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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: People v. Pedroza
Case #: B247666
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 11/14/2014

When a trial court dismisses a case following a jury verdict based on its conclusion that the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law, double jeopardy bars retrial. A jury convicted Pedroza of murdering and conspiring to murder his fellow gang member, Schubert. During his trial, another gang member, Ahumada, testified that he helped Pedroza carry out a plan to murder Schubert. After the verdict, Pedroza moved for a new trial pursuant to Penal Code section 1181, subdivision (6). The trial court granted his motion after reasoning that there was insufficient evidence as a matter of law to corroborate…

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Name: People v. Eroshevich et al.
Case #: S210545
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/03/2014

Where appellate court reversed trial court's order granting new trial based on insufficiency of the evidence, double jeopardy principles do not bar retrial if, on remand, the trial court grants the new trial motion on grounds other than insufficiency of the evidence. Defendants Eroshevich and Stern were convicted of conspiring to obtain controlled substances by fraud and providing false names for prescriptions in connection with the death of Anna Nicole Smith. The trial court granted Stern's motion for a new trial and dismissed the charges against both defendants based on insufficiency of the evidence. The appellate court reversed and reinstated…

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Name: People v. Carter
Case #: B251727
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/24/2014

When judge's remarks preceding denial of new trial motion reflect that the court is applying an incorrect legal standard, an appellate court must consider the judge's comments in its review. A jury convicted Carter of commercial burglary of a Wells Fargo Bank. A truck belonging to Carter's father, which Carter used in his flooring construction business, was captured on surveillance video during the burglary. A screwdriver bearing Carter's DNA was found inside a damaged automated teller machine. The person captured on video committing the burglary wore a disguise and resembled Carter. In his defense, Carter presented evidence that he…

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Name: People v. Griffis
Case #: C070266
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/14/2013

Under the 2011 Realignment Act, a prior "strike" conviction disqualifying a defendant from local custody need not be pled and proven, but there must be sufficient evidence that the out-of-state conviction qualifies as a California "strike." Defendant pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine and stolen property and was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison rather than local custody. In denying local custody, the court relied on appellant's prior conviction for a Washington state residential burglary. Under the statute implementing the Realignment Act, there is no requirement that, for purposes of place of incarceration, the disqualifying…

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Name: People v. Eroshevich
Case #: B231411
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/28/2013
Subsequent History: opn. following rehg.; review granted 5/8/2013

New trial motion was improperly granted where there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict appellants of conspiracies. Appellants were the attorney (Stern) and doctor (Eroshevich) for Vicki Lynn Marshall (Anna Nicole Smith), who died with an above therapeutic level of a controlled substance in her blood. They were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit two crimes, obtaining controlled substances by fraud, and giving false names in prescriptions for controlled substances. Eroshevich was also convicted of two other Health and Safety Code violations. After the verdicts were returned, the trial court granted Stern's new trial motion on…

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Name: People v. Dickens
Case #: E036144
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/05/2005

In this People’s appeal following a prosecution for attempted murder, the reviewing court found no abuse of discretion in granting a defendant’s motion for new trial on the ground that there was insufficient evidence of intent to kill. The People’s complaint on appeal was that the trial court had failed to articulate its reasons for finding the evidence insufficient, and because the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence, this failure to articulate reasons evinced an abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument, declining to follow the holding in People v. Taylor (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 836.…

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Name: People v. Noel
Case #: A099366
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/05/2005
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 7/27/05: S134543

In this consolidated appeal from the San Francisco dog mauling trial, the court considered together defendant Knoller’s appeal from her conviction and the People’s appeal from the order granting her a new trial. The court rejected Knoller’s argument that the trial court lost jurisdiction to sentence her after the People appealed the order granting her a new trial, noting that Penal Code section 1242 expressly reserves such jurisdiction to the trial court. The court further agreed with the People that the trial court had erred in granting Knoller a new trial on the second degree murder charge. …

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Name: People v. Mendoza
Case #: B166146
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/11/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 8/11/04

Mendoza appealed his conviction for felony child molestation under section 647.6, subdivision (b), because he contended that there was insufficient evidence that he entered an inhabited dwelling, which is required for a felony conviction under that section. Mendoza arged that he withdrew to the front porch of the house before molesting the minor, and therefore the crime was not residential. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the statute only requires that the offense occur after the entry into the residence. The crime was no less residential because Mendoza stepped out onto the porch. The…

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