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Name: People v. Catlin
Case #: S016718
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/16/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. on 9/26/01; rehg. den. on 9/26/01

Appellant was not denied due process of law because there was a nine-year delay between the murder of his fourth wife and the prosecution. The delay was justified because there was insufficient evidence that appellant had poisoned his wife with paraquat until the similar poisoning of his mother occurred. Further, the justification for the delay far outweighed the weak showing of prejudice caused to appellant. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search. Since the search in question was consensual, the motion would have been meritless. Counsel was not ineffective for failing…

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Name: People v. Branch
Case #: A089941
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/02/2001
Subsequent History: None

In a prosecution for child molestation of appellant's step-granddaughter, it was not error for the trial court to have admitted testimony of appellant's stepdaughter who claimed that appellant had molested her when she was a child more than 30 years prior to the instant offense. The evidence of the uncharged acts was admissible under Evidence Code sections 1101, subdivision (b), and 1108 unless it should have been excluded under section 352. Here, the evidence of the prior acts was not unduly inflammatory, and there was no evidence that the jury had been confused by the introduction of uncharged offenses or…

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Name: People v. Gibson
Case #: B141781
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/29/2001
Subsequent History: None

The trial court properly admitted two manuscripts seized from the residence which described operation of a prostitution enterprise. The manuscripts were properly authenticated, and their potential for prejudice did not outweigh their probative value. In a prosecution for pimping, in violation of Penal Code section 266h, subdivision (a), appellant was not harmed by the prosecution's failure to include the solicitation portion of the definition of the offense in the information. The evidence presented at both the preliminary hearing and at trial clearly gave appellant adequate notice of the charges against her. In a prosecution for pimping,…

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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: H018134
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/15/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 9/26/01

Appellant was convicted of a violation of Penal Code section 262, subdivision (b), spousal rape, for an act which was not reported by the victim until 15 months after it occurred. That statute requires that no prosecution shall be commenced unless the report occurs within one year of the offense unless independent evidence corroborates the victim's allegation. Here, the corroborating evidence consisted of a subsequent assault within the statute of limitations, and a restraining order obtained by the victim as well as evidence of subsequent violations of the restraining order. Appellant's statements to police admitting the act…

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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: Penry v. Johnson
Case #: 00-6677
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/04/2001
Subsequent History: None

In Penry's second trial for capital murder, the trial court did not err when it admitted, over defense objection, the opinion of an examining psychiatrist that Penry would be dangerous if he were released. The case was distinguishable from Estelle v. Smith (1981) 451 U.S. 454 which held that the admission of a psychiatrist's testimony on future dangerousness violated the Fifth Amendment because the testimony was based on the defendant's un-counseled statements. Even if there were a Fifth Amendment violation, Penry did not show that the error had a substantial and injurious effect in determining the jury's verdict.…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C031921
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/17/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 9/12/01 (S098552)

Editor's note: Review granted. Admission of the results of a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test during a trial for driving under the influence was error due to the number and magnitude of regulatory violations. The PAS tests were not inadmissable because the legislative intent was that they be used only as field sobriety tests, not as substantive evidence intoxication. No statute prohibits their admissibility, and the fact that appellant later refused a chemical test did not make them inadmissable. However, the prosecution failed to lay a sufficient foundation for admitting the tests into evidence, including sufficient…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: S020378
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/14/2001
Subsequent History: Rehg. den. 6/20/01

A witness was not incompetent to testify about a murder at which she claimed to be present even though she had delusions concerning that event. Specifically, she believed her nonexistent child was present at the murder. The witness' description contained many specific details of the crime and which were corroborated independently. It was up to the jury to decide if the witness' perceptions and memories were…

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Name: People v. Leon
Case #: B140721
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/14/2001
Subsequent History: Modified on den. of rehrg. 9/6/01

In a case charging a forcible lewd act with a child, the defendant’s interpreter was permitted to testify that she saw defendant move his hands over his groin while the child testified. The Court of Appeal held this was prejudicial error. First, the trial court failed to weigh the probative value of the evidence against its prejudicial impact as required by Evidence Code section 352. Next, because the evidence was so ambiguous (the interpreter testified that defendant had his hands in his lap, and was opening and closing his fingers, but did not know if he…

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