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Los Angeles DA Gascon Declines to File Sentencing Enhancements – Solano, Napa, & Yolo Defendants Still in Jeopardy of Overzealous Prosecution

New Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has indicated that his office will no longer file sentencing enhancements when charging crimes against defendants, representing a major step forward toward ending the draconian sentencing laws that have filled California prisons beyond capacity. Effectively, this means that the LA District Attorney will no longer seek death penalty…

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New Law Reduces Standard Lengths of Probation in Felony & Misdemeanor Cases as of January 1, 2021 – AB 1950

After a person pleads guilty, no contest, or is convicted after trial, “probation” can be granted at sentencing instead of an order committing a person to county jail or state prison, either under the supervision of a probation officer (“formal” probation), or subject to conditions established by the court without the supervision of a probation…

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Right to Confront and Cross-Examine Witnesses in Domestic Violence Cases – Contesting the Forfeiture by Wrongdoing Exception

Under Crawford v. Washington, ((2004) 541 US 36), out of court statements by witnesses that are testimonial are barred under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, unless witnesses are unavailable and the defendant had prior opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. (Id. at 54). “Testimonial” statements are those that are made in circumstances that reasonably suggest…

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Prior Domestic Violence Reports as Evidence in Trial: The Exception to the Rule against Using Past Allegations to Show Present Guilt

Domestic violence allegations are complex cases for a number of reasons. One of the areas that such cases differ from average criminal cases is that ordinary rules that govern the admission of evidence related to reports, arrests, or convictions suffered by a defendant can be admitted to show that the defendant is guilty of present…

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Ability to Reduce Felony Convictions to Misdemeanors after PC 1203.4 Expungements

Felony convictions can have devastating consequences for those who suffered such convictions even in the distant past. While Penal Code section 1203.4(a) permits “expungement”, or a dismissal, of a felony charge if the defendant completed probation and was not sentenced to State Prison, the felony stigma and status of the prior conviction still stands to…

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Benefits of Mental Health Diversion under New Law PC 1001.36

Penal Code sections 1001.35-1001.36 were added to the California Penal Code June 27, 2018 to create a new statutory scheme that provides the Court the discretion to place qualified criminal defendants into “Pretrial Mental Health Diversion”. On June 21, 2018, Penal Code section 1001.35 through 1001.36 became effective after enactment of Assembly Bill 1810 by…

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DUI Offenses – Definition of “Driving”

DUIs Require that “Driving” be Proven Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or With a 0.08 Percent or Higher Blood Alcohol Content, are described  by Vehicle Code section 23152, subsections (a) and (b) respectively. Cal. Vehicle Code § 23152(a)-(b). Driving Under the Influence arrests and prosecutions, although exceedingly common, can have some of the most…

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Negative Immigration Consequences of Ineffective Lawyering or Wrongful Conviction – Hope after the Passage of PC 1473.7

Our country is a nation of immigrants and is the best country in the world for that reason. Yet, immigrants convicted of criminal offenses can face draconian consequences, even for offenses that may be considered minor by the general public or even by those in the legal community who do not fully grasp the labyrinthine…

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