Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (California Court of Appeal) - In a criminal action, seeking to reduce defendant's 2003 felony embezzlement conviction after he stole a TV from his employer, Walmart, and returned it for a gift card, the trial court's order denying his petition for redesignation to a misdemeanor is reversed where embezzlement under Penal Code section 503 is eligible for redesignation.
  2. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Conviction on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child is reversed where the cumulative effect of improper witness testimony, prejudicial propensity evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct in commenting on the defendant's decision not to testify, witness vouching, and misstating evidence in summation rendered defendant's trial fundamentally unfair and prejudiced the outcome.
  3. (United States Second Circuit) - In a Bivens action, brought against defendant FBI agents and federal prosecutors for alleged constitutional violations in searching plaintiff investment fund owner's Manhattan offices, the district court's denial of qualified immunity is reversed where a corrected search warrant affidavit would have supported probable cause, the corrected warrant would have issued, and plaintiff cannot plead defendants' actions caused him preventable constitutional harm.
  4. (California Court of Appeal) - Conviction of a San Francisco Sheriff's deputy under Penal Code section 149, after using physical force to remove a disabled patient from San Francisco General Hospital, is reversed. The court held that the trial court's instructions to the jury on section 149 were inaccurate and misleading and prejudiced defendant's conviction.
  5. (California Court of Appeal) - The court reversed a thirteen year old's juvenile conviction for lewd and lascivious conduct against a four-year-old girl where the minor defendant did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive his Miranda rights, his confession was not voluntary and the error was not harmless.
  6. (California Court of Appeal) - Conviction and sentence for first-degree murder, burglary, and conspiracy to commit murder are affirmed. The court held: (1) that Proposition 57 does not apply retroactively to defendant; and (2) retroactivity to juvenile offenders sentenced to life without parole is not required under Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016).
  7. (United States First Circuit) - Consecutive sentences arising out of bank robbery counts and use of a firearm during a crime of violence are affirmed where federal bank robbery is a crime of violence under the force clause of 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)(3).
  8. (United States First Circuit) - Forty-six year sentence for brandishing and discharging firearms during a crime of violence, resulting in the death of two Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources officers, is affirmed where: 1) the government did not breach the plea agreement in arguing that defendant had not accepted responsibility for the crime; and 2) the district court's sentence was not substantively unreasonable.
  9. (United States Ninth Circuit) - In a habeas corpus action, arising from petitioner's conviction for four counts of first-degree murder, the district court's denial of the petition is affirmed where the California Supreme Court's resolution of petitioner's challenges to eyewitness identifications, and other grounds for relief, was not contrary to nor an unreasonable application of federal law.
  10. (United States First Circuit) - Conviction for heroin distribution and possession, and possessing a firearm and ammunition, is affirmed where, despite the police officer's use of a key found in defendants pocket to check for a matching apartment lock in a building, the officers relied in good faith on the intervening warrant.
  11. (United States First Circuit) - Conviction for possessing a firearm and possessing heroin with intent to distribute is affirmed where the officer's stop, extended detention, pat search, and search of the vehicle wherein defendant was a passenger were reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
  12. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Affirming the application of a sentence enhancement in the case of a man who pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm because it supported the district court finding that a prior conviction for the West Virginia crime of aggravated robbery was categorically violent.
  13. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the trial court's denial of a petition to recall a sentence pursuant to the Three Strikes Reform Act because the petition was untimely and the defendant failed to show good cause to excuse the delay.
  14. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the imposition of a sentence of nine years imprisonment for conspiring and bribing a judge in Puerto Rico in which the defendant alleged many procedural errors, none of which had enough merit to upset the district court's judgment.
  15. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing the denial of a prisoner's habeas corpus petition because under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act the state trial court amendment of a judgment of conviction creates a new intervening judgment which a prisoner may challenge without that petition being a second or successive one and because a state court alteration of the number of presentence credits to which the prisoner is entitled constitutes a new, intervening judgment for this purpose.