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Name: People v. Jackson
Case #: B218372
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/08/2010

The unauthorized entry onto a balcony that is attached to a residence and is functionally connected with it, with the intent to commit theft, constitutes first degree burglary. The manager of an apartment complex saw appellant halfway inside the victim’s apartment and halfway on the attached balcony. Appellant was subsequently charged with and convicted by jury of first degree burglary. On appeal, appellant argued instructional error, contending that whether the balcony was part of the structure was a jury question. The court disagreed. The question is one of law, and not fact. In determining whether a structure is part of…

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Name: People v. Long
Case #: H033197
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/29/2010

A business traveler’s room is an inhabited dwelling for purposes of first degree robbery while the occupant is doing business as well as resting. Appellant was convicted of first degree robbery of a prostitute in a motel room. Appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to show that the victim was in an inhabited place, an element required for a finding of first degree robbery. The court found that there was sufficient evidence that the victim inhabited the rooms at the time she was robbed by virtue of socializing with a friend and eating meals in the hotel…

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Name: People v. Fenderson
Case #: A123984
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/17/2010

Under the California theft statute (Pen. Code, § 484), a conviction is affirmed if there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction under any theory of theft, and juries can return a general verdict of guilty if they find that an unlawful taking has been proved even if they are not instructed on the relevant theory of theft. Appellant was a caretaker for an elderly client who gave appellant power of attorney over her bank accounts so appellant could take care of business when the client was unable to do so. Following the client’s death, appellant, although not having been…

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Name: People v. Glazier
Case #: B214200
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/19/2010

The burglary-by-instrument doctrine applies when a tool is used to enter a building either as a prelude to physical entry, or to remove property, or to commit another felony. Appellant used a paint sprayer filled with gasoline and a 20-foot torch to start a fire in the crawl space of his neighbor's house while he remained on his own property. Based on this act he was convicted of attempted first-degree burglary under the burglary-by-instrument doctrine. Appellant argued the conviction should be reversed because the doctrine did not apply under the facts of the case since he did…

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Name: People v. Beaver
Case #: C060490
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/29/2010

There was sufficient corroboration of accomplice testimony to support a grand theft conviction. Appellant, an employee at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort, was convicted of grand theft based on faking an accident in order to collect damages and to obtain medical treatment for a preexisting knee injury. At trial, two of his accomplices testified about the scheme and were given use immunity for their testimony. Appellant argued his conviction for grand theft had to be reversed because there was no corroborating evidence to back up the testimony of his accomplices. The court rejected…

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Name: People v. Keating
Case #: B210240
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 06/07/2010
Subsequent History: rev. granted 9/22/10, (S184354)

This court joins a growing majority of appellate courts holding that the amendment of Penal Code section 4019, effective January 25, 2010 is retroactive.
Credit card theft, forgery, commercial burglary, and grand theft convictions were found to be supported by sufficient evidence even if that evidence was mainly circumstantial. A challenge to the evidence to support specific intent of the crimes charged and an argument that any crimes were committed by the business partner who was irresponsible about credit involved credibility conflicts and evidentiary conflicts which were resolved by the jury as trier of…

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Name: People v. Ceja
Case #: S157932
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/17/2010

Where a defendant is improperly convicted of stealing and receiving the same property, the conviction for receiving stolen property must be reversed irrespective of which offense has the greater penalty. A jury convicted appellant of misdemeanor petty theft of a speaker box and felony receipt of stolen property, i.e., the speaker box. Penal Code section 496, subdivision (a) specifies that a defendant may not be convicted of stealing and receiving the same property, but does not indicate which conviction stands when defendant has been convicted of both. In this case, the trial court sentenced appellant to two years in prison…

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Name: People v. Casas
Case #: E048184
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/25/2010

The crime of embezzlement does not require the intent to permanently deprive the owner of property. The requisite mental state exists when a person uses property entrusted to him in a way that significantly interferes with the owner's enjoyment or use of the property. Appellant, a salesman at an auto dealership, used a trade-in vehicle to follow a buyer home to collect a down payment. But after receiving the down payment, he did not immediately go back to the dealership. Instead, he drove the car nearly 400 miles to buy drugs. He used…

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Name: People v. Mathers
Case #: C060425
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/22/2010

Possession of a check that is genuine, but uncollectible due to insufficient funds, does not violate Penal Code section 476 which prohibits possessing, passing or attempting to pass a fictitious check. Appellant was convicted of possessing and attempting to pass a fictitious check based on his attempt to cash a check on an account which had been closed. He argued the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because the check he possessed was not fictitious. The court agreed. The court looked at the character of the check. It was drawn on a…

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Name: People v. Zamani
Case #: H032414
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/07/2010

Appropriation of lost property (Pen. Code, § 485) is a general intent crime. In this case of first impression the court considered whether appropriation of lost property is a specific or general intent crime. The court reviewed the statute in the context of the entire statutory scheme which addresses various forms of theft. It compared this statute to section 484, which defines various "felonious takings" as theft. In section 484, the use of the word "felonious" has been held to import the common law specific intent requirement. But not all of the theft offenses in the…

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