May 2011 Archives

Santa Ana Gang Killing Requires Aggressive Defense

The recent arrest of a 21-year-old parolee on charges that he allegedly killed two rival gang members shows the need for an Orange County Murder Defense Attorney who will provide aggressive defense to our system's most serious crime.

The Orange County Register reports that the young man was charged with being involved in a shootout between two rival gangs outside a Mexican restaurant. According to police, two groups got into an argument inside the restaurant that followed them outside, which led to shootings. Police wouldn't tell the newspaper why they believe the young man was involved.
In shooting cases, it can be difficult for police to properly identify who was involved, especially when there is a large group of participants. In cases like that, the best defense is not to say anything. Even if law enforcement claim to have many willing witnesses, they are allowed to lie to suspects being interrogated. They may have no evidence at all. It's part of their job to get suspects to crack and confess.

And even in situations where police have obtained statements from witnesses or even alleged co-defendants, they often are shaky witnesses for the prosecution. Eye witnesses to shootings likely don't get a good view of what's going on because they're usually hiding somewhere to avoid danger. And in cases where alleged gang members are involved, participants could be wearing similarly styled clothing, which can further complicate their testimony.

Alleged co-defendants can be even worse for the state. An experienced Santa Ana defense attorney will aggressively evaluate the terms of a plea agreement with an alleged co-defendant to show a jury the bias the witness has to say what they want to appease the terms of the agreement. Secondly, the credibility of these witnesses must be shredded during cross examination.

Murder in California is an extremely serious crime. It can be punished by decades in prison or, at worst, the death penalty. That's why the U.S. Constitution requires everyone get a fair trial. So, choose an attorney with decades of experience who will go the extra mile to defend your case.

Continue reading "Santa Ana Gang Killing Requires Aggressive Defense" »

Death Penalty Saga Illustrates Need for Aggressive Murder Defense in Orange County

The Orange County Register reports that the Orange County District Attorney's Office will take a third shot at trying to convince a jury the state should execute an Oceanside man convicted of murder.

After two juries couldn't decide whether the man deserves to die, Santa Ana murder attorneys believe it's time to let the defendant spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Murder is the most serious charge in the State of California and it requires zealous representation. It also requires common sense.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2009 that eliminating capital punishment would save California $125 million a year. Between years of appeals, court hearings, requests for documents, transportation requests for the inmates, billed hours for appellate attorneys and other costs, we would be better off abolishing the death penalty than continuing to waste taxpayer dollars.
The Orange County case illustrates the need to eliminate the penalty. The newspaper reports that the defendant has been convicted of a 2007 botched robbery at a Home Depot in Tustin. He wore a painter's suit as a disguise, walked into the store and killed the store's manager, who tried to protect other employees. It's a tragedy and is inexcusable.

But so is the cost to try to execute the man. The newspaper reports that after his trial, two separate juries have been impaneled to decide whether the man should be put to death by lethal injection. Both juries couldn't come to a unanimous decision about the punishment. The district attorney asked for a third group of jurors to be brought to the courthouse, endure hours of questioning and then listen to testimony with the hopes that they can come to a decision.

Bringing in all those jurors has a cost, the courtroom, judge and attorneys' time could be spent moving other cases through the system. After two tries, the district attorney should move on and accept the fact the jury was unable to recommend death. Rightfully, the defendant's defense attorneys are likely to file a motion to give him a life-without-parole sentence instead of another penalty phase.

Murder is the most serious of crimes. It also requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are different defenses to murder charges, but it is much more difficult than portrayed on television. It requires an experienced, dedicated Santa Ana defense attorney.

Continue reading "Death Penalty Saga Illustrates Need for Aggressive Murder Defense in Orange County" »

Authorities Allege Five Teens Involved in Santa Ana Beating and Stabbing Death

The Orange County Register reports that police have arrested five 17- and 18-year-olds in connection with a week-old murder case.

Murder is the most serious charge anyone can face and therefore it requires the most diligent defense representation possible. Consulting with a Santa Ana murder defense attorney could mean the difference between a long prison sentence and a favorable outcome. Acting quickly can be the best option for someone who is suspected of homicide.

Especially in a case with multiple defendants, police and prosecutors often try to get one of the co-defendants to testify for the state in exchange for a plea agreement. Sometimes that is the best option. But other times, the best option is to let the state make a deal with co-defendants who aren't credible witnesses and prepare for trial. But putting this research together as quickly as possible is always the best defense.
According to The Register, police believe the motive for the killing to be gang rivalry. The man was beaten and stabbed on West Highland Street. The five teens, whom police allege are known gang members, face charges of murder, attempted murder and street terrorism, as well as gang enhancements.

In California, murder is punishable by years to life in prison or even the death penalty. A diligent Orange County criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience can be your only hope between failure and success when your life depends on it.

Often, it is difficult for the state to prove someone is involved in a gang, but prosecutors are aggressive in punishing people they believe to be involved in gang activity. California's Penal Code allows for judges to sentence convicted gang members to extended time behind bars.

These are not charges to put in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Choose someone who is dedicated to protecting your rights and standing by you in a time of crisis.

Continue reading "Authorities Allege Five Teens Involved in Santa Ana Beating and Stabbing Death" »

Being Convicted of a Crime in Santa Ana can have Long-Term Consequences

A recent article in The New York Times highlights the struggle of those looking to seal or expunge a criminal record in Santa Ana. Drug charges, theft crimes and other misdemeanor and felony offenses can make it difficult or impossible to obtain certain jobs or hold certain occupational licenses.

Some charges can't be expunged. And even traffic violations, like DUI, can make it difficult to obtain certain jobs. Santa Ana criminal defense lawyers understand the long-term ramifications of having a criminal record and we encourage you to fight criminal charges. The short-term cost of the fight often pales in comparison to the long-term cost of a serious criminal conviction.
The Times tells the story of a 38-year-old woman who has trained in medical administration and completed a degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkley in the 14 years since she was convicted of robbing a video store in 1997. Still, that old conviction has cost her more than a dozen job opportunities since graduating from college last year.

And the Internet is making it cheaper and easier than ever before for an employer to conduct a criminal background check; almost 90 percent of employers in a recent survey said they conducted criminal background checks on some or all applicants.

The problem is not going away; some 65 million Americans (about 1 in 5) have a criminal record, according to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project. And each year about 700,000 are released from state and federal prisons.

Advocates say it's a form of discrimination. But employers are under no obligation to abide by the same rules that protect women, minorities and the disabled. Being a convicted criminal is not a protect class in today's workforce.

Continue reading "Being Convicted of a Crime in Santa Ana can have Long-Term Consequences" »