People v. Lewis – 8/20/2014

People v. Lewis

No. E058643 (opn 8/20/2014, rev den 11/12/2014)

Year: 2014
Law: Error/Misstatement
4th District, Division 2
Errors Found/Argued:
Errors not found by another court

Summary: People’s appeal from order granting relief on petition to reduce 3 Strikes term to 2 and releasing appellant due to time served. Contrary to both the substantial evidence rule and the requirement that the appellant produce an adequate record on appeal, the appellate court reversed and remanded for new hearing to see if the prosecution could produce additional evidence re possession of firearm. Specifically, the Court’s summary was: “This is plaintiff and appellant the People’s appeal from the superior court’s order granting defendant and respondent Anthony Lee Lewis’s petition for recall of sentence under Proposition 36 (Pen. Code, § 1170.126). The People argue defendant was ‘armed’ with a firearm during the commission of the commitment offense—being a felon in possession of a firearm (former § 12021, subd. (a)(1))—and thus was ineligible for resentencing. As discussed below, the record on appeal does not contain the accusatory pleading or the trial transcript, and so we cannot determine with certainty whether the conviction was based on defendant being armed with the firearm he was convicted of possessing. For this reason, we reverse and remand with directions to allow the trial court to examine the evidence adduced at trial to determine and state on the record whether the prosecution’s case was based on the theory that defendant was guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon because he had possession of a firearm that was capable of offensive or defensive use. The trial court shall then act on defendant’s resentencing petition in a manner consistent with this opinion.”

Document Links:
Opinion (Google Scholar)
Opinion (PDF)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)
Petition for Review (PDF)

People v. Lewis – 7/14/2014

People v. Lewis

No. B241236 (opn 7/14/2014; rev den 10/15/2015 (S220153); cert den 2/23/2015 (14-7363))

Year: 2014
Errors: Prejudice: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: 2d District, Div 1
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court
Summary: Court of Appeal found Chiu instructional error harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, citing only evidence supporting the judgment and ignoring other evidence and prosecutorial argument.

Document link:
Court of Appeal opinion (Google Scholar)
Court of Appeal opinion (PDF)
Petition for Review (PDF)
Petition for Certiorari (PDF)

People v. Zavala – 10/22/2013

People v. Zavala

No. H036028 (opn 10/22/2013, rev den 2/11/2014)

Year: 2013
Facts: Error/Omission
Court: 6th District
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

zavalaSummary: The majority held defendants forfeited their Sixth Amendment confrontation claims (opn 79-86), even though the record contained copious evidence they had preserved those claims; e.g., trial court ruled in limine confrontation objection would be continuing. See in particular supplemental letter brief; rehearing petition 8-10; and P.J. Rushing’s dissent at 1-5 (opn pdf 101-105).

Document Links:
Supplemental Letter Brief (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion & Amendment (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion & Amendment (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)

People v. Aguilar – 1/29/2013

People v. Aguilar

No. F061462 (opn 1/29/2013, rev den 5/15/2013)

Year: 2013
Facts: Error/Omission
Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Appellate Factfinding
Court: 5th District
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.37.38 PMSummary: The Court of Appeal found “any possible” Confrontation Clause error harmless under both Chapman and Watson. But analysis was limited to a list of evidentiary items supporting the murder judgment and a finding that defendant’s credibility was “conclusively undermined[.]” (Opn at 67-68.) Missing entirely from the analysis and the rest of the opinion: any acknowledgment that (a) the jury followed 5 court days of evidence with 4 such days in deliberation; (b) during the latter period jurors requested 7 testimony read backs; (c) after 6 hours of deliberation, the jury announced it was deadlocked; and (d) the testimonial hearsay at issue was the only evidence directly undermining defendant’s alibi testimony. The harmless error analysis also relied on factual assertions unsupported by the record (e.g., that the defendant was “seen walking away from” the burning room where the death occurred) and omission of defense-favorable evidence. Defendant identified these errors and others in petitioning for both rehearing and California Supreme Court review; both petitions were summarily denied. Note: The CSC granted defendant’s motion for judicial notice as to other recent DCA opinions violating harmless error standards.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing (cited record material available upon request info [at] calapperrors [dot] com)
Petition for Review (see pp 1-2, 4-16; cited record material available upon request info [at] calapperrors [dot] com)
Motion for Judicial Notice

