Besides Justice Goodwin Liu’s separate statement dissenting (with Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar) from the denial of review in a State Bar re-admission matter, the Supreme Court’s Wednesday conference actions of note included:

  • Like last week, the court agreed to hear two more criminal cases.  And, also like last week, one implicates Senate Bill 1437, the felony-murder legislation enacted in 2018.  The newest case is People v. Carney, where the court limited the issues to:  “Does the ‘substantial concurrent causation’ theory of liability of People v. Sanchez (2001) 26 Cal.4th 834 permit a conviction for first degree murder if the defendants did not fire the shot that killed the victim?  What impact, if any, do People v Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155 and Senate Bill No. 1437 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1015, § 1, subd. (f)) have on the rule of Sanchez?”  Relying on Sanchez, the Third District Court of Appeal’s unpublished opinion affirmed the first-degree murder convictions of two brothers who engaged in a gunfight, but did not shoot the innocent-bystander victim.
  • The court also granted review in People v. Vivar.  The published opinion of the Fourth District, Division Two, rejected a defendant’s claim that his meth-materials-possession guilty plea should be vacated because, among other things, his trial counsel didn’t advise him of the plea’s immigration consequences.  (For some reason, the opinion identifies the attorney only by first name and last initial.)  Brought to the U.S. as a six-year-old, the defendant was deported because of his plea after having lived in the country for 41 years.  The appellate court concluded the attorney’s representation was constitutionally deficient, but found counsel’s error to be harmless.
  • The court denied review in People v. Warner, but it depublished the Third District’s opinion, which was issued after a Supreme Court grant-and-transfer order.  On remand, the appellate court again affirmed a conviction, concluding its mind was not changed by the Supreme Court’s June 2019 “kill zone” decision in People v. Canizales, which put strict limits on when a defendant can be convicted of attempted murder of someone who was not a primary target.
  • The court denied review in Rincon EV Realty LLC v. CP III Rincon Towers, Inc., but Justice Leondra Kruger recorded a vote to grant.  The published opinion of the First District, Division Four, affirmed a defense summary judgment in a commercial real estate dispute arising from a $110,000,000 loan.  The appellate court had previously reversed a defense judgment after a bench trial because some of the plaintiffs’ claims were legal as to which there was right to a jury trial.  On remand, a different judge concluded the first judge’s findings on the plaintiffs’ equitable Unfair Competition Law claims were dispositive of the legal claims.  The appellate court held that the second judge was right and that its first opinion did not establish a law of the case precluding summary disposition of the legal claims.
  • The court denied review in In re McDowell, but Justice Liu recorded a vote to issue an order to show cause as to “claim one” of the habeas corpus petition.  That claim apparently is there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for active gang participation because there was no evidence that he acted with a member of his own gang.  The unpublished opinion of the Fourth District, Division Two, which followed a Supreme Court grant-and-transfer order after the appellate court had summarily denied the habeas petition, again denied the petition, concluding that the petition was untimely (one justice dissented on that point) and that petitioner is no longer in custody on his active-gang-participation conviction.
  • There were five criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more each holding for decisions in People v. Tirado (see here), In re Milton (see here), O.G. v. Superior Court (see here), People v. Lopez (see here), and People v. Frahs (see here), which will be argued in less than two weeks.
  • There was one more grant-and-transfer for reconsideration in light of Senate Bill 136.  (See here.)