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A three judge panel in Fresno County has ruled that the use of the map app on an iPhone is prohibited under California's traffic laws. A 58-year-old man who works at Fresno State University says that he was caught in traffic in early January 2012.

While stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on California 41 in Fresno, he says that he checked his map. But the map was not a paper map, but a map app on his iPhone. A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was right there, and pulled the driver over to issue a ticket for unlawful use of a cellphone in a motor vehicle.

The man challenged the traffic ticket in superior court arguing that he was not talking on the hand held cellphone, and further arguing that he was not texting while driving. He reportedly brought a paper map into court to show that use of a paper map is more cumbersome than the smartphone app that he allegedly had been using.


Law enforcement believes that a 32-year-old Morgan Hill, California man rented 6,000 square feet of space in three units of the commercial building. Morgan Hill officials say that changes had been made to the electrical system inside the warehouse.

Investigators say that 2,775 marijuana plants and 30 pounds of processed pot were seized from the warehouse. Investigators claim that the warehouse was outfitted with sophisticated marijuana growing equipment, as well as measures that authorities believe were intended to hide any odor of the marijuana grow from any outside sources.

Law enforcement concluded the warehouse raid and reportedly obtained a new warrant to search the home of a 32-year-old man who authorities believe can be linked to the marijuana operation. Police claim that more pot and equipment was located in a search of the home.


Last December, this blog discussed a story where police used a trained dog to sniff a car seeking evidence of drugs during a Novato, California traffic stop. Courts generally have held that a dog-sniff outside a car is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore police do not need to obtain a warrant before using a dog outside a car. But the United States Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the legal analysis is different outside the front door of a home.

The issue rose to the high court on an appeal from a drug crime case out of Florida. The state high court had ruled that drugs discovered after police brought a trained drug sniffing dog to a home without a warrant were not admissible in a criminal trial against a resident of the home. Prosecutors appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the case, police say that they had received a tip that a marijuana growing operation was going on inside the home. An investigator brought his K-9 to the home and had the dog sniff the base of the front door.


Officials in Stanislaus County, California say that the Central Valley Gang Impact Task force led a 10-month investigation before launching a highly visible sweep last week as authorities arrested 14 people on charges ranging from murder to drug crimes. The investigation and arrests involved officers and agents from the federal state and local levels. While many of the people were arrested on federal criminal charges, at least seven were taken into custody on state crimes.

Many people believe that a task force probe looks solely at a distinct and individual alleged offense. But, a task force probe may be opened to investigate general crimes. The latest visible sweep involved arrests in a variety of state and federal criminal allegations that may not be connected to each other in any way.

Authorities claim that the nearly year-long probe looked into allegations of criminal activity, and law enforcement believes that at least one alleged offense may have links to the Nuestra Familia or the street level gang known as the Norteños. But, in the end, not all of the people arrested in the sweep have been linked to gangs, according to information from the Modesto Bee.


In 2010, federal judge ordered the release of a man who was sentenced under California's three strikes law in 1999. State officials delayed the man's release as the man's appeal works its way through the courts. State officials claim that technical issues in filing the criminal appeal justify holding the innocent man in prison until the courts rule on the legal issues. However, a federal magistrate ordered that the man be released pending the outcome of the appeal.

The release follows the federal court ruling finding the man innocent of the alleged third strike crime. The judge ruled that the man had not received proper representation in his criminal defense in the 1999 trial.

Despite the federal ruling finding the man "actually innocent" of the alleged crime, the legal issues are not necessarily over, according to KTLA. The man had been sentenced under California's three strikes law after being convicted for allegedly carrying a concealed knife during a 1998 bar fight in Northridge, California.

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