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Name: People v. Cardenas
Case #: B190463
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 07/17/2007

The fact that the prosecutor distrusts a juror or finds the juror’s responses not credible is a sufficiently race-neutral reason for using a peremptory challenge. (Hernandez v. New York (1991) 500 U.S. 352.) By jury trial, appellant was convicted of robbery of a former co-worker who he believed played a role in appellant’s termination from his employment. At the trial, the issue of the use of an interpreter arose. Specifically, the jurors were asked if they spoke Spanish and if they did, if their understanding of the Spanish-speaking witness differed from that provided by the interpreter, if they could accept only the interpreter’s translation. When the prosecutor excused two of the jurors who said it would be difficult to do so, the defense challenged the action as a possible Wheeler violation. (People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258.) Additionally, under the authority of People v. Black (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1238, the court sentenced appellant to the upper term, finding the robbery to be planned and sophisticated. The appellate court rejected the People’s argument that since appellant had prior misdemeanor convictions, the court hypothetically could have imposed the upper term so there was no error. The cause was remanded with directions to conduct a new sentencing hearing and sentence appellant in accordance with law.