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Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

People v. McCallum (Cal. Ct. App., Sept. 30, 2020, No. B301267) 2020 WL 5810212, at *1

Resentencing under Penal Code 1170(d)(1)

Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (d)(1) authorizes the trial court to modify a defendant’s sentence upon a recommendation from the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Department), the Board of Parole Hearings, or the district attorney to “recall the sentence and commitment previously ordered and resentence the defendant in the same manner as if they had not previously been sentenced ….”

People v. D.C. (Cal. Ct. App., Sept. 16, 2020, No. F078629) 2020 WL 5542090, at *1–5

Summary:

D.C. petitioned to seal his arrest record under Penal Code section 851.91 after pleading no contest to possession of a controlled substance and successfully completing treatment and probation pursuant to section 1210.1.the trial court ruled that he was ineligible for relief under section 851.91. D.C. appealed claiming he  qualifies for relief under section 851.91 as a person whose arrest did not result in a conviction because his arrest and conviction are deemed never to have occurred pursuant to section 1210.1, subdivision (e)(1).

People v. Cooper (Cal. Ct. App., Sept. 1, 2020, No. A156880) 2020 WL 5175210

 Summary:

Cooper was convicted by no contest plea of one count of second degree murder and filed petition for resentencing, alleging he pleaded no contest because he had faced possibility of conviction of first or second degree murder under felony murder or natural and probable consequences theory. The Superior Court, Alameda County, denied the petition without appointing counsel. Cooper appealed and the  Court of Appeal, Humes,  held that:

People v. DelRio (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 31, 2020, No. B298637) 2020 WL 5104917

Facts:

DelRio and his cousin Raul Prieto had a gunfight in front of a house on a cul-de-sac. Prieto shot his nine-millimeter pistol 15 times but missed every time. DelRio fired his .40-caliber pistol twice and each bullet hit Prieto. Each shot was fatal.

The State Supreme Court posted an order on the docket of In re Humphrey (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 1006, pending as # S247278, making Part III of the Court of Appeal decision in the case legal precedent. That part of the  appellate opinion holds that due process requires consideration of the defendant’s financial circumstances in setting conditions of release. And it holds that bail schedules cannot be used by the court in setting conditions for release of a defendant when pretrial detention is not required.

Background of the case in San Francisco Superior Court

Humphrey, a retired shipyard laborer, then 63 years of age and a lifelong resident of San Francisco was arrested and charged with first degree robbery (Pen. Code, § 211),3 first degree residential burglary (§ 459), inflicting injury (but not great bodily injury) on an elder and dependent adult (§ 368, subd. (c)), and theft from an elder or dependent adult, charged as a misdemeanor. (§ 368, subd. (d).)

People v. McGee, 2020 WL 4783643 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.); filed 7/28/20; published 8/18/20

Facts and Procedural Background

 On July 28, 2018, Stockton Police Officers initiated a traffic stop of McGee’s car after noticing its registration had expired. The officers noted the scent of unburned marijuana. McGee denied having any marijuana in the car. But an officer saw an unsealed bag of marijuana in the passenger’s cleavage. The officers  informed McGee they were going to search the car. McGee did not consent to a search. The bag of marijuana was seized from the passenger. A zipped purse on the passenger floorboard was searched for  “anything illegal, any contraband that could be in the vehicle.” A loaded handgun was seized from the purse.

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.

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