California

Displaying 31 - 40 of 266
Titlesort ascending Summary
Perez v. County of Monterey In this California case, the plaintiffs sued to challenge the validity of the County of Monterey rooster-keeping ordinance, seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. The ordinance limits residents to no more than four roosters on a single property without a rooster keeping permit and also describes care and keeping requirements. The trial court found that the ordinance did not violate the constitution and entered judgment for the City. Plaintiffs here appeal that decision, arguing that the ordinance: (1) takes property without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) infringes on Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce; (3) violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (4) is a prohibited bill of attainder; and (5) violates the rights to privacy and to possess property guaranteed by the California Constitution. With respect to the Fifth Amendment taking challenge, the court found that the regulatory takings argument failed because there is no evidence that the ordinance affected plaintiffs or that they even applied for or were eligible for a permit. As to the interstate commerce challenge, plaintiffs provided no evidence that the ordinance would cause excess roosters to be divested from owners and sold in commerce to support this claim. As to Equal Protection, the plaintiffs correctly assert that the ordinance treats people differently based on age (i.e., students engaged in 4-H or FFA activities are exempted from the four-rooster limitation). However, the court found that the county stated a legitimate objective of public health and safety and this differential treatment of a non-suspect class advances that interest. Finally, the court found the ordinance was not a bill of attainder since it prospectively regulates roosters and also that it does not violate California's right to privacy and property possession. Indeed, the court found that plaintiff did not identify a specific privacy interest implicated by the ordinance. Thus, the judgment was affirmed.
People v. Youngblood
Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat.  The court found that the conviction


could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering.  Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.
People v. Williams In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.
People v. Tom Defendant stabbed, beat, strangled, and then attempted to burn the dead body of his girlfriend's parent's 12-pound dog. Police arrived on the scene as defendant was trying to light the dead dog on fire that he had placed inside a barbeque grill. Defendant was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty contrary to Pen. Code, § 597, subds. (a) and (b), as well as other counts of attempted arson and resisting an officer. While defendant does not dispute these events underlying his conviction, he contends that he cannot be convicted of subsections (a) and (b) of Section 597 for the same course of conduct. On appeal, the court considered this challenge as a matter of first impression. Both parties agreed that subsection (a) applies to intentional acts and subsection (b) applies to criminally negligent actions. Subsection (b) contains a phrase that no other court has examined for Section 597: “Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) . . .” Relying on interpretations of similar phrasing in other cases, this court found that the plain language of section 597, subdivision (b) precludes convictions for violating subdivisions (a) and (b) based on the same conduct. The court was unconvinced by the prosecutor's arguments on appeal that the two convictions arose from separate conduct in this case. However, as to sentencing, the court found that defendant's subsequent attempt to burn the dog's body involved a different objective than defendant's act in intentionally killing the dog. These were "multiple and divisible acts with distinct objectives" such that it did not violate section 645 or due process in sentencing him for both. The court held that defendant's conviction for violating section 597, subdivision (b) (count two) was reversed and his modified judgment affirmed.
People v. Spence


In this California case, a jury convicted James Spence of two counts of sexual offenses against a child 10 years old or younger (his housemate's daughter). He was sentenced to a total term of 55 years to life. Among other issues on appeal, Spence argues the court erred by allowing a therapy dog or support canine to be present at the child's feet while she testified, and contends this was “overkill” with the additional support person present on the witness stand. Section 868.5 of the Evidence Code allows up to two support persons during testimony. The court found that the dog was not a "person" for purposes of the code. The trial judge's decision to allow the dog was discretionary. The jury was given instructions to base its decision solely on the evidence presented at trial and not on any sympathies. Further, the court found even if more specific express findings of necessity would have been proper prior to allowing both the dog and support person on the the witness stand, any error was harmless.

People v. Speegle


The prosecution initially charged defendant with 27 counts of felony animal cruelty (Pen. Code, § 597, subd. (b)) and 228 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect (Pen. Code, § 597f, subd. (a)). Ultimately, the jury convicted her of eight counts of felony animal cruelty, making the specific finding that she subjected the animals to unnecessary suffering (Pen. Code, § 599b), and one count of misdemeanor animal neglect. Following a hearing, the court ordered her to reimburse the costs of impounding her animals in the amount of $265,000. The Court of Appeal reversed the misdemeanor conviction for instructional error and otherwise affirmed. The court held that the prohibitions against depriving an animal of “necessary” sustenance, drink, or shelter; subjecting an animal to “needless suffering”; or failing to provide an animal with “proper” food or drink (Pen. Code, § 597, subd. (b)) are not unconstitutionally vague. The court also held that the confiscation of defendant's animals for treatment and placement, and the filing of a criminal complaint afterward, did not amount to an effort to punish her twice for the same conduct in violation of double jeopardy principles.

People v. Smalling Defendant was cited for allowing a dog controlled or owned by her to cause injury or death to a service dog in violation of California’s Penal Code. The offense was an infraction. The defendant pled no contest and was fined $157. The service dog’s owner requested a restitution hearing, but the trial court denied the request stating that since the offense was an infraction, a restitution hearing was not permissible. The service dog owner appealed the decision of the trial court. The Court ultimately found that the trial court incorrectly stated that a victim of an infraction is not entitled to restitution. Both the California Constitution and the California Penal Code (the very statute that the Defendant was convicted of violating) entitle the victim to restitution. The California Constitution specifically states that restitution shall be ordered in every case regardless of the sentence or disposition of a crime in which a victim suffers a loss. The Court stated that an infraction is a crime, therefore, a restitution hearing is mandatory. The statute that the Defendant violated (section 600.2 of California’s Penal Code) also stated that a defendant shall be ordered to make restitution. The trial court abused its discretion in erroneously concluding that a crime victim is not entitled to restitution if the offense committed is an infraction and ultimately denying the victim restitution. The Defendant argued that an order for payment of restitution would be improper because she was never advised that victim restitution would be a consequence of her plea and that such an order would violate her plea agreement. She also argued that the trial court found, in good faith, that restitution was unnecessary. The Court, however, found the Defendant’s arguments unpersuasive. The Court reversed the order denying victim restitution and remanded the matter to the trial court with directions to conduct a restitution hearing.
People v. Schneider


Defendant's dogs escaped from Defendant's yard and attacked and killed a six-year-old boy.  The trial court convicted Defendant of owning a mischievous animal that causes death and involuntary manslaughter.  The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court's conviction for owning a mischievous animal that causes death due to erroneous jury instructions. 

People v. Sanchez


Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

People v. McCree



Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of eight counts of possession and training of a


fighting dog and two counts of causing a dogfight


for gain. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeal, held that: (1) prosecutor's cross-examination of defense witness was proper; (2) prosecutor's closing arguments were proper; and (3) evidence supported the convictions.


Affirmed.



Pages