FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Criminal

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.

P. v. Soto

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming an order denying a petition to reduce to a misdemeanor a conviction for felony theft from an elder because the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act because although the defendant claimed he stole less than $900 from his grandmother the restitution ordered was for nearly twice that amount, more than the $950 or less required by the Act, and he failed to meet his burden in establishing eligibility.
Posted: May 24, 2018, 8:00 am

In Re Robert Lewis, JR

(Supreme Court of California) - Vacating the sentence of death of a man because he established that he is intellectually disabled.
Posted: May 24, 2018, 8:00 am

In Re E.P.

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a burglary finding because the evidence in the juvenile court proceedings showed that a minor had committed the new crime of shoplifting, not burglary, and finding that he could not be convicted of both shoplifting and receiving the same property, but affirming a conviction for possession of graffiti tools.
Posted: May 24, 2018, 8:00 am

Facebook, Inc. v. The Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeal's determination that subpoenas by defendants in a driveby shooting case seeking Facebook data for the victims were unenforceable under the federal Stored Communications Act, but holding that the court erred in finding that it barred disclosure by providers of communications that were configured by the registered user to be public and remained so configured at the time subpoenas were issued.
Posted: May 24, 2018, 8:00 am

In Re Albert Lugo Ruedas

(California Court of Appeal) - Denying a petition for writ of habeas corpus and holding that the California Supreme Court ruling relating to expert witness opinions in Sanchez is prospective, but not retroactive.
Posted: May 24, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Balov

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the denial of a motion to suppress the results of a blood test that established that a driver was drunk who submitted to the test after a police officer advised him that per California law he was required to submit to a breath or blood test but without advising him as to the statutory consequences of refusing a test, which the driver claimed was coercive, but which did not change the fact that implied consent is triggered by driving on California roads.
Posted: May 23, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Brown

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the verdict of guilt of a man for multiple acts of sexual abuse against children, holding that the statute of limitations had not expired under circumstances where others had previously made reports about the conduct, but the victim herself didn't do so until some years later, because the section of the law extending the statute of limitations related to reports by the victim.
Posted: May 23, 2018, 8:00 am

J.N. v. The Superior Court of Orange County

(California Court of Appeal) - Granting a petition for writ of mandate/prohibition that the juvenile court abused its discretion in determining that the minor defendant should be tried as an adult because the determination was not supported by substantial evidence, particularly the elements requiring that the court consider the circumstances and gravity of the charged offense and whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court's jurisdiction.
Posted: May 22, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Smith

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the conviction sentence of death of a man for first degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait, two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, two counts of first degree burglary, and various other charges in the case of a revenge killing.
Posted: May 21, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Wiliams

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's denial of a petition to recall the sentence to reduce a prior conviction for buying or receiving a stolen vehicle from a felony to a misdemeanor without prejudice to the filing of a new petition demonstrating the appellant's eligibility for resentencing because although the Penal Code permits resentencing for any crime involving the obtaining of property by theft involving a value of less than $950 the appeal failed to demonstrate the value of the stolen vehicle.
Posted: May 21, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Meza

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming convictions for driving under the influence causing injury because although the drawing of blood without a warrant was inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment doing so was a harmless error.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Flores Carter

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming a woman's conviction for participation in a drug conspiracy that involved smuggling cocaine from Puerto Rico into the continental US in the lining of suitcases because the brief inquiry into the sentence of a co-conspirator was not prejudicial and the district court engaged in a proper and individualized sentencing.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

Fuqua v. Ryan

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court dismissal of certain defendants and reversing the district court's summary judgment and remanding an action brought by an Arizona prison inmate alleging violations of his right to religious liberty under the First Amendment and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and denial of due process when the plaintiff, a devout Christian, was convicted of a disciplinary violation and terminated from his kitchen job assignment when he refused to work on a religious holiday because although the plaintiff's letters requesting a work schedule adjustment didn't suffice to exhaust administrative remedies, his subsequent repeated claims regarding religious accommodation did.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Hall

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a conviction for first degree murder with personal use of a knife in which the trial court abused its discretion and violated the defendant's Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by allowing his impeachment with the conduct underlying a misdemeanor conviction for possession of a weapon in which he threatened a person with a large knife.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

In Re Nicandro Galaviz

(California Court of Appeal) - Remanding to trial court to strike a commitment order and permit a defendant to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity to charges relating to methamphetamine and assault with a deadly weapon because there was ample evidence that the trial court proceeded despite serious issues relating to his competency at the time of commitment.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Akanni

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the conviction of a man for marriage fraud following a pair of brief marriages, the second of which was investigated by immigration officers that was supported by evidence that a rational trier of fact could use to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Kerley

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a man's conviction for second degree murder in connection with the death of his former girlfriend because various alleged evidentiary, instructional, and constitutional errors did not separately or cumulatively result in more than a harmless error.
Posted: May 18, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Vanesse

