- Criminal, murder resentencing under California Penal Code Section 1172.6 (formerly section 1170.95): Riverside Superior Judge John Molloy’s denial of a resentencing petition affirmed in case People v. Lewis (INF046479/E078509)
- Eric Lewis participated in a race riot at a private prison in 2003. He beat an inmate with a metal pipe or table leg, and the man, also attacked by others, died. A jury convicted Lewis of murder under the aiding and abetting murder theory, and sentenced to life in 2006. He petitioned for resentencing under Penal Code Section 1172.6. The law raised the burden to be found guilty of murder in specific situations. The trial court denied his petition, and he appealed. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that his conviction does not fall under the reform.
- Family law, Indian Child Welfare Act: Riverside Superior Judges Cheryl Murphy and Patricia Spear’s placement into foster care affirmed in part, vacated in part in case In re A.A. (SWJ1700382/E078449)
- A one-year-old child was placed in foster care after Riverside County found evidence of domestic violence and bruising. Her father appealed the decision, arguing that the county failed to investigate his child’s possible Native American heritage, as required by federal law. The Indian Child Welfare Act was designed to allow children who belong to a tribe the ability to be adopted by the tribe, instead of being placed in foster care. The court agreed that the county did not investigate the child’s heritage enough.
- Criminal: Riverside Superior Judge Ronald Taylor’s sentence affirmed in case People v. Robinson (RIF2200605/E079387)
- Elbert Robinson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charge of inflicting bodily injury that resulted in trauma. The court placed him on three years of summary probation, which Robinson appealed. The Court of Appeal ruled that his appeal had no arguable issues.
- Family law, Indian Child Welfare Act: Riverside Superior Judge Cheryl Murphy and retired Judge H.A. “Skip” Staley’s termination of foster rights reversed and remanded with directions in case In re A.Q. (RIJ2100021/E079467)
- A child was placed in the care of her grandmother after the county claimed their mother abused drugs while pregnant. The mother appealed, arguing that the county failed to investigate her child’s Native American ancestry as required by federal law. Both parents had denied Native American ancestry. The Court of Appeal agreed with the mother, and found that the county should have interviewed more family members. The Court of Appeal ordered the juvenile court to investigate the child’s Native American ancestry.
- Criminal murder resentencing: Riverside Superior Judge Judith Clark’s sentencing dismissed the appeal of in case People v. Causer (SWF1600513/E079465)
- William Causer was found guilty of murder and felony child endangerment Feb. 4, 2019, after driving under the influence of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to a total of 22 years to life. He petitioned to vacate his murder conviction under Penal Code Section 1170.95, which limited the state’s ability to convict people for murders they did not directly cause. His petition was denied, and he appealed. Causer failed to file a personal supplemental brief in the appeal, and the Court of Appeal found his appeal abandoned. A minority opinion was written by Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez. He wrote that the Court of Appeal should conduct an independent review of the record, citing People v. Griffin.
- Criminal: Riverside Superior Judge Charles Koosed’s conviction affirmed in case People v. Portillo (RIF1901603/E077435)
- Ever Portillo was convicted of seven counts of sex offenses against his girlfriend’s two underage daughters. He appealed, arguing insufficient evidence. The Court of Appeal found his appeal unclear.
- Family law: Riverside Superior Judge Mona Nemat’s termination of reunification services denied the petition in case C.M. v. Superior Court (RIJ1200143/E079767)
- Riverside Superior Court removed a child from her parent’s custody after they found ongoing domestic violence in the house, and found that the father held a knife to the mother’s throat while the child sat on her lap. The court later granted the mother reunification services because she had started counseling and attended parenting education and domestic violence classes. The county recommended the court terminate her reunification services after a psychological report showed she was bipolar, she failed to show up to an appointment and canceled or cut her visits with her child short. The trial court agreed, mostly due to her bipolar diagnosis. The mother appealed, saying the court should have offered her services to treat her bipolar diagnosis. The Court of Appeal denied her petition, saying that the county offered reasonable services.
