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Name: People v. Muhammad
Case #: B160121
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/29/2003
Subsequent History: None
Summary

The trial court did not have the inherent authority to impose a $1,500 fine upon the prosecutor as a sanction for misuse of peremptory challenges in violation of People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258. Although the Wheeler violation was supported, a monetary sanction against an attorney can only be imposed when authorized by statute. Here, the statute the court purported to invoke, Code of Civil Procedure, section 177.5, requires violation of a court order, and here no such order existed. The court suggested that since Wheeler issues are usually raised more than once during jury selection, a court should make an order notifying counsel that monetary sanctions will be imposed if peremptory challenges are improperly used, if the court wished to preserve that option.