caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

Failure to prove harbor patrol officer was a peace officer required reversal of conviction for battery of a peace officer. (160)
Defendant was convicted of misdemeanor battery of a peace officer in violation of Penal Code sections 242/243(b). The victim was a member of the City of Santa Barbara harbor patrol. Unlike most police officers, harbor patrol officers are peace officers only if their primary duty is law enforcement when acting on the property or when performing necessary duties anywhere in the state. The prosecution failed to prove the victim had the required primary duty of law enforcement. The conviction was reversed.
People v. Pennington ____ Cal.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 7933 (2017) August 17, 2017 (S222227)
Prop 57 provision eliminating the direct filing option applied to defendant’s case where his conviction was not yet final when the provision was enacted. (530)
Defendant was 17 years old at the time of the charged crime, and his case was directly filed in adult court. However, Prop 57, which eliminated the provision giving prosecutors discretion for such direct filings, applied to defendant’s case because his conviction was not yet final on appeal when it was enacted.
People v. Pineda ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 7834 (2nd Dist. 2017) August 14, 2017 (B267885)
The trial court erred in denying defendant’s request for the appointment of appellate counsel following a restitution order in connection with a misdemeanor conviction. (618) (870)
An order requiring the payment of restitution is a “significant adverse collateral consequence” within the meaning of California Rules of Court, rule 8.51(a)(1)(A), requiring the appointment of counsel for an indigent defendant on appeal in a misdemeanor case.
Harris v. Superior Court ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 7703 (3rd Dist. 2017) August 09, 2017 (C083669)
The juvenile court erred by refusing to seal defendant’s records after it dismissed the earlier robbery findings. (528)
Because the juvenile court’s order setting aside defendant’s 1995 robbery finding and dismissing the petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 782 erased the petition as if it had never existed, the court improperly denied defendant’s motion to seal his records under section 781.
In re David T. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 7181 (1st Dist. 2017) July 26, 2017 (A148563)
The search was illegal where it was conducted as a search incident to an infraction. (404)
When the officer decided to search the minor he had no probable cause to make an arrest and no evidence to show the minor was guilty of anything other than an infraction (for recently smoking marijuana). There was no reason to believe he possessed enough to constitute a jailable offense. The subsequent search incident to arrest was unlawful.
In re D.W. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 7513 (1st Dist. 2017) August 03, 2017 (A145470)
A juror committed prejudicial misconduct during deliberations by informing the others that a vote for second degree murder could lead to the defendant walking out of prison. (640)
A juror committed misconduct during deliberations by informing the others that a vote for second rather than first degree murder might result in the defendant getting credit for time-served, and that he could “walk tomorrow.” The offending juror claimed this knowledge based on a previous job as a prison official. Several jurors thereafter changed their initial vote to first degree murder. The prejudice from the misconduct was not rebutted by an admonition to resolve the case based on the facts. This was not a case with overwhelming evidence of guilt, and the misconduct was inherently prejudicial. The murder conviction was reversed.
People v. Echevarria ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 6890 (4th Dist. 2017) August 03, 2017 (E065257)