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Decisions In Criminal Matters, Plus Trial Court's Denial Of Election Contest Reinstated

By FindLaw Staff on June 08, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In People v. Vang, No.D054343, the Fourth District faced a challenge to the conviction of defendants for assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury and a jury finding that the special allegation was true.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that, although the trial court erred in admitting expert opinion on defendant's knowledge and intent in response to two hypothetical questions, the error was harmless.  The court also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendants' motion in limine to bifurcate the gang enhancement allegations from the trial of the underlying assault, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain evidence at issue.  Lastly, the court modified one of the defendant's probation condition regarding use of cell phone or paging device.

In People v. Keating, No. B210240, the Second District faced a challenge to a conviction of defendant for grand theft, forgery, and other crimes, all arising from various transactions involving a business defendant shared with a partner.  In affirming the convictions, the court held that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to prove the charges against defendant.  However, with respect to defendant's sentence, the court held that defendant is entitled to recalculation of his presentence custody credits as the 2009 amendments to Penal Code section 4019 are retroactive. 

In People v. Weber, No. C060135, the Third District faced a challenge to a conviction of defendant for unlawful possession of a gun and ammunition, based on his prior conviction for spousal battery.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that the record supports the trial court's finding that defendant knowingly and voluntarily chose to waive counsel.  The  court also held that defendant's contentions that the trial court improperly failed to appoint counsel to represent him at the sentencing hearing, and improperly imposed the upper term, are rejected as without merit.  However, the court modified defendant's sentence as he is entitled to additional custody credits.  

In Greene v. Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation Dist., No. S172199, the California Supreme Court dealt with a property owner's suit challenging the election results of a passage of the flood control district's proposal of a storm drainage fee fund improvements intended to prevent flooding and flood damage,

In reversing the judgment of the court of appeal and reinstating the judgment of the trial court denying plaintiff's election contest, the court held that the district conducted the election in accord with the literal language of article section 6(c) using ballots that were substantially similar to those authorized under section 4, and took measures to provide for ballot secrecy notwithstanding the fact that the ballots required the voters to disclose their identities.  Furthermore, the court stated that there is no other basis for invalidating the fee election at issue.     

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