caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

The superior court had the legal authority to grant a habeas petition challenging a 2005 sentence following a plea bargain. (874) (940)
In 2017, defendant filed a habeas corpus petition in the superior court challenging his sentence following a plea bargain in 2005. He did not need a certificate of probable cause to challenge the sentencing order since he was proceeding by way of a writ rather than an appeal. Moreover, the issue could be addressed by the court since it involved an unauthorized sentence. Finally, the court was authorized to reconsider the sentence following notification by the CDCR that it may been illegal.
People v. Allison ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 8657 (1st Dist. 2019) September 05, 2019 (A153527)
The prosecutor committed misconduct during the SVP proceedings by telling defendant he could be charged with perjury if he testified at the trial. (630)
Defendant was a sexually violent predator receiving treatment in a state hospital, who challenged the court’s order denying his petition to be placed in the conditional release program known as CONREP. He was denied a fair trial on the issue because the prosecutor suggested that if defendant testified he could face perjury charges. This was unfair and served to intimidate the defendant who then chose not to testify. The court then added to the error by refusing to admit defendant’s “release plan” into evidence.
People v. Force ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 8471 (4th Dist. 2019) August 29, 2019 (G055482)
Trial court’s finding that defendant was eligible for resentencing under Prop 36 was not appealable by the prosecution. (880)
The prosecution appealed the trial court’s finding that defendant was eligible for resentencing under the Three Strikes Reform Act. However, the eligibility determination did not affect the substantial rights of the People by altering the underlying judgment, its enforcement or the defendant’s relationship to it. The order was thus not appealable under Penal Code section 1238, subd.(a)(5).
People v. Montellano ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 8210 (2nd Dist. 2019) August 26, 2019 (B292044)
Chapman harmless error test applies where the jury is provided with one erroneous legal theory. (780) (900)
Defendant was charged with assault with a deadly weapon - a box cutter, which is not inherently deadly but can be used in a way that makes it a deadly weapon. The trial court erred by permitting the jury to consider whether the box cutter was a deadly weapon under two theories (inherently deadly or used in a deadly manner) since the former theory was erroneous. The error should be reviewed on appeal under the Chapman test that applies to federal constitutional error.
People v. Aldemat ____ Cal.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 8138 (2019) August 26, 2019 (S248105)
Evidence that defendant touched the victims “two or three times” was insufficient to support three convictions. (170)
Defendant was convicted of three counts each of lewd conduct involving two victims. The victims testified that they were touched “two or there times” and “two to three times.” Evidence supported only two convictions as to each victim.
People v. Cadena ____ Cal.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 8020 (2019) August 21, 2019 (B271516)
Trial court erred in refusing to grant the 995 motion where the preliminary hearing did not begin within 60 days of the arraignment. (588)
The trial court erred in denying defendant’s Penal Code section 995 motion to set aside the information given the prosecution’s failure to begin defendant’s preliminary hearing within 60 days of his arraignment. There is no good cause exception to the 60-day rule, and defendant’s transfer to a facility for a mental health evaluation did not toll defendant’s speedy trial rights under section 8596.
Castillo v. Superior Court ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 7970 (1st Dist. 2019) August 21, 2019 (A157306)