Category Archives: Facts: Error/Omission

Did the opinion rely on a material mischaracterization or failure to consider facts in the lower court record? (“Material”: it’s reasonably likely the error(s) affected the result.)

People v. Sanders – 9/29/2016

People v. Sanders

No. A142875 (opn 9/29/2016, mod 10/19/16, rev den 12/14/2016)

Year: 2016
Errors: Facts: Error/Omission
Court: 1st District, Div 5
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Summary: Court of Appeal regarded record deferentially with respect to the facts as a general rule of appellate procedure, inappropriate in the context of the issues on appeal. (See arg. I in petition for review.) The error was material, because appellant was convicted of 40-something counts of robbery arising from a dozen incidents over the court of several months’ time. He was labelled the “chrome revolver bandit” because though no one could ID him, they often (but not always) remembered the big Dirty Harry style revolver used by the culprit. The circumstantial evidence in the record was rife with gaps, and confidence in the outcome — a key fact in prejudice assessment — should have taken these gaps into consideration, rather than deferring them away.

Document links:
Court of Appeal Opinion w/modification (Google Scholar) 
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)
Petition for Review (PDF)

People v. Debouver – 7/27/2016

People v. Debouver

No. B262455 (opn 7/27/2016, rhg den 8/17/2016)

Year: 2016
Errors:
Facts: Error/Omission
Law: Error/Misstatement
Issues: Omission/Unbriefed
Court: 2d District, Div 6
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Summary: There are assorted factual and legal errors and misstatements, as well as mischaracterization of appellant’s claims, which are outlined in the rehearing petition.  The most glaring mischaracterization of an issue (or perhaps simply a legal error) is in arguments IV and V of the rehearing petition, where the DCA treated “inhabited dwelling” and “residence” as one and the same, despite clear recognition in case law, see especially Singleton, that they have materially different meanings.

Document links:
Appellant’s Opening Brief (PDF)
Appellant’s Reply Brief (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion (Google Scholar)
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)

People v. Nguyen – 8/13/2015

People v. Nguyen

No. S076340; 61 Cal.4th 1015 (opn 8/13/2015; rhg den 10/14/2015; petn for cert to be filed)

Year: 2015
Errors:
Facts: Error/Omission
Law: Error/Misstatement
Issues: Omission/Unbriefed
Prejudice: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: Supreme Court
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Summary: In this capital case decision, the California Supreme Court consistently portrayed the facts of the crimes in a misleadingly (and sometimes inaccurately) pro-prosecution manner, ignoring evidence that undermined the prosecution’s case or supported the defense version; it repeatedly ignored appellant’s legal arguments; it ignored precedent in appellant’s favor; it reached pro-prosecution conclusions about the law that were neither explained nor supported by precedent; it frequently misstated or misleadingly portrayed the facts relevant to the legal issues raised; and it relied on reasons for rejecting appellant’s claims that had not been proposed by the respondent. See, e.g.:

Facts: Error/Omission: Rhg.Pet. pp. 5-21, 34-36, 39, 46-49, 50-51, 56-57, 58

Law: Error/Misstatement: Rhg.Pet. 28-29, 56, 58-59

Issues: Omission, Mischaracterization, Unbriefed: Rhg.Pet. 21-26, 29-30, 34, 36-37, 39, 40-44, 51-52, 53-55, 56-57

Prejudice: Selective vs. Whole Record Review: Rhg.Pet. 13, 31, 34, 37-38, 44-46

Document Links:
Supreme Court Opinion (61 Cal.4th 1015; Google Scholar)
Supreme Court Opinion (PDF)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)

People v. Zavala – 10/22/2013

People v. Zavala

No. H036028 (opn 10/22/2013, rev den 2/11/2014)

Year: 2013
Errors:
Facts: Error/Omission
Court: 6th District
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

zavalaSummary: The majority held defendants forfeited their Sixth Amendment confrontation claims (opn 79-86), even though the record contained copious evidence they had preserved those claims; e.g., trial court ruled in limine confrontation objection would be continuing. See in particular supplemental letter brief; rehearing petition 8-10; and P.J. Rushing’s dissent at 1-5 (opn pdf 101-105).

