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Name: People v. Russell
Case #: S075875
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/15/2010

For lying-in-wait murder, the period of time must be "substantial," but there is no fixed time limit for the period of lying-in-wait. In this death penalty case, appellant was convicted of lying-in-wait murder for the deaths of two policemen. According to the evidence shown at trial, following a two-day estrangement, appellant returned to his wife's house to talk to her. When she asked him to leave, he became upset and agitated. Appellant finally left, but warned his wife not to call the police. She fled to the neighbor's house and summoned the police. Appellant then returned with an M-1 rifle,…

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Name: People v. Bradford
Case #: A125040
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 08/31/2010

A mall security guard can be the victim of a robbery despite not being the owner of the property or an employee of the store that owned the property. Appellant was seen stealing from a Victoria's Secret store and the store employee reported the theft to mall security guards. When the guards tried to detain appellant, he waved a knife at them and ran away. The guards chased appellant and managed to detain him after he tried to stab one of them with a knife. Based on this incident, appellant was convicted of two counts of…

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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. Wilson
Case #: F056965
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/13/2010

The immediacy element of Penal Code section 422 (criminal threats) does not place a specific timeline on when a specific and unconditional threat must be executed and does not require an immediate ability to carry out the threat. Appellant, serving a prison term, threatened to find people and “blast” the correctional officer when appellant was released on parole in ten months. He was convicted of criminal threats and threats to a member of a class of public officials, and sentenced to a life term under the “strike” statute. On appeal, appellant claimed that…

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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: S167051
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/29/2010

An indiscriminate firing of one shot at a group of people, does not amount to the attempted murder of each person in the group. Appellant fired a single bullet at a group of seven police officers and a civilian because he mistook them as rival gang members. He was convicted of, inter alia, seven counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and an additional count of attempted murder as to the civilian. Appellant argued the facts supported only a single conviction of attempted murder. The appellate court affirmed, finding the shooting endangered the lives of…

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Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: E048027
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/23/2010

For purposes of a Penal Code section 288 violation (lewd acts upon a child), the touching element can be satisfied by a touching committed out of the defendant's presence, but at his direction. Appellant was convicted of several offenses resulting from the sexual molestation of his step-daughters. At trial he moved to dismiss (Pen. Code, sec. 1118.1) two counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14 years of age, arguing there was no concurrence of a touching and a lewd intent, and that in fact there had been no touching at all. These two acts were…

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Name: People v. Vang
Case #: D054636
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/07/2010
Subsequent History: Rev. granted (S184212)

Hypothetical questions of an expert on the accused's intent and knowledge in committing the underlying assault exceeded the bounds of discretion and resulted in mere speculation on ultimate issues to be decided by the jury. Rules usually allow hypothetical questions of experts on ultimate issues. However, expert testimony on knowledge and intent, based on thinly veiled hypothetical questions, amounts to no more than an expression by the expert as to how the case should be decided. (Accord People v. Killebrew (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 644, 647, 651.) The questions in this case placed the trial testimony in the context of changing…

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Name: People v. Weddles
Case #: C057666
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/25/2010

An immediate family relationship is sufficient to establish constructive possession for purposes of the robbery statute. Appellant and his cohorts broke into an apartment at gunpoint to steal from the occupants. The resident's brother happened to be present and the perpetrators ordered him to show them where his brother kept his money and to hand it over. At the resident's behest, the brother complied. Appellant argued on appeal that the conviction for robbery of the visiting brother had to be reversed because he did not have possession of, or a possessory interest in, the resident's cash.…

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Name: People v. Lam
Case #: B212994
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 05/10/2010

An instruction on aiding and abetting suicide is not applicable where the defendant actively participates in the final act causing death. Appellant stole money from his wife to pay a gambling debt. He strangled his wife while drunk and distraught, but was unsuccessful in killing himself. Appellant claimed they made a mutual suicide pact, but he survived. On appeal from his murder conviction, appellant argued his attorney was ineffective for failing to request a jury instruction on aiding and abetting a suicide as a lesser related offense to the murder. The court held that, even…

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Name: People v. Delgado
Case #: B213271
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 04/29/2010

A unanimity jury instruction is not required where the evidence shows the charged offense consists of multiple acts in a continuous course of conduct. Appellant was convicted by a jury of dependant elder abuse, criminal threats, and attempted criminal threats. On appeal she argued that the court erred in failing to give the jury a unanimity instruction on the dependant elder abuse offense. Appellant is the mother of an adult, quadriplegic son who lived in the sub acute unit of a hospital. According to evidence received by the jury, during the period of time specified in the abuse charge, appellant…

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