caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

The trial court erred by finding felony embezzlement under Penal Code section 503 was not subject to Prop 47 relief. (105)
The trial court erred by denying defendant’s petition to redesignate his felony embezzlement conviction to a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 1170.18.
People v. Warmington ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 10047 (3rd Dist. 2017) October 17, 2017 (C082566)
Minor’s Miranda waiver was not voluntary where it followed intense questioning at school, the detective confused the minor, and suggested that waiving was a formality. (456)
A minor was found to have committed lewd acts on a child when he was 13. He was questioned by police at school and then the police station when he was 15. However, the minor did not knowingly and intelligently waive his Miranda rights at the police station. He was Mirandized at the station after an hour of questioning by detectives in a small room at the school. The detective said they would continue to talk after the warnings. The detective then confused the minor by talking about an unrelated warrant, before resuming questioning about the offense in question. The young minor lacked experience in the system and was frightened that he would be locked up forever. His Miranda waiver was not knowing and intelligent.
In re T.F. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 10013 (1st Dist. 2017) October 16, 2017 (A144085)
The detective’s aggressive questioning and the minor’s inexperience and distraught state rendered the statement involuntary. (454) (892)
The 15 year-old minor’s confession was involuntary given his inexperience and emotional state as well as the detective’s aggressive questioning that overbore his will. The aggressive detective used maximization tactics including accusative questioning, reference to a lie detector, and then the detective switched to minimization, which led to the statement. The detective’s overbearing tactics combined with the minor’s youth made him susceptible to pressures that rendered his statement involuntary. The court exercised its discretion to decide this issue on appeal despite the lack of an objection in the trial court.
In re T.F. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 10013 (1st Dist. 2017) October 16, 2017 (A144085)
The trial court erred by instructing with an inconsistent affirmative defense over the defense objection. (780)
Defendant was charged with child custody deprivation. The trial court erred by instructing with CALCRIM No. 1252, regarding the affirmative defense of justification, where the instruction was inconsistent with the defense theory of the case that the prosecution had not met its burden. The error was harmless in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt.
People v. Jo ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 9663 (3rd Dist. 2017) October 03, 2017 (C079280)
The trial court prejudicially erred by failing to obtain a voluntary and intelligent waiver of the right to a jury trial from an MDO defendant. (538)
Before conducting a bench trial in a mentally disordered offender proceeding, the trial court must obtain personally from the defendant a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of the right to a jury trial unless the court finds the defendant lacks the capacity to make such a waiver. The trial court failed to obtain such a waiver, and the order determining the defendant was an MDO was reversed.
People v. Blancett ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 9699 (2nd Dist. 2017) September 11, 2017 (B277433)
The prosecutor’s excusal of a grand juror for hardship damaged the structure of the process and required dismissal of the indictment. (510)
The deputy district attorney’s excusal of a juror for hardship violated the grand jury’s independence and rendered it improperly constituted. The fundamental misunderstanding of the prosecutor’s role damaged the structure of the grand jury process and the independence of the grand jury itself. The trial court erred by denying defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment.
Williams v. Superior Court ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 9568 (3rd Dist. 2017) September 29, 2017 (C083126)