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Name: Hall v. Haws
Case #: 14-56159
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/03/2017

Extraordinary circumstances warranted reopening of habeas petitioner's case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) in light of petitioner's belief that he was jointly pursuing relief in codefendant's habeas proceedings, where relief was granted. Following a joint trial, Hall and codefendant Sherrors were convicted of first degree murder. After exhausting state court remedies on a claim of instructional error, Hall filed a pro se habeas petition in federal court. Because the petition contained one unexhausted claim, the district court ordered Hall to voluntarily dismiss his petition or file a notice of abandonment of the unexhausted claim. Hall failed to do…

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Name: People v. Calistro
Case #: F070176
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/06/2017

Defendant's nontheft conviction under Vehicle Code section 10851, subdivision (a) did not bar his conviction for receiving stolen property inside the car. Five hours after a car was reported stolen, police found defendant sitting inside the stolen car at a nearby gas station, with the owner's wallet and cell phone in the passenger seat. Defendant was convicted of unlawfully driving or taking a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)) and receiving stolen property (the credit cards inside the vehicle) (Pen. Code, § 496, subd. (a)). On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction for receiving the stolen credit cards, arguing that…

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Name: People v. Hill
Case #: A133121
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/16/2015

Felony murder conviction reversed because trial court failed to sua sponte instruct the jury that liability does not attach to a defendant who began aiding and abetting an enumerated felony only after the killing occurred. Defendants Hill and her mother Mei were convicted of the attempted murder of Hill's former husband, Eric, and the first degree murder of Eric's grandmother, Selma. The crimes occurred when Hill went to Eric's house intending to take her daughter, although she did not have legal custody. Evidence reflected that Mei arrived at Eric's house after Hill killed Selma, but did participate with Hill in…

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Name: People v. Sek
Case #: B251196
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/17/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 7/22/2015: S226721

Trial court prejudicially erred by giving CALJIC No. 8.66.1 "kill zone" instruction in attempted murder case. Sek and My were convicted of two counts of attempted murder and related crimes for shooting at the victims (Mejia and Perez) while they were trying to drive away from the defendants' vehicle. On appeal, the defendants argued that the trial court erred by instructing the jury with CALJIC No. 8.66.1 concerning the kill zone theory of liability for attempted murder. Held: Convictions for the attempted murder of Perez reversed. The kill zone theory applies only if the evidence shows that the defendant tried…

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Name: People v. Gana
Case #: G048644
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/05/2015

Trial court did not err by refusing to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter based on brandishing a firearm because there was no evidence that the defendant drew or exhibited the firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. Gana shot her husband in the chest, killing him, and then chased her two sons and shot at them, injuring one. Gana made incriminating statements to police and medical personnel indicating that she had been depressed and planned to kill her husband and sons before killing herself. Evidence presented during her trial indicated that her chemotherapy drugs may have caused a…

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Name: People v. Simmons
Case #: A135668
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/05/2015

Doctrines of invited error and estoppel preclude defendant from complaining that trial court abused its discretion by granting his request to withdraw his plea. Simmons and his codefendant Malbrough were charged with dozens of felonies apiece arising from a series of home invasion robberies they carried out together. Pursuant to a package plea agreement, both pled no contest to 19 felony counts in exchange for 26 years in state prison. However, during the sentencing hearing, Simmons asked to withdraw his plea. The court postponed sentencing so that he could discuss the decision with counsel. When sentencing resumed, Simmons no longer…

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Name: People v. Speight
Case #: G049626
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/11/2014

In attempted murder trial, it was harmless error to fail to instruct the jury sua sponte that the prosecution was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act as a result of heat of passion (CALJIC No. 8.50). A jury convicted defendant of two counts of premeditated, willful, and deliberate attempted murder and found true various enhancements. Defendant testified in his defense about his fear of the victims, who had been threatening and harassing him. The jury was instructed on willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder and attempted voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, defendant…

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Name: People v. McCloud
Case #: B228209
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/05/2012

Trial court prejudicially erred by giving kill zone theory instruction because there was no evidence that appellants intended to kill 46 people with 10 bullets. Appellants McCloud and Stringer fired 10 shots at a party with a large number of people present, killing two people and injuring another. Seven of the bullets did not hit anyone. They were both convicted of two counts of second degree murder. Stringer was also convicted of 46 counts of attempted murder. On appeal, Stringer argued that the trial court committed prejudicial error by instructing the jury on the kill zone theory…

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Name: People v. Mace
Case #: F060054
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/19/2011

The obligations of a driver under Vehicle Code sections 20001 and 20003 extend to the owner of the vehicle who is riding in the vehicle with full authority to direct and control the operation of the vehicle and the onus is on him to check on the welfare of others to determine if anyone is injured and if assistance is necessary. Mace's sister was discovered with a dislocated hip and hypothermia in the passenger side of his truck which had sheared off a power pole. He was found sleeping at his niece's home near the accident scene and in possession…

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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: S093456
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/03/2011

For Miranda purposes, Miranda warnings are required before questioning where a citizen is led to believe, as a reasonable person, that he is deprived of his freedom in any significant way. Appellant was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. In this automatic appeal, among the issues considered by the Court were the requirement of a Miranda advisement and whether CALJIC No. 2.28 violated appellant’s constitutional rights. Appellant, a school custodian, was accused of raping and murdering a high school student on school grounds. The victim was bludgeoned and her throat was cut. According to the evidence, appellant "found"…

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