California v. CardenasAnnotate this Case
A brief encounter between two groups of strangers in a restaurant parking lot at closing time ended in one man shot and killed. Three others were injured. Pedro Cardenas was one of the shooters, and convicted by jury trial on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of assault with a firearm, and he pled guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The trial court instructed the jury on the "kill zone" theory as to the attempted murder counts. On the felon in possession count, Cardenas argued that his rights under California v. Arbuckle, 22 Cal.3d 749 (1978) were violated because he was sentenced by a different judge from the one who took his guilty plea. Cardenas did not object on that basis at sentencing, but he cited California v. Bueno, 32 Cal.App.5th 342 (2019) for the proposition that he did not thereby forfeit the issue. A split Court of Appeal concluded that the evidence was insufficient to justify instructing on the kill zone theory under California v. Canizales, 7 Cal.5th 591 (2019), and the error was prejudicial. The Court therefore vacated the attempted murder convictions. The Court disagreed with Bueno and held that Cardenas forfeited the Arbuckle issue by failing to raise it at sentencing. The Court affirmed in all other respects.