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Court of Appeals Confirms Constitutional Violation by Vacaville Police

On April 13, 2022, the California Court of Appeals certified for publication a decision “affirming” – or agreeing with – an order made in Solano County to suppress evidence related to a firearm found after a Honeychurch & Giambona client was pat-searched illegally by Vacaville Police.The case was dismissed by the Judge after she found Vacaville Police had pat-searched a client without any facts present establishing that he was “armed and presently dangerous”.

For the reasons below, this case will hopefully help hundreds or thousands of future defendants fighting police violation of their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Published Opinions and Citing as Law

A “published” opinion means that:

[A] majority of the rendering court certifies the opinion for publication before the decision is final in that (Appellate) court.

* * *

An opinion of a Court of Appeal or a superior court appellate division-whether it affirms or reverses a trial court order or judgment-should be certified for publication in the Official Reports if the opinion:

(1)  Establishes a new rule of law;

(2)  Applies an existing rule of law to a set of facts significantly different from those stated in published opinions;

(3)  Modifies, explains, or criticizes with reasons given, an existing rule of law;

(4)  Advances a new interpretation, clarification, criticism, or construction of a provision of a constitution, statute, ordinance, or court rule;

(5)  Addresses or creates an apparent conflict in the law;

(6)  Involves a legal issue of continuing public interest;

(7)  Makes a significant contribution to legal literature by reviewing either the development of a common law rule or the legislative or judicial history of a provision of a constitution, statute, or other written law;

(8)  Invokes a previously overlooked rule of law, or reaffirms a principle of law not applied in a recently reported decision; or

(9)  Is accompanied by a separate opinion concurring or dissenting on a legal issue, and publication of the majority and separate opinions would make a significant contribution to the development of the law.

Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.1105(b)-(c), parenthetical added.

If an opinion is “published”, it means that other attorneys can cite the opinion as authority in future cases to establish a rule of law that Court must follow. (See Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.1115(d).

Thus, this published opinion pertaining a case handled by Honeychurch & Giambona in the trial court is citable by other lawyers who will be asserting their future clients’ rights under the Fourth Amendment for years to come, and until the decision may be overturned by the Court in the future.

Call Honeychurch & Giambona Today to Determine How We Can Assert Your Rights

At Honeychurch & Giambona, we fight for each and every one of our clients in any manner ethically and legally allowed toward obtaining the best possible result for their case, and have done so since 1978.

If you or a loved one is being investigated by, or has been arrested, in Solano County communities of Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun, Benicia, Vallejo, Rio Vista, Dixon, or within Yolo County or Napa County, call our office today to determine how we can provide you the representation and advocacy you deserve to get the best outcome for your case.


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