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Name: People v. Lozano (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 366
Case #: A165646
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/10/2024

Trial court abused its discretion in admitting a 16-year-old victim’s statement to her mother that defendant had been molesting her since she was 11 as a spontaneous statement. Defendant was convicted of, inter alia, committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred in admitting an out-of-court statement of Doe 1, who was deceased at the time of trial, but who had told her mother defendant had been molesting her since she was 11. Held: Reversed. Doe 1’s statements to her mother did not fall within the hearsay exception…

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Name: People v. Flores (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 438
Case #: D083310
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/15/2024

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing evidence of victim’s disclosure of sexual abuse ten years after the abuse occurred under the “fresh complaint” doctrine. Flores was found guilty of four counts of sexually abusing two sisters between 2006 and 2008 when the victims were between the ages of four and seven years old. About ten years after the abuse, one of the victims (B.C.) disclosed the abuse to her high school friends after they showed concern about her demeanor. At trial, the jury was instructed that it could consider B.C.’s statements to her friends both to evaluate her…

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Name: People v. Lewis (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 401
Case #: E082085
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/03/2024
Subsequent History: Ordered published 4/10/2024

Trial court abused its discretion in denying compassionate release under Penal Code section 1172.2 where the finding that defendant posed an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety was not supported by substantial evidence. Defendant was convicted of first degree murder committed in 2020. He was also associated with a street gang and had a significant criminal history. In 2023, the CDCR’s director of Health Care Services sent a letter to the superior court recommending compassionate release under section 1172.2. Defendant was diagnosed with ALS, which was rapidly progressing, and he had “a clear end of life trajectory.” Defendant had…

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Name: People v. Ayala (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 62
Case #: D082754
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2024

The prosecution did not exercise due diligence, and therefore should not have been permitted to admit the former testimony of an absent witness, when the search for the witness was untimely and the witness was essential to the prosecution’s case. Defendants Ayala and Ramirez were charged with murder. They had never met the victim before, but the victim had been threatening Breanna S., who had just begun staying in Ayala’s R.V. Breanna had testified for the People at the preliminary hearing, but had gone missing at least two years before trial. Two weeks before trial, the People began an unsuccessful search…

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Name: People v. Serrano (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1324
Case #: A166011
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/28/2024

Sufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding that defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation where he methodically pumped and aimed a shotgun at two peace officers. Serrano went on a crime spree that culminated in his shooting a rifle at two uniformed officers who approached him following a car crash. He was found guilty by jury of two counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer, among other crimes. Serrano appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence supporting the findings of premeditation and deliberation. Held: Affirmed. After the considering the categories of evidence set forth in People v. Anderson (1968) 70…

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Name: People v. Jackson (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 730
Case #: B328954
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 03/15/2024

Police officers detained defendant without justification when they boxed in his vehicle, approached him from both sides, and aimed two flashlights on him. Jackson pled guilty to a felon-in-possession charge after his motion to suppress was denied. At the suppression hearing, two officers testified that they pulled their vehicle alongside Jackson’s and then shined flashlights on Jackson as they approached the vehicle from both sides. The officers explained that they suspected criminal activity was afoot because Jackson was in an expensive vehicle, was wearing a coat on a warm evening, was sitting awkwardly in the driver’s seat, and was uncomfortable…

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Name: People v. Garcia (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1048
Case #: D081713
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/21/2024

Substantial evidence supported the superior court’s involuntary antipsychotic medication order. Based on the opinion of a licensed psychiatrist and a licensed psychologist, the trial court found that Garcia was mentally incompetent to stand trial and that she lacked the capacity to make decisions regarding the administration of antipsychotic medication. On appeal, Garcia alleged numerous errors with the court’s order authorizing the state hospital to involuntarily administer antipsychotic medication to her. Held: Affirmed. A trial court is required to permit involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication if it finds one of three sets of conditions to be true. (§ 1370(a)(2)(B)(i)(I)–(III) & (ii).) Here, Garcia…

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Name: People v. Robinson (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1345
Case #: G063090
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/27/2024

A trial court does not abuse its discretion when it permits the prosecution to introduce evidence of a prior domestic violence conviction under Evidence Code section 1109 through a certified record of conviction, rather than through live testimony by the alleged victim. Defendant was charged with committing domestic violence and other related crimes against his girlfriend on or about three separate dates. During trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of a 2017 domestic violence conviction (involving a different victim) in order to show defendant had a propensity to commit such crimes. (See Evid. Code, § 1109.) In admitting the certified record of…

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Name: People v. Rios (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1128
Case #: G061764
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/23/2024

Laser narcotics identification test (TruNarc) is based on a new scientific technique and the prosecution failed to establish its admissibility under the Kelly rule. Following a search of Rios’s vehicle and hotel room, an officer seized substances that he later tested using a TruNarc laser device, which indicated that the substances were methamphetamine and carisoprodol (Soma) pills. A jury convicted Rios of drug offenses. On appeal, she argued the TruNarc evidence was not admissible under People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24, which applies when a party seeks to introduce expert testimony on a new scientific technique. Held: Reversed in…

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Name: People v. Rouston (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 997
Case #: D080114
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/20/2024

Trial court prejudicially erred in permitting prosecution’s gang expert witness to opine on whether appellant fired the bullet that struck the victim where that opinion was based solely on the claims of percipient witnesses and relied on no special expertise. The prosecution’s gang expert testified multiple times throughout the trial, telling the jury that each witness’s testimony bolstered his opinion that Rouston was holding a particular firearm, that the firearm was the first fired in the incident, and that the first shot was the one that struck the victim. On appeal, Rouston argued, inter alia, that this testimony was improper…

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