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Name: People v. Zendejas
Case #: B260892
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/31/2016

Joint trial of codefendants is proper even though one codefendant felt tormented and distressed because she had to sit next to the other codefendant who tried to kill her. Zendejas and her boyfriend, Garza, robbed and assaulted their roommates. While on the run, Garza tried to kill Zendejas. Both were ultimately tried jointly for the robbery and convicted. On appeal, Zendejas argued that having to sit next to Garza during the trial caused her torment and distress that interfered with her right to counsel and a fair trial. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 1098 sets forth the legislative preference for…

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Name: People v. Ybarra
Case #: C072880
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/29/2016

Trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant's motion to sever battery by a prisoner by gassing from inmate assault charges. A jury convicted Ybarra of multiple counts relating to two separate incidents: an attack on a fellow inmate and gassing a correctional officer. He appealed, arguing the trial court erred by denying his motion to sever the gassing counts from the inmate assault counts because the evidence in the gassing case was strong and would be inappropriately used to bolster the weak evidence on the assault case. Held: Affirmed. To determine if the trial court abused its…

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Name: People v. Barros
Case #: A132148
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 10/16/2012

Where a trial court finds offenses were improperly joined and severs a disqualifying offense, the defendant has not been convicted of a nondrug-related felony and therefore merits Proposition 36 probation. Appellant was charged with violation of a restraining order and possession of prohibited drugs. After arraignment, the trial court granted his motion to sever the charges. He was convicted of a misdemeanor violation of a restraining order and pled guilty to felony drug possession. When sentenced for the drug offenses, he was denied Proposition 36 probation because the court found the nondrug misdemeanor was part of the "same proceeding," rendering…

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Name: People v. Rouse
Case #: H034647
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/28/2012
Subsequent History: 5/23/12 Review Granted (S201479)

The convictions of forcible lewd acts, violations of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (b)(1), were supported by evidence of duress. Duress involves the use of direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to do, or submit to, something that she would not otherwise do, or submit to. The circumstances, including the age of the child and relationship to the defendant may be considered. Here one of the victims, age 10, was left with the defendant for an additional two weeks after a visit to his house, and he told her…

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Name: People v. Nguyen
Case #: G040600
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/20/2010

Penal Code section 784.7 permits joining different sex offenses from different counties, not only identical offenses. Appellant argued the trial court should not have allowed a lewd act on a child which occurred in San Bernardino County to be tried with a forcible rape charge from Orange County. Appellant claimed Penal Code section 784.7, allowing joinder of sex crimes from different counties, permits joinder only when the offenses are predicated on the same statute. The court looked to the legislative history of the statute because it found the language of the statute was…

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Name: People v. Davis
Case #: A125490
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/30/2010

Penal Code section 790, subdivision (b), permitting consolidation of intercounty murder charges, is not limited to serial murders. A Contra Costa County grand jury returned an indictment in which appellant was charged with the 2006 murder of her infant son which occurred in Contra Costa County, as well as the 2004 murder of a second infant son which occurred in Alameda County; a special circumstance allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 190.2, subdivision (a)(3); and a venue allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 790, subdivision (b). Penal Code section 790, subdivision (b) permits a single trial of intercounty murder charges,…

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Name: People v. Conerly
Case #: A121696
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/31/2009

The prosecutor's "package deal" was proper, as was the denial of a severance motion in order to allow one defendant to proceed to trial. Conerly was tried together with Palms for the sale of cocaine. Prior to trial, the prosecutor offered both defendants a package plea bargain where they would both plead guilty in exchange for three-year sentences. Palms was willing, but Conerly was not. Conerly then moved to sever the cases on the basis that Palms had offered to testify that Conerly was not involved in the cocaine sale. Palms' attorney stated that Palms would not testify and risk…

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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: G038125
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/31/2009

The trial court did not err by failing to sever the drug and gang counts. Ramirez was convicted of drug offenses and also of active gang participation in violation Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (a). The jury also found that he committed the drug crimes for the benefit of a criminal street gang. (Sec. 186.22, subd. (b)(1).) On appeal, Ramirez contended that the trial court erred by failing to sever the substantive gang-participation charge and the gang enhancements from the drug charges. The appellate court concluded that the trial court properly denied a severance motion because of the cross-admissibility of…

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Name: People v. Earle
Case #: H031525
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/19/2009

Penal Code section 954 provides for severance of separate criminal charges joined for trial. To successfully challenge the denial of a severance motion, an appellant must make a clear showing of prejudice and that the denial falls outside the bounds of reason. Under section 954, the prosecutor may combine multiple charges in a single pleading for trial if the charges are connected in their commission, or are different statements of the same offense, or belong to the same class of offenses. In evaluating a severance motion, the court's key inquiry is whether joint trials pose an unacceptable risk of prejudice…

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Name: People v. Soper
Case #: S152667
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/19/2009

In a case with properly joined offenses, the burden is on the party seeking severance to clearly establish there is a substantial danger of prejudice requiring charges be separately tried, and consideration must be given to the benefit to the state resulting from joinder; namely, conservation of judicial resources and public funds. Under Penal Code section 954, offenses may be joined for trial if they are connected together in their commission; they are different statements of the same offense; or they are of the same class of crimes. Where charges have been properly joined under section 954, as opposed…

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