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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to murder Dean Noyes for lack of territorial jurisdiction and affirmed in all other respects the judgment convicting Defendant of first degree murder and conspiracy to murder his wife, Carole Garton, and her fetus. The Supreme Court held (1) any error in the trial court’s ruling prohibiting Defendant from wearing his wedding ring during trial was harmless; (2) the trial court did not err by allowing the prosecution’s investigating officers to bypass metal detectors while entering the courthouse; (3) Defendant was not prejudiced by the introduction of hearsay statements by the county coroner concerning the state of Carole’s body and her cause of death; (4) the trial court erred in finding that it had jurisdiction over the charge that Defendant conspired to murder Dean in Oregon; (5) any error in the trial court’s instructions to the jury was harmless; (6) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for entry of judgment of acquittal; and (7) there was no cumulative error requiring reversal of Defendant’s convictions. View "People v. Garton" on Justia Law

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In calculating an employee’s overtime pay rate when the employee has earned a flat sum bonus during a single pay period, the divisor for purposes of calculating the per-hour value of the bonus should be the number of nonovertime hours the employee worked during the pay period, rather than the number of hours the employee actually worked during the pay period, including overtime hours, or the number of nonovertime hours that exist in the pay period, regardless of the number of hours the employee actually worked. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant, his former employer, alleging that Defendant had not properly computed his overtime pay under California law. Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the trial court should look for “persuasive guidance” to a federal regulation explaining how to factor a flat sum bonus into an employee’s regular rate of pay and that its formula for calculating overtime compensation was complaint with the relevant federal regulation. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, thus favoring the formula that allocates an employee’s bonus to the nonovertime hours worked, rather than to all hours worked. View "Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for murder, residential robbery, residential burglary, and vehicle theft and Defendant’s sentence of death for the murder, holding that any potential error was harmless and that none of the potential errors were cumulatively prejudicial. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant failed to establish that any conflict of interest adversely affected his counsel’s performance; (2) any error resulting from Defendant’s absence from two discussions about counsel’s supposed conflict of interest was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) any challenged comments made by the judge did not disqualify the judge from presiding over the trial; (4) the trial judge’s choice to limit counsel’s time to question jurors during voir dire was not an abuse of discretion; (5) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in choosing to remove a seated juror during the guilt phase proceedings; (6) the prosecutor did not engage in impermissible misconduct; (7) any error in the trial court’s evidentiary rulings was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt; (8) any error in the trial court’s instructions to the jury was harmless; and (8) Defendant’s sentence did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s requirement of proportionate sentencing. View "People v. Perez" on Justia Law

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The sentences imposed on Defendants, two juvenile nohomicide offenders, violated the Eighth Amendment as interpreted in People v. Caballero, 55 Cal.4th 262, 268 (2012) and Graham v. Florida, 460 U.S. 48 (2010). Defendants, Leonel Contreras and William Rodriguez, were convicted in a joint trial of kidnapping and sexual offenses that they committed when they were sixteen years old. Contreras was sentenced to a term of fifty-eight years to life, and Rodriguez was sentenced to a term of fifty years to life. The Court of Appeal affirmed Defendants’ convictions but reversed their sentences and remanded for resentencing, holding that Defendants’ sentences fell short of giving them a realistic chance for release, as contemplated by Graham. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants’ sentences violated the Eighth Amendment under the standards articulated in Graham. The court directed the sentencing court, upon resentencing, any mitigating circumstances of Defendants’ lives and crimes and the impact of any new legislation and regulations on appropriate sentencing. View "People v. Contreras" on Justia Law

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The sentences imposed on Defendants, two juvenile nohomicide offenders, violated the Eighth Amendment as interpreted in People v. Caballero, 55 Cal.4th 262, 268 (2012) and Graham v. Florida, 460 U.S. 48 (2010). Defendants, Leonel Contreras and William Rodriguez, were convicted in a joint trial of kidnapping and sexual offenses that they committed when they were sixteen years old. Contreras was sentenced to a term of fifty-eight years to life, and Rodriguez was sentenced to a term of fifty years to life. The Court of Appeal affirmed Defendants’ convictions but reversed their sentences and remanded for resentencing, holding that Defendants’ sentences fell short of giving them a realistic chance for release, as contemplated by Graham. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants’ sentences violated the Eighth Amendment under the standards articulated in Graham. The court directed the sentencing court, upon resentencing, any mitigating circumstances of Defendants’ lives and crimes and the impact of any new legislation and regulations on appropriate sentencing. View "People v. Contreras" on Justia Law

