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Name: People v. Panighetti (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 978
Case #: C095100
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/25/2023

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying multiple Marsden motions where disputes between trial counsel and defendant were over tactical decisions and trial counsel presented a defense consistent with the law. Defendant and Jill Doe practiced bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) over a number of years together. Doe contacted police several times throughout the relationship when the encounters turned violent. Doe and Defendant reconnected in 2020 and their initial consensual sexual encounter was followed by violent encounters. Defendant was charged with multiple sex offenses. At trial, the jury rejected the defense that, by virtue of Doe's written…

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Name: People v. Felix
Case #: C079382
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/16/2019

Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted evidence of a prior crime the defendant and codefendant committed together to show defendant's knowledge of his codefendant's violent propensities. Felix got into an argument with several employees at a bar. As the employees were leaving work that night, Felix and his codefendant Jones confronted the employees and a fight ensued in which Jones stabbed one of the employees. Felix was prosecuted under two theories of attempted murder: straight aiding and abetting, and aiding and abetting under the natural and probable consequences doctrine. He was convicted of attempted murder…

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Name: People v. Merchant
Case #: D075388
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/09/2019

Defendant's right to cross-examine a prosecution witness was forfeited by wrongdoing where he coerced the witness from testifying at trial. Defendant was charged with kidnapping his girlfriend and other offenses. While in jail he called his girlfriend and urged her not to testify at trial, stating that his friends were "looking out for her" to make sure she complied. The girlfriend failed to appear at trial. The trial court relied on recordings of the jail phone calls to apply the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing exception to the Sixth Amendment right to confrontation and admitted the girlfriend's hearsay statements to officers about the offenses.…

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Name: People v. Calhoun
Case #: G055511
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/09/2019

Evidence of a human trafficking victim's prostitution activity that occurred after defendant's arrest for trafficking was inadmissible for impeachment purposes. Defendant recruited 13-year-old D.T., a runaway, as a prostitute, acted as her pimp, and had sex with her. He was convicted of human trafficking of a minor under the age of 16, lewd acts on a minor, pandering a minor, and other offenses. On appeal defendant argued the trial court erred by excluding evidence of D.T.'s prostitution activity that occurred after defendant was arrested. Held: Affirmed. Evidence of sexual history or any commercial sexual act committed by victims of human…

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Name: People v. Reyes
Case #: A152557
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2019

The trial court abused its discretion by excluding as unreliable a codefendant's confession that the firearm in question belonged to him, requiring reversal of defendant's conviction. Defendant was a passenger in his cousin Navarro's car when a police officer pulled them over. A search revealed a Glock with an extended magazine inside a backpack at defendant's feet. Before any charges were filed, Navarro told police the Glock was his. Defendant and Navarro were charged with receiving a large-capacity magazine, and defendant was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. In a joint trial, Navarro…

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Name: People v. Phea
Case #: C080488
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/28/2018

Trial court did not err by instructing the jury with CALCRIM No. 1191 regarding defendant's prior uncharged sex offenses. Phea was charged with 31 child molestation offenses against three minors and two offenses for furnishing controlled substances to a minor. Two additional witnesses testified about uncharged conduct that occurred many years before when they were under 16 years old. The court instructed the jury that it could consider the uncharged conduct if the prosecution had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that Phea committed those uncharged sexual offenses and, based on that conduct, Phea was likely to commit the…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C081267
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/15/2018

Murder conviction reversed where evidence that defendant committed a prior attempted murder during a domestic dispute was erroneously admitted to prove his intent to kill his current wife. In 2014, Williams stabbed his wife in the neck and left her to bleed to death. The trial court permitted the prosecution to introduce evidence of Williams' 1992 conviction for shooting his then mother-in-law when she attempted to intervene in a domestic dispute he was having with his estranged former wife. Williams was convicted of first degree murder. On appeal he challenged the admission of the other crimes evidence. Held: Reversed. No…

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Name: People v. Nicolas
Case #: G052512
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/23/2017

Trial court committed structural error by erroneously instructing jury on uncharged misconduct evidence where the conduct at issue was an indivisible part of the charged offense. Nicolas was talking on her cell phone, texting, and speeding down the I-405. She slammed into the car in front of her, which was stopped in a traffic jam, going 80 miles per hour. The other motorist died. At Nicolas' trial for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, the trial court instructed the jury over a defense objection with a modified version of CALCRIM No. 375, concerning uncharged misconduct evidence. Specifically, the jury was instructed…

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Name: People v. Shorts
Case #: C078041
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/06/2017

Trial court did not err under Evidence Code section 352 by admitting propensity evidence during defendant's murder and child sex offense trial that he had previously sexually assaulted his adult ex-girlfriend. A 13-year-old girl was found dead in a park. She had been shot in the head and there was evidence of sexual intercourse. Years later, a cold hit on DNA found on the girl was matched to Shorts. During his murder and sex assault trial, Shorts moved to exclude propensity evidence under section 352 that three years earlier he took his ex-girlfriend to a park, threatened her at gunpoint,…

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Name: People v. Orloff
Case #: B266933
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/25/2016

Trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of prior uncharged criminal threats in case involving the same offense. Orloff, who is confined to a wheelchair, was convicted of making criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422) and attempting by threats to deter an executive officer from performing his duties (Pen. Code, § 69). A strike prior as well as a prior serious felony enhancement were found true (Pen. Code, §§ 667, subds. (b)-(i), 667, subd. (a)). On appeal he challenged the trial court's admission of evidence of prior uncharged threats he made against other persons. Held: Affirmed. Evidence…

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