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Grand Jury Subpoenas for Documents of a Public Investigation Enforceable

The Ninth Circuit Court reversed an order in the district court. The Ninth Circuit held that grand jury subpoenas for documents were enforceable where they came within subpoena power through litigation initiated after the grand jury investigation became public.

The government conducted an anti-trust investigation into alleged criminal conduct that became public. Private lawsuits were filed against the companies under investigation. These lawsuits were consolidated in district court into one case. During that litigation discovery produced defendants' documents that originated from outside of the United States. Several domestic law firms representing the defendant companies possessed the documents and were subpoenaed by the grand jury in the government investigation. The law firms moved to quash the subpoenas. The district court agreed, finding novel issues with the implications for grand-jury power and for the relationship between grand-jury proceedings and civil discovery of forei…

Ninth Circuit rules that "Honest Services" Mail Fraud Does Not Require Proof of Fiduciary Relationship

The Ninth Circuit Court reversed a district court order on Friday, December 3rd, that dismissed an indictment, remanding the action for further proceedings. The Court held that "honest services" mail fraud did not require proof of a fiduciary relationship nor did it require damages to the money or property of the victim. 

Brano Milovanovic and three others, (collectively Milovanovic), were indicted for "honest services" mail fraud for, according to the indictment, participating in a corrupt scheme to obtain commercial drivers' licenses in the State of Washington by cheating on the associated tests and falsifying residency in exchange for bribes. Milovanovic, a certified Bosnian translator, bribed a co-defendant who worked for a firm the state department employed to administer driving tests. Milovanovic and his co-defendant were not employees of the state and the state was not deprived of any fees associated with the commercial drivers' license testing proces…

Defendants Who Knew Federal Law Made Cannabis Illegal Were Not Misled by Sheriff Who Assured Them That Their Marijuana Grow Was Legal.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment holding that defendants who knew that under federal law that cannabis remained illegal, and could not be prescribed by physicians, were not misled by county sheriff’s deputies who purportedly assured them that their marijuana grow operation was legal under federal law. Dale Shafer, an attorney, and Marion Fry, a physician were a married couple who operated a medical marijuana dispensary in California. The operation began after Fry was diagnosed with a condition for which marijuana was recommended to alleviate side effects of treatment. Shafer began cultivating marijuana for Fry’s use and informed the county sheriff of his operations. Sheriff’s deputies visited the operation many times and inspected the plants, even after the cultivation extended beyond personal use amounts and developed into a business.


Shafer and Fry were eventually indicted federally for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana plants. They moved to d…

Traffic Violation Citations Counted as Arrests to Calculate Criminal History Points

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court judgment which included traffic violation citations as “arrests” when calculating the defendant’s criminal history under U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(a)(2). The Court agreed with the Seventh Circuit in its application of United States v. Morgan, which treated Leal-Felix’s traffic violations as arrests with regard to the Sentencing Guidelines. United States v. Morgan, 354, F .3d 621 (7th Cir. 2003).

In February 2005 Israel Leal-Felix plead guilty to aggravated felony of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon and was deported from the United States to Mexico. In March of 2009, Leal-Felix reentered the United States without applying for readmission after his deportation. Under a plea agreement, Leal-Felix pled guilty to a single-count of violating 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) (illegal re-entry), for which the potential prison term is 20 years. The plea agreement provided that Leal-Felix would be sentenced to at the low end of the Sentencing Guidelines range, dete…

United States v. Redlightning: Confessions Before and After Voluntary Polygraph Not Illegal as the Result of Unlawful Detention or Failure to Promptly

The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed a district court judgment of conviction on Monday, October 25th. The Court held that confessions obtained during and after a voluntary polygraph examination were not illegal as a result of unlawful detention or failure to promptly present the defendant to a magistrate.

Rita Disanjh's body was found on the Lummi Indian Reservation in August of 1987. The pathologist was not able to rule out sexual assault but did determine that the victim had been killed by manual strangulation. In 2006, Athena Swope, daughter of Henry Redlightning's deceased partner, Patricia Dubbs, told police that Redlightning had been involved in the murder of a woman and that she had learned of this from her mother in 2003, to whom Redlightning had confessed.

