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Sufficient Evidence for Second Degree Murder Conviction Based on Failure to Protect

Does sufficient evidence support defendant’s conviction for second degree murder based on a failure to protect? (People v. Collins (Mar. 30, 2023, B322744) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 7/19/2023 (S279737).) [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal concluded there was sufficient evidence to permit a rational juror to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant (the infant victim’s mother) by inaction and…

Case: People v. Collins (Mar. 30, 2023, B322744) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 7/19/2023
Case Number: S279737/B322744
Updated: August 9, 2023
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Whether Conviction for Human Trafficking of a Minor (PC 236.1, subd. (c)(1)) was Proper Where Defendant was Communicating with Adult Police Officer

Did the Court of Appeal err in reversing defendant's conviction for human trafficking of a minor (Pen. Code, § 236.1, subd. (c)(1)) on the ground that defendant was communicating with an adult police officer posing as a minor rather than an actual minor? Opinion By: Justice Corrigan (unanimous decision) A defendant may be convicted of human trafficking of a minor under…

Case: People v. Moses (2020) 10 Cal.5th 893
Case Number: S258143
Updated: December 28, 2020
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Burglary Tools–Pliers

Did the Court of Appeal err in holding that a pair of pliers, which the defendant used to remove an anti-theft device from a pair of blue jeans in a department store, qualified as a burglary tool within the meaning of Penal Code section 466? Held: Criminal liability for possession of burglary tools requires a showing the defendant intended to…

Case: In re H.W. (2019) 6 Cal.5th 1028
Case Number: S237415
Updated: March 28, 2019
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Deadly or Dangerous Weapons–Butter Knife

Can a butter knife with a rounded end and a serrated edge qualify as a deadly or dangerous weapon under Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1)? Held: Insufficient evidence supported juvenile court's finding that minor violated Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1) because there was no substantial evidence the minor's use of a butter knife was likely to cause great…

Case: In re B.M. (2018) 6 Cal.5th 530
Case Number: S242153
Updated: December 27, 2018
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Forgery–Determining Value of Uncashed Forged Check

For the purpose of the distinction between felony and misdemeanor forgery, is the value of an uncashed forged check the face value (or stated value) of the check or only the intrinsic value of the paper it is printed on? Held: The value of a forged check is the amount written on the check. In July 2012, Franco was found in…

Case: People v. Franco (2018) 6 Cal.5th 434
Case Number: S233973
Updated: December 10, 2018
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Must Gang Enhancements Be Vacated Based on Changes Made By AB 333

Must any of defendant's sentencing enhancements be vacated due to recent statutory changes requiring that the offenses necessary to establish a " 'pattern of criminal gang activity' . . . commonly benefited a criminal street gang, and the common benefit from the offense is more than reputational" (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (e)(1), as amended by Stats. 2021, ch. 699,…

Case: People v. Cooper (2023) 14 Cal.5th 735
Case Number: S273134
Updated: May 25, 2023
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PC 1172.6–Does Sufficient Evidence Support Trial Court’s Finding Defendant Acted With Reckless Indifference to Human Life?

Does sufficient evidence support the trial court’s finding that defendant acted with reckless indifference to human life and therefore was ineligible for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1172.6? [Editor's Note: Emanuel was convicted of first degree felony murder. His codefendant Whitley shot the victim (Cody) during a drug deal that turned into a robbery. After a section 1172.6(d)(3) hearing,…

Case: People v. Emanuel (May 12, 2023, H049147) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/13/2023
Case Number: S280551/H049147
Updated: March 12, 2024
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Appropriate Test for Determining Whether a “True Threat” is Unprotected By the First Amendment

Whether, to establish that a statement is a “true threat” unprotected by the First Amendment, the government must show that the speaker subjectively knew or intended the threatening nature of the statement, or whether it is enough to show that an objective “reasonable person” would regard the statement as a threat of violence. Held: True threats of violence are outside…

Case: Counterman v. Colorado (2023) __ U.S. __
Case Number: 22-138
Updated: June 27, 2023
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Retroactive Application of AB 333 Where Defendant Appeals for Second Time After Limited Remand to Address Sentencing Issues

Is defendant entitled to retroactive application of Assembly Bill No. 333 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.) where he appeals for a second time after his judgment was conditionally reversed and the Court of Appeal issued a limited remand to the trial court to address sentencing issues? The request for an order directing depublication of the opinion was denied. Review on this issue…

Case: People v. Lopez (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 1110, review granted 11/15/2023
Case Number: S281488/E080032
Updated: February 21, 2024
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PC Section 1172.6 Resentencing and Pre-2009 Provocative Act Murder Convictions

(1) Is defendant entitled to resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1172.6 on the ground that malice could be imputed to the defendant under the provocative act theory of murder for convictions occurring before 2009 (see Sen. Bill No. 775 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.); People v. Concha (2009) 47 Cal.4th 653)? (2) Did the trial court err by not considering the…

Case: People v. Antonelli (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 712, review granted 10/18/2023
Case Number: S281599/B321947
Updated: October 18, 2023
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Constitutional Challenge to AB 333’s Application to the Gang-Murder Special Circumstance

Does Assembly Bill No. 333 (Stats. 2021, ch. 699) unconstitutionally amend Proposition 21, if applied to the gang-murder special circumstance (Pen. Code, § 190.2, subd. (a)(22))? Assembly Bill No. 333, which narrowed the definition of “criminal street gang,” did not unconstitutionally amend Proposition 21, and the new definition of “criminal street gang” properly applies to the gang-murder special circumstance added…

