Case No. 13-8618 I n t he



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Case No.  13-8618 

I



T

HE

 

S

UPREME 

C

OURT OF THE 

U

NITED 

S

TATES

 

 

 

 

ROBERT


 

MARK


 

EDWARDS, 

 

 Petitioner

 

vs. 

 

STATE


 

OF

 



CALIFORNIA,  

 

 



 Respondent

 

 



 

On Petition for Writ of Certiorari to 

the Supreme Court of California 

REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONER 

 

Quin Denvir 



Counsel of Record 

State Bar No. 49374 

1614 Orange Lane 

Davis, CA 95616 

Telephone:(916) 307-9108 

Attorney for Petitioner 

Robert Mark Edwards 

 

 

 



 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES ............................................................................iii 

REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONER ................................................................. 1 

CONCLUSION................................................................................................ 16 

 

 

 



 

 

ii 



 

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES 

 

 Page(s) 

Cases 

Crawford v. Washington

541 U.S. 36 (2004)........................................................................................7 



Gamache v. California

___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 591 (2010) ..........................................................13 



Malaska v. State

2014 WL 808164 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 28, 2014) ................................6 



People v. Aranda

55 Cal. 4th 342, 283 P.3d 632 (2012) ........................................................13 



People v. Dungo

55 Cal. 4th 608, 266 P.3d 442 (2012).......................................................4, 6 



People v. Edwards

57 Cal. 4th 658, 306 P.3d 1049 (2013).........................................................6 



People v. Jackson

2014 WL 825247 (Cal. Mar. 3, 2014) ........................................................13 



People v. Pearson

56 Cal. 4th 393, 297 P.3d 793 (2013)...........................................................7 



People v. Rodriguez

2014 WL 655994 (Cal. Feb. 20, 2014).........................................................6 



People v. Whitt

51 Cal. 3d 620, 798 P.2d 849 (1990)..........................................................13 



State v. Griep

2014 WL 625743 (Wisc. Ct. App. Feb. 19, 2014) .......................................6 



State v. Mecier

2014 WL 712660 (Me. Feb. 25, 2014) .........................................................6 

iii 

 


Teague v. Lane

489 U.S. 288 (1989)......................................................................................7 



Whorton v. Bockting

549 U.S. 406 (2007)......................................................................................7 



Williams v. Illinois

___ U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 2221 (2012) ..........................................................6 



Statutes 

Cal. Gov’t Code § 27491 ...................................................................................2 

Cal. Gov’t Code § 27491.1 ................................................................................2 

 

 



iv 

 


REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONER 

 

 

The State’s Brief in Opposition (BIO) fails to detract from the compelling 

reasons why certiorari review is warranted to resolve whether statements in an 

autopsy report created as part of a homicide investigation and concluding that the 

nature and extent of the death and injuries sustained by the homicide victim were 

caused by criminal conduct are testimonial.  Nor do the State’s quibbles with the 

procedural history and record diminish the suitability of this case as a vehicle for 

resolving the issue.  The petition for certiorari should be granted.  

1. 

The State court ignores the basic constitutional premise set forth in the 



Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (“Petition”) that governs this case:  statements 

contained in an autopsy report created as part of an investigation of a death that 

obviously was a homicide, and prepared for the purpose of establishing criminal 

liability, are testimonial.  Instead, the State urges the Court to deny the Petition, 

asserting that the question whether statements in an autopsy report are testimonial 

is an “inherently fact bound” inquiry that requires no resolution of law by the 

Court.  The State further argues, incorrectly, that under its “fact bound” rubric, the 

statements in the autopsy report in this case are not testimonial because the 

“primary purpose” for autopsies in California is not criminal investigation.   

