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Name: People v. Lund
Case #: A157205
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/01/2021

Officers' reliance on software program's data to connect defendant to hard drives containing child pornography files did not violate Sanchez. At defendant's trial for possessing more than 600 images of child pornography, two police investigators testified that they used a software program called Child Protection System (CPS), commonly used among law enforcement agencies, to search peer-to-peer networks for child pornography. During this investigation, the officers observed one user, identified by a specific ID number created by the peer-to-peer network, who possessed several suspect files. The officers surveilled a business associated with one of the user's IP addresses and observed defendant,…

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Name: In re Long
Case #: S249274
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/30/2020

Opinion By: Justice Liu (unanimous decision)
Trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to consult a time of death expert where the timeline was crucial to the defense theory of the case. In 2005, petitioner Long was convicted of the second degree murder of her boyfriend Conde. In response to Long's 911 call reporting that she just came home and something was wrong with Conde, paramedics found him dead. He had been killed by blunt force injuries to the head. There was no physical or direct evidence that linked Long to the crime. The prosecutor's theory at trial was…

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Name: People v. Veamatahau
Case #: S249872
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/27/2020

Expert's testimony that he used on an online pharmaceutical database to determine that pills seized from defendant contained a controlled substance was not inadmissible case-specific hearsay. Defendant was charged with a number of offenses, including possession of a controlled substance, alprazolam (Xanax). At defendant's trial, a criminalist testified that he identified tablets taken from defendant by comparing their visual characteristics against a database containing descriptions of pharmaceuticals. Defendant appealed his conviction, asserting the testimony violated the prohibition in People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, 686, against expert communication of case-specific hearsay. The Court of Appeal affirmed. Review was granted.…

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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: S248730
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/27/2020

Defendant's failure to object at trial, before People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 was decided, did not forfeit a claim that a gang expert's testimony related case-specific hearsay in violation of the confrontation clause. Perez, Chavez, and Sandoval were charged with gang-related murders and other offenses. A gang expert testified for the prosecution and defense counsel did not object. Defendants were convicted and appealed. While defendants' appeals were pending, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Sanchez. Relying on Sanchez, Chavez filed a supplemental brief arguing that the gang expert's testimony related case-specific hearsay in violation of…

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Name: People v. Polk
Case #: E069641
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/14/2019

There was sufficient evidence that defendant possessed a useable quantity of methamphetamine on small pieces of paper based on circumstantial evidence and expert testimony from a correctional officer. Polk, an inmate at a California Rehabilitation Center, was found in his cell with eight small pieces of methamphetamine-infused paper. This led to his conviction of possession of methamphetamine while in prison (Pen. Code, § 4573.6). On appeal he argued there was insufficient evidence that the pieces of paper contained a usable quantity of the drug. Held: Affirmed. Drug possession under section 4573.6 requires the defendant's: (1) exercise of control over an…

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Name: People v. Gonzales
Case #: B289385
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/02/2019

After trial counsel declares a doubt regarding defendant's competency and the trial court suspends criminal proceedings, counsel may not withdraw the declaration and the trial court must make a finding regarding competency. Defendant was charged with the fatal stabbing of an elderly disabled man. On the day of the preliminary hearing, defense counsel expressed a doubt regarding defendant’s competency and criminal proceeding were suspended (Pen. Code, § 1368). The trial court appointed a doctor to examine defendant and prepare a report, and set the matter for a competency hearing, which was continued 14 times. On the day set for the…

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Name: People v. Wilson
Case #: A150500
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/27/2019

Trial court abused its discretion in admitting the testimony of a prosecution expert regarding studies that show only a very small percentage of allegations of child sexual abuse are false. Wilson was convicted of multiple sexual abuse charges involving a minor. At trial, a prosecution expert witness testified about CSAAS and research on false allegations of child sexual abuse, stating that, although the research was limited, false allegations occur "very infrequently or rarely," most often during child custody disputes. He referred to a "classic" Canadian study that found allegations were later determined to be false in about 4% of cases.…

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Name: In re Thomas
Case #: E069454
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/27/2018

In state habeas proceedings, the three-factor test in In re Johnson (1970) 3 Cal.3d 404 governs retroactivity rather than the standard set forth in Teague v. Lane (1989) 489 U.S. 288, which governs federal habeas proceedings. In 2003, Thomas was convicted of receiving a stolen vehicle and participation in a criminal street gang. A gang expert's testimony included testimonial, case-specific out-of-court statements. On appeal, Thomas argued the expert's testimony violated his confrontation rights under Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36. The Court of Appeal affirmed under People v. Gardeley (1996) 14 Cal.4th 605, which approved the use of such…

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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: E068490
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/01/2018

Trial court did not err by excluding the testimony of a defense eyewitness identification expert where the identification was substantially corroborated by evidence giving it independent reliability. Opinion on rehearing. A jury convicted Garcia of residential burglary. He admitted having a strike prior/prior serious felony conviction. On appeal, he argued the trial court abused its discretion and denied his due process right to present a defense by refusing to allow a defense expert to testify concerning the reliability of eyewitness identifications. Held: Affirmed. Expert testimony is admissible on subjects that are sufficiently beyond common experience when the opinion of an…

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Name: People v. Reardon
Case #: C083482
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/24/2018

Where defendant was charged with resisting an executive officer, trial court erred by excluding defense expert testimony on the reasonable use of force by police, but the error was harmless. After an unsuccessful attempt to evade a traffic stop, Reardon, who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, did not comply with police officers' instructions and started acting erratically. An officer tackled Reardon but was unable to control him. A physical altercation ensued where officers used "distraction blows" to Reardon's head and struck him multiple times with a baton in an attempt at "pain compliance." The officers and…

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