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Name: People v. Mehaisin
Case #: C037300
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/04/2002
Subsequent History: Review Denied November 20, 2002

Appellant was charged with a violation of Penal Code section 278.5, for keeping his children from their lawful custodian, their mother. He moved in limine to present a necessity defense, pursuant to section 278.7, because he he claimed that he withheld the children to protect them from their mother. The trial court ruled he was not entitled to a necessity defense because he did not comply with the notice provisions of section 278.7, which require that a parent who claims his conduct was necessary must notify certain authorities or take action within the courts within a reasonable time…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: A087698
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/15/2000
Subsequent History: Review Granted March 28, 2001 (S094710)

Penal Code section 26, which makes the defense of duress unavailable for a crime "punishable by death" applies to all charges of first degree murder, regardless of whether the prosecutor actually seeks the death penalty. Accordingly, the trial court did not err here in failing to give CALJIC 4.40, to instruct the jury on duress as a defense to the murder charge, and trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to request the instruction. The Court of Appeal also stated, in dicta, that the evidence was insufficient to have required the trial court to give a modified form…

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Name: U.S. v. Hancock
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/26/2000
Subsequent History: None

In this prosecution for illegal possession of firearms by a person previously convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)), this conviction under the 1996 amendments to the firearm act, for possession of firearms purchased in 1994 and 1995, obtained without requiring the defendant to know the of the amendments to the law, was held not to violate due process. The type of conduct prohibited is neither highly technical (distinguishing Cheek v. United States (1991) 498 U.S. 192), and there is no element of "willfulness" in the statute. Also, the statute does not prohibit wholly passive conduct…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: S094710
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/29/2002
Subsequent History: Rehg. denied 10/2/02.

Fear for one’s own life does not justify killing an innocent person. Duress is not a defense to murder, and cannot reduce murder to…

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Name: People v. Scott
Case #: D033131
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/12/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 1/10/01

While appellant's claims of double jeopardy were waived because he failed to raise them in the trial court, the Court of Appeal nonetheless disposed of the double jeopardy claims on the merits within appellant's claim that his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to raise the double jeopardy bar in the trial court. The Court of Appeal found that the convictions were not double jeopardy barred and that trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise the double jeopardy bar. A mistrial had been declared in the first trial as to the forcible sex offenses, and the…

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Name: People v. Brown
Case #: F033118
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/27/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/21/00

In a prosecution for a violation of Penal Code section 4502, possession or manufacture of a weapon in a prison, the trial court did not err in refusing to give CALJIC 12.06, temporary possession for purposes of disposal. Here the court held necessity did not require that appellant possess the weapon, a blade fashioned from a disposable shaving razor. According to the court, rather than picking it up himself, appellant could have notified a guard that it was lying on the…

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Name: People v. Youngblood
Case #: C033929
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/30/2001
Subsequent History: None

Appellant was convicted of animal cruelty for accumulating 92 cats and keeping them in a 7 by 11 foot trailer. On appeal, she argued that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that it could find her guilty of animal cruelty for either depriving the animals of food and shelter or subjecting them to needless suffering. The appellate court found no error in the instructions, holding that the court's interpretation of the statute was correct. The defense of necessity was not available to appellant, who kept the 92 cats in order to save them from euthanasia. Numerous…

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Name: People v. Chavez
Case #: B139931
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/31/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 9/12/01 as S098775

(Editor's note: Review granted) The exclusion of battered women's syndrome (BWS) evidence was proper. Appellant's statement to police clearly established her participation in the robbery/murder as an aider and abettor, as she drove the co-perpetrators to each robbery, knowing their purpose. No evidence of duress or BWS could have excused or minimized her intent. Therefore, exclusion was proper since the evidence was irrelevant to intent. Since appellant did not raise below the issue of the impact of the BWS evidence on her credibility, it could not be raised for the first time on…

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Name: People v. Chavez
Case #: B139931
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/31/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 9/12/01 as S098775

(Editor's note: Review granted) The defense of duress was not available to appellant for the crimes underlying a robbery-murder charge. Appellant failed to show that a threat made to her placed her in immediate and imminent danger, which is required for a duress defense. Therefore, it was not error for the trial court to have failed to instruct on the duress…

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Name: U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative
Case #: 00-151
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 05/14/2001
Subsequent History: None

There is no medical necessity exception to the federal Controlled Substances Act's prohibition (21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq.) against the manufacture and distribution of marijuana. The defense cannot succeed where the legislature has made a determination of values, and here Congress has determined that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception (other than a Government approved research project not involved here). Alternatively, the lower court's broad equitable discretion did not provide a basis for affirming. Equity courts cannot ignore Congress' judgment clearly expressed in the legislation. Because the statute covers even those who…

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