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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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Name: In re Ruedas
Case #: G054523
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/24/2018

Habeas petition presenting Sanchez issue denied because Sanchez does not apply retroactively to cases that were final before this change in the law. Ruedas was charged with various gang-related offenses and enhancements. At trial, an expert related testimonial hearsay to prove the gang charges, over defense objection. Ruedas was convicted and his case became final in 2015. In 2016, the California Supreme Court decided People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, which held that expert testimony is subject to exclusion under the hearsay rule and confrontation clause. Ruedas filed a habeas petition seeking retroactive application…

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Name: People v. Veamatahau
Case #: A150689
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/31/2018

Expert's testimony that he relied on an online pharmaceutical database to identify pills as a controlled substance was properly admitted because it was not case-specific hearsay. At defendant's trial for possessing a controlled substance and other charges, a criminalist testified that he was able to identify tablets found in appellant's pocket by comparing its logo with photos of similar tablets on a pharmaceutical database. Two days after a jury convicted him, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, 686, which held an expert cannot "relate as true case-specific facts asserted in hearsay…

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Name: People v. Espinoza
Case #: B283895
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/14/2018

Expert's testimony that she relied on "Ident-A-Drug" website to identify pills as controlled substances was properly admitted because it came within the published compilation exception to the hearsay rule and was not testimonial. Espinoza was charged with drug possession in a jail facility and related offenses based on evidence that he had pills hidden on his person when he entered jail as an inmate. A criminalist examined the pills and relied on Ident-A-Drug, an Internet drug reference website, to opine that the pills were methadone and clonazepam. Espinoza did not offer evidence in his defense. A jury found him…

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Name: People v. Chavez
Case #: D069533
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/28/2018

Single person photo identification of defendant by stabbing victim was not unduly suggestive. Chavez and others became embroiled in a physical altercation with another group of men at a restaurant while watching the World Cup soccer match. Chavez stabbed a man, who lived. One of Chavez's group, Gonzalez, shot and killed another man. A jury convicted Chavez of second degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. One issue on appeal challenged a pretrial identification procedure. Held: Affirmed. To determine whether admission of identification evidence violates a defendant's due process right, the reviewing court considers whether the identification procedure was…

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Name: In re Figueora
Case #: S111336
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/12/2018

Murder conviction and death sentence reversed where defendant's conviction was based on false expert evidence. Defendant was convicted of substantive sexual offenses and the special circumstance murder of a 21-month-old child. His convictions and death sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. In response to defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that his convictions rested on false evidence and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, the court issued an order to show cause. Respondent conceded that false evidence was introduced at defendant's trial and that the sexual offense convictions, special circumstance findings, and death sentence must be reversed,…

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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: E066299
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/23/2018

Gang enhancement reversed where prosecution expert's opinion that the offense was committed for the benefit of a gang was unsupported by competent evidence. Defendant was caught with a stolen car and charged with driving or taking a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)), and possession of burglary tools (Pen. Code, § 466). The jury found the vehicle offense was committed to benefit a gang (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (b)(1)(A)). Prior prison term enhancements were found true (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)). Defendant challenged the gang enhancement because the prosecution expert relied on inadmissible hearsay. Held: Gang enhancement…

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Name: People v. Huynh
Case #: H042184
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/19/2018

Testimony of prosecution gang expert regarding gang behavior in general and a particular gang's conduct and territory, was not inadmissable hearsay. Defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and other offenses, with gang enhancements and priors found true. One issue on appeal was whether the gang expert's testimony was inadmissible hearsay. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1) provides a sentencing enhancement for persons who commit felonies for the benefit of or in association with a criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote the gang's criminal activities. It is common for the prosecution to use…

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Name: Peope v. Gonzales
Case #: B276101
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/23/2017

Trial court did not err by instructing the jury with CALCRIM No. 1191 regarding defendant's prior uncharged sex offenses against the witness who testified at trial about the charged offenses. At Gonzales' trial for various child molestation offenses against L.W., she testified about both charged and uncharged sex offenses that Gonzales committed against her. The court instructed the jury that it could consider the uncharged conduct if the prosecution had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that Gonzales in fact committed the uncharged offenses. (CALCRIM No. 1191.) The jury convicted Gonzales. On appeal, he argued that this instruction should…

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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: E060438
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/25/2017

By not objecting, trial counsel forfeited any issue regarding the admission of expert case-specific hearsay testimony, held inadmissible in People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665. Perez and other gang members conspired to rob and kill associates of the same drug cartel to which defendant's gang belonged. Defendants executed the plan but left one victim alive, who led police to defendants. A jury convicted defendants of multiple first degree murders with special circumstances, and other offenses. On appeal defendants argued the prosecution expert's gang testimony consisted of inadmissible case-specific hearsay. The prosecution argued the issue was forfeited by failure to…

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