Skip to content
Name: Dubrin v. California
Case #: 10-56548
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/20/2013

Where defendant was denied a full and fair hearing on his challenge to the validity of a strike prior, he may challenge an enhanced sentence for a later offense on the ground the prior conviction was unconstitutionally obtained. When he pled guilty to criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422) in 2000, Dubrin was assured by the trial court and prosecutor that the offense would not count as a strike. However, Proposition 21, which was approved by voters the day before Dubrin's plea, added a section 422 offense as a strike and there were no issues of retroactivity. (People v. Ringo

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Stuckey
Case #: C057782
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/09/2009

A defendant has no statutory right to appointment of an expert for a sentencing hearing and any constitutional right that may exist is qualified. Appellant was on probation in two cases for drug offenses when he was arrested for and pled guilty to a new drug offense. Prior to sentencing, defense counsel filed a motion for appointment of an expert, a psychotherapist and a drug treatment evaluator, to assist the defense in procuring alternative options to a prison sentence. The court denied the motion, indicating an expert was not necessary. The appellate court rejected appellant's argument that…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Lozano
Case #: B189649
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 05/18/2007
Subsequent History: rev. granted 7/25/07, S153733

Blakely error is not "structural" but is subject to the harmless beyond a reasonable doubt standard. (Washington v. Recuenco (2006) 548 U.S. ___ [126 S.Ct. 2546].) Here the jury found appellant guilty of a vandalism where the evidence established a significant amount of loss and other acts of malice that the judge then relied on to justify the upper term. None of the facts were contested. The appellate court found that no reasonable jury would fail to find that these malicious acts had occurred and that they were sufficient to justify the upper…

View Full Summary
Name: United States v. Albino
Case #: 05-10146
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/08/2005

An offender's statutory-minimum ten-year term for growing marijuana was not unconstitutional. The defendant argued the federal statute which classifies 1,000 or more marijuana plants, regardless of weight, as being equal to 1,000 or more kilograms of harvested marijuana for purposes of the ten-year minimum term violates the Fifth and Eighth Amendments. The Ninth Circuit panel disagreed, noting that prior caselaw holds that there is no Fifth Amendment requirement that the penalty for an offense involving one marijuana plant be equal to the penalty for an offense involving the quantity of dried marijuana that the plant would yield.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Ornelas
Case #: B181829
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/28/2005

At Ornelas's sentencing following a plea of no contest to assault with a deadly weapon, the trial court failed to inquire whether Ornelas had any legal cause to show why judgment should not be pronounced against him (Penal Code section 1200). Neither Ornelas nor counsel either objected to the sentence or requested to present mitigating evidence. On appeal, he contended that he was denied his statutory right to allocution pursuant to section 1200. The appellate court rejected his argument and affirmed. Lack of compliance with section 1200 is harmless error when a defendant is represented by…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Hill
Case #: B176701
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 08/09/2005

Appellant was charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter of two police officers, after firing a gun in the direction of the officers' vehicle. Prior to trial, appellant filed a Pitchess motion seeking discovery of police records of the officers. The motion was supported by a declaration by defense counsel describing the shootings and characterizing the police report as false, and denying appellant's involvement in the shootings. Appellant contended on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his Pitchess motion without conducting an in-camera review of the officers' personnel files. The appellate court held that the trial…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Tanner
Case #: D043571
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/10/2005

Revocation of defendant’s Proposition 36 probation was premature because the prosecution had failed to make three separate formally noticed petitions before revoking his probation solely for drug-related reasons. The court here counted the number of violations admitted rather than the number of formal revocation proceedings. The People conceded on appeal that this was error, but argued that the court had also found defendant to be unamenable to treatment, and that furthermore, the procedural issue was waived by defendant’s failure to object. The Court of Appeal disagreed, noting that the court had failed to reach the amenability issue…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Palacios
Case #: D042461
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/02/2005
Subsequent History: 5/11/05 rev. granted: S132144

A trial court erred in imposing multiple enhancements for discharging a firearm where there was only one shot fired at a single victim. After concluding that substantial evidence supported the defendant’s convictions for attempted murder, kidnapping for robbery, and kidnapping for carjacking, as well as the finding that he had discharged a firearm in the commission of those crimes, the court held that section 654 did not preclude multiple punishment for kidnapping the same victim for robbery and for carjacking, since the evidence showed separate objectives for those two crimes. However, separate punishment for the same acts in regard…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Emerson
Case #: C045613
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/18/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 2/23/05: S130065

The court properly sentenced appellant to the upper term where he had nine prior convictions for driving while intoxicated. The court rejected a Blakely v. Washington (2004) 159 L.Ed.2d 403 challenge to the upper term sentence, finding that the Supreme Court has preserved the exception for prior convictions under Almendarez-Torres v. United States (1998) 523 U.S. 224. Thus, the court properly relied on defendant’s prior convictions in imposing sentence. To the extent that the court might have erred in considering defendant’s prior prison term and performance on parole, the Court of Appeal found the error harmless beyond…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Dalby
Case #: C041880
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/02/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 2/16/05: S129810

Where a defendant is charged with both continuous sexual abuse of a child as well as individual molestation offenses, the jury is not required to determine which of the alternative convictions should stand. After the jury returned a verdict convicting the defendant of violations of Penal Code section 288.5, subdivision (a), as well as individual violations of sections 269 and 288a, the trial court reversed the convictions of three counts of continuous sexual abuse. On appeal, appellant argued that under Blakely v. Washington (2004) 159 L.Ed.2d 403, the jury rather than the judge should have made the determination as to…

View Full Summary