People v. Hem

(California Court of Appeal) – Reversed the voluntary manslaughter conviction of a man who fatally shot his brother in alleged self-defense. Held that the trial court did not adequately address the possibility of jury misconduct. Some jurors may have engaged in improper discussions outside of the jury deliberation room.

US v. Landeros

(United States Ninth Circuit) – Held that law enforcement officers were not permitted to extend a lawfully initiated vehicle stop because a passenger refused to identify himself, absent reasonable suspicion that he had committed a criminal offense. Reversed the denial of a motion to suppress evidence.

People v. Munoz

(California Court of Appeal) – Affirmed a motorist’s conviction of second-degree murder for causing a fatal vehicle crash while driving under the influence of alcohol. He contended that the jury should have been instructed on lesser included offenses.

US v. Lopez

(United States Ninth Circuit) – Held that a woman convicted of buying a firearm using false identification should not have been precluded from presenting an expert witness on Battered Woman Syndrome. She contended that a former boyfriend threatened to harm her and her family unless she bought the gun for him. The Ninth Circuit vacated …

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People v. Lopez

(California Court of Appeal) – On rehearing, affirmed a defendant’s conviction of second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run driving. He argued, unsuccessfully, that his convictions should be reversed because his counsel’s statements during argument were tantamount to a guilty plea.

People v. Duenas

(California Court of Appeal) – Held that it was unconstitutional to require an indigent woman who drove with a suspended license to pay $220 in fees and fines, due to her poverty and inability to afford it. Reversed an order imposing the monetary assessments.

US v. Proano

(United States Seventh Circuit) – Affirmed a Chicago police officer’s conviction of willful deprivation of constitutional rights. While on duty, he fired 16 shots at a moving sedan filled with teenagers in what was found to be an excessive use of force, injuring two of the passengers.

In re B.M.

(Supreme Court of California) – Reversed a teenager’s juvenile court conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, in a case where she wielded a butter knife. Clarified what is necessary for an object to qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it was used.

People v. Vasquez

(California Court of Appeal) – On rehearing, reversed a second-degree murder conviction in a case where a victim was beaten to death. Held that the trial judge should have instructed the jury on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser-included offense.