The State’s central argument that the autopsy report in this case, and the 

statements contained therein, were not testimonial because “the primary purpose of 

 



autopsies in California is not criminal investigation” (BIO 18, 26, see also BIO 19, 

20) fails for two important reasons.  First, although California Government Code 

section 27491 applies also to certain types of deaths other than homicides, section 

27491.1 specifically directs that autopsies be prepared in cases involving suspected 

homicides and expressly mandates that the coroner perform investigative and 

reporting duties in such cases.  Cal. Gov’t Code § 27491 (enumerated 

circumstances in which coroner is required to investigate include “known or 

suspected homicide, suicide, or accidental poisoning” and “deaths under such 

circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused 

by the criminal act of another”); Cal. Gov’t Code § 27491.1 (specifying the duties 

of the coroner when “person has died under circumstances that afford a reasonable 

ground to suspect that the person’s death has been occasioned by the act of another 

by criminal means”). 

1

 Respondent’s assertion that “the scope of the coroner’s 



statutory duty to investigate is the same, regardless of whether the death resulted 

from criminal activity” (BIO at 25) is thus inaccurate.  

                                       

1

 



Section 27941.1 requires the coroner “to immediately notify the law 

enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the criminal investigation when a 

person has died under circumstances that afford a reasonable ground to suspect that 

the person’s death has been occasioned by the act of another by criminal means.” 

That report to law enforcement must state, besides the name of the decedent and 

the location of the remains, “other information received by the coroner relating to 

the death, including any medical information of the decedent that is directly related 

to the death.” Ibid. Appendix C to the petition is the report required by Section 

27941.1 in Ms. Deeble’s case. 

 



 

Second, as to the primary purpose, the state court’s premise was that 

“criminal investigation was not the primary purpose for the autopsy report’s 

description of [the victim’s] body; it was only one of several purposes.” People v. 

Dungo, 55 Cal. 4th 608, 620 (2012). “The autopsy report continued to serve 

several purposes, only one of which was criminal investigation.” Id. at 621. 

However, the fact that the report may have served other purposes

2

 does not mean 



that criminal investigation was not its primary purpose. 

3

 In this regard, the Court 



has held that, “in identifying the primary purpose of an out of court statement, we 

apply an objective test. [Citation] We look for the primary purpose that a 

reasonable person would have ascribed to the statement, taking into account all of 

the surrounding circumstances.”

 

Williams v. Illinois, __U.S.__, 132 S.Ct. 2221, 

                                       

2

 The other “purposes” described by the court are better termed “uses”:  



“The usefulness of autopsy reports, including the one 

at the issue here, is not limited to criminal investigation 

and prosecution; such reports serve many other equally 

important purposes. For example, the decedent’s relatives 

may use an autopsy report in determining whether to file 

an action for wrongful death. And an insurance company 

may use an autopsy report in determining whether a 

particular death is covered by one of its policies. 

[Citation] Also, in certain cases an autopsy report may 

satisfy the public’s interest in knowing the cause of 

death, particularly when (as here) the death was reported 

in the local media. In addition, an autopsy report may 

provide answers to grieving family members.

  

3



 “Primary” means “of chief importance, principal” 

(www.oxforddictionaries.com), not “sole” or “exclusive.” 

 



 



2243(2012

)

. Taking into account all the circumstances of the Deeble autopsy, a 



reasonable person would have understood its primary purpose as criminal 

investigation. There is no dispute that Dr. Robert Richards, the pathologist who 

performed the autopsy in this case, understood that the victim’s death was a 

homicide when he conducted the autopsy and prepared the autopsy report at the 

direction of, and in concert with, law enforcement personnel.

4

  As set forth in the 



Petition, several features of the autopsy report indicate that its primary purpose was 

to facilitate a criminal investigation, including that it was completed on the Orange 

County Sheriff’s Department letterhead, contained the sheriff department’s case 

number for the homicide investigation on each of its pages, and several law 

enforcement officers were listed on the report as “autopsy witness[es]” (three 

sheriff’s deputies and two detectives investigating the homicide, a criminalist who 

investigated the crime scene, and a deputy coroner from the Sheriff-Coroner’s 

office).  Pet. at 3-4.   

