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Name: People v. Simons
Case #: C051632
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/27/2007

Appellant's statements were not unlawfully elicited in violation of Miranda v. Arizona. Appellant contended that the trial court erred in admitting the statements he made to police prior to his murder trial because they were unlawfully elicited in violation of Miranda v. Arizona since he had invoked his right to an attorney. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that appellant's request for counsel (i.e., how long would it take a lawyer to get here?") were not unequivocal. They would lead a reasonable officer to understand only that appellant might want a lawyer if it would not take…

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Name: People v. Ceja
Case #: D049566
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/03/2007
Subsequent History: 1/16/08: rev. granted (S157932)

Appellant could only be sentenced on the greater offense where he was convicted of both petty theft and receiving stolen property. Ceja was convicted of petty theft and receipt of the same stolen property. On appeal, he argued that he could not be convicted of theft and receiving stolen property he obtained in the theft, and that his conviction for receiving stolen property had to be reversed. The prosecutor conceded that Ceja was erroneously convicted of both crimes, but argued that because receiving stolen property is the greater offense, the court should reverse the petty theft conviction.…

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Name: U.S. v. Vidal
Case #: 04-50185
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/10/2007

Vehicle Code section 10851 (vehicle theft) extends liability for vehicle theft to principals, accomplices, and accessories after the fact. Vidal's sentence for violation of 8 U.S.C. section 1326 was enhanced on the basis of his prior California conviction for violation of section 10851, under the theory that section 10851 qualified as an aggravated felony within the federal sentencing scheme. Applying rules of statutory construction, the appellate court observed that section 10851 specifically makes liable any person who is "an accessory to" the stealing of a vehicle. Because Penal Code section 971 abolishes any distinction between principals and…

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Name: People v. Blick
Case #: A112744
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/24/2007

The trial court's failure to include a specific intent to defraud requirement rendered the jury instructions for worker's compensation fraud erroneous.

Blick was convicted of three insurance fraud offenses for collecting benefits for a knee injury when surveillance tapes showed that she was able to work, including a conviction for a violation of Penal Code section 550, subdivision (b)(3): knowingly failing to disclose the occurence of an event which affects the person's entitlement to benefits. The court instructed the jury that "every person who, with the specific intent to do so, conceals or fails to disclose..." Blick…

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Name: People v. Cabrera
Case #: D047895
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/25/2007

Where sufficient evidence supported a conviction for rape, there was no error where the court denied appellant's pretrial motion to dismiss the charge. Appellant was convicted of multiple offenses, including carjacking, arising out of two separate violent assaults against his former girlfriend. On appeal, he argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the rape conviction and therefore the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to dismiss it. The appellate court rejected the argument. Because there was sufficient evidence of rape presented at trial, appellant could not show that he was in any material…

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Name: People v. Medina
Case #: S137055
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/09/2007

A completed carjacking is not a prerequisite for an attempt to violate section 209.5, subdivision (a) [kidnap during the commission of a carjacking]. Appellant attempted to take a vehicle from the victim, while her sleeping husband and children were in it. The victim successfully got appellant out of the car, and he ran away. He was convicted of attempted kidnaping during the commission of a carjacking. On appeal, he argued that his conviction had to be reversed because the offense required a completed carjacking for which there was insufficient evidence. The appellate court affirmed, finding that…

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Name: People v. Mays
Case #: D046696
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/28/2007

(1) Sufficient evidence of money laundering exists where a defendant conducts a transaction involving a monetary instrument which exceeds $5000. which is derived from criminal activity. Appellant ran an escort service which provided sexual services. He was convicted of pimping and money laundering. He contended on appeal that his money laundering convictions in violation of Penal Code section 186.10, subdivision (a) had to be reversed because there was insufficient evidence to show that each count involved at least a $5000. transactional amount derived from or intended to promote criminal activity. The appellate court rejected the argument…

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Name: People v. Coleman
Case #: B186264
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/23/2007

Ortega's employer hung the keys to his personal vehicle in a closet while he was at work. Ortega had access to the closet, but was not responsible for the keys. Coleman entered the work place, pointed a gun at Ortega, and demanded her employer's keys. Ortega gave Coleman the keys. Coleman was later convicted of carjacking as well as robbery. On appeal, Coleman contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the carjacking conviction because the victim did not have actual or constructive possession of the vehicle. The appellate court reversed the conviction. The purpose…

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Name: People v. Villalobos
Case #: E038143
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/30/2006

Appellants appealed their convictions for first degree robbery and burglary, arguing that an occupied motel room is not an "inhabited dwelling house" within the meaning of the relevant statutes if the room is rented only for one night. The appellate court rejected the argument. Burglary is a crime against habitation. In most circumstances, a motel room is rented for habitation regardless of the length of time for which the room is rented. A motel room can be "occupied" for purposes other than use as a temporary dwelling. A room used for a meeting or to…

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Name: People v. Corcoran
Case #: B180779
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/22/2006

The appellate court rejected appellant's argument that there was insufficient evidence to sustain kidnap convictions where appellant and his accomplice herded the victims of an aborted robbery approximately 10 feet from a public area to a small back windowless office, ripped the phone cord out of the wall, and threatened to shoot the victims if they left the office. There was substantial evidence that the movement of the victims was not merely incidental to the attempted robbery, and that the movement substantially increased the risk of harm to the victims. The movement of the victims had nothing to…

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