Does Prop 47 Make Receiving Stolen Car a Misdemeanor?

Receiving a stolen vehicle, a violation of Penal Code § 496d(a), is not eligible for reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor, however, the following summary of a recent appellate decision suggests People v. Wehr (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 123 might be applied to change precedent. Why would this apply and why would the Fourth Appellate District change its ruling? To read more about this interesting case, please click on the following link –

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Death Sentence.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel (IAC) is a stigma all criminal defense attorneys seek to avoid, as such a finding, or even the mere allegation of this, can ruin one’s reputation forever. The following summary of a 2020 California Supreme Court opinion concerning Attorney Shinn, now deceased, is instructive on many levels and dramatic on others, as it involves IAC from a 1992 conviction for a 1983 murder of a police officer in Los Angeles. To read about why the California Supreme Court found IAC, please click on the following link –

SB 1437 Petition Denial Reversed by Appellate Court.

The following 2019 appellate court ruling from the Second Appellate District Court, makes sense in light of the changed legal standards set forth in Clark and Banks. However, in a 2020 opinion (People v. Daniel Isidrio Nuñez (2020 DJDAR 11987), also from the Second Appellate District, the appellate court upheld a Torrance Superior Court ruling from Judge Hector Guzman that such a special circumstance finding was disqualifying as a matter of law. To read more about his earlier ruling, please click on the following link –

Franklin Hearings – Judge Can Decide if Testimony Needed.

The following case summary presents a case summary wherein a Van Nuys Superior Court judge decided that no hearing was necessary for the judge to decide what materials to order added to defendant’s file and the Second Appellate District court agreed that this decision was legally proper. In this case, the trial court decided to add a mitigation packet from Amy York, a well-known capital case mitigation expert. We present this summary to educate the reader that this decision is within the discretion of the judge. To read more about this situation, please click on the following link –

Traffic Stop OK if Registered Owner’s License Revoked?

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled in a case arising out of Kansas City that a traffic stop is legal if the police, while driving behind a truck, investigate the license plate to identify the registered owner and then discover the registered owner has a revoked license. The astute reader will recognize that officers, in making the traffic stop, must assume that the registered owner is driving the truck. Does such an assumption violate any standard of reasonableness in making such a detention? No, held the U.S. Supreme Court. To read a summary of this rather startling opinion, please click on the following link –

What is Soliciting or Engaging in Lewd Acts in Public?

The stereotype of one charged with soliciting or engaging in lewd acts in public is a gay man arrested in a public restroom sting involving undercover police officers arresting dozens of unsuspecting people, often embarrassed wealthy, married men who have families and prominent positions in the community. Yet what kind of conduct is required to be convicted of soliciting on engaging in lewd acts in public, Penal Code § 647(a)? What are the defenses? What is the punishment? To read more about this crime, please click on the following link –

Convictions Reversed When Prosecutor Misstates Law

In closing arguments, there is an unwritten rule that one, as an officer of the court and a gentleman, should not object to the arguments of opposing counsel as a matter of professional courtesy. However, there are a few exceptions that one must keep in mind. One is to object to evidence described by opposing counsel that was never admitted and second, it to object if opposing counsel misstates the law. In the following case summary, a conviction was reversed because the prosecutor misstated the law on great bodily injury. To read about this unusual case, please click on the following link –

Trial Court Judge Can Decide if Parole or PRCS Proper.

It is quite common for those released from prison to be placed on parole, and supervised by a parole officer, when the person was told that he or she would be placed on PRCS (post-release community supervision) and supervised by a less vigilant probation officer. When we received phone calls about this, we often think that a judge cannot change this because it was a CDCR decision, but this can be wrong, as the following summary explains –

Sanchez and Testimony About Predicate Offenses.

The 2016 published decision in People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 was a welcome victory for criminal defense attorneys fighting with prosecutors and judges combatting decades of “gang experts” testifying about what other police reports described and what such reports stated about what witnesses, including defendant, stated in prior out-of-court police encounters with supposed gang members. However, this welcome victory against hearsay must be understood in its application, as the following summary explains –

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel if CRC-Unqualified?

It is extremely difficult to establish ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC), as the following summary of a murder case shows. The defense attorney had only been practicing for two years by the time the trial started. However, the legal standard for effective assistance of counsel has no mention of experience. Instead, petitioner must show that counsel’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness under prevailing professional norms and that but for such performance, the outcome of the trial would have been different. To read more about this tough standard, please click on the following link