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Name: People v. Box
Case #: S019798
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/17/2000
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied 10/3/00

In this death penalty appeal, the trial court correctly rejected appellant's claims of violations of his constitutional rights to due process, an impartial jury and a reliable death verdict, which were premised on the trial court's denial of appellant's request to permit the defense to conduct sequestered, individual voir dire of prospective jurors who had, or who had spent time with, small children. The trial court here conducted voir dire pursuant to Proposition 115, codified as section 223 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. It conducted most of the voir dire itself and in open court. However,…

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Name: People v. Archer
Case #: B130704
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 08/14/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/29/00

Appellant did not waive his claim of error under People v. Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518, and Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123 by failing to object at trial. When the prosecution moved for introduction of the codefendant's confession in a redacted form before trial, appellant objected and moved for severance or the impanelment of separate juries, and the codefendant moved to exclude the statement. In the context of the pretrial proceedings, appellant adequately preserved the issue. The confession of the co-defendant was redacted in such a way here that appellant was unmistakably implicated in several…

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Name: People v. Kraft
Case #: S013187
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/10/2000
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied 10/18/00

In a capital prosecution, the trial court did not err when it denied appellant's motion to sever 16 homicide counts and try them separately in 16 trials. Most of the evidence on the various charges was cross-admissible. The fact that the murders were not committed in exactly the same way did not preclude cross-admissibility. The motion to suppress evidence seized from appellant's house, car, and business was properly denied. Appellant was stopped by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for driving on the shoulder of the road. The detention was not unduly prolonged, given that the…

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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: U.S. v. Sauza-Martinez
Case #: 98-50770
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/06/2000
Subsequent History: None

Appellant was denied a fair trial by the admission, without a limiting instruction, of incriminating post-arrest statements made by his codefendant. Although Sauza forfeited the issue by not raising it and requesting a limiting instruction at trial, review is available for plain error. Because the codefendant was available, explicitly denied having made the statements in question, and provided testimony that was favorable to Sauza's defense, there was no denial of Sauza's rights. However, because the codefendant's statements were admissible, the trial court was then obligated to give the jury a limiting instruction so that there would be no…

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Name: People v. Catlin
Case #: S016718
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/16/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. on 9/26/01; rehg. den. on 9/26/01

Appellant was not denied due process of law because there was a nine-year delay between the murder of his fourth wife and the prosecution. The delay was justified because there was insufficient evidence that appellant had poisoned his wife with paraquat until the similar poisoning of his mother occurred. Further, the justification for the delay far outweighed the weak showing of prejudice caused to appellant. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search. Since the search in question was consensual, the motion would have been meritless. Counsel was not ineffective for failing…

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Name: People v. Cunningham
Case #: S010856
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/21/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. on 8/15/01 without chg in jmt; Rehg. den. on 8/15/01

The trial court did not err in denying appellant's challenges of jurors for cause. Appellant did not demonstrate that his right to a fair and impartial trial was affected by the court's rulings, since he used his peremptory challenges to excuse the prospective jurors in question, and he did not exercise all of his peremptory challenges. In a capital trial, the trial court did not err when it failed to sever a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm from the capital murder charge. The jury did not learn of the nature of appellant's prior…

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Name: Calderon v. Superior Court
Case #: B143933
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/09/2001
Subsequent History: None

Petitioner and a codefendant were charged with attempted murder. In a separate criminal proceeding, the codefendant and another person were charged with another murder. The trial court granted a motion to consolidate the cases, so that the charges against petitioner were to be tried with all the charges against the codefendant. Here, the appellate court granted a writ reversing the granting of the motion to consolidate. First, almost none of the evidence concerning the separate episode was admissible against Calderon, and the jurors would have had to have been "remarkable" to avoid improperly allocating responsibility for…

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