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Name: People v. Paz
Case #: G041327
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/10/2010

A defendant who disposes of contraband because of threat of bodily injury or of police apprehension cannot claim the defense of transitory possession. Appellant and another man were involved in altercation. The man placed appellant in a choke hold and told his girlfriend to call police. At that point appellant threw a small container under a nearby car. When police arrived, the man pointed out the item to police and they discovered it contained drugs. At appellant's trial for possession of methamphetamine, his explanation was that he was buying drugs from the man, but then…

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Name: People v. Sisuphan
Case #: A122351
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/29/2010

Penal Code section 512 does not provide a defense to embezzlement for those who return the property before charges are filed. Appellant, the supervising finance manager at a car dealership, was charged with embezzlement (Pen. Code, § 508) based on taking about $30K in cash and checks from the dealership's safe. Before criminal charges were filed, appellant admitted to his employer that he took the money with the intent to return it, and that the reason he took it was because he was trying to get a problematic employee who he supervised fired, but who the general manager had previously…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C059218
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/26/2009

A good-faith belief by a defendant, tried as an accomplice, that he was assisting his co-principal to retake the principal's property, negates the felonious intent element of a theft-based offense, and a claim-of-right instruction must be given where substantial evidence supports such a belief. Appellant accompanied his brother and a third man to the residence of the brother's former girlfriend and the three pushed their way in. Once inside, appellant pulled a handgun, waved it around, and demanded that the victim return the car and laptop belonging to his brother, which she did. Tried on the theory that he aided…

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Name: People v. Rubin
Case #: B201672
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/01/2008

Under both the United States and the California constitutions, religious belief is protected but religiously motivated conduct is not and remains subject to regulation for the protection of society. A narcotics officer visited Temple 420 in Hollywood where appellant introduced himself as the owner and said that the temple was a church in which members could buy marijuana. The officer subsequently purchased a quantity of marijuana at the temple. A later search of the temple produced nine pounds of marijuana, scales, pay-owe sheets, and paraphernalia. Appellant was charged with sale and possession of marijuana for sale. At the jury trial,…

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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. Neidinger
Case #: S133798
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/20/2006

Penal Code section 278.5, subdivision (a) criminalizes the concealing or withholding of a child from the person with a right to custody or visitation. Section 278.7 provides that section 278.5 does not apply where a person acts in good faith and reasonable belief that if the child is left with the other person he or she will suffer injury or emotional harm. Here, the Neidingers had joint custody of their children. William was concerned about the children and had contacted Child Protective Services and sought a protective order. He obtained custody of the children and moved them…

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Name: People v. Tackett
Case #: C044770
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/31/2006
Subsequent History: Rev. granted in light of Cunningham: S148687

Appellant was charged with vehicular manslaughter following a drunk driving accident in which two people were killed. The trial centered on whether the truck was being driven by appellant or by his friend, Cotham. On appeal, appellant contended that the trial court erred in excluding evidence that Cotham had twice before driven recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. One incident took place a year before, and the other almost two years after the fatal crash. Appellant contended that because Cotham was a victim of the crime, evidence of his conduct on the other two occasions…

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Name: Earp v. Ornoski
Case #: 03-99005
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/08/2005

A petitioner in a capital case was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on claims of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. At trial, the petitioner was convicted of murder after his third-party culpability defense failed. After trial, the petitioner sought a new trial based on evidence from a jailhouse informant. The informant had told the defense that he had heard the third party make incriminating statements, but the informant recanted after threats by the prosecutor and a sheriff's deputy. Petitioner's state habeas petition was supported by declarations from the informant, but the petition was denied…

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Name: People v. Sorden
Case #: S120677
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/23/2005
Subsequent History: rehng. den. 7/27/05

Appellant failed to update his sex offender registration within five working days of his birthday because he was depressed, which affected his concentration and memory. The trial court excluded evidence of appellant's depression, including testimony of an expert witness who would show how depression affects memory. The California Supreme Court granted review to resolve the question of whether forgetting to update one's registration because of severe depression may negate the section 290 willfulness requirement. The prosecutor argued that willful failure to update one's registration as a sex offender is a general intent crime, and therefore evidence relating to depression…

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Name: People v. Brady
Case #: A102620
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/02/2005
Subsequent History: rehng. den. 7/5/05; rvw. den. 9/7/05

Intervening acts by the victim that may have contributed to his death did not absolve the defendant of responsibility for that death where the events were foreseeable. The defendant was convicted of recklessly starting a fire that caused the deaths of two CDF pilots whose planes collided as they were fighting a fire started at defendant's methamphetamine lab. On appeal, the defendant argued that the jury instructions and the exclusion of evidence regarding one pilot's possible culpability in the accident prevented the jury from properly determining whether defendant's acts proximately caused the deaths of the pilots. The…

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