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Name: People v. Flores
Case #: B250829
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 07/08/2014

Three Strikes Reform Act "unreasonable risk of danger" limitation on resentencing is not impermissibly vague. In 2008, a jury convicted Flores of taking a car (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)). He admitted two prior strike allegations and was sentenced to 25 years to life under the Three Strikes law. After the Strike Reform Act (Proposition 36) was approved by the voters on November 6, 2012, Flores petitioned for resentencing. The trial court denied his request, impliedly finding him outside the "spirit" of the Act. He appealed, claiming the phrase that limits resentencing in the statutory implementation of the Act,…

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Name: People v. Castillolopez
Case #: D063394
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/15/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 7/30/2014: S218861

Concealed, opened Swiss Army knife is not a dirk or dagger because its blade cannot be locked into position. Police officers conducted a pat-search during a traffic stop and found appellant carrying a concealed Swiss Army knife with the blade in the open position. He was convicted of carrying a dirk or dagger (Pen. Code, § 21310) and appealed. Held: Reversed. There was no substantial evidence from which a trier of fact could conclude the knife was prohibited by the statute. Although the prosecution expert testified the knife was open and locked into place, he did not testify the blade…

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Name: United States v. Yazzie
Case #: 12-10165
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/27/2014

District court did not violate defendants' Sixth Amendment right to public trial by closing courtroom during testimony of minor sexual molest victims. In a consolidated opinion, the Ninth Circuit addressed the claims of defendants Yazzie and George that the trial court erred by closing the courtroom during the testimony of several minors who were the victims of sexual abuse. Held: Affirmed. The Sixth Amendment guarantees an accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. However, the right is not absolute. In Waller v. Georgia (1984) 467 U.S. 39, the court identified factors to consider on a case-by-case…

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Name: U.S. v. Dharni
Case #: 11-16438
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/03/2014

The Sixth Amendment right to a public trial is not implicated by a "trivial courtroom closure" to spectators for a limited and uncertain duration of time. The Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the accused in a criminal prosecution a speedy and public trial, extends to jury voir dire. The values behind the right are: to insure a fair trial; remind the prosecutor and judge of their responsibility to the accused and the importance of their functions; to encourage witnesses to come forward; and to discourage perjury. All closures of the courtroom do not necessarily result in a violation of the right.…

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Name: People v. Zondorak
Case #: D062900
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/21/2013

California's ban on AK series rifles does not violate Second Amendment. Zondorak was convicted of violating California's Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA) for possessing an AK series rifle in violation of former Penal Code section 12280, subdivision (b). On appeal, he argued that section 12280 is unconstitutional as an infringement on his rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. He contended that under District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 554 U.S. 570, California is precluded from banning possession of an AK series semi-automatic rifle by a private citizen in his home. The appellate court rejected the argument…

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Name: Smith v. Lopez
Case #: 12-55860
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/23/2013

Petitioner's fundamental right to notice of the nature of the accusations against him was violated when the jury was instructed on aiding and abetting liability even though the prosecution gave no prior indication that it was pursuing this theory. Smith was charged with and convicted of the 2005 murder of his wife. Both before and during trial, the prosecution's theory was that Smith directly perpetrated the murder. Smith's defense was that he had an alibi for the time of the murder and, regardless, he was physically incapable of committing the murder. During the jury instructions conference, the prosecution requested an…

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Name: U.S. v. Green
Case #: 10-50519
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/11/2013

The holdings in Apprendi v. New Jersey and Southern Union Co. v. U.S. do not require a jury finding with respect to criminal restitution orders. The defendants, who were involved in the film industry, entered into a number of contracts to run film festivals in Thailand. Securing the contracts involved several large payments to a Thai official. The Greens were indicted on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other charges. A jury conviction followed. At sentencing the court ordered $250,000 in restitution. The Greens appealed the restitution order, claiming the court violated Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, by…

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Name: People v. Cross
Case #: C070271
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/07/2013

Constitutional advisements and waivers are not required before a defendant stipulates to a prior conviction for domestic violence for purposes of section 273.5(e)(1). Appellant was charged with a violation of Penal Code section 273.5 (corporal injury on the mother of his child). At trial, defense counsel stipulated that appellant had previously been convicted of domestic violence with the same victim. Following his conviction and the finding of a prior conviction (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (e)(1)), appellant appealed, contending that before the court accepted the stipulation, it should have advised him of his fundamental trial rights and obtained his waiver…

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Name: People v. Davis
Case #: A131764
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/28/2013

The Second Amendment does not protect the right of a defendant to possess a "billy." Appellant was convicted of illegal possession of a billy (former Pen. Code, § 12020, subd. (a)) based on his possession of a modified baseball bat, which he carried in his car. On appeal, defendant raised a number of statutory and constitutional challenges to his conviction. Held: Affirmed. Davis claimed that if former section 12020, subdivision (a)(1) is held to bar his possession of a baseball bat as a prohibited billy, it violates the Second Amendment, citing District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 554 U.S. 570…

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Name: People v. Landau
Case #: G042008
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/07/2013

Appellant was convicted of committing sex offenses against children and sentenced to state prison. Prior to his release on parole the prosecution filed a petition to commit him as a sexually violent predatory (SVP). Seven years after the filing of the initial petition, and after two mistrials, a jury found he met the criteria for commitment as an SVP. Landau raised numerous issues on appeal. Held: Affirmed.

The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule does not apply in SVP proceedings. Without a warrant, the prosecution obtained documents appellant mailed to a friend to hold for him, and used them in…

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