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Name: People v. Rowe
Case #: D063847
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/04/2014

Magistrate erred in not binding over defendant on charges of soliciting rape and forcible sodomy where she posted online ads for sexual partners for an unwitting victim. Rowe became angry at the victim and her husband after they outbid her for the purchase of a house. As part of a series of harassing acts to retaliate against the victims, Rowe impersonated the female victim and posted an online advertisement seeking sexual partners for liaisons to occur while the victim's husband was at work. Several men responded and, during sexually explicit email exchanges, Rowe, still impersonating the victim, encouraged them to…

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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: Bridgeforth v. Superior Court (People)
Case #: B244661
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/25/2013

Prosecutor did not violate her duty to disclose evidence prior to the preliminary hearing because photographs of the victim's truck were not favorable to the defense or material to the probable cause determination. Bridgeforth was charged with four offenses, including attempted murder and murder with a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed while he was engaged in the commission of a robbery. The trial court denied Bridgeforth's motion to dismiss the information based on the prosecutor's failure to disclose, prior to the preliminary hearing, photographs of the attempted murder victim's truck, which denied him the right to confront…

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Name: People v. Gutierrez
Case #: A134695
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/12/2013

The prosecution's Brady obligation to disclose favorable and material evidence applies to preliminary hearings and was not abrogated by Proposition 115. Appellant was charged with two counts of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a), and held to answer on the offenses following a preliminary hearing. Subsequent to the hearing, the defense obtained police reports from the juvenile court that revealed that one of the alleged victims had previously made accusations of molestation that were determined to have been unfounded. The trial court granted appellant's motion to dismiss and the People appealed. Held: Affirmed. The prosecution has a duty under the…

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Name: People v. Esmaili
Case #: A134700
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/27/2013

A finding of no probable cause at the preliminary hearing does not equate with a finding of factual innocence under Penal Code section 851.8. Appellant was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of fourteen years (Pen. Code, § 288.5). Following the testimony of the minor at the preliminary hearing, the court ruled that the evidence was insufficient to bind appellant over for trial, noting that it was troubled by the minor's credibility. Appellant petitioned the court for a finding of factual innocence under section 851.8, subdivision (c), arguing that because the court found…

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Name: Griffith v. Superior Court (Ventura County)
Case #: B228470
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/21/2011

Proposition 115 and trial court unification did not abrogate the longstanding rule that misdemeanors charged with felonies in an information are subject to dismissal pursuant to Penal Code section 995 if not supported by a showing of probable cause at the preliminary…

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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: B220528
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/16/2011
Subsequent History: 6/22/11 rev. granted (S192558)

The Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment does not apply to a person who is not sentenced to "life-without-parole" even if the sentence, in effect, cannot be completed within the person's lifetime. Appellant was convicted of three counts of attempted premeditated murder, each with a firearm-discharge enhancement. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms for the attempted murders, for which he would be required to serve a minimum term of 15 years for each offense. Additionally, for the enhancements, he received three consecutive 25-year-to-life terms. Relying on Graham v. Florida (2010) 560 U.S. __, appellant argued that his…

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Name: People v. Hollinquest
Case #: A124613
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/20/2010

Since appellant had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness-turned-codefendant at the preliminary hearing, the court properly admitted the preliminary hearing testimony under Evidence Code section 1291 when the witness became "unavailable" at trial. A prosecution witness who testified under use immunity at the preliminary hearing became unavailable for trial based upon invocation of the Fifth Amendment when he was charged as a codefendant in the victim's murder and robbery. Appellant argued that since it was the prosecution who made the witness unavailable by revoking immunity, his preliminary hearing testimony should not have been admitted at trial. The court…

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Name: People v. Dawson
Case #: A120628
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/02/2009

For purposes of a preliminary hearing, the magistrate must hold the defendant to answer if either the specific intervening act was reasonably foreseeable, or if it was reasonably foreseeable that an injury of the type sustained could result from the activity engaged in by the defendant. (em>People v. Brady (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 1314 [Liability exists if the harm is a direct, natural, and probable consequence of defendant's conduct and as the normal and reasonably foreseeable result of the original act.].) Appellant was charged with vessel manslaughter while intoxicated and unlawful operation of…

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Name: People v. Plengsangtip
Case #: E039985
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/19/2007

Where physical evidence and testimony supported the conclusion that appellant's friend had murdered the victim, appellant's statements denying the friend's involvement supported a finding that he was an accessory after the fact. Appellant was held to answer on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to a murder committed by Kim Mektrakarn, but the superior court granted his 995 motion. The prosecutor appealed, contending that the court misapplied the law concerning accessories and failed to defer to the magistrate's factual findings at the preliminary hearing. The evidence showed that appellant arrived before the murder and…

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