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Name: People v. Coulthard (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 743
Case #: H049755
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/30/2023
Subsequent History: Ordered published 04/19/2023

To convict defendant of child abduction, the prosecution was not required to prove that the foreign court order or child custody order used to prove defendant’s guilt had previously been registered in California. Defendant’s daughter, M.C., lived with her mother in the United Kingdom, per a UK custody order. Contrary to the visitation terms of the custody order, defendant refused to return M.C. to her mother following M.C.’s visit with him in the U.S. M.C.’s mother obtained a UK emergency return order, which was served on defendant by the Campbell Police Department. Defendant was arrested, charged, and convicted of child…

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Name: People v. Ahmed
Case #: A149066
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/19/2018

A city or county ordinance banning marijuana dispensaries does not abrogate the medical marijuana defense in a prosecution under state criminal law. Ahmed operated a medical marijuana business in Livermore, which has a municipal ordinance that prohibits marijuana dispensaries. After an investigation that included undercover officers purchasing marijuana from Ahmed's dispensary, he was arrested. Prior to his trial on various marijuana charges, the trial court granted the prosecution's motion to preclude Ahmed from presenting a medical marijuana defense based upon Livermore's ordinance. In granting the motion, the trial court relied on City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health…

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Name: People v. Edwards
Case #: H038422
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/15/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 1/27/2016: S230753

Gang expert testimony that included statements made by nontestifying gang members during custodial interrogation violated the confrontation clause. Edwards and a group of friends from East Palo Alto drove to a house party in San Jose. An argument broke out and members of Edwards' group shot and killed one of the partygoers. Three weeks before, there was a similar shooting in Sunnyvale. Edwards was tried for various gang-related crimes based on the shootings. During the trial, Detective Soares opined that Edwards was part of a gang, the Taliban, and that both the San Jose and Sunnyvale shootings benefitted that gang.…

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Name: People v. Lazarus
Case #: B241172
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/13/2015

People v. Nelson, which held that negligence as well as purposeful pre-accusation delay may violate due process, applies where the crimes occurred after the passage of the truth-in-evidence provision of the California Constitution. Lazarus, a Los Angeles police officer, was convicted of the 1986 first degree murder of her former lover's wife. The crime was not solved until 2009, when DNA evidence linked Lazarus to the murder. Lazarus moved to dismiss, based on pre-accusation delay and the negligence of the police investigators. The trial court denied the motion, finding that although Lazarus had made a minimal showing of prejudice, the…

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Name: People v. Walker
Case #: B251600
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/27/2015

In a possession of marijuana for sale case, the trial court prejudicially erred by failing to instruct on the lesser included offense of simple possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana. After being arrested with 23 grams of marijuana packaged in numerous small bags, and $249 in mostly small bills, Walker was charged with possession of marijuana for sale (Health & Saf. Code, § 11359). At trial, he argued the marijuana was for personal use. An officer testified that the manner of possession, along with the denominations of cash possessed, were consistent with street-level marijuana sales. The trial court…

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Name: U.S. v. Zaragoza
Case #: 13-50506
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/18/2015

Border patrol agent's destruction of video depicting defendant's border crossing violated defendant's right to due process, requiring reversal. Defendant was caught with drugs at the San Ysidro border crossing with Mexico. Upon being taken into custody, defendant repeatedly told officers she tried to make herself conspicuous to get caught because she had been forced to participate in the drug smuggling. After she was charged with drug offenses, her attorney sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney asking that the border crossing video be preserved. After defendant's indictment, her attorney secured a court order that the video be maintained. Later, counsel…

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Name: People v. Espinoza
Case #: H039219
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/28/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/29/2015: S224929

Conviction of voluntarily absent pro se defendant is reversed where his trial proceeded without appointment of counsel or a knowing and voluntary waiver of fundamental trial rights. Appellant was charged with numerous offenses after an altercation with his roommate led to a search of his bedroom and the discovery of drugs and illegally possessed guns. During extensive pretrial proceedings appellant repeatedly moved for dismissal of counsel pursuant to Marsden and sought to represent himself. Midway through jury selection, the court granted appellant's Faretta motion, but denied him a continuance. On the second day of trial, appellant was absent and could…

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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: G049935
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/28/2014

CALCRIM No. 3472 (contrived self-defense), misstates the law by directing the conclusion that a defendant who provokes a fight intending to use only non-deadly force, has no right of self-defense against an adversary's deadly attack. Ramirez and his brother were convicted of special circumstance murder, gun use, and participating in a gang, after a confrontation with several rival gang members devolved from a fistfight to use of deadly force. Defendants claimed on appeal the jury was erroneously precluded from considering their self-defense claim because of the instruction on contrived self-defense. Held: Reversed. The jury was given CALCRIM No. 3472 ("A…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: F066737
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/09/2015

Trial court erred by failing to instruct that the marijuana collective cultivation defense (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.775) may apply when medical marijuana is provided to members who do not participate in the cultivation process in exchange for money. Detectives found 187 marijuana plants, marijuana cigarettes, concentrated cannabis, and 25 small bags of dried marijuana buds on Anderson's property. He was charged with cultivation (§ 11358), possession for sale (§ 11359), and possession of concentrated cannabis (§ 11357, subd. (a)). At trial, Anderson presented evidence that he was in the process of forming a medical marijuana collective when he…

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Name: Trillo v. Biter
Case #: 11-15463
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/16/2014

In murder case, prosecutor's comments regarding defendant's "lame story" and the "meaning" of reasonable doubt were improper but harmless. Trillo was convicted in California of second degree murder for the shooting death of a man at a party. His conviction was affirmed on state appeal and he filed a federal habeas petition. Held: Affirmed. Trillo's theory in state court was self-defense; during a fight at a party he was hit in the back, turned around and saw a person with a knife advancing on him. He shot and killed the person. During argument the prosecutor stated Trillo's first story was…

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