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Name: In re D.A.
Case #: B283932
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/19/2018

Evidence that an alleged battery victim was upset and had injuries on his face permitted a reasonable inference that the minor committed a battery and satisfied the corpus delicti of the crime independent of the minor's statements to police. A juvenile court determined that minor D.A. had committed misdemeanor battery based on evidence that she slapped and pushed her boyfriend. The D.A. told responding officers that she had found something on her boyfriend's phone that upset her, and when he refused to apologize, she slapped and pushed him. The boyfriend could not be located for the jurisdictional hearing,…

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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: C073360
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/04/2016

Where the prosecution presented no direct evidence of sexual penetration, defendant's confession, plus circumstantial evidence of other prohibited acts, established the corpus delicti of the offense. Sanchez was convicted of four sex offenses committed against two minors under the age of 10 years. On appeal, he claimed the evidence was insufficient to establish the corpus delicti of sexual penetration of a child 10 years of age or younger (Pen. Code, § 288.7, subd. (b)). Held: Affirmed. In every criminal case the prosecution must prove the corpus delicti of the offense, i.e., the fact of injury, loss, or harm, and the…

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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: C073360
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/04/2016

Although there was no direct evidence of the specific act of sexual penetration, defendant's confession, plus circumstantial evidence of other prohibited acts, established the corpus delicti of the offense. Sanchez was convicted of four sex crimes committed against two minors. Sanchez had admitted to police that he digitally penetrated one of the minors while giving her a piggyback ride. The minor did not recall such an event and no one else witnessed the crime. On appeal, Sanchez claimed the evidence was insufficient to establish the corpus delicti of sexual penetration of a child 10 years of age or younger…

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Name: People v. Hyunh
Case #: D060327
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/20/2012

In a murder prosecution, the prosecutor is required to establish the corpus delicti, i.e., proof of death of the victim and proof of a criminal agency as cause of the death, by slight or prima facie proof. Appellant was convicted of felony murder, with the underlying felonies being sodomy and oral copulation of an intoxicated person (Penal Code sections 286, subdivision (i) and 288a, subdivision (i), respectively). On appeal, his argument that the corpus delecti had not been established because there was insufficient proof of death by a criminal agency was rejected. The evidence at trial established that the…

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Name: In re J. A.
Case #: B225717
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 08/25/2011

Where minor confessed to molest, child victim's out-of-court statements are admissible to prove corpus delicti of crime. After admitting the child victim’s statements (under Evid. Code, §1228) to prove the corpus delicti of the offenses, the court used the minor's confession to sustain molest allegations in a delinquency petition. The minor contended the prerequisites to admission of hearsay listed in section 1228 were not met and that absent the victim's statements, there was insufficient evidence, other than the minor's admissions, of corpus delicti. Corpus delicti (which is required proof that a crime has occurred) may not be shown by…

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Name: People v. Tompkins
Case #: E047842
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/23/2010

In a multi-count child molestation case, evidence that multiple molestations took place will establish the corpus delicti for multiple counts. Appellant was charged with numerous counts of molest. During the pre-trial investigation, appellant provided inculpatory statements to investigators which were introduced at trial. On appeal, the court rejected appellant’s claim that the prosecutor failed to establish the corpus delicti of six of the counts, and instead relied on appellant’s out of court statements. Relying on People v. Culton (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 363 (cumulative testimony may be sufficient evidence to raise reasonable inferences…

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Name: People v. Stacy
Case #: C060673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/14/2010

There was sufficient evidence to support the crime of false personation. (Pen. Code, § 529.) When police stopped appellant for a suspected DUI, she identified herself as Amber Skorbecky, gave a birth date of April 2, 1984, and said she had no picture identification. On the way to jail, she provided the same information to another officer, and also gave him a mailing address, middle name, and driver's license number. After a records check, it was discovered the middle name and birth date did not match Amber's. Photographs and fingerprints from the state database also showed…

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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: B193624
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/05/2007

To support a conviction, the prosecution must establish the corpus delicti of a crime independently from defendant's extrajudicial statements, but only a slight or prima facie showing is required. (People v. Alvarez (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1161, People v. Jones (1998) 17 Cal.4th 279.) Appellant was convicted by jury of four felony driving under the influence charges, all relating to the same incident. On the basis of the following evidence presented at trial, the appellate court rejected Martinez' contention that the prosecution failed to present sufficient proof of the corpus delicti. The highway patrol officer came upon a vehicle parked facing…

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Name: People v. Herrera
Case #: G034848
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/22/2006

At a preliminary hearing Herrera was held to answer for several substance abuse offenses. He successfully moved to dismiss a conspiracy count pursuant to Penal Code section 995 because there was no evidence of conspiracy other than his own extrajudicial statements. The prosecutor appealed the granting of the 995 motion, arguing that the corpus delicti rule does not apply to preliminary hearings. Herrera argued that the appeal was moot because he pleaded guilty to two necessarily included offenses, and could therefore not be tried on the conspiracy charge even if the appellate court agreed with the prosecutor…

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Name: Rayyis v. Superior Court
Case #: B181214
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 10/06/2005

Proposition 8 does not abrogate the corpus delicti rule at preliminary hearings. The trial court here concluded that under the California Supreme Court decision in People v. Alvarez (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1161, the corpus delicti rule no longer applies to preliminary hearings. The appellate court disagreed, noting that Proposition 8 only changes the rule excluding the defendant’s extra judicial statements under the corpus delicti rule. Proposition 8 does not alter the substantive aspects of the rule that are unrelated to the introduction of evidence. Thus, although there is no longer a basis for excluding a defendant’s statements…

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