Case Summaries

Criminal Law & Procedure

[06/21] In Re Jose S.
In an action seeking to seal juvenile records, the juvenile court's denial of the motion is affirmed where: 1) a second assault charge was not a separate case; and 2) assault is among the offenses that disqualify the sealing of records.

[06/21] US v. Weaver
Conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud are affirmed where over defendant's argument that disclaimers of extra-contract representations did not render salespeople's oral misrepresentations immaterial.

[06/21] US v. Diaz-Concepcion
Conviction of firearms and drugs offenses is affirmed over defendant's argument that his plea was not knowing and voluntary because the court failed to explain the charge at the plea hearing, where the attestations by the defendant and those found in the plea colloquy and other court documents and statements were adequate.

[06/21] US v. Ortiz-Vega
In an ineffective assistance of counsel claim arising from a drug distribution conspiracy case, in which defendant claimed that lack of communication from his initial state-appointed attorney resulted in the loss of a better plea deal than the one he eventually accepted, the trial court's decision is reversed and remanded where it was error to delay ruling on the merits of the claims until sentencing.

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Family Law

[06/16] In re A.G.
In a Father's appeals from a 12-month review hearing at which the juvenile court returned his children to their mother's care, Welf. & Inst. Code section 366.21(f), the court orders are reversed where the court erred when it found that he had been offered or provided reasonable services.

[06/13] Webb v. Webb
In a dissolution of marriage appeal, the trial court's judgment granting attorney fees is reversed where Family Code section 271 does not authorize the court to award sanctions to non-parties, but rather is intended to promote settlement of family law litigation through shifting fees between the parties to the litigation.

[06/12] Sessions v. Morales-Santana
In a case challenging the Immigration and Nationality Act's framework for U.S. citizenship from birth by a child born abroad, when one parent is a U. S. citizen and the other a citizen of another nation, the Second Circuit's decision reversing the BIA and holding unconstitutional the differential treatment of unwed mothers and fathers in section 1409, is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) the gender line Congress drew is incompatible with the Fifth Amendment's requirement that the Government accord to all persons 'the equal protection of the laws'; and 2) because this Court is not equipped to convert section 1409(c)'s exception for unwed U.S.-citizen mothers into the main rule displacing sections 1401(a)(7) and 1409(a), it falls to Congress to select a uniform prescription that neither favors nor disadvantages any person on the basis of gender.

[06/07] In re Jesse S.
In an adoptee's request under section 388.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to return to juvenile court jurisdiction and the foster care system, because the couple who adopted him the day before his 18th birthday were no longer supporting him, even though they were receiving payments on his behalf from California's Adoption Assistance Program (AAP), section 16115 et seq, the trial court's denial of the request is reluctantly affirmed where, under the literal language of section 388.1 the very fact the couple were still receiving AAP payments on adoptee's behalf precluded him from reentry into the juvenile dependency system. The court advises the Legislature to either change the law or--by reconsidering it and leaving it unchanged--reassure us that the present system is what they intended.

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Probate Trusts

[06/01] Raymond Loubier Irrevocable Trust v. Noella Loubier
In an inheritance dispute pertaining to the assets of the deceased, as conveyed to various revocable and irrevocable trusts in the deceased's name and that of his wife, the district court's dismissal of the complaint based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction is vacated and remanded where, because the plaintiff trusts are traditional common law fiduciary agreements, and, further, because they are not separate juridical entities under the relevant state law of Florida, the citizenship of their trustees controls a diversity determination.

[05/09] Higgins v. Higgins
In a trust case in which a wife agreed to hold funds in trust for her husband's elderly stepmother, and after her husband's death, the wife changed the form of the accounts and used the funds for her own purpose, the trial court's judgment in favor of wife-defendant under Code of Civil Procedure section 631.8 is reversed where, despite the form of the bank accounts, when clear and convincing evidence shows funds were transferred to an account owner to hold in an irrevocable trust for a third party beneficiary and the trustee repudiates the trust, a constructive trust may be imposed on the funds for the beneficiary's estate to prevent unjust enrichment.

[05/08] US v. Cardaci
In an action involving the Government's attempts to collect unpaid taxes assessed against a homeowner, seeking a judicial sale of the home, the district court's judgment, that a forced sale would be inequitable and order that the homeowner make monthly rent payments to the Government instead, is: 1) affirmed as to the district court?s authority to consider whether the property should be subject to a forced sale; but 2) vacated and remanded for recalculation of the ownership interests in the property and reconsideration of the equitable factors weighing for and against a sale.

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

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