Articles Posted in Law & Information

Using state-of-the-art technology, Los Angeles police were able to identify and arrest a suspect in the attempted kidnapping and molestation of at least four young girls over the last two years. Based on an LA Times story, the suspect in these incidents managed to evade the LAPD since February of 2008. But because of new technology, a 41-year-old man was recently accused of the sex offense of luring a 10-year-old girl into an apartment complex and attempting to sexually assault her; an alleged incident that took place in November of last year.

The Los Angeles Police Department recently acquired a new police car equipped with a mechanism that will read and record the license place of every vehicle that passes by it. The LAPD examined footage from security cameras at the scene of the November assault, and generated a list of 1,700 vehicles matching the assailant’s car and within the vicinity of the sexual assault crime.

Using the new license-plate-reading police car, the LAPD identified a car matching the assailant’s car’s description within four miles of the incident. DMV records revealed that the owner of the car matched the physical description of the sex offense suspect, and upon further inspection, evidence was found linking him to the four attempted molestation crimes. He is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial.
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San Diego police discovered nearly 18 pounds of cocaine at a checkpoint along Interstate 5 recently, according to an OC Register article. The contraband drugs are estimated to have a street value of roughly $300,000. The checkpoint was conducted last Saturday and federally funded under a Department of Homeland Security grant called Operation Stonegarden in an effort to quell drug smugglers along the freeways. The checkpoint was located near the San Clemente Border Patrol inspection station.

When questioned by deputies, the two men in the vehicle raised suspicion when they gave differing responses about their destination. With the help of drug dogs, police discovered the cocaine in a newer model white Dodge truck. Both men were arrested for drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

California is the leading state in the nation for arrests for possession of illegal drugs. According to the California Department of Corrections, about 20,000 of the state’s 160,000 prisoners are confined for drug offenses. A California drug offense includes being under the influence of a controlled substance as well as possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or relating paraphernalia that is prohibited by the Health and Safety Code law, including cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and ecstasy.
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A 41-year-old Orange County man was arrested on February 9, 2010 for driving while intoxicated after a succession of hit and run crashes culminated in an estimated $75,000 worth of damage to a local storefront; according to a Corona Del Mar Today article. The alleged drunk driver drove his SUV onto the sidewalk and into trees, signs and a planter before crashing into the front of a psychic shop in Corona Del Mar, wedging his vehicle about a quarter of the way into the building. The man declined medical treatment and was arrested for DUI at the scene. He also faces possible charges for leaving the scene of an accident which can be charged as misdemeanor hit and run.

If a person is convicted of drunk driving, current California DUI penalties for first-time offenders incur a minimum sentence of a $390 fine, jail time and a six-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses can rack up more than a year in jail, fines of up to $1,000 and a license suspension of several years. Judges also have the discretion to require persons convicted of DUI to install an Ignition Interlock Device IID, undergo drug and alcohol treatment programs and participate in community service.
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In the first decision of its kind in California, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the retail sale of marijuana is not permitted under California state law. According to an LA Weekly article, the case was brought against a medical marijuana dispensary that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said was targeted because its product was found to have traces of pesticide. The marijuana dispensary was ordered to temporarily shut down. The ruling also stipulated that medical marijuana providers must comply with the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act which requires particular testing, labeling, warnings and product information to be provided to patients.

The California legal system’s treatment of marijuana use and cultivation derives primarily from the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (California Health & Safety Code Section 11357-11362.9), which provides protections from existing federal or state laws criminalizing marijuana use and cultivation for “seriously ill” Californians using the drug for medicinal purposes. The language of the legislation was left intentionally vague so as to allow regional authorities to make reasonable determinations about how to implement the marijuana law.
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Los Angeles police recently arrested a 20-year-old homeless man in Venice Beach on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Menlo Park girl who went missing in January.

According to police, Venice Beach is noted for having a number of young runaway girls. Based on a Mercury News story, this runaway had left home January 6th after a dispute with her parents. She then hopped a train to Los Angeles Union Station. The alleged, an admitted gang member, met the girl and offered her drugs and alcohol. He also threatened to hurt her or kill himself if she left him and proceeded to beat and sexually assault the girl.

