California Supreme Court-Cast (April 11, 2018)

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Month of:                    March, 2018
Publication Date:      April 11, 2018

The California Supreme Court published a total of nine cases last month:

2 automatic death penalty appeals,

  • Filed on March 1, 2018, The People v. Joseph Andrew Perez, Jr.; in an automatic death penalty appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s conviction of Mr. Perez, who had been found guilty of the murder of Janet Daher in a home invasion robbery when Mr. Perez and two of his friends arbitrarily chose to rob Ms. Daher’s home because her garage door was open and then murdered her because she had heard one of the co-robber’s say another’s name.
  • Filed on March 5, 2018, The People v. Todd Jesse Garton; was an automatic death penalty appeal, the sentence of which was affirmed by the Supreme Court for Mr. Garton’s murder of his wife and unborn child with special circumstances.  The conviction for conspiracy to murder his co-defendant’s husband, however, was reversed on the grounds that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the elements required for a conviction on conspiracy.

1 case related to hours and wage calculation,

  • Filed on March 5, 2018, Hector Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California; where the Supreme Court ruled that an employee’s overtime pay rate, when there is a flat sum bonus during a single pay period, should be calculated by dividing the pay by the number of nonovertime hours the employee worked during the pay period.

1 certified question from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,

  • Filed on March 5, 2018, Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Related Cases; addressed a question posed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the Supreme Court’s opinion on the dissolution of law partnerships.  Specifically, the Court held that when a law partnership dissolves, the partnership does not have a property interest in the former partners’ work on hourly fee matters pending at the time of the firm’s dissolution.

1 writ of habeaus corpus,

  • Filed on March 12, 2018, In re Vincente Benavides Figueroa; in a habeus corpus petition for a conviction and death sentence previously confirmed by the Court for the rape and murder of Consuelo Verdugo in 1991, the Court vacated the judgment in its entirety on the basis of the State’s concession that that false evidence was introduced at trial regarding the alleged rape.  While the State argued for a reduction from First Degree Murder to Second Degree Murder, the court considered such a reduction to require it to posit a radically different trial than the one that petitioner received, and was therefore required to vacate the judgment.

2 cases related to procedural questions arising from Proposition 47,

  • Filed on March 12, 2018, The People v. Veronica Lorraine DeHoyos et alterius; in this case the court addressed a procedural issue related to Proposition 47, determining that defendants who were serving felony sentences on the measure’s effective date but whose judgments were on appeal and thus not yet final are required to follow the statutory resentencing procedures, including the risk assessment, prescribed by Penal Code Section 1170.18.
  • Filed on March 29, 2018; The People v. Mario Martinez; in another case involving interaction of Proposition 47 with current law, the Supreme Court held that the court of appeals incorrectly held that the resentencing provisions of Proposition 47 necessarily do not apply to the transportation of drugs, as resentencing eligibility is not contingent on having been convicted under an enumerated statute.  The Court nevertheless upheld the lower court’s denial of resentencing on the reasoning that Mr. Martinez would still have been guilty of a felony even if the provisions of Proposition 47 were in effect when the 2007 crime was committed because the Proposition only dealt with crimes of possession – here, Mr. Martinez’s crime was one of transportation, not possession.

1 appeal on a civil negligence action, and

  • Filed on March 22, 2018; The Regents of the University of California et alterius v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County [Real Party in Interest] Katherine Rosen; where the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ finding that UCLA had no duty to protect a student from another student.  The Supreme Court determined that when the school is on notice of foreseeable violence during curricular activities, then it owes a duty to protect to protect its students.  However, the court remanded the case for further proceedings on whether judgment should nevertheless be entered in favor of UCLA on the grounds of whether it breached this duty, or whether it is immune from liability on other grounds.

1 case related to a procedural question under the special motion to strike statute.

  • Filed on March 22, 2018; Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC et alterius v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism et alterius; where the Supreme Court held that because Anti-SLAPP is designed to resolve unmeritorious suits early, hearing a special motion to strike after the 60-day statutory deadline may be denied within the discretion of the trial court.

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