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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: B298946
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 05/28/2021

Defendant who was convicted of felony murder before the effective date of Senate Bill No. 1437, but not sentenced until after the law took effect, was entitled to the retroactive benefits of changes in the murder law on direct appeal. Thomas was convicted of murder and other offenses based on a gang-related shooting. Prior to sentencing, he made a motion for a new trial based on SB 1437's changes to the murder law. His motion was denied. On appeal, he argued the motion was wrongly denied because SB 1437 took effect prior to his sentencing and rendered his felony murder…

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Name: Harris v. Superior Court
Case #: B251071
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/25/2014

Where trial counsel's representation at preliminary hearing was compromised due to conflict of interest, the information must be set aside because defendant was denied a substantial right to the effective assistance of counsel. Harris was arrested for drug crimes. Unknown to Harris and the trial court, his retained attorney, Diaz, had been arrested for felonies by the same officer who arrested Harris and was facing charges to be prosecuted by the same entity (Los Angeles District Attorney) who was prosecuting Harris. Diaz represented Harris at his preliminary hearing, after which Harris was bound over. Represented by new counsel, Harris sought…

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Name: People v. Tran
Case #: H036977
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/07/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 8/14/2013: S211329

In an NGI extension proceeding, Penal Code section 1026.5 requires that the court advise the NGI of the right to a jury trial but does not require an NGI's personal jury trial waiver. These three cases all address the same issue. Defendants Tran, Fuquay, and Mortimer were committed to state hospitals after being found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI). The district attorney filed separate petitions to extend the defendants' commitments. The same judge presided over all three cases. Counsel in each case waived a jury and the defendants' commitments were extending following a bench trial. In…

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Name: People v. Mortimer
Case #: H037530
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/25/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 8/14/2013: S211072

In an NGI extension proceeding, Penal Code section 1026.5 requires that the court advise the NGI of the right to a jury trial but does not require an NGI's personal jury trial waiver. These three cases all address the same issue. Defendants Tran, Fuquay, and Mortimer were committed to state hospitals after being found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI). The district attorney filed separate petitions to extend the defendants' commitments. The same judge presided over all three cases. Counsel in each case waived a jury and the defendants' commitments were extending following a bench trial. In…

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Name: People v. Fuquay
Case #: H037195
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/25/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 8/14/2013: S211076

In an NGI extension proceeding, Penal Code section 1026.5 requires that the court advise the NGI of the right to a jury trial but does not require an NGI's personal jury trial waiver. These three cases all address the same issue. Defendants Tran, Fuquay, and Mortimer were committed to state hospitals after being found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI). The district attorney filed separate petitions to extend the defendants' commitments. The same judge presided over all three cases. Counsel in each case waived a jury and the defendants' commitments were extending following a bench trial. In…

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Name: Maples v. Thomas
Case #: Oct-63
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/18/2012
Subsequent History: 132 S.Ct.912; 181 L.Ed.2d 807

Lawyers who abandoned their capital habeas client without notice to the court or to the client provided extraordinary cause to grant relief from default. Maples was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1997 in Alabama. Maples' postconviction petition filed in the trial court raised ineffective assistance of trial counsel. He was represented by two pro bono counsel who were associated with a large New York-based law firm. A local Alabama lawyer served only to move for their admission pro hac vice and it was understood that he would only facilitate their appearance with no substantive involvement in…

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Name: In re Prescott
Case #: D047936
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/03/2007

Reversal was required where counsel revealed confidential communications and failed to advocate for appellant by telling the court that there was no reason for withdrawal of the guilty plea. Following his conviction for corporal injury to a spouse, appellant petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his conviction on the ground that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel during a critical stage of his criminal proceedings. He contended that his right to assistance of counsel was violated when he indicated a desire to withdraw his guilty plea and his court-appointed counsel provided…

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Name: In re White
Case #: C046677
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/01/2004

Where an attorney who was retained by inmates filed three frivolous habeas petitions with no chance of success, prepared by law students or other lawyers working in a "writ mill," the appellate court sanctioned the attorney by ordering him to return the money he received from the clients, and pay monetary sanctions to the…

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Name: Mansell v. Otto
Case #: B155418
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 04/29/2003
Subsequent History: Modified & Petn. rehrg. denied 5/29/03

A crime victim sued the alleged perpetrator and his criminal defense counsel for invasion of privacy based on the unauthorized reading of her mental health records by the defendant and other members of the defense team. The court held that plaintiff could not state a claim because the defendants obtained the medical and psychiatric records through the court’ s normal processes. In response to a court order (after defense counse had unsuccessfully tried to subpoena the records), the hospital sent the records to the court, which released them to the prosecution, who in turn provided them to the…

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Name: McClure v. Thompson
Case #: 01-35593
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/02/2003

On a state prisoner’s appeal from the denial of his habeas corpus petition, the court held that the Oregon state court decisions denying him post-conviction relief did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law in finding no ineffective assistance of counsel in the days following his arrest. The petitioner was arrested when his fingerprints had been found in the blood of a dead woman who had been hit multiple times with a blunt object. He was also held in connection with the disappearance of two of the woman’s daughters. He retained counsel who spoke with him several…

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