caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

Evidence only supported one conviction for criminal threats where defendant left multiple messages on an attorney’s voicemail, but she heard them all at one time. (221)
The evidence only supported a single conviction for criminal threats where defendant left a series of messages on the voicemail of an attorney representing his child in a contentious divorce proceeding. The victim heard the messages all at one time, and there was no evidence that she experienced more than one period of sustained fear. Eight of the nine convictions were reversed.
People v. Roles ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2020 D.A.R. 115 (3rd Dist. 2020) January 08, 2020 (C086645)
The criminal threats sentence should have been stayed under section 654 where the conviction was based on the same conduct as the stalking charge. (221)
Defendant was convicted of criminal threats and stalking based on multiple threatening phone calls he made to his wife’s attorney during divorce proceedings. However, the phone calls were incidental to a single objective and under Penal Code section 654 defendant could not be punished for both offenses.
People v. Roles ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2020 D.A.R. 115 (3rd Dist. 2020) January 08, 2020 (C086645)
The trial court erred in issuing temporary restraining orders without notice to the defendant given the absence of an emergency. (224)
The sexual batteries were alleged to have occurred on September 7, 2018, yet the prosecution did not seek temporary restraining orders until November 13, 2018. Because there was no evidence of an urgency and the prosecution made no attempt to give defendant prior notice of an intent to seek a temporary restraining order, the court erred in issuing the orders without notice.
In re L.W. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2020 D.A.R. 130 (2nd Dist. 2020) January 07, 2020 (B294336)
Nonfeasance by social workers did not support a felony child abuse charge after the boy died as a result of neglect and a head injury delivered by his mother. (224)
Defendants were social workers with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family services. They provided emergency and maintenance services to a seven year-old and members of his family. Six weeks after DCFS closed its case, the boy died as a result of child neglect and a head injury caused by his mother. Defendants were charged with felony child abuse under Penal Code section 273a, and for falsifying public records under Government Code section 6200. However, the defendants never had the legal duty to control the abuser, and did not have care of the boy for purposes of section 273a. Moreover, defendants were not officers within the meaning of section 6200. The charges were dismissed.
Bonn v. Superior Court ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2020 D.A.R. 71 (2nd Dist. 2020) January 06, 2020 (B292788)
Exception to the one-third the base term rule does not apply to a crime committed while the defendant was serving a prison term but was released before sentencing on the in-prison offense. (832)
Penal Code section 1170.1 (c) provides for a full consecutive term (rather than one-third the mid term under section 1170.1 (a)) where a defendant commits a felony while confined in state prison. If the defendant commits a felony while serving a prison sentence but is sentenced for the in-prison felony after completing the prison term, section 1170.1 (c) does not apply to the sentence for the crime committed in prison.
People v. Brantley ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 12002 (3rd Dist. 2019) December 24, 2019 (C087675)
Defendant whose appeal began before the enactment of SB 1393, could seek relief under that provision without obtaining a certificate of probable cause. (848) (874)
Effective January 1, 2019, SB 1393 amended Penal Code sections 667 (a)(1) and 1385, and granted trial courts discretion to strike or dismiss previously mandatory five-year prior felony conviction enhancements. Defendant entered a plea, was sentenced and filed a notice of appeal approximately one year before SB 1393 was enacted. His failure to obtain a certificate of probable cause at the time of the appeal did not bar his claim on appeal requesting relief based on a change in the law.
People v. Ellis ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 12060 (5th Dist. 2019) December 24, 2019 (F076421)