Document Links:
Supplemental Letter Brief (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion & Amendment (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion & Amendment (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing (PDF)

 

People v. Aguilar – 1/29/2013

People v. Aguilar

No. F061462 (opn 1/29/2013, rev den 5/15/2013)

Year: 2013
Errors:
Facts: Error/Omission
Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Appellate Factfinding
Court: 5th District
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.37.38 PMSummary: The Court of Appeal found “any possible” Confrontation Clause error harmless under both Chapman and Watson. But analysis was limited to a list of evidentiary items supporting the murder judgment and a finding that defendant’s credibility was “conclusively undermined[.]” (Opn at 67-68.) Missing entirely from the analysis and the rest of the opinion: any acknowledgment that (a) the jury followed 5 court days of evidence with 4 such days in deliberation; (b) during the latter period jurors requested 7 testimony read backs; (c) after 6 hours of deliberation, the jury announced it was deadlocked; and (d) the testimonial hearsay at issue was the only evidence directly undermining defendant’s alibi testimony. The harmless error analysis also relied on factual assertions unsupported by the record (e.g., that the defendant was “seen walking away from” the burning room where the death occurred) and omission of defense-favorable evidence. Defendant identified these errors and others in petitioning for both rehearing and California Supreme Court review; both petitions were summarily denied. Note: The CSC granted defendant’s motion for judicial notice as to other recent DCA opinions violating harmless error standards.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing (cited record material available upon request info [at] calapperrors [dot] com)
Petition for Review (see pp 1-2, 4-16; cited record material available upon request info [at] calapperrors [dot] com)
Motion for Judicial Notice

 

 

General Nanotechnology, LLC v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC – 6/27/2012

General Nanotechnology, LLC v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC

No. A129016/A129428 (opn 6/27/2012, rev den 9/12/2012)

Year: 2012
Errors: Facts: Error/Omission
Court: 1st District, Division 5
Errors Found/Argued: Errors not found by another court

Summary: For decades, a program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNS”) has been trying to use various materials to create the tiny, precise capsules that are critical to the production of energy through fusion. Plaintiffs disclosed proprietary information about diamond technology to LLNS as part of an attempt to obtain a contract from LLNS to produce the capsules out of diamond. LLNS severed relations with plaintiffs in October 2004, claiming there was no funding for their work. Petitioners did not file suit immediately, but did so after discovering facts in July 2007, that led them to believe that LLNS had been using their proprietary information in an attempt to produce diamond capsules with a foreign entity.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication against plaintiffs on their misappropriation and fraud causes of action, determining that the statute of limitations began to run in November 2004, when one of the plaintiffs saw a document from LLNS regarding diamond capsules. The Court of Appeal found that this document provided notice of the misappropriation claim to plaintiffs, rejecting as “unreasonable” plaintiffs’ testimony that the document referred to LLNS’s former plans to develop diamond capsules with the plaintiffs themselves, not to any attempt to develop diamond capsules with the foreign entity. Testimony from the document’s author confirmed that plaintiff’s interpretation was not only reasonable but correct – the document referred only to LLNS’s former plans to develop the capsules with plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal held that there was no need to consider whether petitioners could have conducted any further investigation into the facts because, using its interpretation, the document by itself provided a sufficient factual basis to file suit immediately.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF)
Court of Appeal Opinion (Google Scholar)
Petition for Rehearing
Petition for Review (see pp 15-17, 22-23)

 

People v. Garcia – 8/31/2011

People v. Garcia

No. E051761 (opn 8/31/2011; rev den 11/22/2011)

Year: 2011
Errors:
Facts: Error/Omission
Law: Error/Misstatement
Prejudice: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: 4th District, Div 2
Errors Found/Argued: Errors found by another court

Summary: A police officer read defendant his Miranda rights, then asked defendant, “Now having [those rights] in mind, do you wish to talk to me?” Defendant answered, “No,” but the officer kept questioning defendant and ultimately obtained a confession. The Court of Appeal held that, in context, “No” didn’t mean “No”; i.e., it was ambiguous and so didn’t amount to an assertion of defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to silence. The court added that even if it was constitutional error for the jury to hear the almost four-hour recorded interrogation, the error was harmless. The CA Supreme Court denied review. But in a federal habeas proceeding, the district court and Ninth Circuit reversed, holding the Court of Appeal decision was both contrary to and an unreasonable application of established United States Supreme Court law; it was also based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. And in finding harmless error, the Court of Appeal unreasonably ignored the prosecutor’s reliance on the confession in arguing to the jury.

Document Links:
Court of Appeal Opinion  (Google Scholar)
9th Circuit Opinion (808 F.3d 771; Google Scholar)
9th Circuit Opinion (PDF)