Skip to content
Name: United States v. Rahimi
Case #: 22–915
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/21/2024

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court upholds a federal law prohibiting individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing firearms. The analysis of a law burdening the Second Amendment right must consider "whether the new law is 'relevantly similar' to laws that our tradition is understood to permit, applying faithfully the balance struck by the founding generation to modern circumstances." Because "firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms," the law is valid and need not be a "historical twin" to pass constitutional muster.

The full opinion is available on…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Carter
Case #: S278262
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 05/20/2024

Prior to an SVP trial, the superior court abused its discretion in denying Carter’s Marsden motion without an adequate inquiry and further deprived Carter of effective assistance of counsel by failing to appoint substitute counsel to evaluate his motion to dismiss. After waiting over 12 years, Carter sought to file a motion to dismiss the SVP petition against him, and requested to replace the Public Defender’s Office under Marsden. The trial court erred in conducting an insufficient Marsden inquiry and in instructing Carter to file his motion to dismiss pro se. The trial court should have considered Carter’s Marsden motion…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Barooshian (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 461
Case #: D081050
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/16/2024

Double jeopardy principles do not prohibit a second trial for implied malice murder where defendant had already been convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. In his first trial for a vehicular homicide, the jury convicted Barooshian of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Pen. Code, § 191.5, subd. (a)). It did not reach a verdict on a Watson murder charge (People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290). Barooshian was retried and convicted of second degree murder. On appeal, he argued that his second trial violated double jeopardy principles. Held: Affirmed. A person may not twice be put in jeopardy for the same offense. (U.S.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Ayala (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 62
Case #: D082754
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2024

The prosecution did not exercise due diligence, and therefore should not have been permitted to admit the former testimony of an absent witness, when the search for the witness was untimely and the witness was essential to the prosecution’s case. Defendants Ayala and Ramirez were charged with murder. They had never met the victim before, but the victim had been threatening Breanna S., who had just begun staying in Ayala’s R.V. Breanna had testified for the People at the preliminary hearing, but had gone missing at least two years before trial. Two weeks before trial, the People began an unsuccessful search…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. McClelland (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1109
Case #: D081369
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/27/2024

Defendant’s due process rights were not violated where he was present at a “status hearing” that functioned as an evidentiary hearing under Penal Code section 1172.6(d)(3). Defendant pled guilty to second degree murder in 1994. In 2019, he filed a (now former) section 1170.95 petition and the trial court issued an order to show cause and scheduled an evidentiary hearing. After the submission of briefing, the parties appeared at a “status hearing” in September at which defendant was present. The prosecution submitted exhibits without objection from defendant or his counsel. Defendant’s counsel then consented to the court issuing a written order…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Hill (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1055
Case #: B322561
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/25/2024

The application of a kidnapping-felony-murder theory to defendants’ Penal Code section 1172.6 petitions did not violate ex post facto principles. In 1990, defendants Hill and Jenkins were involved in a kidnapping and robbery, in which Hill shot at one victim and another victim was killed. Hill and Jenkins were each convicted of first degree murder and attempted premediated murder. In 2019, defendants each filed a petition for resentencing pursuant to section 1172.6. After evidentiary hearings, the superior courts found each guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the convictions, and denied relief. Defendants appealed. Held: Affirmed. At the time of the kidnappings…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Superior Court (Woodward) (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 679
Case #: H051311
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/14/2024

Prohibition against double jeopardy does not bar the refiling of a murder charge where the trial court’s dismissal order was not clearly based on legal insufficiency of the evidence. In 1992, Woodward was charged with murder. The case went to trial and twice resulted in deadlocked juries. After the second mistrial, the trial court dismissed the case under Penal Code former section 1385, “in the furtherance of justice for insufficiency of the evidence.” In 2022, the murder charge was refiled based on new DNA evidence. On Woodward’s motion, the trial court dismissed the case on double jeopardy grounds. The prosecution sought…

View Full Summary
Name: Conservatorship of T.B. (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1361
Case #: A167919
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/27/2024

The time limit for starting conservatorship trials under amended Welfare and Institutions Code section 5350, is directory, not mandatory, and dismissal for the failure to comply with the time limit is therefore discretionary. The Public Guardian’s Office filed a petition under the LPS Act for appointment of a conservatorship for T.B. (§ 5350.) T.B. requested a trial to determine whether she was gravely disabled. Trial was originally set within the 10 days required by section 5350. T.B.’s court trial actually began 171 days later on April 24, 2023. The trial court found T.B. was gravely disabled and appointed a conservatorship…

View Full Summary
Name: McElrath v. Georgia (2024) ___U.S.___ [144 S.Ct. 651]
Case #: 22-721
Court: US Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 02/21/2024

The double jeopardy clause bars Georgia State from retrying defendant for a crime that resulted in a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict, even though the jury returned inconsistent verdicts. Georgia State charged McElrath with malice murder and felony murder after he killed his mother. The jury returned a split verdict, finding McElrath not guilty by reason of insanity on the malice-murder charge and guilty but mentally ill on the felony-murder charge. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with McElrath that the verdicts were repugnant under Georgia law (meaning the verdicts involve affirmative findings by the jury that are not…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Yeager-Reiman (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 843
Case #: B331175
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/16/2024

Defendant’s prosecution for grand theft based on defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was not preempted by federal law. Defendant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft. On appeal, defendant argued his prosecution was preempted by federal law because he was a veteran and his alleged offenses concerned the theft of benefits from the VA. Held: Affirmed. The Court of Appeal disagreed with defendant’s argument that his prosecution was preempted by federal law—“field” and “obstacle” preemption—and that the trial court was thus without jurisdiction to hear his case. Field preemption exists when Congress intended to foreclose any state regulation in the area. In such…

View Full Summary