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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. 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. 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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Name: People v. Ramirez (2023) 98 Cal.App.5th 175
Case #: H049957
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/22/2023

Even assuming the compelled use of defendant’s fingerprint to unlock his cell phone constitutes a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, there was no Fourth Amendment violation because use of defendant’s fingerprint was authorized by the search warrants. Jane Doe 1’s mother reported that defendant had taken inappropriate pictures of Jane Doe 1 on his phone. After obtaining electronic communications search warrants to search defendant’s phone, an officer went to the jail and used defendant’s fingerprint to unlock the phone and view its contents. When the phone locked and officers were unable to open it, they obtained another…

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Name: Conway v. Superior Court (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 750
Case #: B325986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/01/2023

The Sexually Violent Predator Act does not preclude the defense from requesting an order directing a Department of State Hospitals (DSH) evaluator to update an evaluation that he had prepared several years earlier. Conway is awaiting trial on a petition to commit him as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The trial court denied his motion for an order authorizing and instructing a DSH evaluator to update a previous evaluation wherein he concluded that Conway had not met the criteria for commitment as an SVP. The trial court ruled that Welfare and Institutions Code section 6603 only permitted the People to…

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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. Presley
Case #: C090439
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/16/2021
Subsequent History: Ordered Published 6/28/21

In a court trial on defendant's commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP), the trial court did not abuse its discretion under People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 in relying on expert testimony, where nothing in the record suggests the trial court failed to correctly apply the law. At the court trial on a petition to commit defendant as an SVP, the court heard testimony from four expert witnesses who had all interviewed defendant and reviewed his medical and prison records. The trial court determined defendant was an SVP. Defendant appealed, arguing his commitment was based on case-specific hearsay…

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Name: People v. Soriano
Case #: G058363
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/08/2021

Gang expert opinion based on mere speculation as to probabilities, rather than reasonable inferences drawn from observable facts, does not provide substantial evidence to support a gang enhancement. Soriano, a gang member, was walking in his gang's territory with an associate member when they both were detained. A blade was located in Soriano's pants. He was charged with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger and a gang enhancement was alleged. At trial, a gang expert testified that carrying a concealed weapon was a common crime committed by Soriano's gang. The expert further testified that gang members "typically" let other members…

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Name: Hulbert v. Cross
Case #: C090663
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/11/2021

In a medical malpractice action filed by an indigent inmate, the trial court denied the plaintiff meaningful access to the courts when it refused his motion for appointment of an expert. Hulbert, a self-represented indigent inmate, filed a medical malpractice case against Dr. Cross, alleging negligence in performing surgery. To establish his claim, Hulbert requested appointment of a medical expert and legal counsel. The trial court denied his motion, finding no authority in support of the request. It granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment because Hulbert had failed to rebut the declaration submitted by the defendant's medical expert regarding…

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Name: People v. Lemke
Case #: S250108
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/27/2021

Opinion By: Justice Groban (unanimous decision)
Although the witness certainty factor in the eyewitness identification instruction (CALCRIM No. 315) could be misleading, the instruction did not violate defendant's due process rights to a fair trial when considered in the context of the trial record as a whole. Defendants Lemke and Rudd were convicted of assault and robbery based almost entirely on the testimony of one witness who expressed certainty in her identification. At trial, Rudd's counsel moved to strike one of the factors listed in the eyewitness identification instruction (CALCRIM No. 315), which he argued improperly correlates a witness's…

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