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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…

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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…

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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,…

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Name: People v. Marquez (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 1212
Case #: G061264
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/30/2023

In a prosecution for elder theft by a noncaretaker (Pen. Code, § 368(d)), trial court properly omitted an instruction that the prosecution must prove a defendant's noncaretaker status because this is not an element of the crime. Marquez was convicted of eight counts of elder theft as a noncaretaker. The trial court instructed the jurors on the elements of the offense: (1) the commission of a theft; (2) the victim was an elder; (3) the amount stolen was greater than $950; and (4) it was known, or reasonably should have been known, that the victim was at least 65 years…

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Name: People v. Chubback
Case #: E071274
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/11/2019

Defendant's driving of a motorized device designed to move shipping containers and used within a storage yard qualified as vehicle driving and taking under Vehicle Code section 10851. Police responded to a report of an unauthorized individual driving a motorized device used to move shipping containers within the storage yard of a business. Police discovered defendant inside the device. Based on this act, he was convicted of unlawful taking or driving a vehicle. (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a).) On appeal he argued the motorized equipment he allegedly drove or took does not qualify as a "vehicle" under section 10851.…

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Name: People v. LaDuke
Case #: D072597
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/14/2018

The crime of vandalism of a religious educational institution includes not only acts which affect the structure of the building, but also damage to personal property located on the real property related to the building. LaDuke set fire to a sign in front of a religious university. The sign bore a crucifix and the words "John Paul the Great Catholic University." LaDuke was convicted of vandalism of a religious educational institution (Pen. Code, § 594.3, subd. (a)) and other offenses. On appeal, he argued the evidence was insufficient because the statute protects only "building[s]" and the sign was not a…

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Name: People v. Calistro
Case #: F070176
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/06/2017

Defendant's nontheft conviction under Vehicle Code section 10851, subdivision (a) did not bar his conviction for receiving stolen property inside the car. Five hours after a car was reported stolen, police found defendant sitting inside the stolen car at a nearby gas station, with the owner's wallet and cell phone in the passenger seat. Defendant was convicted of unlawfully driving or taking a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)) and receiving stolen property (the credit cards inside the vehicle) (Pen. Code, § 496, subd. (a)). On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction for receiving the stolen credit cards, arguing that…

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Name: People v. Reid
Case #: F069533
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/20/2016

Neither the "one-plan one-offense" rule set forth in People v. Bailey (1961) 55 Cal.3d 514, nor the "one-occasion one-offense" rule set forth in People v. Smith (1945) 26 Cal.2d 854, apply to the offense of removing human remains (Health & Saf. Code, § 7052, subd. (a)). One night, Reid stole 9 metal urns from a cemetery, discarded the 11 sets of cremated remains inside them, and recycled the urns for cash. He was convicted of a number of offenses, including 11 counts of removing human remains. On appeal, he argued that multiple convictions were improper under the one-plan one-offense and…

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Name: People v. Vidana
Case #: G050399
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/26/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/1/2015: S224546

Defendant cannot be convicted of both larceny and embezzlement based on the same act because they are not separate offenses; they are two ways of committing theft. Vidana worked as a credit agent for a concrete company and, as part of her duties, would accept cash payments from customers. While Vidana was on leave, it was discovered that over $58,000 in cash payments were missing from accounts that Vidana was responsible for monitoring. A jury found her guilty of grand theft by larceny (Pen. Code, § 487, subd. (a)) and grand theft by embezzlement (Pen. Code, § 503).…

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Name: People v. Watt
Case #: E058212
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/18/2014

Jury instruction on mistake of fact defense for receiving stolen property charge, which required a reasonable belief that the property was abandoned, did not require reversal. Watt was convicted of receiving stolen property. His defense at trial was that he believed the property to have been abandoned. The jury was instructed with a modified version of CALCRIM No. 3406, which provided that the defendant was not guilty if he did not have the requisite intent because he reasonably did not know or mistakenly believed a fact. The jury was told that if Watt believed the property was dumped, and found…

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