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How Long Can I File A Petition To Resentence Under Prop 47?

On November 4, 2014 California voters passed Proposition 47, known as the Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties, Initiative Statute. This referendum – also called the Safe Neighborhoods and School Act – recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies. These offenses included crimes of theft, fraud, and drug possession.

The objective of Prop 47 was to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prison system and provide an opportunity for nonviolent offenders to obtain release and rehabilitation services. Monies saved as a result of Prop 47 would be allocated toward education and dropout prevention, mental health treatment, and drug abuse programs. All meant to keep offenders out of the prison system.

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) AND MY CASE (TRIAL OR APPEAL)

The rapidly expanding pandemic crisis of COVID-19 has had sweeping effects on everyday life. Due to Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommendations California has taken immediate measures to protect the public by enforcing social distancing and restrictions of gatherings of more than ten (10) people. This has meant immediate actions by the California Supreme Court and the California Superior Courts. Trial and Appeal Courts have moved to cease operations by closing doors and postponing pending matters. In the Los Angeles Superior Court, only critical in-custody matters with substantive pending hearings are being dispositioned. All other matters – trial or otherwise – are being continued by the Court for 30-45 days. 

With the CDC recommending drastic changes in American lifestyle to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, it is uncertain if the Courts will resume normal operations in the next 60-90 days. 

Domestic violence

Domestic violence can destroy families and rip apart the very social fabric of society. The law has been designed from the ground up to prevent and stop domestic violence, and suitably rehabilitate perpetrators. Domestic violence in California is defined as any criminal offense that involves committing a battery on one’s spouse, parent, cohabitant, or partner. It is charged under the California Penal Code 243(e)(1).

The most common charges for domestic violence in California include:

  • Child Endangerment (PC 273a)
  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant (PC 273.5)
  • Child Abuse (PC 273d)
  • Criminal Threats (PC 422)

Victims of domestic violence carry feelings of self-doubt and even helplessness, which makes it important to seek help. Below are 4 types of domestic violence in California.

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Senate Bill 1437 took effect in January of this year, yet many still challenge whether the new state law regarding felony murder is constitutional.

The old felony murder doctrine left countless people locked up in prison, some for decades, for murders they didn’t commit. Essentially, anyone who was an accomplice was considered equally responsible in a crime and could face charges of first degree murder, even it that person had no idea that someone else would take another person’s life.

While California’s felony murder rule was described as “barbaric” in a 1983 ruling by the state’s Supreme Court, nothing was done. Over 35 years later, we finally have a new felony murder law that will hopefully prevent those who did not commit murder or have any intent to kill someone from facing the same charges and penalties as someone who actually “did the deed.”

Domestic violence, also referred to as domestic abuse, comes in many forms and may leave those accused facing criminal charges. Depending on how serious the incident was and other factors, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. Misdemeanor charges are generally less serious than felony charges and result in penalties/punishment that is less harsh than with a felony conviction.

It is a crime under California’s domestic violence laws to harm, or threaten to harm a spouse, fellow parent, cohabitant, intimate partner, or even someone you are dating/have dated. Unfortunately, many people who are completely innocent are accused of domestic abuse every day. Even worse, if you are found guilty or “convicted” of domestic violence it can impact your reputation, family relationships, even your freedom. A criminal record is something you don’t want hanging over your head.

If you are convicted on domestic violence charges, other consequences may include payment of restitution to the victim, fines, loss of child custody rights, mandatory participation in domestic violence classes, jail time, and immigration consequences if you are not a citizen of the U.S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a U.S. CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer who was a 25-year veteran was sentenced to more than 12 years behind bars in a federal prison after he was found guilty on several drug-related charges by a federal jury. According to reports, 52-year-old Manuel Porras Salas was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and making false statements to law enforcement.

Salas worked at Los Angeles International Airport, and previously worked as a CBP officer at Ontario International and John Wayne airports. He was tried and sentenced after authorities say he was helping move illegal drugs from Southern California to Chicago, specifically marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

With drug laws changing frequently in California, it’s hard to know how serious the charges are and what the punishment may be when someone is convicted (found guilty). How serious the penalties are also depend on other factors such as prior criminal convictions of the accused.

SB 1437 is a senate bill that has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, a law that goes into effect on the first day of the new year. What does this mean for convicted felons who are behind bars for a murder that occurred during a burglary, robbery, or other circumstances in which the offender did not directly assist in killing the victim or was not a key participant in the underlying felony who acted with careless negligence to the life of the deceased?

