moore, Sr., Petitioner, V. The Superior Court of Riverside County, Respondent; THE PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, California. December 11, 2020 — Cal.Rptr.3d —- 2020 WL 7296513

Summary: Vehicle Code section 23640 and its predecessor, Vehicle Code former section 23202, have generally made DUI defendants ineligible for any form of pretrial diversion. In 2018, the Legislature enacted Penal Code section 1001.36, making defendants charged with “a misdemeanor or felony” and who suffer from a qualifying mental health disorder generally eligible for pretrial mental health diversion. (Stats. 2018, ch. 34, § 24.) The Legislature then amended Penal Code section 1001.36 to make defendants charged with murder and other specified offenses categorically ineligible for pretrial mental health diversion. (§ 1001.36, subd. (b)(2); Stats. 2018, ch. 1005, § 1.) But the Legislature did not amend Penal Code section 1001.36 to clarify that DUI defendants are eligible for pretrial mental health diversion, notwithstanding Vehicle Code section 23640.

The issue in this case is one of statutory interpretation: In light of Vehicle Code section 23640, are DUI defendants categorically ineligible for pretrial mental health diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36? In Tellez v. Superior Court (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th 439 (Tellez), the Court  addressed the same question and concluded, based on the legislative history of Penal Code sections 1001.36 and 1001.80 (military diversion), that the Legislature did not intend DUI defendants to be eligible for pretrial mental health diversion under section 1001.36. (Tellez, at pp. 447-448.)

People v. Hall (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 24, 2020, No. A157868) 2020 WL 6882240, at *1–7

Facts:  When Hall was pulled over for a vehicle-equipment violation in 2018, a San Francisco police officer observed in the car “a clear plastic baggie” of what appeared to be marijuana. Police officers the.  searched Hall’s car and found a gun in a closed backpack, resulting in criminal charges against Hall. The trial court denied Hall’s motion to suppress the evidence found in this search.

Proposition 64

In re Canady (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 25, 2020, No. C089363) 2020 WL 6938325, at *1–3

 Summary: Canady filed a writ of habeas corpus in the superior court seeking early parole consideration under Proposition 57, also known as the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Prop. 57). Canady asserted the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) regulation implementing Prop. 57 was inconsistent with the Proposition. The CDCR regulation did not consider conduct credits inmates earned while incarcerated in the calculation of inmates’ nonviolent early parole eligible dates. The superior court agreed with Canady and invalidated the Department’s regulation as contradicting the stated purposes of the Proposition.

The Attorney General appealed from the superior court’s order, arguing that the regulation is consistent with and authorized by the plain language of Prop. 57, which grants broad discretion. The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the order.

People v. Grant (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 12, 2020, No. D076576) 2020 WL 6608321, at *1

 Summary: Kenneth Grant  stole merchandise from a Wilsons Leather outlet store where everything is sold at a discount, determined by applying varying discount percentages to a “comparable value” the store displays on tags attached to each product. At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence showing that the cumulative comparable values of the stolen merchandise exceeded the $950 felony theft threshold. There was no evidence establishing that the comparable values represented the merchandise’s actual fair market values, and the only evidence of actual sales price was for  a few of the stolen products (totaling about $265). The jury found the value of the stolen merchandise exceeded $950, and convicted Grant of grand theft (Pen. Code, § 487, subd. (a))1 and burglary (§ 459). The trial court sentenced Grant  to three years in local custody.

On appeal, Grant contends his grand theft conviction must be reduced to petty theft, and his burglary conviction must be reversed, because (1) the trial court erroneously instructed the jury regarding the definition of fair market value; (2) the trial court failed to instruct the jury regarding the distinction between burglary and misdemeanor shoplifting; and (3) substantial evidence does not support the finding that the value of the stolen merchandise exceeded $950.

People V. O’Hearn (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 9, 2020, No. A158676) 2020 WL 6556592, at *1–2

Patrick Sean O’Hearn appealed from the denial of his motion to vacate a guilty plea to charges of making a criminal threat. The Court of Appeal held that O’Hearn received ineffective assistance of counsel in the in his plea bargain and  reversed and and remanded  with directions for the superior court to conduct a trial on the charges.

The Underlying Offense

People v. Roldan (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 30, 2020, No. B298570) 2020 WL 6375578, at *1

Summary: Marlon Roldan was convicted of second degree murder under an implied malice theory for killing a person while driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). He filed a petition in the superior court for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95. He also requested appointment of counsel. The court found he was ineligible for relief as a matter of law because he was convicted under a theory of direct rather than vicarious liability. The court denied the petition without appointing counsel or holding an evidentiary hearing.

Roldan appealed claiming  that Penal Code section 1170.95 should apply to his conviction for DUI murder, and he should have been appointed counsel to assist with his petition. The Court of appeal disagreed and affirmed the tail court’s ruling.

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