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in California, there is a state plan approved by the federal Secretary of Labor. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health charged Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC with five violations of state occupational safety and health regulations. The District Attorney of Orange County subsequently filed this action for civil penalties under the state’s unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, and fair advertising law (FAL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17500. The court of appeal concluded that the federal OSH Act preempted the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no implied or express preemption of the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. View "Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in California, there is a state plan approved by the federal Secretary of Labor. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health charged Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC with five violations of state occupational safety and health regulations. The District Attorney of Orange County subsequently filed this action for civil penalties under the state’s unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, and fair advertising law (FAL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17500. The court of appeal concluded that the federal OSH Act preempted the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no implied or express preemption of the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. View "Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law

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Chatman, convicted of robbery in 2001, was sentenced to five years of felony probation plus 180 days in jail. Two years later, Chatman was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving with alcohol. In 2006-2007 both convictions were dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4. In 2008, Chatman was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years of probation plus 10 days of imprisonment. In 2014, Chatman was offered a job that required a community care license from the Department of Social Services. Although Chatman’s robbery conviction bars him from obtaining that license, the Department may grant an exemption if a prospective employee has a Section 4852.01 certificate of rehabilitation (Health & Saf. Code 1522(g)(1)(A)(ii)). Once former probationers have their convictions dismissed under section 1203.4, section 4852.01 renders them ineligible for a certificate of rehabilitation if they are subsequently incarcerated. Former prisoners –– whether subsequently incarcerated or not –– face no such restriction. Chatman claimed that the unequal treatment was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of California rejected that argument. Section 4852.01’s eligibility criteria survive rational basis review. Former probationers, as opposed to former prisoners, can seek some relief from the effects of their convictions through section 1203.4, and so have less relative need for certificate of rehabilitation relief. Instead of choosing an arbitrary means of limiting access to certificates, legislators used subsequent incarceration as a means of determining which former probationers show the most promise for rehabilitation. View "People v. Chatman" on Justia Law

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The defendant was charged in adult criminal court with sex crimes allegedly committed in 2014 and 2015 when he was 14 and 15 years old. The law then in effect permitted the prosecutor to charge the case directly in adult court. After the charges were filed, the electorate passed Proposition 57, the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” prohibiting prosecutors from charging juveniles directly in adult court. Such actions must commence in juvenile court. If the prosecution wishes to try the juvenile as an adult, the juvenile court must conduct a “transfer hearing.” Only if the juvenile court transfers the matter to adult court can the juvenile be tried and sentenced as an adult (Welf. & Inst. Code, 707(a)). The Supreme Court of California held that the provision applies retroactively to all juveniles charged directly in adult court whose judgment was not final at the time it was enacted. The possibility of being treated as a juvenile in juvenile court—where rehabilitation is the goal—rather than being tried and sentenced as an adult can result in dramatically different and more lenient treatment, so Proposition 57 reduces the possible punishment for a class of persons, namely juveniles. Nothing in Proposition 57’s text or ballot materials rebuts this inference. View "People v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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In this class action lawsuit, the court of appeal correctly relied on Eggert v. Pacific States S. & L. Co., 20 Cal. 2d, 199 (Cal. 1942) in ruling that unnamed class members may not appeal a class judgment, settlement, or attorney fees award unless they intervene in the action. In the instant case, Class Representatives alleged that Restoration Hardware, Inc. (RHI) committed violations of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act. The trial court found RHI liable for violations of the Act and awarded Representatives attorney fees. Appellant, an unnamed class member who never exercised her right to intervene during the class action by filing a complaint in intervention, filed a notice of appeal, challenging the award of attorney fees. The court of appeal dismissing Muller’s appeal for lack of standing, concluding that it was bound to follow Eggert. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, where Muller failed to intervene in the class action or file a motion to vacate the judgment and offered no persuasive reason why the court should create an exception to its long-standing rule, or overrule or distinguish Eggert, Muller was not entitled to relief. View "Hernandez v. Restoration Hardware, Inc." on Justia Law