What is Robbery?

To be convicted of robbery, does one have to use a weapon?  Does one have to use a mask?  Does one have to commit the offense at night?  What exactly in robbery?  What must the prosecutor prove?  What are the defenses?  What is the punishment?  Click on the following link to read answers to these questions. 


What is Carjacking?

The common image brought to mind by a charge of carjacking is a very violent incident where someone, perhaps an old lady or elderly man, is pushed out of a car at gunpoint or knifepoint by a muscular young man yelling and perhaps high on drugs. However, what exactly is carjacking?  Is it like hijacking an aircraft?  What are the defenses?  What is the punishment?  Click on the following link to read answers to these questions.


Confrontation Clause of Sixth Amendment Not Violated When DNA Evidence is Admitted

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, applicable to the states through the Tenth Amendment, generally provides that all persons have the right to face their accuser.  There certainly are exceptions to this, i.e. when the accuser dies or is otherwise unavailable and the accuser’s claims are reliable in some way.  What about the right to cross-examine someone who examines DNA evidence?  If the accused cannot cross-examine the analysis, is the Sixth Amendment violated?  Click on the following link to read about this.


Sixth Amendment Right to Fair Trial Means Family Can Be In Court During Sentencing

Many of our clients are interested in having their family in court with them.  The reasons are no doubt complex and no one really should criticize this.  Judges and prosecutors may point to it as a transparent attempt to mislead the judge into thinking the defendant is a family man, when the irony of violating the law certainly refutes this, they would say.  Yet, when one judge excluded a family from the courtroom, defendant challenged it and won.  Click on the following link to read why.


What is Commercial Burglary (Penal Code § 459) and What Are the Defenses?

Stopped for shoplifting but then handed a piece of paper suggesting you will be charged with commercial burglary?  Is that a mistake?  What is the difference between commercial burglary and shoplifting?  What are the defenses?  Doesn’t burglary have to happen at night?  What is the punishment?  What is AB2124 and will it apply to my case?  How about a motion for civil compromise?  For answers to these questions, click on the following link.


What is Shoplifting and Its Defense?

Arrested for shoplifting?  Were you given a letter from the store demanding $400 as a civil demand?  Where were you stopped?  Did the police arrive at the store?  Are you a U.S. citizen?  Are you a juvenile?  What is a motion for civil compromise?  What is AB 2124?  What is the WIC 654 Program?  There are a lot of questions that commonly arise in a shoplifting case.  To start, it is best to understand what is shoplifting and its defenses.  Click on the following article to read answers to these first two questions –


Opening a Garage Door with a Stolen Garage Door Opener is Only Attempted Burglary, Not a Completed Burglary.

What is a burglary?  Is taking something belong to another person, without the intent to return it, required?  Must someone enter a home or dwelling place?  What if someone does open the front door to a home or another entrance to the home – is that enough?  Click on the following article link to read about the threshold issues in residential burglary involving the use of a stolen garage door opener.


Good Faith Exception to Officer’s Execution of an Improper Search Warrant Does Not Have Similar Application to an Improper Traffic Stop.

There is a well-known principle that when a police officer executes a search warrant in good faith without knowing it is defective, the items found in the search are not suppressed.  If the courts are to encourage officers to know the law, the same good faith exception should not apply to the items, i.e. drugs or a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, found in an improper traffic search, right?  The ignorance of officers should not be enabled.  Click on the following link to read more about this issue.


Appeals Court Holds, in Ruling on a Romero Motion, that There Is No Automatic Dismissal for Strikes Arising from Same Act.

A judge’s discretion must always be considered as an ability to make the right decision when the law is not entirely clear on the issue.  It is a judge’s power to make rulings according to what is logical or “the right thing to do” when no other statute or case instructs otherwise.  In the case of “striking a strike” for purposes of sentencing, there is nothing to bind a judge to dismissing all or no strikes from a prior act with multiple strikes involved.  In other words, the judge has discretion to strike one strike and not another, as paradoxically as this may seem, as the link to the attached case summary explains. 


What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?

Our office represents a high number of people accused of violating probation and facing new charges.  The client is often aware that a violation of probation can result in being remanded to either jail or prison, so he or she is concerned, especially if the person is supporting a family and will lose his or her job.  Yet what actually happens at a probation violation hearing, also called a PV hearing?  Click on the following link to read a short article answering this question.