Kidnapping

Vallejo Man May Face Misdemeanor Charges for Filing False Police Report (CA Penal Code 148.5)

It must have felt strange – to know that everyone in your hometown, not to mention the FBI, thought you had been kidnapped when, in actuality, you were safe at a relative’s home.  Yet, this is exactly what happened to a 30-year-old woman from Vallejo.  Allegedly, her boyfriend, a 30-year-old man, called the police earlier this week and told them that she had been forcibly kidnapped and taken from a home on Mare Island.  As it turns out, she was at her father’s house in Huntington Beach all along.  No one kidnapped her, no one harmed her, and it remains to be seen exactly why her boyfriend believed this to be true.  In fact, in cases like this it is likely that, unless he can provide some kind of rational evidence to the contrary, he may be facing charges of filing a false police report (CA Penal Code 148.5)

While making false claims to law enforcement agents may seem like a petty kind of crime when compared to more serious violations of the law, California law takes it seriously.  California Penal Code 148.5 makes it illegal to make a false report to the police.  The rationale behind the law is simple: making false statements to persons who are given the job of protecting public interests (like police, prosecutors, a grand jury, or any other person such as a 911 operator) wastes their time. Moments they could be spending following more productive leads and dealing with more violent and dangerous criminals.

A violation of CA PC 148.5 is a misdemeanor, however.  Anyone convicted of this crime will likely face up to 6 months in county jail.  How long an individual spends in jail is up to the judge, they will take into consideration a number of factors when determining an appropriate sentence.  For example, a judge might take into account an individual’s criminal history, their justification for making a false report (in other words, does there seem to have been a good reason for having made false claims), and the actual consequences of having made the false report (was anyone harmed or taken into custody on the strength of the false claims).

 

Man Kidnaps 2 Women on The Same Day with No Apparent Cause (CA Penal Code 207, 208, 209, & 209.5)

No one really knows why 23-year-old Mountain View resident (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) decided to kidnap 2 women this past Sunday; motive for the strange crime has yet to be determined.  It began in San Jose, where a young woman (19) was convinced by him to drive him to Mountain View, which she did.  The problem was that he then wouldn’t let her go.  Eventually, she purposefully caused an accident in the 101 highway.  Later that day, he forced a 61-year-old Mountain View resident from her home and into her vehicle to drive him around East and North Bay.  He was booked on 2 counts of kidnapping  (CA Penal Code  207, 208, 209, & 209.5).

California law dictates that a person must be moved a lengthy distance (without their consent) through the use of force or fear in order for kidnapping laws to apply. There are 2 different types of kidnapping.  First, ‘simple kidnapping’ follows the above definition to a tee and is considered a felony.  If you are convicted of a charge pursuant to this portion of the law, you may find yourself in state prison for a period of 8 years.  However, if you are charged with ‘aggravated kidnapping’ (if the victim is under the age of 14, if you seriously harm the victim or the victim dies, or if the kidnapping was part of a carjacking, for example), then the penalties are stiff.  Also a felony, aggravated kidnapping may end in a sentence of 5 years to life.

 

Former Juvenile Housed by CYA Kidnaps 7-Year-Old Girl in Sacramento (CA Penal Code §288)

Now 25 years old, Cedric Holland has a history of upsetting the Sacramento legal system.  7 years ago, Holland was convicted on an offense that eventually led to his being on the California sex offender registry – (CA Penal Code §288).  He was handed over to the California Youth Authority (CYA), which is now known as the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).  In May of this year, he kidnapped a 7-year-old girl who was walking with her mother near 54th and 47th in the early afternoon hours.  The girl was somehow taken from her mother, stuffed in the trunk of Holland’s car, and then managed to escape, running to ask for a stranger’s aid.

