What Are Mitigating Factors for Sentencing? Examples?

If your attorney or the judge mentions “mitigating factors” for determining a sentence, what are these? What are some examples of mitigating factors that a judge would consider and be persuaded that probation, rather than a sentence involving custody time, is appropriate? What types of documents would your attorney need to show the judge? To read a short article about mitigating factors in sentencing, please click on the following link.


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What Are the Sentencing Options in a Misdemeanor Case?

If one is convicted of a misdemeanor, how does the judge sentence the defendant? What are his or her options? Can the person receive formal probation? What about just community service, but neither informal probation nor formal probation? Can the judge just sentence the person to county jail with no further probation? To read a short article summarizing what a judge can and cannot do, please click on the following link.


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Expungement If One Went to Jail or Prison? What’s 1203.4(a)?

Can someone claim he or she “led an honest and upright life,” obeying all laws, to be eligible for expungement under 1203.4a even if one was in prison leading such an “honest and upright life?” In other words, is being a model prisoner the equivalent of being out of prison and following all laws? This interesting question was posed to the Second Appellate District in Ventura. To read a short summary of how the appeal went, click on the following link.


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Warrantless Placement of GPS Tracker on Parolee’s Car – OK?

May police monitor the whereabouts of a parolee’s car by surrepticiously placing a GPS tracker on the car without first seeking a warrant? What if the parolee is a convicted bank robber and while he is on parole, there are a series of unsolved bank robberies in the area where the parolee lives? This is what happened in 2016 and the LAPD, without a warrant, went ahead and put a GPS tracker on the parolee’s car. To read a short summary about whether this was legal, please click on the following link.


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Does SB 620 (New PC 12022.53) Apply to Insanity Defendants?

If a defendant is legally declared insane, can a judge, in sentencing, dismiss a sentencing enhancement of ten or even twenty-five years for that defendant’s use of a firearm, as provided under the new Penal Code § 12022.53 (Senate Bill 620)? A recent Fourth Appellate Court decision addressed this issue in a case out of San Bernardino Superior Court. To read a short summary of what the appellate court judges decided, please click on the following link.


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What Is Involved in a Bench Warrant Recall Hearing?

Recalling a bench warrant (also described as having it set aside or quashed) involves many considerations that must be made to avoid a trip to the courthouse that ends in defeat. It is wise to first identify if the warrant was issued before defendant even appeared in court, it was issued while the case was pending or if it was issued after a plea or verdict. Was the case a felony or a misdemeanor? Why was the warrant issued? How long ago? These are just a few of the many issues that must be evaluated so that one can succeed in having the warrant recalled. To read more about this event, click on the following link.


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What Is a Commercial Establishment under Prop 47, PC 459.5?

Under the new shoplifting statute, Penal Code § 459.5, shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny during regular business hours when the theft is $950 or less. This definition has been tested in a multitude of ways by folks with prior felony convictions for all sorts of theft convictions, seeking reclassification of their crime as misdemeanor shoplifting. What is a commercial establishment under this law? Is a bank? A school? To read about this evolving definition, please click on the following link.


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