To put it simply, SB 1437 would make it unlawful for a person to be held liable for murder if that person did not act with careless disregard or indifference to human life in regards to the deceased, and did not kill or intend to kill the victim.

According to reports, in San Diego alone there are about 150 cases that could be affected by the new law; those convicted of felony murder could ultimately find themselves free and outside of prison walls should a second chance in court prove successful. In total, up to 800 cases in California might be impacted by this new change to the state’s felony murder law. While some are praising the new law, others believe it goes too far and could put the public’s safety in jeopardy.

In 2016 Alpacino McDaniels was found guilty of the July 2013 murder of 23-year-old Teric Traylor by an Alameda County Superior Court jury. McDaniels allegedly killed Traylor during a street fight in West Oakland, although McDaniels claimed that he was not the one who shot the victim. McDaniels had prior convictions including two for possessing cocaine base for sale, one for evading police and another for selling a controlled substance.

In this case the murder of the victim occurred in an area commonly known as one where drug crimes and other violent activity took place, the block referred to as “Mead Street” in West Oakland which runs between Market Street and San Pablo Avenue. Reports claim that while drug dealers would operate at various locations on Mead, the main site where drug activity took place was at a corner liquor store. McDaniels was convicted of one count each of first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm.

The jury in the case determined that McDaniels intentionally and personally discharged a firearm that resulted in the victim’s death, and concluded three firearm enhancements along with the murder count were true. He was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder along with 25 years to life for the discharge of a firearm causing death to be served consecutively, a total of 50 years to life behind bars. In the two additional firearm enhancements, 20- and 10-year terms were stayed. McDaniels was 29 at the time he was charged with the murder; Charles Fuller was also charged in the crime.

Most people think of a lemon as something you eat, or a car that’s essentially a piece of junk. The truth is, there are lemon laws in California that are designed to protect consumers or provide remedies to those who buy or lease all types of consumer goods.

From kitchen appliances and HVAC systems to wheel chairs and other medical devices, the California Lemon Law applies to almost every product purchased for personal use other than clothing, food or other consumable goods. Naturally, no one buys a washing machine or computer with the expectation that it will be defective in some way; you expect the things you buy to function as they should. That said, the California Lemon Law applies not only to consumers, but manufacturers as well.

Manufacturers of consumer goods are required to provide repair facilities that can be accessed by the consumer in California without difficulty. Additionally, they are allotted a specific number of attempts to repair a defective product, and must limit the time in which it takes to repair defective goods to 30 days. Consumers are expected to present a defective or faulty product to a repair facility in a timely manner. Outside of this, manufacturers have no other expectations of the consumer and must repair the product, or offer a replacement product or refund.

Many people in California have wondered whether SB620 or Senate Bill 620 is retroactive. Ultimately, prior to the passage of this bill local judges did not have discretion when it came to dismissing sentencing enhancements decided by prosecutors in regards to felony cases involving the use of firearms. Since the passage of SB620 in October of last year, judges are now able to determine or decide whether the sentencing enhancement given an offender who is convicted of a felony crime involving a firearm is proper or fitting to the case at hand. However, this still doesn’t meet many individuals’ definitions of equality.

Enhancements in these types of cases meant those convicted may be sentenced to an additional ten or 20 years in prison, or even a life term depending on the circumstances of the case. While the new law does not give judges permission to completely do away with enhancements altogether, it does give judges at the local level the discretion to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the enhancement given an individual should be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances and facts of the crime. In simple terms, a judge may make the decision as to whether an offender who was given a 20 year sentence enhancement should have perhaps been given a ten year enhancement instead, or even life in prison in extremely serious felony cases involving the use of a firearm.

So is SB620 retroactive, meaning those who have received sentencing enhancements for felony crimes involving a firearm prior to the passage of this bill are eligible to have their enhancements reexamined? Yes, in situations where an offender’s sentence is enhanced by 20 years or a life term. While you may be eligible for less harsh sentencing enhancement, resentencing is generally reserved for those who have committed what are considered less serious felony offenses such as drug possession or low level theft. Not everyone has the opportunity to reduce an enhanced sentence, particularly those who have been found guilty of what are considered extremely serious or heinous crimes. Do all felons have access to equal protection? This is a question many criminal defense attorneys have pondered, and one that may be vigorously contested in the future.

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