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Name: People v. Gaines (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 91 (and People v. Ross)
Case #: F083168, F083228
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/15/2023
Subsequent History: Ordered published 7/5/2023

The offenses of discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and permitting another person to discharge a firearm from a vehicle, do not require that the shooter be inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting. At a store, Gaines and Ross exchanged words with a man who was with his girlfriend and her children. After leaving the store, Gaines drove his vehicle in search of the man, who was walking on the sidewalk with his girlfriend and children. Gaines stopped the car while Ross got out and shot at the individuals. Defendants were convicted of numerous offenses including shooting…

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Name: People v. Reyes (2023) 14 Cal.5th 981
Case #: S270723
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 06/29/2023

Opinion by: Justice Liu (unanimous decision)

Trial court’s conclusion that Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) petitioner’s second degree murder conviction was sustainable on a direct perpetrator theory was not supported by substantial evidence. After traveling with fellow gang members on bikes to rival gang territory, Reyes was present when Lopez shot and killed a person. Reyes was convicted of second degree murder with gang and firearm enhancements. He later filed a petition for resentencing under section 1172.6, arguing that he was convicted of murder under the now-invalid natural and probable consequences theory. After a (d)(3) hearing, the trial court denied…

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Name: People v. Partee
Case #: S248520
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 01/23/2020

Defendant's failure to testify pursuant to a subpoena, with a grant of immunity, did not support an accessory to murder conviction because her silence did not fulfill the "overt or affirmative assistance" requirement of the crime. Partee voluntarily spoke with law enforcement during a murder investigation. After four other individuals were charged with the murder, Partee refused to testify under subpoena at the preliminary hearing even though the prosecution granted Partee use immunity. The murder case was dismissed. Partee was convicted of contempt (Pen. Code, § 166, subd. (a)(6)) and four felony counts of accessory after the fact to murder…

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Name: People v. Almeda
Case #: C077141
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/12/2017

Admission of cellmate's testimony relating defendant's incriminating statements did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to counsel because the cellmate was not acting under the government's direction. Villa and Almeda were charged with first degree murder for shooting a man parked in the car next to them at a stoplight. While in custody awaiting trial, Villa discussed details of the crime with his cellmate, Rhodes, who in turn reached out to the district attorney to offer Villa's statements in exchange for leniency for his own sentence. Rhodes, his attorney, and the prosecutor signed an agreement stating that the prosecution would…

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Name: People v. Banks
Case #: S213819
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/09/2015

Insufficient evidence supports a felony-murder special circumstance when the defendant's only participation in the underlying felony is as a getaway driver. Matthews was the getaway driver for an armed robbery in which Banks and others participated. During the robbery, Banks shot and killed one of the victims. The jury found Matthews guilty of first degree murder under a felony-murder theory and found true a felony-murder special circumstance (Pen. Code, § 190.2, subd. (a)(17)). The People did not seek the death penalty and Matthews was sentenced to mandatory LWOP. (See Pen. Code, § 190.2, subd. (d).) Matthews appealed. The Court of…

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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: S210898
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/20/2014

Defendant was properly convicted of murdering members of his own gang as a natural and probable consequence of his participation in a gang "jump out." Smith, a member of the Gateway Posse gang, was involved in arranging for his brother, McMorris, to be "jumped out" of a gang that was affiliated with Gateway Posse's rival, the Pueblo Posse gang. Smith wanted to make sure McMorris was not too badly beaten. During the "jumping out," gunfire erupted and Smith's friend and cousin, both associated with his gang, were killed. At trial, the prosecution argued that Smith was guilty of murder under…

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Name: People v. Moomey
Case #: E049827
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/26/2011

Penal Code section 32, the offense of accessory after the fact, is supported in a situation in which $80 worth of groceries were taken in a burglary. In the absence of a finding that the second degree burglary was reduced to a misdemeanor, it is deemed a felony offense. The commission of a "wobbler" offense, punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony, remains a felony unless and until the principal is convicted and sentenced to something less than a felony. Even if the principal is eventually given a misdemeanor sentence, it is not given retroactive effect. The crime of accessory…

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Name: People v. Dominguez
Case #: S130860
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/28/2006

The trial court did not err in failing to instruct the jury that a reasonable but mistaken belief that the victim has consented to sexual intercourse is a defense to rape where the defendant did not request such an instruction, did not rely on that defense at trial, and presented no substantial evidence to support the defense. Here, the defense presented was actual consent, not a mistake-of-fact defense, and the trial court did not err in failing to provide a sua sponte Mayberry instruction. (See People v. Mayberry (1975) 15 Cal.3d 143.) Evidence of asportation was sufficient…

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Name: People v. Flores
Case #: G033151
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/10/2005
Subsequent History: rvw. den. 8/10/5

A firearm sentencing enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.53(d) cannot be supported by evidence showing that the defendant has killed his accomplice. The defendant was charged with murdering two people, one of whom was an accomplice to the target crime (i.e., the murder of the second person). Defendant was found guilty of murdering his accomplice but not guilty of the other murder; the jury found true a firearm enhancement after the judge modified CALJIC 17.19.5 to delete the requirement that he must have inflicted great bodily on someone "other than an accomplice." The Attorney General conceded the…

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Name: People v. Dominguez
Case #: H022727
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/14/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. gr. 3/30/05: S130860; mod. 125 CA4th 699b

Incomplete jury instructions require reversal of a felony murder conviction. In this case, evidence presented at trial suggested that the victim might have died at the hands of an accomplice who had died before trial. The jury instructions addressed only the possibility that the defendant had been the actual killer, and even when the jury sought guidance on whether the defendant would still be guilty of murder if they believed that the accomplice had been the actual killer, the court failed to provide proper instructions. The court of appeal accordingly reversed the murder conviction, and also reversed…

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