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People v. Clark

Supreme Court of California

June 27, 2016, Filed


Case Summary


HOLDINGS: [1]-In a capital murder case, there was insufficient evidence that defendant, as the principal planner of an after-hours robbery of a commercial establishment, was recklessly indifferent to human life for purposes of robbery-murder and burglary-murder special circumstance findings, Pen. Code, § 190.2, because there was evidence that he planned the crime with an eye to minimizing the possibilities for violence and there was nothing in the plan that elevated risk beyond the risks of any armed robbery; [2]-The evidence was sufficient to find a lying-in-wait special circumstance because defendant's accomplice lured the victim to the street with a fabricated story about a job interview, some substantial period of time elapsed while the victim filled out a job application on her car, and the accomplice positioned herself out of the victim's field of view to deliver the fatal shot.


Burglary-murder and robbery-murder special-circumstance findings vacated; otherwise affirmed.

LexisNexis® Headnotes



Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Criminal Process > Assistance of Counsel

HN1  Assistance of Counsel

A defendant may challenge a telephonic restriction based on his or her right to access to counsel under the California and United States Constitutions. Restrictions on the ability of a prisoner, including a pretrial detainee, to use the telephone to consult with counsel implicate the right to assistance of counsel in the prisoner's defense. Nevertheless, not every restriction on counsel's time or opportunity to consult with the client or otherwise to prepare for trial violates a defendant's right to counsel under U.S. Const., 6th Amend.


Criminal Law & Procedure > Preliminary Proceedings > Pretrial Motions & Procedures > Continuances

Criminal Law & Procedure > Preliminary Proceedings > Preliminary Hearings > Time Limitations

HN2  Continuances

Pen. Code, § 859b, provides that a criminal defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days of the arraignment or plea, unless the parties waive this right or the court finds good cause to continue the preliminary hearing under Pen. Code, § 1050.


Criminal Law & Procedure > Preliminary Proceedings > Pretrial Motions & Procedures > Continuances

HN3  Continuances

See Pen. Code, § 1050.

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63 Cal. 4th 522 ; 372 P.3d 811 ; 203 Cal. Rptr. 3d 407 ; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 4576 

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. WILLIAM CLINTON CLARK, Defendant and Appellant.

Subsequent History: Reported at People v. Clark, 2016 Cal. LEXIS 6176 (Cal., June 27, 2016)

Time for Granting or Denying Rehearing Extended People v. Clark, 2016 Cal. LEXIS 7322 (Cal., July 12, 2016)

Rehearing denied by People v. Clark, 2016 Cal. LEXIS 6531 (Cal., Aug. 10, 2016)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Clark v. California, 137 S.Ct. 1227, 197 L.Ed.2d 467, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 1580 (U.S., Mar. 6, 2017)

Prior History:  [1] Superior Court of Orange County, No. 94CF0821, John J. Ryan, Judge.

People v. Clark, 2016 Cal. LEXIS 4062 (Cal., Mar. 22, 2016)