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Defendant entered into a Santa Rosa Walgreens and presented a prescription for Phenergan Codeine cough syrup. Suspecting the prescription was fraudulent, the pharmacist contacted the police. Officers responded. Defendant conceded the prescription was fraudulent. Defendant, charged with felony forging and issuing a prescription for a narcotic drug (Health and Safety Code 11368) and misdemeanor burglary (section 459), had two prior strike offenses: a 2006 conviction for vandalism committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang and a 2012 conviction for participation in a criminal street gang, for which he served a prison term. Defendant was accepted to a six-month residential treatment program after “express[ing] a desire for rehabilitation.” Defendant moved (section 1170.18(f)), unsuccessfully, to have the felony count reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47, the 2014 Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The court noted the prior strikes and the prior prison commitments. Defendant then entered a no-contest plea to the felony count. Before sentencing, defendant again moved to reclassify the felony and to strike the prior strike conviction allegations. The court denied defendant’s motions and sentenced him to a middle term of four years. The court of appeal affirmed. The trial court based its decision on the following, relevant considerations that are firmly grounded in the record. View "People v. Gollardo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeal held that Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, did not apply retroactively to defendant's case. Defendant was convicted of sexual penetration by force, assault with intent to commit rape or forcible sexual penetration during the commission of first degree burglary, and kidnapping to commit rape or forcible sexual penetration. Defendant was 16 years old when he committed the offenses and had no prior criminal record. In the published portion of the opinion, the court rejected defendant's claims 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. View "People v. Brewer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Artur Hefczyc appealed an order denying his motion for class certification in his lawsuit against Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego (Rady). On behalf of a proposed class, Hefczyc sought declaratory relief to establish that Rady's form contract, signed by patients or guarantors of patients who receive emergency room care, authorized Rady to charge only for the reasonable value of its services, and that Rady therefore was not authorized to bill self-pay patients based on its master list of itemized charge rates, commonly referred to as the "Chargemaster" schedule of rates, which Hefczyc alleged was "artificial" and "grossly inflated." The trial court denied Hefczyc's motion for class certification, concluding that the class was not ascertainable, that common issues did not predominate, and that class action litigation was not a superior means of proceeding. Hefczyc contends that the trial court erred in denying class certification because, as the complaint sought only declaratory relief, the motion for class certification was brought under the equivalent of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, rule 23(b)(1)(A) or (b)(2) (28 U.S.C.), for which he was not required to establish the ascertainability of the class, that common issues predominated and that class action litigation was a superior means of proceeding. Hefczyc also contended that even if the trial court properly imposed those three requirements in this action, the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that those requirements were not met. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded that Hefczyc's arguments lacked merit, and accordingly affirmed the order denying class certification. View "Hefczyz v. Rady Children's Hosp." on Justia Law

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Defendant Shawn Young was convicted by jury of sexually abusing his two daughters, A. and H., as well as their friend, M., who lived next door. The trial court sentenced defendant to serve an aggregate determinate prison term of 18 years, plus a consecutive indeterminate term of 85 years to life. On appeal, defendant contended: (1) the Court of Appeal had to reverse the judgment because the trial court lacked good cause to excuse one of the sitting jurors (Juror No. 4) and doing so in the absence of both defendant and his assigned trial counsel violated defendant’s constitutional rights; (2) defendant’s convictions for Counts 3 and 6 had to be reversed for insufficient evidence; (3) defendant’s Count 6 conviction had to be vacated because Penal Code section 288.5 (c), mandated charges of continuous sexual abuse and specific sexual offenses, pertaining to the same victim over the same period of time, be charged in the alternative; (4) the trial court prejudicially erred and violated defendant’s constitutional rights by allowing two prosecution witnesses to testify to their opinion that the complaining witnesses were credible; (5) defendant’s trial counsel provided constitutionally deficient assistance by failing to object to certain assertions of prosecutorial misconduct; and (6) the trial court prejudicially erred by failing to instruct the jury on attempted sexual penetration as a lesser included offense to Count 7. The Court concluded the trial court did not have good cause to excuse Juror No. 4. Furthermore, the Court concluded doing so outside defendant’s presence and while he was represented by an attorney who was standing in for defendant’s temporarily ill trial counsel, and who was told she was appearing to agree to a continuance on defendant’s behalf, violated defendant’s federal constitutional rights. Because the Court could not conclude this error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, it reversed the judgment. This conclusion made it unnecessary to address defendant’s remaining claims except those challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. As to those, we conclude sufficient substantial evidence supports defendant’s conviction in Count 3, not so with respect to Count 6. The Court reversed the judgment on that count for insufficient evidence. View "California v. Young" on Justia Law

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Police officer trainee Cornell, off-duty and in street clothes, was running in Golden Gate Park. Uniformed patrol officers spotted him and grew suspicious because the area is known for illicit drug activity. Cornell claims he was unaware of the officers when he heard, “I will shoot you,” and looked behind him to see a dark figure pointing a gun. He darted away, ultimately finding a police officer, who ordered him to the ground. He was arrested at gunpoint and searched, taken in handcuffs to a station, and eventually to a hospital for a drug test, which was negative. Officers searched the areas where he was known to have been, and his truck. After nearly six hours in custody, Cornell was released with a citation for evading arrest. Cornell was never prosecuted but lost his job. Cornell sued. The court determined that Cornell was arrested without probable cause. A jury awarded Cornell $575,242 for tortious interference with economic advantage, and violation of Civil Code section 52.1; the court added $2,027,612.75 in attorney’s fees and costs on the Section 52.1 claim. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting arguments that the jury’s findings did not support the probable cause determination; the court should have declared a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on one question on the special verdict form; the court failed to address an argument that, under Penal Code 847(b), the defendants were immune from false arrest claims; and even if the tort verdict is upheld, the Section 52.1 verdict and awards were based on insufficient evidence. View "Cornell v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Francisco Javier Solorio of the first degree premeditated murder of his neighbor, Albert Ramos. The prosecution presented evidence that Solorio, motivated by revenge, killed Ramos four months after Ramos stabbed Solorio's brother, Rudy. Solorio appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial on grounds of jury misconduct. Although it denied his motion, the court made a factual finding that the jury discussed Solorio's decision not to testify "several times" despite repeated admonitions not to consider that topic. Prejudice from this type of misconduct was presumed, and on this record the Court of Appeal could not conclude the presumption of prejudice was rebutted. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the matter for a new trial. View "California v. Solorio" on Justia Law

