California Criminal Law News - California Case Law
California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Criminal Law Category

Court Must Allow Psych Testimony in Tragic Gay Homicide Case

Facing an extraordinarily troubling set of facts, a California appeals court decided to err on the side of an emotionally damaged killer whose life came spiraling down, culminating in a frenzied murder.

In the view of the court, the statutory prohibitions that preclude expert testimony on the subject of mens rea were improperly applied to the criminal defendant's disadvantage. And in a case such as this, such prejudice cannot be left undisturbed.

Gov. Brown Raises Smoking Age to 21 in California

Despite predictable resistance and noise from the tobacco industry, the California legislature overwhelmingly passed a pair of bills that raised the smoking age from 18 to 21 throughout the state and broadened regulation of vaping, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco-related products. Governor Brown signed the legislation without comment and without delay.

Public health advocates have generally voiced approval for the move. Cynical lawyers also approve as droves of late teens stand to violate the new law post-haste.

CA's Orange County Jailhouse Snitching Program Continues

Law enforcement continues to get battered in the court of public opinion. In general, law enforcement could really use a boost of good press.

Well, don't look to California. As if the state didn't have enough of its plate already, the now infamous Orange County jailhouse informant scandal threatens to shake law enforcement even more. So much for good press.

Carrying a Concealed Gun in a Car Is a CA Crime of Moral Turpitude

It turns out that one of the best ways to aggravate and intensify a penal sentence against you in California is to be carrying a concealed weapon while you commit a crime. This is demonstrated in the crime of People v. Aguilar.

The legal issue at bar is whether "crimes of moral turpitude" include not just the more traditional crimes of dishonesty, but also other criminal acts that don't quite so neatly fall into a clean category.

Fail to Appear and Forfeit Your Bail, Court Rules. Imagine That!

In what is quite possibly the year's most seemingly obvious procedural issue, the California Supreme Court opined that a felony defendant's failure to execute a written waiver of his required presence constitutes a justified forfeit of bail under Penal Code sec. 1305(a).

The moral of the story? Show up to court.

Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow Guilty on All 162 Criminal Counts

Raymond Chow is guilty of all 162 criminal counts brought against him in monumentally large indictment that alleged the former Chinese-mafia leader engaged in murder-for-hire, money laundering, conspiracy to traffic in stolen goods, as well as a slew of other hefty crimes. It's been almost ten years since Allen Leung was shot dead in the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown. Soon, it seems, his story will come to a close.

"Shrimp Boy" will be sentenced on March 23rd this year, and faces a life-long prison term.

The California State Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed, more than 800 new laws in 2015, covering everything from physician-assisted suicide, to minimum wage, to beer-tastings at farmers' markets. As is often the case, most of those new laws went into effect at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2016.

Here's a quick overview of some of the most significant new laws and how they might affect your life and your legal practice.

Growing Medical Pot Not a Crime, Rules CA Appeals Ct.

Marijuana claims another victory just before the end of the year: a California appeals court ruled in favor of a woman who was growing marijuana for her own medical use. Since she needed the marijuana to treat her chronic pain, growing the marijuana was not a crime.

This California case is just the latest chapter in what has been a tidal wave of national attitude change regarding pot. It looks like not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, however.

'Shrimp Boy' Chow From SF Chinatown Testifies in His Murder Trial

Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow, the one-time gang kingpin in San Francisco's Chinatown, took the stand in federal court Monday, testifying in his own defense in the murder trial. This is a rather unusual tactic given Chow's very sordid criminal past.

For some reason, Chow felt it necessary to make it known that the tie he wore to court Monday was bought by his girlfriend at Goodwill for $3.

San Bernardino Gun Purchaser Appears in Court

It's difficult to believe that it has already been several weeks since the mass-shooting in San Bernardino that took upwards of more than a dozen lives. Shootings have seemingly become so prevalent it's difficult to keep track of the shootings and the consequent numbers of victims.

However, the memory is still fresh enough in the public's mind to recall that the weapons used in the attack were all legitimately purchased, according to officials, through the use of 'straw man' Enrique Marquez. He faces up to 35 years in prison for a handful of charges including conspiracy to commit terrorism with Syed Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino shooter.