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Name: People v. Diaz (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1172
Case #: B319020
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 12/18/2023

Case remanded for trial court to consider whether People v. Tirado (2022) 12 Cal.5th 688 and Senate Bill No. 81 impact defendant’s sentence because the court was not aware of these legal developments at the time of sentencing. Diaz was convicted of first degree murder based on evidence that he shot and killed a street vendor for selling tacos on a street claimed by another taco street vendor. He raised a number of issues on appeal, including that, at sentencing, no one involved knew about two new and significant developments affecting sentencing: the Supreme Court decision in Tirado and SB…

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Name: People v. Banks (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 376
Case #: B312618
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/20/2023

Suppression motion properly denied where evidence found during search of defendant’s car would inevitably have been discovered during a lawful inventory search. At 1:40 a.m., police pulled defendant over because his car did not have proper license plates and he was not wearing a seatbelt. There was no registration sticker on the front window of the car, and defendant did not have a license or provide proof of ownership of the vehicle. The front seat passenger (Doe) appeared under 18, twice gave a false name and birthdate, and wore revealing clothes under her coat, leading the officer to believe she might…

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Name: People v. Lepere (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 727
Case #: G061393
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/16/2023
Subsequent History: Modified 6/2/2023

Motion to suppress DNA evidence was properly denied where the affidavit supporting the search warrant was sufficiently detailed and established probable cause. In 2021, through the use of a genealogy website and DNA extracted from a rape kit, defendant became a person of interest in a 1980 rape and murder case. A search warrant of defendant’s house was issued and items seized from his trash linked him to the crime. He was convicted of murder. On appeal, he argued the police officer’s affidavit in support of the search warrant lacked probable cause and his motion to suppress the DNA evidence was…

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Name: People v. Wilson (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 1006
Case #: D080920
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2023

Prosecutor’s imprecise use of the word “presume” while arguing the meaning of CALCRIM No. 1191 (addressing the use of uncharged sex offenses) did not amount to misconduct. While referencing evidence of uncharged offenses during closing argument, the prosecutor argued, “[n]ow you get jury instruction 1191, and what 1191 says is if there’s evidence presented that the defendant touched another child in a lewd and lascivious way which you got the instructions for, then you can presume that he committed the crimes here.” Trial counsel did not object, but rather moved for a mistrial during jury deliberations. Wilson appealed, arguing the…

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Name: People v. Doane
Case #: A153709
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/22/2021

Conviction reversed where prosecutor misstated the law by telling the jury that "innocence" as used in the instruction on circumstantial evidence (CALCRIM No. 224) refers to actual innocence, not guilt of a lesser included offense. Defendant Doane lost control of his truck and collided head-on with a vehicle, killing the driver. He fled on foot and was apprehended the following day. A jury convicted him of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and a separate count of leaving the scene of an accident. He appealed. Held: Gross vehicular manslaughter conviction reversed. The jury was instructed under CALCRIM No. 224: "If…

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Name: People v. Collins
Case #: B304853
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/10/2021

Prosecutor committed prejudicial error by telling the jury that the "fear" element of robbery is judged by an objective rather than subjective standard. Collins put store merchandise into his bag. When approached by the store's assistant manager, Collins extended an arm to push him but the manager stepped out of the way. Collins then pulled a knife out of his pocket and made it visible to the manager, who stepped further back and allowed Collins to leave without paying. He was convicted of second degree robbery (Pen. Code, § 211) with a weapon use enhancement (Pen. Code, §…

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Name: People v. Rodriguez
Case #: S251706
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/21/2020

Opinion By: Justice Groban (unanimous decision)
The prosecutor impermissibly vouched for witness credibility by asserting in closing argument that two testifying officers would not put their careers at risk by falsely testifying. Rodriguez, a prison inmate, was convicted of assault and battery offenses based on evidence that he struck a correctional officer and attempted to hit others. Two correctional officers testified regarding the incident. Their testimony included the number of years they worked for CDCR. During closing argument, over defense objection, the prosecution argued the officers were credible because they would not put their careers at risk or…

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Name: People v. Meneses
Case #: G055942
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/10/2019

Jury instruction allowing one proved sexual offense to be used to show a defendant's propensity to commit the other charged sex offenses correctly stated the law. A jury found defendant guilty of four counts of committing a lewd act upon a child and found One Strike, multiple victim sentencing allegations true. On appeal he argued the trial court erred by instructing the jury it could rely on currently charged offenses to find he had committed the other charged offenses (CALCRIM No. 1191B). Held: Affirmed. The jury was instructed that if the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant committed…

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Name: People v. Arredondo
Case #: D072632
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/19/2018

Prosecutor's repeated references to defendants as "cockroaches" who pose a danger to the community mandates reversal of gang enhancements. A jury convicted the defendants of first degree murder and found true the special circumstance allegations the murder was committed during the course of a kidnapping and a robbery. A gun use enhancement was found true as to defendant Arredondo, as well as gang enhancements as to both defendants. On appeal, defendants argued the prosecutor's theme the defendants and other gang members are "cockroaches" who present a danger to the public, was prejudicial misconduct. Held: Reversed in part. "A prosecutor's use…

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Name: Browning v. Baker
Case #: 15-99002
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/20/2017

State court unreasonably applied U.S. Supreme Court precedent in denying capital defendant's claim of prosecutorial misconduct under Brady. Browning was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of four crimes related to the robbery and murder of a jewelry store owner. The prosecution's case depended in large part on the testimony of a witness (Randy) who claimed defendant asked him to help cover up the murder. The defense theory was that Randy's Cuban friend was the true killer. After the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed his convictions, Browning sought state and federal habeas relief on prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective…

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