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After the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) certified an environmental impact report (EIR) for its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (transportation plan), CREED-21 and Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the EIR's adequacy under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a similar petition, in which Sierra Club and the State later joined. The superior court granted the petitions in part, finding the EIR failed to carry out its role as an informational document because it did not analyze the inconsistency between the state's policy goals reflected in Executive Order S-3-05 (Executive Order) and the transportation plan's greenhouse gas emissions impacts after 2020. The court also found the EIR failed to adequately address mitigation measures for the transportation plan's greenhouse gas emissions impacts. The California Supreme Court granted review on the sole issue of whether the EIR should have analyzed the transportation plan's impacts against the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the Executive Order and reversed the Court of Appeal "insofar as it determined that the [EIR's] analysis of greenhouse gas emission impacts rendered the EIR inadequate and required revision." Cleveland and the State requested the Court of Appeal keep the remainder of its decision substantially intact and publish it as revised. SANDAG asserted the case was moot because the EIR and the transportation plan have been superseded by more recent versions, which Cleveland and the State did not challenge. The Court of Appeal agreed with Cleveland and the State that SANDAG did not establish this case was moot. The Court exercised its discretion and reversed to the extent the superior court determined the EIR failed to adequately analyze the transportation plan's greenhouse gas emissions impacts. The judgment was affirmed to the extent the superior court determined the EIR failed to adequately address the mitigation measures for the transportation plan's greenhouse gas emissions impacts. The judgment was modified to incorporate this court's decision on the cross-appeals. The matter was remanded to the superior court with directions to enter a modified judgment and order the issuance of a peremptory writ of mandate conforming to the Supreme Court's decision in Cleveland II and to this court's decision on remand. View "Cleveland Nat. Forest Foundation v. San Diego Assn. etc." on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Jack Kaufman of grand theft of personal property belonging to his longtime friend Dr. Steven Emmet. At trial, the prosecution's theory was that Kaufman: (1) sold Emmet a promissory note on property owned by Aaron Reinicke; (2) renegotiated the note with Reinicke and reconveyed the property to him free and clear without telling him that Emmet owned the note or informing Emmet of the transaction; and (3) deprived Emmet of Reinicke's final payment of around $36,000 on the note. The prosecution claimed the evidence supported conviction for grand theft by larceny, and the jury was instructed on only that theory of theft. On appeal Kaufman claimed that to the extent any crime occurred, it was theft by false pretenses as to Reinicke, not larceny as to Emmet. Accordingly, he argued the trial court instructed the jury on the wrong offense allegedly committed against the wrong victim. He also argued there was no theft because Emmet exercised his right of recourse, allowing Kaufman to renegotiate the note with Reinicke. Kaufman contended Emmet's alleged attempt to extort repayment from Kaufman was a defense to the crime of larceny, and he asserted the trial court prejudicially erred when it refused to admit relevant evidence or instruct the jury on that defense. The State opposed each of Kaufman's contentions, and argued the court committed sentencing error in ordering summary probation. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the verdict, the Court of Appeal concluded substantial evidence supported Kaufman's conviction for grand theft by larceny, and the trial court properly instructed the jury on that offense. View "California v. Kaufman" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal granted plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate compelling the superior court to vacate its limited discovery order, and enter a new order granting the motion and ordering Marshalls to produce a list of the names and contact information of its nonexempt California employees employed since March 22, 2012. The case was before the court on remand from the California Supreme Court. The previous opinion was vacated and the trial court was directed to vacate its limited discovery order and enter a new order granting discovery. View "Williams v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The state acquired land on the Upper Truckee River in the Lake Tahoe Basin: 608 acres for Washoe Meadows State Park plus the 169-acre Lake Valley State Recreation Area, to continue operation of an existing golf course. Golf courses are not allowed in state parks. Erosion of the River’s bed raised concerns about wildlife habitat, water table, and sedimentation of Lake Tahoe. Studies identified the state land among the worst contributors. The golf course's layout had altered the river's course, CEQA review (Pub. Resources Code 21000) commenced on the “Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project,” identifying four alternatives: no project; river restoration with reconfiguration of the 18-hole golf course; river restoration with a nine-hole golf course; river stabilization with continuation of the existing golf course; and restoration of the ecosystem and decommissioning the golf course. Relocating some holes inside the Park would necessitate adjustment of the Park/Recreation Area boundary. A draft environmental impact report (DEIR) did not identify a preferred alternative but analyzed the alternatives in detail. The final EIR identified river restoration with a reconfigured 18-hole golf course as the preferred alternative, taking about 40 acres from the Park. The court of appeal affirmed an order directing reversal of approval of the project. The DEIR did not identify a proposed project, but described five very different alternatives; the public was not provided with “an accurate, stable and finite” project description on which to comment. View "Washoe Meadows Community v. Department of Parks and Recreation" on Justia Law