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Name: In re A.M.
Case #: B329999
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/31/2024

The Court of Appeal holds that when a minor was sentenced as an adult prior to the passage of Prop 57 and the sentence is later vacated on habeas corpus, the judgment becomes nonfinal and the defendant is entitled to retroactive application of ameliorative laws, including SB 1391 and AB 333. The minor’s case only becomes final when the criminal proceeding as a whole has ended and the courts can no longer provide a remedy on direct review. Where AB 333's amendments to PC 186.22's gang-murder special circumstance provisions apply retroactively, Chapman harmless error review is appropriate.

The full opinion is available on…

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Name: People v. Brown (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 113
Case #: D081445
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/26/2024
Subsequent History: Ordered published 4/3/2024

Trial court did not err in denying defendant’s 2022 request for mental health pretrial diversion (Pen. Code, § 1001.36), where the denial occurred before statutory amendments went into effect on January 1, 2023. In 2022, the trial court denied defendant’s pretrial request diversion under section 1001.36 finding that he did suffer from a mental health disorder but that it did not contribute in any way to the offense. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two felonies in November 2022 and sentenced on January 11, 2023, ten days after the effective dates of certain amendments to section 1001.36. Held: Reversed. Prior to the…

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Name: People v. De La Rosa Burgara (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1054
Case #: H049363
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/13/2023

The changes made by Senate Bill No. 567 to Penal Code section 1170(b) apply retroactively to convictions reached by plea agreements providing for a stipulated sentence. As part of a negotiated plea agreement, defendant pleaded no contest to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and hit-and-run driving resulting in permanent, serious injury after he purposely hit a person with his car. The trial court sentenced him to an aggregate stipulated sentence of eight years in prison, which included a four-year upper term for his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. On appeal, defendant argued the postsentencing enactment of…

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Name: People v. Mitchell (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1127
Case #: F084489
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/15/2023

Following remand for resentencing, appellant was entitled to the retroactive benefits of Assembly Bill No. 333. Mitchell was convicted felony offenses (including being an active gang member) and the jury found numerous gang enhancements true. Pursuant to Mitchell’s prior appeal, which occurred before AB 333 became law, his case was remanded for resentencing. By the time of the resentencing hearing, AB 333, which amended the law regarding the substantive gang offense and enhancement, had become effective. The trial court expressed concern whether the new law should be applied, but found itself bound by the scope of the remittitur and concluded…

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Name: People v. Buckner (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 724
Case #: A162304
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/30/2023

Because defendant was living in his house on the day he set it on fire, substantial evidence supports the jury’s conclusion that the house was inhabited at the time of the fire. A jury convicted Buckner of arson of an inhabited dwelling structure. On appeal, he argued substantial evidence did not support his conviction because there was no evidence that he intended to live in his home after the fire. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 450 defines “inhabited” for purposes of the arson statutes as “currently being used for dwelling purposes whether occupied or not.” The Court of Appeal reviewed…

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Name: People v. Hupp (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 946
Case #: E079389, E079543
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/25/2023

A judge is not an “executive officer” within the meaning of Penal Code section 69. A jury convicted defendant of four counts of violating section 69 (threatening an executive officer) based on threatening statements he made to four judges. On appeal, he argued that as a matter of law, he could not be liable under section 69 because a judge is not an “executive officer” within the plain meaning of the term. Held: Reversed. Section 69 makes it a crime to attempt to deter, by means of any threat, an executive officer from the performance of a legal duty. The issue of whether…

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Name: People v. Lashon
Case #: A163074
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/08/2024

Defendant's claim under the Racial Justice Act (RJA) was forfeited where she had an opportunity file an RJA motion in the trial court but instead raised the claim for the first time on direct appeal. Lashon was convicted of second degree and first degree murder, with true findings of multiple murders, and sentenced to LWOP. She appealed, contending in her opening brief for the first time that the judgment was the result of the trial judge’s implicit racial bias against her and her trial counsel in violation of the RJA (Pen. Code, § 745). In its first opinion, the Court…

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Name: People v. Gaines (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 91 (and People v. Ross)
Case #: F083168, F083228
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/15/2023
Subsequent History: Ordered published 7/5/2023

The offenses of discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and permitting another person to discharge a firearm from a vehicle, do not require that the shooter be inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting. At a store, Gaines and Ross exchanged words with a man who was with his girlfriend and her children. After leaving the store, Gaines drove his vehicle in search of the man, who was walking on the sidewalk with his girlfriend and children. Gaines stopped the car while Ross got out and shot at the individuals. Defendants were convicted of numerous offenses including shooting…

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Name: People v. Jackson (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 207
Case #: A164649
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/06/2023

Trial court had no jurisdiction to find a violation of probation because, due to Assembly Bill No. 1950’s retroactive change to Penal Code section 1203.1, defendant’s probationary term had expired before the misconduct occurred. In January 2017, defendant entered a plea to burglary and was sentenced to five years of probation. In July 2020, he was charged with having committed probation violations in July and October 2019 (i.e., more than two years after his probationary term began). In August 2020, the court summarily revoked probation pending a formal hearing. In January 2021, AB 1950 took effect, decreasing the maximum period of…

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Name: People v. Sherman (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 325
Case #: D080241
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/09/2023

Resentencing for consideration of military service under Penal Code section 1170.91 does not apply to defendants convicted of super-strike offenses or offenses requiring registration as a sex offender, including cases pending on appeal when this limitation went into effect. In 2020, defendant petitioned under section 1170.91 for resentencing of his 2001 convictions for rape and sexual assault of five women, resulting in a sentence of 123 years to life. He argued that his substance abuse and mental health conditions, which were a result of his military service, were not considered as mitigating factors at his original sentencing. The trial court…

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