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The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Farmers in an action filed by the sons of the insured after Farmers denied them benefits under the insured's policy. The court held that the notice of prejudice rule applied to the waiver of deduction rider and Farmers could not make a showing of prejudice from the delayed notice of the insured's disability. The court held that, because Farmers did not assert that it was prejudiced and there was no dispute that the insured was totally disabled within the meaning of the rider, she was entitled to the benefit promised under the rider: to have the deductions charged to her account waived. Furthermore, because the deductions should have been waived and Farmers' denial of coverage was based solely on those deductions, Farmers failed to establish that, as a matter of law, the insured's policy had lapsed or that it was justified in denying her beneficiaries' claim under the policy. The court held that Farmers' arguments to the contrary were unavailing. View "Lat v. Farmers New World Life Ins. Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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Defendant challenged his conviction for mayhem, contending that the trial court engaged in improper judicial factfinding to determine that his prior conviction of assault from 1991 under Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1), was a serious felony and a strike under California's "Three Strikes" law, violating his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in relying upon the preliminary hearing transcript to support the finding that the prior felony was a serious felony. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "People v. Hudson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After remand from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed defendants' convictions and order modifications. The court directed the trial court on remand to hold a hearing on ability to pay. The court also remanded for resentencing. The court directed the trial court to consider, in light of People v. Contreras, (2018) 4 Cal.5th 349, any mitigating circumstances of Defendant Moreland's crimes and life, and the impact of any new legislation and regulations on appropriate sentencing. The court also directed the trial court to impose a time by which Moreland could seek parole. View "People v. Adams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Kevin Megown beat Michelle R., the mother of his child. After one incident where Michelle's mother, Maria R., came to aid her, Megown threatened to kill both of them as he held a gun. A jury convicted Megown of violating a domestic violence restraining order, possessing an assault weapon, and inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant. It also found true allegations that he inflicted great bodily injury in circumstances involving domestic violence. The jury acquitted on some counts and could not reach a verdict on several others. Megown was retried on some of the unresolved counts. A second jury convicted Megown of inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant, three counts each of criminal threats, and assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The trial court sentenced Megown to a total term of 17 years in prison. On appeal, Megown argued the trial court erred by: (1) admitting past uncharged acts of domestic violence under Evidence Code section 1109 with respect to the counts involving Maria; (2) admitting evidence of abuse that occurred more than 10 years before the charged crimes; (3) giving CALCRIM No. 875 (assault with a firearm) without modification; and (4) failing to stay the sentence on one of the criminal threats counts under Penal Code section 654. He also claimed the abstract of judgment should have been amended to accurately reflect the trial court's oral pronouncement and that the cumulative effect of the above errors require reversal. While the Court of Appeal agreed the trial court erred when it failed to stay the sentence on one of the criminal threats counts under Penal Code section 654 and that the abstract of judgment should be corrected, it rejected Megown's other arguments. The matter was remanded for the limited purpose of allowing the trial court to determine whether to strike the firearm enhancements. In all other respects, the convictions were affirmed. View "California v. Megown" on Justia Law

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This appeal arises from the juvenile court's selection of a tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan for minors A.S. and E.S. and the corresponding award of full faith and credit to the tribal customary adoption order. C.S. (Father) and T.F. (Mother) appeal the court's orders, contending that their due process rights were violated by the failure of the tribe to consider evidence from the parents in developing a tribal customary adoption order and by the court's exclusion of evidence at the Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing. The Court of Appeal found the trial court stated it had reviewed the reports that it had received and had considered the testimony and arguments of the parties before arriving at a decision. The trial court noted that the parents had received more than 44 months of services and that neither parent had adequately addressed the protective issues raised by the case. The court found that A.S. and E.S. were specifically and generally adoptable Indian children and that the social worker had consulted with the Tribe, which had elected a permanent plan of tribal customary adoption for the children. The court received the Tribe's Tribal Customary Adoption Order and afforded it full faith and credit. Mother and Father separately appealed these orders from the section 366.26 hearing on various grounds. Finding no reason to disturb the trial court's orders, the Court of Appeal affirmed the orders in their entirety. View "In re A.S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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A jury found defendant Andrey Yushchuk guilty of second degree "Watson" murder, misdemeanor drunk driving (DUI) and misdemeanor aggravated DUI (over 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content); it acquitted him of felony DUI-with-injury charges. The trial court sentenced defendant to prison for an unstayed term of 15 years to life. On appeal, defendant argued: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to acquit at the close of the State's case-in-chief; and (2) the court misinstructed the jury regarding permissive inferences. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "California v. Yushchuk" on Justia Law