On January 30, the girl turned herself in to Culver City police and was sent home to the Bay Area that night. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office indicated that the accused was involved in a 2009 sexual assault case, but prosecutors had not yet charged him of the sex crime in Los Angeles. He is currently being held in lieu of a $175,500 bail.
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A 43-year-old Orange County man has been accused of drunk driving and speeding in connection with a car accident, which killed a woman on the 10 Freeway in El Monte. According to a news report, the man has been charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent causing injury. Officials say the deceased woman was a passenger in a car that was hit by the alleged drunk driver. The driver was apparently traveling at more than 120 mph.

If you have been accused of felony drunk driving and/or vehicular manslaughter in Los Angeles or Orange County, you are looking at serious consequences including jail time, loss of driver’s license, hefty fines, and other severe penalties. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states: “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” The same code section also states that in California it is illegal for any person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more to drive a vehicle.
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A husband and wife were arrested and charged with running a prostitution ring out of two upscale apartment buildings in Pasadena and Irvine, according to a Los Angeles Times news report. The couple allegedly managed about two dozen women, who officials say, charged $200 per hour. In addition to the couple, four other men between the ages of 20 and 45 were also arrested on prostitution charges. The couple is facing charges of pimping and pandering. Officials said they initially suspected that human trafficking was involved, but later discovered that the women were attracted to the Los Angeles and Orange County business because of relatively higher pay.

According to California Penal Code Section 647 (b), committing prostitution means “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.” Pandering, defined under Section 266 i of the California Penal Code, is considered to be a crime committed by a pimp – recruiting prostitutes and soliciting customers for prostitution services. If you are convicted of prostitution or pandering, you are looking at significant jail time, probation, community service, AIDS testing, fines, and other penalties.
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A new California law, effective this year, requires anyone convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. According to news reports, Los Angeles is one of seven California counties where this pilot program goes into effect starting July 1, 2010. What this law means is that even if you have been convicted of drunk driving for the first time, you need to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

What is an ignition interlock device or IID? Basically, these are devices that require you to blow into them. If the device detects alcohol from your breath, it will not let you start the vehicle. The devices may be pre-programmed to measure the level of alcohol in your breath. For example, you could have it set or the court could order you to have it set at 0.02 (approximately one drink). Therefore, if you blow a 0.02 or more, you will not be able to start your vehicle and you would potentially be in violation of your drunk driving probation and be sent to jail.

If you are ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed, you will have to pay the fees for renting the IID alcohol detection device and for having it installed in your vehicle. The installation could cost you anywhere between $100 and $200. The monthly rental fee can range from $70 to $100. These fees do not include the additional charges for maintenance or having the device calibrated.
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Drug crimes are not only a huge problem in California, but are also a major issue of concern throughout the nation. According to recent FBI reports, drugs and drug-related offenses account for about one-third of all arrests. California has led the nation when it comes to arrests for possession and sale of controlled substances and narcotics. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s statistics for 2009, 28 percent of all incarcerated inmates are there primarily for a drug offense. Last year alone, 10,310 inmates were enrolled in prison drug treatment programs.

A recent news report in The Acorn states that law enforcement officials are also aggressively pursuing drug offenders by joining forces to conduct raids – even outside of their jurisdictions. When it comes to drug crimes, it seems as if there are no boundaries. The article gives the example of a drug case in November when two Simi Valley teens were arrested on suspicion of dealing heroin in East Ventura County. Also, in September, a Simi woman was arrested for operating a cocaine delivery service, which covered Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and the San Fernando Valley.
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The U.S. Supreme Court is getting closer to ordering police to explicitly advise criminal suspects that their lawyer can be present during any interrogation. According to an Associated Press news report, the nation’s high court is looking into the Miranda rights warning which must be read to all criminal suspects by arresting officers. The justices are debating in one particular case whether police told a suspect clearly that he could have a lawyer present while being interrogated by the police.

There are several slight variations used by law enforcement when giving the “Miranda Warnings.” The warnings include: “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you free of charge and before any questioning.” The suspect is then usually asked if they understand these rights and are willing to give up these rights. In the particular case now before the United States Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court had overturned the man’s conviction saying that police did not properly and adequately convey to the suspect that he was allowed to have a lawyer with him during questioning.
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