On Monday, the Cal. Supremes will issue opinions in the following two cases:
PEOPLE v. BELTRAN (TARE NICHOLAS)
S192644 (A124392; San Francisco City & County Superior Court – 175503, 203443)
Argued in San Francisco 3-05-13
This case presents the following issues: (1) Was the jury misinstructed with former CALCRIM No. 570 on provocation and heat of passion as a basis for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter? (2) Did the prosecutor misstate the applicable law on the subject in argument? (3) Did the trial court accurately respond to a jury question on the subject? (4) If there was error, was defendant prejudiced?
PEOPLE v. BRYANT (AMALIA CATHERINE)
S196365 (D057570; Riverside County Superior Court – SWF014495)
Argued in San Francisco 3-06-13
This case presents the following issue: May voluntary manslaughter be premised on a killing without malice that occurs during commission of an inherently dangerous assaultive felony?
Jurors viewing movie did not require reversal of death verdict
“We assess the effect of out-of-court information upon the jury in the following manner. When juror misconduct involves the receipt of information about a party or the case from extraneous sources, the verdict will be set aside only if there appears a substantial likelihood of juror bias. [Citation.] Such bias may appear in either of two ways: (1) if the extraneous material, judged objectively, is so prejudicial in and of itself that it is inherently and substantially likely to have influenced a juror; or (2) even if the information is not ‘inherently’ prejudicial, if, from the nature of the misconduct and the surrounding circumstances, the court determines that it is substantially likely a juror was ‘actually biased’ against the defendant. If we find a substantial likelihood that a juror was actually biased, we must set aside the verdict, no matter how convinced we might be that an unbiased jury would have reached the same verdict, because a biased adjudicator is one of the few structural trial defects that compel reversal without application of a harmless error standard.”
The “nature of the misconduct and the surrounding circumstances” (People v. Nesler, supra, 16 Cal.4th at p. 579) thus fails to suggest the movie was an important factor in convincing Jurors McClaren and Rennie to change their minds and vote to impose the death penalty. On this record, we conclude petitioner has not demonstrated a “substantial likelihood that one or more jurors were actually biased” against petitioner. (In re Hamilton, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 296.)
After a week of not updating the forthcoming filing link, the Cal. Supremes today announced tomorrow’s case:
IN RE BOYETTE (MAURICE) ON HABEAS CORPUS
Argued in San Francisco 3-05-13
In this case, which is related to the automatic appeal in People v. Boyette (2002) 29 Cal.4th 381, the court issued an order to show cause limited to claims of juror misconduct.
The Supremes affirm a death penalty case:
The Cal. Supremes will not issue any new cases on Monday.
The Cal. Supremes will not issue any criminal cases tomorrow, Thursday.
Reduction of a wobbler to a misdemeanor bars use of that prior conviction as a serious felony enhancement
Reduction of a wobbler to a misdemeanor bars use of that prior conviction as a serious felony enhancement.
“We conclude that when the court in the prior proceeding properly exercised its discretion by reducing the assault with a deadly weapon conviction to a misdemeanor, that offense no longer qualified as a prior serious felony within the meaning of section 667, subdivision (a), and could not be used, under that provision, to enhance defendant’s sentence.”
“when a wobbler has been reduced to a misdemeanor the prior conviction does not constitute a prior felony conviction within the meaning of section 667(a).”