What Is Marsy’s Law and What Does It Provide a Victim?

Under California law, a victim of certain crimes has a right to be notified of certain events in the case, beginning with the amount of bail set by the judge.  Victims are often unaware of these comprehensive rights, so the following article seeks to inform any victim or friend of a victim of these rights, as they are important.  Click on the following link to read about these rights.


What’s J.O.I.N. & Who’s Eligible for This Diversion Program?

The Juvenile Offender Intervention Network (J.O.I.N. or JOIN) is a program from youthful offenders accused of more minor offenses.  A juvenile accused of rape, kidnapping, attempted murder, etc., would be ineligible, as well as a juvenile accused of a minor offense but with a significant prior criminal history.  If one is eligible, however, it is a great opportunity to “earn a dismissal” of one’s juvenile case.  To read more about this program, click on the following link.


Charged with Conspiracy? What Must the Prosecutor Prove?

Most people readily understand that if one is charged with conspiracy, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had an agreement with someone else to commit a crime.  However, how specific must that agreement be and what further steps must defendant take to commit the crime?  After all, two people can talk idly about how financially rewarding it would be to rob a bank, but idle talk alone is no crime without more.  What exactly is needed?  Click on the following link to find out.


Court Improperly Finds Prior Wisconsin Conviction a California Strike

Whenever a client has a prior conviction from outside California, the question is whether such a conviction counts as a prior conviction under California law for a sentencing enhancement.  For example, does a prior DUI in Nevada count as a prior DUI to make a DUI in California a second DUI?  The analysis is rather academic and, usually, requires statutory interpretation.  To read about a case where this analysis found an out-of-state conviction did not count, click on the following link.


When Is a Juvenile’s Confession to Police Involuntary or Coerced?

In most juvenile cases our office handles, the issue arises that police questioned the youth and the parent was not allowed to accompany the youth while this happened.  The parent is usually concerned whether their son or daughter was intimidated, tricked or coerced into some type of confession.  This is a real risk, but what facts have actually been found to suppress such a confession?  Click on the following link to read a summary of a reported decision where this did take place.


Criminal Threats by Posting on Facebook? We “Like” This Ruling

Can an emotional posting on Facebook expressing anger towards someone qualify as a criminal threat?  The answer is maybe, as the following summary of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling explains.  Indeed, context is everything, but from what context must the posting(s) be viewed?  By the author’s mental state?  By the recipient’s reaction?  To read answers to these questions, click on the following link.


Trial on Possession of Less Than 28.5 Grams (One Ounce) of Marijuana Need Not Be Tricky

In taking a possession of marijuana case to trial, when the client has less than an ounce, there are not too many issues that arise.  Constructive possession, knowledge of the nature of the substance, whether it is a usable quantity and the chemical nature of the evidence are often issues.  But if the prosecution alleges possession for sale, is this a problem?  Click on the following link to find out.


Must Probationer Understand Probation Condition to Be Found to Violate It?

There is a fundamental requirement that probation conditions must be clear enough, or sufficiently unambiguous, that police cannot arrest probationers based on a vague rule capable of many interpretations and that the probationer knows what is prohibited.  However, must the probationer at issue understand the condition to be found in violation?  Must the individual probationer realize what he or she must do or cannot do?  Click on the following link to find out.


Can a Sentence Be Increased with a 10-Year Gang Enhancement If Defendant Acted Alone?

The enhancement for committing a crime to benefit a criminal street gang is often alleged improperly or without proper factual support.  Can someone benefit a street gang by committing a crime alone?  The answer is certainly yes, but in the following case, the appellate court found, under the facts, that such an enhancement was improper.  To read about this reported decision, click on the following link.


Dog Sniff of Car Improper If Driver Driving on the Shoulder

Our office really likes the following U.S. Supreme Court opinion that holds that the duration of a traffic stop is limited to the time reasonably necessary to address the “seizure’s mission.”  This means that a detention which exceeds this duration is a prolonged detention and any search taking place thereafter is a Fourth Amendment violation unless new suspicions by the officer support such a continued detention and search.  The case certainly must be used carefully, but is still potentially good.  To read a summary about the opinion, click here.