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Name: People v. Huggins
Case #: A139104
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/30/2015

An accomplice and an in-custody informant may corroborate each other's testimony. Huggins and Housley were both charged with robberies, one of which resulted in a murder. Housley, originally a codefendant, agreed to testify against Huggins as part of a plea bargain. An in-custody informant, who had been housed next to Huggins, also testified against him in exchange for a reduced sentence. At trial, Huggins requested an instruction that an accomplice and an in-custody informant cannot corroborate each other's testimony. The trial court refused to give the instruction and Huggins was convicted of murder and other offenses. On appeal, Huggins raised…

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Name: United States v. McElmurry
Case #: 12-50183
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/26/2015

Convictions for possession and distribution of child pornography do not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause. McElmurry was convicted of possessing (18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B)) and distributing (18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2)) child pornography. One of his arguments on appeal was that the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes convictions for both possession and distribution of child pornography. Held: Double Jeopardy Clause not violated. Courts have held that separate convictions and sentencing for receiving and possessing child pornography violate the Double Jeopardy Clause. (See, e.g., United States v. Davenport (9th Cir. 2008) 519 F.3d 940.) The theory of these cases is that, under the…

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Name: People v. Cannata
Case #: G048139
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/29/2015

Although there is no impeachment exception to the psychotherapist-patient privilege, defendant's disclosure to psychiatrist that he sexually abused a child was admissible in his criminal trial under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA). During an evaluation in connection with an involuntary hold (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5150), Cannata admitted to a psychiatrist and a nurse that he had sexually abused his stepdaughter. The nurse reported the abuse to the Department of Children and Family Services and Cannata was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child (Pen. Code, § 288.5, subd. (a)). Although the trial court…

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Name: People v. Zinda
Case #: C072981
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/27/2015

Defendant was not entitled to sua sponte instructions on justifiable homicide in making an arrest or mistake of fact where he mistook innocent man for a burglar and killed him with an axe. Immediately after Zinda's home was burglarized, he saw Valdez standing on the street nearby. Believing Valdez had been involved in the burglary, Zinda chased Valdez into a field and killed him with an axe. He was convicted of second degree murder. On appeal, Zinda contended that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury sua sponte on justifiable homicide in making an…

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Name: United States v. Ortiz
Case #: 13-30361
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/23/2015

Probation officer's opinion on speaker in intercepted calls was properly admitted even though the calls were in Spanish and officer had only heard defendant speak English. During Ortiz's jury trial for drug offenses, the trial court considered argument by the prosecutor and Ortiz on whether Ortiz's federal probation officer, McGlynn, could offer opinion testimony identifying Ortiz's voice on intercepted calls. On these calls, Ortiz primarily spoke Spanish, with some English words dispersed throughout. McGlynn said that she had spoken to Ortiz on the phone and in person at least 16 times over six months and that he had…

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Name: People v. Rekte
Case #: E060272
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/08/2015

Expert's testimony that yellow light interval time printed on red light camera photo was not accurate and did not meet mandatory state standards was sufficient to rebut the presumed reliability of the photo. Rekte received a citation by mail for running a red light (Veh. Code, § 21453). The computer-generated photographic evidence admitted during his trial contained a digital stamp indicating that the yellow light interval at that particular intersection was 3.65 seconds, which complied with state requirements. However, a defense expert testified that the print-out was inaccurate because the yellow light interval was actually 3.5 seconds, which did not…

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Name: In re M.D.
Case #: A139888
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/24/2014

Evidence Code section 1161, which prohibits introduction of evidence of commercial sexual acts by a victim of human trafficking to prove a criminal offense, does not reallocate the accused's burden of proving foundational facts. The juvenile court found the minor committed the offense of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution (Pen. Code, § 653.22). She appealed the denial of her motion to exclude evidence on the ground she was a victim of human trafficking. Held: Affirmed. Section 1161 was enacted in 2012 as part of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, which protects victims of human trafficking. Here,…

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Name: People v. Christensen
Case #: G048615
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/10/2014

Child molest victim diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome was unavailable to testify at defendant's second trial because the witness would suffer substantial trauma if he was required to testify again. Appellant was charged with multiple counts of lewd acts against two children, Spencer S. and Joshua K. (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). At his first trial, the jury convicted appellant of the charges involving Spencer, but deadlocked with respect to the charges involving Joshua. At his second trial, appellant was convicted of the counts pertaining to Joshua, and a lewd act against a third child, Zachary. The jury…

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Name: People v. Peyton
Case #: B248767
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/16/2014

Trial court did not err in denying Caperton motion for judicial disqualification where defendant failed to show an unconstitutional level of actual bias. Peyton was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of identity theft. After opting to represent himself, he proceeded to delay his trial over three years by repeatedly litigating side issues. His principle diversionary tactic was attacking the trial judge, but he also launched personal attacks against the integrity and honesty of other judges, the prosecutor, and law enforcement personnel. He filed many motions arguing that the trial judge should be recused. …

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Name: People v. Dawkins
Case #: B245611
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/20/2014

9-1-1 recording of call made by anonymous person reporting burglary in progress is properly authenticated by witness with knowledge of the computer system. Dawkins was convicted of first degree burglary. A strike prior and prison term enhancement were found true. At trial, the court admitted a 9-1-1 call by an unknown person reporting the burglary and describing the suspect. The trial court found the audio recording fell within the business records and spontaneous statement exceptions to the hearsay rule. On appeal Dawkins challenged the admission of a 9-1-1 recording, arguing that it was not properly authenticated. Held: Affirmed. Audio recordings…

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