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Pleasanton Criminal Defense Law Blog

San Francisco's 'Dark Prince' may get new trial

An alleged San Francisco swindler known as the “Dark Prince” was found guilty of murder in a 2012 trial in Riverside County. He was sentenced to life in prison. Now he may get a new trial because secret recordings have emerged of the trial judge making biased and homophobic comments about him and other defendants.

For years, the existence of these recordings was rumored. The Desert Sun newspaper obtained and released them last week. Apparently, the alleged con man’s co-defendant left a laptop on a table during a break in the trial, and that laptop recorded the judge’s comments.

Bloomberg: Kids need Miranda rights they can understand

Following are a couple bullet points applicable to juveniles who are in custody and interacting with criminal law authorities seeking to ask them crime-related questions. Reportedly, these things are true, as passed along in a recent Bloomberg article:

  • About nine of every 10 minors detained by law enforcers forgo exercising their Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and promptly communicate in confidence with an attorney
  • Suspected juvenile offenders are “especially susceptible” to providing self-incriminating evidence that is not true and that leads to false confessions and convictions

Head injuries and crime: Is there need for a closer look on this?

American law holds that criminal punishment should be tightly linked with a defendant's willful decision to commit wrongdoing. It seems illogical and even indefensible to lock a person away who lacked knowledge that he or she was even doing wrong or that criminal punishment might attach to select behavior.

Culpability in sentencing decisions is routinely underscored in the American justice system. A recent in-depth article suggests, though, that sentencing's credibility is being undermined by a massive problem affecting prison populations across the country.

CA Supreme Court issues close ruling in juvenile sentencing case

Here's the succinct bottom-line outcome relevant to a recently issued California Supreme Court ruling: A 50-year prison term for a minor is a no-go.

In fact, noted the court's decision announced late last month, such a sentence is "functionally equivalent" to a life behind bars with no chance of parole. The tribunal held in a narrow 4-3 opinion that such a disposition constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.

Bay Area athletes have struggled with drugs, arrests

Here in the East Bay, we have a wide selection of nearby professional sports teams in football, baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey. With hundreds of pro athletes working and living in a relatively small area, it is inevitable that some will have personal and legal problems that affect their careers.

Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith was recently arrested on domestic violence charges. The former All Pro standout has reportedly checked himself into an alcohol treatment facility. He is one of many Bay Area athletes who have struggled with substance abused.

Feds spotlight big-pharma companies as wrongdoers in opioid crisis

Saying that the federal government "has borne substantial costs as a result of the opioid crisis," high-ranking regulators have signaled a new focus in their response to the problem.

And it has -- at least figuratively -- put a bulls-eye on the backs of executives who run the country's largest pharmaceutical companies. Those entities are centrally implicated in the mass addictions plaguing the country, says U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and they will now feel the sting of ever-tightening bureaucratic controls.

What does inflation have to do with criminal charging outcomes?

The answer to the above-posed question in today's blog post headline can be quickly and emphatically supplied by many California prison inmates.

It is this: Inflation can tack on years of additional lock-up time for a criminal offender, especially one charged with a property crime such as theft or vandalism.

Plea bargains in California: generally, a lot to think about

Many of our readers in the Bay Area and across California have likely seen television dramas and movies with scenes involving a back-and-forth discussion between prosecutors and criminal suspects concerning plea bargains.

Sometimes, taking a plea deal looks like a reasonable choice to make for an individual accused of crime. If incriminating evidence seems overwhelming in a case where a bargain is offered, a seasoned defense attorney might be able to negotiate an alternative outcome to a likely lengthy prison term that seems comparatively attractive.

Proposition 47 cited as evidence that criminal law reform works

California stands out starkly from most other states when incarceration-linked numbers are crunched by statisticians and demographers.

Reportedly, the state has reduced its prison population in recent years by more than 20%. That is a startling reduction, given the still-lingering effects of "tough-on-crime policies" that continue to inform sentencing guidelines and outcomes across large pockets of the country.

Recent Case Results

  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    John was able to get client a reduction of charge of a DUI because of being a nurse it could mean her license.

    He secured a Drunk in Public , and she would attend a 3 month program. Additionally, the dmv hearing was also set aside.

    Both being a win for the client.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    A client was arrested for a Felony Domestic Violence, could have devastated her potential for future employment. John was able to get the case dismissed. Client was thrilled.

    Read More
  • Juvenile Charges

    A juvenile was arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery. After 6 months the case was dismissed.

    A juvenile was arrested for Sexual Battery. After 6 months and 80 hours of Community service, the case was dismissed.

    Read More
  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    A client with a 1st DUI arrest. Fearing she would go to jail; lose her license for a year and lose her job. Got a wet reckless and minimal fines.

    Read More
  • Drug Charges

    A client with 4 Felony charges on a Transportation Charge, a Attempt to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, (50 pounds), Conspiracy Charge all where reduced to 1 Misdemeanor. No Jail.

    Client was charged with 6 Felony drug possessions. Facing jail time. The results: Client got a deferred entry of judgment and then dismissed.

    Client charged with several felony counts of possession of Marijuana with intent to sell. Client was involved in a medical marijuana grow. Case was reduced and later dismissed.

    Read More
  • Sex Crimes

    A client with alleged 2 Felony Sex charges and he faced jail and sex registration. The case was entirely dismissed.

    Client charged with prostitution; facing jail time and sex offender registration. Result: NO JAIL TIME AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION Deferred Entry of Judgment.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    Client charged with domestic violence, with great bodily injury. Case reduced to a misdemeanor with time served.

    Read More
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