Moreover, all of the statements in the autopsy report that are at issue in this 

case were produced to establish criminal liability; that is, they established that the 

death was a homicide and/or that a perpetrator inflicted particular injuries relevant 

                                       

4

 

Prior to conducting the autopsy and creating the report, Dr. Richards obtained 



information confirming that the victim died as the result of a homicide, including 

information that there were ligatures around the victim’s neck and wrists and law 

enforcement officers informed Dr. Richards that the victim was found hanging by 

her neck with a belt ligature attached to a dresser drawer. 

 



 



to specific criminal liability.  The statements at issue thus clearly “pertain to 

criminal prosecution.”  The statement regarding the cause of death – asphyxiation 

due to ligature strangulation – clearly indicates criminal conduct, as do the 

statements about many of the victim’s other alleged injuries.  For example, the 

critical hearsay statements from the autopsy report admitted through the testimony 

of Dr. Richard Fukumoto -- the pathologist who was not present at and did not 

perform the autopsy -- were conclusions concerning criminal activity: 

 



The lacerations on the victim’s right ankle were caused by two wires, 

RT 2129-30 (testifying that Dr. Richards described “something [] 

scratched the surface of the skin . . . . caused by wires probably 

coming together and inflicting the injury”), 5191-92 (“There were 

ligature marks on the ankles . . . . caused by a blunt instrument with 

a[n] . . . edge”); 

 

 The alleged injury to the victim’s left ear drum was caused by a sharp 



instrument, RT 2127 (“incision . . . caused by sharp instrument or an 

instrument that has a point”), 5189; 

 

The victim’s fractured nose suggested physical violence, RT 2130-31, 



5333 (testifying that fracture of her nasal bone was evidence of blunt 

trauma), 5197 (discussing the “blow” to the nose); 

 


 

Residue on the victim’s face came from adhesive tape, RT 2160-61, 



5197;  

 



The victim’s alleged vaginal and anal injuries resulted from sexual 

assault, RT 2137-38, 2147-48, 5195-96.   

The State, in large part simply repeating the California Supreme Court’s 

conclusions in People v. Dungo, 55 Cal. 4th 608, 266 P.3d 442 (2012), argues that 

most of the above hearsay statements are not testimonial because they are simply 

“anatomical and physiological observations about the condition of the body,” 

“comparable to observations made by an examining physician for treatment 

purposes.”  BIO at 23-24 (quoting Dungo, 55 Cal. 4th at 619); see also BIO at 26.  

The State, however, fails to explain how the conclusions included in these hearsay 

statements set forth above, which indicate criminal activity and thus pertain to 

criminal prosecution, are analogous to observations a physician would make when 

treating a patient.  As the above examples demonstrate, the California Supreme 

Court’s distinction between objective anatomical observations and forensic 

conclusions, adopted by the State in the BIO, “is too amorphous to be workable” 

and has no merit.  See Pet. at 14-19 (quoting People v. Edwards, 57 Cal. 4th 658, 

774, 306 P.3d 1049 (2013) (Corrigan and Liu, JJ., concurring and dissenting)).  

Critically, in this case the “observations made by an examining physician” were 

 



not made “for treatment purposes,” but rather to facilitate the criminal 

investigation and prosecution.  BIO at 23-24 (quoting Dungo, 55 Cal. 4th at 619). 

 

2.  Although the State acknowledges that state and federal courts “have 



reached different results in addressing the admissibility of [ ] autopsy reports under 

the Confrontation Clause,” the State asserts that the split does not reflect a conflict 

in interpretation of law that requires this Court’s resolution.  BIO at 17.  The State 

is mistaken.  This case presents an ideal vehicle for resolving the increasingly 

divergent decisions in federal and state courts on whether hearsay statements in an 

autopsy report are testimonial statements subject to the Confrontation Clause of the 

Sixth Amendment, a conflict that has persisted in the wake of this Court’s plurality 

opinion in Williams v. Illinois, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 2221 (2012).  There is a 

live controversy on this issue and an urgent need to resolve the conflict.   

