Author: David Aram Kaiser

Opinion Analysis: Briggs v. Brown (2017) Part I

Opinion Analysis: Briggs v. Brown (2017) Part I

Introduction In the November 2016 elections, the California electorate narrowly approved Proposition 66: The Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act. Proposition 66 enacted a series of statutory reforms that can be grouped under three general categories: (1) provisions to expedite review in capital appeals and habeas corpus proceedings; (2) provisions governing the confinement of prisoners sentenced to death and the administration of the death penalty; and (3) provisions pertaining to the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center.[1] It was promptly challenged in court, and on August 24, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion on the challenge in Briggs v....

Opinion Analysis:  People v. Gutierrez (S224724)

Opinion Analysis: People v. Gutierrez (S224724)

The California Supreme Court’s opinion People v. Gutierrez, People v. Ramos, People v. Enriquez (S224724, hereinafter Gutierrez) issued on June 1, 2017,[1] has gained more than the usual media coverage for a criminal case.[2] Long-time SCOCA commentator Gerald Uelman was reported as calling the decision “dynamite” and “a profound change.”[3] In Gutierrez, the Court reversed a criminal conviction because it concluded that the prosecutor had excluded a prospective Hispanic juror because of her ethnicity, in violation of People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258 (Wheeler)[4] and Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79 (Batson).[5] In reviewing a Batson/Wheeler issue, appellate...