Prosecutor Misconduct During Trial

Does Your Criminal Case Get Dismissed When The Prosecution Deliberately Withholds Exculpatory Evidence ?

What happens when your defense team learns during trial that the Prosecutor deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence that they have a legal duty to disclose?  Under current law, the judge might grant a brief continuance to allow the defense to look into the evidence, can hold the prosecutor in contempt, and can also mention the lapse to the jury.

AB 885, which was cleared by both houses, would have changed the current law to require the judge to tell the jurors the evidence was intentionally withheld and that they can consider the non-disclosure as a possible sign that the prosecution was unable to prove its case.  This bill was introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Fransisco stating “We need this bill to stop the few prosecutors whose zeal for convictions lead them to cut corners of Justice.”

This Bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown stating “Prosecutorial misconduct should never be tolerated” But he said AB 855 “would be a sharp departure from the current practice… Under current law, judges have a array of remedies at their disposal if a discovery violation comes to light during trial.”

Breaking News In Criminal Law

Breaking news in Criminal Law

The Governor signs AB 2492, a bill that eliminates the 90 day mandatory minimum sentence on H&S 11550’s.
This bill goes into effect on January 1, 2015. The bill does provide that if a person has suffered two prior 11550 convictions in the previous 7 years, the person faces a 180 day minimum, unless that person enters and completes a drug rehab program.

Sealing Your Juvenile Records

We get calls all the time with questions about juvenile law.  Specifically our clients want to know about sealing their juvenile records now that they are off probation and have remained out of the criminal justice system.  We believe that it is never too late to seal your juvenile record.  Sealing your juvenile records can help you to leave the past behind and move on.

Contrary to popular belief, Juvenile records are not automatically sealed and you must file a petition with the court to request to have them sealed (unless you were granted and successfully completed deferred entry of judgment pursuant to pursuant to section 790 of the Welfare & Institutions Code).

Your juvenile records not only include all information (papers, orders, and reports) contained in your juvenile court file, but also all records relating to your case held by other agencies such as the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, the Department of Justice, the Probation Department, and other law enforcement agencies.

Sealing your records means that all records held by the court and various agencies will be closed up and sealed off.  Sealed Court proceedings are treated as if they have never taken place.  If an inquiry is made to any of these agencies or to the court about a sealed record, the law requires the agencies to answer, “we have no record of that matter.”

To be eligible to get your records sealed, your case must have started and ended in juvenile court and you must meet certain requirements.

  • You are at least 18 years old and have completed probation; Or you are younger than 18 but at least 5 years have passed since your last arrest or discharge from probation.
  • As an adult, you have not been convicted of a felony or of any misdemeanor involving a crime of “moral turpitude”.  If you have been, you may not be able to seal your juvenile records.
  • A showing to the court that you have been rehabilitated.
  • In addition to the above eligibility requirements, you must not have an open civil suit regarding the actions that caused your juvenile record.

Even if you meet all the above, not all juvenile offenses qualify to be sealed.  If you committed an offense that is listed in section 707(b) of the Welfare & Institutions Code when you were age 14 or older and/or if the juvenile offenses were traffic violations/offenses and parking violations then you may not qualify.

If you have any questions about whether or not you qualify to have your records sealed and the process to file a petition, please call us directly at (805) 330-1529.


So you have been in an car accident now what? Part 1

So you have been in an car accident now what?  Well the first thing you should do is make sure you and your passengers are alright.  Call the police and an ambulance if necessary.  Stay Calm car accidents are a high stress situation.  If possible and safe, move the vehicle to the side of the road to avoid the potential of a secondary accident.  Please do not walk around on the highway as this is a sure way to take a “fender bender” and make it into something much more significant.  Once you and your passengers  are safe and out of the way of traffic, exchange your insurance information with the other driver as required by law.  It is O.K. to check on the welfare of the other driver but please don’t make statements to other driver as they can easily be misconstrued and cause potential problems latter.  Do not become aggressive and yell at the other driver.

If you believe the accident is not your fault make sure that when the police arrive you state your position calmly to the police officer.  For example it is better to say “I was stopped at the red light when that vehicle over there hit me from behind (pointing to the other vehicle).” Statements such as “that jack*** hit me”.  The more details you can provide to the officer on the scene supporting your position the easier it will be to asses fault later.

If you believe the accident maybe your fault DO NOT make statements such “I am sorry”  “I didn’t see you” as these could easily be construed as admissions.  It is best to not say anything.  Any details of the traffic accident that you may provide to the police will be used against you.

Stay tuned for our ongoing  blog regarding traffic accidents.

Under the age of 21? Driver license consequences for juveniles.

The  DMV will take your license for offenses other than alcohol if you are under the age of twenty one.  A juvenile can lose their privilege to drive a car or the ability to obtain a drivers license for minor offenses.  Crimes such as vandalism and minor in possession may cause a suspension of the ability to get a drivers license or the loss of a license.  Crimes such as reckless driving and street racing also may impact the ability to drive.  Please be aware of all the driving consequence before  admitting a crime in juvenile court.

Drunk Driving Checkpoints

There will be heightened law enforcement presence during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  This means that police are looking for people driving under the influence (DUI/”drunk driving”), not wearing seat-belts, driving erratically, people driving while texting and driving on a suspended license.  If you are stopped for any of these offenses, the penalties can be costly.

If you approach a checkpoint, you have the right to turn away, but be aware that police officers are generally placed in the surrounding area to observe people, hoping to catch drunk drivers.  Those officers may then stop you, mainly to determine why you left the checkpoint area.   Keep this in mind as you are celebrating during this holiday weekend.

Check out this article in the Ventura County Star