The Supreme Court announced its December calendar, with eight arguments scheduled. One of the eight is a Ninth Circuit referral case (the court decided another one today), but the court has still not scheduled a hearing in Robinson v. Lewis, a case in which the court agreed to resolve a habeas corpus procedural question for the Ninth Circuit. The federal court has been waiting a really long time for an answer in Robinson.
On December 3 and 4, in Los Angeles, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself):
People v. Jimenez: May a felony conviction for the unauthorized use of personal identifying information of another (Pen. Code, § 530.5, subd. (a)) be reclassified as a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 on the ground that the offense amounted to Penal Code section 459.5 shoplifting? The court granted review in July 2018.
People v. Perez (should it be People v. Chavez, since the court granted only Chavez’s petition for review?): Did defendant’s failure to object at trial, before People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 [see here] was decided, forfeit his claim that a gang expert’s testimony related case-specific hearsay in violation of his Sixth Amendment right of confrontation? The court granted review in July 2018. Four months ago, the court asked the Attorney General to “clarify[ ] its position” on the issue presented after the defendant noted unpublished opinions in two cases where the Attorney General apparently conceded that pre-Sanchez objections would have been futile.
People v. Veamatahau: Like Chavez, this is a Sanchez case. The court limited the issues to: (1) Did the prosecution’s expert witness relate inadmissible case-specific hearsay to the jury by using a drug database to identify the chemical composition of the drug defendant possessed? (2) Did substantial evidence support defendant’s conviction for possession of a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11375, subd. (b)(2))? The court granted review in September 2018.
Scholes v. Lambirth Trucking: Are the double damages provisions of Civil Code section 3346 applicable to negligently caused fire damage to trees? First District, Division One, Justice Kathleen Banke and Fourth District, Division Three, Justice Richard Aronson will be sitting pro tem in place of Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan, who are recused. The court granted review in June 2017. [Disclosure: Horvitz & Levy has filed an amicus curiae brief in the case.]
Frlekin v. Apple Inc.: Unlike Robinson, this is a Ninth Circuit referral case that the court is ready to hear. As recently restated by the Supreme Court, the question to be answered is: “Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as ‘hours worked’ within the meaning of California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7?” Second District, Division Three, Presiding Justice Lee Smalley Edmon will be sitting pro tem in place of Justice Ming Chin who is recused. In September 2017, the court agreed to answer the Ninth Circuit’s question. [Disclosure: Horvitz & Levy has filed an amicus curiae brief in the case.]
In re Gay: Continued from the October calendar, this capital habeas corpus proceeding started in December 2004, after the court had affirmed the petitioner’s death sentence on direct appeal for the 1983 murder of a police officer (People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233). The court issued an order to show cause in 2008, limiting the issues to whether relief should be granted on the ground of trial counsel’s conflict of interest that prejudicially affected his representation at the guilt phase of petitioner’s trial, and on the ground of trial counsel’s failure to adequately investigate and present evidence at the guilt phase tending to show that petitioner did not participate in the police officer’s murder. In 2011, the court referred the matter to the superior court for an evidentiary hearing on specified issues, and the superior court referee filed his report in November 2015. There are two amici curiae. One is the United Kingdom. The other is the Ethics Bureau at Yale.
People v. McKenzie: When is the judgment in a criminal case final for purposes of applying a later change in the law if the defendant was granted probation and imposition of sentence was suspended? The court granted review in November 2018.
In re G.C.: Can the juvenile court’s failure to expressly declare whether an offense is a felony or a misdemeanor (see In re Manzy W. (1997) 14 Cal.4th 1199) be challenged on appeal from orders in a subsequent wardship proceeding? The court granted review in December 2018.