Indeed, since the Petition was filed in this case, at least three state decisions 

have issued that further illustrate the depth of the disagreement across the country 

on the questions presented.  See Malaska v. State, 2014 WL 808164 (Md. Ct. Spec. 

App. Feb. 28, 2014) (holding autopsy report to be sufficiently formalized to be 

testimonial for purposes of the Confrontation Clause);  State v. Mecier, 2014 WL 

712660 (Me. Feb. 25, 2014) (holding that the admission of testimony of a medical 

examiner who did not conduct autopsy did not violate the Confrontation Clause); 



People v. Rodriguez, 2014 WL 655994 (Cal. Feb. 20, 2014) (applying the same 

 



logic of the court’s direct appeal opinions in Dungo and Edwards and holding that 

testimony regarding statements from an autopsy report by a pathologist who did 

not conduct the autopsy did not violate the Confrontation Clause because the 

statements described “objective facts about the condition of the victim’s body” and 

were not prepared for the primary purpose of furthering a criminal investigation).  

An additional state decision has issued since the filing of the Petition related to the 

question presented regarding surrogate expert testimony.  See State v. Griep, 2014 

WL 625743 (Wisc. Ct. App. Feb. 19, 2014) (noting that surrogate expert testimony 

“in effect put[s] the statements in the report into evidence” even where the report at 

issue is not admitted into evidence). 

 

/// 


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3.  The State’s assertions that this case is an inappropriate vehicle for 

resolving this important issue are disingenuous.  The State argues that this case is a 

poor vehicle procedurally because the trial occurred before this Court’s opinion in 

Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and Petitioner’s trial counsel failed 

to preserve the issue by failing to object to Dr. Fukumoto’s testimony on 

Confrontation Clause grounds.

5

 



6

There is no dispute that Crawford (and this 

Court’s cases applying Crawford) apply retroactively to cases on direct review,

7

 



and it has been clearly established that a defendant’s failure to object to pre-

Crawford  Confrontation Clause violations is excused because counsel cannot be 

faulted for failing to anticipate the change in the law in Crawford.  See, e.g., 



People v. Pearson, 56 Cal. 4th 393, 461-62, 297 P.3d 793 (2013) (applying 

                                       

5

 

The State concedes that the California Supreme Court rejected this argument 



and ruled that counsel’s failure to object was no obstacle to that court’s 

consideration of Petitioner’s federal claim.  BIO at 10 and n.5. It should be no 

obstacle to this Court’s consideration of the claim. 

 

6



 Respondent states that the record before this Court might have been different if 

there had been a defense objection at trial. The suggestion is fanciful. Armed with 

a California Supreme Court decision which upheld the admissibility of testimony 

by Dr.


 

Fukumoto regarding hearsay statements from a different autopsy report 

prepared by a different autopsy surgeon, People v. Beeler, 9 Cal. 4th 953, 979 

(1995), it is hardly likely that the prosecution would have done any more than cite 

that controlling decision if the defense had objected.

  

7



 

See Whorton v. Bockting, 549 U.S. 406, 416 (2007) (noting that under Teague 

v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), the rule announced in Crawford is applicable on 

direct review).  

 



 



Crawford retroactively and holding that defendant did not forfeit constitutional 

claim by failure to object on Confrontation Clause grounds). 

 

This case is an ideal vehicle to resolve the questions presented because the 



lower court’s opinion is illustrative of the live controversy, with two justices 

concluding in a thoughtful dissent that the autopsy report statements at issue in this 

case were testimonial and their admission was prejudicial, and presents a legal 

framework that contravenes this Court’s precedent and employs illogical and 

unworkable distinctions in application.  As set forth in the Petition, the California 

Supreme Court’s approach is misguided and constitutionally invalid.  See Pet. at 

14-20.   

