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Name: People v. Rivas
Case #: C094563
Opinion Date: 09/07/2023
Attorney: Patricia L. Brisbois

The Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that (1) one of appellant’s two convictions for false imprisonment must be reversed because the victim was continuously restrained, and (2) any unpaid portion of the 10 percent surcharge on appellant’s $300 restitution fine must be vacated pursuant to Assembly Bill No. 177 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.), which eliminated certain fees in criminal cases and rendered the unpaid balance of any such fees unenforceable and uncollectible.

Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: C097130
Opinion Date: 09/07/2023
Attorney: Brad Poore

The trial court sentenced defendant to life without the possibility of parole for a crime committed in 1997. Appellant filed a Penal Code section 1172.6 petition that was denied at the prima facie stage. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing, finding that at the prima facie stage, the court could not conclude defendant was the actual killer without engaging in impermissible factfinding. Under two separate theories, felony murder and the natural and probable consequences doctrine, the jury could have found defendant guilty of murder without finding he was the actual killer or acted with the intent to kill. Further, the instructions allowed the jury to find the robbery murder special circumstance true solely based on the fact the murder was committed to carry out the attempted robbery, facilitate escape, or avoid detection, regardless of who was the actual killer and whether defendant had the intent to kill.

Name: In re A.C.
Case #: F085961
Opinion Date: 08/31/2023
Attorney: Lelah S. Fisher

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Human Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re B.R.
Case #: F086057
Opinion Date: 08/28/2023
Attorney: Monica Vogelmann

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Human Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re D.P.
Case #: F086027
Opinion Date: 08/28/2023
Attorney: Beth A. Sears

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Human Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re M.G.
Case #: F086215
Opinion Date: 08/25/2023
Attorney: Jacob I. Olson

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Human Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re R.E.
Case #: C097682
Opinion Date: 08/25/2023
Attorney: Stephanie  L. Gunther

Following a contested jurisdictional hearing, the juvenile court found the minor R.E. committed three criminal offenses, two of which were based on a finding that he drove a stolen minivan while fleeing from police. That fleeing minivan ultimately crashed into the side of a house, and the only witness saw three people flee from the scene of the crash. More than 30 minutes later, after searching a nearby neighborhood, police found and arrested only two people: R.E., and a second juvenile, J.L. J.L’s injuries indicated he had been riding in one of the passenger seats, but no evidence indicated whether R.E. or the third person had been driving. In an attempt to get around this evidentiary obstacle, the petitioner argued, and the juvenile court found, that only two people had been in the minivan, making the minor the only possible driver. The Court of Appeal concluded no substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s inference that only two people were in the minivan, which means no substantial evidence supports the juvenile court’s finding that R.E. committed the two challenged offenses. Accordingly, the court reversed the juvenile court’s judgment that R.E. fled from a peace officer while driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for safety (Veh. Code, § 2800.2) and withheld or concealed a stolen vehicle (Pen. Code, § 496d).

Name: People v. Smart
Case #: F083799
Opinion Date: 08/24/2023
Attorney: Victoria H. Stafford

The Court of Appeal found the trial court erred in imposing the upper term after finding true aggravating circumstances that were not brought before the jury. The sentence was unauthorized under Penal Code section 1170, subsection (b) as amended by Senate Bill No. 567 (2021–2022 Reg. Sess.), which took effect prior to appellant’s sentencing. Because the sentence was unauthorized, appellant did not forfeit the issue by failing to object at the sentencing hearing. The Court of Appeal remanded for resentencing and further ordered the trial court to correct an error in the abstract of judgment.

Name: In re: S.T.
Case #: C097832
Opinion Date: 08/24/2023
Attorney: Robert F. McLaughlin

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Family Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re: D.T.
Case #: C098362
Opinion Date: 08/24/2023
Attorney: Lauren K. Johnson

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Family Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re K.I.
Case #: F085847
Opinion Date: 08/17/2023
Attorney: Paul A. Swiller

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Deptartment of Human Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry and notice requirements.

Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C096257
Opinion Date: 08/14/2023
Attorney: Rex A. Williams

Appellant was sentenced to a term of 25 years to life, an unauthorized enhancement term of 15 years to life, and multiple concurrent terms. Following appellant’s initial appeal, the trial court was directed to conduct a transfer hearing pursuant to Proposition 57, and, should the case be transferred back to the criminal court, modify the 15 years to life term. The court acted accordingly and additionally modified two of the concurrent terms to be consecutive. Appellant appealed. While the appeal was pending, the Legislature enacted Assembly Bill No. 2361 (Reg. Sess. 2021-2022), which changed the finding a juvenile court must make before ordering a transfer to criminal court. The Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that AB 2361 applied retroactively to appellant and that the trial court exceeded the scope of the remittitur when it modified appellant’s sentence beyond what was directed. The matter was conditionally reversed and remanded to the juvenile court to conduct an amenability hearing pursuant to current law. Should the matter be transferred to a court of criminal jurisdiction, the criminal court was ordered to modify the consecutive terms to be concurrent as originally imposed.

Name: People v. Saldana
Case #: C097966
Opinion Date: 08/08/2023
Attorney: Richard Fitzer

Almost ten years after defendant was originally sentenced, defendant requested the trial court strike his four stayed prior prison term enhancements (Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b)) under section 1172.75 and requested a full resentencing. The trial court struck the previously stayed prior prison term enhancements but found that it was not permitted to conduct a full resentencing hearing under section 1172.75. The Court of Appeal found the trial court erred, and remanded to the trial court for a full resentencing hearing, which is required by section 1172.75.

Name: In re: A.S.
Case #: F085939
Opinion Date: 08/04/2023
Attorney: Jacques A. Love

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s order terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Human Services Agency failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry and notice requirements. Because the record did not disclose in any level of detail what efforts were made to identify and locate paternal relatives and no ICWA information was obtained regarding father’s paternal side, the Court of Appeal further ordered the agency to provide to the juvenile court, at a minimum, efforts to identify and locate paternal relatives. In the event the agency has already done so, that information should be provided to the court so it may make an informed decision in determining the adequacy of the agency’s efforts.

Name: In re R.R.
Case #: F085698
Opinion Date: 08/04/2023
Attorney: Suzanne M. Nicholson

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the parties jointly stipulated to a conditional reversal based on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) because the juvenile court and Department of Family Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements. The Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with ICWA.

Name: People v. Okuwoga
Case #: F083126
Opinion Date: 08/03/2023
Attorney: David  L. Polsky

Applying People v. Renteria (2022) 13 Cal.5th 951, Court of Appeal agreed with appellant that insufficient evidence supported his gang enhancements where he was the lone actor in the underlying crimes. The court remanded for a full resentencing where appellant can raise the application of Senate Bill No. 567 and Assembly Bill No. 518.

Name: In re: J.C.
Case #: F085371
Opinion Date: 08/02/2023
Attorney: Carolyn S. Hurley

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s order to free appellant’s biological child from his custody and control, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry and notice requirements.

Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C096588
Opinion Date: 08/02/2023
Attorney: C. Athena Roussos

The Court of Appeal remanded for resentencing based on the trial court’s improper dual use of facts to impose the aggravated term. Defendant was sentenced for his first degree robbery conviction, and an allegation that he had personally used a firearm. (§ 12022.53, subd. (b).) The court relied upon the threat of great bodily harm (rule 4.421(a)(1)) and defendant’s danger to society (rule 4.421(b)(1)) to aggravate his sentence. However, only defendant’s gun use constituted substantial evidence of these aggravating factors. Therefore, based on the prohibition on the dual use of facts, defendant’s use of a gun could not be used to aggravate defendant’s base term without striking the firearm enhancement. (§ 1170, subd. (b)(5); rule 4.420(g).)

Name: People v. Parker
Case #: F085006
Opinion Date: 08/02/2023
Attorney: Aaron Joseph Schechter

In light of People v. Strong (2022) 13 Cal.5th 698, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of appellant’s Penal Code section 1172.6 petition for resentencing, holding that a pre-Banks and Clark special circumstance finding did not preclude appellant from making a prima facie case for relief.

Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: F082947
Opinion Date: 08/02/2023
Attorney: Dale Dombkowski

The Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that the trial court erred in denying appellant’s Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage after making factual findings from the reporter’s transcript of the trial record and the factual statement from the opinion in the direct appeal. The error was prejudicial because the jury instructions and the prosecutor’s closing argument show the jury was advised it could convict appellant as an aider and abettor who committed an assault under the natural and probable consequences doctrine. The Court of Appeal remanded the matter for issuance of an order to show cause and an evidentiary hearing.

Name: People v. Valle
Case #: C097090
Opinion Date: 07/28/2023
Attorney: Michele A. Douglass

The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order requiring defendant to pay $629.99 in victim restitution for a phone that appellant had returned to the victim before sentencing, as victim restitution does not allow a victim to keep a phone that was later returned undamaged, and also be awarded the cost of the phone.

