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Name: People v. Archer
Case #: B130704
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 08/14/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/29/00
Summary

Appellant did not waive his claim of error under People v. Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518, and Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123 by failing to object at trial. When the prosecution moved for introduction of the codefendant’s confession in a redacted form before trial, appellant objected and moved for severance or the impanelment of separate juries, and the codefendant moved to exclude the statement. In the context of the pretrial proceedings, appellant adequately preserved the issue. The confession of the co-defendant was redacted in such a way here that appellant was unmistakably implicated in several aspects of the statement in violation of his Sixth Amendment confrontation right. (See People v. Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518, and Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123.) The strongest evidence in the case was this redacted confession, and a statement by Hernandez that appellant had admitted killing the victim here. However, the trial court also erroneously excluded impeachment evidence tendered by the defense which would have established that Hernandez had also heard appellant deny having committed the killing. Moreover, knives, books and videotapes that were highly inflammatory and irrelevant were also admitted. Where the properly admitted evidence was not overwhelming as to appellant, the Court of Appeal found reversal required because it was reasonably likely that the use of the redacted confession contributed to the conviction. The court concluded it could not find the error to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt as required under Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18. Appellant did not waive his claim of error under People v. Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518, and Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123 by failing to object at trial. When the prosecution moved for introduction of the codefendant’s confession in a redacted form before trial, appellant objected and moved for severance or the impanelment of separate juries, and the codefendant moved to exclude the statement. In the context of the pretrial proceedings, appellant adequately preserved the issue.