Interesting competency procedural issue case today

Court of Appeal reversed a conviction today on an issue the defendant did not initially raise on appeal. D claimed there was not sufficient evidence he was competent after the trial court ruled otherwise.  The Court of Appeal held that the real issue was whether the trial court erred in ruling on the ultimate issue of competency without first ruling on whether there was evidence of a doubt of competency. If there was, then the court was to proceed to a full blown trial on competency. 

I don’t want to make light of someone’s mental illness but I will note that the defendant’s delusion seems pretty pretty pretty understandable and I can’t say he’s alone in having it:

“Defendant explained to Dr. Leeb that when he looked at the prosecutor, he saw “this evil darkness, like an attacking vampire. I get so scared I can‟t sit at the table. I‟m jerking all around. I wanted to dive under the table. I won‟t go into the courtroom.”
Dr. Leeb continued, “When [defendant] stated, I see this evil darkness,‟ he shrank down into his chair, his eyes went wide, and you can [sic] see the fear response on his face, and his voice got high and he says [sic]…I‟m not going to go in there,‟ and he went like this with his arms (indicating), in what appeared to be a protective gesture.” Dr. Leeb then demonstrated the “attacking vampire,” as defendant had described how he saw the prosecutor.”

great pending legislation 

passed the assembly floor sponsored by CACJ:

SB 1052, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, passed the Assembly floor today. SB 1052 adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that juveniles have access to legal counsel before waiving their Miranda rights during a custodial interrogation.

SB 1389, which requires the electronic recording of custodial interrogations for persons suspected of homicide, passed the Assembly floor today. 

Yesterday CACJ’s sponsored AB 1909 passed the Senate floor.

AB 1909, authored by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, passed the Senate floor yesterday. AB 1909 would amend Penal Code 141, creating a felony for prosecuting attorneys who knowingly and intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence. 

Brown is to veto or sign into law by September.

This sucks

Court: you know what? Imma Prop. 36 you and you get CTS not life. DA: no objection.   Prison: see ya.

One month later, DA: my bad, you aren’t eligible under prop. 36 because of a prior gang enhancement that everyone thought was stricken. Court: sorry back to prison-25 to life.

Court of appeal: no problem. Collateral estoppel argument: rejected.

There are so many bad cases that say an illegal sentence cannot stand even if it means D gets a harsher sentence.

I feel like this is a due process issue. I’m sure there is a case that says it isn’t. It’s just that when something is unfair you know the issue is due process because that’s the catch all constitutional principle when you say wtf?!

I feel so so bad for this guy.