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Name: Curry v. Superior Court (Orange County)
Case #: G047000
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/25/2013

Investigator may testify at preliminary hearing regarding experts' findings on cause of death. Appellant's wife was killed in 1994. He was not charged with her murder until 2010, when forensic testing confirmed she was killed by lethal levels of nicotine poisoning. At the preliminary hearing, a police investigator testified about the forensic evidence that formed the basis of the prosecution's case. Over defense objection, he also related the opinions of two experts regarding the cause of death. Curry filed a Penal Code section 995 motion, claiming the investigator's lack of scientific training and knowledge regarding the experts' opinions rendered his…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: G028417
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/31/2003
Subsequent History: Order mod. opinion/Rehg. denied 2/27/03. Rev. granted 5/14/03: S114184

The People cannot appeal a magistrate’s order at the preliminary hearing that reduces a wobbler felony to a misdemeanor. Here the magistrate’s order reduced a felony assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury count (Pen. Code, sec. 245, subd. (a)(1)) and battery with serious bodily injury count (Pen. Code, sec. 243, subd. (d)), to simple misdemeanors. The facts arose out of a pick-up game of basketball. An intentional "foul" caused a fractured skull and coma, from which the "victim" recovered. The magistrate was troubled by the filing as felony conduct in the…

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Name: Correa v. Superior Court
Case #: G027265
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/30/2000
Subsequent History: Petition for review GRANTED 1/24/01 (S093476)

A magistrate erred in admitting the testimony of police officers regarding the multiple hearsay statements of witnesses and a victim made through Spanish/English lay interpreters. Proposition 115 authorized an exception only to single-level hearsay from a properly trained investigating officer. The lay interpreter translating statements of witnesses in the field added a level of hearsay for which there was no legal exception. Further, the exception would not pass constitutional muster if expanded to include multiple hearsay where the defendant is deprived of the opportunity to cross-examine on the accuracy of the translated statements. Because the magistrate's…

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Name: Correa v. Superior Court
Case #: S093476
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/25/2002
Subsequent History: Reversed.

At appellant’s preliminary hearing, police officers testified regarding extrajudicial statements made by the Spanish-speaking victim and another Spanish-speaking witness. The officers did not understand Spanish, but received the statements through contemporaneous translations by unbiased bystanders, who also testified at the preliminary hearing about their language skills and the circumstances of the translation. On appeal, appellant argued that because of the role played by the translators, the police officers’ testimony constituted inadmissible multiple hearsay. The Court of Appeal agreed, as the police officers were recounting the statements of the translators, not the original declarants. Here, the…

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Name: People v. Wang
Case #: B139328
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/17/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 9/12/01 (S098639)

Editor's note: Review granted. In a preliminary hearing in an embezzlement case, the magistrate allowed admission of statements by a witness who worked for the victim company. The statements had been made in Mandarin Chinese, and then translated into English by the company's office manager. The superior court set aside the information and dismissed, holding that although Proposition 115 allowed hearsay testimony at preliminary hearings, multiple hearsay was inadmissable, and the translation of the statements created a second level of hearsay. Further, the superior court held that there had been no showing of competency on the part…

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