Skip to content
Name: People v. Fruits
Case #: C076324
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/04/2016

In trial for criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422) and elder abuse (Pen. Code, § 368, subd. (b)(1)), court did not err by permitting prosecution to admit evidence of prior uncharged threats. Fruits swung pruning shears at his 73-year-old mother and later threatened to kill her for calling the police. He was charged with elder abuse, making criminal threats, and a number of other offenses. At trial, Fruits denied swinging the pruning shears or threatening to kill his mom. However, to prove propensity, the prosecution admitted evidence that Fruits had threatened his mother on previous occasions. The jury convicted him…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Jimenez
Case #: C079201
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/19/2016

Trial court properly instructed jury that it could conclude alleged victim's character for truthfulness was good based on lack of discussion of character in community where one witness testified regarding lack of discussion, but other witnesses testified that the victim is known to lie. During Jimenez's trial for having sex with his niece Doe while she was unconscious, a prosecution witness, Hoffman, testified that he had known Doe for over 15 years and her character for untruthfulness had never been discussed among family members. However, defense witnesses (including Doe's mother) testified that Doe tells lies. The trial court instructed the…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Scally
Case #: G050444
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/22/2015

Text messages defendant sent containing pimp terminology were properly admitted as evidence of intent during his trial for pimping and pandering. Scally was found guilty of pimping (Pen. Code, 266h, subd. (a)) and pandering (Pen. Code, 266i, subd. (a)) based on his relationship with a woman named Dakota. At his trial, the prosecution admitted text messages Scally sent to various individuals bragging about Dakota's earnings as a prostitute and how he was focused on earning money. An expert testified that the messages were consistent with pimping activity. Scally's defense was that his relationship with Dakota was merely a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Peyton
Case #: B248767
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/16/2014

Trial court did not err in denying Caperton motion for judicial disqualification where defendant failed to show an unconstitutional level of actual bias. Peyton was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of identity theft. After opting to represent himself, he proceeded to delay his trial over three years by repeatedly litigating side issues. His principle diversionary tactic was attacking the trial judge, but he also launched personal attacks against the integrity and honesty of other judges, the prosecutor, and law enforcement personnel. He filed many motions arguing that the trial judge should be recused. …

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Christensen
Case #: G048615
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/10/2014

Child molest victim diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome was unavailable to testify at defendant's second trial because the witness would suffer substantial trauma if he was required to testify again. Appellant was charged with multiple counts of lewd acts against two children, Spencer S. and Joshua K. (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). At his first trial, the jury convicted appellant of the charges involving Spencer, but deadlocked with respect to the charges involving Joshua. At his second trial, appellant was convicted of the counts pertaining to Joshua, and a lewd act against a third child, Zachary. The jury…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Myers
Case #: B249607
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/11/2014

Defendant's prior robbery of a donut shop was admissible in his trial for robbery of motel to show that defendant engaged in a common design or plan. A jury convicted Myers of second degree robbery of a motel. The evidence at trial showed that Myers entered the motel, asked about room prices, and left to secure money for a room. When he returned, he put his hand in his jacket pocket and pointed something at the night clerk Hurst. He ordered Hurst to give him money from the cash register and to not look at him or…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Jandres
Case #: H039079
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/20/2014

Rape conviction reversed where trial court admitted propensity evidence that was more prejudicial than probative. A jury convicted defendant of rape with a kidnapping finding and other offenses. He was sentenced to 25 years to life. On appeal he challenged the court's admission of sexual assault propensity evidence and jury instructions. Held: Reversed. Evidence Code section 1108 allows admission of evidence of uncharged sexual offenses to prove a defendant's propensity to commit the charged sexual crime, so long as the evidence is admissible under Evidence Code section 352. But it must be shown the uncharged conduct is a sexual offense.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Rocha
Case #: H038703
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/06/2013

Trial court properly allowed evidence of defendant's prior burglary of a garage to controvert his claim he had no intent to steal when he entered the garage of a residence in the present case. A jury convicted Rocha of first degree burglary for taking a wrench from the homeowner's garage. On appeal he challenged the trial court's admission of evidence that in 2009 he entered the garage of a home and stole items. Held: Affirmed. Evidence that a person committed a certain act may be admitted to prove some material fact, such as that person's intent or identity. Here, the…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Davidson
Case #: B244607
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/26/2013

During an investigatory stop, police officer was not required to give defendant Miranda warnings before asking him whether a stolen motorcycle in his possession belonged to him. Defendant appealed his conviction for unlawfully taking a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)) and possessing a drug pipe (Health & Saf. Code, § 11364.1, subd. (a)). He challenged the trial court's admission of his prearrest statement, made without prior Miranda warnings. Held: Affirmed. After receiving a call about a man pushing a stolen motorcycle, a police officer stopped appellant, who tried to hide a motorcycle as the officer approached. Officer Coulter…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Jackson
Case #: B241930
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/03/2013

Expert testimony regarding "unknown offender assessment" was properly introduced to interpret evidence in murder case. In 1994, defendant's wife, Marie, was murdered. Her body was found in the trunk of her locked Saab, which was parked at a beach with the battery removed. In 2005, DNA evidence from the crime scene was matched to defendant. At his trial in 2012, the trial court admitted the expert testimony of a former FBI agent, Safarik, who analyzed the crime scene. Safarik's assessment did not focus on who committed the offense, but provided insight into potential motivation for the crime by analyzing the…

View Full Summary