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming an Appellate Division of the Ventura County Superior Court affirmation of an order denying a motion to suppress because while a statutory directive requires that a person lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol shall be advised that they have the choice of submitting to either a blood or breath test, if the arrestee is told their only choice is to submit to a blood test the results are still admissible if they freely and voluntarily consent.
Posted: May 16, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Briones Jr.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming a life sentence imposed on a juvenile offender convicted of felony murder and other crimes because the court properly considered the hallmark features of youth before imposing the guidelines sentence of life without parole in the case of the founder and leader of the Eastside Crips Rolling 30s and his involvement in a series of violent crimes committed by the gang on the Salt River Indian Reservation including felony murder, arson, assault, and witness tampering.
Posted: May 16, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Ramirez de Jesus

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming a sentence entered upon revocation of supervised release on account of multiple violations including drug use, an additional arrest, abandonment of a drug treatment program, and failures to report.
Posted: May 16, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Lopez

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the sentence in the conviction of a man for possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute heroin who was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act because prior drug convictions in a Massachusetts district court could serve as predicate offenses under ACCA.
Posted: May 16, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Williams

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing and remanding for a new trial a case in which a man stabbed and killed his wife because the prosecution introduced and heavily relied upon a 23 year old conviction of a shooting with intent to kill conviction in order to establish premeditation, a case that had scant relevance to the stabbing and whose relevance was outweighed by the unfair prejudice it introduced.
Posted: May 15, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. McDuffy

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming a conviction by jury trial for bank robbery resulting in death because the sentence enhancement is not limited to situations where a bank robber knowingly kills a person and agreeing with other circuits that the only mens rea required is the mens rea necessary to commit the underlying bank robbery in a case where a customer attempted to disarm one of the robbers and was accidentally shot.
Posted: May 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Blount v. Clarke

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Vacating relevant orders by the district court granting habeas relief and remanding with instructions to dismiss a habeas application with prejudice in a case involving a man, convicted for crimes he was committed when he was 15, that resulted in a 118 year sentence because although the Supreme Court prohibited jubenile offenders convicted of nonhomicide crimes from sentences of life without parole a partial pardon that reduced his sentence to 40 years rendered the habeas petition moot.
Posted: May 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Davis v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County

(California Court of Appeal) - Denying a petition for writ of mandate alleging a warrantless search and seizure seeking an order directing the appellate division of the superior court to require the trial court to hear a motion to suppress on the merits because there were multiple actions by police who conducted a traffic stop, sobriety test, vehicle search, and arrest, and the defendant needed to specify which of the act were claimed to be unlawful rather than simply making a blanket complaint.
Posted: May 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Byrd v. US

(United States Supreme Court) - Vacating and remanding the conviction of a man who had used a rental car to transport body armor and 49 bricks of heroin and was not listed on the rental agreement because although a driver in lawful possession or control of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement this does not defeat their otherwise reasonable expectation of privacy against searches.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Johnson

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing the denial of a motion to suppress evidence found on a man's person and in the car he was driving when arrested, vacating the conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamines when a man was arrested for a post-prison supervision violation in an organized and largely pretextual series of events designed to permit the searches.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Sanchez Gomez

(United States Supreme Court) - Reversing a Court of Appeals decision to treat a suit challenging the constitutionality of full restraints on in custody defendants in nonjury proceedings by the U.S. Marshals Service as a class like claim or functional class action because the suit had not proceeded as a class action and the resolution of the underlying criminal cases rendered the plaintiff's actions moot.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Espinoza

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the use of testimony by a criminalist that Ident-A-Drug, an internet drug reference work, was used to presumptively identify pills as controlled substances in a case that resulted in a conviction for possession of methadone and clonazepam.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

McCoy v. Louisiana

(United States Supreme Court) - Reversing and remanding the conviction of a man for the murder of his estranged wife's mother, stepfather, and son in a case where the trial court permitted his counsel to concede to the commission of the murders in an attempt to formulate a defense arguing he was unable to formulate the specific intent for a first degree murder conviction where the man wished to argue that the corrupt police killed them in a drug deal gone wrong because the Sixth Amendment guarantees the defendant the right to choose the objective of his defense and insist his counsel refrain from conceding guilt.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

Dahda v. US

(United States Supreme Court) - Affirming the rejection of facial insufficiency arguments relating to a wiretap order used in the investigation of a drug distribution ring in Kansas that contained a sentence purporting to authorize interception outside of the state and resulted in the interception of additional communications from a listening post in Missouri, which evidence was subsequently not introduced, but did not render the rest o the wiretap order unlawful.
Posted: May 14, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Adelmann

(Supreme Court of California) - Holding that a petition for the reduction of a sentence under Proposition 47 must be filed in the original sentencing court in a case where a man who pleaded guilty to drug related charges in San Diego County had his case transferred to Riverside County, where he resided, following the imposition of felony probation and sought a reduction under the Proposition.
Posted: May 10, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Torres

