Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will file its opinion in People v. Navarro.  (Briefs here; oral argument video here.)

Navarro will be the first opinion in the three cases argued on the September calendar.  This is significant because tomorrow is the last regular opinion filing day before Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar leaves the Supreme Court on Sunday.  Therefore, opinions in the other two September cases will likely file after his retirement with the signatures of either just six justices or of Justice Cuéllar serving as a pro tem justice.  (See here.)  We had speculated that, to avoid both those scenarios, the court would file opinions in all three September cases before Sunday.

Tomorrow’s will be the first opinion in seven weeks.  That’s actually a shorter amount of time than the usual opinion drought this time of year.

Navarro is an automatic direct appeal from a July 2008 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for death penalty appeals.  But, in April 2020, the court asked for supplemental briefing on the issues whether expert testimony that is excludable under People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 (see here) was admitted at defendant’s trial, whether the admission could be raised in the appeal, and, if so, whether the error was prejudicial.  Counsel was appointed in May 2012.  Initial briefing was completed in October 2015.

The opinion can be viewed tomorrow starting at 10:00 a.m.