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Name: People v. Salinas
Case #: F038894
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/05/2003
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 5/21/03: S115134

Battered women’s syndrome evidence may be admitted to explain why an ostensibly first-time victim of domestic violence recants an initial report of abuse. There is no foundational requirement that the victim be abused at least once…

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Name: People v. Killebrew
Case #: F036957
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/08/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 1/15/03

The Court of Appeal found that the trial court erred in permitting the prosecution’s gang expert, a police officer, to testify to his opinion of the defendant’s knowledge and intent at the time of the charged offense of conspiracy to possess a loaded weapon. In this case, police were following three vehicles and observed several individuals in one vehicle stop at a taco stand. These individuals were detained shortly thereafter, and a weapon was found in a shoe box near the dumpster for the taco stand, close to where the car was parked. The evidence was…

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Name: Drayden v. White
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 11/14/2000
Subsequent History: None

Petitioner suffered no prejudice from the exclusion of two statements by a defense expert who concluded that petitioner did not have a history of violence. The statements were unreliable and simply wrong. Therefore, there was no due process violation caused by their…

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Name: People v. Ayala
Case #: S013188
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/28/2000
Subsequent History: Modification of opinion, 24 Cal.4th 467b; rehearing denied 11/15/00

The California Supreme Court agreed with the decisions of most jurisdictions that ex parte proceedings following a motion regarding peremptory challenges to the jury made on the basis of improper group bias are poor procedure and should not be conducted unless compelling reasons justify them. Here the trial court abused its discretion in implicitly finding that the prosecution presented matters of strategy which justified holding ex parte hearings on challenges made under People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258. While United States v. Thompson (9th Cir. 1987) 827 F.2d 1254, 1256, fn. 1, observed that excluding the defense…

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Name: People v. Harris
Case #: B136443
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/28/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/29/00

Where appellant had $3,000 to $4,000 worth of drugs on his person, and more than 800 postage stamps in his living quarters in Atascadero State Hospital, and where the prosecution's witness opined from this evidence that the drugs were possessed for sale, the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. The officer was properly permitted to opine on this subject, and the jury was entitled to credit or reject the…

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Name: People v. Box
Case #: S019798
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/17/2000
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied 10/3/00

In this death penalty appeal, the trial court correctly rejected appellant's claims of violations of his constitutional rights to due process, an impartial jury and a reliable death verdict, which were premised on the trial court's denial of appellant's request to permit the defense to conduct sequestered, individual voir dire of prospective jurors who had, or who had spent time with, small children. The trial court here conducted voir dire pursuant to Proposition 115, codified as section 223 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. It conducted most of the voir dire itself and in open court. However,…

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Name: People v. Nolan
Case #: B149669
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 02/04/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 5/1/02.

The Kelly/Fry (People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d24, 30; Frye v. United States (D.C. Cir. 1923) 293 F.1013, 1014) test did not bar admission of an ADX Abbott urinalysis test performed by the program coordinator of a drug program. Urinalysis is not a new scientific technique. Appellant waived other grounds, such as hearsay and the operator’s lack of qualifications, by failing to object on those…

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Name: People v. Mendoza
Case #: S067104
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/31/2000
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied 9/13/00

Mendoza and his codefendant, Valle, were charged with murder committed during the course of a robbery, in violation of Penal Code section 189. The defendants were also charged with the robbery, and a special circumstance that the murder was committed during the course of a robbery. The separate juries convicted on the murder and robbery, and found the special circumstances to be true. Neither jury's verdict specified the degree of murder, though they had been instructed only on first degree felony-murder. Penal Code section 1157 provides that where a defendant is convicted of a crime which…

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Name: People v. Coddington
Case #: S008840
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/03/2000
Subsequent History: Modification of opinion at 24 Cal.4th 316a; rehearing denied 9/27/00; cert. denied 2/26/01

There was no error in the jury instructions given regarding sanity which would have precluded consideration of evidence of irresistible impulse to the extent that appellant did not know his acts were wrong. Furthermore, appellant did not request a clarifying instruction below, so any claim on appeal was waived. Penalty phase issues are not discussed here. Appellant could not challenge the jury instruction which told the jurors to presume sanity at the time of the crime because appellant did not raise the issue or request clarification below. Further, there was no possibility of confusion caused by…

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Name: People v. Prostsman
Case #: D034285
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/13/2001
Subsequent History: DEPUBLISHED; rev. den. & ordered depub. 6/13/01 (S095974)

Editor's note: This case depublished by the Supreme Court on 6/13/01 (S095974) Results of a positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan may be properly excluded under People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24. Appellant here was convicted of first degree murder and allegations of robbery, special circumstances, and use of a deadly weapon were found true; he was sentenced to LWOP. The victim had been bludgeoned in the head with a hammer and then the crime scene was cleaned and staged to make it look like the victim was watching television. At trial, the defense proffered the…

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