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Since 1985
San Francisco Traffic Law Clinic
  • SF’s largest and longest running traffic law firm
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Since 1985 San Francisco Traffic Law Clinic

 THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RAFAEL CAMPBELL, Defendant and Appellant. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ANTHONY B. PRICE, Defendant and Appellant. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. STEPHON ANTHONY, Defendant and Appellant. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. SAMUEL FLOWERS, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., June 30, 2023, No. A162472) 2023 WL 4286790, at *22–23

Appellants Price, Campbell and Flowers contend that they were entitled to relief under section 1172.6 from their convictions of evading a police officer proximately causing death under Vehicle Code section 2800.3, subdivision (b). Appellants argued that these convictions were, in effect, murder convictions that were based on the same facts and natural and probable consequences theory as the second degree murder convictions and did not require personal intent to kill.

 1172.6 provides resentencing relief for defendants convicted of murder, attempted murder and manslaughter but not for violations of Vehicle Code section 2800.3, subdivision (b).

NICHOLAS YEDINAK, Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Respondent; THE PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. (Cal. Ct. App., June 23, 2023, No. E080685) 2023 WL 4144994

Summary: Yedinak petitioned for a writ of mandate challenging the trial judge’s order denying him bail. He argues the order fails to satisfy the legal requirements for pretrial detention articulated in article I, section 12, subdivision (b) of the California Constitution (section 12(b)) and In re Humphrey (2021) 11 Cal.5th 135 (Humphrey).

Yedinak was charged with two counts of felony child abuse based on allegations he inflicted severe, non-accidental injuries to his six-week-old son. Yedinak had been out on bail for  two years and nine months making each court appearance and living in the community without incident. After his preliminary hearing, the judge issued a pretrial detention order based on a finding that other children in the community would probably not be safe if Yedinak were released pending trial, given the violent nature of the charged crimes.

Raju v. Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco (Cal. Ct. App., June 8, 2023, No. A164736) 2023 WL 3883099, at *1–10

Summary: Manohar Raju and other plaintiffs appealed a judgment dismissing their taxpayer action against the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (defendant court), Plaintiffs brought a taxpayer-standing cause of action for declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy alleged violations of Penal Code provisions that impose a duty on the courts to expedite criminal proceedings, by prioritizing them over civil cases, and to follow specific procedural steps before a criminal trial may be continued beyond statutory time limits.

The trial court sustained the demurrer pursuant to Ford v. Superior Court (1986) 188 Cal.App.3d 737 (Ford), which held that one department of a superior court may not restrain the implementation of a judgment entered by another department in a prior action. The Court of Appeal found that Ford is not relevant to the taxpayer cause of action and reversed the judgment.

In re Van Houten (Cal. Ct. App., May 30, 2023, No. B320098) 2023 WL 3712946, at *1

Summary: Van Houten petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus challenging Governor Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2020 grant of parole. Van Houten is serving concurrent sentences of seven years to life for the 1969 murders of Rosemary and Leno La Bianca, which she committed with other members of a cult led by Charles Manson. This is the fourth time a governor has reversed Van Houten’s parole.

The Governor found inadequate Van Houten’s explanation of how she fell under Manson’s influence and engaged in her life crimes. The Governor further found that recent statements Van Houten made were inconsistent with statements she made at the time of the killings, indicating “gaps in Ms. Van Houten’s insight or candor, or both.”  Van Houten’s most recent criminal risk assessment found her at low risk for violent recidivism, but the Governor found several “historical factors” identified in that assessment “remain salient” to Van Houten’s current dangerousness.

Garcia v. Superior Court of Riverside County (Cal. Ct. App., May 30, 2023, No. E080436) 2023 WL 3718448, at *1

Summary: Garcia was diagnosed as having porphyria, a rare condition that is potentially fatal, especially if not properly treated. During an attack of porphyria, the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight; sun exposure can cause burning pain and blisters.

Garcia while awaiting trial on charges including murder made a series of requests in that case, for testing, evaluation, treatment, and preventive measures to deal with his porphyria. The trial Judge Anthony R. Villalobos denied Garcia’s ex parte application for multiple measures — including being given protective clothing, being kept out of direct sunlight, and being transported only in air-conditioned vehicles with tinted windows.

People v. Cooper (Cal., May 25, 2023, No. S273134) 2023 WL 3637806

Summary: Cooper  was convicted of first degree murder with gang and firearm enhancements. He appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction and the California Supreme Court granted review . The Supreme Court held that trial court’s error was not harmless in failing to provide jury instruction that alleged predicate offenses must have commonly benefited gang in more than reputational manner.

Assembly Bill 333

In the Supreme Court of CaliforniaMiguel Angel Estrada, Petitioner, v.The Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest. Andrew Kuhaiki, Petitioner, v. The Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest. PETITION FOR REVIEW of the decision of the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District Division One, Nos. A166474, A166508

 Summary: Following the covid-19  lockdown, the San Francisco Superior Court reopened all of its criminal  trial courtrooms in June 2021. However, during  the thirteen months that followed, it operated these courtrooms at only 56 percent capacity. And in mid-2022, trial courtrooms  we’re closed on 176 occasions due to judges’ vacations, which  had become the leading cause for closed courtrooms. The superior court’s backlog grew by forty percent since reopening. The superior court held that the covid-19 pandemic justified continuing petitioners’ trials past their statutory deadlines in July and August 2022. On the days of the continuances,  multiple courtrooms were closed because of judges’ vacations and routine absences.  In denying a petition filed by the San Francisco Public Defender, thd Court of Appeal upheld the good cause finding.

Public Defender Files for Review in Supreme Court

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. VONDETRICK CARR, Defendant and Appellant. (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 7, 2023, No. E079368) 2023 WL 2820859, at *1

Summary: Carr drove drunk with four children in his car, hitting a pickup truck. One of the children was killed and Carr was convicted of second degree murder. Car was sentenced to a 51 years, 4 months to life in prison.

In 2021, Carr filed a petition to vacate the murder conviction under Penal Code section 1172.6. The trial court denied the petition because Carr was not convicted either on a natural and probable consequences theory or under the felony murder rule.

People v. Vaca (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 30, 2023, No. A164953) 2023 WL 2706473, at *1

Summary: Vaca successfully moved under Penal Code section 1473.7 to vacate his conviction and withdraw his no contest plea. He appealed from the trial court’s order denying his motion to dismiss the criminal complaint against him under the same statute. Vaca contends that, after the trial court granted his motion to vacate his conviction under section 1473.7, the statute required dismissal of the underlying criminal complaint filed against him. The Court of Appeal. disagreed and affirmed the court’s order.

Trial court proceedings and motion to vacate the conviction and withdraw the plea under Penal Code Section 1473.7

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