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Name: People v. Foley (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 653
Case #: C097140
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/29/2023

Denial of Penal Code section 1172.6 resentencing petition reversed where defendant was denied his constitutional right to conflict-free representation. Defendant Foley and codefendant Gladden were tried together and convicted of murder under a felony-murder theory. Neither man was the actual killer. In 2019, both petitioned for resentencing under section 1172.6. The trial court issued an OSC. At the consolidated evidentiary hearing, the same attorney represented both Foley and Gladden. Counsel argued that neither defendant nor Gladden were major participants who acted with reckless indifference to human life, but acknowledged that Gladden “certainly [had] the stronger petition.” The court granted Gladden’s…

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Name: Wolf v. Superior Court (San Bernardino)
Case #: E071318
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/13/2019

Defendant who was represented by appointed counsel in the trial court when she moved to withdraw her plea and was subject to incarceration for one day was entitled to appointed counsel in the appellate division of the superior court. Wolf pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense. She was not represented by counsel at the time of the plea. The court placed her on summary probation, ordered her to serve one day in jail in lieu of paying fines, and imposed a criminal protective order. Two weeks later, she moved to withdraw her plea. The public defender's office was…

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Name: People v. Bridgeford
Case #: F068226
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/27/2015

Trial court should have granted defendant's motion to suppress his confession because police did not wait 14 days to reinterrogate him after he invoked his right to counsel. Police detained and questioned Bridgeford because they suspected he was involved in a murder. While in custody, Bridgeford invoked his right to counsel. Questioning ceased and he was released. A few hours later, police arrested Bridgeford and began to question him again. Bridgeford confessed. At trial, he moved to suppress his confession. The trial court denied that motion, relying upon People v. Storm (2002) 28 Cal.4th 1007. The jury convicted him of…

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Name: Joshua P. v. Superior Court (Los Angeles County)
Case #: B253564
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/29/2014

Juvenile court abused its discretion by refusing to allow public defender (PD) to represent a qualified juvenile ward absent a showing that the accused was not indigent or a conflict existed. Joshua was the subject of juvenile delinquency proceedings based on a number of petitions filed over the course of three years. On the first two petitions filed in the Eastlake District, the public defender (PD) declared a conflict and private counsel was appointed. By the time a third petition was filed in Compton, the conflict no longer existed and the PD assumed representation. On the fourth and fifth petitions,…

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Name: Frost v. Boening
Case #: 11-35114
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/24/2014

Trial court's preclusion of inconsistent defenses during closing argument is structural constitutional error requiring reversal. Frost was convicted of five different robberies and given a 55-year prison term. He offered two defenses during opening argument: The prosecution failed to prove his involvement rose to the level of an accomplice and, in any event, his actions were the result of duress. The trial court stated that duress could be raised only after the defendant admitted the elements of the crimes had been proved. It warned the defense not to argue both reasonable doubt and duress in closing. As a result, the…

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Name: People v. Freeman
Case #: B237613
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/15/2013

Where the court determines that an appellant has been deprived of effective assistance by appellate counsel, the court can remove the attorney from the case. Appellant, having been sentenced to a 15-year-to-life term plus a determinate term, was represented on his appeal by retained counsel. Counsel filed opening briefs that did not comply with the Rules of Court because they failed to set forth comprehensible statements, issues presented, and the applicable law. With the first three briefs, counsel was provided the opportunity to file an opening brief that conformed to the Rules. Because the fourth brief also violated the…

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Name: Marshall v. Rodgers
Case #: 12-382
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/01/2013
Subsequent History: 133 S.Ct. 1446; 185 L.Ed.2d 540

California trial court did not violate Sixth Amendment right to counsel by refusing to appoint counsel postconviction for purposes of filing new trial motion. Rodgers was convicted in state court of making criminal threats and firearm offenses. During the state court proceedings he was at several points represented by counsel and at others, self-represented. After a guilty verdict, Rodgers' request for appointment of counsel to file a new trial motion was denied. The state court affirmed his conviction. The Ninth Circuit reversed, finding Rodgers' Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated when his timely request for counsel postconviction was denied.…

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Name: People v. Bauer
Case #: D060346
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/19/2012

A probation revocation/deferred sentencing hearing is not a continuation of the initial criminal proceeding and a defendant must be advised of his right to counsel at the subsequent hearing. Although the United States Supreme Court has declined to establish an inflexible constitutional right to counsel at every revocation hearing, under California law an indigent criminal defendant has a right to appointed counsel at a probation revocation hearing and a constitutional right to counsel at a deferred sentencing hearing, and must be informed of these rights. Here, appellant represented himself when he pled guilty to a violation of Penal Code section…

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Name: Maples v. Thomas
Case #: Oct-63
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/18/2012
Subsequent History: 132 S.Ct.912; 181 L.Ed.2d 807

Lawyers who abandoned their capital habeas client without notice to the court or to the client provided extraordinary cause to grant relief from default. Maples was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1997 in Alabama. Maples' postconviction petition filed in the trial court raised ineffective assistance of trial counsel. He was represented by two pro bono counsel who were associated with a large New York-based law firm. A local Alabama lawyer served only to move for their admission pro hac vice and it was understood that he would only facilitate their appearance with no substantive involvement in…

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Name: McNeal v. Adams
Case #: 08-16472
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/26/2010

A per se reversal for the absence of counsel for purposes of United States v. Cronic (1984) 466 U.S. 648, 658-659 is only available for critical stages. This characterization of a critical stage depends on "(1) whether the failure to pursue strategies or remedies results in a loss of significant rights, (2) whether counsel would be useful in helping the defendant understand the legal issues, and (3) whether the proceeding tests the merits of the defendant's case. [citations] Any one of these factors may be sufficient to make a proceeding a critical stage." McNeal's appointed deputy public defender…

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