skip to Main Content

Whether the Trial Court’s Failure to Appoint Substitute Counsel Deprived Defendant of the Effective Assistance of Counsel

Did the trial court deprive defendant of effective assistance of counsel by failing to appoint substitute counsel to evaluate and potentially argue defendant’s pro. per. motion to dismiss after appointed counsel refused to consider the motion based on an asserted conflict in arguing her own ineffective assistance of counsel?  

Case: People v. Carter (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 739, review granted 3/1/2023
Case Number: S278262/C094949
Updated: March 1, 2023
Read more

Equal Protection Clause Challenge to Penal Code Section 3051

Does Penal Code section 3051, subdivision (h), violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by excluding young adults sentenced to life without the possibility of parole from youth offender parole consideration, while young adults sentenced to parole-eligible terms are entitled to such consideration? Review on this issue has also been granted with briefing deferred in: People v. Garcia…

Case: People v. Hardin (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 273, review granted 1/11/2023
Case Number: S277487/B315434
Updated: April 19, 2023
Read more

Confrontation Clause–Admitting Codefendant’s Redacted Confession that Inculpates a Defendant

Whether admitting a codefendant's redacted out-of-court confession that immediately inculpates a defendant based on the surrounding context violates the defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.

Case: Samia v. United States, cert. granted 12/13/2022
Case Number: 22-196 / Second Circuit 18-3074
Updated: December 13, 2022
Read more

Level of Scrutiny for Determination of SVPA Equal Protection Violation

What level of scrutiny applies in determining whether the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) violates equal protection because it does not require an advisement or personal waiver of a jury trial as afforded in other civil commitment statutes?

Case: People v. Cannon (2002) 85 Cal.App.5th  786, review granted 2/15/2023
Case Number: S277995/A163083
Updated: February 15, 2023
Read more

Whether Eighth Amendment Requires Finding that a Juvenile is Permanently Incorrigible Before Imposing an LWOP Sentence

Whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole. Held: "Under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. 460, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012), an individual who commits a homicide when he or she is under 18 may be sentenced to life…

Case: Jones v. Mississippi (2021) __ U.S.__ [141 S.Ct. 1307]
Case Number: 18-1259
Updated: April 22, 2021
Read more

Excessive Fines Clause Applicable to States

Whether the Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment. Held: The Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause is an "incorporated" protection applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. Timbs pleaded guilty in Indiana state court to drug charges. Indiana sought civil forfeiture of his vehicle, valued at $42,000, which was over…

Case: Timbs v. Indiana (2019) __ U.S. __ [139 S.Ct. 682]
Case Number: 17-1091
Updated: February 20, 2019
Read more

Admission of Evidence and the Confrontation Clause

Whether, or under what circumstances, a criminal defendant who opens the door to responsive evidence also forfeits his right to exclude evidence otherwise barred by the Confrontation Clause.  In 2006, a stray 9-millimeter bullet killed a 2-year-old child in the Bronx. The State charged Nicholas Morris with the murder, but after trial commenced, it offered him a plea deal for…

Case: Hemphill v. New York (2022) __ U.S.__ [142 S.Ct. 681]
Case Number: 20-637
Updated: January 20, 2022
Read more