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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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Santa Clara Mandatory Domestic Violence Arrest Policy (CA Penal Code 273.5)

California Penal Code section836(d) allows an arrest by an officer of a  crime that does not take place in their presence if:The peace officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the assault or battery, whether or not it has in fact been committed. The peace officer makes the arrest as soon as probable cause arises to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the assault or battery, whether or not it has in fact been committed.While this section could, in theory apply to any crime committed, law enforcement agencies...

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Alameda County Court still Struggling With Computer System

Alameda County Court still Struggling with Computer SystemIt has now been over six months since the Odyssey computer system was implemented in Alameda County.  Over the last six months there have been reports of inmates staying in jail pass their sentence, individuals arrested for probation violations  that had been recalled and a host of other delays and complications.   Whether this is a terminal software issue or what that can be fixed remains to be seen, however, there have been, to be fair, some advantages of the new system including cost cutting, ability obtain information immediately across the various courts as well...

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Bay Area Domestic Violence Bail schedules – Should I Bail Out? (CA Penal Code 273.5)

Bay Area Domestic Violence Bail schedules - Should I Bail Out?Often, a domestic violence arrest triggers an immediate dilemma of whether to bail out or wait for a court proceeding.  Bail is the system by which those accused of a crime can essentially mortgage their freedom by posting a bond in court.  The amount of the bond depends on the  crimes alleged as well as the county the crime is alleged to have occurred in and is set by the county jail officials in charge of the  booking process.What is unique about domestic violence arrests(CA Penal Code 273.5) is that while...

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San Francisco Sheriff Denies Home Detention After Child Porn Conviction (CA Penal Code 311)

San Francisco Sheriff denies Home Detention After Child Porn ConvictionIn a far too common turn, Enrique Pearce’s sentencing for possession of Child Pornography (CA Penal Code section 311) was delayed because the San Francisco Sheriff declined to accept Mr. Pearce into it’s home detention program. While the Sheriff may deny anyone from the home detention program, Bay Area Sheriff departments routinely will deny those convicted of offenses involving minors from home arrest.  To be clear, home arrest allows a defendant to work but demands HOME ARREST at all other times. Prosecutors, under pressure from public outcry, and now the Sheriff’s office...

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Two Criminal Trials for The Price of One – Budgetary Concerns and Criminal Justice in Santa Clara

Two Criminal Trials for The Price of One – Budgetary Concerns and Criminal Justice in Santa ClaraSanta Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s analysis of the two-jury criminal trials in the Mercury news lacks merit.  To begin with, Criminal trials are difficult and require a constant focus that is, at times, difficult with one jury.  The idea that the criminal justice system can and should save resources by grouping defendants together and having two or more juries hear parts of the testimony presented is absurd.  While the rules allow for one of the juries to be removed in the event that...

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DA Office Found Arrest Disparities in Santa Clara County

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office found disparities in the percentages of Latino and Black individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies. These findings confirm anecdotal impressions and data from the San Jose police department.Disparities were found across all charges beginning with the following points of encounter: car stops, 911 calls, in person street encounters, results of police investigations and resisting a police officer.This final category reveals a disproportion that is both notable and troubling. The proportion of people charged with resisting arrest (CA Penal Code 148) were 50% Latino and 14% Black. Latinos make up 26% of the county’s population, Blacks...

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