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Name: People v. Rafael B.D.R. (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 385
Case #: A167246
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/10/2024

Trial court prejudicially erred by denying defendant’s motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence that two adults devised a plan for the alleged minor victim to falsely accuse defendant of abusing her. Rafael was convicted of committing a lewd act upon a child and sending or exhibiting harmful matter to a minor (his niece). The trial court granted a motion in limine excluding testimony from two witnesses the victim’s mother had asked to provide false information to the police implicating Rafael. Following his conviction, Rafael filed a motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence…

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Name: People v. Jimenez
Case #: D073313
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/21/2019

Defendant's motion for new trial was properly denied because a police report used by the prosecution at sentencing, implicating defendant in an unrelated shooting, was not Brady material and there was not a reasonable probability of a different result on retrial. Jimenez led officers on a high-speed chase with two children in the car. At one point, he drove straight toward a marked patrol vehicle, causing the officers to swerve at the last moment to avoid collision. A jury convicted Jimenez of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, two counts of felony child abuse, and evading a…

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Name: People v. Bonilla
Case #: C082144
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/29/2018

Trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to defend against vandalism charges by asserting the victim's violation of a civil statute because a person may not commit a crime in response to the breach of a civil statute. The three defendants were convicted of felony vandalism. The case arose out of a confrontation between the defendants and a repossession agent who was in the process of taking a car. On appeal, defendants raised a number of issues, primarily based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel (IAC). Held: Affirmed. A defendant asserting IAC must show that counsel's representation fell below an…

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Name: People v. Watts
Case #: B270324
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/11/2018

Trial court's failure to independently weigh the evidence when deciding motion for new trial was an abuse of discretion. Watts was convicted of murder and a gang enhancement was found true. He filed a new trial motion challenging the sufficiency of the evidence of the enhancement. In denying the motion the trial court repeatedly told Watts it could not reweigh the evidence and its only concern was whether the prosecution offered sufficient evidence to present the case to the jury. Watts appealed. Held: Reversed. When ruling on a new trial motion (Pen. Code, § 1181, subd. (6)) the court "extends…

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Name: People v. Watts
Case #: B270324
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/14/2017

A trial court must independently weigh the evidence when it decides a motion for new trial. Watts was convicted of murder and a gang enhancement was found true. He filed a new trial motion challenging the sufficiency of the evidence of the gang enhancement. In denying the motion the trial court repeatedly told Watts it could not reweigh the evidence and its only concern was whether the prosecution offered sufficient evidence to present the case to the jury. Watts appealed. Held: Reversed. When ruling on a new trial motion (Pen. Code, § 1181, subd. (b)) the trial court "extends no…

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Name: United States v. Harmon
Case #: 15-10034
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/18/2016

Prosecutor's failure to correct false testimony that affected a witness' credibility and was presented to a grand jury was not structural error. Harmon was an attorney who laundered money for her client, Pantages, who had been charged with receiving stolen property in state court (he ran a computer business that resold stolen computer equipment as legitimate). His business partner, Ebyam, pleaded guilty and, as part of his plea, was required to testify against Harmon before a grand jury or face additional charges. However, Ebyam told the grand jury that he was voluntarily testifying and the prosecutor did not correct this…

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Name: Tarango v. McDaniel
Case #: 13-17071
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/03/2016

State court decision was contrary to clearly established federal law because the court did not investigate the prejudicial effect of a police tail on a known holdout juror. Defendant was convicted in Nevada of robbery, attempted murder, gun use, and other offenses based upon his participation with others in a robbery and shoot-out in a bar. There were a number of off duty police officers in the bar at the time of the robbery who became victims and witnesses. While the jury was deliberating in defendant's case, the foreperson sent a note to the court complaining that a lone holdout…

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Name: People v. Johnson
Case #: E061986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/07/2015

In deciding whether to hold a hearing on a motion for disclosure of jurors' identifying information, the trial court must assume that the declarations supporting the motions are credible. Johnson was convicted of driving while intoxicated causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more. Enhancements and strike priors were found true. He was sentenced to 41 years to life. In his first appeal, Johnson challenged the trial court's denial of his motion for release of juror information. The Court of Appeal held the trial court erred by denying a hearing, as admissible evidence in one…

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Name: People v. Lewis
Case #: A143106
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/09/2015

Prosecution's failure to disclose impeachment evidence regarding arresting officer did not violate Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83 because the evidence was not material. Lewis was convicted of vehicle theft and evading a peace officer. During trial, he filed a Brady motion seeking impeachment information regarding the arresting officer, Switzer, because the defense discovered he was on administrative leave when it attempted to subpoena him as a witness. The trial court denied the motion. Switzer did not testify. Following his conviction, Lewis moved for a new trial on his conviction for evasion after finding that Switzer pleaded no…

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Name: People v. McNally
Case #: B253141
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/21/2015

Defendant with extensive firearms training acted with implied malice when he jokingly waived a loaded firearm at his friend and accidentally shot and killed him. McNally got drunk and high on bath salts with a friend, Bent. When Bent went to the bathroom to vomit, McNally called Bent a "sissy," retrieved his 9 millimeter handgun, waived it at Bent, and jokingly ordered him to "Hurry up and puke." According to McNally, the gun accidentally discharged, killing Bent. A jury found that McNally acted with implied malice and convicted him of second degree murder (Pen. Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 189).…

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