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Name: People v. Stringer
Case #: D073877
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/07/2019

Jury instruction for aggravated kidnapping prejudicially allowed conviction under the legally invalid theory that defendant kidnapped to exact money or something valuable from the kidnap victim. A jury convicted Stringer of aggravated kidnapping (Pen. Code, § 209, subd. (a)) and other offenses. On appeal, Stringer argued the jury instructions given as to aggravated kidnapping permitted the jury to find him guilty of the offenses on a legally invalid basis. Held: Aggravated kidnapping convictions reversed. Section 209, subdivision (a) describes four types of aggravated kidnapping: (1) for ransom; (2) for reward; (3) to commit extortion; and (4) to exact from another…

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Name: People v. Ruffin
Case #: B270940
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/06/2017

Although the defendant asked to represent himself and signed a Faretta waiver form, the trial court failed to ensure that defendant's waiver of right to counsel was knowing and voluntary. Ruffin was charged with corporal injury to a cohabitant (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a)) and assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(4)). Strike priors (Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (d)) and two prior prison terms (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)) were alleged. When the master calendar court agreed to a continue Ruffin's trial because his attorney was busy…

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Name: People v. Parrott
Case #: A146642
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/04/2017

Although record did not establish that defendant properly invoked his right to self-representation, the fact he was not represented by counsel at sentencing was harmless error given the negotiated disposition. Parrott entered guilty pleas in two cases charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm (Pen. Code, § 29800, subd. (a)) and enhancements. It was agree he would serve five years in state prison. At the time of sentencing Parrott's attorney could not be located. The trial court provided Parrott with a copy of the probation report and offered to continue sentencing so he could review it.…

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Name: People v. Bush
Case #: A140589
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 01/11/2017

A trial court is not required to advise a defendant of all possible penal consequences of his offense in order to obtain a valid pretrial waiver of right to counsel. Bush, who represented himself at trial, was found guilty of receiving and illegally acquiring proceeds derived from a controlled substance offense (Health & Saf. Code, § 11370.9, subd. (a)) and driving with a suspended license (Veh. Code, § 14601.1, subd. (a)). On appeal he argued his pretrial Faretta waiver (Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806) was defective for lack of proper admonitions. Held: Affirmed. A criminal defendant has a…

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Name: People v. Shiga
Case #: B256009
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 11/29/2016

Defendant's arson conviction reversed where the trial court was unaware of its discretion to deny a "gray area" defendant's Faretta motion. Shiga set fire to a Catholic church and was charged with arson (Pen. Code, § 451.5, subd. (a)) and other offenses. Prior to trial three doctors evaluated his competence to stand trial. Two of the doctors found him competent while the third found him incompetent. After Shiga and his attorney disagreed about advancing a mental health defense, Shiga asked to represent himself. The prosecutor urged the trial court to conduct a separate evaluation of Shiga's mental competency to represent…

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Name: People v. Ramos
Case #: B248512
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 11/21/2016

Self-represented defendant's constitutional right to counsel was violated when the trial court removed him from the courtroom during trial without appointing standby counsel to represent him. While on trial for making criminal threats and other offenses, Ramos elected to represent himself. Prior to opening statements the trial court excluded Ramos from the courtroom due to his disruptive behavior. No standby counsel was appointed to represent him during the prosecution's opening statements and direct examination of Garcia, the alleged victim of the threats. Ramos was then permitted to return to the courtroom and cross-examine the witness. He was found guilty and…

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Name: People v. Debouver
Case #: B262455
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 07/27/2016

Defendant who broke into secure subterranean garage of apartment building, where he was confronted by the apartment manager, committed first degree burglary with person present. A jury convicted defendant of first degree burglary (Pen. Code, § 459) with a "person present" finding (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (c)(21)), rendering the offense a violent felony. The trial court found alleged priors true and sentenced defendant to prison. On appeal defendant challenged the "person present" finding as to the burglary. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (c)(21) includes in the list of violent felonies any first degree burglary where it is…

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Name: People v. Fedalizo
Case #: B263029
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 03/30/2016

Defendant failed to demonstrate that he was denied his right to self-representation during Proposition 47 proceedings. Fedalizo represented himself in two cases: an initial case in which he pleaded no contest to second degree burglary, receiving stolen property, and other charges, and a second case for counterfeiting a seal (Pen. Code, § 472), which was committed while he was on probation in the first case. He admitted violating his probation and was sentenced in both cases. After the passage of Proposition 47, he petitioned to have the offenses reduced to misdemeanors. The motion was denied as to the counterfeiting case,…

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Name: People v. Miranda
Case #: B256806
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 05/13/2015

Defendant's waiver of right to counsel was voluntary, despite his later claims of mental health problems, because the record did not reflect that he was unable to represent himself without the help of counsel. Miranda was charged with making criminal threats and resisting an officer. When his public defender informed the court she needed additional time to prepare, Miranda asked to represent himself. The court granted his request, although standby counsel was present during the trial. He was convicted. On appeal, he claimed the trial court erred in allowing the self-representation and by not reconsidering that decision after witnesses testified…

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Name: People v. Jackio
Case #: C074019
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/30/2015

For a waiver of the right to counsel to be knowing and voluntary, the trial court does not need to warn a defendant about the full range of sentencing possibilities; it need only warn him about the maximum penalty. Jackio was charged with first degree burglary, attempted first degree robbery, and a number of other offenses and enhancements. He asked to represent himself. The trial court warned Jackio of the dangers of self-representation, including the possibility that he faced "life in prison" if convicted. Jackio signed a Faretta waiver form which provided a similar advisement. The jury convicted him of…

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