Firm News Archive

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Criminal Law & Procedure Case Summaries

[11/22] Allah v. Milling
Affirming the district court's decision that prison officials violated an inmate's substantive due process rights when they put him on administrative segregation while a pretrial detainee, but ultimately reversing the judgment because the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity.

[11/22] US v. Ley
Vacating the judgment of the district court and remanding for further proceedings the criminal conviction of a man for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition due to errors in the calculation of points for prior sentences under the Sentencing Guidelines because the court held that a traffic stop, followed by the issuance of a summons, is not an arrest.

[11/21] P. v. Roth
Affirming the trial court's decision to vacate a misdemeanor sentence and reinstate a felony sentence in the case of a probation violation because the misdemeanor sentence had been unauthorized and the reinstatement of the felony conviction was proper.

[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.

[11/21] US v. Brown
Affirming the district court denial of a pre-plea motion to dismiss an indictment for attempted escape because, despite having been held in a state facility, a prisoner is in federal custody when held in a state institution pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum.

[11/20] Mathias v. Superintendent Frackville SCI
Reversing the district court's grant of habeas relief in the conviction of a man for first degree murder and dismissing cross-appeals because it raised claims neither raised nor preserved previously and involved harmless errors.

[11/17] P. v. Young
Reversing the judgment in the conviction of a man for the sexual abuse of his two daughters and a neighbor because the trial court lacked good cause to excuse a juror outside of the defendant's presence and while represented by stand-in counsel who appeared only to accept a continuance and reversing the judgment as to a single count for which there was insufficient evidence.

[11/17] Conejo Bravo v. Sessions
Denying the petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision that a felony hit and run conviction under California law was a crime involving moral turpitude rendering him ineligible for cancellation of removal because the modified categorical approach fulfilled the elements necessary to qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude under controlling precedent.

[11/17] P. v. Brewer
Concluding that Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 did not apply retroactively in the case of a man who committed a sexual assault in the course of a burglary because the court rejected the notion that the Act reduces the range of punishment for all juvenile offenders by giving the juvenile court exclusive jurisdiction over all juveniles and creates a previously unavailable affirmative defense and affirming the judgment.

[11/17] P. v. Gollardo
Affirming the trial court's denial of a petition to reclassify the charged felony offense of forging and issuing a prescription for a narcotic drug as a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014 because the denial was based on relevant considerations and within the court's discretion.

[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.

[11/16] US v. CVS Caremark Corporation
Affirming the district court's dismissal of a suit relating to the False Claims Act because although the court mistakenly relied upon the government knowledge inference doctrine in dismissing claims, the misrepresentations underlying the suit were not material to the government's decision to pay the underlying claims.

[11/16] P. v. Solorio
Reversing and remanding a conviction for first degree murder because although the court denied his motion for a new trial on grounds of jury misconduct it had also made a factual finding that the jury discussed the defendant's decision not to testify several times despite repeatedly being told that it was not to be considered, which gives rise to the presumption that prejudice occurred that was not rebutted.

[11/14] P. v. Garcia
Affirming the imposition of a statutorily mandated life sentence in the case of a man who, while a guest at his sister-in-law's house, raped his niece while in the course of a first degree burglary, because although he was a guest in the home his entry into rooms with the intent to commit a felony and without the authority to do so still constituted burglary, despite the fact that he didn't have to break into the home itself.

[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] US v. Concepcion Montijo
Affirming the imposition of a sentence in the case of a man convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm because the court justified an upward variance from the guideline by referencing his long criminal record, so any error in calculation was harmless, and this decision was reasonable given the pattern of serious crimes shown by the court.

[11/13] P. v. Wall
Affirming the judgment of death in the automatic appeal of the conviction of a man for two first-degree murders in which multiple special circumstances relating to the crimes were taken into consideration, but remanding for new findings relating to restitution since the trial court applied the wrong statute in imposing the prior restitution order.

[11/13] US v. Burhoe
Denying the petition for panel rehearing in a case where the evidence was sufficient to show that appellants willfully violated the statute involving a man's improper service as a union representative and determining that the prior failure to address the district court's refusal to investigate a juror's post-verdict message would not have altered the decision's outcome.

[11/08] P. v. Valdivia
Rejecting a domestic abuse defendant's challenges to a condition of his probation authorizing warrantless searches of his electronic storage devices such as computers and phones because the condition was not unreasonable or unconstitutional, while complaints about the violation of the privacy interests of third parties were barred by forfeiture, but agreeing that the condition was overbroad and the court ordered the striking of the condition and asked the trial court to consider whether it could be narrowed to allow it to pass constitutional muster.

[11/08] P. v. Avignone
Reversing and remanding the case of a couple that defrauded five investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a real estate scheme who pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud in connection with the offer, sale, and purchase of a security and two counts of grand theft of personal property because the trial court did not have the discretion to sentence them to county jail rather than prison and improperly calculated restitution, but rejecting the argument that the court abused its discretion in denying probation.

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