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People, v Paul 318 Cal.Rptr.3d 142

 Summary:  Paul pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm with a prior violent conviction (Pen. Code, § 29900, subd. (a)(1)) after the trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence of a firearm pursuant to Penal Code section 1538.5. Paul argues that the trial court should have excluded evidence of the firearm because officers discovered it only after they obtained his parole status by unlawfully detaining him.

The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment, vacated the court’s order denying Paul’s motion to suppress evidence, and remanded.

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.

People v. Esparza (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 28, 2023, No. D080703) 2023 WL 6224964, as modified (Sept. 26, 2023)

Summary: Esparza was pulled over for a Vehicle Code violation, a detective who specializes in gang enforcement recognized him and two of his passengers as gang members.  The detective thought one of the passengers was likely to be armed and told the other officers they needed to search him. After the search of the passenger disclosed a loaded gun. The officers then searched Esparza and found another loaded weapon.

Esparza contests the constitutional validity of his detention and search, claiming (1) the officers lacked reasonable suspicion that he was armed and dangerous when they conducted his patdown, and (2) his detention was unreasonably prolonged because it lasted longer than necessary for the officers to issue him a citation for the Vehicle Code violation.  The Court of Appeal noted that the detention lasted only seven minutes, during which the officers acted consistent with reasonable concerns for officer safety. The totality of the circumstances known to the initial investigating officer justified those concerns. The Court affirmed.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. THOMAS WHITMILL, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 23, 2022, No. B318582) 2022 WL 17883593 

 Summary: Sixty-one-year-old Whitmill appealed the denial of his pretrial motion for mental health diversion of his criminal prosecution. He argued that because he is an honorably discharged veteran who suffers from a severe mental disorder, he meets the eligibility requirements for pretrial mental health diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erred when it denied Whitmill’s motion and remanded to the trial court with instructions to grant the motion for diversion.

The United States Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen (2022) 142 S. Ct. 2111 renders possession of a concealed firearm and criminalizing carrying a loaded firearm on your person or in a vehicle in any public place or on a public street and (California Penal Code sections 25400(a) and 25850(a)) unconstitutional under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

§ 25400(a)(1) and 25850(a) fail Bruen’s Second Amendment test.

The Bruen court reiterated the proper standard for applying the Second Amendment: When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. The test “requires courts to assess whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.”

People v. Murphy (Cal. Ct. App., June 30, 2022, No. B306773) 2022 WL 2352782, at *1

Summary:Murphy appealed from his three convictions for second degree murder. (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a).).1 Murphy argued that evidence supporting his convictions is insufficient because the prosecution failed to prove he acted with implied malice when, while under the influence of marijuana, he drove his car at nearly 90 miles per hour through a red light and collided with another vehicle, killing its occupants.

The court concluded that sufficient evidence supported the jury’s verdict. There is nocommonly administered and standardized medical test equivalent to the blood alcohol concentration test that accurately determines a person’s level of impairment from lipophilic, psychoactive drugs such as marijuana. However, there was substantial evidence that at the time of the accident Murphy was impaired from using marijuana. There was also substantial evidence that Murphy acted with implied malice both when he smoked marijuana with the intent to drive, and when he drove in a manner that demonstrated a conscious disregard for human life.

People v. Padilla (Cal., May 26, 2022, No. S263375) 2022 WL 1672203, at *1

Summary: In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 57, a measure that amended the law governing the punishment of juvenile offenses in adult criminal court by requiring hearings to determine whether the offenses should instead be heard in juvenile court. Adjudicatng theseoffenses in juvenile court typically results in less severe punishment for the juvenile offender. (People v. Superior Court (Lara) (2018) 4 Cal.5th 299, 306–307, 228 Cal.Rptr.3d 394, 410 P.3d 22 (Lara).)

“New laws that reduce the punishment for a crime are presumptively to be applied to defendants whose judgments are not yet final.” (People v. Conley (2016) 63 Cal.4th 646, 656, (Conley), citing In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740, (Estrada).) The retroactivity rule extends to all “nonfinal judgments.” (People v. Esquivel (2021) 11 Cal.5th 671, 677, (Esquivel).) Proposition 57 “ameliorated the possible punishment for a class of persons, namely juveniles.” (Lara, supra, 4 Cal.5th at p. 308.) “Estrada’s inference of retroactivity applies” to the proposition’s juvenile provisions, making those provisions applicable to all cases in which the judgment was not final when the proposition went into effect. (Lara, at p. 309,.)

ALICIA URBIETA ISLAS, Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Respondent; THE PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. (Cal. Ct. App., May 20, 2022, No. H049445) 2022 WL 1597051, at *1–3

Summary: Islas was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). (Veh. Code, § 23152, subds. (a) and (b).) She moved for pretrial diversion under Penal Code section 1001.95, which gives judges discretion to offer diversion to misdemeanor defendants. The trial court denied diversion based on Vehicle Code section 23640, under which DUI defendants are categorically ineligible for diversion. Two appellate courts have published decisions finding misdemeanor DUI defendants similarly situated to petitioner categorically ineligible for Penal Code section 1001.95 diversion. (Grassi v. Superior Court (2021) 73 Cal.App.5th 283 (Grassi); Tan v. Superior Court (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 130 (Tan).) We agree with the reasoning in those authorities and will therefore deny the petition for writ of mandate.

Issue: Whether misdemeanor DUI defendants are categorically ineligible from Penal Code section 1001.95 diversion by operation of Vehicle Code section 23640.

People v. Henderson (Cal. Ct. App., May 11, 2022, No. C088883) 2022 WL 1485820, at *1

Summary: Henderson was convicted of one count of second degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187)1 and one count of attempted murder (§§ 664/187) and found true enhancement allegations that defendant personally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death (§ 12022.53, subd. (d)) as to each count. The trial court sentenced defendant to serve an aggregate determinate term of seven years plus an aggregate indeterminate prison term of 65 years to life.

On appeal, Henderson contends: (1) the trial court prejudicially abused its discretion and violated his federal constitutional right to a jury drawn from a representative cross-section of the community by excusing two African-American prospective jurors for cause based on their stated belief that the criminal justice system treats African-Americans unfairly and because they were sympathetic towards him.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RODRIGO FUENTES, JR., Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., May 12, 2022, No. E075745) 2022 WL 1498334, at *1

Summary:Fuentes was convicted of both : (1) fleeing a police officer while driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property (wanton disregard while fleeing) pursuant to Vehicle Code section 2800.2; and (2) resisting a police officer pursuant to Penal Code section 148, subdivision (a)(1).

On appeal, He raised an issue of first impression, contending that resisting a police officer is a lesser included offense of wanton disregard while fleeing. The court of appeal held that resisting a police officer is not a lesser included offense of wanton disregard while fleeing.

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