 

4.  The State’s final argument – that this case is a poor vehicle for resolving 



this conflict because any error was harmless – lacks merit.  BIO at 28-30.  As a 

threshold matter, no proper harmless error analysis has ever been conducted in this 

case.  The California Supreme Court misinterpreted the scope of the Confrontation 

Clause violations and, as a result, improperly limited its harmless error analysis to 

only two statements in the autopsy report.  Pet. at 17-18 (state court’s prejudice 

determination constrained by its conclusion that the introduction of Dr. 

Fukumoto’s testimony regarding the cause of death and the marks on the ankles 

resulted from its invalid conclusion that most of the statements in the autopsy 

report recounted by Dr. Fukumoto were not testimonial).  

10 


 

The State argues that any violation of the Confrontation Clause was 

harmless because Dr. Fukumoto formed the opinions presented in his testimony 

independently.

8

  As set forth in the Petition, the California Supreme Court 



mischaracterized a number of Dr. Richards’ forensic opinions and conclusions as 

“objective facts” and failed to recognize that Dr. Fukumoto did not form, and could 

not have formed, his opinions independently because there was no nonhearsay 

basis available for much of Dr. Fukumoto’s testimony.

 

 Pet. at 19. 



 

Contrary to the State’s assertion, the record does not establish that Dr. 

Fukumoto “formed his opinions independently after reviewing the autopsy report, 

photographs, microscopic slides, and x-rays taken during the autopsy.”  BIO at 5, 

18-19.

9

  As a general matter, Dr. Fukumoto testified that Dr. Richards failed to 



make microscopic slides or take photographs of many of the injuries he reported.  

RT 2152 (no microscopic slide of alleged ear drum injury), 2162-63 (no 

microscopic slide of alleged nose fracture), 5199 (no photograph or slide of ear 

                                       

8

 The State also argues that the purportedly independent basis for Dr. 



Fukumoto’s opinions distinguishes this case from the cases Petitioner presented 

where statements in an autopsy report were found to be testimonial, BIO at 16-20, 

and immunizes his testimony from violating the Confrontation Clause.  These 

arguments lack merit for all the reasons set forth above.  See also n.6, infra.

 

9

 Moreover, as set forth in the Petition, Dr. Fukumoto’s “seeming concurrence” 



with Dr. Richards’ hearsay statements, based on his review of slides and 

photographs, exacerbated the prejudice to Petitioner of Dr. Fukumoto’s 

unconstitutional surrogate testimony by “bolster[ing] his own credibility based on 

hearsay not subject to cross-examination.”  Pet. at 18 (quoting Edwards, 57 Cal. 

4th at 773 (Corrigan and Liu, JJ., concurring and dissenting) (internal quotation 

marks and citation omitted)).

 

11 


 

drum), 5201-02 (no microscopic slides, measurements, or adequate photographs of 

alleged genital lacerations).  With regard to specific injuries, Dr. Fukumoto 

admitted that he was unable to observe the “incisional” injury to the ear drum to 

which Dr. Richards referred in the autopsy report because the ear drums that Dr. 

Richards purportedly removed from the body were either “lost or misplaced” and 

he failed to make microscopic slides or take photographs of the specimen, RT 

2152, 5198-200; he relied entirely on Dr. Richards’ description of the adhesive 

residue, not on any photographic evidence, RT 5197, RT 2160-61; and he was 

unable to observe the alleged laceration injuries to the victim’s genitalia because 

Dr. Richards failed to make microscopic slides, take adequate photographs, or 

provide any measurements of the reported injuries, RT 5201-02.   

Although Dr. Fukumoto clearly and repeatedly stated on the record that he 

did not have an independent basis for many of the opinions presented through his 

testimony, the State nevertheless erroneously asserts that these opinions had an 

independent, non-hearsay basis.  For example, the State asserts that Dr. Fukumoto 

relied upon his examination of an x-ray of the victim’s nose for his testimony that 

her nose was fractured. BIO at 22, 27.  But Dr. Fukumoto testified he was not 

qualified to read the x-ray image.  RT 2142.  The State also contends that Dr. 

