Landmark California Cases on Joint Trial (Penal Code 1098)

"'There is a statutory preference for joint trial of jointly charged defendants. (Penal Code 1098.) "A 'classic' case for joint trial is presented when defendants are charged with common crimes involving common events and victims."' 'An appellate court reviews a trial court's ruling on a motion for separate trials for abuse of discretion.' 'Under Penal Code section 1098, a trial court must order a joint trial as the "rule" and may order separate trials only as an "exception."' " (People v. Cleveland (2004) 32 Cal.4th 704, 725-726.) "Severance should generally be granted '"in the face of an incriminating confession by a codefendant, prejudicial association with codefendants, likely confusion resulting from evidence on multiple counts, conflicting defenses, or the possibility that at a separate trial a codefendant would give exonerating testimony."' " (People v. Pinholster (1992) 1 Cal.4th 865, 932, disapproved on another ground in People v. Williams (2010) 49 Cal.4th 405, 458-459.) "We review a trial court's denial of a severance motion for abuse of discretion based upon the facts as they appeared when the court ruled on the motion. If we conclude the trial court abused its discretion, reversal is required only if it is reasonably probable the defendant would have obtained a more favorable result at a separate trial. 'If the court's joinder ruling was proper when it was made, however, we may reverse a judgment only on a showing that joinder "'resulted in "gross unfairness" amounting to a denial of due process.'"' " (People v. Burney (2009) 47 Cal.4th 203, 237.)