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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

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DeKelaita provided legal representation for immigrants applying for asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A). Applicants for asylum must sit for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer and must provide a translator if one is needed. DeKelaita’s clients were primarily Assyrian or Chaldean Christians from Muslim‐ruled countries, such as Iraq. Many had suffered persecution, but their eligibility was doubtful because they either had already found refuge in another county or their history failed to meet the requirements for asylum. For at least nine clients, DeKelaita concealed evidence that the applicant had obtained legal status in a safe country or fabricated information about persecution. At the interview DeKelaita was able to ensure that applicants stuck to the script by coaching interpreters. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government and for three false statements he either made or induced on his final (Albqal’s) application. The court vacated the three convictions related to Albqal’s application. The jury unanimously found only one false statement in Albqal’s application, but the court ruled that this statement was immaterial to his receipt of asylum. The court concluded that the government had failed to prove an element of the substantive crimes, leaving only the conspiracy conviction, which the Seventh Circuit affirmed. DeKelaita argued that the government failed to prove an overarching conspiracy. The jury had sufficient evidence to convict DeKelaita for either the charged conspiracy or a subsection of it. View "United States v. Dekelaita" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the municipal court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress blood evidence in a driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) proceeding against him, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress a telephonic search warrant issued pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 61-8-402(5) to draw Defendant’s blood; and (2) this court declines to address Defendant’s argument that the warrant was invalid because Defendant did not receive the implied consent advisory prior to his blood draw. View "City of Missoula v. Williams" on Justia 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

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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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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction for aggravated assault entered after a jury trial. The district court sentence Appellant to life in prison. The Supreme Court held (1) the prosecutor’s failure to comply with the court’s discovery order constituted misconduct; (2) the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to restrict witness testimony; (3) the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing argument; (4) Appellant was denied due process of law because he was required to wear a leg brace in the presence of the jury; and (5) because of the cumulative effect of these errors, Appellant was denied a fair trial. View "Black v. State" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the district court's order dismissing her motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255. The Eleventh Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the district court's dismissal constituted a final order within the meaning of section 2253 and no certificate of appealability had been issued. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal without prejudice. View "Jackson v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the district court’s order denying Defendant’s second plea in bar asserting a double jeopardy violation. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. On remand, the State filed an amended information again charging Defendant with attempted first degree sexual assault, alleging, for the first time, that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of consenting. The district court denied Defendant’s plea in bar. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding that capacity to consent could not be relitigated as to the attempted first degree sexual assault charge. On remand, the State filed a second amended information alleging only that Defendant attempted to subject the victim to penile penetration without her consent. After Defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit testimony concerning capacity to consent and the court overruled the motion, Defendant filed a second plea in bar. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the second amended information did not place Defendant at risk of double jeopardy, and therefore, the district court was correct in denying his plea in bar. View "State v. Lavalleur" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The court held (1) the search warrant that authorized police to search for and seize any and all firearms in Defendant’s residence was constitutional because it was sufficiently particular to enable police to know what times they were authorized to search for and seize; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a recording of a telephone conversation that Defendant made to his ex-girlfriend from jail because the risk of unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh the probative value of those statements. View "State v. Baker" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of felony murder, with the predicate felony of armed home invasion and declined to exercise its extraordinary authority to grant a new trial or to reduce the verdict to a lesser degree of guilt. The court held (1) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions; (2) there was no reversible error in the trial court’s evidentiary rulings concerning the introduction of testimony about DNA found on objects at the crime scene and testimony concerning the use of a DNA profile of the defendant stored in a national database; and (3) the motion judge did not reversibly err in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial on the ground that the Commonwealth did not provide exculpatory evidence concerning a forensic scientist’s failure to pass required proficiency tests. View "Commonwealth v. Sullivan" on Justia Law