November 9, 2012

VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY INTOXICATION AND UNCONSCIOUSNESS AS A DEFENSE

The defendant took prescription Ambien and then fell asleep. He ended up driving and was arrested and convicted of DUI drugs. His defense was that he was sleep driving.

This Court of Appeal articulates the rules governing involuntary intoxication (a complete defense) as opposed to voluntary intoxication (no defense). They uphold instructions telling
the jury that if it found that the defendant knew or had reason to know that his use of Ambien could cause sleep driving, this was not involuntary intoxication. If he didn't know and couldn't reasonably have known that his use of Ambien could cause sleep driving, this was involuntary intoxication and the resulting unconsciousness is a complete defense to driving under the influence.

People v. Mathson; 2012 DJ DAR 15322; DJ, 11/8/12; C/A 3rd

November 9, 2012

THE PUBLISHED COMPILATION HEARSAY EXCEPTION

Have you ever heard of the published compilation hearsay exception? California Evidence Code sec. 1340 says that a statement in a published compilation is admissible against a hearsay objection if the compilation is used and relied on as accurate in the course of
business.

Here, the DA got in testimony from a detective that the detective ran a cell phone number through Entersect, an online database, and the number came back to the defendant. The Court of Appeal says that the published compilation hearsay exception contemplates "an organized,
edited presentation of a finite quantity of information that, if not printed on paper, has been recorded and circulated in some fixed form analogous to printing."

There's no showing of that here. Moreover, there's that requirement that the information be relied on as "accurate." The mere fact that the police department uses the site, and pays for it, doesn't make it accurate. The C/A finds that admission of this information was error, though harmless.

People v. Franzen; 2012 DJ DAR 15281; DJ, 11/7/12; C/A 6th