In October 2007 Redlightning was interviewed by FBI agents and agreed to answer questions in a polygraph examination. During the polygraph examination Redlightning was asked "Did you sexually assault and kill Rita…

Flight from Hit and Run Does Not Qualify as Grounds for Great Bodily Injury Enhancement

The California Court of Appeal determined on Tuesday, October 12th that a great bodily injury enhancement does not apply to a hit and run violation unless the injury was caused or aggravated by the failure to stop and give aid.

The appellant, Mr. Valdez, hit a pedestrian with his car and drove away, injuring the victim. Months later, the appellant turned himself in to the police. Valdez was convicted of hit and run. The jury also found true a great bodily injury enhancement.

The Court of Appeal considered whether a great bodily injury enhancement can be found true in conjunction with a hit and run when the injuries suffered by the victim were not aggravated by the defendant's failure to stop and give aid. The Court held that it could not. Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code requires great bodily injury "in the commission of a felony or attempted felony" and the Vehicle Code section 20001 makes fleeing after an accident criminal. The injuries sustained by the victim were not …

Prolonged Detention of Evidence to Accommodate Drug-Detecting Canines Does Not Violate Fourth Amendment Rights

A District Court judgment was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court on Monday, October 18th. The Court held that the admission of marijuana evidence, found in a mailed package delayed twenty-two hours as a result of the remoteness of the site from canine investigation, did not violate the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.

Robert Lozano of Barrow, Alaska, asked a post office manager whether mail was screened for drugs. Suspicious, the manager notified the postal inspector of this inquiry, who authorized a "mail watch" on Lozano's post office box. After the arrival of a large and heavily taped package addressed to "Bill Corner" at Lozano's box, the manager notified the inspector, who requested it be sent to him in Anchorage. The package was mailed on one of two daily flights from Barrow to Anchorage and was alerted by a drug dog. After obtaining a warrant officers found eleven pounds of marijuana inside the package. Lozano picked up the package under a cont…

Housing Detainees in High-Temperature Areas Constitutes Cruel and Unusal Punishment

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court judgment that housing pretrial detainees in a jail where temperatures exceeded 85° F amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment as to detainees who were taking psychotropic medications that made high temperatures a significant health risk.

In 1977, Fred Graves, Isaac Popoca, and others, (collectively, Graves), indigent prisoners in Maricopa County jails in Arizona, sued the county sheriff and the county supervisors (collectively, the sheriff) on behalf of all of the detainees in the county jails. Graves alleged that the conditions of his confinement violated his constitutional rights and that, among other things, the temperature was dangerously high and there was inadequate food.

From 1977 through 1995, the district court adopted the terms of an agreement that addressed each of the detainee's claims and later amended it to reflect changes in the prison population, jail construction, advances in medical treatment, …

People v. Camino: Firearm Enhancement Cannot be Imposed when the Deceased is the Principal

The Fourth Appellate District Court affirmed in part and reversed in part a judgment and remanded. The court held that a firearm sentence enhancement was improperly imposed on a defendant who could not have been vicariously liable for the shooting death of a fellow gang member. This is because the gang member who was shot and killed could not have been a principal or an accomplice to his own death.

Jose Camino and a fellow gang member, Rolando Palacios, were involved in a gun fight with a rival gang. Palacios, the lone shooter in Camino's group and the only one who was armed, was shot and killed by a bullet of unknown origin. Police interviewed Camino twice at the police station. Prior to the first interview Camino was not read his rights under Miranda v. Arizona(1996) 384 U.S. 436. In this interview, Camino revealed that he, Palacios, and a third individual had driven into the alley in pursuit of rival gang members. Camino stated that Palacios had stepped out of the car and shot a…

U.S. v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc.: Ninth Circuit Holds that the Government only has a Right to Specific Names in Search Warrant

The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part a ruling by the district court on Monday, September 13th. The Ninth Circuit held that the government had no right to retain seized drug-test results of professional athletes other than those specified in a search warrant.

