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Archive for August, 2014

Attempted criminal threats requires showing the threat was sufficient to cause a reasonable person to be in sustained fear

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Attempted criminal threats requires showing the threat was sufficient to cause a reasonable person to be in sustained fear

 

People v. Chandler

S207542

“Penal Code section 422, subdivision (a) prohibits ‘willfully threaten[ing] to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement . . . is to be taken as a threat . . . which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety.’ We granted review to determine whether a defendant who utters words to a victim with a subjective intent to threaten may be convicted of an attempt to violate Penal Code section 422 without proof that the intended threat under the circumstances was sufficient to cause a reasonable person to be in sustained fear. For the reasons below, we hold that the crime of attempted criminal threat requires not only proof of a subjective intent to threaten but also proof that the intended threat under the circumstances was sufficient to cause a reasonable person to be in sustained fear.”

 

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S207542.PDF

Coming tomorrow

August 27, 2014 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes will issue the following case tomorrow:

 

PEOPLE v. CHANDLER (BEN), JR.

S207542 (E054154; Riverside County Superior Court – SWF027980)

Argued in Los Angeles 6-04-14

 

This case presents the following issue: Did the trial court err by failing to instruct the jury that the crime of attempting to make a criminal threat — like the completed crime of making a criminal threat (Pen. Code, § 422) — requires that it be reasonable under the circumstances for the victim to have been in sustained fear?

Death penalty affirmed

August 25, 2014 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes affirmed another death penalty case

 

People v. Bryant et al.

S049596

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S049596.PDF

Coming Monday

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes

 

PEOPLE v. BRYANT (STANLEY), SMITH (DONALD FRANKLIN) AND WHEELER (LEROY)

S049596 (Los Angeles County Superior Court – A711739)

Argued in San Francisco 5-28-14

 

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

Death penalty affirmed

August 21, 2014 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes upheld a death penalty, in a 231-page opinion.

People v. Lucas

S012279

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S012279.PDF

Coming tomorrow

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Coming tomorrow:

 

PEOPLE v. LUCAS (DAVID ALLEN)

S012279 (San Diego County Superior Court – CR 73093/CR 75195)

Argued in San Francisco 5-29-14

 

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

Cal. Supremes reverse Court of Appeal’s order reversing SVP finding

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Cal. Supremes reverse Court of Appeal’s order reversing SVP finding

People v. Shazier

S208398

 

We granted the People’s petition for review after the Court of Appeal overturned, for the second time, a jury’s finding that defendant Dariel Shazier must be committed for secure confinement and treatment as a sexually violent predator (SVP) under the sexually violent predators act (SVPA; Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.). As the instant jury heard, defendant has served two separate prison terms for sex crimes, some forcible, against 13- to 17-year-old boys. Each time he was released on parole from the first sentence, with prohibitions against contact with minors, he soon violated those conditions and committed new offenses against members of the same target group. These acts resulted in several revocations of parole and, ultimately, in new convictions and imprisonment.

The instant jury also heard two expert witnesses opine defendant has a diagnosed mental disorder that impairs his volitional or emotional control and poses a danger to the health and safety of others by making it likely he will commit new predatory violent sex offenses unless securely confined and treated. A defense expert disagreed, asserting that defendant’s persistent sexual misconduct against postpubescent minors was merely criminal behavior and did not evidence a mental disorder as required for commitment under the SVPA.

There have been three trials on the petition to commit defendant as an SVP. The first trial resulted in a hung jury. A second jury found defendant met the criteria for commitment, but the Court of Appeal reversed because it found the prosecutor’s violation of an in limine order to be prejudicial. We granted review and held the case for another matter then pending before us, but we ultimately dismissed review, thus reinstating the Court of Appeal’s judgment. After a third jury trial, and a second SVP finding, the same Court of Appeal panel has again reversed, concluding that defendant suffered cumulative prejudice from multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct.

We conclude the Court of Appeal erred in reversing the trial court judgment on these grounds. We identify one clear instance of misconduct, and one other instance of arguable misconduct. However, there is no reasonable probability these incidents, either singly or in combination, affected the outcome, nor did they render the trial fundamentally unfair. We will therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal’s ruling caused it to stop short of considering several additional claims raised by defendant. We will therefore remand the matter to that court for consideration of these additional issues.

 

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S208398.PDF