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Name: People v. Mercado
Case #: B223451
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/07/2013

Crawford did not bar expert from expressing opinion based on facts learned from investigator, about which the expert was not qualified to testify. Defendant was convicted of second degree murder, attempted murder, and enhancements after she hit a woman who was eight months pregnant with her car, killing the fetus. This decision follows a remand from the United States Supreme Court to reconsider the opinion in light of Williams v. Illinois (2012) 132 S.Ct. 2221. Here, appellant claimed her confrontation clause rights were violated when the medical examiner testified the fetus' death was a homicide based on facts obtained from…

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Name: Elijah W. v. Superior Court
Case #: B241011
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/08/2013
Subsequent History: opn. following rehg.

Minor defendant was entitled to his choice of expert psychologist who would not report confidential information about child abuse or threats. To assist in the preparation of his defense to a wardship petition, Elijah W. requested the appointment of a psychologist who had indicated she would respect the lawyer-client privilege and defense counsel's duty of confidentiality and would not report client information concerning child abuse/neglect or a Tarasoff threat to authorities. The juvenile court denied the appointment of the psychologist and limited Elijah to members of the court's competency to stand trial panel, even though panel members had…

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Name: People v. Steppe
Case #: E053348
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/14/2013

Technical reviewer's testimony, which was based on results of DNA test performed by another analyst, did not violate the confrontation clause. Appellant was convicted of murder and other offenses and sentenced to multiple life terms. On appeal he challenged the testimony of the technical reviewer of the DNA analysis in the case on confrontation clause grounds, which the trial court admitted over defense objection. Held: Affirmed. The reviewer's testimony that was based on raw data was proper. While it was not established how the raw data was generated in this case, a machine printout is not subject to cross-examination…

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Name: People v. Spence
Case #: D059463
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/27/2012

A defendant's testimony given at a motion to suppress evidence may be used at trial to impeach his expert witness. Appellant was convicted of several sexual offenses against a child and was sentenced to 55 years to life in prison. On appeal he challenged the trial court's order allowing the prosecution to impeach his expert witness (a psychologist who testified about appellant's limited educational/writing ability in support of a false confession defense and whose opinion was based in part upon discussion with the appellant) with a transcript of appellant's pretrial Penal Code section 1538.5 hearing testimony. Held: Affirmed. The trial…

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Name: People v. Lowe
Case #: D060048
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/30/2012

In a trial pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600 et seq. (Sexually Violent Predator Act), a qualified expert may testify as to whether he/she believes a person is likely to commit sexually violent criminal behavior in the future, if the testimony does not advocate for a specific outcome. In 1998, appellant was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child and forcible lewd and lascivious acts with a child, and sentenced to 16 years in state prison. At the end of the term, the prosecution initiated proceedings to commit appellant to the Department of Mental Health…

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Name: In re Richards
Case #: S189275
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/03/2012
Subsequent History: Abrogated by statute: Pen. Code, § 1473, subd. (e) (Stats. 2014, ch. 623 (SB 1058))

Habeas petitioner's new expert opinion evidence, including evidence that the prosecution's expert testified inaccurately at trial, failed to meet the false evidence and new evidence standards of Penal Code section 1473, subdivision (b). Petitioner was convicted of the murder of his wife. At trial, the prosecution presented the testimony of a forensic dentist that a lesion on the victim's body might be a bite mark consistent with petitioner's unusual dentition. Some ten years later, petitioner filed a habeas petition, asserting that the forensic dentist's evidence was false and that new evidence established his innocence. At a hearing on the petition,…

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Name: Flournoy v. Small
Case #: 11-55015
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/30/2012

Admission of the testimony of a forensic analyst, which was based on the reports of other crime laboratory employees, did not violate the confrontation clause. Defendant was convicted in California State court of rape and assault with intent to commit rape. He asserted the trial court erred in allowing a forensic analyst to testify regarding the results of DNA tests based on the reports of other crime laboratory employees. His conviction was affirmed in state court. Under AEDPA, the federal court must defer to the state court's determination unless it was expressly contrary to federal law as interpreted by the…

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Name: People v. Dunn
Case #: D058407
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/07/2012

The trial court properly denied a motion for mistrial based on the failure of the defense expert to appear for trial because the witness's absence did not irreparably damage the defendant's ability to receive a fair trial. A jury convicted appellant of having sexual intercourse with a child (Pen. Code, § 288.7, subd. (a)) and committing a lewd act (§ 288, subd. (a)). Findings were made that appellant engaged in substantial sexual conduct (§ 1203.066, subd. (a)(8)) and inflicted great bodily injury. At the end of the prosecution's case the defense moved for a mistrial when the defense medical expert…

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Name: People v. Baker
Case #: E053641
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/11/2012

The expert psychological evaluator was not competent to give a legal conclusion about the nature of an underlying felony; excluding the inadmissible hearsay which was subject to an objection there was still substantial evidence for the initial commitment findings for Mentally Disordered Offender Act (MDO Act) treatment. Here, the only evidence of the underlying conviction, as required by Penal Code section 2962, subdivisions (b) and (e)(2), came from the expert psychological evaluator who perused Baker's central file and described the arson conviction and the underlying facts. The testimony about the crime of conviction was hearsay which was admitted without objection.…

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Name: People v. Tuggle
Case #: B228064
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/24/2012

The presence of the defendant's fingerprint on a movable object inside a residence was sufficient evidence of identity from which to support a burglary conviction. The burglary was of a model home that had been cleaned regularly during the time it was open on display. It had been closed and locked until the time of the burglary. Appellant stated at the time of his arrest that he had not been in any model homes in the area over the last two years. His statements excluded any possible innocent conduct as the source of the fingerprints.

There was no error…

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