February 3, 2012

Another criminal-heavy calendar for March

The Supreme Court this week announced its March calendar. The February calendar — to be heard next Tuesday — is an all-criminal-case affair. Although a couple of civil cases managed to find their way onto the March calendar (including one — Dicon Fiberoptics — in which review was granted over 29 months ago), it’s still 75 percent criminal.

On March 6 and 7 in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issues presented as stated on the court’s website):

Dicon Fiberoptics, Inc. v. Franchise Tax Board: (1) When an employer claims an income tax credit under Revenue and Taxation Code section 23622.7 for wages allegedly paid to a “qualified employee” in an enterprise zone, does the certifying voucher obtained from a designated public agency constitute conclusive proof the employer is entitled to the tax credit? (2) If not, does the voucher constitute prima facie evidence that the employer is entitled to the credit and shift to the Franchise Tax Board the burden of proving that the employee was not a “qualified employee”?

Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc.: (1) Does Labor Code section 1194 apply to a cause of action alleging meal and rest period violations (Lab. Code, section 226.7) or may attorney’s fees be awarded under Labor Code section 218.5? (2) Is our analysis affected by whether the claims for meal and rest periods are brought alone or are accompanied by claims for minimum wage and overtime?

People v. Cornett: Does Penal Code section 288.7, which proscribes specified sexual conduct with a child “10 years of age or younger,” apply only to children who are either less than 10 years of age or exactly 10 years of age and not a day more, or does it include any child who has reached the age of 10 years until the child’s 11th birthday?

People v. Villalobos: Did the imposition of a restitution fine and a parole revocation restitution fine violate defendant’s plea agreement in light of the circumstance that he was told he might be required to pay restitution but no mention was made of restitution fines?

People v. Mesa: Does Penal Code section 654 bar the imposition of separate sentences for the offense of active participation in a criminal street gang in violation of Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (a), and for the crimes used to prove one element of that offense – that the defendant has promoted, furthered, and assisted felonious criminal conduct by members of the gang?

People v. Souza: [This is an automatic appeal from a February 1999 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Thomas: (1) Did Penal Code section 781 permit the prosecution of defendant for possession of cocaine in Madera County, where defendant lived and arranged his drug sales, even though he stored the contraband in adjacent Fresno County? (2) If not, should the Court of Appeal have considered whether defendant was prejudiced by the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss for improper venue?

People v. Livingston: [This is an automatic appeal from a July 2000 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

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