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Archive for May, 2015

Coming Monday

May 29, 2015 Comments off

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes:

 

PEOPLE v. CHARLES III (EDWARD)

S076337 (Orange County Superior Court – 94NF2611)

Argued in Los Angeles 4-08-15

 

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

 

 

STATE DEPARTMENT OF STATE HOSPITALS et al. v. S.C. (ELAINA NOVOA)

S215132 (B248603; Los Angeles County Superior Court – BC487936)

Argued in San Francisco 3-03-15

 

This case presents the following issues: (1) Did the state comply with the requirement of the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) that it conduct a “full evaluation” of an inmate potentially qualifying as a “sexually violent predator” prior to the inmate’s release? (2) Did the Court of Appeal err in finding that, as a matter of law, plaintiff could not establish that defendants’ actions were a proximate cause of her injuries?

Prior murder conviction invalided because of double jeopardy; 2nd degree murder conviction reversed because of two prior dismissals; penalty reversed because of the invalidation of the multiple murder special circumstance

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Prior murder conviction invalided because of double jeopardy; 2nd degree murder conviction reversed because of two prior dismissals; penalty reversed because of the invalidation of the multiple murder special circumstance

People v. Trujeque

S083594

Turning to the substance of this claim, it is clear that based on Breed’s retroactive application, defendant’s 1971 second degree murder conviction was obtained in violation of the double jeopardy clause. (U.S. Const., 5th, 14th Amends.; Cal. Const., art. I, § 15.) Defendant was placed once in jeopardy at the adjudicatory juvenile hearing before the referee, and once again, when he was prosecuted for the same offense in adult court where he pleaded guilty. (Breed, supra, 421 U.S. at p. 541 [“We hold that the prosecution of respondent in Superior Court, after an adjudicatory proceeding in Juvenile Court, violated the Double Jeopardy Clause . . . .”].) Because the prior conviction’s constitutional deficiency is apparent from the record, thus making it unnecessary for us to remand for a hearing, we must set aside this special-circumstance finding (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(2)). (See Horton, supra, 11 Cal.4th at pp. 1139-1140 [declining to remand for new hearing on motion to strike prior conviction].)

We therefore construe section 1387.1 as not applying retroactively to revive prosecutions that were barred by section 1387 when it was enacted. As a result, the 1998 refiling of the Apodaca murder charge was improper.

Given that defendant was improperly charged and subsequently convicted of Apodaca’s murder, we must reverse the judgment of conviction for second degree murder, set aside the jury’s true finding regarding the multiple murder special circumstance, and, finally, reverse the judgment of death.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S083594.PDF

Defendant is estopped from challenging restitution order made after probation expired

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Defendant is estopped from challenging restitution order made after probation expired

People v. Ford

S212940

Defendant William J. Ford appeals from an order awarding victim restitution. He contends that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to conduct the April 6, 2012, hearing prescribing the amount of restitution he owed because his term of probation — including the condition of restitution — had expired one week earlier. For support, defendant relies on Penal Code section 1203.3, subdivision (b)(5), which provides that “[n]othing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the court from modifying the dollar amount of a restitution order pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1202.4 at any time during the term of the probation.” (Italics added.) The People maintain that the trial court retained jurisdiction to award full restitution in the amount of the victim’s loss, even after the term of probation expired. They rely on Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f), which requires the court to “order full restitution unless it finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so and states them on the record,” and on Penal Code section 1202.46, which provides that “when the economic losses of a victim cannot be ascertained at the time of sentencing pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1202.4, the court shall retain jurisdiction over a person subject to a restitution order for purposes of imposing or modifying restitution until such time as the losses may be determined.”

We need not decide whether a trial court retains jurisdiction to modify the amount of restitution once a defendant’s term of probation has expired. So long as a court has subject matter jurisdiction — and both parties agree the trial court had it here — then a party seeking or consenting to action beyond the court’s power may be estopped from complaining that the resulting action exceeds a court’s jurisdiction. (Simmons v. Ghaderi (2008) 44 Cal.4th 570, 584.) By agreeing to a continuance of the restitution hearing to a date after his probationary term expired, defendant implied his consent to the court’s continued exercise of jurisdiction. He is therefore estopped from challenging it. For this reason, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S212940.PDF

Coming tomorrow

May 27, 2015 Comments off

Coming tomorrow at 10 from the Cal. Supremes:

 

PEOPLE v. FORD (WILLIAM)

S212940 (A135733; Sonoma County Superior Court – SCR-530837)

Argued in Los Angeles 4-07-15

 

This case presents the following issue: Did the trial court have jurisdiction to award restitution to the victim although defendant’s probationary term had expired nine days earlier?

 

PEOPLE v. TRUJEQUE (TOMMY ADRIAN)

S083594 (Los Angeles County Superior Court – VA048531)

Argued in San Francisco 3-03-15

 

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

No cases Monday

May 22, 2015 Comments off

Since Monday is a holiday and the court hasn’t issued any submission notices, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that there will be no new cases from the Cal. Supremes on Monday.

No opinions today

May 21, 2015 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes will issue no new opinions today.

Minor is presumed competent; but court can’t reject expert’s opinion that the minor is incompetent

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Minor is presumed competent; but court can’t reject expert’s opinion that the minor is incompetent

In re R. V.

S212346

“A minor who is the subject of a wardship petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 601 or 602 has, like an adult facing criminal prosecution, a due process right not to be tried while mentally incompetent. Section 709 establishes procedures for juvenile courts to follow so as to ensure that minors are not subject to adjudication while their competency is impaired.

“We decide two issues in this case; first, whether under section 709 a minor is presumed competent and bears the burden of proving otherwise by a preponderance of the evidence and, second, what is the proper standard for reviewing on appeal a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the juvenile court’s determination that the minor was competent to proceed.

“Section 709 is silent regarding the presumption of competency and allocation of the burden of proof, but we find that the most straightforward reading of the statute’s text is that the provision contains an implied presumption of competency. This understanding of section 709 is further supported by the legislative materials surrounding that statute’s enactment, which show that lawmakers intended the juvenile courts to continue to apply to minors the adult competency scheme’s presumption of competency and allocation of the burden of proof to the party claiming incompetency.

“We conclude furthermore that, like a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the verdict in an adult competency proceeding, a claim of insufficient evidence to support a juvenile court’s determination in a competency proceeding is reviewed deferentially under the substantial evidence test. In the present matter, the evidence before the juvenile court consisted solely of the court-appointed expert’s report and testimony, and the materials on which the expert based his opinion, that 16-year-old R.V. was incompetent to stand trial. In these circumstances, we review the juvenile court’s determination by asking whether the weight and character of that evidence is such that the juvenile court could not reasonably have rejected it.

“Having viewed the evidence presented in the case in the light most favorable to the juvenile court’s determination of competency, as we must, we nonetheless conclude that the court could not reasonably have rejected the qualified expert’s compelling, well-supported, and unequivocal opinion that minor was not competent to proceed to trial.

“The Court of Appeal concluded, to the contrary, that the juvenile court’s reasons for declining to accept the expert’s opinion were supported by substantial evidence in the record, and upheld the judgment below. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal’s judgment is reversed.”

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S212346.PDF