Can a Criminal Defendant Request New Counsel Anytime?

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel of in a criminal case (but not always at the expense of the government) is often seen as a sacred right and regarded by judges as something to never refuse. However, there are limits. For example, a criminal defendant cannot demand a change of counsel solely for purposes of delaying trial or for some other ulterior purpose. To read a short summary of a case wherein a judge refused the right to new counsel, click on the following link.


Can a Criminal Protective Order Cover Non-Victims?

In many criminal cases, judges overreach in trying to protect victims of domestic violence, stalking and criminal threats.  Often such protective people include children and elderly people who were not classified as a victim in the police report, but may have witnessed defendant’s conduct.  Is this prophylactic gesture proper? To read more about this regular practice and its propriety, click on the following link.


Is a Foiled-Lined Bag a Burglary Tool under PC 466?

Our office has found prosecutors in the Torrance courthouse who do not understand what a burglary tool is. This ignorance is not limited to Torrance, however, as the following appellate court decision demonstrates. After all, a burglary tool is something that can be used to breaking, entering or otherwise gaining access to property. Can a foil-lined bag do this? To read what a San Francisco-area appellate court ruled on this issue, click on the following link.


When’s a Judgment Final for SB 620 for Firearm Enhancements?

It appears to be common knowledge that if a law decreasing punishment is passed, it applies retroactively to decrease punishment on a sentence already imposed. This is generally true unless the law itself specifically states otherwise, as is the case with SB 620, the law that allows judges to modify the sentencing enhancement for use of a firearm in the commission of a crime. Senate Bill 620 states that the new sentencing provisions apply to any case wherein judgment is not final. What is a final sentence? How is it defined? To find out, click on the following link.


Identity Theft Double Jeopardy under Civil & Criminal Law

If someone is arrested and released for identity theft, or even released for identity theft, beware. A civil attorney may next knock on your door. That attorney may be retained by a credit card company to investigate the suspect. This is triggered once the debtor (the alleged victim of identity theft) files a claim under the California Identity Theft Act against the credit card company or debt collector. To better understand this myriad of laws and the rights and obligations of a debtor and credit card company, insofar as they affect the rights of a suspected identity thief, click on the following link.


If There Is a Romeo and Juliet Law in California, What Is It?

While there is no such thing as a “Romeo and Juliet Law” in California, as there apparently does exist in other states decriminalizing underage sex between two minors, it is helpful to known California law on statutory rape and other forms of sexual misconduct with a minor (under age 18) in California, as these types of cases are common. To read about such laws in California, click on the following link.


Can I Expunge a Conviction If I Served Time in Prison?

Our office is asked this question at least once per week, to which our response is generally no, unless the offense was later reduced to a misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(b)(3), Prop 47 or Prop 64. This answer naturally leads to a discussion of whether the conviction leading to prison time is eligible for relief under 17(b)(3), Prop 47 or Prop 64. For more information on this common question, and its answer, please click on the following link.





What Is Second Call? Will the Judge or Prosecutor Be Mad?

Your attorney may have told you he or she will be “second call” for your court appearance and you have no idea what that means. Indeed, there are many terms and acronyms that experienced criminal defense attorneys use and sometimes forget to explain such terms to their client. Second call means the attorney will not arrive to the assigned hearing until later in the morning because of an earlier court appearance, perhaps even in a different courthouse 20 miles away. Is this tolerated by the judge? How about the prosecutor? To read about this common practice, click on the following link.