Archive

Archive for October, 2012

No opinions tomorrow

October 31, 2012 Comments off

No new opinions from the Cal. Supremes tomorrow.

Advertisements

No opinions tomorrow

October 24, 2012 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes have announced that they will not issue any opinions tomorrow, Thursday.

No new opinions Monday

October 19, 2012 Comments off

The Supremes will not issue any new opinions Monday.

It was error to instruct a jury during the guilt phase, where the defendant plead NGI, that the defendant was conclusively presumed sane.

October 18, 2012 Comments off

It was error to instruct a jury during the guilt phase, where the defendant plead NGI,  that the defendant was conclusively presumed sane.

People v. Mills

In this case defendant was charged with murder, pled not guilty, and also raised an insanity defense.  At the guilt phase trial, the prosecutor requested a jury instruction that defendant was conclusively presumed to have been sane at the time of the offense.  Defendant objected that the instruction might lead the jury to disregard the evidence of his mental illness and its effect on the intent required for murder.  The court overruled the objection, gave the instruction on the presumption of sanity, and refused defendant’s request for an instruction on the legal definition of sanity.

We conclude that although defendant establishes no due process violation, the instruction was erroneous under state law.  The question of a defendant’s sanity is entirely irrelevant at the guilt phase of a bifurcated trial under section 1026.  Therefore, no instruction on the subject should be given.  However, the error was harmless in this case.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S191934.PDF

Coming tomorrow from the Cal. Supremes

October 17, 2012 Comments off

Coming tomorrow from the Cal.  Supremes:

PEOPLE v. MILLS (AHKIN RAYMOND)

S191934 (A125969; Alameda County Superior Court – C154217)

Argued in San Francisco 9-05-12

Did the trial court err by instructing the jury to accept a conclusive presumption that defendant was legally sane for purposes of the guilt phase of the trial?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/supreme/SF101812.PDF

Admission of hearsay here was harmless error

October 15, 2012 Comments off

Admission of hearsay here was harmless error

People v. Rutterschmidt

As relevant here, the prosecution’s theory was that one of the two victims (McDavid) had been drugged before he was killed.  To prove this point, the prosecution presented the testimony of a laboratory director who, relying on reports not prepared by him, testified that testing of the victim’s blood samples by analysts at his laboratory had determined the presence of drugs that could have caused drowsiness.  According to defendant Golay, that testimony violated her Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine the analysts who had tested the blood samples.  Because any error was harmless, we uphold the Court of Appeal’s decision affirming the judgment of conviction.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S177046.PDF

Hearsay of autopsy report description of observations are not testimonial because they aren’t formal; admission of them doesn’t violate confrontation

October 15, 2012 Comments off

Hearsay of autopsy report description of observations are not testimonial because they aren’t formal; admission of them doesn’t violate confrontation

People v. Dungo

An autopsy report typically contains two types of statements:  (1) statements describing the pathologist’s anatomical and physiological observations about the condition of the body, and (2) statements setting forth the pathologist’s conclusions as to the cause of the victim’s death.  The out-of-court statements at issue here — pathologist Bolduc’s observations about the condition of victim Pina’s body — all fall into the first of the two categories.  These statements, which merely record objective facts, are less formal than statements setting forth a pathologist’s expert conclusions.  They are comparable to observations of objective fact in a report by a physician who, after examining a patient, diagnoses a particular injury or ailment and determines the appropriate treatment.  Such observations are not testimonial in nature.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S176886.PDF