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Name: People v. Coleman (2024) 98 Cal.App.5th 709
Case #: A165198
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/05/2024

Trial counsel’s advice regarding defendant’s manner of speaking while testifying did not indicate racial bias sufficient to support a violation of the Racial Justice Act (RJA). Defendant appealed his conviction of first degree murder, arguing the court should reverse his conviction because his trial counsel exhibited racial bias toward him in violation of the RJA by advising him to “use Ebonics, slang, and to sound ghetto” when he testified. Held: Affirmed. The RJA provides: “The state shall not seek or obtain a criminal conviction or seek, obtain, or impose a sentence on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin.” (§ 745,…

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Name: People v. Simmons (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 323
Case #: B309921
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/12/2023

The prosecutor violated the Racial Justice Act (RJA) during closing argument when she referred to defendant's complexion and “ambiguous ethnic presentation” as reasons to doubt his credibility and defense counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the RJA issue in the trial court. Simmons was convicted of attempted premeditated murder. On appeal, the court addressed an RJA issue that was not raised in the trial court. Held: Reversed and remanded. The parties agreed that the prosecutor violated the RJA when she stated in her rebuttal closing argument that Simmons “bragged about all the women he was able to fool with…

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