- Labor law: San Bernardino Superior Judge David Cohn’s denial of compelled arbitration reversed in case Flores v. C.H. Robinson Co., Inc. (CIVDS2012423/D080906)
- Roy Flores sued his employer, logistics company C.H. Robinson, under California’s Private Attorneys General Act. He claimed they failed to pay overtime pay, missed meal period pay and minimum wage. Robinson moved to compel arbitration, which the trial court denied after finding that the company failed to establish the existence of an arbitration agreement. Robinson appealed. The Court of Appeal agreed with Robinson, finding that they did establish an arbitration agreement.
- Criminal: Riverside Superior Judge Temporary Judge William Lebov’s denial of resentencing affirmed in case People v. Henderson (RIF1201399/D080850)
- A jury convicted Caleb Henderson of two counts of attempted premeditated murder in 2013. He was sentenced to 50 years to life. He filed a petition to be resentenced under California’s Penal Code Section 1170.95, which raised the bar to be found guilty of murder if the defendant did not directly cause the murder. The trial court denied his petition, and Henderson appealed. The Court of Appeal found no arguable issues, and affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
- Criminal: San Bernardino Superior Judge Shahla Sabet’s conviction affirmed in case People v. Barber (FWV20004012/D079865)
- Gregory Barber was convicted of sexual abuse of his granddaughters. He appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court erred by allowing a detective to testify about how child sexual abuse victims behave. He claimed the court should have heard a hearing to determine the reliability of that testimony. The Court of Appeal found that his counsel forfeited this argument and they did not object to the testimony during the trial.
- Criminal: San Bernardino Superior Judge Michael Knish’s denial of resentencing affirmed in case People v. Hunter (RCR20413/E078862)
- Jeffrey Hunter was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit the murder of his former wife, and one count of first degree murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life, with a consecutive life term without parole. He petitioned for resentencing under SB 1437, which changed accomplice liability for murder convictions. The trial court denied his petition, and Hunter appealed. The Court of Appeal found his arguments lack merit, and that his conviction did not fall under the reform of SB 1437.
- Criminal: Riverside Superior Judge John Molloy’s denial of resentencing affirmed in case People v. Alvarez (RIF1803144/E079656)
- Arthur Alvarez was found guilty of second degree murder and receipt of a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to a total of 18 years to life. Alvarez petitioned to be resentenced, arguing that Penal Code Section 1172.6 applied to him. Section 1172.6 raised the bar to be convicted of murder in certain circumstances. The trial court denied his petition, finding Section 1172.6 did not apply to him. Alvarez appealed. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court.
- Criminal: San Bernardino Superior Judge Katrina West’s denial of petition for rehabilitation and pardon reversed in case People v. Garrett (FELRS21000004/E077770)
- Paul Garrett pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession and distribution of child pornography June 12, 2000. He petitioned for a certificate of rehabilitation and a pardon April 12, 2021, which the trial court denied on the ground that they did not have the discretion to grant the pardon. Garrett appealed, arguing that his right to equal protection was violated because prisoners convicted of the same offense of him can obtain a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon, but he could not. The Court of Appeal agreed with Garrett, finding that he could not be excluded from receiving a certificate of rehabilitation because he was granted probation rather than sentenced to prison. Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, Justice Michael Raphael wrote a concurring opinion.
- Civil harassment: Riverside Superior Judge Mark Johnson’s civil harassment injunction affirmed in case Powell v. Warner (CVCO2101595/E077498)
- The trial court granted a civil harassment injunction in favor of Hunter Powell against his neighbor, Eun Warner. Warner appealed, claiming Powell edited a security video, harassed Warner and filed false declarations. The Court of Appeal found Warner did not provide an adequate record, and ruled against her. The court ruled similarly in a similar civil harassment brought by Warner’s neighbor and appealed by Warner weeks earlier (E077457).
- Labor law: San Bernardino Superior Judge Wilfred Schneider’s arbitration ruling affirmed in case Ramos v. Smile Brands (CIVSB2102278/E077394)
- Laura Ramos sued her former employer, Smile Brands, over the termination of her employment. Smile moved to compel arbitration, the trial court denied the motion, and Smile appealed. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court. The court found that Smile’s arbitration agreement lacked a timestamp, a signature, a date or anything else establishing its accuracy.