The Major League Baseball Players Association ("players") and Major League Baseball came to an agreement on anonymous and suspicion-less urine sample drug testing of all players. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc. (CDT) an independent company, administered the sample tests for the members of the players. The results of the tests were maintained by CDT with the lists of players and their respective results and the company that actually performed the testing, Quest Diagnostics, Inc., kept the testing samples.

The government investigated the Bay Area Lab Cooperative (Balco), which it suspected of providing steroids to players and learned that ten players had tested positive in the CDT program. The gov…

Ninth Circuit Decision Stands that GPS Devices can be Installed Without a Warrant

On August 12th, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court voted to deny a petition for rehearing en banc a case which many consider a controversial ruling on the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of privacy.The original ruling of United States v. Pineda-Moreno was decided in January of this year.In Pineda-Moreno, the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed a district court ruling that effectively allows law enforcement officers to secretly place a global positioning system (GPS) device on an individual’s car without securing a warrant from a judge. In the August 12th Order, Judge Kozinski issued a dramatic and scathing dissent of the denial of the rehearing on banc.The facts of the case were as follows: in 2007 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents attached a GPS device to the underside of Juan Pineda-Moreno’s vehicle on several occasions over a four-month period based on suspicions that he was involved in a conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana. On four of these occasions, the vehicle was park…

People v. Bradford: Court Determines that Security Guards Can be Victims of Robbery Due to 'Special Relationship' with Stores

The California Court of Appeals determined on Wednesday, September 1st, that security guards at a shopping mall can be victims of a robbery although they are not the owners of the stolen property and are not directly employed by the store that owned the property. The court determined this based on the evidence that the guards had a 'special relationship' with the store and had the duty and authority to retrieve its stolen property. Additionally, the court rejected the defendant's claims that the jury instructions on this point were incorrect and his mid-trial motion for self-representation under Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806, (Faretta).

Richard Gary Bradford stole six bottles of perfume from Victoria's Secret and was noticed by the shift manager, Nina Paiz, walking out of the store with the perfume. Paiz spoke with two security guards, Steven Conyers and Arthur Sandoval, and reported Bradford's actions. Conyers and Sandoval followed Bradford and contacte…

United States v. Ali: Unauthorized Sales of Software deemed Deprivation of “Money or Property” and Grounds for Wire and Mail Fraud Convictions

A district court judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part by the 9th Circuit court. The 9th Circuit held that mail and wire fraud defendants took "money or property" from a software manufacturer by obtaining discounted software packages under false pretenses and then selling the packages indiscriminately for full price. http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/43mcrm.htm

Microsoft sold software package, Academic Edition (AE), through its Authorized Education Reseller (AER) program. According to the program, AERs could receive software at discounted prices and sell it to qualified educational users. The Microsoft AER agreement also held that if an AER violated the terms, the AER would be liable to Microsoft for the difference between Microsoft's estimated retail price and commercial versions of the software.

Mirza Ali, Sameena Ali and Keith Griffen attained AER status under false pretenses for various companies and subsequently sold AE softw…

U.S. v. Rivera-Corona: Defendant Has Right Under Sixth Amendment to Court-Appointed Counsel After Discharging Private Criminal Defense Attorney

The Ninth Circuit reversed a district court judgment and sent it back for re-sentencing on Wednesday, August 18th. The court held that the district court did not undertake the proper inquiry on the defendant's motion to relieve his counsel and proceed with a different, court-appointed lawyer. The defendant's motion was rejected based on public expense and the late stage of the proceedings.

Trinidad Rivera-Corona pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Prior to sentencing, according to Rivera-Corona, he did not get along with his retained counsel and that said he did not feel as though he could continue fighting his case before a jury without the attorney wanting more money and possibly suing his family. This statement was misinterpreted as a request to withdraw his guilty plea and a request for new counsel, both of which were denied.

The appellate court observed that under the Sixth Amendment, indigent defendants have a constitutional right …

Martinez-Medina v. Holder: Seizure of an Alien After Illegal Status is Admitted is Not a 4th Amendment Violation

The 9th Circuit court held that seizure of an alien by a state law enforcement officer after the alien admitted to being illegally present in the United States was not a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment warranting suppression of the alien's statements at an immigration hearing.

