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WHAT IS FRAUD? (UNDERSTANDING AND FIGHTING A FRAUD CASE)

Most of us are familiar with terms like “theft” and “forgery” given that they immediately bring to mind the taking of something that does not belong to someone or making a misrepresentation in writing. When we hear the term “fraud”, we are often left confused by the exact meaning. 

Fraud, technically speaking, is defined as: “A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. Fraud includes any intentional or deliberate act to deprive another of property or money by guile, deception, or other unfair means.” In other words, fraud is wrongful deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN LOS ANGELES (PREVENTING A FILED CASE)

With the recent Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, tensions are higher than ever. Quarantine, loss of work, social isolation, and all other stressors have created a perfect storm for emotional escalations. Some of these even turning physical. This has meant that domestic violence incidents have risen during the pandemic. 

Though law enforcement responds to every call, not every call is a legitimate instance of domestic violence. We know that many times calls are placed with the intention of reducing an escalation; however, law enforcement is quick to jump to conclusions. Most of the time they view these calls as legitimate and these situation as instances of domestic violence. That is when then conduct an arrest. 

FELONY MURDER RULE RELIEF (SB 1437)

On September 30,  2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1437. SB 1437 became known as the Felony Murder Rule effectively changing the rules for how California charges felony murders.

Prior to SB 1437, California law allowed a defendant to be convicted of first-degree murder in the commission of a felony even if the defendant did not intend to kill the victim or did not know a murder took place. This means that in the commission of a residential burglary, for instance, if someone were killed as a result of the incident a getaway driver would be charged with and convicted or murder even if they had not stepped into the scene of the crime. This former broader law meant hundred of convictions of murder for individuals who never intended on seeing someone harmed in the commission of a felony act.

Governor Gavin Newsom and Inmate Releases Amid Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Since assuming office in January 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom has proven himself a firm proponent of broader criminal justice reforms. He has been supportive of bills to address prison overcrowding and rehabilitative/reentry measures for California prison inmates. 

Since the announcement of the California Major Disaster Declaration due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on March 22, 2020; much focus has been placed on prison sentence commutations and alternative sentences. Specifically when it comes to prison releases, within weeks of the emergency Governor Newsom had commuted sentences of 21 California prison inmates and granted pardons to half a dozen others. This includes over a dozen inmates convicted of homicides. As Coronavirus spreads into the prison system, the Governor’s office has taken immediate measures to reduce crowding and protect the population’s health.

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.

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