There are, however, some inconsistencies that seem to be present in this case.  First, the CYA/DJJ is an institutional mechanism whose goal is supposedly to rehabilitate juvenile offenders.  At the time of his first arrest, Holland must have been under the age of 18; otherwise, he would have been tried as an adult.  Yet, either the state of California’s rehabilitative efforts fell on deaf ears or Holland became a more violent criminal during his time there.  Should we begin to doubt that the DJJ truly aims at rehabilitation of juvenile offenders? The DJJ only houses violent and serious criminals, persons who are repeat sex offenders and gang members. Are we to believe that one conviction pursuant to CA Penal Code §288 warranted his placement in such a facility?

There are other questions that also need answering: How, for example, did Holland so easily get the child away from her mother?  How is it that the girl’s mother was unable to stop him from stuffing the 7-year-old in the trunk of his car – in broad daylight and at a busy intersection?  Many things remain a mystery in the Holland case; one thing is, however, certain – his bail has been set at a whopping $1 million.

Attempted Carjacking in Greenbrae (CA Penal Code §215(a))

As Tina Humphrey (52), a contractor from Mill Valley, went about running errands in the Bon Air Shopping Center, it’s a good guess that becoming the victim of a carjacking was the last thing on her mind.  But, when Jeffrey Boyce, a Coos County man, came up to her as she was getting into her pickup truck, all of that changed in a split second.  It seems that Boyce was attempting to steal a car in order to reach the Russian Consulate in San Francisco as he bent Humphrey’s ear about a number of conspiracy theories he wholeheartedly believed.  Humphrey was able to keep her cool – and to help Boyce to remain calm as well, even though he had some serious weapons in his possession and enough ammo to last quite a while.  Eventually, a fellow shopper happened upon the pair and was able to slip away to call the police.  Boyce was arrested on charges of 6 different felonies, the highlights of which are false imprisonment (CA Penal Code §236) and attempted carjacking (CA Penal Code §215(a)).

California law dictates that carjacking and related crimes are automatically felonies, carrying a penalty of 9 years in state prison – or more if you use a weapon like a gun or kidnap someone in the process.  The Boyce case seems particularly interesting because prosecutors will have to be able to prove that he used “force or fear” while with Humphrey.  However, the two never left the parking lot of the shopping center and Humphreys spent most of her time outside of the vehicle.  Can one really argue that he used “force or fear”?  Certainly, Boyce pointed a gun at Humphrey during their initial contact, but she was able to significantly calm the man down by talking to him, listening to him, and showing him photographs of her children.  Humphrey is considered a hero – and she should be.  However, by reporting to the media that she never felt as if she was afraid of Boyce and “had an unbelievable calm come over” her, Humphrey may have given Boyce’s defense attorneys a leg to stand on when the case goes to trial.

Child Abduction and Kidnapping Laws in California

11-month-old Gabriela Quintero had a happy reunion with her mother nearly 5 hours after she was taken from their home in Amador Court.  Quintero’s mother had just placed her daughter into their jeep and run back into the house for some packages when the vehicle was stolen- with young Gabriela in the back seat.  The car, and the baby girl, was eventually found in Amargosa Court – nearly 6 miles from the abduction site.

California laws concerning kidnapping are covered under Penal Code, § 207, 208, 209, & 209.5.  Here, kidnapping is defined as moving another person a substantial distance without their consent and using either force or fear (or a combination of both) to accomplish this.  A client facing a “simple kidnapping” charge in the state of California faces a felony charge and up to 8 years in state prison.

Child abduction and kidnapping are, however, a different story.  CA PC §278 described child abduction as a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that an individual accused of this crime could face a $10,000 maximum fine and a maximum of 4 years in state prison.  This means that a judge could sentence you for both child abduction and for kidnapping, sentences to be carried out consecutively, if he or she desires.  Of course, there are several defenses to these charges. The first of these is a lack of evidence for the crime.  Additionally, it must be proven that the alleged victim did not consent to being moved. Lastly, although you may have been present at a kidnapping, it must be proven that you actually participated in the crime in order to be convicted of the offense.

If you are facing child abduction or kidnapping charges in California, contact a child abduction attorney at Summit Defense Law Offices for a free initial consultation.