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Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: B305783
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 06/14/2021

The trial court abused its discretion in concealing the names of prospective jurors from counsel, but the error was harmless. Lopez was charged with murder (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a)) and gross vehicular manslaughter (§ 191.5, subd. (a)) for crashing into a parked car while driving under the influence of alcohol and killing the sole occupant. During voir dire, the trial court withheld from the attorneys the names of prospective jurors, identifying them only by their badge number, out of a concern the attorneys or a member of the public or press would obtain additional information about the jurors…

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Name: People v. Lavoie
Case #: E068328
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/03/2018

After jury was discharged and defendant waived his right to a jury trial on his priors, trial court erred by allowing the prosecution to substantially amend the information to change the date, place, and the offense alleged as a strike prior. A jury convicted Lavoie of a number of felony offenses and was discharged. After waiving his right to a jury trial on his prior convictions, Lavoie admitted two strike priors, two prior serious felony enhancements, and two prison priors. While Lavoie was admitting the priors, the trial court permitted the prosecution to amend the alleged prior convictions. The first…

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Name: People v. Hudson
Case #: F074016
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/05/2018

Sentencing court's reliance on the preliminary hearing transcript in finding defendant's prior conviction qualified as a serious felony was impermissible and violated defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. In 2016, after a jury found Hudson guilty of mayhem, the court held a separate trial to determine whether his 1991 conviction for assault under Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1), was a serious felony within the meaning of section 667, subdivisions (a) and (d). To prove that Hudson's conviction was based on a theory involving use of a deadly weapon rather than by means likely to produce great bodily…

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Name: People v. Jones
Case #: B279694
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 08/21/2018

Murder conviction reversed where defendant's waiver of jury trial after bare two-question inquiry was not knowing and voluntary. Jones was convicted of second degree murder and child abuse following the death of her four-month-old daughter. On appeal she argued her waiver of jury trial was involuntary. Held: Reversed. A criminal defendant has a constitutional right to a trial by jury. This right may be waived but the waiver must be knowing and intelligent, that is, made with the awareness of the nature of the right being waived and the consequences of this decision. In determining whether a defendant has made…

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Name: People v. Farwell
Case #: S231009
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/21/2018

When a trial court fails to advise a defendant and take waivers of any of his trial rights before accepting a guilty plea, the Howard totality of the circumstances test applies to determine whether the plea is valid. Farwell was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving with a suspended or revoked license. Prior to trial, he attempted to plead no contest to the misdemeanor charge. The prosecution objected and the court did not accept the change of plea. After defense counsel cross-examined the first witness during trial, the parties entered into a stipulation that established all of the…

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Name: People v. Gallardo
Case #: S231260
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/21/2017

Trial court's use of preliminary hearing transcript to decide that a prior conviction was a serious felony constituted inappropriate judicial factfinding in violation of the Sixth Amendment (disapproving People v. McGee (2006) 38 Cal.4th 682). Defendant was convicted of robbery and other offenses. She waived a jury trial on whether her prior assault conviction was a serious felony under both the Three Strikes law and as an enhancement (Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (a)(1)). The trial court reviewed the preliminary hearing transcript, found testimony regarding defendant's knife use and, based on this factfinding, deemed the prior a serious felony. The…

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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: D068746
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/08/2017

Trial court did not err by awarding noneconomic restitution to victim of continuous sexual abuse (Pen. Code, § 288.5) under section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(F). After his conviction for continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, the trial court imposed $150,000 in noneconomic restitution that the victim had not requested. On appeal, Martinez challenged the restitution award, asserting that the restitution provision that permitted the court to award noneconomic restitution—section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(F)—only applied to victims of section 288 offenses, not section 288.5. Held: Affirmed. Section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(F) provides, in pertinent part, that a victim restitution…

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Name: People v. Eslava
Case #: A142881
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/14/2016

Trial court violated the Sixth Amendment by determining that defendant's prior battery conviction involved "personal infliction of serious bodily injury" and was therefore a serious felony for purposes of the Three Strikes law and a sentencing enhancement. Eslava was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He also admitted a prior 2009 conviction for battery causing serious bodily injury, which was the basis for a number of enhancements. Following a successful appeal, the Court of Appeal remanded for the trial court to determine whether Eslava's prior battery conviction involved "personal infliction of serious bodily injury." The trial court concluded that it did based…

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Name: People v. Selivanov
Case #: B252894
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/17/2016

Trial court committed harmless error in making a determination that embezzled funds were "public funds," as this was a jury question. Defendants, husband and wife, founded a charter school in the Los Angeles school district. During a random audit of the school's finances a number of irregularities surfaced, which led to the prosecution of defendants for embezzlement and other financial crimes. One issue on appeal faulted the trial court for failing to instruct the jury to determine whether the funds embezzled exceeded $950, and whether they were "public funds." (Pen. Code, § 514.) Held: Affirmed. Generally, embezzlement is punished like…

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Name: People v. Deegan
Case #: A143344
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2016

Trial court did not violate Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, 490 by making factual determinations regarding the applicability of Penal Code section 654. When a park ranger and police officer told Deegan, a homeless man, that he could not sleep in Golden Gate Park, Deegan assaulted them with a log, fled, and then evaded and assaulted additional officers who arrived as backup. Deegan was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on the park ranger, assault on a peace officer (Carrasco), and resisting three police officers (including Carrasco). He was sentenced to consecutive terms. On appeal, Deegan…

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