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming convictions for counts of robbery, digital penetration, and forcible rape, but remanding for resentencing on a sexual battery on restraint issue because the trial court erred in ruling that it was required under the Three Strikes law to impose consecutive sentences for digital penetration and sexual battery convictions because the law left the sentencing court's limited discretion largely intact.
Posted: May 10, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Belanger

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the conviction and sentence to eleven years imprisonment of a man indicted on conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and oxycodone and a count of using and maintaining a drug involved premises.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Kolsuz

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Affirming the months-long search of a smartphone seized at the airport when customs agents found firearms parts in a man's luggage because the Fourth Amendment's border search exception applied and the search was justified by reasonable suspicion.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Guzman

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the condition of supervised release permitting the warrantless search of a man's electronic devices of a man convicted of sex offenses with minors whose arguments relating to jurisdiction and constitutional rights to privacy failed to convince the court.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Tirado

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the guilty plea and conviction of a man for drug offenses and failure to appear for arraignment because his conflict's alleged attorney client privilege violation and ethics violation in repeating that he had expressed that he couldn't be certain his client wouldn't be detained at an arraignment hearing just prior to his failure to appear because the court held that this was not information relating to the representation of the client, the attorney had an obligation to disclose his client's criminal conduct, and it was not a Sixth Amendment violation.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Valenzuela

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a man's conviction for two counts of first degree murder in a case where there were irregularities in the jury forms returned that were inconsequential, but remanding for resentencing because a new law permitted the trial court the discretion to strike gun enhancements.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Hill

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the judgment of conviction of a man for a firearm related murder committed in the course of a crime of violence, affirming that a Hobbs Act robbery is categorically a crime of violence under the force clause of the statute.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Ogunmowo

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a trial court order denying a motion to vacate a conviction and remanding for the withdrawal of a guilty plea in a case relating to a 1989 conviction for possession and sale of a controlled substance where trial counsel gave incorrect advise about the immigration consequences of the conviction.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Mikhel

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming convictions and death sentences against two men for multiple federal crimes including multiple counts of hostage taking resulting in death under the Hostage Taking Act, affirming the empanelment of an anonymous jury, and various other procedural matters in a case involving the taking of hostages and murder of five people, whose bodies were dumped in a reservoir outside of Yosemite National Park.
Posted: May 9, 2018, 8:00 am

Brown v. Muniz

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court dismissal of a California state prisoner's second in time habeas corpus petition because he failed to obtain leave from the court to file a second or successive petition and denying his application for leave to file a second or successive petition because the evidence he presented failed to make a prima facie showing of actual innocence by clear and convincing evidence.
Posted: May 8, 2018, 8:00 am

Solorio Jr. v. Muniz

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Denying an application to file a second or successive habeas petition in which the applicant claimed that the State of California had suppressed materially exculpatory evidence unavailable to him when he first petitioned for habeas relief because the panel found that the applicant failed to show that he had exercised due diligence in failing to discover the allegedly suppressed evidence at the time of the first habeas petition and that even if he had the application would be denied because the new evidence didn't make a prima facie showing of actual innocence.
Posted: May 8, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Jiminez

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the grant of a motion for reduction of two felony convictions for identity theft to misdemeanor shoplifting in a case where the defendant cashed two stolen checks valued at less than $950 each under Proposition 47.
Posted: May 8, 2018, 8:00 am

Perez Henriquez v. Sessions

(United States Second Circuit) - Denying a petition for review of the determination that a New York Penal Law conviction for possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree rendered a man removable and that a conviction for bail jumping was an aggravated felony rendering him ineligible for cancellation of removal.
Posted: May 8, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Reed

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the conviction and death sentence of a man for multiple shootings resulting in the deaths of two people that relied heavily upon the testimony of eyewitnesses.
Posted: May 7, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Espinoza-Valdez

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing convictions for conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana in a case that relied almost exclusively on expert testimony about scouts who find ways to import drugs where Border Patrol agents spotted the defendants.
Posted: May 7, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Minifie

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the imposition of prior prison term sentence enhancements separately to an indeterminate term of imprisonment and a determinate term of imprisonment as part of a defendant's aggregate sentence in the case of a man whose high-speed pursuit from police with his kidnapped ex-girlfriend resulted in a collision that ended her life.
Posted: May 7, 2018, 8:00 am

Williams v. Affinion Group, LLC

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the dismissal of a lawsuit in which the former participants of discount membership programs alleged racketeering and violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by enrolling customers in discount programs via deceptive post-transaction marketing and datapass techniques and for defrauding customers of membership fees for rewards programs they unwittingly joined because they identify no actionable fraud or violation of the ECPA.
Posted: May 7, 2018, 8:00 am

P. v. Perez Jr.

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeal's determination that a trial court's finding of eligibility for resentencing was not supported by substantial evidence because his flight from a store clerk who suspected him of theft resulted in the man being dragged, an event that the court held rendered him ineligible for resentencing since the crime of assault included the use of a deadly weapon.
Posted: May 7, 2018, 8:00 am