December 6, 2013

Supreme Court’s January calendar is heavy on criminal cases

The Supreme Court today announced that it will ring in the new year with a January calendar filled almost exclusively with criminal cases.  Six of the seven arguments will be in criminal matters, including three automatic death penalty appeals.

On January 7 and 8, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue(s) presented as stated on the court’s website):

Fahlen v. Sutter Central Valley Hospitals:  Must a physician obtain a judgment through mandamus review setting aside a hospital’s decision to terminate the physician’s privileges prior to pursuing a whistleblower retaliation action under Health and Safety Code section 1278.5?  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amici curiae brief supporting the defendant.]

People v. Black:  Should a conviction be reversed because of the erroneous denial of challenges for cause to prospective jurors when the defendant exhausts his peremptory challenges by removing the jurors, seeks to remove another prospective juror who could not be removed for cause, and is denied additional peremptory challenges, or must the defendant also show that an incompetent or biased juror sat on the jury?

People v. Infante:  Did the Court of Appeal correctly determine that defendant committed independent felonious conduct that elevated his otherwise misdemeanor firearm possession to a felony and supported the charge of being an active participant in a criminal street gang in violation of Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (a)?

Presumably, defense counsel will be rested from his vacation that caused the continuance of this argument from the December calendar.

People v. Gray:  Does Vehicle Code section 21455.5, subdivision (b), require a local jurisdiction only to provide one 30-day warning notice period prior to the initial installation of an automated traffic enforcement system, or is such notice required prior to the installation of ATES equipment at each additional intersection within the jurisdiction?

People v. Montes:  [This is an automatic appeal from a March 1997 judgment of death.  The court's website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Rodriguez:  [This is an automatic appeal from a January 2004 judgment of death.  The court's website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Trinh:  [This is an automatic appeal from an April 2003 judgment of death.  The court's website does not list issues for such appeals.]

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