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Name: People v. Robinson (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 133
Case #: A165379
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/01/2024

A certificate of probable cause is required for claims of error concerning pretrial mental health diversion (Pen. Code, § 1001.36) following a guilty plea, including ineffective assistance of counsel. Defendant pleaded no contest to two felonies. He appealed but did not obtain a certificate of probable cause (CPC). On appeal, he argued trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request pretrial mental health diversion, that the trial court violated its sua sponte duty to consider defendant’s eligibility for diversion, and that the claims were cognizable on appeal without a CPC because they were based on the “sentence or other matters occurring…

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Name: People v. Salazar (2023) 15 Cal.5th 416
Case #: S275788
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 11/20/2023

Remand was required where the sentencing court did not clearly indicate that it would have imposed the same sentence even if it had been aware of the scope of its discretionary powers under the current version of Penal Code section 1170. Defendant was sentenced to the middle term of three years for inflicting corporal injury plus a consecutive eight months for false imprisonment, with both terms doubled for a prior strike. While his appeal was pending, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 567, which amended section 1170 to require a low term sentence if a qualifying trauma was a contributing…

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Name: People v. Ruiz (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1068
Case #: B324477
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/13/2023

The resentencing court committed harmless error when it considered inapplicable aggravators to impose upper terms after Senate Bill No. 567 amended Penal Code section 1170. Ruiz was convicted of assault with a firearm with various enhancements, and this is his third appeal. His case had previously been remanded to the trial court for resentencing due to sentencing errors and new laws that applied in his case. At Ruiz’s second resentencing (which occurred after SB 567’s effective date), the trial court imposed a 4-year upper term on the assault with a firearm charge and the 10-year upper term for a firearm-use…

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Name: People v. Mumin (2023) 15 Cal.5th 176
Case #: S271049
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 08/17/2023

Opinion by: Justice Corrigan, joined by Acting Chief Justice Jenkins, Justice Kruger, Justice Groban, and Associate Justice Robie from the Third District (assigned by the Chief Justice). Justice Liu filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Evans concurred.

The proper standard of review when a defendant challenges a trial court’s decision to instruct on a “kill zone” theory as applied to an allegation of attempted murder is whether substantial evidence supports giving the challenged instruction. Defendant was convicted of two counts of attempted murder of a police officer under the kill zone theory, among other charges. He appealed, and the Court…

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Name: People v. Falcon (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 911
Case #: F083577
Court: CA Court of Appeal
Opinion Date: 06/26/2023
Subsequent History: Opn. modified 7/13/2023

Resentencing for noncompliance with revised Penal Code section 1170(b) is unwarranted only where the sentence remains legally valid under federal and state law, and the record clearly indicates the trial court would have imposed the upper term had it know of its circumscribed sentencing discretion. Falcon was convicted of attempted murder and other offenses. His sentence included some upper terms, which he challenged on appeal. Held: Remanded for resentencing. Senate Bill No. 567 amended Penal Code section 1170(b) to limit a trial court’s discretion to impose an upper term sentence by creating a presumptive sentencing preference for the middle term.…

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Name: In re Ferrell (2023) 14 Cal.5th 593
Case #: S265798
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 04/06/2023

The jury’s true finding on a firearm enhancement (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subd. (d)) did not render Chun error harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Ferrell was convicted of the second degree murder of his fellow-gang member who was killed when Ferrell fired two shots at the end of a gang fight. The jury also found that Ferrell intentionally discharged a firearm and caused death in committing his offense (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subd. (d)). At trial, the prosecutor’s presented three theories for murder: express malice, implied malice, or felony murder based on the willful discharge of a firearm in a…

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Name: People v. Hodges (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 186
Case #: B323199
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/02/2023

Because the trial court had no jurisdiction to grant defendant’s motion to vacate his sentence, the order denying relief was not appealable. In 2001, defendant was sentenced to 230 years to life as a three strikes offender. The conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. In 2022, he filed a motion to vacate his sentence on the ground that it was unauthorized, asserting that he should only be sentenced as a second strike offender. The trial court denied relief. Hodges appealed. After appellate counsel filed a brief raising no issues and requesting review under Wende and Delgadillo, Hodges filed two supplemental briefs pro per, raising…

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Name: People v. Nash
Case #: D079539
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/13/2023

The law of the case doctrine precluded the resentencing court from finding that a prison term of 15 years to life was cruel and/or unusual punishment. Upon his conviction for child molestation, Nash was sentenced to a determinate term after the trial court found a life sentence under the One Strike law was cruel and unusual punishment. On appeal, the sentence was reversed and the case remanded. At resentencing the trial court said it was regrettably compelled to impose 15 years to life based on the Court of Appeal’s disposition. Nash appealed, challenging his sentence as unconstitutionally cruel and/or unusual…

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Name: People v. Mumin
Case #: D076916
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/19/2021

Trial court correctly instructed jury with "kill zone" theory of attempted murder liability where defendant shot through closed doors at pursuing police officers. Mumin was convicted of special circumstance murder after he killed a man during a store robbery, as well as several counts of attempted murder for shooting at pursuing police. The trial court instructed the jury on a kill zone theory of attempted murder liability. On appeal, Mumin argued the evidence was insufficient to warrant a kill zone instruction. Held: Affirmed. When a single act is charged as the basis for the attempted murders of two or more…

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Name: People v. Mount
Case #: A161195
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/15/2021

Trial court properly dismissed a Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (f) (Prop. 47) petition filed by an attorney on behalf of a deceased defendant, where there was no showing how granting the petition would provide a benefit. Defendant died in 2012. In 2020, the public defender filed a petition under section 1170.18 to have his 1998 felony conviction designated as a misdemeanor. The trial court dismissed the petition and the public defender appealed. Held: Appeal dismissed. A petition to recall a sentence and designate a felony as a misdemeanor under 1170.18, subdivision (f) is moot…

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