Skip to content
Name: People v. Ho
Case #: A150807
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/21/2018

In gross vehicular manslaughter prosecution, trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant's drug use and lack of sleep to prove a continuous course of conduct reflecting gross negligence. Defendant was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (c)(1)) and reckless driving with great bodily injury (Veh. Code, § 23104, subd. (b)). On appeal she challenged the trial court's admission of evidence she had consumed drugs and alcohol and stayed up the night before the crash to prove her gross negligence. Held: Affirmed. Gross vehicular manslaughter is the driving of a vehicle in the commission of…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Yates
Case #: B279863
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/23/2018

Under People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, an expert may not relate as true the case-specific contents of documents that were neither admitted into evidence nor shown to fall within a hearsay exception. A jury found Yates to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, et seq.). On appeal, he argued the trial court admitted prejudicial hearsay evidence used to support the prosecution experts' opinions. Held: Reversed. An alleged SVP is entitled to a jury trial where the prosecution is required to establish (1) that defendant has been convicted of a qualifying sexually violent…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. McVey
Case #: B280966
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/12/2018

Remand for trial court to consider whether to strike gun use enhancement based on Senate Bill No. 620 is unnecessary where the trial court's comments at sentencing reflect that it would not strike the enhancement. McVey was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and felony vandalism. A gun use enhancement was found true. (Pen. Code, § 12022.5, subd. (a).) On appeal he sought remand for reconsideration of the gun use enhancement pursuant to SB 620, which amended section 12022.5, subdivision (c) to remove the prohibition on striking firearm enhancements. Held: Affirmed. Effective January 1, 2018, courts have discretion to strike firearm enhancements.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Espinoza
Case #: B283895
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/14/2018

Expert's testimony that she relied on "Ident-A-Drug" website to identify pills as controlled substances was properly admitted because it came within the published compilation exception to the hearsay rule and was not testimonial. Espinoza was charged with drug possession in a jail facility and related offenses based on evidence that he had pills hidden on his person when he entered jail as an inmate. A criminalist examined the pills and relied on Ident-A-Drug, an Internet drug reference website, to opine that the pills were methadone and clonazepam. Espinoza did not offer evidence in his defense. A jury found him…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C081267
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/15/2018

Murder conviction reversed where evidence that defendant committed a prior attempted murder during a domestic dispute was erroneously admitted to prove his intent to kill his current wife. In 2014, Williams stabbed his wife in the neck and left her to bleed to death. The trial court permitted the prosecution to introduce evidence of Williams' 1992 conviction for shooting his then mother-in-law when she attempted to intervene in a domestic dispute he was having with his estranged former wife. Williams was convicted of first degree murder. On appeal he challenged the admission of the other crimes evidence. Held: Reversed. No…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Hall
Case #: A147923
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/18/2018

Murder conviction overturned where trial court reversed its initial ruling that evidence of defendant's prior misdemeanor conduct was unduly prejudicial, and allowed the evidence to impeach a statement defendant gave to police. Hall was convicted of first degree murder in the stabbing death of a man. The trial court initially excluded evidence of Hall's prior misdemeanor conduct of brandishing a knife as unduly prejudicial. However, after Hall testified, the trial court reversed its ruling and admitted the misdemeanor conduct to impeach a statement Hall had given to police, which had been introduced by the prosecution. Hall appealed. Held: Reversed. Evidence…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Gutierrez
Case #: B275509
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 02/26/2018

Conviction for vehicle taking (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)) reversed where jury instructions omitted the requirement that the jury determine the value of the car. Appellant was convicted of illegally taking or driving a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851) and other offenses after he used his girlfriend's rental car without permission. On appeal, he challenged the conviction because there was no evidence the car was worth more than $950. Held: Reversed in part and remanded. Section 10851, subdivision (a) has both a "taking" and a "driving" prong. It prohibits a person from taking or driving a vehicle not his…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Almeda
Case #: C077141
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/12/2017

Admission of cellmate's testimony relating defendant's incriminating statements did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to counsel because the cellmate was not acting under the government's direction. Villa and Almeda were charged with first degree murder for shooting a man parked in the car next to them at a stoplight. While in custody awaiting trial, Villa discussed details of the crime with his cellmate, Rhodes, who in turn reached out to the district attorney to offer Villa's statements in exchange for leniency for his own sentence. Rhodes, his attorney, and the prosecutor signed an agreement stating that the prosecution would…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Gallardo
Case #: B269034
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 12/06/2017

Codefendant's incriminating statements made to paid jailhouse informants were not testimonial under Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 123, and their admission did not deny defendants' confrontation rights. Three codefendants, Angel, Michael and Garcia, jointly conducted a drive-by shooting of three rival gang members, one of whom died. The main prosecution evidence at trial was a surreptitiously recorded jailhouse conversation between Angel and two paid police informants who were posing as inmates. Angel was convicted of first degree murder, and Michael and Garcia of second degree murder, and other crimes. They appealed. Held: Reversed. In Crawford, the Court "held that…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Mooring
Case #: A143470
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/27/2017

Expert testimony that pills possessed by defendants matched pills displayed on "Ident-A-Drug" website was properly admitted because the website came within the published compilation exception to the hearsay rule and was not testimonial. Officers executed a search warrant on Mooring and Davis' shared home and found over 4,000 prescription pills. Using Ident-A-Drug, a subscription-based, login controlled website that compiles information from the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical manufacturers, the prosecution's criminalist presumptively identified the pills as various controlled substances. Mooring and Davis were convicted of various drug possession for sale charges. They appealed, arguing that the criminalist's testimony regarding…

View Full Summary