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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: B191377
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/06/2007

A gang expert's opinion based on hearsay is not "testimonial" under Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, and does not violate the confrontation clause.

To prove the gang enhancement at defendant's trial, the gang expert gave hearsay testimony about two predicate offenses. The expert was familiar with the facts of these cases because he had also testified as an expert in each case. Defendant argued on appeal that allowing hearsay testimony about the facts of these cases violated his right to confrontation. The Court of Appeal disagreed. Experts can give opinions based on hearsay. …

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Name: People v. Chapple
Case #: A110076
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/21/2006

The trial court granted appellant's motion pursuant to Penal Code section 995 to set aside the information charging him with possession of body armor by a felon in violation of section 12370(a) on the ground that opinion evidence offered by a police officer concerning whether the vest was bulletproof was inadmissible, and therefore there was insufficient evidence that the vest was of the kind proscribed by the statute. The prosecutor appealed, contending that the officer's testimony was proper lay opinion. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's ruling. The officer was not offered as an expert. …

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Name: People v. Hallquist
Case #: C045197
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/07/2005

A trial court properly allowed an officer testifying as an expert witness regarding the accuracy of a blood alcohol test device to testify to hearsay statements. The testifying officer was the officer in charge of preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests for the department, and he testified regarding tests he had performed to ensure that the PAS device was working properly. He stated that he determined the accuracy of the device by using a test solution provided by the manufacturer that had a known alcohol content of .10 percent, which he determined by reading the label on the test…

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Name: People v. Rodriguez
Case #: B176354
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/18/2005

Appellant was convicted of presenting fraudulent insurance claims and grand theft. On appeal, he argued that the jury could not compare an exemplar of appellant's signature with signatures on the disputed documents to determine whether appellant signed the documents absent testimony from a handwriting expert. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed. Under Evidence Code section 1417, the jury was entitled to compare the signatures, and based on that comparison, they reasonably could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt and without testimony from a handwriting expert that the questioned signatures were made by…

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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: E035829
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/30/2005

The court did not err in allowing a gang expert to describe conversations with gang members where those conversations formed the basis of his expert opinion that the defendant was a gang member. The court found no error under Crawford because the statements were not admitted for their truth, and Crawford did not undermine the established rule that experts can testify to their opinions on relevant matters, and relate the information and sources upon which they rely in forming those opinions. The court further found that the expert’s opinion provided sufficient evidence to support defendant’s conviction for active…

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Name: People v. Jiang
Case #: H026546
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/16/2005
Subsequent History: rehearing denied 8/12/05

A trial court erred in failing to exclude a defendant’s statements that were preceded by an inadequate translation of the Miranda warnings. The officer questioning the defendant in this case used a Mandarin interpreter to interview the defendant, who read and wrote some English but was not fluent in spoken English. The interpreter provided only truncated or "badly mangled" Mandarin versions of the Miranda warnings, and the only evidence of defendant’s ability to speak or to understand spoken English indicated that his skills in those areas were rudimentary. The court found that the Attorney General had not…

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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: B173126
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 02/23/2005
Subsequent History: Revw. den. 6/8/05

Where a defendant had more than a month’s notice of the general subject of a gang expert’s proffered testimony, the court did not err in denying a mid-trial continuance to allow the defense to prepare to counter that testimony. Although defense counsel claimed that the first he had heard of the gang testimony was a week before the 402 hearing regarding that proffered testimony, the record contradicted that claim. Thus, the defendant had waived any right to a mid-trial continuance to seek a gang expert. Moreover, even if the court had erred in denying the continuance, defendant…

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Name: People v. Long
Case #: C046360
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/10/2005
Subsequent History: 6/8/05: revw den.

The court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury regarding witness credibility under CALJIC 2.20 where the evidence offered to discredit the witness was not character evidence but evidence regarding the witness’s alleged mental illness. An expert witness testified that the complaining witness suffered from borderline personality disorder; the testimony described the symptoms of that disorder and suggested that the witness might be capable of fabricating information during stressful times. Over the defendant’s objection, the judge struck the portion of CALJIC 2.20 that permitted the jury to consider the character of the witness for honesty or…

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Name: People v. Calderon
Case #: B167621
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 11/16/2004

A trial court properly excluded expert testimony regarding the suitability of various types of involuntary treatment at a trial under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. On appeal after his commitment under that act, the defendant argued that the trial court had improperly excluded evidence relevant to the finding that he was a danger to the health and safety of others, specifically evidence from several defense experts regarding treatment plans they had developed for the defendant, including a plan that involved placing him under conservatorship. Defendant relied on People v. Superior Court (Ghilotti) (2002) 27 Cal.4th 888, in which…

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Name: People v. Barnes
Case #: H026137
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/24/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. gr. 12/15/04: S128931

Police observed Johnson drop a baggie of cocaine near Barnes's feet when police approached them. Barnes was under the influence of cocaine with wadded up currency in his pockets. At his jury trial, expert testimony was admitted which concluded that the combination of these facts indicated that the two men were among the crack cocaine dealers who commonly dealt cocaine in the Fountain Alley neighborhood. The appellate court found that the expert testimony was properly admitted. The portrait or profile was helpful to the jury in understanding Barnes's continuing presence in Fountain Alley, his relationship to…

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