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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.

People v. Perez (Cal. Ct. App., May 2, 2022, No. B300396) 2022 WL 1302282, at *1

Summary: Appellants Perez,Rosas and Sanchez engaged in a fist fight with two men outside of a liquor store in the middle of the day. During the fight, Perez retrieved a gun from his car and fired at the two men as they ran into a busy street. Perez’s shots missed the men, but struck three passing vehicles, including a four-year-old boy in the backseat of his mother’s car. Appellants challenge the application of the natural and probable consequences doctrine to Rosas’s and Sanchez’s convictions. The Coirt of Appeal held the attempted murder must be reversed

Senate Bill 1437 and the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RONALD RAY ANDERSON, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 28, 2022, No. A162633) 2022 WL 1261422, at *1

Summary: Anderson was convicted of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of robbery, and one count of burglary, and sentenced to 25 years to life. He appealed the denial of his Penal Code section 1170.95 petition, Anderson argued that the trial court erred by admitting in the section 1170.95 evidentiary hearing, testimony from Anderson’s parole suitability hearings. He argued that the testimony should have been excluded under People v. Coleman (1975) 13 Cal.3d 867 (Coleman). The Court of Appeal concluded that Anderson has not established that the trial court erred in considering testimony from his parole suitability hearings.

1170.95 petition

In re L.J. (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 30, 2021, No. A161118) 2021 WL 5578276

Summary: Juvenile defendant came within Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction for reckless evasion of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. The juvenile was committed to county institution until earliest of age of 21 or maximum custody time of six years and eight months and ordered to participate in treatment program, and Juvenile defendant appealed.

The Court of Appeal  agreed  that the punishment on the reckless evasion of police count must be stayed under section 654 because it is based on the same indivisible course of conduct with the same intent and objective as the assault counts. But the statute concerning offenses punishable in different ways by different provisions of law did not prohibit juvenile defendant from being punished for both assault convictions.

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. OSCAR CUADRA, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 5, 2021, No. B310554) 2021 WL 5149775, at *1–3

Summary:  Cuadra was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of Penal Code section 29800, subdivision (a)(1).   Before pleading no contest, Cuadra  filed a motion to suppress the firearm evidence under Penal Code section 1538.5 as the fruit of an unlawful detention. On appeal Cuadra  argued that the trial court erred when it denied the motion.The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed.


People v. Sands (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 12, 2021, No. A160973) 2021 WL 4739531, at *1–2

Summary: Sands was 24 years old when he committed a special circumstance murder (Pen. Code §§ 187, 190.2, subd. (a)(10)), and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He filed a motion in the superior court, seeking to develop a record of mitigating circumstances for an eventual youth offender parole hearing (see People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261, 202 Cal.Rptr.3d 496, 370 P.3d 1053 (Franklin)). The trial court denied Sands’s motion, and he appeals. Having been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a crime he committed after the age of 18, he is statutorily ineligible for a youth offender parole hearing (§ 3051, subd. (h)) but argues that the statutory exclusion violates his rights to equal protection.  The Court of Appeal  disagreed and affirmed.

Youth Offender Parole Hearings

People v. Fultz (Cal. Ct. App., Sept. 27, 2021, No. C088566) 2021 WL 4398649, at *1–2

Summary: Based on the government’s conduct throughout the investigation and trial, the trial court rejected the prosecution’s innocent explanations for the constitutional violations. The trial court then dismissed the case against Fultz finding there was no possibility he could receive a fair trial considering the nature of the evidence against him and the violations surrounding his accomplices’ pleas and interviews.

This People’s appeal concerns the gamesmanship the prosecutor can engage in during a criminal prosecution before that gamesmanship is so unconstitutional the pending murder charge against a defendant must be dismissed because no fair trial could possibly be held. The standard for dismissal is high. (United States v. Morrison (1981) 449 U.S. 361, 365, 101 S.Ct. 665, [66 L.Ed.2d 564, 568-569] [“Our approach has thus been to identify and then neutralize the taint by tailoring relief appropriate in the circumstances to assure the defendant the effective assistance of counsel and a fair trial. The premise of our prior cases is that the constitutional infringement identified has had or threatens some adverse effect upon the effectiveness of counsel’s representation or has produced some other prejudice to the defense. Absent such impact on the criminal proceeding, however, there is no basis for imposing a remedy [of dismissal] in that proceeding, which can go forward with full recognition of the defendant’s right to counsel and to a fair trial”].)

People v. Lewis (Cal., July 26, 2021, No. S260598) 2021 WL 3137434, at *1

Summary: The California Supreme Court reviewed Senate Bill No. 1437 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1015; Senate Bill 1437) which eliminated natural and probable consequences liability for murder and limited the scope of the felony murder rule. (Pen. Code, §§ 188, subd. (a)(3), 189, subd. (e), as amended by Senate Bill 1437.) Senate Bill 1437 also added section 1170.95 to the Penal Code,1 which creates a procedure for convicted murderers who could not be convicted under the law as amended to retroactively seek relief.

In this case, the court decided two issues.

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