Case: People v. Rojas (2023) 15 Cal.5th 561
Case Number: S275835
Updated: December 18, 2023
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Establishing a “Pattern of Criminal Gang Activity”–Must the People Show Two or More Gang Members Worked in Concert During Each Predicate Offense

Can the People meet their burden of establishing a "pattern of criminal gang activity" under Penal Code section 186.22 as amended by Assembly Bill No. 333 (Stats. 2021, ch. 699) by presenting evidence of individual gang members committing separate predicate offenses, or must the People provide evidence of two or more gang members working in concert with each other during…

Case: People v. Clark (2024) 15 Cal.5th 743
Case Number: S275746
Updated: February 2, 2023
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SB 1437 Resentencing–Does Substantial Evidence Support Findings that Petitioner Acted with Implied Malice, or that Actions Constituted Murder or Aided and Abetted Murder

Does substantial evidence support the superior court's finding that petitioner is ineligible for relief under Penal Code section 1170.95? On 10/29/2021, the court limited the issues to be briefed and argued to the following: (1) Does substantial evidence support the conclusion that petitioner acted with implied malice? (2) Does substantial evidence support the conclusion that petitioner's actions constituted murder or…

Case: People v. Reyes (2023) 14 Cal.5th 981
Case Number: S270723
Updated: June 29, 2023
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Crimes PC 136.1 and Dissuading a Victim or Witness After a Charging Document Has Been Filed

Does Penal Code section 136.1, subdivision (b)(2), which prohibits dissuading or attempting to dissuade a victim or witness from causing a charging document "to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the prosecution thereof," encompass attempts to dissuade a victim or witness after a charging document has been filed? Review on this issue has also been granted with briefing deferred…

Case: People v. Reynoza (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 181, review granted 5/11/2022
Case Number: S273797/H047594
Updated: October 25, 2023
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Did Trial Court Err by Providing Kill Zone Instruction / Did COA Apply Proper Standard of Review Under People v. Canizales

(1) Did the trial court err by providing a kill zone instruction? (2) Did the Court of Appeal apply the proper standard of review under People v. Canizales (2019) 7 Cal.5th 591 in holding the trial court did not err in providing the kill zone instruction? The proper standard of review when a defendant challenges a trial court’s decision to instruct…

Case: People v. Mumin (2023) 15 Cal.5th 176
Case Number: S271049/D076916
Updated: August 17, 2023
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Whether Prohibiting Possession of Firearms by Persons Subject to Domestic-Violence Restraining Order Violates Second Amendment

Whether 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8), which prohibits the possession of firearms by persons subject to domestic-violence restraining orders, violates the Second Amendment on its face.

Case: U.S. v. Rahimi (5th Cir. 2023) 61 F.4th 44, cert. granted 6/30/2023
Case Number: 22-915
Updated: June 30, 2023
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Court Dismissal of Strict Liability Offense and State Law Preemption of Local Ordinance

(1) Can a trial court dismiss a strict liability offense pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 based in part on a defendant's lack of knowledge concerning the offense? (2) Does state law preempt a local ordinance when both prohibit the same conduct and the state law has a mens rea component that the local ordinance does not?

Case: Wheeler v. Appellate Division of Superior Court (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 824, review granted 3/16/2022
Case Number: S272850/B310024
Updated: March 16, 2022
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Kidnapping to Commit Rape Based on the Use of Deception to Take Intoxicated Adult Victim

Can a defendant be convicted of kidnapping to commit rape (Pen. Code, § 209, subd. (b)(1)) based on the use of deception, as an alternative to force or fear, to take and carry away an intoxicated adult victim? Held: A jury convicted Lewis of raping S.D. while she was intoxicated (Pen. Code, § 261, subd. (a)(3)) and kidnapping S.D. to…

Case: People v. Lewis (2023) __ Cal.5th __
Case Number: S272627
Updated: June 22, 2023
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Whether Assault by Means of Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury a Lesser Included Offense of Assault with a Deadly Weapon

In this case in which briefing was previously deferred pending decision in People v. Aledamat (2019) 8 Cal.5th 1, the court ordered the parties to brief the following question on 11/20/2019: (1) Is assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury a lesser included offense of assault with a deadly weapon? (See People v. Aledamat (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1, 16,…

Case: People v. Aguayo (2022) 13 Cal.5th 974
Case Number: S254554
Updated: August 29, 2022
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First Degree Murder–Substantial Concurrent Causation Theory (Sanchez) and Impact of Chiu and SB 1437

(1) Does the "substantial concurrent causation" theory of liability of People v. Sanchez (2001) 26 Cal.4th 834 permit a conviction for first degree murder if the defendants did not fire the shot that killed the victim? (2) What impact, if any, do People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155 and Senate Bill No. 1437 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1015, § 1, subd. (f)) have on…

Case: People v. Carney (2023) __ Cal.5th __
Case Number: S260063
Updated: July 20, 2023
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Murder–Instruction on Elements of First Degree Murder By Poison

(1) Did the trial court err in instructing the jury on the elements of first degree murder by poison (see People v. Steger (1976) 16 Cal.3d 539, 544?546; People v. Mattison (1971) 4 Cal.3d 177, 183?184, 186)? (2) Was any such instructional error prejudicial? Held: The District Attorney charged Brown with first degree murder and prosecuted the charge on the theory that Brown…

Case: People v. Brown (2023) __ Cal.5th __
Case Number: S257631
Updated: March 2, 2023
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