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Name: Rayyis v. Superior Court
Case #: B181214
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 10/06/2005

Proposition 8 does not abrogate the corpus delicti rule at preliminary hearings. The trial court here concluded that under the California Supreme Court decision in People v. Alvarez (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1161, the corpus delicti rule no longer applies to preliminary hearings. The appellate court disagreed, noting that Proposition 8 only changes the rule excluding the defendant’s extra judicial statements under the corpus delicti rule. Proposition 8 does not alter the substantive aspects of the rule that are unrelated to the introduction of evidence. Thus, although there is no longer a basis for excluding a defendant’s statements…

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Name: People v. Love
Case #: A105802
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/29/2005

The time limit for a preliminary hearing does not apply to a defendant who waived the time limit and then failed to appear. The defendant, while out of custody, waived her right to have a preliminary hearing within ten and sixty days of her plea. She then failed to appear for a setting conference and was arrested on a bench warrant. Her preliminary hearing occurred fifteen days after her return to custody. The magistrate dismissed the complaint, finding the preliminary hearing untimely under Penal Code section 859b. The Court of Appeal reversed. While it…

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Name: People v. Butte
Case #: C041978
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/14/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/30/04

Appellant's convictions for 35 sex offenses perpetrated between 1979 and 1998 were reversed as being barred by the statute of limitations, in light of Stogner v. California (2003) 539 __ U.S. __. In the published portion of the opinion, the appellate court addressed appellant's contention that the information provided him with inadequate due process notice of the charges because the offenses were charged as having occurred over a period of years. The appellate court here found that since appellant waived his right to a preliminary hearing, he forfeited his right to complain on appeal that he was provided…

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Name: People v. Swanson-Birabent
Case #: H025036
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/19/2003
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 3/17/04

The evidence at the preliminary hearing was sufficient to establish a reasonable suspicion that defendant aided and abetted the molestation of her daughter even though the only act established by the testimony was defendant’s passive observation of her boyfriend’s molestation of the child. To survive a section 995 challenge, the magistrate’s findings need only be supported by evidence establishing reasonable and probable cause. Here, sufficient evidence showed that defendant had knowledge of the molestation and that her passive observation both encouraged the perpetrator’s actions and discouraged her daughter from seeking help. Thus, there was sufficient evidence…

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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: Stroud v. Superior Court
Case #: S081186
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/10/2000
Subsequent History: None

A magistrate did not abuse his discretion when he continued a preliminary hearing in a capital case for one day in order to attend a Judicial Council task force meeting in a distant location. A judicial officer's administrative duties are not sufficient good cause by themselves to delay a preliminary examination, which is to be completed in one session unless postponed for good cause under Penal Code section 861. However, the record suggests the conflict arose because the examination had long exceeded its original time estimate. Further, no defendant objected until a day and a half before…

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Name: People v. Mendoza
Case #: S067104
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/31/2000
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied 9/13/00

Mendoza and his codefendant, Valle, were charged with murder committed during the course of a robbery, in violation of Penal Code section 189. The defendants were also charged with the robbery, and a special circumstance that the murder was committed during the course of a robbery. The separate juries convicted on the murder and robbery, and found the special circumstances to be true. Neither jury's verdict specified the degree of murder, though they had been instructed only on first degree felony-murder. Penal Code section 1157 provides that where a defendant is convicted of a crime which…

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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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