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Rulings in Criminal, Administrative, and Constitutional Cases

By FindLaw Staff on March 02, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The California Courts of Appeals decided a criminal case where a key witness was made unavailable, a claimed violation of CEQA by a city for assessing a fee for an appeal, a challenge to the Medical Board of California's noncompliance with a statute, and whether an amendment has a retroactive effect in sentencing criminal defendants. Lastly, the Supreme Court of California dealt with a death-row inmate's array of arguments challenging his conviction. 

In Friends of Glendora v. City of Glendora, No. B215114, the Second District decided the issue of whether the city violated the CEQA when it assessed a $2000 fee for plaintiff's appeal to the city council of a planning commission decision.  In affirming the demurrer, the court held that under the plain reading of the provisions of Gov Code sections 66452.5 and 66451.2 confirm the city's right to impose a reasonable fee in this situation.  Furthermore, the plaintiff has failed to indicate how she could amend her complaint to avoid the demurrer.

In People v. Treadway, No. C059069, the Third District faced a challenge to a conviction for attempted robbery and firearm use.  In reversing the conviction, the court held that defendant's due process rights were violated when the prosecution made a co-defendant, a material witness, unavailable, by not merely advising the witness not to testify, but by making it an outright condition of the plea bargain.

In Marquez v. Med. Bd. of California, No. C060456, the Third District decided an action against the Medical Board of California for its failure to establish by resolution, despite a statute requiring it to do so,  the passing score required for the examination used to license people to practice medicine in California.  In reversing the trial court's decision, the court held that plaintiff is entitled to an order directing the board to comply with the statute.  However, the court concluded that while she is entitled to re-take the test, she is not entitled to an order deeming her to have passed the test.

In People v. Rodriquez, No. F057533, the Fifth District faced a challenge to the sentence imposed on a defendant convicted of receiving stolen property and violating probation for prior conviction in 2007.  the 2010 amendment to Penal Code section 4019 contains no saving clause as it did in Estrada, and as such, there is no clear and compelling implication that the Legislature intended the amendatory statute at issue to apply retroactively.  The court also rejected defendant's equal protection challenge to the prospective application of the 2010 amendment to section 4019, as it is much more than merely reasonably conceivable that the Legislature enacted the 2010 amendment with the additional purpose of increasing the incentive for good conduct.

Lastly, in People v. Mills, No. S059653, the Supreme Court of California faced a criminal defendant's challenge to his conviction for first-degree murder and sex crimes and trial court's imposition of a death sentence.  In affirming the conviction and the sentence of death, the court rejected as meritless defendant's multitude of claims including  that the trial court lacked impartiality when it conducted voir dire, that the trial court committed various evidentiary errors, and alleged prosecutorial misconduct. 

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