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The Berkeley City Council approved a measure that would create a new Department of Transportation and remove police from traffic stops. The use of unarmed public works officials to enforce traffic laws is aimed at reducing racial profiling and  law enforcement contacts that can escalate into violence, especially for Black drivers.

The Berkeley City Council measure removing  traffic from law enforcement is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is likely to be emulated as other cities adopt public safety reforms following the death of George Floyd in May.

Studies have shown Black motorists are much more likely to be stopped by police than whites for minor traffic infractions that turn fatal. For example,  Philando Castile, 32, was shot and killed after he was pulled over for a busted tail light during a traffic stop in 2016 in Minnesota. Sandra Bland, 28, died in a jail cell three days after being stopped for failing to signal when changing lanes in Texas in 2015.

The People, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Lula Sophia Gong Cotsirilos et al., Defendants and Respondents., 2020 WL 3396240 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2020)

Summary:

Two defendants cited for underage alcohol infractions filed a motion  to suppress the evidence. The prosecution did not file an opposition or appear at the suppression hearing but did subpoena the two investigating officers. The superior court granted the suppression motions based solely on the People’s failure to respond or appear. The appellate division of the superior court agreed, concluding that while no written opposition was required, the People’s failure to respond or appear compelled suppression.

People v. Hughes, 2020 WL 3071948 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., E069445; Filed 06/10/2020)

Facts:

After drinking, Michael Dwayne Hughes hit a PT Cruiser whose driver failed to yield to him, killing the driver and her two children, who were passengers. Hughes, who had a prior conviction for driving under the influence, was charged with three counts of murder, on the theory he knew the risk of driving while intoxicated but drove anyway.

People v. Lopez, 2020 WL 1163518; C080065 (Cal.App. 3 Dist., 2020)

Summary:

Sharon Darlene Lopez appealed the trial court’s denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless blood draw after her arrest for driving under the influence of a controlled substance. The officer instructed Lopez that she was required to submit to a blood draw under the state’s implied consent law, but he did not provide her with the law’s admonitions regarding the consequences should she refuse the test. Lopez did not object or resist, and the draw was performed without a warrant. The trial court concluded defendant consented to the test. The Court of Appeal concluded that substantial evidence supports the court’s ruling, and affirmed the judgment.

The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Daniel Cervantes, Defendant and Appellant.(Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6); No. B298077; Filed 1/30/2020; 2020 WL 486867

Re-sentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95

Penal Code section 1170.95, subdivision (a) provides that , a person convicted of first degree or second degree murder  under the “felony murder or murder under a natural and probable consequences theory may file a petition with the court that sentenced the petitioner to have petitioner’s murder conviction vacated and to be resentenced on any remaining counts.”

People v. Taylor (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 6, 2020, No. B293881) 2020 WL 5698

 Summary:  A jury convicted  Isaac Taylor of kidnapping to commit robbery as well as of the robbery itself.  Taylor used a gun to back David Ho four steps towards a dark alley, where Taylor took Ho’s wallet. Based on Ho’s four steps backwards, the jury convicted Taylor of kidnapping. The Court of Appeal reversed the kidnapping conviction.

Penal code section 209- kidnapping to commit robbery-aggravated kidnapping

People v. Lewis, 2020 WL 57841 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.) (Cal.App. 2 Dist., 2020)

 Appeal of trial court denial of petition for re-sentencing without appointment of counsel

 Defendant Vincent E. Lewis was convicted of first degree premeditated murder in 2012, his conviction was  affirmed on appeal in 2014. In January 2019, defendant filed a petition for resentencing under Penal Code 2 section 1170.95 and requested the appointment of counsel. The trial court, relying on the court of Appeal  decision in determined that defendant was ineligible for relief and denied the petition without appointing counsel or holding a hearing. Defendant appealed.

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

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.

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