Articles Posted in New Criminal Case Law

Bonds v. Superior Court; D082187; 2/14/24;2024 WL 617245 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Summary: Bonds was charged with a misdemeanor concealed firearm violation filed a motion for relief under the Racial Justice Act. The Superior Court denied the motion and Bonds  filed petition for writ of mandate.The Court of Appeal held that the trial court applied wrong legal standard in denying defendant’s motion for relief under the Racial Justice Act, and statistical studies regarding practices of city’s police department were admissible in determining whether a violation of the Racial Justice Act occurred during traffic stop.

Purpose of The Racial Justice Act

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v.Kevin Eugene CARTWRIGHT, Defendant and Appellant. 317 Cal.Rptr.3d 472

Summary: The Court of Appeal held that police did not conduct a warrantless search when they accessed footage from city’s streetlight cameras that captured defendant’s image.

A jury convicted Cartwright of first degree murder with special circumstances.

Michael Earl MOSBY III, Petitioner, v.The SUPERIOR COURT OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Respondent;The People, Real Party in Interest.

2024 WL 278040 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Summary: Mosby, an African-American defendant who was charged with murder with special circumstances and the prosecutor sought the death penalty,  Mosby petitioned for a writ of mandate directing the Superior Court, Riverside to hold an evidentiary hearing and to vacate its order denying a hearing on, his claim under the Racial Justice Actfor racial discrimination in the charges brought against him.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,v, ESTEBAN JIMENEZ, Defendant and Appellant. D081267:Filed 1/3/2024— Cal.Rptr.3d —

Summary: Jimenez was convicted of evading an officer while driving recklessly (Veh. Code, § 2800.2, subd. (a)) and leaving the scene of an accident (Veh. Code, § 20002, subd. (a)) and found true a prior strike allegation. Jimenez appealedcontending that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for leaving the scene of an accident (“hit and run”) in violation of Vehicle Code section 20002, subdivision (a). The Court of Appeal agreed.

Evidence at Trial

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Christian Steve CAMPOS, Defendant and Appellant.F084307; Filed January 22, 2024

2024 WL 226419 (Cal.App. 5 Dist.), 1

Summary: Campos contends electronic information evidence introduced in his murder trial should have been suppressed because he was not properly notified of its acquisition by the government pursuant to the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Pen. Code, § 1546 et seq.; CalECPA). Although the government did not properly notify Campos pursuant to the CalECPA, suppression is unwarranted.

People v. Saldana (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1270 [316 Cal.Rptr.3d 319, 321–326]

Summary: In 2013, Saldana was found guilty of possession for sale of a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11378) and he was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison as a three strikes offender. At the time, the trial court imposed and stayed four prior prison term enhancements found true under Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b).

Years later, defense counsel moved to strike the four prior prison term enhancements under section 1172.75 and requested a full resentencing under that statute and People v. Buycks (2018) 5 Cal.5th 857, 236 Cal.Rptr.3d 84, 422 P.3d 531. The trial court applied section 1172.75 to strike the previously stayed enhancements but declined to conduct a full resentencing due to the enhancements’ status as stayed.

Jeanette SARMIENTO, Petitioner, v.The SUPERIOR COURT OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Respondent;The People, Real Party in Interest. D082443; Filed January 9, 20242024 WL 94326 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.), 1

Summary: Sarmiento requested mental health diversion (Pen. Code, § 1001.361) after being charged with  attempted robbery. Sarmiento had handed a liquor store clerk a note written in lipstick on a napkin saying, “Let me get the money.” The store employees did not give her any money but called 911.

A psychiatric evaluation submitted in support of Sarmiento’s request for diversion diagnosed her as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and stimulant use disorder specific to methamphetamine. The PTSD  was a result of  years of sexual trauma she suffered as a child and adolescent.  Sarmiento never received treatment for her foundational mental health diagnoses of PTSD and depression, and she self-medicated. Her failure to address the foundational mental health issues led to relapse and a resumption of criminal behavior.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent v.DEMETRIUS COLEMAN,Defendant and Appellant. A165198; Filed 1/5/20242024 WL 64082 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.)

Summary: A defense attorney’sadvice to a defendant to speak in his or her own voice when he or she testifies does not indicate bias or animus toward a defendant because of his or her race, ethnicity, or national origin. The California Racial Justice Act of 2020 (RJA) (Stats. 2020, ch. 317) is not violated when a testifying defendant follows an attorney’s advice to speak authentically and in his normal manner, even if the result is that the defendant testifies using slang terms, a certain accent, or a certain linguistic style.

Coleman was convicted by a jury of first degree murder with special circumstances that the murder was intentional and perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle (Pen. Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 190.2, subd. (a)(21))1 and an enhancement for personally and intentionally discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury or death. (§ 12022.53, subd. (d).)

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Francisco Andres ALVAREZ, Defendant and Appellant.

2023 WL 9014911 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.), 1

 Summary: In Mitchell v. Wisconsin (2019) 588 U.S. –––– [139 S.Ct. 2525] (Mitchell),  the United States Supreme Court held when a “driver is unconscious and therefore cannot be given a breath test … the exigent-circumstances rule almost always permits a blood test without a warrant.” (Id. at p. 2531 (plur. opn. of Alito, J.).)

Adam WALSWORTH, Petitioner, v.The SUPERIOR COURT OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest.C098517; Filed December 20, 2023

2023 WL 8797474 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.), 1

Summary: The Court of Appeal directed the  respondent court to issue an order granting  Walsworth’s motion to dismiss his case. He was denied the statutory right to a speedy trial, and there was no good cause for the undue delay.

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