Actions of note at yesterday’s Supreme Court conference included:

  • Supreme Court rejects challenge to continuation of Governor’s emergency declaration
  • The court granted review in Leon v. County of Riverside, where a published opinion of the Fourth District, Division Two, Court of Appeal held sheriff’s deputies were statutorily immune from liability for negligence committed during an investigation — they left a murder victim’s body uncovered, with genitals exposed, for eight hours, leading the victim’s wife to sue for emotional distress.  The plaintiff unsuccessfully argued earlier appellate court opinions had improperly expanded the pertinent immunity statute, and she relied in part on a 2009 law review article claiming that the Courts of Appeal had in effect overruled a 1974 Supreme Court decision and had “give[n] California’s public employees a license to kill, destroy, and defame, maliciously and without probable cause, as long as their conduct relates to the investigation or prosecution of crime.”  The article’s author is Frank Menetrez, who now is a justice on the court that decided Leon, although he did not sit on the case.  Menetrez, a former Horvitz & Levy attorney, wrote the article before becoming a judge.  A concurring opinion in Leon notes that the Ninth Circuit has relied on the Supreme Court decision to construe the immunity narrowly so that “the same issue of California law likely would be decided differently in a federal courthouse.”
  • The court depublished the opinion of the Second District, Division Eight, in People v. Castillo.  The opinion affirmed the denial of a motion to vacate a 1989 conviction based on the defendant’s claim his defense counsel failed to advise him about the adverse immigration consequences of entering a guilty plea.  The appellate court held that, before a U.S. Supreme Court case changed the rule in 2010, the defendant’s attorney “had no affirmative duty . . . to research and advise” of those consequences.  There was no petition for review, but the ACLU of Northern California and the Alameda County Public Defender requested depublication.
  • In In re Coleman, the court directed the Second District, Division Seven, to decide whether the pro per petitioner is entitled to post-conviction discovery under Penal Code section 1054.9.  The court will hear argument next month in People v. Superior Court (Jones), another section 1054.9 discovery case.
  • In In re Richardson, the court told the First District, Division Five, to address petitioner’s “claim that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to argue that petitioner’s youth at the time of the offense should be one of the factors considered during the resentencing hearing under Penal Code section 1170.95, when determining whether petitioner was a major participant in the robbery who acted with reckless indifference to human life.  (People v. Banks (2015) 61 Cal.4th 788; People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522; In re Scoggins (2020) 9 Cal.5th 667.)”  The appellate court denied a habeas corpus petition and separately held in an unpublished opinion that the petitioner was ineligible for resentencing, affirming a trial court finding that the petitioner “was a major participant in the felony who acted with reckless indifference to human life.”
  • There were 10 criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more holding for People v. Lewis, which was decided on last month; two more holding for People v. Lopez (see here); two more holding for People v. Strong (see here); three more holding for both Lewis and Lopez; one more holding for both Lewis and Strong (that’s a total of 327 Lewis grant-and holds); and one more holding for People v. Delgadillo (see here).