First District Panel Victories

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In an appeal from jurisdiction and disposition, the appellate court agreed that the Department conducted insufficient further inquiry as required by WIC 224.2(e). The Department did not obtain information from one of the paternal relatives which was reasily obtainable and was likely to bear meaningfully upon whether the child was an Indian child. The ICWA finding was vacated and the matter remanded for the Deparment to conduct further inquiry.


In an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Department concedes that it failed to comply with its duty of inquiry under the ICWA. The Court agrees and conditionally affirms the order terminating parental rights. The matter is remanded to the juvenile court for the limited purpose of ensuring ICWA compliance.


In an appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Court of Appeal finds that the ICWA inquiry was inadequate since no attempt was made by the Department to ask available relatives about the child’s possible Indian ancestry. The court adopts the standard set forth in In re Benjamin M. and finds the error prejudicial. In addition, the court holds that the duty to inquire of extended family members applies to WIC 340 and 306 removals.


In this LPS appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the imposition of special disabilities, finding that the record does not reflect that “the trial court was aware of the legal standards for imposing any of the special disabilities, that it considered evidence relevant to these standards, or that it made any findings utilizing those standards.”


The Court agrees with mother that the Department failed to conduct an adequate inquiry under the ICWA. Many maternal relatives were actively involved during the proceeedings but the Department failed to inquire about any possible Indian heritage. The order terminating parental rights was conditionally reversed and remanded with directions to comply with the ICWA.


The Court of Appeal held that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering appellant to pay noneconomic victim restitution pursuant to PC 1202.4(f)(3)(F), where there was no evidence of the impact of appellant’s crimes on the victim and thus no rational basis for the court’s noneconomic restitution award. The Court remanded for further restitution proceedings.


PC 667(a) applies to any “person convicted of a serious felony who previously has been convicted of a serious felony” and establishes “a five-year enhancement for each such prior conviction on charges brought and tried separately.” The Court of Appeal vacated one of appellant’s two PC 667 serious felony enhancements because they arose out of the same prior proceeding.


The Court of Appeal reversed the 15 percent administrative fee attached to appellant’s victim restitution order, finding that the applicable statute  (former PC 1203.1(l)) was repealed by AB 177.


[Published Opinion] In the first appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred by failing to stay punishment for two convictions pursuant to PC 654. On remand, the trial court imposed a longer aggregate sentence by changing which counts were to run consecutive or concurrent. The Court of Appeal held that imposition of a longer sentence on remand violated double jeopardy principles and that the Serrato exception did not apply, as the original sentence was not an unauthorized, too lenient sentence.


A jury convicted defendant of battery with serious bodily injury (PC 243(d)) and found true the special allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court prejudicially erred in instructing the jury that great bodily injury and serious bodily injury are “essentially equivalent.”