Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Phil Spector Appellate Co-Counsel Charles Sevilla

Charles Sevilla
After receiving his law degree from the University of Santa Clara, Chuck earned a masters degree (LL.M) from the Urban Law Institute at George Washington University Law School. He spent two years as an attorney in Washington, D.C., for VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, before moving to San Diego to serve as a Federal Public Defender. Chuck rose to the position of Chief Trial Attorney in the San Diego Federal Public Defender office. In 1976, he was recruited to establish and head the Los Angeles office of the California State Public Defender office. Later he became the Chief Deputy State Public Defender for the State of California. In 1983, he and long time friend and colleague, John Cleary, established the law firm of Cleary and Sevilla. In 2004, John Cleary retired from the practice to teach at Moscow State University in Russia under the auspices of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship program in international educational exchange. Chuck continues his full-time criminal defense practice.

Chuck has argued cases at all appellate levels, including several times before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at legal conferences. Chuck has published books on legal humor and two novels about a fictional New York City defense lawyer, John Wilkes. He has authored numerous law review articles and is the co-author of a legal text, California Criminal Defense Practice, used by lawyers and in law schools throughout the country.

Chuck's complete resume (PDF 23K) including Bar activities and selected published opinions is available here.


“Under California law, a prosecutor commits reversible misconduct if he or she makes use of ‘deceptive or reprehensible methods' when attempting to persuade either the trial court or the jury, and it is reasonably probable that without such misconduct, an outcome more favorable to the defendant would have resulted.”

“A “reasonable probability” means “ ‘merely a reasonable chance, more than an abstract possibility.’ [Citation.]” ( People v. Racy (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1327, 1335, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 455.)”

“A prosecutor commits misconduct if he or she attacks the integrity of defense counsel, or casts aspersions on defense counsel.” ( Hill, supra, 17 Cal.4th at p. 832, 72 Cal.Rptr.2d 656, 952 P.2d 673.) “If there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury would understand the prosecutor's statements as an assertion that defense counsel sought to deceive the jury, misconduct would be established.” ( People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233, 1302, 18 Cal.Rptr.2d 796, 850 P.2d 1.”

“Further, accusations that counsel fabricated a defense or misstated facts in order to deceive the jury are forbidden. (E.g., People v. Friend, supra, 47 Cal.4th at pp. 30–31, 97 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 211 P.3d 520.) The prosecutor's statement in closing argument that Dr. Kalish “got paid seven grand to meet for two hours with the defendant and come up with an excuse,” was not an argument based on the evidence. Rather, it was an unfair suggestion to the jurors that they should disregard Dr. Kalish's testimony because his testimony had been bought and paid for by defense counsel.”

People v. Higgins (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 1075

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