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Allegations in Baltimore PD Corruption Trial More Common than Public May Think

The recent news coming from a Baltimore Police corruption trial has unearthed appalling accusations that Baltimore Officers were fabricating search warrant affidavits to illegally search homes, possessed BB guns with the intent to plant them in case of unlawful police shootings, profiled various types of peoples and vehicles, and illegally tracked citizens with GPS devices,…

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Appearance without client’s presence – Felony v. Misdemeanors

Generally, a criminal defendant must be personally present in felony cases. Cal. Penal Code § 977(b). However, this general rule does not apply in most misdemeanor cases, and the defense attorney may appear on their client’s behalf. See Cal. Penal Code § 977(a) . A defendant who chooses not to personally appear pursuant to Section…

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Demystifying California Gun Laws – Concealed and Loaded Firearms

California gun laws are notoriously complex and difficult to distinguish, even for attorneys who handle firearms-related cases on a regular basis. One key area of confusion that comes up is the distinction between loaded firearms and concealed firearms. Below, we discuss relevant codes regarding these distinctions. Cal. Penal Code § 25400  – Concealed Weapons in…

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Forced Blood Draws, DUIs, and Suppression of Blood Evidence under the Fourth Amendment

        DUI  Blood Draws Justified on grounds of Exigent Circumstances under the Schmerber and  McNeely decisions.    In Schmerber v. California (1966) 384 U.S. 757, the US Supreme Court determined that a warrantless compulsory seizure of blood for the purpose of a blood-alcohol test did not offend the Fourth Amendment if the procedure:  (1) is…

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Limits on DUI Checkpoints and the Fourth Amendment

Holiday season means DUI checkpoints increase across the State of California. DUI checkpoints are legal and police may use them in an effort to protect public safety, if they follow certain guidelines in setting up and operating the checkpoint. Vehicle Checkpoints and the Ingersoll Test   The primary purpose of a sobriety checkpoint is to…

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Authority of Trial Court to “Strike” a Strike Prior under the Romero Decision

Strikes are included in Penal Code section 1192.7(c) (“Serious Felonies”) and Penal Code section 667.5(c) (“Violent Felonies”). [See Cal. Penal Code § 1170.12(c)(2)]. As mentioned on this website, under California’s Three Strikes Law, an offender can face up to 25 Years to Life in the State Prison if he or she is convicted of more…

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Half-Time Credits – Why the in-custody term for most crimes is actually half of what is ordered by the Court.

If you are sentenced to State Prison, County Jail, or County Jail as a condition of probation, you are ordinarily entitled to “half-time” credits, unless you committed a violent felony (a type of “strike” offense) requiring you to serve the offense at “85 percent” time [Cal. Penal Code §§ 667.5(c), 2933.1], or have been found…

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Proposition 57 and Charging Minors as Adults – A Paradigm Shift

         Changes Created by Prop. 57 in Charging Minors as Adults    Proposition 57 was the second major change to juvenile transfer hearings within a year that evidences a new rehabilitative focus in which the transfer criteria are viewed in light of the minor’s maturity, intellectual capacity, physical, mental, and emotional health at the time…

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Fourth Amendment Rights, the “Emergency Aid” Doctrine, and Violations of Privacy by Police

The Fourth Amendment: Warrant Required Unless Lawfully Recognized Exception The Fourth Amendment dictates that warrantless searches inside a home without warrant “are presumptively unreasonable.” Payton v. New York (1980) 445 U.S. 573, 586. In order to justify a warrantless search, the government’s interest in conducting the search must be rise to a level greater than…

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