Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

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.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. TYRON JACOB TROUT-LACY, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 13, 2019, No. C1882419) 2019 WL 6816928

Summary: Tyron Jacob Trout-Lacy (defendant) fought with his victim, who was high on methamphetamine and had heart disease. Trout-Lacey punched the victim in the face multiple times and slammed his head against the ground. After first responders were called, they restrained the uncooperative victim in an effort to render medical aid. However, the victim and died.

Issue: whether the trial court abused its discretion in concluding, in the context of a victim restitution order, that defendant’s conduct caused the victim’s death. We find no error and affirm.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ADAN RUBIO, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 12, 2019, No. A152455) 2019 WL 6797405

Summary: Police may not break down a door and enter an apartment when the owner refuses to invite them in to investigate after shots were fired in a high crime neighborhood.  The Fourth Amendment requires circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that someone in the apartment stood in need of emergency aid, or that some other exception to the warrant requirement applied. The need to render emergency aid justifies warrantless entry only where officers have “specific and articulable facts” showing that an intrusion into the home was necessary. (People v. Ovieda (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1034, 1043 (Ovieda).) It is not enough that officers seek to rule out “the possibility that someone … might require aid.” (Id. at p. 1047.)

Adan Rubio’s appealed his conviction by plea to possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm (Health & Saf. Code, § 11370.1), a plea entered after the trial court denied his motion to suppress the evidence found in his apartment (Pen. Code, § 1538.5).1 The Court of Appeal concluded that the evidence was gathered in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The Court reversed his conviction and remanded to allow defendant to withdraw his plea.

People v. Tran, 2019 WL 5958335 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2019)

Background:

Robert Tran was convicted of reckless driving, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23103, subdivision (a) and was sentenced to three years’ probation with 30 days in custody.

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.