As loath as parents here in Pleasanton may be to admit this, they know that when their teens get into a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, they will be faced with the decision of whether to engage in sexual intercourse or not. While most conversations about teens and sex typically focus on unplanned pregnancies as a consequence, we’d like today's readers to be aware of another -- perhaps more serious -- consequence: the possibility of criminal charges.
You've probably heard at some time or another that your criminal record can follow you throughout your life. Take for example applying for a new job. If you've been convicted of a crime, you have to tell your would-be employer about this, which could jeopardize your chances of getting employed. It's for this and other reasons that many people consider criminal convictions to be a stain on someone's life -- one which may seem impossible to erase.
If your child has been arrested, you might have no idea what to do or where to turn. Juveniles can face very harsh penalties under California law, and it is important that you talk to a lawyer to ensure you understand exactly what your child is up against.
Few people in California expect that the law will stay unchanged for too long. That's because most people know that societal and political pressures are huge driving forces when it comes to bringing in new legislation and casting aside the old.
Depending on how California residents vote on the 2014 ballot this November, good news could be coming to people who are or have faced criminal charges for certain nonviolent crimes. That’s because the new ballot measure, if passed, would convert some crimes that were previously considered felonies into misdemeanors instead.
A recent study by Human Rights Watch reveals evidence of coercive conduct by federal prosecutors during plea negotiations for federal drug offenses. As you may know, some 97 percent of all federal defendants agree to plead guilty; if they didn’t, our trial courts would be overwhelmed. Those guilty pleas should never be the result of unfair tactics by U.S. Attorneys and their staff -- and no one in our justice system is supposed to plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.
The federal courts in the Central District of California, which includes LA and surrounding counties, has been running an exciting pilot program to give low-level federal criminal offenders a chance for a new life. Through the Conviction and Sentence Alternatives, or CASA, program participants can avoid prison and, in some cases, have their cases dismissed.
An Arizona boy who was convicted of at the age of 10 of sexually abusing other boys has appealed his conviction to the 9th Circuit. The U.S. Attorney arguing against the child says the prosecution was “the best thing that could have happened to the kid.”
Two bills sent up for Governor Brown’s signature on Friday could have important effects on how California investigates and prosecutes juvenile crimes. SB 260 was passed to comply with last year’s California Supreme Court holding that decades-long prison sentences for non-homicide crimes committed by juveniles are unconstitutional unless they offer a meaningful opportunity of release. It would require parole hearings for all such offenders, including in homicide cases.
The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to undertake a careful review of 27 federal convictions resulting in the death penalty, along with some 2,000 other convictions for federal crimes. The reason for this unprecedented case review is data from the Innocence Project that misleading FBI testimony about microscopic hair analysis appears to have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than 23 percent of all cases in which the Project was able to definitively exonerate the defendants.