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Name: People v. Walker
Case #: B180004
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/18/2006

Evidence Code section 1108 allows a trier of fact to consider prior sexual offenses as propensity evidence only when the defendant is accused of a "sexual offense," that is one in which sexual misconduct is an element of the charged offense or applicable enhancement, not where it is just a circumstance of the crime’s commission. During appellant’s murder trial for killing a prostitute, the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence of three prior sexual assaults (two committed against prostitutes) to prove identity, motive, and intent pursuant to Evidence Code section 1101, subdivision (b), and predisposition pursuant to Evidence Code…

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Name: People v. Wesson
Case #: H028484
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/20/2006

A defendant's conviction of sodomy by force is upheld where the evidence of prior sex offenses was properly admitted at trial. The defendant argued on appeal that the trial court had erred in permitting proof of the prior sex offenses by means of documentary evidence rather than live testimony. Specifically, the prosecution offered an excerpt from the 1990 charging documents, a notice of a change of plea, and an abstract of judgment showing convictions for oral copulation and sexual battery. The defendant argued that introduction of this evidence violated Evidence Code section 1108 and his right…

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Name: People v. Quintanilla
Case #: A104009
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/06/2005

Quintanilla was convicted of several sex offenses as well as domestic violence offenses against the same victim, a cohabitant. On appeal, he argued that the trial court erred by modifying CALJIC No. 2.50.02, which instructs the jury on the inference of criminal propensity which may be drawn from the defendant's commission of uncharged domestic violence offenses, to permit the jury in this case to draw a propensity inference from other charged offenses. The appellate court agreed, but found the error harmless. Evidence of uncharged offenses to show propensity is not a due process violation because the trial court…

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Name: People v. Long
Case #: C046360
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/10/2005
Subsequent History: 6/8/05: revw den.

The court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury regarding witness credibility under CALJIC 2.20 where the evidence offered to discredit the witness was not character evidence but evidence regarding the witness’s alleged mental illness. An expert witness testified that the complaining witness suffered from borderline personality disorder; the testimony described the symptoms of that disorder and suggested that the witness might be capable of fabricating information during stressful times. Over the defendant’s objection, the judge struck the portion of CALJIC 2.20 that permitted the jury to consider the character of the witness for honesty or…

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Name: People v. Rucker
Case #: D043159
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/29/2004
Subsequent History: 5/18/05: Rev den.

A trial court properly admitted evidence of a defendant's prior incident of domestic violence in a current prosecution for shooting a different ex-boyfriend. The defendant was convicted of attempted murder with personal use of a firearm and great bodily injury after she shot a man with whom she had had an on-again, off-again relationship. On appeal, she argued that the court had erred in admitting prior conduct under Evidence Code section 1109. The court first rejected her argument that she and the present victim had not had a "dating relationship" within the meaning of the domestic violence…

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Name: People v. Earley
Case #: E033600
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/31/2004
Subsequent History: 11/10/04 Rev. den.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant’s motion to reopen evidence, and defendant was not deprived of his constitutional right to testify on his own behalf. The defendant here was charged with possession of marijuana for sale and vandalism. After both sides had rested but before the jury was instructed, the court granted a prosecution motion to reduce the vandalism charge to a misdemeanor. The defendant, against counsel’s advice, then announced that he wanted to testify regarding the marijuana charge. The court denied the request to reopen evidence, and the Court of…

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Name: People v. Price
Case #: A101668
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/30/2004
Subsequent History: 10/13/04: Revw. denied

Crawford v. Washington (2004) 124 S.Ct. 1354 does not preclude admission of an out-of-court statement by a witness where the witness was available for cross-examination and was, in fact, cross-examined on the subject of her out-of-court statements. Here, the complaining witness was not available at trial, and the court admitted her prior hearsay statements via police testimony under Evidence Code section 1370. The court held that the statute was not unconstitutional as applied under Crawford, because defendant’s vigorous cross-examination of the witness at the preliminary hearing rendered her out-of-court statements both trustworthy under section 1370, and constitutionally admissible…

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Name: People v. Medina
Case #: D041113
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/20/2003
Subsequent History: Rehrg. den. 1/16/04; Rev. den. 3/24/04

Both prior and subsequent acts may constitute relevant evidence of a person's character, and therefore may be admitted under section 1108. In appellant's trial for forcible sex offenses, the court admitted evidence of uncharged sex offenses which were committed after the charged offense, pursuant to Evidence Code section 1108. In this appeal, appellant contended that section 1108 does not apply to offenses committed after the charged offense, particularly where, as in this case, there was a long gap between the offenses. The appellate court rejected the argument and…

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Name: People v. Stern
Case #: B158338
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 08/14/2003
Subsequent History: None

In the current case, defendant was charged with criminally threatening the victim, by threatening by phone to kill him and make him watch as defendant slit the victim's mother's throat. Defendant said he had stabbed someone a few days earlier. The trial court did not abuse it discretion in admitting evidence that nine days earlier defendant had stabbed someone in the arm for the purpose of establishing the victim's credibility. The court expressly observed that the restrictions on character evidence in Evidence Code section 1101 were inapplicable, because defendant's prior conduct was offered for a purpose…

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Name: People v. Burnett
Case #: H023393
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/22/2003
Subsequent History: Rehrg. den. 8/19/03

"Incensed that the driver behind him tapped his car with her bumper, defendant [Burnett], snatched her little white dog Leo out of her car and threw him onto a crowded roadway where he was run over by a minivan and killed." The evidence that Leo suffered before he died was sufficient to support a conviction for animal cruelty. It was reasonably foreseeable that the dog would be killed by a passing vehicle on a heavily traveled roadway on a rainy night. There was no support in the record for defendant's claim that he did not testify due…

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