Defendant Guilty of Grand Theft of labor

The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California, found defendant guilty of grand theft of labor, grand theft, forgery, commercial burglary, and theft under Pen. Code, §§ 487, subd. (a); 484g, subd. (a); 475, subd. (c); 459; and 484e. Defendant appealed and, in a petition for rehearing, sought the benefit of a new formula for presentence credits under 2009 amendments to Pen. Code, § 4019, which became effective while his appeal was pending.

The court held that the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. The circumstances surrounding defendant’s failure to pay for personnel services provided sufficient evidence of his intent to commit theft. Defendant failed to follow through on promises of payment and attempted to pay part of the outstanding balance with an expired debit card. Los Angeles employment law attorneys know all about business employment laws.

Use of an expired card also supported the conviction under Pen. Code, § 484g, subd. (a), even though defendant had already received the services at issue. The forgery conviction was supported by testimony from defendant’s partner that he did not sign the checks on which defendant had allegedly forged the partner’s signature. Defendant’s fraudulent intent as to unauthorized use of a customer’s credit card could be inferred from his repeated reassurances that the charges were a mistake, followed by his failure to rectify the situation. Finally, 2009 amendments to § 4019 applied to defendant and he was therefore entitled to an additional 126 days of conduct credit. Section 4019, as amended, mitigated punishment, leading to an inference that the legislature intended the shorter sentences to apply retroactively.

The court granted defendant’s petition for rehearing and vacated its previously filed opinion. The court affirmed the judgment as to defendant’s convictions and reversed as to the calculation of presentence local custody credits only. The court modified the judgment to award a total of 505 days of presentence custody credit and affirmed the judgment as modified.

Defendant challenged, pursuant to an automatic appeal, a judgment from the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), which convicted defendant of first degree murder and imposed the death penalty.

Prior to the trial, the prosecuting attorney made a motion under Cal. Penal Code § 1099 to dismiss the charges against a codefendant and to call her as a People’s witness. Defendant contended that the prosecuting attorney committed misconduct by dismissing the codefendant and subsequently attempting to build up her character and credibility while unfairly attacking defendant’s credibility. Defendant argued that this constituted prejudicial error and, along with the impeachment by proof of a prior felony conviction, deprived him of a fair trial. Defendant based his contentions upon the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the companion guaranty at the state level. The court held that: (1) it was proper and was not misconduct for the prosecuting attorney to have availed himself of the provisions of § 1099; (2) the prosecuting attorney’s remarks were within the scope of permissible argument because they were based upon a reasonable interpretation of the evidence; and (3) because defendant chose to take the witness stand he had subjected himself to impeachment in the same manner as any other witness, including impeachment by proof of the prior felony conviction.

The court affirmed the judgment of conviction and imposition of the death penalty from the trial court.

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