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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. 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. Bingham (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1072
Case #: A163112
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/26/2023

The erroneous exclusion of impeachment evidence, pursuant to Evidence Code section 1202, of a key declarant does not require reversal unless the record as a whole shows the error caused a miscarriage of justice. Defendant was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a romantic partner. The victim did not testify at trial, but her 911 call was admitted into evidence. The trial court excluded the victim’s prior convictions and inconsistent statements made after her 911 call, which defendant offered for impeachment (Evid. Code, § 1202). Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed on this point but remanded for resentencing. The parties agreed that…

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Name: People v. Slaton (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 363
Case #: C096437
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/11/2023

Evidence Code section 352.2, which requires a specific balancing test when deciding the admissibility of “creative expression,” is not retroactive. A jury found Slaton guilty of murder, finding true a firearm enhancement and a special circumstance for discharging the firearm from a motor vehicle. The prosecution’s theory was that the victim was targeted because he wore a red shirt and defendant, although not a gang member, affiliated with a gang that wore blue. The trial court allowed the prosecution to present 13 screenshots from defendant’s rap music video to advance this theory. Slaton appealed, arguing the trial court wrongly admitted…

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Name: Samia v. United States (2023) __ U.S. __ [143 S.Ct. 2004]
Case #: 22-196
Court: US Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 06/23/2023

Majority opinion: Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the court, in which Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh joined.
Concurring opinion: Justice Barrett joined the majority opinion in part and filed a separate opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
Dissenting opinions: Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Sotomayor and Jackson joined. Justice Jackson also filed a dissenting opinion.

The confrontation clause does not bar the admission of a nontestifying codefendant’s confession where (1) the confession has been modified to avoid directly identifying the codefendant and (2) the court offers a limiting instruction.

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Name: People v. Ramos (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 578
Case #: D074429
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/13/2023

Evidence Code section 352.2 (added by Assembly Bill No. 2799 and effective 1/1/2023), which creates specific rules that the trial court must follow in deciding whether to admit evidence of “a form of creative expression” in a criminal trial, does not apply retroactively. E. Ramos and D. Ramos were convicted of first degree murder and other offenses based on evidence they participated in a gang-related shooting. Recordings of E. Ramos performing rap were admitted at the trial. The lyrics referred to gang culture and criminal activity. In supplemental briefing on appeal, they argued that newly enacted section 352.2 should apply…

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Name: People v. Saucedo (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 505
Case #: A160851
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/13/2023

Sufficient evidence supported defendant’s second degree murder convictions because a jury could reasonably infer he acted with conscious disregard for life when he drove a stolen truck while high on meth and attempted a risky escape from police. Defendant drove a stolen truck while under the influence of methamphetamine. An officer began following him, and he suddenly veered off the freeway, accelerated down the exit ramp, and careened through a red light without attempting to brake. He collided with another truck, and killed two young girls. The jury also heard evidence about nine prior minor driving and drug offenses committed…

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Name: People v. Sedano (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 474
Case #: F082933
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/21/2023

Trial court properly admitted CSAAS expert testimony, including statistics, regarding the prevalence of (1) preexisting relationships between the abuser and abused and (2) delayed disclosure of molestations. Sedano was convicted of several sex offenses against his adoptive niece. At trial, a Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (CSAAS) expert, who was unaware of the specifics of Sedano’s case, explained the body of CSAAS research. The testimony included the CSAAS evidence and statistics referenced above. On appeal, Sedano argued the statistics improperly bolstered the victim’s credibility and constituted impermissible witness vouching. He argued the delayed disclosure statistics permitted the jury to attribute…

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Name: People v. Huynh
Case #: D076559
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/22/2021

The admission of evidence characterizing defendant's social drinking club as a criminal street gang deprived defendant of due process of law and requires reversal of his murder conviction. Defendant was charged with murder with an enhancement for personally discharging a firearm causing death. According to witnesses, defendant's cousins got into a fight at a pool hall with the victim and his friends, who were known gang members. Several days after the fight, defendant shot and killed the victim. At defendant's second trial (after his first trial resulted in reversal on appeal) the trial court allowed evidence of defendant's association with…

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