Fukumoto’s opinion that the reported vaginal and rectal injuries occurred before 

death was based upon his “personal[] stud[y]” of the 1986 microscopic slides.  BIO 

12 

 


at 7.  But Dr. Richards did not create a slide of anal tissue, and “[n]o tissue 

response is noted” in the single slide of vaginal tissue produced.  See CT 658-59..  

The State contends that Dr. Richards described x-rays in his autopsy report, 

providing a foundation for Dr. Fukumoto to form independent opinions.  BIO at 2.  

In fact, in the section entitled “X-ray” of the autopsy report, Dr. Richards noted the 

“x-rays show nothing of pertinence save for the extensive dental work” and he did 

not include a description of any x-ray that could have supported any portion of Dr. 

Fukumoto’s testimony at issue.  Appendix (App.) C at 2 (describing x-ray showing 

wrist ligatures and belt buckle and dresser handle attached to neck ligature).   

When all of the testimonial statements from the autopsy report are properly 

considered, it is clear that their admission at the guilt trial and second penalty trial 

was extremely prejudicial to Petitioner.  The statements admitted in violation of the 

Confrontation Clause provided the primary foundation for the theories of first-

degree felony murder and both special circumstances (torture murder and burglary 

murder), and had no evidentiary basis other than Dr. Richards’ autopsy report.  Dr. 

Fukumoto’s testimony relaying the autopsy report statements constituted the only 

evidence of the victim’s injuries, the pain the victim may have experienced, and 

sexual assault.   

The State ignores Petitioner’s arguments regarding the unconstitutional 

admission of testimonial statements regarding the victim’s alleged vaginal and anal 

13 

 


injuries.  See, e.g., Pet. at 7-10 (describing Dr. Fukumoto’s testimony regarding 

vaginal and anal injuries “consistent with” sexual assault with a mousse can, the 

prosecution’s heavy reliance on the alleged sexual assault in its case for torture, 

and Dr. Fukumoto’s admission that his testimony regarding the genital injuries 

relied entirely upon hearsay statements from the autopsy report because the injuries 

were not visible in photographs or microscopic slides produced during the 

autopsy).  Indeed, the State does not contest that the only evidence of sexual 

assault was admitted in violation of the Confrontation Clause.  Dr. Fukumoto’s 

testimony regarding the alleged vaginal and anal injuries, and their consistency 

with a mousse can, relied wholly on Dr. Richards’ testimonial statements in the 

autopsy report describing genital lacerations and injuries not measured nor 

documented in any autopsy photographs or microscopic slides.  Even the 

prosecutor conceded, in his closing argument at the guilt phase, that the genital and 

anal injuries were only “visible to Dr. Richards’ [sic] eyes.”  RT 2934.  Without 

the evidence of sexual assault, the State lacked the evidence for torture-murder or 

burglary felony-murder based upon intent to commit sexual assault, as well as the 

evidence underlying both the special circumstances.   

Even if this Court determines that other evidence presented at trial supports 

a burglary-based first-degree murder theory and special circumstance, the 

prosecution’s introduction of testimony regarding statements in the autopsy report 

14 

 


had a prejudicial effect on the jury’s determination at the sentencing phase.  This is 

a case where these statements may have made the difference between life and 

death.  The jury failed to reach a verdict on the penalty decision at Petitioner’s first 

trial.  The prosecution knew that the emotional impact of Dr. Richards’ statements 

about the victims’ injuries was critical to obtaining a death sentence.  In his closing 

argument at the second penalty trial urging the jury to return a death verdict, the 

prosecutor relied substantially on Dr. Fukumoto’s unconstitutional testimony about 

Dr. Richards’ statements regarding the victim’s injuries.  RT 6414-15.  Absent Dr. 

Fukumoto’s testimony about these injuries and the prosecutor’s related arguments, 

the jury may not have sentenced Petitioner to death.   

