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Posted: Mar 16, 2021
Appellant sought review of an order from the Superior Court of Stanislaus County (California) convicting him, based on a jury verdict, of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder and finding true the special-circumstance financial-gain allegations.
Appellant sought review of an order convicting him, based on a jury verdict, of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder and finding true the special-circumstance financial-gain allegations. The penalty phase jury set appellant's sentence at death. Appellant argued a number of points of error in both the guilt and penalty phases of the case including failure to instruct the jury on lesser included offenses, admission of evidence relating to prior bad acts and convictions, ineffective assistance of counsel, failure to appoint a California business law to represent appellant in his capital case, prosecutorial misconduct, allowing the penalty phase jury to consider death was improper because it was disproportionate to appellant's culpability, and that the death penalty violated appellant's constitutional rights because, among other things, it was cruel and unusual punishment. The court rejected each of appellant's points of error finding either that not error had occurred or concluding that the error, if any, was harmless error.
The court affirmed the trial court's conviction for first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder and death sentence.
Plaintiffs, a dog owner and others, filed suit against defendants, Contra Costa County and the director of the Contra Costa County Animal Services (CCCAS), alleging that defendants violated Food & Agr. Code, § 31108, subd. (a), by counting Saturday as a "business day." The Superior Court of Contra Costa County (California) granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiffs appealed.
The court held that "business days" in § 31108, subd. (a), meant Monday through Friday, the meaning most commonly used in ordinary discourse. Any record keeping burden on shelters did not result from that interpretation of "business days," but from the structure of the statute itself. Under all of the holding periods outlined in § 31108, subd. (a), a shelter had to hold an impounded dog exclusively for owner redemption for the first three business days of the holding period, not including the day of impoundment, and could then make the dog available for owner redemption or adoption beginning on the fourth business day of the holding period. CCCAS did not hold the owner's dog for the minimum specified holding period. The dog was impounded on a Thursday and was adopted by a new owner on the following Wednesday. Because the dog was made available for owner redemption on a weekend day (Saturday), the applicable holding period under § 31108, subd. (a)(1), was four business days, not including the day of impoundment. Saturday was not a "business day" within the meaning of § 31108, subd. (a). CCCAS held the dog for only three business days, not including the day of impoundment.
The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court with directions to consider the remaining issues raised in defendants' motion for summary judgment/adjudication and in plaintiffs' motion for summary adjudication.
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