The Sixth Amendment to our Constitution guarantees the right to an accused to confront witnesses who are offered against him or her. This has been interpreted as the right to cross examine such a person in person, face to face, so one can hear not only the answers, but observe facial expressions, eye contact and other mannerisms that can affect the weight of the testimony or show bias. Can one’s behavior in the courtroom be so bad, however, that a judge may take away this right? Click on the following article to read about a case where this was the issue.
Were you or a loved one arrested for meeting a child for lewd purposes? Was it a sting operation? What punishment goes with this offense? What are the defenses? How else can it possibly be resolved to avoid a lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290? To read answers to these questions, click on the following link.
When is consent consent? In other words, if consent is mistaken, it is still consent? On the other hand, if consent is procured by fraud, is it consent? In the case of rape, this can be an important distinction, as the following reported decision epitomizes. To read more about this academically interesting case, click on the following link.
In federal court, if a judge classifies a defendant as a career offender, the sentence is necessarily longer. In the case of Jason Lee, this meant 262 months (almost 22 years) to 327 months (27 years). Mr. Lee appealed the sentence, saying the state law statutes for his prior convictions were broader than the federal statutes the judge believed would have applied. The appellate court agreed with Lee and vacated the extreme sentences. To read more about this case, click on the following link.
We know it is 2015, but it is often interesting to look backwards in time to see what the legislature predicted would be impactful new laws and whether they really were. Judge for yourself whether the following laws have changed the way people do business or conduct themselves as a way to better understanding what would be effective in the future.
In sex offenses, a big factor in negotiating a plea bargain or in sentencing is always the defender’s prior history and thus, his or her likelihood of re-offending in the future. However, experts agreed that predicting one’s likelihood to reoffend a sex offense is far more difficult to predict that n other crimes, as there can be complex factors involved. The courts have recognized this in using Static 99 reports to help. What is such a report? Click on the following link to read about it.
Can one use deadly force in defending property from being stolen? Is this legal? What if the thief enters one property, is warned, but still steals something? It deadly force then justified? The answer to such rhetorical questions is no, but the following case summary gives a good example of these issues being litigated. Click on the following link to read about the court’s rationale.
Courts can and do sometimes make mistakes. Other times, a court will act “in the interest” of justice under its discretion to dismiss an action. When is this discretion abused? What if the discretion is used to help someone avoid deportation? Can this be an abuse of discretion? Click on the following link to read about such a case.
In gang-related shootings when a suspect shoots into a crowd, often with no specific person as a target, or in the string of recent killings in movie theaters, the “kill zone” theory of attempted murder can apply. What is this theory and how is it applied? What are its limits? To read about a tragic case, that was tried under the “kill zone” theory and then appealed, please click on the following link.
Were you arrested for indecent exposure or was someone you know arrested for this? What is the punishment? Will the person have to register for life as a sex offender? What are the defenses? What alternative ways are there to resolve the case to avoid the stigma of having a conviction for this offense? For answers to these questions, please click on the following link.