Prop 47: Is Theft by False Pretenses Considered Shoplifting?

The definition of shoplifting under Prop 47 is quite broad.  However, does it include when someone steals checks from his grandmother, writes out $125 to himself, forges his grandmother’s signature and cashes them without his grandmother’s consent at the bank?  If your answer is no, you would be wrong.  How can this be?  To read about a recent appellate court ruling that explained how this can be, click on the following link

Without Proof of Causation of Injury, Is Restitution Proper?

Restitution is often seen as a way to make the defendant pay for his crime in a way that a civil court can, but when the defendant did not cause the claimed injuries, judges often order restitution anyways.  This can cause our clients great anger.  In the following case involving a hit and run on appeal, the California Supreme Court did require proof that defendant caused the injuries alleged, which our office applauds.  To read a short summary of this good ruling, please click on the following link.

Prop 47: Does Shoplifting Include Breaking into a Machine?

With the passage of Proposition 47, there has been a flood of appellate court decisions addressing what type of conduct can be considered shoplifting.  The various decisions do not always seen consistent for facts that appear similar.  In the following case, defendant was caught attempting to break into a coin-operated soap dispenser at a laundromat.  The question was since a laundromat is a commercial business, is this type of theft shoplifting?  For a short article summarizing how the appellate court ruled, click on the following link.

Can a Judge Impose a GBI Enhancement and VC 23558 Also?

A great bodily injury (GBI) sentence enhancement is a three-year increase in one’s sentence (Penal Code § 12022.7(a)).  If one causes bodily injury to more than one person in the course of a DUI, there is a two-year sentence increase under Vehicle Code § 23558.  If a judge imposes both the three-year sentence enhancement for causing great bodily injury to someone, can the judge also order that the sentence be two more years for causing bodily injury to others if the three-year enhancement under § 12022.7(a) is already in the sentence.  Is that unfair duplicative punishment?  Click on the following link to read a short summary of a recent appellate court decision that addressed this type of sentence.

Are Consecutive 10-Year Gang Sentencing Enhancements Error?

Most people are familiar with the concept of double jeopardy, loosely meaning that someone can’t face possible punishment twice for the same offense.  However, what if one person commits a series of sex crimes in one hour-long crime spree with the same victim?  Can a judge impose a ten-year gang enhancement on each of the sex crimes, which are to be served consecutively anyways (not concurrently)?  If the series of crimes were all gang related, it is double jeopardy to impose a gang enhancement on each offense, rather than just one enhancement?  To read a summary of a case that addressed this issue, click on the following link.

What Is a Tahl Waiver for a Plea Bargain and Why Is It so Long?

When someone decides to enter a plea bargain, there is a written document called a Tahl waiver that many judges require a defendant to sign before entering into the plea bargain.  Not all judges require this, however.  For those that do, the form is long and filled with warnings that can be intimidating.  Why are there so many warnings and what reason are they there?  To read answers to these questions, click on the following link.

How Does an Adult Have a Court File Sealed and Destroyed?

America is the land of second chances and forgiveness.  It is often said that no country in the world is so willing to allow one to start over, as seen by our bankruptcy laws and expungement statutes, presidential pardons and certificates of rehabilitation.  Is there a way to have an adult record sealed and destroyed to make a past record of a crime “go away?”  To read a short article on this issue, click on the following link.

May a Judge Ban a Sex Offender from Posting on Facebook?

The reader of the title to this blog post naturally may respond to the question with an answer either that such a ban would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of the freedom of speech or that such a ban might be permissible if it only banned certain types of posts.  However, a complete ban on such online activity?  Would it matter how the underlying sex offense leading to registration took place?  For a short summary of a recent court opinion tackling this issue, click on the following link.

Under Mandatory Supervision, Are Suspicionless Searches OK?

Many people that mandatory supervision, as a condition of release from prison, is the same as probation, but this is not so.  Mandatory supervision is different.  The distinction has relevance toward whether a suspicionless search is valid when one is on mandatory supervision. As the reader may know, this is not allowed if one is on probation, but is it permitted if one is on mandatory supervision?  For a summary of a recent case that addressed this thorny issue, click on the following link.

What Is the Taking and Receiving Doctrine for VC § 10851?

Is a violation of Vehicle Code § 10851 a theft offense or a driving offense?  The answer is it is either, depending upon the case facts and then, upon how the complaint is worded.  This then affects which jury instructions are appropriate to give to the jury and how a conviction can result.  So can someone be convicted of both taking a vehicle and driving a vehicle?  This may not seem like an important issue, but it can be.  To read more about this distinction, click on the following link.