Monthly Archives September 2016

California Three Strikes Law

A simple shoplifting case turned into a 47-to-life prison sentence for a man convicted of stealing various items from a home improvement store. According to the Santa Monica Observer, the reason for such a severe sentence was a combination of the man’s prior criminal history and application California’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law: The shoplifting conviction was his third “strike,” after previous cases involving manslaughter and second-degree robbery. If you’re facing criminal charges that might result in your third strike, here are some answers to your questions about the sentencing law. What is California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law? State
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Rape Case Outrage Leads to Mandatory Prison Sentences

News outlets throughout the world carried extensive coverage of the notorious rape case involving a Stanford student and unconscious victim. Outrage erupted during the sentencing phase of the criminal trial, when the judge issued what was perceived as an extremely lenient sentence for a violent sex crime. Lawmakers responded quickly by proposing a new law that regarding sentencing in such cases: As the L.A. Times reported in early September 2016, the law passed, requiring mandatory prison time for those convicted of rape under certain circumstances. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, here’s what you need to know about
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Cosby Case and Changes in California’s Sex Crimes Law

Bill Cosby has been in the headlines frequently over the last few months, but his talents as an actor and comedian have not been the subject of news report. You are probably aware that he is facing charges in Pennsylvania for sex crimes, and a number of other women have alleged that they were also assaulted decades ago by the comedian. However, Cosby won’t be prosecuted for many of the claims because the time limit for bringing charges expired under the “statute of limitations.” The matter has prompted lawmakers in California to make a change to existing law, according to
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Fugitive in Bank Fraud Case Back in Court

In a decades-old case that’s been around the world and back to California, a local businessman and former car dealership owner was charged with the federal crime of bank fraud. The man had been hiding from the FBI since the late 1980s, but returned and was arrested by federal agents while on a layover at Los Angeles International Airport. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that, after pleading guilty to the charges against him, the man will face sentencing in December. He could face up to 79 years’ imprisonment and over $6 million in fines, demonstrating how severe the penalties
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California Law on Lewd Acts and Other Sex Crimes Involving Children

While the facts on a recent sex crime in California are still under investigation, police have pressed charges for lewd acts on a child in a case recently reported by Highland Community News. The underage victim approached deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office and informed them of the facts, and officers responded by transporting the minor to a local hospital for a medical examination. Officers obtained a search warrant and arrested an individual for lewd acts, but additional charges are pending based upon the results of the investigation. If you have been arrested under similar circumstances, here’s what
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Auto Theft in California: A “Monster” Crime

Monster Energy drinks are known for boosting physical drive and vitality, but they won’t provide enough pep to help crooks avoid charges for auto theft in California. As CBS Los Angeles reported, more than $40,000 in Monster products were stolen when thieves took off in a semi-truck loaded with numerous pallets of the beverage. The case triggers a few different types of charges due to the fact that both merchandise and a vehicle were involved. From the account of the truck’s owner, the robbers likely had another empty vehicle located nearby, where they offloaded the Monster products. Despite leaving the
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Brendan Dassey’s Criminal Conviction Overturned

If you caught any of Making a Murderer, a 10-part miniseries airing on Netflix that gained in popularity in December 2015, you might know the story of Brendan Dassey. As reported by news agencies, he was convicted of murder in 2007, at age 17, after admitting to the crime during an interrogation by law enforcement officers. However, Dassey’s confession was fraught with civil rights issues regarding the tactics police used while questioning him, leading a federal judge to overturn the conviction. Here’s how Dassey’s attorneys convinced the judge to rule in their favor. The Case of Brendan Dassey: In 2005,
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Milwaukee Protests in Criminal Cases

Another police shooting was in the news recently, this time in Milwaukee where law enforcement officers shot and killed 23-year-old Sylville Smith. Reports on how the incident spurred protests and general unrest in certain parts of Milwaukee, due to the perception that police acted unlawfully under the circumstances. The officers claim that they had probable cause to pull over Smith’s car and that they opened fire only when Smith attempted to evade them, while brandishing a firearm. The matter remains under investigation, but it raises questions about probable cause and police officers’ duties when detaining someone. What is probable cause?
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