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State v. Salinas, 2013AP2686-CR, petition for review granted 9/9/15

Review of an unpublished per curiam court of appeals decision; case activity

Issues (copied from the State’s PFR here):

Crimes may be joined in one trial if they are similar or if they are connected as part of a common plan. Here, the court of appeals reversed Salinas’ conviction because it decided allegations that he sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s child, and that he intimidated his girlfriend and her child, were not similar acts or connected as part of a common plan. Is the court of appeals’ decision in conflict with the well-established rule that joinder of charges must be broadly construed?

Improper joinder is subject to harmless error review. Here, the evidence of sexual assault and victim intimidation was overhwleming. Did the court of appeals err in concluding that the joinder of the charges was not harmless?

If you read the court of appeals decision and asked yourself “why did SCOW take this case?” Abrahamson’s concurrence to the order may answer your question. She notes that recently SCOW has granted so few petitions for review that only 1 case is schedule for oral argument in November, and it is possible that no cases will be ready for argument in December.  On September 9th, SCOW granted review in 10 cases. Abrahamson says that 8 of those grants were for unpublished opinions (which have no significant value as precedent) and per curiam opinions (which do not involve new or unsettled questions of general importance.) Her point (quoting Appellate Practice and Procedure) is that SCOW sometimes denies meritorious petitions for review in order to control its calendar, but then later it has to grant petitions for no reason other than to fill out its calendar.  If you would like to read the full order, click here.

On Point thought that 809.62’s criteria determined the fate of a petition. We are grateful for the clarification. 🙂 As you know, On Point tracks court of appeals opinions on indigent defense issues closely. We sense that beginning in 2015 the court of appeals started issuing more of its opinions as per curiams. If so, this maybe contributing to the phenomenon Abrahamson has highlighted.

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