The State’s assertion that Petitioner suffered no prejudice as a result of the 

unconstitutional admission of Dr. Fukumoto’s testimony is flawed for another 

reason.  As Justice Liu recently explained in his dissent in another California 

capital case, the California Supreme Court’s formulation of Chapman harmless 

error analysis, which it applied in this case, contravenes this Court’s precedent.  

See People v. Jackson, 2014 WL 825247, *33-36, *45-60 (Cal. Mar. 3, 2014) (Liu, 

J., dissenting).

10

 

                                       



10

 Justice Liu opined, as four members of this Court concluded in a statement 

respecting the denial of certiorari in Gamache v. California, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. 

Ct. 591 (2010), the California Supreme Court’s application of the Chapman 

harmless error standard improperly places the burden of persuasion on the 

defendant.  Jackson, 2014 WL at *33, *58; see also People v. Aranda, 55 Cal. 4th 

15 

 


CONCLUSION 

For the foregoing reasons, the petition for a writ of certiorari should be 

granted.

 

 



Dated:  March 24, 2014 

Respectfully submitted, 

 

 

 



 

By:


 

  

Quin 



Denvir 

Counsel of Record 

1614 Orange Lane 

Davis, CA 95616 

Telephone: (916) 

307-9108 

Attorneys for Petitioner 

Robert Mark Edwards 

 

 

 



 

 

                                                                                                                           

 

342, 379, 383, 283 P.3d 632 (2012) (Liu, J., concurring and dissenting) (noting that 



the majority found the omission of an instruction to be harmless under Chapman 

despite the state’s concession in its answer brief that the error required reversal).  

The California Supreme Court’s jurisprudence further ignores the fact that it is the 

state’s burden to prove that the error was not harmless by repeatedly inferring that 

there is no reasonable possibility of prejudice where the record is silent or 

indeterminate as to actual prejudice. See, e.g.People v. Whitt, 51 Cal. 3d 620, 798 

P.2d 849 (1990) (explaining that the Chapman standard creates a strong 

presumption that the defendant was prejudiced where prejudice can be assessed 

from the record and finding no prejudice where the record was silent as to 

prejudice);  Jackson, 2014 WL at *58 (describing the state court’s “recurring 

maneuver” in its harmless error jurisprudence of “infer[ring] no reasonable 

possibility of prejudice where the record is silent or indeterminate as to actual 

prejudice”).   

 

16 



 

 

 

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE 

 

I certify that the attached petition for writ of certiorari is proportionately 



spaced, has a typeface of 13 points or more and contains approximately 3,522 

words.  


 

 

Date: March 24, 2014 



 

  _______________________ 

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

Quin Denvir 

   Attorney 

for 


Petitioner 

 

Robert Mark Edwards  



17 

 


PROOF OF SERVICE 

 

 



I am a citizen of the United States and a resident of Sacramento County.  I 

am over the age of eighteen years and not a party to the within above-entitled 

action; my business address is Rothschild Wishek & Sands LLP, 765 University 

Avenue, Sacramento, California 95825.  On the below named date, I served the 

within 

 

REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONER 



 

People v. Edwards 

Case No. S073316 

 

On the parties in said action as follows: 

 

XXX (By REGULAR MAIL) by placing a true copy thereof enclosed in a sealed 

envelope with postage thereon fully prepaid, in the United States post office mail 

box at Sacramento, California, addressed as follows: 

 

Deputy Attorney General Arlene A. Sevidal 



110 W. A Street, #1100 

Box 85266 

San Diego, CA 92186-5266 

 

Robert Edwards  



CDC No. P-11700 

San Quentin State Prison 

San Quentin, CA  94974 

 

 



 

I, Geena Renda, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true 

and correct. 

 

 



 

Executed this 24

th

 day of March, 2014, at Sacramento, California.   



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

__________________ 

 

 

 



 

 

 



Geena Renda 

 

18 



 

Document Outline

  • TABLE OF AUTHORITIES



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