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R.B. (father) and D.R. (mother) were citizens of India who were married in India. They came to California, where they had their only child, a daughter, born in October 2013. In December 2016, the father allegedly slapped the child and hit the mother. In February 2017, the mother discovered that the father was involved with another woman. She immediately left for India with the child. In 2017, the mother obtained a restraining order in India giving her sole custody of the child. Shortly thereafter, the father obtained an ex parte order (later stayed) in California giving him sole custody of the child. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ruled that it had jurisdiction, but that India was a more appropriate forum. It therefore stayed the California proceeding. The father appealed, contending the trial court erred by finding that India was a more appropriate forum, because: (1) India did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA); and (2) the trial court misevaluated the statutorily relevant factors. In the published portion of its opinion, the California Court of Appeal held India could be an inconvenient forum even if it did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. In the nonpublished portion, the Court found no other error. Hence, the Court affirmed. View "R.B. v. D.R." on Justia Law

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This case was Marc Endsley’s second appeal challenging the denial of his Penal Code section 1026.2 petition for conditional release from the state hospital. Endsley was committed to the state hospital in 1997 after a jury found him not guilty of the first degree murder of his father by reason of insanity (NGI). In his first appeal, he argued the trial court erred by summarily denying his petition without a hearing. In that case, the Court of Appeal agreed Endsley was entitled to a hearing, and in interpreting section 1026.2(l), the Court held the trial court had a duty to procure a recommendation from the state hospital on the appropriateness of release. The trial court obtained the recommendation, held a hearing, and again denied the petition. In this appeal, Endsley challenged the denial of his two prehearing requests, arguing the trial court violated his constitutional rights to testify at his hearing and to the assistance of an independent medical expert. Endsley argued the court erred by ruling on his request to testify remotely without first ensuring the selection of a confinement facility that could “continue [his] program of treatment,” as required by section 1026.2, subdivisions (b) and (c). He also argued the holding in California v. McKee, 47 Cal.4th 1172 (2010) that sexually violent predators (SVPs) had a due process right to the appointment of an independent expert to assist them in petitioning for conditional release from involuntary civil confinement should extend to NGIs seeking conditional release. After review, the Court of Appeal agreed with both of Endsley’s contentions, reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "California v. Endsley" on Justia Law

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Mother and Father appealed the juvenile court's order terminating their parental rights to their children. The Court of Appeal held that the juvenile court had jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) after a Nevada juvenile court declined to exercise jurisdiction. The court conditionally reversed and remanded, holding that the investigation required by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was not complete. In this case, HSA conceded that it had not substantially complied with the ICWA notice requirements, the order terminating parental rights should be vacated, and reversal was required to determine the applicability of the ICWA. View "In re E.R." on Justia Law

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Defendant Edgar Gutierrez was convicted of attempted carjacking. Defendant claimed that he merely asked the victim if he had keys and could give him a ride. He denied threatening the victim; he claimed that he spoke Spanish poorly and the victim must have misunderstood him. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred by: (1) allowing the prosecution to impeach him with the facts underlying his prior felony conviction; and (2) discouraging the jury from requesting a readback of testimony. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "California v. Gutierrez" on Justia Law