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Name: People v. Rios (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1128
Case #: G061764
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/23/2024

Laser narcotics identification test (TruNarc) is based on a new scientific technique and the prosecution failed to establish its admissibility under the Kelly rule. Following a search of Rios’s vehicle and hotel room, an officer seized substances that he later tested using a TruNarc laser device, which indicated that the substances were methamphetamine and carisoprodol (Soma) pills. A jury convicted Rios of drug offenses. On appeal, she argued the TruNarc evidence was not admissible under People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24, which applies when a party seeks to introduce expert testimony on a new scientific technique. Held: Reversed in…

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Name: People v. Roberts
Case #: C081843
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/20/2021

California's DNA Act did not violate defendant's search and seizure rights or privacy rights under either the federal or state constitutions. A teenage girl's murder went unsolved until defendant's DNA was linked to certain items found at the scene. Defendant's DNA had been collected after an unrelated felony arrest made more than a year after the murder. Although that arrest was supported by probable cause, he was not formally charged in that matter. Based primarily on the DNA evidence, a jury found defendant guilty of first degree murder. On appeal, defendant argued that the use of his DNA sample violated…

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Name: People v. Smothers
Case #: A156081
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/20/2021

Trial counsel was prejudicially ineffective for failing to present evidence of the identity of a man whose DNA was found in a murder victim's fingernail scrapings despite a court order allowing counsel to do so. In 1983, a woman was found dead. In 2008, investigators began processing evidence for DNA using new procedures. Blood DNA pointed to defendant, the woman's boyfriend, who had been a suspect in the earlier investigation. However, DNA under the woman's fingernails yielded a match to a man named Sennett, who appeared to have no connection to California, the woman, or defendant. In 2016, defendant was…

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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. Superior Court (Dominguez)
Case #: D073943
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/17/2018

Private company that provided DNA testing program is not part of the "prosecution team" and cannot be compelled to disclose information regarding the program which is solely in the company's possession. Defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. The evidence in the case included swabs which contained DNA from multiple contributors. The DNA evidence was analyzed using a program created by the Environmental Research Lab (ESR). In discovery, the defense sought information from the prosecution about ESR's program, including its source code, software, manual, and internal testing. The trial court compelled the discovery. The prosecution sought a writ of…

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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. Rodriguez
Case #: F070900
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/09/2017

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of automatically generated GPS data from defendant's ankle monitor. Following his felony conviction, defendant was released from custody with an ankle monitor pursuant to the Kern County Sheriff Department's Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP). The ankle monitor transmitted signals concerning defendant's location at specific dates and times to the EMP's computer tracking system via a Global Positioning Device (GPS). Defendant was arrested after GPS data showed he left the county and state on multiple occasions without permission. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court admitted a report about the GPS signals…

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Name: People v. Fortin
Case #: B271184
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/06/2017

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding results of the "Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest" (Abel test) in molestation case where test has not yet gained acceptance in the scientific community. Defendant was charged with molesting two young girls. At trial, the court allowed the defense expert to opine that defendant lacked a sexual interest in prepubescent children, but did not allow testimony about the results of defendant's performance on the Abel test to prove his lack of sexual interest in children. Defendant was convicted of child molestation and false imprisonment by violence. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. When…

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Name: People v. Garlinger
Case #: C074480
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/01/2016

Expert testimony that cell phone tower data could be used to establish caller's approximate location did not rely on a new scientific methodology and was therefore not subject to the standard set forth in People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24. At Garlinger's robbery trial, the prosecution established his identity as the perpetrator in part with expert testimony by a detective that his cell phone records showed that he was in the vicinity of the robbery when it occurred. The jury convicted Garlinger. He appealed, arguing that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the detective's…

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