Name: People v. Rhoads
Case #: F084749
Opinion Date: 07/18/2023
Attorney: Benjamin Owens

Appellant’s case was remanded for resentencing. Prior to resentencing, Penal Code section 1385 was amended by Senate Bill No. 81 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.), reflecting a legislative preference for the dismissal of enhancements if certain “mitigating circumstances” are shown to exist. (§ 1385, subd. (c)(2).) One such circumstance was present in appellant’s case. Nonetheless, the trial court reimposed appellant’s original sentence. The Court of Appeal held that Senate Bill 81 circumscribes the discretion of sentencing courts. While trial courts are presumed to know and follow the relevant law, that presumption was rebutted in this case because the record was “at the very least ambiguous” in terms of the trial court’s “awareness of its discretionary authority.” (People v. Ochoa (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 841, 853, 852). The record did not clearly indicate the result would have been the same had full consideration been given to amended section 1385. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal vacated appellant’s sentence and remanded the matter for a new sentencing hearing.

Name: People v. M.S.
Case #: C095622
Opinion Date: 07/17/2023
Attorney: Rudolph Kraft III

The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order finding appellant qualified as a sexually predator (SVP) and committing him to the State Department of State Hospitals, holding that the prosecution had no right under the Sexually Violent Predators Act to use a privately retained expert who testified at appellant’s trial.

Name: In re: A.S.
Case #: C097886
Opinion Date: 07/13/2023
Attorney: Carolyn S. Hurley

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the parties jointly stipulated to a “conditional reversal” based on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) because the juvenile court and Department of Family Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry and notice requirements. The Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with ICWA.

Name: In re: O.R.
Case #: C097450
Opinion Date: 07/13/2023
Attorney: Jamie A. Moran

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Department of Family Services failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry requirements.

Name: In re S.H.
Case #: F085843
Opinion Date: 07/12/2023
Attorney: Lelah S. Fisher

In an appeal from the juvenile court’s orders terminating parental rights, the Court of Appeal remanded for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), because the juvenile court and Human Services Agency failed to comply with ICWA’s inquiry and notice requirements.

Name: People v. T.S.
Case #: C096477
Opinion Date: 07/11/2023
Attorney: Victoria H. Stafford

The Court of Appeal held that the trial court abused its discretion in denying appellant’s Proposition 64 petition on the basis that he posed an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. Appellant’s prior violent felony convictions were more than 33 years old and were all committed on the same day, in a single episode of criminal conduct. His current marijuana-related felonies may be redesignated as misdemeanors, and his remaining offense is neither a super strike offense nor a violent felony. Except for these offenses, he had not been convicted of criminal conduct since 1990 and had a minimal disciplinary record while in custody for his current convictions. More critically, granting the petition would not entitle him to be released or alter his time in prison. He would remain in custody until he is near 80, when he first becomes eligible for parole, and the Board of Parole Hearings would determine his dangerousness at that time. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the matter for the trial court to conduct a new hearing on appellant’s petition.

Name: People v. Bauer
Case #: C095770
Opinion Date: 07/10/2023
Attorney: Julia Spikes

The Court of Appeal agreed the trial court violated Penal Code section 654 when it imposed and did not stay sentences on both a vandalism count based on breaking the front door window and on the trespass count based on appellant’s entering the house. Appellant was wrongfully punished twice for a course of conduct with a single intent and objective of entering the house without consent. The court vacated appellant’s sentence and remanded for a full resentencing hearing.

Name: People v. Bauer
Case #: C095770
Opinion Date: 07/10/2023
Attorney: Julia J. Spikes

The Court of Appeal agreed with appellant that the trial court violated Penal Code section 654 when it imposed sentences for both vandalism based on breaking a front door window and trespass based on entering the house. Appellant was wrongfully punished twice for a course of conduct with a single intent and objective of entering the house without consent. The Court of Appeal vacated his sentence and remanded for a full resentencing hearing.

Name: People v. Mancilla
Case #: F082925
Opinion Date: 07/06/2023
Attorney: David L. Polsky

The Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that the appellant’s gang enhancements must be reversed pursuant to People v. Renteria (2022) 13 Cal.5th 951. The evidence was insufficient to show that the appellant had knowledge of the criminal activities of the members of his gang, and no evidence was presented to suggest he specifically intended to promote criminal activities by the gang’s members. The matter was remanded for resentencing without permission for the prosecution to retry the gang allegations.