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Name: In re Vaquera (2024) 15 Cal.5th 706
Case #: S258376
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 02/05/2024

Defendant’s 25-year-to-life sentence under the One Strike law violates due process because the information did not provide him fair notice of the prosecution’s election to seek that sentence. The prosecution charged Vaquera with two counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and a jury convicted him of both counts. In connection with one of these counts (count 2), the prosecution alleged a multiple victim circumstance under the One Strike law, which provides for a 15-year-to-life sentence, and the jury found the circumstance true. Although the One Strike law allegation as to count 2…

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Name: People v. Villegas (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 253
Case #: A164370
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/15/2023

Counsel was not ineffective in failing to seek exclusion of defendant’s second statement to police where defendant waived his right to remain silent and then failed to clearly assert this right during questioning before making incriminating statements. Defendant was questioned as to sexual offenses against two alleged victims, waived his Miranda rights, made incriminating statements, and was arrested. Police then learned of a third alleged victim and questioned defendant a second time a couple days later. He waived his Miranda rights a second time and admitted making a “mistake,” but said he would not say anything else. Police detailed the…

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Name: People v. Waqa (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 565
Case #: A163761
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/14/2023

There was insufficient evidence of asportation to support the jury’s aggravated kidnapping finding under the One Strike law where the rape victim was moved from one bathroom stall to another. A jury convicted defendant of forcible rape after he sexually assaulted a woman in a public restroom. Because he moved the victim from the restroom’s small stall to its large stall before raping her, the jury also found true an aggravated kidnapping circumstance under the One Strike law (Pen. Code, § 667.61), requiring a sentence of 25 years to life. Defendant appealed. Held: Sentence modified. Under the One Strike law,…

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Name: People v. Govan (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 1015
Case #: B316245
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/22/2023

It was an abuse of discretion to require a restraint belt without an individualized finding that defendant posed a safety or flight risk or was likely to disrupt the proceeding. A jury found defendant guilty of three counts of false imprisonment by violence; three counts of forcible oral copulation; three counts of forcible rape; and one count of attempted forcible rape. Because of the pandemic, jury selection was held in an unsecured room normally used for jury assembly. Because of this, and the seriousness of the charges, the trial court ordered defendant to be physically restrained by way of a…

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Name: People v. Bolanos
Case #: F082970
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/26/2023

The youthful offender parole scheme under Penal Code section 3051 does not, on its face, violate equal protection. Appellant was 22 years old when he committed various sex crimes for which he was sentenced to serve two LWOP terms and multiple terms of life in prison with parole terms under the One Strike law. He appealed. Held: Remanded for resentencing in unpublished portion. First, appellant contended that the youthful offender parole scheme violated equal protection. A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing to review the parole suitability of any prisoner who was 25 years of age or younger at…

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Name: People v. Johnson (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 487
Case #: A162599
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 02/21/2023

Penal Code section 667.6, subdivision (d), which requires full consecutive sentences on specific sex crimes if the trial court makes certain factual findings, violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. Johnson admitted engaging in sexual conduct with his nine-year-old daughter. After a jury trial, he was convicted of multiple counts, including nine counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and four counts of forcible lewd acts on a child. He was sentenced to 32 years, plus 135 years to life. He appealed, arguing, among other issues, that his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial was…

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