Recent Criminal Court Case Decisions

Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts-US Supreme Court

NO CHEMIST REPORTS AT TRIAL, LIVE TESTIMONY IS REQUIRED
In Massachusetts, you don’t get an analyst to testify that the stuff
the def. possessed was cocaine or meth or whatever; you get an analyst’s
certificate. The US Supremes (5-4) say that this violates
confrontation, relying on Crawford (541 US 36).

Safford Unified School District v. Redding-US Supreme Court

NO STRIP SEARCHES OF JUVENILE?

This is the case where school officials strip searched a 13-year old
girl, looking for over-the-counter drugs. School officials can search based on less than probable cause. There was justification here to search the minor for the pills. But the school official made her pull out her bra and underpants. The Supremes say that this was a strip search. And it was unreasonable
People v. Medina-Cal. Supreme Court

GANG FIGHTS WITH FISTS CAN PERMIT CONVICTIONS FOR AIDING MURDER
They say that of course it’s reasonably foreseeable that a gang fight could
escalate into a killing, even when everyone thought it was only a fist
fight. Read Moreno’s excellent dissent. Not only did the defs. not
know the shooter had a gun, but the killing wasn’t even part of the same
fight. The majority doesn’t quite adopt the rule that the reasonably
foreseeable result of every gang fist fight is murder, though they come
close.

People v. Milliard-Court of Appeal 4th District

CRIMINAL RESTITUTION AND COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE
The def. was DUI and swerved into a motorcycle. The biker sustained
serious injuries. But the biker was speeding, driving an unsafe
vehicle, was untrained in motorcycle driving, and took no evasive
maneuvers. The biker was 25% Responsible for the injuries. Does comparative negligence reduce a defendants restitution liability?
In re M.B.-Court of Appeal 5th District

SENDING A MINOR TO CYA ON A PROBATION VIOLATION
WIC section 733 says that a juvenile court can’t send a minor to the California Youth Authority (now DJJ or DJF) unless the offense for which the minor is being committed is on the WIC 707(b) list. Here, the minor was found a ward for a 707(b) offense, but wasn’t sent to CYA then. The minor later violated probation and a WIC 777 supplemental petition was filed and sustained. Can a CYA commitment be based on a probation violation? Yes, if the underlying offense was on the 707(b) list.