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Name: People v. McCray (2023) 98 Cal.App.5th 260
Case #: A166084
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/22/2023

Record failed to show that OMHD defendant validly waived his right to a jury where the trial court did not take any steps to determine if defendant understood his jury right and instead relied on counsel’s perfunctory questioning. Following a bench trial, McCray was recommitted as a violent offender with a mental health disorder (OMHD). On appeal, McCray raised a number of issues, including that the trial court failed to obtain from him a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to a jury. While the appeal was pending, the recommitment at issue expired and McCray was recommitted based on…

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Name: People v. Hall (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 1084
Case #: A165406
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/13/2023

Senate Bill No. 567’s amendments to Penal Code section 1170(b)(1) do not require the prosecution to “plead” aggravating factors that it intends to urge at sentencing. In 2022, defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 years (§ 288(a)). At sentencing, the court found no mitigating factors and seven aggravating factors set forth in California Rules of Court, rule 4.421, and sentenced defendant to 10 years in prison, which included the upper term on one of the two counts. On appeal, defendant argued the aggravating factors found…

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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. 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. Blancett
Case #: B277433
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/11/2017

Defendant's waiver of right to a jury trial in Mentally Disordered Offender (MDO) commitment proceedings was not knowing and voluntary, warranting reversal. In 2016, the Board of Parole Hearings determined defendant met the MDO criteria under Penal Code section 2962. Prior to the hearing on defendant's petition challenging the determination, the court appointed counsel, who immediately requested a court trial. The trial court asked defendant if he was "okay with having a judge decide [his] case and not a jury." Defendant replied, "Yes." Following a bench trial, the court determined defendant met the MDO criteria and had him committed to…

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Name: People v. Doyle
Case #: E064557
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/10/2016

Defendant's jury trial waiver was sufficient despite the fact that he was not specifically advised that he had the right to a jury comprised of 12 jurors who must make a unanimous decision as to his guilt. Doyle was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and other offenses after a court trial. He appealed, arguing that he was not fully advised of his constitutional right to a trial by 12 jurors prior to waiving his right to a jury trial. While the court asked him whether he had discussed his right to a jury trial with counsel and whether he waived…

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Name: People v. Cruz
Case #: F069940
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/31/2016

Trial court committed structural error by instructing jury that if it found by a preponderance that defendant committed one charged sex offense it could infer he had the propensity to commit the others. During Cruz's trial for committing a number of sex offenses against three different minors, the court instructed the jury that it could find charged offenses true by a preponderance of the evidence and then use those findings to infer that Cruz had a disposition to commit the other charged offenses. The jury convicted him and he appealed. Held: Reversed. Evidence Code section 1108 allows admission of evidence…

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Name: People v. Blackburn
Case #: S211078
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/17/2015

In proceedings to extend the involuntary commitment of a mentally disordered offender (MDO), the trial court must advise the defendant of his right to a jury trial and obtain the defendant's personal waiver of that right before holding a bench trial, unless the defendant lacks the capacity to make to make a knowing and voluntary waiver. After he was convicted of criminal offenses, Blackburn was declared an MDO and his commitment was extended twice. When the District Attorney filed a third petition to extend his commitment, Blackburn opposed the extension and wanted a trial. Without advising Blackburn of his right…

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Name: People v. Tran
Case #: S211329
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/17/2015

In proceedings to extend the involuntary commitment of a person found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI), the trial court must advise the NGI defendant of his right to a jury trial and obtain a personal waiver before holding a bench trial, unless the defendant lacks the capacity to make a knowing and voluntary waiver. The District Attorney filed a petition to extend Tran's NGI commitment a fourth time. Tran's counsel requested a bench trial and the prosecutor agreed. After the trial, the court sustained the petition and extended Tran's NGI commitment. Tran appealed. The Court of Appeal held…

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Name: People v. Cross
Case #: S212157
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/18/2015

Before accepting defendant's stipulation that he suffered a prior felony spousal battery conviction, trial court was required to give Boykin-Tahl warnings and apprise defendant of the penal consequences of his admission. A jury convicted Cross of spousal battery (Pen. Code, § 273.5) with a prior spousal battery. During trial his attorney stipulated to the prior, within the meaning of former subdivision (e) (now subdivision (f)) of section 273.5. This prior resulted in Cross being sentenced under the increased punishment triad for the substantive offense. On appeal Cross asserted his rights were violated when the trial court accepted the stipulation without…

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