Decisions in Criminal, Juvenile, Banking & Tax Law Matters - California Case Law
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Decisions in Criminal, Juvenile, Banking & Tax Law Matters

People v. Vasquez, B218802, concerned a challenge to the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to have his restitution obligation to a young girl who had been severely mauled by defendant's pit bull satisfied, in a prosecution of defendant for failure to control a mischievous animal that caused serious bodily injury.

In affirming the denial, the court held that the cases construing section 1202.4 and the effect of a crime victim's acceptance of a civil settlement on the defendant's obligation to satisfy a restitution order have all concluded a civil settlement/waiver of liability by the victim do not preclude or necessarily satisfy a properly entered restitution order.  The court also held that the trial court's ruling that defendant failed to establish his entitlement to an offset is supported by substantial evidence and falls well within the court's ample discretion in this case.

People v. Polk, A117633, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for second degree murder of her husband.  In affirming in part, the court held that, because defendant did not raise the issue of the substantive adequacy of the Miranda warnings in the trial court, defendant has forfeited this issue on appeal.  Further, there is no basis for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel on the Miranda issue.  The court also held that even if the trial court's error in admitting defendant's statements on the prosecution's case-in-chief had been preserved for appeal, there is no grounds for reversal because, any error in the admission of the statements was not prejudicial to defendant.  Lastly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in deciding not to hold an evidentiary hearing on the charges of juror misconduct, largely because the matters purportedly discussed were not prejudicial.

However, the court vacated the trial court's order requiring reimbursement of the county's defense costs and remanded as, the county's lien did not obviate the need for the trial court to determine whether defendant had the financial ability to reimburse the county's expenses.

In re X.S., B221851, concerned a challenge to a juvenile court's judgment declaring a father's minor son a dependent child of the court based in part on a finding against the father under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300(b) and ordering the child place with his maternal grandmother.

In reversing the judgment, the court remanded the case in concluding that, to establish dependency jurisdiction under section 300(b), DCFS must establish by a preponderance of the evidence proof of past harm or substantial risk of future harm to the child, and here, the juvenile court's conclusion that dependency jurisdiction exists based on the allegation against the father under section 300(b) is not supported by substantial evidence.

In re A.Z., G043325, concerned a father's appeal from the juvenile court's order terminating his parental rights to his daughter, then two-years-old, in dependency proceedings.  In dismissing the appeal, the court held that the father's death has caused this appeal to become moot, and that the dismissal will serve the minor's best interests by providing finality in the dependency case and enable her to proceed in the adoption process.

Chino Commercial Bank, N.A. v. Peters, E049170, concerned a challenge to the trial court's grant of the bank's application for the right to attach order as to defendant's property, in a bank's suit against defendant for breach of contract and fraud, arising from a Nigerian-style email scam.  In affirming, the court held that, even assuming that the bank had the burden of proof, it introduced sufficient evidence that it did not act negligently in accepting the checks for deposit.  The court also held that the UCC precludes any claim that the bank acted negligently in making the wire transfers.

California Taxpayers' Ass'n v. Franchise Tax Bd., C062791, concerned a challenge to the trial court's judgment in favor of the Franchise Tax Board, in a taxpayers' group's suit against the state Franchise Tax Board, claiming that section 19138, of the Revenue and Taxation Code, is unconstitutional under article XIII A, section 3, for not meeting a legislative vote requirement and is also unconstitutional on procedural grounds.  In affirming, the court held that the Revenue and Taxation Code section 19138, a corporate tax penalty provision for understating such taxes by more than $1,000,000, is a penalty, and therefore, not subject to the two-thirds legislative vote requirement for a "state tax" increase as required by article XIII A, section 3 of the state Constitution.  The court also held that the statute, as properly construed, affords due process.

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