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Name: In re Vaquera (2024) 15 Cal.5th 706
Case #: S258376
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 02/05/2024

Defendant’s 25-year-to-life sentence under the One Strike law violates due process because the information did not provide him fair notice of the prosecution’s election to seek that sentence. The prosecution charged Vaquera with two counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and a jury convicted him of both counts. In connection with one of these counts (count 2), the prosecution alleged a multiple victim circumstance under the One Strike law, which provides for a 15-year-to-life sentence, and the jury found the circumstance true. Although the One Strike law allegation as to count 2…

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Name: People v. Villegas (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 253
Case #: A164370
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/15/2023

Counsel was not ineffective in failing to seek exclusion of defendant’s second statement to police where defendant waived his right to remain silent and then failed to clearly assert this right during questioning before making incriminating statements. Defendant was questioned as to sexual offenses against two alleged victims, waived his Miranda rights, made incriminating statements, and was arrested. Police then learned of a third alleged victim and questioned defendant a second time a couple days later. He waived his Miranda rights a second time and admitted making a “mistake,” but said he would not say anything else. Police detailed the…

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Name: People v. Bolanos
Case #: F082970
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/26/2023

The youthful offender parole scheme under Penal Code section 3051 does not, on its face, violate equal protection. Appellant was 22 years old when he committed various sex crimes for which he was sentenced to serve two LWOP terms and multiple terms of life in prison with parole terms under the One Strike law. He appealed. Held: Remanded for resentencing in unpublished portion. First, appellant contended that the youthful offender parole scheme violated equal protection. A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing to review the parole suitability of any prisoner who was 25 years of age or younger at…

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Name: People v. Nash
Case #: D079539
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/13/2023

The law of the case doctrine precluded the resentencing court from finding that a prison term of 15 years to life was cruel and/or unusual punishment. Upon his conviction for child molestation, Nash was sentenced to a determinate term after the trial court found a life sentence under the One Strike law was cruel and unusual punishment. On appeal, the sentence was reversed and the case remanded. At resentencing the trial court said it was regrettably compelled to impose 15 years to life based on the Court of Appeal’s disposition. Nash appealed, challenging his sentence as unconstitutionally cruel and/or unusual…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: S253227
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/23/2020

Opinion By: Justice Kruger (unanimous decision)
Trial court erred by imposing vicarious firearm use enhancements (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subd. (e)) that were not pleaded in connection with the relevant counts. Anderson and fellow gang members went to a party. They were asked to leave. The group did depart, but returned with guns and began robbing the partygoers. One of Anderson's group shot and killed a man at the party. Anderson was convicted of first degree murder with a 25-year-to-life vicarious firearm discharge enhancement (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subds. (d), (e)). He was also convicted of five robbery…

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Name: Ruiz-Martinez v. Superior Court
Case #: H044349
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/18/2019

Prosecutor's dismissal of grand jurors violated Penal Code section 939.5, but was harmless error. Defendant was indicted for two counts of murder and other offenses. He moved to dismiss the indictment under Penal Code section 995 arguing the prosecutor violated section 939.5 and the separation of powers doctrine when she dismissed three grand jurors because the prosecution has no authority to dismiss a grand juror. The trial court denied the motion. Defendant filed a petition for writ of mandate, which the Court of Appeal denied. The California Supreme Court granted review, decided Avita v. Superior Court (2018) 6 Cal.5th 486,…

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Name: People v. Jimenez
Case #: H044238
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/16/2019

Trial court violated defendant's right to due process by sentencing defendant on uncharged sentencing allegations under Penal Code section 667.61, subdivision (j). A jury convicted defendant of 15 counts of sexually molesting three victims over a two-year period and found a multiple victims allegation true. On appeal he raised several issues, including a claim the trial court erred in imposing 25-year-to-life sentences on each count under subdivision (j) of section 667.61, when that subdivision was not pleaded in the information. Held: Reversed. On 13 of the counts, the information alleged, and the jury found true, that within the meaning of…

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Name: People v. Wilson
Case #: A150500
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/27/2019

Trial court abused its discretion in admitting the testimony of a prosecution expert regarding studies that show only a very small percentage of allegations of child sexual abuse are false. Wilson was convicted of multiple sexual abuse charges involving a minor. At trial, a prosecution expert witness testified about CSAAS and research on false allegations of child sexual abuse, stating that, although the research was limited, false allegations occur "very infrequently or rarely," most often during child custody disputes. He referred to a "classic" Canadian study that found allegations were later determined to be false in about 4% of cases.…

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Name: Hoffman v. Superior Court (Orange County)
Case #: G054414
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/07/2017

An information may describe multiple discrete acts, each of which constitute the charged offense, within a single count. The prosecution alleged over one hundred counts of healthcare insurance fraud (Pen. Code, § 550, subds. (a)(5), (a)(6)) against defendant. Each count identified a number of patient files and a timeframe that spanned years. The defendant's demurrer to the complaint was overruled and he petitioned for writ relief. Held: Denied. A demurrer raises a legal challenge to the sufficiency of the accusatory pleading, testing only those defects appearing on the face of the pleading. Defendant argued the prosecution may not allege multiple…

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Name: People v. Castel
Case #: B271396
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/26/2017

Trial court properly overruled demurrer to parole revocation petition filed by district attorney that was not accompanied by the written report that must accompany petitions filed by supervising parole agencies. Castel was convicted of felony assault, sentenced to three years in state prison, and subsequently released on parole. In 2015, while on parole, Castel was convicted of misdemeanor criminal threats. Soon thereafter, the district attorney filed a petition seeking revocation of Castel's parole. Castel filed a demurrer to the petition, arguing that the petition was facially deficient because it was not accompanied by the written report required for petitions by…

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