April 18, 2013

Supreme Court DUI Blood Case [Follow Up]

After the US Supreme Court ruling yesterday in Missouri v. McNeely, the question comes to mind: What are exigent circumstances? Exigent Circumstances are the "immediate and serious consequences that would occur" if time was used to get a warrant.

Some examples are:
  • the "automobile exception,
  • search incident to arrest,
  • inventory searches,
  • hot pursuit,
  • stop and frisk,
  • border searches,
  • plain view,
  • school searches,
  • seizure of package pending issuance of a warrant,
  • consent searches; and
  • administrative searches.
In each case where a search is sought to be justified on the basis of "exigent circumstances," it must be decided on its own facts, but the "critical commonality shared by exigency cases is the need for quick action in an emergency situation." Murdock v. Stout, 54 F.3d 1437, 1440 (9th Cir. 1995).

There are a number of situations which will justify a warrantless entry or search. Among the most common is where obtaining a warrant would result in the loss or destruction of evidence.

However, in Missouri v. McNeely, the Supreme Court refused to recognize this as a blanket exception to the warrant requirement in DUI cases where police seize a suspect's blood sample without consent.

Who has to prove that immediate and serious consequences would have occurred if the cops attempted to get a warrant?  Since 1984, the law has been unchanged . . .

"The police bear a heavy burden when attempting to demonstrate an urgent need that might justify warrantless searches or arrests." Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. 740, 749-750, 104 S. Ct. 2091, 80 L. Ed. 2d 732 (1984).

April 17, 2013

Show Me The Warrant In (some) DUI Blood Cases

U.S. Supreme Court filed Missouri v. McNeely today, refusing to recognize a categorical exception to the warrant requirement in DUI cases where the police order a person's blood drawn against his or her will.
Drawing a person's blood is a search described by the Court as a compelled physical intrusion beneath one's skin into one's veins to obtain a sample of blood for use in a criminal investigation.
While the natural dissipation of alcohol may allow blood to be drawn without a warrant in a specific case, whether a warrantless blood test of a drunk driving suspect is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment must be determined case by case on the totality of the circumstances.

The court explained the importance of requiring authorization from a "neutral and detached magistrate" before allowing a cop to invade another's body in search of evidence is indisputable and great.

In those drunk driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do.

April 15, 2013

LBUSD Sues Woman Who Falsely Accused Banks

The LA Times reports the Long Beach Unified School District has lawyer’d up and sued the woman who falsely accused ex-Long Beach Poly High football star Brian Banks of rape inside a building of the school’s campus in 2002.
Banks had spent five years in prison and another five years on parole. The school district wants the $1.9 million it spent defending itself after the woman sued the district and collected a $750,000 settlement.

The district also wants to recoup attorney fees as well as $1 million in punitive damages, according to the LA Times.

Banks insisted the sexual contact was consensual, but his criminal defense lawyers advised him to plead no contest rather than risk being sentenced to 41 years to life in prison. Banks followed his attorney’s advice and spent five years in prison and another five on parole.

Then in February 2011, the woman found him on Facebook. She allegedly admitted to lying about the alleged rape in a conversation that was taped by Banks and a private investigator.
The tape ultimately led to Banks being set free in May 2012.

April 6, 2013

Los Angeles Court News

In closing argument, Prosecutors love to ask the jury why a cop would lie?  This only works in cases where the defendant is not a cop.  In this type of case, the prosecutor obviously can't use that type of argument. Guess, "cops are liars" is the way to go on this one.

Richard Winton and Robert Faturechi from the LA Times report that two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have been criminally charged with lying about a drug arrest. 

By the way, did you know that Michael Jackson's family is suing the company (Anshutz Entertainment Group) that was promoting MJ's comeback tour?  Jury selection started in downtown LA.

The family claims AEG negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray who was convicted of involunatry manslaughter for Michael's death in 2011.

