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North River and its bail agent, Bad Boys, appealed the trial court's conditional bond exoneration order. In this case, the criminal defendant was found and extradited from Washington state. At issue was a portion of the award of costs awarded to the County to recoup the wages and benefits owed to the two law enforcement officers who transported defendant. The Court of Appeal affirmed and held that Penal Code section 1306, subdivision (b), entitles counties, as agents of the State of California, to seek compensation for the costs of returning a defendant to custody. The court held that appellants failed to meet their burden of presenting legal authority describing why the language of section 1306, subdivision (b), would not allow for the costs associated with the wages and benefits of officers engaged in the extradition process. Accordingly, the court affirmed the award of costs under section 1306, subdivision (b). View "People v. The North River Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After ex-wife filed a civil action alleging that ex-husband siphoned some of the community assets that were subject to a stipulated judgment, ex-husband successfully demurred and obtained a judgment of dismissal against ex-wife's civil action. Ex-husband then moved in the family court under the stipulated judgment's attorney fees provision to recover fees and costs he incurred in connection with the civil action. The Court of Appeal affirmed the family law court's award of fees and costs, holding that the attorney fees provision in the stipulated judgment encompassed these fees and costs because of its broad language, particularly, the phrase "in connection therewith." The court also held that the family law court did not abuse its discretion in deeming ex-husband the prevailing party because he obtained a judgment of dismissal against ex-wife's civil suit thereby achieving his litigation objectives, which was the applicable standard. Finally, the court held that the family law court did not abuse its discretion in awarding $90,000 in attorney fees and costs, and finding that counsel's hourly rates and number of charged hours were reasonable. View "Pont v. Pont" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's award of attorney fees and costs in this dispute over the management and the distribution of monetary assets of a family trust. The court held that the trial court properly applied the substantial benefit theory, an offshoot of the common fund doctrine, in making its award of fees from trust assets. In this case, substantial evidence supported the finding that the litigation substantially benefited all beneficiaries and that litigation preserved trust assets when the accounts were frozen. The court explained that the litigation preserved a common fund for the benefit of the non-participating beneficiaries. View "Smith v. Szeyller" on Justia Law

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The Sexually Violent Predators Act (SVPA) provides the court with discretionary authority to involuntarily medicate an incompetent person placed with the State Hospital pre-commitment. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's order finding that defendant lacked the capacity to refuse treatment and compelling him to undergo the involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication by the State Department of State Hospitals. In this case, although defendant has not been committed to the State Hospital, the trial court had the discretionary authority under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6602.5 to order his involuntary medication upon a proper finding he was incompetent to refuse medical treatment. Defendant was represented by counsel, provided with a full evidentiary hearing on request, and the trial court expressly found that defendant lacked the capacity to refuse treatment. View "State Department of State Hospitals v. J.W." on Justia Law

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In 2006, police arrested defendant Daniel Marquez in Ventura County on a drug possession offense. Without his consent, authorities collected Marquez’s DNA sample and entered his DNA profile into a statewide database. Marquez was never charged with the drug offense. In 2008, investigators retrieved DNA evidence from an Orange County robbery, and that evidence matched Marquez’s DNA profile in the database. Police contacted Marquez, and with his consent they collected a second DNA sample, which matched the DNA evidence from the robbery. The State filed two robbery counts and a related offense. The trial court denied Marquez’s motion to suppress the DNA evidence, and a jury convicted him of the charged offenses. The court sentenced Marquez to 25 years to life in state prison, plus an additional 15 years for three alleged prior serious felony convictions. The Court of Appeal held that the 2006 collection of Marquez’s DNA sample was unlawful under the Fourth Amendment; the prosecution failed to prove that Marquez was validly arrested or that his DNA was collected as part of a routine booking procedure. However, the trial court properly admitted the 2008 DNA evidence under a well-established exception to the exclusionary rule: the attenuation doctrine. Additionally, due to a recent statutory change, the Court remanded for the trial court to consider striking the additional punishment for Marquez’s three prior serious felony convictions. The Court also ordered the trial court to modify Marquez’s custody credits. In all other respects, the judgment was affirmed. View "California v. Marquez" on Justia Law