Ladislao Martinez-Medina was stopped at a gas station in Oregon with several others because of his over-heated car. The gas station owner called the Sheriff's Department and the deputy sheriff arrived shortly thereafter. He spoke with them briefly and asked if they had "green cards," to which Martinez-Medina's son, Oscar, replied that they did not. All of those present had understood this question to mean, 'were they legally present in the United States?' The deputy placed them in custody and said he was going to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Agent Warner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrived, spoke with some of the people in custody as w…

In Re Coley: "Three Strikes Law" Applies to Defendant for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

On Wednesday, August 4th, the Second Appellate Court denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, effectively allowing the Three Strikes Rule to apply to the case of the defendant, Willie Coley. The Court held that there had been no violation of the federal Constitution's Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, where the defendant had a lengthy and serious criminal history.

Coley was convicted of failing to update his sex offender registration within five working days of his birthday and had been previously convicted of manslaughter, rape in concert, and robberies between 1978 and 2001. In light of these earlier convictions and in accordance with the Three Strikes Rule, the trial court sentenced Coley to 25 years to life.

Coley appealed on the grounds that this constituted cruel and unusual punishment and filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the California Supreme Court, citing People v. Carmony [People v. Carmony (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 1066; (…

Bellante v. Superior Court: Burden of Delay Shifts to the Prosecution

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Kern County held that Matthew Bellante, who was cited for drunk driving in July of 2008 but never received notice to appear, had the better argument in a rare instance against the People.

Bellante was cited for drunk driving July 11, 2008, after which a complaint was filed on the 28th and a warrant issued August 6th. Bellante's address was verified on his driver's license at the time of the citation and in DMV records. Bellante was not served but learned of the warrant through the DMV and turned himself in.

Over a year later, December 17, 2009, Bellante moved to dismiss his case for lack of a speedy trial, arguing that he had resided at his given address openly and continuously since 2003, in the time since his citation no effort was made to serve him with the warrant and that he had not failed to appear. Bellante cited Serna v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239 (Serna), which established that the delay of over one year from the…

The 9th Circuit Court finds Enhancements of Sentences Warranted

The 9th Circuit affirmed a judgment that enhanced Miguel Rosas's sentences after he voluntarily fled to allegedly deny responsibility for the sentencing of charges, effectively obstructing justice.

Rosas was found guilty by the district court of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute. He signed a presentence report for his release on bond pending his sentencing. After doing so he fled and was later arrested and charged for failure to appear. The presentence report was therefore updated and recommended 70 to 87 months for his drug convictions, the statutory maximum for each of which was 40 years. The district court sentenced Rosas to 53 months for his drug convictions and 10 months for his failure to appear.

Rosas appealed on the grounds that this sentence violated his constitutional rights to due process and protection from double jeopardy. Rosas also argued that the sentence constituted impermissible double counting under …

United States v. Thomas: Obstruction of Justice and Perjury

The court of appeals affirmed a judgment that Tammy Thomas, a former professional cyclist, could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice where she allegedly gave intentionally evasive and false testimony before a federal grand jury though she was under a grant of immunity.

Thomas testified before the grand jury in regards to distribution of anabolic steroids to professional athletes and money laundering connected to BALCO Laboratories and her knowledge of information regarding Patrick Arnold, an alleged distributor of the steroids. During her testimony Thomas denied receiving any "products" from Arnold, "taking anything Arnold gave her," and "taking anabolic steroids." As a result of these statements under oath, Thomas was charged with alleged material false declarations and obstruction of justice and was convicted at trial on four of the six counts she was charged with.

The court of appeals heard Thomas's case and her "literal truth" defe…

Extent of Miranda Rights Tested by People v. Tate

The California Supreme Court affirmed a ruling on July 8th that statements made by Oakland Police Department Officers during the interrogation of a suspect did not invalidate his Miranda rights.

Gregory Tate was placed in custody by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) after he was observed driving the vehicle of a woman who was murdered and robbed the day before. Tate was taken to the homicide division of the OPD, where officers initially told him that they were investigating the car he had in his possession because the vehicle had been stolen and the woman who owned it was "hurt."

