Skip to content
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. Serrano (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1324
Case #: A166011
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/28/2024

Sufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding that defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation where he methodically pumped and aimed a shotgun at two peace officers. Serrano went on a crime spree that culminated in his shooting a rifle at two uniformed officers who approached him following a car crash. He was found guilty by jury of two counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer, among other crimes. Serrano appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence supporting the findings of premeditation and deliberation. Held: Affirmed. After the considering the categories of evidence set forth in People v. Anderson (1968) 70…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Lewis (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 349
Case #: G060049
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/07/2024

Substantial evidence supports defendant’s conviction for kidnapping an intoxicated woman to commit rape under the relaxed force standard applicable to incapacitated adults. Opinion on remand from the California Supreme Court. A jury convicted Lewis of rape by an intoxicating substance and kidnapping to commit rape based on evidence that he drugged a woman (S.D.) at a bar and then sexually assaulted her after they left the bar. In People v. Lewis (2023) 14 Cal.5th 876, 884, the Supreme Court concluded the relaxed force standard for kidnapping applicable to children (i.e., the use of deception rather than actual force) applies to…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Killian (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 191
Case #: H050320, H050557
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/20/2024
Subsequent History: Ordered published 3/5/2024

Notwithstanding the plural language stated in Vehicle Code section 10802, which criminalizes vehicle identification number (VIN) tampering, the section may be violated by tampering with a single, as opposed to multiple, VIN’s. Defendant purchased a 2012 F-150 truck to drive back to California. Soon after he arrived, the truck’s engine failed. He testified that he then got a “pretty great deal” on a 2010 F-150, which turned out to be stolen. Defendant admitted he took the VIN plate from his 2012 truck and put it over the VIN plate of the stolen 2010 truck. He testified he was trying to save…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Lagunas (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 996
Case #: G061812
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/12/2023

Defendant’s conviction for Watson murder was supported by substantial evidence. Defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol in a residential area. He accelerated through a turn, lost control of the car, and killed a six-year-old girl who was playing on the sidewalk. A jury convicted him of second degree implied malice murder, i.e., a “Watson” murder. On appeal, defendant argued there was insufficient evidence he deliberately acted with implied malice. Held: Affirmed. Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice may be implied when a person drives a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and kills someone. (People…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Buckner (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 724
Case #: A162304
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/30/2023

Because defendant was living in his house on the day he set it on fire, substantial evidence supports the jury’s conclusion that the house was inhabited at the time of the fire. A jury convicted Buckner of arson of an inhabited dwelling structure. On appeal, he argued substantial evidence did not support his conviction because there was no evidence that he intended to live in his home after the fire. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 450 defines “inhabited” for purposes of the arson statutes as “currently being used for dwelling purposes whether occupied or not.” The Court of Appeal reviewed…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Nunez (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 362
Case #: G061346
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/20/2023

Provocation to reduce first degree murder to second degree murder must come from the victim, not a third party. After hearing a rumor that the victim had raped a child, and being encouraged to exact revenge, defendants Gallegos and Nunez chased and beat the victim with metal pipes, and Gallegos stabbed him with a knife six times. In response to a jury question, the trial court instructed that in order for provocation to reduce first degree murder to second degree murder, the provocation must come from the victim, not a third party. Gallegos was convicted of first degree murder and related…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Hupp (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 946
Case #: E079389, E079543
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/25/2023

A judge is not an “executive officer” within the meaning of Penal Code section 69. A jury convicted defendant of four counts of violating section 69 (threatening an executive officer) based on threatening statements he made to four judges. On appeal, he argued that as a matter of law, he could not be liable under section 69 because a judge is not an “executive officer” within the plain meaning of the term. Held: Reversed. Section 69 makes it a crime to attempt to deter, by means of any threat, an executive officer from the performance of a legal duty. The issue of whether…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Suazo (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 681
Case #: F082140
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/19/2023

A predrinking intent to drive is not required before a jury may find implied malice supporting a second degree Watson murder (People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290). Defendant, while intoxicated, drove his vehicle at a high rate of speed off the highway and into an area occupied by an adjacent tractor supply business. When the vehicle hit agricultural equipment the passenger was ejected and killed. Defendant fled. He was convicted of second degree implied malice Watson murder, as well as other counts. He appealed. Held: Remanded for resentencing. Defendant contended the evidence was insufficient to support his murder conviction,…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Morones (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 721
Case #: C095560
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/19/2023

As a matter of law, the evidence could not sustain convictions for preventing or dissuading a report to law enforcement (Pen. Code, § 136.1(b)(1)), where the witnesses had reported the criminal conduct to law enforcement prior to the defendant suggesting the witnesses lie. After discharging a firearm out of a bathroom window while his two children were home, defendant was charged with negligent discharge of a firearm and felony child endangerment. While in jail, defendant spoke with his two children by phone multiple times, encouraging them to lie and say they never saw a firearm. The prosecutor filed an amended…

View Full Summary