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Name: People v. Lozano (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 366
Case #: A165646
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/10/2024

Trial court abused its discretion in admitting a 16-year-old victim’s statement to her mother that defendant had been molesting her since she was 11 as a spontaneous statement. Defendant was convicted of, inter alia, committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred in admitting an out-of-court statement of Doe 1, who was deceased at the time of trial, but who had told her mother defendant had been molesting her since she was 11. Held: Reversed. Doe 1’s statements to her mother did not fall within the hearsay exception…

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Name: People v. Flores (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 438
Case #: D083310
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/15/2024

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing evidence of victim’s disclosure of sexual abuse ten years after the abuse occurred under the “fresh complaint” doctrine. Flores was found guilty of four counts of sexually abusing two sisters between 2006 and 2008 when the victims were between the ages of four and seven years old. About ten years after the abuse, one of the victims (B.C.) disclosed the abuse to her high school friends after they showed concern about her demeanor. At trial, the jury was instructed that it could consider B.C.’s statements to her friends both to evaluate her…

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Name: People v. Ayala (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 62
Case #: D082754
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2024

The prosecution did not exercise due diligence, and therefore should not have been permitted to admit the former testimony of an absent witness, when the search for the witness was untimely and the witness was essential to the prosecution’s case. Defendants Ayala and Ramirez were charged with murder. They had never met the victim before, but the victim had been threatening Breanna S., who had just begun staying in Ayala’s R.V. Breanna had testified for the People at the preliminary hearing, but had gone missing at least two years before trial. Two weeks before trial, the People began an unsuccessful search…

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Name: People v. Bingham (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1072
Case #: A163112
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/26/2023

The erroneous exclusion of impeachment evidence, pursuant to Evidence Code section 1202, of a key declarant does not require reversal unless the record as a whole shows the error caused a miscarriage of justice. Defendant was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a romantic partner. The victim did not testify at trial, but her 911 call was admitted into evidence. The trial court excluded the victim’s prior convictions and inconsistent statements made after her 911 call, which defendant offered for impeachment (Evid. Code, § 1202). Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed on this point but remanded for resentencing. The parties agreed that…

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Name: People v. Portillo (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 577
Case #: B315241
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/15/2023

Evidence of a retail price for a stolen item is admissible for nonhearsay purposes in establishing the fair market value of the stolen item. A jury found defendants guilty of one count of grand theft each. On appeal, they argued there was insufficient evidence that the value of the stolen items—15 boxes of dumbbells—exceeded $950, because the prosecution offered inadmissible hearsay as proof of the dumbbells’ value. Held: Affirmed. Grand theft, as opposed to petty theft, is theft committed when the item taken is of a value exceeding $950. The only evidence of the dumbbells’ value was the testimony of the…

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Name: People v. Gobert (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 676
Case #: D080018
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/22/2023

Trial court committed harmless error by allowing the prosecution to introduce hearsay evidence of prior domestic violence incidents. Gobert was convicted of the second degree murder of his girlfriend. During trial, the court allowed the prosecution to admit statements the victim made to two individuals about the abuse she was experiencing and her fear of Gobert. Defense counsel objected to the admissibility of these statements on hearsay grounds, but the trial court admitted them as evidence of prior domestic violence pursuant to Evidence Code section 1109. Gobert appealed. Held: Affirmed. The Court of Appeal held the trial court erroneously overruled…

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Name: People v. Presley
Case #: C090439
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/16/2021
Subsequent History: Ordered Published 6/28/21

In a court trial on defendant's commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP), the trial court did not abuse its discretion under People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 in relying on expert testimony, where nothing in the record suggests the trial court failed to correctly apply the law. At the court trial on a petition to commit defendant as an SVP, the court heard testimony from four expert witnesses who had all interviewed defendant and reviewed his medical and prison records. The trial court determined defendant was an SVP. Defendant appealed, arguing his commitment was based on case-specific hearsay…

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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: 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. Carkhum-Murphy
Case #: C085347
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/21/2019

Trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing prosecution to introduce evidence of defendant's prior convictions to impeach his exculpatory hearsay statement, which was initially introduced by the prosecution. Defendant was charged with robbery based on evidence that he took money during a transaction at a liquor store and pointed a gun at the store cashier when she tried to retrieve the money. At trial, the prosecution introduced defendant's statements, which he made during a police interview, that he took the money from the store but did not have a gun. Defendant did not testify, but his girlfriend testified…

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