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In an earlier appeal, Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company (Lumbermens) challenged an order denying its motion to vacate summary judgment on a bail bond forfeiture and to exonerate the bail bond. The day after Lumbermens filed its notice of appeal, American Surety Company (American), the appellant here, filed an undertaking to stay enforcement of the summary judgment during the first appeal. In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the order denying Lumbermens’ motion to vacate the summary judgment and to exonerate the bail bond. Six days before the Court of Appeal issued the remittitur in the first appeal, American filed a motion in the trial court to exonerate the undertaking and to be released from liability on the undertaking. The undertaking was filed pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 917.1; because Lumbermens’ appeal was from a postjudgment order denying a motion to vacate the summary judgment, which was not a money judgment or an order directing the payment of money, American argued section 917.1 did not apply, and the undertaking was ineffective at all times. The trial court denied the motion, concluding American forfeited its challenge to the validity of the undertaking by waiting to file its motion until 57 days after the Appeals Court issued its opinion in the first appeal, and six days before the remittitur. In this case, American renewed its argument the undertaking it filed on behalf of Lumbermens was ineffective because Lumbermens appealed from a postjudgment order, and not from the summary judgment itself and, therefore, the stay provided for in section 917.1 was never triggered. In addition, American argued the undertaking never became effective because the trial court did not approve it as required by statute. The Court of Appeal determined American was correct that the undertaking it filed in the first appeal was never effective. Likewise, American was correct that, even if section 917.1 applied to Lumbermens’ appeal, the undertaking was not effective because the trial court did not approve of it pursuant to section 995.840 (a). Nonetheless, the Court agreed with the State that American forfeited its challenge to the validity of the undertaking by waiting until six days before the issuance of the remittitur to file its motion to vacate the undertaking. And, even if the Court concluded American did not forfeit its challenges to the undertaking, the Court agreed with the State that American was estopped from challenging the undertaking on appeal. View "California v. American Surety Co." on Justia Law

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San Diegans for Open Government (SDOG) appealed judgment against it in a lawsuit challenging an amended and restated lease that the City of San Diego (City) entered into with Symphony Asset Pool XVI, LLC (Symphony) to lease City-owned land containing an oceanfront amusement park in San Diego's Mission Beach neighborhood, and potentially extending the term of a prior lease of the premises for a significant additional period. Specifically, SDOG argued: (1) the City's approval of the amended and restated lease violated a proposition to limit commercial development on the premises; (2) the City improperly concluded that its decision to enter into the amended and restated lease was exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act because it concerned an existing facility; and (3) the City violated section 99 of its charter (as it existed at the time) by failing to publish notice in the official City newspaper and pass an ordinance prior to entering into the amended and restated lease. Finding no merit to any of these arguments, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "San Diegans for Open Govt. v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law

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The trial court imposed a $950 sanction on Deputy Public Defender Raju, counsel for Landers in a two-defendant joint criminal trial, for violating a reciprocal discovery order. The court found that Raju failed to disclose to the prosecution the name and statements taken from Fletcher, a witness called by Landers’s co-defendant, Lemalie. Raju argued the sanction order was improper because he never intended to call Fletcher at trial, and in fact did not call her; he contends he relied on a state-of-the evidence defense for Landers, putting on no affirmative defense case and eliciting what he needed through cross-examination of various witnesses, one of whom was Fletcher. The court of appeal reversed. Raju did not violate the reciprocal discovery order. Raju had no general obligation to disclose exculpatory information he expected to come from witnesses called by Lemalie. A “sham cross-examination” theory relied on by the trial court is unsupported by substantial evidence, and as applied here, violates due process. View "People v. Landers" on Justia Law

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Southwestern Community College District (District) and its governing board (Board) (together Southwestern) demoted Arlie Ricasa from an academic administrator position to a faculty position on the grounds of moral turpitude, immoral conduct, and unfitness to serve in her then-current role. While employed by Southwestern as the director of Student Development and Health Services (DSD), Ricasa also served as an elected board member of a separate entity, the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD). The largest number of incoming District students were from SUHSD, and the community viewed the school districts as having significant ties. As a SUHSD board member, Ricasa voted on million-dollar vendor contracts to construction companies, such as Seville Group, Inc. (SGI) and Gilbane Construction Company, who ultimately co-managed a bond project for the SUHSD. Before and after SGI received this contract, Ricasa went to dinners with SGI members that she did not disclose on her Form 700. Ricasa's daughter also received a scholarship from SGI to attend a student leadership conference that Ricasa did not report on her "Form 700." In December 2013, Ricasa pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Political Reform Act, which prohibited board members of local agencies from receiving gifts from a single source in excess of $420. Ricasa filed two petitions for writs of administrative mandamus in the trial court seeking, among other things, to set aside the demotion and reinstate her as an academic administrator. Ricasa appealed the denial of her petitions, arguing the demotion occurred in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act (the Brown Act) because Southwestern failed to provide her with 24 hours' notice of the hearing at which it heard charges against her, as required by Government Code section 54957. Alternatively, she argued the demotion was unconstitutional because no nexus existed between her alleged misconduct and her fitness to serve as academic administrator. Southwestern also appealed, arguing that the trial court made two legal errors when it: (1) held that Southwestern was required to give 24-hour notice under the Brown Act prior to conducting a closed session at which it voted to initiate disciplinary proceedings, and (2) enjoined Southwestern from committing future Brown Act violations. The Court of Appeal concluded Southwestern did not violate the Brown Act, and that substantial evidence supported Ricasa's demotion. However, the Court reversed that part of the judgment enjoining Southwestern from future Brown Act violations. View "Ricasa v. Office of Admin. Hearings" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and two counts of nonforcible lewd acts on a child. In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal remanded the convictions for nonforcible lewd acts on a child and remanded for the trial court to hold a hearing to exercise its discretion to impose or strike the prior serious felony enhancements, to determine whether defendant was entitled to presentence conduct credits and, if so, to calculate and award those credits. View "People v. Busane" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law