General Nanotechnology, LLC v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC – 6/27/2012

General Nanotechnology, LLC v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC

No. A129016/A129428 (opn 6/27/2012, rev den 9/12/2012)

Year: 2012
Errors: Facts: Error/Omission
Court: 1st District, Division 5
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Summary: For decades, a program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNS”) has been trying to use various materials to create the tiny, precise capsules that are critical to the production of energy through fusion. Plaintiffs disclosed proprietary information about diamond technology to LLNS as part of an attempt to obtain a contract from LLNS to produce the capsules out of diamond. LLNS severed relations with plaintiffs in October 2004, claiming there was no funding for their work. Petitioners did not file suit immediately, but did so after discovering facts in July 2007, that led them to believe that LLNS had been using their proprietary information in an attempt to produce diamond capsules with a foreign entity.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication against plaintiffs on their misappropriation and fraud causes of action, determining that the statute of limitations began to run in November 2004, when one of the plaintiffs saw a document from LLNS regarding diamond capsules. The Court of Appeal found that this document provided notice of the misappropriation claim to plaintiffs, rejecting as “unreasonable” plaintiffs’ testimony that the document referred to LLNS’s former plans to develop diamond capsules with the plaintiffs themselves, not to any attempt to develop diamond capsules with the foreign entity. Testimony from the document’s author confirmed that plaintiff’s interpretation was not only reasonable but correct – the document referred only to LLNS’s former plans to develop the capsules with plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal held that there was no need to consider whether petitioners could have conducted any further investigation into the facts because, using its interpretation, the document by itself provided a sufficient factual basis to file suit immediately.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing
Petition for Review (see pp 15-17, 22-23)

People v. Garcia – 8/31/2011

People v. Garcia

No. E051761 (opn 8/31/2011; rev den 11/22/2011)

Year: 2011
Facts: Error/Omission
Law: Error/Misstatement
Prejudice: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: 4th District, Div 2
Errors Found/Argued: Errors found by another court

Summary: A police officer read defendant his Miranda rights, then asked defendant, “Now having [those rights] in mind, do you wish to talk to me?” Defendant answered, “No,” but the officer kept questioning defendant and ultimately obtained a confession. The Court of Appeal held that, in context, “No” didn’t mean “No”; i.e., it was ambiguous and so didn’t amount to an assertion of defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to silence. The court added that even if it was constitutional error for the jury to hear the almost four-hour recorded interrogation, the error was harmless. The CA Supreme Court denied review. But in a federal habeas proceeding, the district court and Ninth Circuit reversed, holding the Court of Appeal decision was both contrary to and an unreasonable application of established United States Supreme Court law; it was also based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. And in finding harmless error, the Court of Appeal unreasonably ignored the prosecutor’s reliance on the confession in arguing to the jury.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion  (Google Scholar)
9th Circuit Opinion (808 F.3d 771; Google Scholar)
9th Circuit Opinion (PDF)

People v. Mil – 6/17/2010

People v. Mil

No. F056605 (opn 6/17/2010, rev gr 9/29/2010, S184665)

Year: 2010
Error: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: 5th District
Errors Found/Argued: Error found by another court

Summary: In People v. Mil (2012) 53 Cal.4th 400, the California Supreme Court – after agreeing with the Court of Appeal that the jury hadn’t been properly instructed on felony-murder special circumstances and that the trial error was subject to Chapman harmless error review (id. at 405, 408-417) – held that the Court of Appeal’s “analysis of the prejudicial effect of the instructional error suggests that it may have relied instead on the less demanding standard of whether that finding was supported by substantial evidence. The Court of Appeal’s discussion focused exclusively on evidence that was favorable to the verdict ….” (Id. at 417.) “[O]ur task in analyzing the prejudice from the instructional error is whether any rational factfinder could have come to the opposite conclusion.” (Id. at 418, original italics.) The instructional error therefore required reversal. (Id. at 418-419.)

Document Links:
Court of Appeal opinion (Google Scholar)
California Supreme Court opinion (Google Scholar)