CNN tried to get permission to televise the trial but Judge Palazuelos denied the request.

If you missed the documentary this week on PBS called "The Passions and Politics of Ed Edelman," you can read the article by Steve Lopez which has lots of interesting facts about Edelman's life including the LA County Children's Court in Monterey Park is named for Edelman because he believed child abuse and neglect — and juvenile justice needed to be handled in "child-sensitive" quarters apart from the adult facilities.

March 26, 2013

No Ho Teen Sent To Fed Prison For Laser Attack

The Los Angeles Times reported U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson sentenced a North Hollywood teenager on Monday to 30 months in federal prison for aiming a laser beam at a private jet and a Pasadena police helicopter last year.

The 19 year old had pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of aiming a laser beam at an aircraft. The case is the second prosecution of its kind in the country since the laser law was signed by President Obama in 2012.

According to the article, the Federal Aviation Administration says California leads the nation in "laser attacks" on aircraft, with more than 500 reported last year.
If you or someone you know has been indicted in California for attacking an aircraft with a laser, have them contact the Criminal Defense Strikeforce for legal representation right away.

November 16, 2012

Headlines 11/16/12

  • [Update] U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Guilford denied Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona's motion to set aside and reduce his 66-month federal prison sentence for witness tampering to the 24- to-30-month range. [O.C. Weekly]
  • Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles recommended that jailed former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra receive a 30- month sentence for looting his $18 million Thousand Oaks mansion, lying about who stripped the home and denying receiving money for having sold items that were owned by the bankruptcy estate. [Los Angeles Daily News]
  • Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich debated Assemblyman Mike Feuer at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks on Wednesday [Los Angeles Times | Local]
  • L.A. County sheriff's deputy, Francisco Gamez, a 17-year veteran who worked as a detective in West Hollywood, was arrested Wednesday, and charged with murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm from an occupied vehicle. [Los Angeles Times | Local
  •  Detention Watch Network names Orange County's Theo Lacy Facility as one of the 10 worst immigration detention facilities in the country. [Los Angeles Times | Local]   
  • As Colorado and Washington make Marijuana legal, cops work on how to catch Marijuana DUIs. [LA Weekly | Blogs]
  • As Marijuana become more legal, Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said it will .... double production?  No! It will close all its plants and fire about 18,000 workers. [Wall St. Journal Law Blog]
  • Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who is serving a 66-month federal prison sentence for witness tampering, has filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Guilford to set aside and reduce his sentence to the 24- to-30-month range. [Orange County Register]

November 15, 2012

Headlines 11/15/12

*Lawyers for Anaheim, Chief John Welter and Anaheim Police Officer Nick Bennallack, who allegedly fired the fatal shots have reportedly told Orange County Federal James V. Selna that killing 24-year-old Manuel Diaz was just OK because he was a parolee who "willfully, maliciously, unlawfully and wrongfully interfered with the lawful orders of a police officer and purposefully resisted detention." [OC Weekly Blogs]

**BP is agreeing to plead guilty to 11 felony charges and take responsibility for the workers' deaths, admit to obstructing a Congressional investigation and plead guilty to two misdemeanors related to the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 that killed 11 workers and caused the worst U.S. offshore oil spill ever. BP will pay $4.5 billion.
[Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

**10 Los Angeles County Courthouses are going to close, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Malibu, Avalon, Huntington Park, Whittier, Pomona and San Pedro. [ Los Angeles Times | Local]

**Michael Schroeder, former California GOP chairman and political adviser to Orange County’s district attorney, married to the district attorney’s chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, was arrested early this month for DUI in Orange County. [The Orange County Register]

ICYMI**UCLA filed an appeal with the NCAA on behalf of freshman Shabazz Muhammad who has been declared ineligible to play basketball by the NCAA. The NCAA ruled Muhammad had received improper benefits such as lodging and travel expenses for unofficial visits during the recruiting period. [ESPN LA]