Blog

Catch a Fire – Arson and Resistance to Gentrification in Oakland (CA Penal Code 451 & 452)

On July 7, 2017, a fire tore through the Alta-Waverly building, a seven-story, mixed-use building under construction in downtown Oakland. The heat from the fire was so intense, it was picked up on local weather radar and there was significant concern that an industrial crane, which was being used during the construction, might collapse onto adjacent buildings. I could feel it on my drive to the Summit Defense Law office in Downtown Oakland.  The fire destroyed the structure at 2302 Valdez Street, at the corner of 23rd Street, threatening homes and other businesses in the residential-commercial area northwest of Lake...

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Santa Clara County’s Collateral Consequences Policy and Avoiding Dual Prosecution (CA Penal Code 242)

Last month’s issue of The National Review featured an article by Pete Hutchison, lambasting Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen’s “Collateral Consequences” memo and practice[1]. Hutchison seems to attribute all of the woes of most victims to Rosen’s directive to his office to consider the collateral immigration consequences for cases prosecuted by his office involving non-citizen defendants. Hutchinson’s diatribe is misinformed, misdirected and startlingly off-target. Which shouldn’t surprise most readers who have any idea of the roots of The National Review or its general opinion on all issues political, social or judicial.The National Review is a conservative, quasi-monthly magazine...

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San Mateo Embezzlement – Privatizing Criminal Prosecution to Circumvent the Constitution (CA Penal Code 503)

First District Court of Appeals Judge Martin J. Jenkins.In a decision that rocks the foundation of the U.S Constitution and will likely have far reaching consequences, the First District Court of Appeals ruled that a private law firm’s investigation and cooperation with the District Attorney does not make the materials used in that investigation subject of mandatory disclosure rules and the principles set forth in Brady v. Maryland.BACKGROUNDThe Seminal case of Brady v. Maryland dictates that the prosecution must disclose any and all exculpatory materials derived in the course of a criminal investigation.  This includes; evidence which proves defendant’s innocence,...

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Criminal Prosecution as Smoke Screen (CA Penal Code 192(b))

Criminal Prosecution as Smoke ScreenOn December 2, 2016, a fire broke out in a converted warehouse in Oakland during a music and art show hosted by the managers of an art collective based inside the building. Of the more than 50 people attending the event, 36 were unable to escape the flames and perished in the fire. It was an unprecedented and tragic loss of life that understandably destroyed families and tore a once tight-knit community apart. Six months later, the Alameda County District Attorney has announced that criminal charges have been filed against the man who ran the art...

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Voisine v. U.S.: Closing the Loophole (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9))

Voisine v. U.S.: Closing the LoopholeThe United States Supreme court, in its decision in Voisine et al. v. United States, clarifies and narrows the application of a section of federal law that was codified more than twenty years ago. In its decision, the Court unequivocally states that the primary aim of the majority decision was to “close [a] dangerous loophole” left open by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) when it was ratified by the Lautenberg Amendment in 1996.Specific to the issue examined by the Court, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) makes it illegal for anyone “who has been convicted in any court...

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ICE Arrests at Courthouses

ICE has been making immigration arrests in the hallways of state courthouses recently.  ICE had previously discontinued this tactic after getting bad press about arresting women applying for restraining orders, people paying traffic tickets, and even immigrants trying to get married in Kern County. The practice has resumed, at least in Los Angeles and other parts of the country.[video width="406" height="720" mp4="https://www.summitdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/ICE-arrests-Summit-Defense-San-Jose.mp4"][/video]If you see or hear of ICE arrests in SF Bay Area courthouses, please email or call Scott Mossman at 510-835-1115.  He is collecting this information to share with other immigration attorneys.Source: http://mailchi.mp/bd4d730ab59b/ice-arrests-at-courthouses?e=ab1038d52a Summit Defense Criminal Attorneys has 6 bay area offices to better serve you....

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New Bay Area scam targeting chat room users with threats of Criminal Prosecution for Child Pornography (CA Penal Code 311)

Since January 2017, Summit Defense Criminal Attorneys has received numerous calls from terrified individuals who describe essentially an identical fact pattern:After a brief encounter with an another individual in a chat room and an unsolicited sexual photograph, they receive a call from an irate father who claims either an accident or medical treatment for their minor child.  The calls is accompanied with demand for funds and a threat to contact the authorities for sexual contact with a minor or possession of child pornography (CA Penal Code 311).Naturally, this produces extreme anxiety and several callers have informed us that they have...

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Bay Area Crime Penalties – disproportionate and UNJUST

About ten years ago, I handled a criminal matter in San Jose Superior Court.  It was slightly unusual because it was handled by the Attorney General’s office but otherwise, it was a routine arrested for embezzlement case (CA Penal Code 503).  I had managed to convince the prosecutor to meet me for a cup of coffee to discuss the case and heard perhaps the most difficult statement I have had to digest as a criminal defense lawyer.The offer in the case (thirteen years in state prison) seems absurd to me given my client’s age and lack of criminal background even conceding...

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Santa Clara District Attorney no longer providing criminal pre file case status!

When you are arrested for a DUI in Santa Clara (CA Vehicle Code 23152), you can comfortably assume that the date listed on your citation will be the actual court date.  Criminal attorneys don’t make a habit of checking ahead of time whether the district attorney will file charges or not.This is not true in other types of cases in which there is a real chances that despite an arrest, the District Attorney will not formally charge the case.  Criminal attorneys will often put significant efforts to convince the District Attorney not to file charges on charges such as Domestic Violence...

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE BAY AREA – ROLE OF COMPLAINING WITNESS

Arrested for Domestic Violence in the Bay Area?One of the most common questions Domestic Violence arrests provoke is what is the role of the complaining witness in deciding to or influencing charging and prosecution.DOES VICTIM HAVE TO TESTIFY?It is well known that a victim of domestic violence does not choose whether charges are brought against his or her significant other. The questions of whether a domestic violence victim have to testify in a domestic violence trial depends on several factors.You can be sure that the District Attorney will subpoena the victim to appear on the day of trial.WHAT HAPPENS IF...

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