Blog

Social Media Journalist Fired on Allegations of Assisting Hacker (CA Penal Code §1030)

Last March, 26-year-old Matthew Keys was indicted on allegations of assisting others to hack the Los Angeles Times website and make changes to their web content – harmless alterations to random phrases.  Formerly an employee of Sacramento’s KTXL-TV Channel 40, the presumably disgruntled Keys has been accused of having posted sensitive login information in a chat room that was then used by a hacker named “Sharpie” to break into the system.  Keys was indicted on counts of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage...

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Refinement of Plea Bargain Agreement in California Supreme Court

Usually, plea bargaining is the purview of prosecutors in criminal cases, but recently the California Supreme Court has unanimously determined that judges may inform defendants of their possible sentence if they plead guilty to the charges against them.  This dangerous precedent has caused quite a stir in the state and has  completely re-defined the roles of judges and attorneys.  A balance is meant to exist between the court’s representative, the judge, and the attorneys dealing with the case.  Normally, judges are meant to be impartial, upholding the law that already exists – not creating new laws or acting as lawyers...

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Former Granada High School Teacher Found Guilty of Molestation of Student (CA Penal Code §11164 – §11174.3)

Marie Johnson, 42, has taught math in the Livermore area for more than 13 years. But after pleading no contest to 9 felony charges of molestation relating to her extended connection with a 14-year-old male student, she will spend a good bit of her time in prison and most likely never teach again.  For four months spanning from December 2010 to May 2001, Johnson and the young boy carried on a sexual relationship.  It began with seemingly harmless messaging through social media like Facebook and Words With Friends, along with text messaging.  The two had sex a number of times...

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SAN MATEO COUNTY FORMER FINANCE DIRECTOR PLEADS NO CONTEST TO EMBEZZLEMENT (CA Penal Code §503)

62-year-old Jo Ann Seeney, former finance director of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, has pled “no contest” to the 10 felony embezzlement charges against her in San Mateo Superior Court for her assistance in taking $450,000 from the state. It seems that Seeney and a fellow co-worker stole from the agency in a number of ways, including padding their deferred compensation funds, transferring money from county accounts to their own, and using the mosquito control district’s credit card for personal purchases – among other means to garner themselves extra pay and get money for fake time...

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Juveniles Arrested in Pott Case will not be tried as adults (CA Welfare & Institutions Code §602(b);707))

When 15-year-old Audrie Pott took her own life this past September, it was, her mother claims, it was the fault of 3 boys who sexually assaulted Audrie at a party, then shared pictures of the assault with the entirety of her Saratoga high school.  Each of the boys involved were arrested for 1 misdemeanor and 2 felony counts each, including charges of sexual assault, penetration with a foreign object, and possession of child pornography.  In September, the 3 were removed from the Saratoga High School football team, but not expelled from school as the assault happened away from school grounds...

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Trespassing case exonerated by attorney (CA Penal Code §602)

According to CA Penal Code §602, trespassing is a crime that involves illegally trampling on another person’s rights by accessing their property without their permission.  Charges of this kind can range anywhere from not leaving property when you have been asked to entering someone’s property for the purpose of causing destruction to it to what is known as “squatting.”In all these types of criminal trespass, the issue of intent becomes the focal point.  If the prosecution cannot prove that you “willfully” entered another’s property for criminal purposes – or at least for the purposes of disrupting some activity that was...

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Implications of Assault and battery (CA Penal Code §240 & §242)

An unidentified man was spending time in a strip club near Jones Street and the 700 block of O’Farrell when things suddenly got out of hand.  It seems that the man began arguing with one of the employees over money.  The woman began to film his inappropriate behavior with her cell phone.  He didn’t like that very much, so he smacked the phone out of her hand, breaking it to pieces.  Evidently, this did not sit well with 15 other men in the club who immediately came to the dancer’s rescue – surrounding him, pounding the man, and eventually running...

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False Accusation and Arrest due to inaccuracy of Police Shotspotter System

29-year-old Keith Harding was outside of a marijuana grow house in the 1600 block of 85th Avenue when he was shot and killed.  Law enforcement officers are still unable to determine whether or not Harding’s death is connected to the activities of the grow house, but it was found on the premise during the investigation into the slaying.Interestingly, police were alerted to the shooting through the use, not only of reports by nearby residents, but also of “Shotspotter,” a gunshot detection device with sensors that detect gunfire blasts.  This particular piece of technology has become one of the basic mainstays...

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Knowledgeable Attorneys and Judge required to handle Molestation jury trial (CA Penal Code §11165.1(A))

We all know that the justice system doesn’t always work the way that it should. The work of Project Innocence has proved this to be true – juries don’t always understand their instructions or the evidence before them.  But in the case of Valentin Carbajal, a man accused of molesting both his stepdaughter and daughter, CA Penal Code 11165.1(A), it was the judge who made a bad matter worse.  In 2007, Carbajal was tried on 3 counts of molestation concerning his stepdaughter. The jury involved was asked to determine whether he was also guilty of 9 other charges concerning his actual...

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Car theft in San Francisco (CA Penal Code §487(d)(1))

An unknown thief managed to steal a Yellow Cab taxi near San Francisco State University and then take it on a joy ride – leaving a hefty fare for the cabbie to contend with.  The cab was left with the engine running at  the corner of Banbury St. and Denslowe Dr. when the driver got out to assist an ill passenger into the vehicle.  Someone jumped in and took the yellow Ford Escape for a lengthy joy ride – with several police officers in a slow chase behind them after the car was reported near South of Market.  The joyrider drove quite...

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