caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

The trial court erred by failing to stay the sentence for the spousal abuse count where the act was committed during the time defendant was found to have tortured the victim. (824)
Defendant was convicted of several offenses including torture and spousal abuse. The trial court erred by failing to stay the sentence under Penal Code section 654 on the spousal abuse count because the act was committed during the three month period of alleged torture, and was not distinguishable from the other acts of torture.
People v. Mejia ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2523 (4th Dist. 2017) March 16, 2017 (E062962)
Where the prior convictions were reduced to misdemeanors under Prop 47 before sentencing on the current case, the prior prison term enhancements could not be imposed. (105) (851)
Even though defendant’s prior convictions were felonies when she committed the new offenses, and even though the Penal Code section 667.5, subd.(b) prior prison term allegations were adjudicated prior to the convictions being reduced to misdemeanors, the reductions occurred before her current sentencing. Since, at the time of the sentencing, the priors were no longer felonies, the prior prison term enhancements could not be imposed.
People v. Call ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2025 (5th Dist. 2017) March 14, 2017 (F071500)
The Court of Appeal denied the prosecution’s writ petition with an opinion finding Prop 57 may be applied to cases that were direct filed in adult court before its passage. (530) (950)
The prosecution argued in a writ petition that the trial court erred when it held that Prop 57 could be applied to cases that were directly filed against juvenile offenders in adult court before the new law took place. The Court of Appeal denied the petition by a written opinion on the merits that determined a cause and constitutes law of the case. The court resolved the issue on this manner because it was important and merited speedy resolution.
People v. Superior Court (Lara) ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2339 (4th Dist. 2017) March 13, 2017 (E067296)
Because the defendant was not convicted of a “violent felony” as defined in section 667.5, subd. (c), the court erred in awarding victim restitution for residential security expenses. (804a)
Defendant pled no contest to domestic violence under Penal Code section 273.5, subd.(a), and as part of his sentence was ordered to pay restitution that included $14,055 for security windows and an alarm system. However, because he wasn’t convicted of a “violent felony” as defined in section 667.5, subd.(c), the court erred in awarding victim restitution for residential security expenses.
People v. Salas ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2333 (4th Dist. 2017) March 13, 2017 (D070569)
The evidence was insufficient to support felony vandalism absent proof that the graffiti removal cost in this case was over $400. (190)
The evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile court’s finding of felony vandalism absent any evidence that the damage exceeded $400. The prosecution failed to produce an invoice for work done or an estimate for work to be done. The generic one-page graffiti cost removal list suggesting a $400 repair for all acts of graffiti was not specific to the facts of this case, and it was suspicious since it was equal to Penal Code section 594's felony vandalism mark of $400. The conviction was reduced to misdemeanor vandalism.
In re Kyle T. ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2322 (2nd Dist. 2017) March 13, 2017 (B267722)
Defendant with a 50 years-to-life sentence remaining after the reversal of several convictions was entitled to a fitness hearing before resentencing where he was 14 at the time of the crimes. (816)
Defendant was convicted of multiple violent non-homicide offenses for the attack he committed on two children as a 14 year-old. He was not entitled to an early parole-type hearing under Penal Code section 3051 because that provision makes an exception for juveniles, like defendant, sentenced under the one strike law. However, the sentence of 50 years-to-life was cruel and unusual given that his minimum eligible parole date was beyond his life expectancy. The court ordered that he be given a fitness hearing to present a case of rehabilitation potential before his sentencing.
People v. Cervantes ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2017 D.A.R 2226 (1st Dist. 2017) March 09, 2017 (A140464)