Diversion Programs in California for Armed Forces Veterans

If one is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and was medically diagnosed as suffering from one of several service-related mental health ailments, the person may request alternative sentencing if charged with certain crimes.  While there is Veteran’s Court for certain types of cases, often drug and alcohol-related offenses, alternative sentencing under Penal Code §§ 1001.80 and 1170.91 is different.  To read about these programs, click on the following link.


Can Prop 47 Apply After a Felony Conviction Is Expunged?

As many criminal defense attorneys know, one can have a conviction “expunged” under Penal Code § 1203.4, but then go back to court and have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor.  Meyer v. Superior Court (1966) 247 Cal.App.2d 133.  Can someone also have Prop 47 apply after 1203.4 relief?  The answer is no.  Why?  Click on the following article to read why.


Is Vehicle Code § 10851 Eligible for Prop 47 Relief?

Under the new definition of petty theft at Penal Code § 490.2, codified with the passage of Proposition 47, is felony joyriding (Vehicle Code § 10851) petty theft if the vehicle value is under $950?  In other words, can a judge resentence a felony 10851 charge as a misdemeanor by finding it meets the definition of 490.2?  This question was posed to the trial court, which said no.  On appeal, how did the appellate court rule?  To find out, click on the following link.


Is a Prison Hunger Strike Likely to Lead to Violence?

Losing conduct credits in prison can be a big deal, especially as someone nears the date for release.  One way to lose such credits is behavior that “might lead to violence or disorder or otherwise endanger the facility,” meaning the jail.  What if a prisoner, in solitary confinement in the SHU, misses nine meals while there is a statewide hunger strike?  Is that type of conduct behavior which might lead to violence?  To read the answer and the reasoning behind it, click on the following link.


Does Prop 47 Reduce a Federal Sentence of Life in Prison?

Jesse Vasquez was sentenced to life in federal prison based on sentencing enhancements applied due to having two prior state court felonies for possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code § 11350(a)).  Prop 47 was then passed and Vasquez succeeded in having his two felonies reduced to misdemeanors.  He then sought to have his federal life imprisonment sentence vacated.  What did the judge in federal court say to this?  Click on the following link to find out.


Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Trial Verdict Reversed – How, Why?

If one is an SVP or has a family-member or loved one who is potentially designated an SVP upon release from prison, the following case summary may provide some hope in the continuing nightmare that surely characterizes the plight of that loved one.  The case deals with an SVP seeking release from the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) under Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 6606 and 6608.  To find out how this took place, click on the following link.


What Is a Brady Violation? What Could Happen in the Case if there is One?

In civil cases, there is a cat and mouse game of one party trying to get evidence from the other and the other party objecting to answers or producing documents by using objections such a “vague and ambiguous,” “call for the production of documents protected by the attorney work product privilege” or even “relevance.”  In criminal cases, in contrast, the prosecution must produce all documents it has to support the conviction sought.  When this duty is violated, there is a Brady violation.  What then happens?  To find out, click on the following link.


Early Termination of Probation – What Does a Judge Consider?

There are many people who want a conviction expunged as soon as possible, even while they are still on probation.  To do so, one first has to end probation, which means a judge must hear a motion to modification of probation so as to end it.  When can this motion be done first?  What does a judge consider in ruling on it?  Click on the following link to find out.


If a Child Witness Refuses to Testify, 6th Amendment Violated?

The Sixth Amendment provides that an accused has the right to confront the witnesses against him, which has generally been understood to mean the right to cross-examine that witness as to his perceptions, biases, assumptions and truthfulness.  Is there an exception when the key prosecution witness is an immature five-year old?  If the defendant cannot cross examine the witness because she is uncooperative, is the case dismissed?  To read about this issue involving the Sixth Amendment, click on the following link.


The Right to a Speedy Trial When One Must Be Extradited

If one is arrested in a foreign country pursuant to an agreement between the United States and another country, is there a right to a speedy trial that attaches before one is even extradited?  If so, at what point is that right violated such that one must be released and not extradited, or at least returned to the foreign country?  To read about this interesting legal issue as it affected an actual extradition proceeding, click on the following link –