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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: S124003
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/28/2005

When a jury makes a visit to a crime scene during trial, and then during deliberations receives permission to make a second visit, the defendant and his counsel have a right under California law to be present during the second visit as well as the first. The trial court and the Court of Appeal had ruled that the defendant was not entitled to be present when the jury visited the crime scene during deliberations because such a visit was akin to a re-examination of exhibits during deliberations. The Supreme Court disagreed with the analogy, noting the danger of the jury observing new or improper evidence during a crime scene visit. The court, over two dissents, found the error prejudicial under the Watson standard.