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Showing posts from August, 2011

People v. Torres: Transporting and Possessing Alcohol in Prison are Two Separate Criminal Acts

In People v. Torres, the Second Appellate District determined the acts of bringing alcohol into a jail facility and possessing alcohol in a jail facility are two separate punishable crimes that each have its own objective.
Alfonso Torres and Adan Barajas were two inmates at a minimum security prison fire camp who snuck alcohol into the facility with the help from a civilian. A correctional officer saw a car drive onto the facility making a stop at a trash can. The driver got out of the car and placed two trash bags in the trash can. The civilian quickly drove off while honking several times. Moments later, Torres and Barajas ran to the trash can, picked up the trash bags, and ran back to a nearby building.
To prove that Torres and Barajas “knowingly” brought alcohol onto the jail’s facility, the court explained several circumstances that showed they were fully aware of the crime they committed. A civilian cooperated with the defendants to successfully transport the contraband onto the…

Collecting DNA is Ruled Unconstitutional in CA Court of Appeals

With the advancement of technology, there has been a controversyin the legal community surrounding the seizure of DNA samples from felony arrestees. California’s DNA Act was amended in 2004, enabling law enforcement officials to take DNA samples from any adult arrested for or charged with a felony. This act led to the recent case of People v. Buza, where Mark Buza was convicted of arson, but still argued that his mandatory cheek swab violated his Fourth Amendment right.
In Buza, the Court of Appeals argued that obtaining DNA samples were a violation of the felony arrestees Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. Justices Anthony Kline, James Lambden and James Richman sided with Buza, deeming DNA sampling unconstitutional. When compared to fingerprinting, Kline dismissed that argument and said they were obtained for “identification purposes and not to solve crimes.” Moreover, Kline stated in his opinion for Buza, “even if DNA testing of arrestees was dem…

Implied Malice Theory

In People v. Canizalez, the Second Appellate District affirmed judgment on the convictions for Robert Canizalez and Martin Morones. On a busy city street, the two defendants engaged in a street drag race that ended in a collision with another car. The other car immediately burst into flames, killing the occupants, whom were a mother and her two young children.


Both Canizalez and Morones appealed, believing there was an insufficient amount of evidence supporting the prosecution’s argument for implied malice. The defendants argued that the elements of the incident did not prove they were aware of the danger involved in their actions and it also did not show they were lacking a conscious regard for life. The court of appeals disagreed, and affirmed judgment from the lower court.

Contrary to the defendants’ argument for appeal, the court of appeals provided an overwhelming amount of evidence that supported the implied malice theory. For instance, Canizalez and Morones were well aware of…