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The Navarro, Arceo and Garcia families had a tough May in 2007. Not only did their Mother's Day end up in a brawl, a child's birthday party ended up as a stabbing party. That lead to the conviction of three relatives for murder.

Those convictions were upheld on Tuesday, when the state's 4th Appellate Court upheld their convictions in full, despite claims of 'legally impossible' jury instructions.

Maile Mae Hampton, a young African American woman, attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento last January to speak out against police violence against minorities -- and ended up being charged with felony lynching. Hampton is accused of pulling a fellow protestor away from police, which prosecutors felt met the definition of lynching in California: "the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of a peace officer."

Perhaps realizing that the charge was in poor judgment -- or perhaps just poor P.R. -- Sacramento's chief deputy district attorney amended the complaint. Instead of lynching, Hampton now faces a single charge of misdemeanor interference with an officer.

In a move that surprised many, the California's Supreme Court declined to revisit a controversial January ruling on mandatory registration for certain offenders. The case the court declined to rehear, Johnson v. Department of Justice, revived a mandatory registration law that many argued was homophobic and unjustly subjected gay and lesbian defendants to greater punishments than their straight counterparts.

The Johnson decision received a strong dissent from two Justices. Court observers had expected Governor Brown's recent appointees to push the court more to the left and to rehear the case. The decision this week is one sign that those predictions may have been misguided.

California's three strikes law can lead to some complicated baseball. In general, the law is supposed to be fairly straightforward. Your second felony, or "strike," results in twice the term it would get if you didn't have a prior felony. If that second strike is for a serious felony, then five more years are added on. Thus, for second strikers, the court determines the base sentence, doubles it and adds on five more years.

Of course, real life isn't always that simple. In many cases, the second strike is a conviction for several offenses, with multiple terms. Does the serious felony enhancement apply to each term, meaning your five extra years can pile up to become extra decades? Not according a state Supreme Court decision last Thursday which held that the serious felony enhancement may be added only once as part of a second-strike sentence.

Can a court use circumstantial evidence, along with blood and breath tests, to conclude that a driver was above the legal limit for alcohol intoxication?

That's the question the California Supreme Court answered earlier this month, and it answered in the affirmative after Ashley Coffey challenged her driver's license suspension following a DUI arrest.

If you're facing minor drug charges in California, your outcome may be fairly predictable. The pattern typically goes something like this: get busted, plead guilty and undergo drug treatment. If successful, your charges will be dropped.

Except if you're a noncitizen. Pleading guilty to a drug charge could trigger your deportation. Even if the state wipes away your minor drug conviction, federal immigration law does not forget it. A proposed California law is seeking to change that, however, offering relief to noncitizens charged with minor drug crimes.

An 18-year sentence for revenge porn? It's more likely than you think. Last week, the San Diego Superior Court sentenced 28-year-old Kevin Bollaert to 18 years in prison for operating a revenge porn website.

Well, sort of. Bollaert was also convicted of identity theft and extortion because he put photos on his website, then asked for between $250 and $350 from the women in the photos in exchange for taking the photos down.

It's hard to tell who to trust when accused criminals turn on each other. Is the jailhouse informant singing a false song in order to get a lighter sentence? Isn't it curious how the accomplice claims the other guy took the lead in everything?

By the very nature of it, informants are usually self-interested, leading to serious credibility issues. For this reason, California requires corroboration for the testimony of an accomplice and an in-custody informant. And, in a case of first impression, those two may corroborate each other, according to a recent decision by the state's appellate court.

A nonprofit representing California sex workers is currently suing to overturn the state's laws against prostitution and solicitation. The organization, Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLER, a very unsexy acronym), argues that the state's prohibitions on sex work violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

So, is California about to go the way of Amsterdam or certain counties in Nevada and decriminalize the world's oldest profession? It's doubtful, but ESPLER thinks it's possible.

Blanket prohibitions on where registered sex offenders can live are unconstitutional, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday. The case was brought by registered sex offenders in San Diego who objected to mandatory residency restrictions in the penal code.

Sex offenders can't, for example, live within 2,000 feet of a public or private school or a park where children regularly gather. These requirements, the court said, have done more harm than good to registered sex offenders and bear "no rational relationship to advancing the state's goal of protecting children from sexual predators."