People v. Aguilar – 1/29/2013

People v. Aguilar

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

Year: 2013
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
Petition for Review (see pp 1-2, 4-16; cited record material available upon request
Motion for Judicial Notice