The Court found that this statement was not enough to invalidate Tate's two separate occasions upon which he waived his Miranda rights. The Court also acknowledged that by telling Tate that the victim was "hurt," he was aware that he was being investigated for more than car theft. He also understood that he was in the homicide division of the Police Department after asking …

United States v. Graf: Standard established for attorney-client privilege between corporate employee and counsel

On Wednesday, July 7th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling that James Graf, a consultant who worked as a functional employee, held no joint attorney-client privilege with the company's attorneys. The Court also held that Graf held no personal attorney-client privilege over his communications with the corporate attorneys where he failed to show that he sought personal legal advice and meet the other requirements necessary to establish that privilege.

James Graf was the founder of Employers Mutual LLC, a corporation that purported to sell health care benefits coverage to over 20,000 buyers but in reality defrauded individuals and small businesses who purchased the company's health plans. As a result of previous violations of California State insurance laws and his subsequent ban from insurance work, Graf was not listed as an employee of Employers Mutual.

The Nevada District Court selected an independent fiduciary, Thomas Dillon, to run Employers Mutual after Gra…

United States v. Batson: Restitution Orders in Tax Fraud Cases Permitted by 9th Circuit

Alma Batson plead guilty to one count of IRS Code §7206 for willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns. She conceded that at least $965, 673 in refunds were given to taxpayers that they were not entitled to. Batson was sentenced to prison followed by supervised release and ordered to pay $176,854 in restitution.

In an appeal Batson argued that only the Victim and Witness Protection Act (VWPA) and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) authorized restitution as a condition of supervised release.

The Ninth Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 3563(b)(2), which grants federal courts broad discretion to order restitution as a condition of probation, and 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d), which extends that grant to supervised release, authorizes federal courts to order restitution as a condition of supervised release for any criminal offense, including those set forth in Title 26 (the IRS code), for which supervised release is properly imposed.

However, the Court conclude…

Criminal Liability of Stock Brokers: Full Disclosure of Material Information

The 9th circuit court of appeals ruled on June 16th that securities brokers must disclose material information regarding a stock purchase if the broker has a fiduciary relationship with a client. Hampton Porter Investment Bankers, LLC, became involved in a “pump and dump” scheme that resulted in “bonus commissions” for sales of “house stocks.” “House stocks” are those that were granted to Hampton Porter for either extremely discounted prices or for free and then driven up in price when clients were pressured into purchasing them, strongly discouraged from selling them, or simply ignored when clients made sales orders. According to Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, it is illegal to use any manipulative or deceptive device in connection with a purchase. Rule 10b-5 states that it is illegal to “defraud, to make any untrue statement of, or omit to state, a material fact, or to engage in any course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon another in connecti…

United States v. Bonds: Hearsay Evidence Affirmed as Inadmissible

Evidence provided by Greg Anderson, a trainer to Barry Bonds, was affirmed as inadmissible hearsay by the 9th Circuit on Friday, June 11th. In order to successfully convict Bonds on multiple counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, the government needed to prove that blood and urine samples were Bonds’s. Anderson refused to testify and subsequently the testimony of BALCO Director of Operations James Valente was also excluded by the district court. The government filed an interlocutory appeal in response to these rulings. The district court first considered the admissibility of Anderson’s statement under the hearsay rule’s exception: F.R.Ev.807, which is restricted to exceptional circumstances. This case was identified as unexceptional by the court because it involved statements made by an unavailable witness. In addition, both the district court and court of appeals found that Anderson’s statements were not trustworthy, another requirement of F.R.Ev. 807The court nex…

California Supreme Court Grants Review on Penal Code Section 4019 (custody credits) and the Issue of Retroactivity

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court granted review on two cases involving the retroactivity of revised Penal Code section 4019.

The lead case on the issue is People v. Brown (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1354 (S181963), in which the Third District had held that the amendment must be applied retroactively to qualifying appellants whose cases were not final on appeal on the date of the statute's enactment.

People v. Rodriguez (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 535, the first case to hold the amendment applies prospectively only, was also granted review. (See S181808.) But briefing in that case is being deferred pending consideration and disposition of Brown.

