Prop 57 May Not Apply To Juvenile Offenders Sentenced In A Trial Court

Prop 57 May Not Apply To Juvenile Offenders Sentenced In A Trial Court

Defendant Jesus Lizarraga (“Lizarraga”) was 17 years old when he shot and killed a member of a rival gang. In 2014, Lizarraga was tried as an adult and was convicted of second degree murder. Lizarraga was sentenced to serve 40 years to life in state prison. Lizarraga appealed, but the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The judgment therefore became final in March of 2016, eight months prior to…

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Federal Judge Dismissed a Drug Case When the Federal Court Refused to Resume Jury Trials and Violated the Defendant’s Constitutional Rights

The right to a speedy jury trial is one of the most fundamental American rights and the court cannot deny an accused person the right to a jury trial unless conducting one would be impossible. “This is true whether the United States is suffering through a national disaster, a terrorist attack, civil unrest or the coronavirus pandemic: that the county and the world are currently facing” said U.S. District Court…

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to Award 12-weeks of Positive Programming Credit to Eligible Inmates

As the global Covid-19 pandemic rages on there is no population more affected than those serving a prison sentence in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Those currently serving time in California's overcrowded prison system are exposed to the dangers of the virus and are left vulnerable to contracting the deadly disease. In light of the impact the pandemic has on California inmates and on their access to…

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counting cash

Should our current cash bail system in California be eliminated where the court must consider the accused’s ability to pay?

There is a battle brewing amongst criminal practitioners on the proper role of bail within California’s criminal justice system. Currently, the California Constitution gives a person an absolute right to bail except in rare cases and prohibits imposing excessive bail. It also sets forth factors the court shall take into consideration in determining the amount of bail required. For instance, the court must consider ‘the seriousness of the offense charged,…

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scales of justice

Don’t let the District Attorneys unlawful tricks cause you or a loved one to be wrongfully convicted

Criminal trials require fundamental fairness and that only exists when Prosecutors follow the rules requiring them to turn over evidence that is favorable to the defense. This is known as the Brady rule and is foundational to a fair trial. In a recent case, the Prosecution failed to live up to their ethical standards and it nearly cost a man 13 years of his life. Fortunately, he had an experienced…

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Social Media Companies May No Longer Refuse to Turn Over Relevant Information to Those Facing Criminal Charges

In August 2020, the California Supreme Court sent a case for attempted murder back to the trial court to provide the accused a new trial. The high court did so because they did not believe that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter should always be able to refuse to comply with subpoenas in criminal cases. The case concerns a 2016 shooting in San Diego County. San Diego prosecutors charged…

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Stressed about financial issues

Thousands of Accused Will Be Required to Post Bail Again

During the COVID-19 pandemic, jails and prisons became hot spots for the virus. Inmates living in close quarters and in small spaces, made them highly susceptible to the virus. In April, the Judicial Council of California voted on an emergency order to temporarily end cash bail for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony cases to reduce the inmate population and limit the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, on June 10, 2020, the…

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child molestation punishment

The People v. Anatoly Smolkin

There was an interesting criminal case that made its way to the appellate courts in northern California in May 2020 in Solano County. Penal Code 69 The issue, in this case, was whether the appellant’s conviction under PC 69 was constitutional. Under Penal Code 69, a defendant can be convicted of a crime where they Willfully and unlawfully used violence and/or threats of violence to try to prevent an executive…

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Veteran’s Treatment Court & COVID-19

What is Veteran’s Court? Veteran’s Court is a collaborative, problem-solving court designed to offer treatment intervention rather than incarceration to defendants charged with misdemeanors or felonies, who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are experiencing treatable behavioral, psychological or substance abuse problems. The program is a minimum of 18 months long and involves ongoing judicial supervision and intensive probation supervision with input from a multi-disciplinary team of professionals…

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Students Accused of Misconduct Get New Legal Rights to Defend Themselves

New Title IX Regulations The Department of Education recently released its new Title IX regulations, which restore critical due process protections to campus sexual misconduct proceedings.  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued final rules for how public and private schools and colleges must address allegations of sexual misconduct, locking in protections for accused students and faculty but tempering earlier proposals that critics said would harm victims of assault and harassment. The…

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