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Name: People v. Booth
Case #: G047986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/12/2016

Murder conviction reversed because trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to move for dismissal on the grounds of excessive, 19-year, precharging delay. After a deadly gang related shooting in 1992, police identified a number of suspects but their investigation was shelved because of insufficient resources. In 2011, after receiving a grant of funds to resume investigating cold cases, the police interrogated other suspects, who pointed the finger at Booth. Booth was tried for first degree murder. At the time of Booth's trial, Bradford, a witness who had made statements to police during their 1992 investigation exculpating Booth, could…

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Name: In re Mancillas
Case #: H042652
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/23/2016

A defendant whose probation has been summarily revoked "has been released on probation" within the meaning of Penal Code section 1203.2a and the jurisdictional limits for sentencing a probationer who has been imprisoned for another offense apply. Mancillas was placed on probation with execution of a three-year prison term suspended. He failed to report and his probation was summarily revoked. But before further proceedings were held, Mancillas was convicted of new offenses in Nevada and imprisoned there. On December 23, 2013, the trial court received notification that Mancillas was incarcerated in Nevada and his request for final disposition. Eight months…

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Name: Godoy v. Spearman
Case #: 13-56024
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/25/2016

State court did not unreasonably apply clearly established U.S. Supreme Court precedent by rejecting defendant's jury misconduct argument even though juror sent text messages to a judge friend throughout the trial regarding the case. During Godoy's second degree murder trial, a juror texted a "judge friend" numerous times with various procedural questions. The juror shared the answers with the other jurors. The jury ultimately convicted Godoy, who filed a new trial motion based on juror misconduct. The trial court denied the motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed, reasoning that the government had rebutted any presumption of prejudice. After the…

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Name: Davis v. Superior Court (People)
Case #: E063943
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/22/2016

Indigent defendant is not required to pay in advance for costs of postconviction discovery. In 1998 a jury convicted Davis of three counts of first degree murder with enhancements. He was given multiple LWOP terms. In 2011, he sought postconviction discovery (Pen. Code, § 1054.9). The trial court ordered Davis and the real party in interest (the People) to agree on which items he would receive and informed Davis he would be required to pay in advance for the material. In 2015, Davis wrote the court identifying the items requested and objecting to the requirement he pay for the material…

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Name: Williams v. Johnson
Case #: 07-56127
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/27/2016

Under AEDPA, California Court of Appeal did not unreasonably approve the dismissal of a holdout juror for bias. During Williams' trial for felony murder, the trial court dismissed a holdout juror, finding that the juror was biased. An alternate juror was seated and Williams was convicted. On appeal, Williams argued the dismissal of the holdout juror violated her Sixth Amendment rights and a state statute. The Court of Appeal affirmed and the California Supreme Court denied review. Williams sought habeas relief in the California courts and was unsuccessful. She filed a federal habeas petition and her case eventually…

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Name: Jones v. Harrington
Case #: 13-56360
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/22/2016

Once a defendant unambiguously invokes his right to remain silent, his responses to further questioning cannot render his invocation ambiguous; state court's contrary conclusion was an unreasonable application of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436. After three hours of police interrogation, Jones told officers, "I don't want to talk no more." The officers asked a follow-up question and the interrogation continued, culminating in a confession. The trial court denied Jones' motion to suppress the confession as obtained in violation of Miranda. Jones appealed and the state appellate court affirmed. The court reasoned that Jones did not unambiguously invoke his…

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Name: Curiel v. Miller
Case #: 11-56949
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/25/2016

Because the California Supreme Court's citations to Swain and Duvall in order denying habeas petition was a finding that petitioner's claims were timely despite the contrary rulings of the lower courts, all of his state habeas petitions were "properly filed" for purposes of statutory tolling under AEDPA. Eight months after Curiel's special circumstance murder conviction became final on direct review, he filed a habeas petition in a California superior court. The court denied the petition on the basis that it was untimely. Curiel filed a new habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal, which was summarily denied. The California…

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Name: People v. Berg
Case #: D068557
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/12/2016

Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. ___ is fully retroactive and Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (d)(2) does not provide an adequate statutory remedy for Miller error. In 1997, Berg was sentenced to LWOP for a special circumstance murder he committed when he was 17. In 2014, he filed a habeas petition arguing that his LWOP sentence was unconstitutional under Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. ___, which held that mandatory LWOP sentences for minors violate the Eighth Amendment and that, to impose an LWOP term, a court must take into account the offender's youth. The trial court granted…

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Name: In re Busch
Case #: D068791
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/21/2016

Governor acted within his authority by reversing Parole Board's suitability finding based on nature of the crime, prisoner's implausible explanation for two-year-old child's injuries, and the fact that prisoner has not honestly addressed issues underlying the death of the child. Busch was convicted of second degree murder for the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. After 24 years in prison, the Board found Busch, who was described as a "model inmate," suitable for parole. However, the Governor exercised his authority to reverse the Board on the basis that Busch's claim of…

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Name: Woods v. Etherton
Case #: 15-723
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/04/2016

Federal habeas relief inappropriate where fairminded jurists could disagree concerning whether appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise claim regarding trial counsel's failure to object to hearsay on confrontation grounds. During Etherton's drug trafficking trial, three officers testified about the content of an anonymous tip that ultimately led to Etherton's arrest. After his conviction and direct appeal, Etherton filed a state habeas petition arguing that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the tip on confrontation grounds and that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise that issue on appeal. After the state…

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