Firm News Archive

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Evidence Case Summaries

[11/21] Morris v. The Superior Court of San Bernadino County
Denying a petition for the appointment of counsel, holding that the appellate division cannot be required to appoint counsel for a defendant acting as the respondent on an appeal by the People from an order suppressing evidence.

[11/16] P. v. Kaufman
Affirming the conviction of a man for grand theft by larceny because substantial evidence supported the conviction, there was no basis for the use of the victim's attempted extortion as a valid defense to the crime, and even if it were a defense not enough evidence was provided to establish the extortion for it to warrant a jury instruction, but rejecting a claim by the People of sentencing error and concluding that the trial court classified the offense as a misdemeanor by operation of law in a factually complicated case involving the sale of office property between friends.

[11/14] P. v. Watts
Reversing the trial court's denial of a motion for a new trial with respect to the allegation that a man convicted of murder did so for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang, which had been insufficiently established to support a gang enhancement allegation, but otherwise affirming.

[11/13] P. v. Zabala
Affirming the judgment in the case of a man convicted for transporting a controlled substance, possession for sale, and driving with a suspended license because although the removal of a car's dashboard console exceeded the scope of a permissible inventory search the search was supported by probable cause and therefore lawful under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.

[11/13] Amoah v. McKinney
Affirming the district court's decision to grant the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's statement of facts and granting summary judgment on the remaining record in a case where a tractor trailer rear-ended the plaintiff's passenger vehicle because expert opinions that were necessary to prevail hadn't been filed by the plaintiff until months after the deadline for expert disclosures had passed.

[11/07] US v. Gordon
Affirming the district court's conviction of a man who tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife who turned out to be an undercover cop and then tried to hire a second killer to kill the first who also turned out to be an undercover officer, holding that the objection to the introduction of character evidence could not be pursued because a bald objection was not specific enough to preserve it for review and there was no indication that the admission influenced the outcome of the trial, but directing the district court to merge five multiplicitous counts into a single one for resentencing.

[10/30] US v. Palin
Husband and wife's convictions for health care fraud and conspiracy to engage in health care fraud under 18 U.S.C. sections 1347 and 1349, arising from a scheme to give insured patients repeated, unnecessary urine tests, are affirmed where: 1) materiality constitutes an element of the convicted offenses; and 2) even if the district court failed to consider materiality, the error was harmless.

[10/30] Serrano v. Superior Court
In a criminal action, the defendant's writ of mandate is granted where the trial court erred in requiring allegations of specific officer misconduct supporting his motion to produce discovery regarding an officer's personnel file under People v. Superior Court (Johnson), 61 Cal.4th 696 (2015).

[10/26] P. v. Harrison
Reversing the denial of a motion for a new trial in a criminal case where the prosecution failed to disclose a video recording of the appellant invoking his right to remain silent during a Miranda interrogation and the policeman testified that the appellant waived his Miranda rights and admitted to the crime because this violated the longstanding Brady rule relating to exculpatory evidence.

[10/25] P. v. Mathews
Affirming the admission of evidence gathered by police officers at a hospital from a man who robbed a victim at gunpoint and then accidentally shot himself, in which the collection of evidence was not a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights because a defendant who gives a false name to a police officer and a record check fails to reveal that they are subject to a probation search condition is estopped from challenging the legality of ensuing searches or seizures that would have been authorized had the officer been aware of the condition.

[10/25] P. v. Buell
Affirming the revocation of mandatory supervision and sentence to a term in county jail for a man who was under supervision following a felony conviction for driving under the influence who had been wearing an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet that reported his consumption of booze because the report indicating he consumed alcohol was hearsay bearing a substantial guarantee of trustworthiness, admissible in probation revocation proceedings, and provided substantial indicia of reliability.

[10/25] P. v. Perez
Partially affirming and partially reversing the conviction of a man involved in a scheme involving one cell of a drug cartel murdering and robbing members of another cell they owed money, holding that trial counsel forfeited any objection to expert testimony to case-specific hearsay by failing to raise it in the lower court and reversing two special circumstances imposed by the court, but also finding that this did not result in prejudicial error.

[10/24] P. v. Malik
Affirming a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and making a criminal threat because although the trial court abused its discretion and violated the defendant's confrontation rights by allowing a prosecutor to relate case-specific testimonial hearsay from police reports to a jury during cross-examination of an expert witness the error was harmless.

[10/23] P. v. Gonzales, Jr.
Affirming a judgment involving various counts relating to child molestation where the prosecution introduced evidence of uncharged sex offenses defendant committed against the victim through the victim's own testimony, and not through the testimony of third parties, because such testimony, while uncommon, is supported by established precedent.

[10/19] P. v. Rodriguez III
Affirming the admission of a report about the GPS signals transmitted by an ankle monitor showing that a felony convict had left the county in violation of his terms of his supervised release on multiple occasions because this evidence was not hearsay, it was computer-generated evidence presumed to be authentic and was admissible under the Evidence Code.

[10/17] US v. Preston
Conviction on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child is reversed where the cumulative effect of improper witness testimony, prejudicial propensity evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct in commenting on the defendant's decision not to testify, witness vouching, and misstating evidence in summation rendered defendant's trial fundamentally unfair and prejudiced the outcome.

[10/10] P. v. Pettie
Reversing the findings of gang enhancements applied on account of the admission of testimonial hearsay through a gang expert witness that violated confrontation rights, which required the reversal of all counts as to one defendant, though not two others, and reversing convictions as to that same individual on account of instructional and sentencing error, but finding no merit in claims of failure to bifurcate.

[10/05] Manhattan By Sail, Inc. v. Tagle
Vacating the district court's judgment in favor of the owners of a sailing vessel sued by a woman who was injured when a deckhand lost control of a weighted halyard that hit her in the head because the district court's ruling that the plaintiff failed to show negligence or entitlement to the application of res ipsa loquitur because a seaman can lose control of a line without negligence was in error and the court should have found negligence occurred based on the evidence.

[10/03] US v. Zimny
Affirming the conviction of a man who repeatedly presented appeals arguing juror misconduct because the defendant failed to object to many of the interactions that formed the basis of the appeal and, insomuch as there was confusion caused by the introduction of a large volume of bank fraud evidence, any improper joinder of bank fraud counts was harmless.

[09/28] P. v. Lin
Reversing an order determining that a man who pleaded nolo contendre to a count of assault with a deadly weapon in an incident involving a bow and arrow was a mentally disordered offender and committing him to the State Department of State Hospitals for involuntary treatment because the decision in People v. Sanchez held that expert hearsay evidence is inadmissible.

[09/27] P. v. Mooring
Reversing a conviction for dihydorcodeinone/Vicodin because the prosecution didn't establish that it was a controlled substance, but affirming other aspects of an appeal, including affirming the use of information relating to the Ident-A-Drug website because it came within the published exception to the hearsay rule and the challenged hearsay was not testimonial.

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