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Criminal Law & Procedure Case Summaries

[03/29] US v. Plascencia-Orozco
Conviction and sentence for aggravated identity theft and attempted illegal reentry are affirmed where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant's request for a fourth attorney; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by ruling that the defendant breached the terms of his 2008 plea agreement when he attempted to reenter the U.S. unlawfully in 2011; 3) the district court did not commit errors that cumulatively rendered the defendant's trial fundamentally unfair; 4) the district court did abuse its discretion in sentencing defendant to 184 months imprisonment. However, the district court lacked the authority to issue a freestanding order directing the defendant to use his true legal name.

[03/28] Moore v. Texas
In a petition for habeas corpus relief from death sentence for fatally shooting a store clerk during a botched robbery that occurred when petitioner was 20 years old, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) decision overturning the habeas court's grant of petition -- which found that petitioner qualified as intellectually disabled and that his death sentence therefore violated the Eighth Amendment's proscription of cruel and unusual punishments -- is vacated where, by rejecting the habeas court's application of medical guidance and by following the standard set in Ex parte Briseno, 135 S. W. 3d 1, including the nonclinical Briseno factors, the CCA's decision does not comport with the Eighth Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

[03/28] People v. Hernandez
Denial of Proposition 47 petition for resentencing, Pen. Code section 1170.18(a), as to a 1997 conviction for petty theft with a specified prior conviction, former section 666, is reversed where defendant was not disqualified from resentencing under section 1170.18(i), because although defendant's robbery conviction was punished by an indeterminate life term under the Three Strikes law, robbery itself is not a serious and/or violent felony offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death under section 667(e)(2)(C)(iv)(VIII).

[03/28] Melcher v. Superior Court
In a petition to recuse the Calaveras County District Attorney's office from prosecuting a criminal action against petitioner because the victim of his alleged crime is the district attorney's husband, the trial court's denial of the motion to recuse is affirmed and the petition is denied, as the mere fact the victim and the district attorney are married does not establish a disabling conflict where: 1) there is no evidence she has influenced the prosecution; 2) an ethical wall prevents the district attorney from influencing the case; and 3) the district attorney waives any rights to participate in the case as a victim or a member of the victim's family.

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