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Archive for July, 2012

Trial court may tell jury that charged offenses, not merely uncharged offenses, may show propensity to commit sex crimes

July 30, 2012 Comments off

Trial court may tell jury that charged offenses, not merely uncharged offenses, may show propensity to commit sex crimes

People v. Villatoro:

In short, we conclude nothing in the language of section 1108 restricts its application to uncharged offenses.  Indeed, the clear purpose of section 1108 is to permit the jury’s consideration of evidence of a defendant’s propensity to commit sexual offenses. … ”].) ….  In light of this clear purpose, we perceive no reason why the Legislature would exclude charged sexual offenses from section 1108’s purview, and no indication that it did so in either the text of section 1108 or its legislative history.  Whether an offense is charged or uncharged in the current prosecution does not affect in any way its relevance as propensity evidence. 

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S192531.PDF

In proceedings to civilly commit a person as dangerous under WIC 6500, counsel controls whether to have a court trial or a jury trial

July 30, 2012 Comments off

In proceedings to civilly commit a person as dangerous under WIC 6500, counsel controls whether to have a court trial or a jury trial

People v. Barett:

consistent with closely related decisions of this court, and given the mental competence issues addressed in section 6500 proceedings as compared to other commitment scenarios, we conclude it is counsel who must make the tactical decision whether to seek or waive a jury.  To encumber the jury trial right with a collateral requirement that any waiver be personally made by the proposed committee following a formal court advisement would serve no useful purpose in this context.  This approach does not undermine the fairness of the proceedings in a due process sense, or treat dangerous mentally retarded persons differently from those with whom they are aligned for equal protection purposes.  We therefore will affirm the judgment.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S180612.PDF

Another long death penalty affirmance from the Cal. Supremes

July 30, 2012 Comments off

Another long (161 pages) death penalty affirmance from the Cal. Supremes

People v. Tully:

Note Kennard’s concurring opinion (joined by Liu):

here the prosecutor’s reliance on religious authority “emphatically communicated that the Bible supports imposition of the death penalty” (Williams, supra, 49 Cal.4th at p. 466), and “strayed beyond the bounds of permissible argument based upon religion” (ibid.).

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S030402.PDF

Summary of Cases Accepted and Related Actions for Week of July 23, 2012

July 27, 2012 Comments off

Summary of Cases Accepted and Related Actions for Week of July 23, 2012

#12-85 People v. Le, S202921. (D057392; 205 Cal.App.4th 739, mod. 205 Cal.App.4th 1528a; San Diego County Superior Court; SCD212126.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed judgments of conviction of criminal offenses. This case presents the following issue: Does Penal Code section 1170.1, subdivision (f), as interpreted by People v. Rodriguez (2009) 47 Cal.4th 501, preclude a trial court from imposing both a firearm use enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.5, subdivision (a), and a gang enhancement under Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1)(B), when the offense is a serious felony as a matter of law?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ws072312.pdf

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes

July 27, 2012 Comments off

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes:

PEOPLE v. BARRETT (CHRISTINE)

S180612 (H034154; Santa Clara County Superior Court – MH034663)

Argued in San Francisco 5-01-12

This case presents the following issue:  Do principles of due process or equal protection require the trial court to affirmatively advise a person facing commitment under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6500 of his or her right to a jury trial and, if so, to obtain an express waiver of that right on the record?

PEOPLE v. TULLY (RICHARD CHRISTOPHER)

S030402 (Alameda County Superior Court – H97978)

Argued in San Francisco 5-02-12

The matter is an automatic appeal from a judgment of death.

PEOPLE v. VILLATORO (JUAN JOSE)

S192531 (B222214; Los Angeles County Superior Court – BA339453)

Argued in San Francisco 5-02-12

The court limited review to the following issue:  Was the modification of CALJIC No. 1191, which told the jurors they could consider evidence of a charged offense in determining defendant’s propensity to commit the other charged offenses (see Evid. Code, § 1108), reversible error when the court also informed the jurors that all charged offenses must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/supreme/SF073012.PDF

No cases tomorrow

July 25, 2012 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes have announced that there will be no new cases issued tomorrow (Thursday).

Summary of Cases Accepted and Related Actions for Week of July 16, 2012

July 25, 2012 Comments off

Summary of Cases Accepted and Related Actions for Week of July 16, 2012

#12-83 People v. Wright, S202433. (B228640; 204 Cal.App.4th 1084; Los Angeles County Superior Court; BA358919.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment of conviction of a criminal offense. This case presents the following issues: (1) Did the trial court misapply People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258 and Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79 by granting a prosecution motion claiming the defense was selectively excluding prospective Caucasian jurors when defense counsel, asked his reason for excluding a particular female Caucasian juror, acknowledged that one of his reasons for the challenge was to achieve a more gender-balanced jury? (2) Did
the trial court err by reseating the juror and then refusing to allow the defense to exercise a peremptory challenge after acknowledging that defense counsel had provided a legitimate gender-neutral reason for challenging that particular female Caucasian juror? (3) If the trial court erred by reseating the juror, is that error reversible per se or subject to a harmless error analysis?

#12-84 People v. Borg, S202328. (A129258; 204 Cal.App.4th 1528; San Francisco County Superior Court; 209487.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal modified and affirmed a judgment of conviction of criminal offenses. The court ordered briefing deferred pending finality of People v. Brown (2012) 54 Cal.4th 314.

DISPOSITIONS

Review in the following case was dismissed in light of People v. Mena (2010) 54 Cal.4th 146: #10-34 People v. Pasillas, S179190.

Review in the following cases was dismissed in light of People v. Mesa (2010) 54 Cal.4th 191: #11-19 People v. Duarte, S189174. #11-20 People v. Ballard, S190106. #11-110 People v. Tauch, S194385.

The following case was transferred for reconsideration in light of People v. Mesa (2010) 54 Cal.4th 191: #12-16 People v. Nunes, S198392.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ws071612.pdf