Although neither of these two cases can be cited as authority any longer because of the grant of review, there remain eight more published cases discussing the issue. Stay tuned.

U.S. Supreme Court Miranda Ruling: Suspects Must Speak Up

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that a suspect's silence can be used against them in court—unless they speak up and explicitly say otherwise. In a 5-4 decision, the court determined that in order for people to invoke their Miranda rights—the right to a lawyer, to remain silent, etc.—they have to tell the arresting police officer that they're doing so. The case in question involved a Michigan man, Van Thompkins, who was arrested for murder in 2000. Thompkins kept quiet during a nearly three-hour police interrogation, then answered "yes" to the question "do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?" Thompkins argued that he had invoked his Miranda rights to remain silent by actually remaining silent, but he was eventually convicted of murder in 2001.The conviction was overturned after the 6th Circuit appeals court agreed with him, but today's ruling reinstates his conviction and forces suspect to inform police if they want to invoke t…

Sentencing juvenile offender to life in prison without parole for nonhomicide crime violated the Cruel & Unusual Punishments Clause

Petitioner Graham was sixteen when he committed armed burglary and another crime. As a result of a plea agreement, the trial court placed Graham on probation. Subsequently, the court found that Graham had violated the terms of his probation and revoked his probation, sentencing him to life in prison. The state of Florida does not offer the possibility of release in life cases except executive clemency. Graham challenged his sentence under the Eight Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. The State First District Court of appeal affirmed his sentence.

The Eighth Amendment forbids punishments that are excessive when compared to the crime. In addition, the Courts must evaluate circumstances and offender’s characteristics such as age and intellectual functioning. Courts also evaluate if juvenile offenders have a sufficient maturity and depravity. Moreover, “punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned to [the] offense” Weens v. United States, 217 U.S. 349, 367.

There a…

Antitrust Update: The Proposed Revisions to the Horizontal Merger Guidelines

In April 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) (collectively, “the Agencies”) released for public comment substantial proposed revisions to the Horizontal Merger Guidelines. These Guidelines set forth how the federal antitrust agencies evaluate the likely competitive impact of mergers and whether those mergers comply with U.S. antitrust law.

The Horizontal Merger Guidelines were created in 1992 by the Agencies and were then revised in 1997 The proposed revisions are stated as intending to more accurately reflect how the FTC and DOJ currently conduct merger reviews. “Eighteen years have passed since the Horizontal Merger Guidelines were revised. During that time the agencies’ approach has evolved significantly, and the Guidelines should reflect that,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “The proposed Guidelines put out for comment today reflect the current state of merger analysis at the FTC and DOJ, and will help m…

Ecstasy qualifies as a controlled substance under Health & Safety Code section 11377

The California 4th District Court of Appeal held that because Ecstasy contains methamphetamine, it qualifies as a controlled substance or an analog to a controlled substance for purposes of Health and Safety Code section 11377. In this case, Appellant was convicted of possession of Ecstasy. He argued insufficient evidence supported the conviction because the drug is neither a controlled substance, nor an analog of any controlled substance for purposes of the statute. Section 11377 prohibits possession of controlled substances which are specified in several other statutes. Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or methyldioxy methamphetamine, is not listed in any of these statutes. But, one of the statutes enumerated in section 11377, namely section 11055, subdivision (d), includes, inter alia, "stimulants" containing any quantity of methamphetamine. In this case, the officer testified Ecstasy includes methamphetamine and has a stimulating effect similar to it. Based on this testimony, …

Vehicle Impound and Search after DUI Upheld

The California First Appellate District held that a CHP Officer who impounded a vehicle for safekeeping that belonged to a defendant who was arrested for DUI acted reasonable when searching the vehicle pursuant to an "inventory search." A large amount of cash and several bags of marijuana were seized from the vehicle. The defendant argued that such an impound and search was improper becasue the vehicle could have been left parked on the street, and cited CHP manual policies. The Court disagreed and found that the determination to impound or remove a vehicle pursaunt to the community caretaking function was reasonable under the circumstances of the case.

The case is: People v. Shafrir, C.A. 1st, March 29, 2010; A125880; 10 C.D.O.S. 4701