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A 56-year-old man, who authorities describe as a transient, was arrested on suspicion of burglary after an alleged incident at the home of rapper and actor LL Cool J. Authorities say that the man broke into LL Cool J's home, where the musician/actor discovered the alleged intruder. A "knock-down, drag out" fight followed and LL cool J reportedly broke the alleged intruder's nose and jaw, according to UPI.

Police say that LL Cool J acted in self-defense and will not face any charges related to the fight. However, the other man is accused of first-degree burglary, and UPI reports that the man may also face a battery charge. Prosecutors have also brought the charges against the man under California's three strikes law, which could expose the man to a life sentence, with a mandatory minimum of 25-years.

Authorities say that the man broke into LL Cool J's home late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The actor/rapper says that he heard a noise, and went downstairs to investigate. LL Cool J says that as he looked for the source of the noise, a man approached him and a fight broke out between the two men. Police reportedly arrived around 1:00 Wednesday morning at the Studio City home, and law enforcement says that LL Cool J had detained the alleged intruder.

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Roughly two years ago deputies arrested a Sacramento man on suspicion of burglary. Before trial, the case boiled up through the appellate courts. The man's criminal defense lawyer argued that the man could not be charged with a completed burglary because there was no evidence the man ever entered the building. The trial court disagreed, and reportedly bound the accused over for trial.

An appellate court later handed down a split decision reversing the trial court ruling. The California Supreme Court has now unanimously agreed that prosecutors cannot proceed with burglary charges against the Sacramento area man.

The case arose from allegations arising on July 24, 2010. Law enforcement claims that the man had stood on a driveway and used a remote control to open a garage door. The homeowner claims to have heard the garage open and ran into the garage. He says that he saw a man standing in the driveway who then ran away from the home.

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The California three strikes law provides authority for prosecutors to seek, and for judges to impose, a prison sentence that is doubled for an adult convicted of any felony if the defendant has a first strike on his or her record. A strike is associated with serious or violent felony convictions, and the law recognizes serious or violent felony convictions of 16 or 17-year-old defendants in juvenile court.

Cases in juvenile court are tried before a judge without a jury. Supreme Court precedent says that a criminal defendant has the right to a jury trial on any fact that is used to increase a jail or prison sentence.

A San Jose man pled guilty to residential burglary in 2010. Prosecutors pulled out a prior robbery conviction that was rendered in juvenile court when the man was 16. That conviction involved allegations that the juvenile took $117 in a robbery of an ice cream vendor. The case in juvenile court was not presented to a jury. Prosecutors used the juvenile conviction as a first strike in seeking a doubled sentence for the 2010 adult conviction.

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The man was not accused of being present during the alleged kidnapping event. Authorities had claimed that the man was the leader of a Nuestra Familia street gang regiment. Prosecutors argued that the man had ordered others to make an example of a person who allegedly had failed to pay for drugs that had been advanced to him.

Prosecutors apparently brought witnesses in to court to testify at trial against the alleged San Jose gang leader. The witnesses reportedly included those people who allegedly had participated in the kidnapping. The witnesses could have faced their own life sentences for the alleged offense, but apparently were given deals for testifying that will reduce their own exposure to prison time to 15 to 24 years.

The prosecutors had alleged that the kidnapping victim escaped from a moving van while it was traveling on Capitol Expressway. The van reportedly fled the area before police and emergency responders could respond to 911 calls describing the expressway incident.

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The vast majority of criminal cases in the United States resolve with some sort of plea. Many defendants charged with a crime choose to go to court without an attorney and enter a guilty plea of some sort. Other defendants enter negotiated plea agreements.

Often, a plea agreement can minimize the damages that a criminal case can impose against a defendant, but criminal laws are complex and the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can vary widely based upon the nature of the allegations.

The United States Supreme Court ruled this week that a defendant's right to effective criminal representation extends to any plea agreement or plea offer that a prosecutor may present. The court essentially ruled, in a split decision, that plea agreements are an important aspect of criminal defense.

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A late December probation check may lead to a three-strike prison sentence for a man from Southern California. Two deputies showed up at a motel in Old Town Victorville looking for a probationer. A man that the deputies say they were not looking for ended up being charged with possession of methamphetamine.

When law enforcement arrived at the motel, there were apparently five people in the motel room. Deputies claim that a 32-year-old man, who is believed to be a Blood gang member, tried to close the door on the deputies. They say they kicked in the door. What may have happened next is also open to dispute.

Prosecutors claim that the man who had shut the door on the deputies dove onto the bed when law enforcement kicked in the door. The man accused of diving on the bed says he was pushed toward the bed as the deputies exploded through the door.

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The 50-year-old man appeared in court last week for a preliminary hearing, where the judge found probable cause to hold the man over for trial on felony domestic violence and other charges. The man now remains in custody on a parole hold. Reports indicate the man has three strikes on his record, which could expose him to the strict sentencing provisions under California's three strikes law.

Reports indicate that the man's wife initially did not him want to stay with her, but then agreed to allow him to stay for two days. Then, according to police, the phone rang. Law enforcement claims the man's wife took the call in the bathroom, which upset the defendant. Police claim the man grew angry because the call was from another man.

Authorities accuse the man of forcing his way into the bathroom and attempting to grab her phone. Police say the woman then tried to leave and accuse the man of preventing her from doing so. Law enforcement claims the man grabbed the woman and threw her to the ground during the alleged altercation. Authorities also accuse the man of choking the woman for roughly 15 seconds.

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Critics say reform to the California three strikes law is necessary as life sentences have been imposed for minor crimes, including theft crimes alleging such minor offenses as stealing a pair of socks. In February, this blog reported the story of a man facing a three strikes sentence for allegedly attempting to take a pair of gloves and some wire from a "big-box" home improvement store. That man was sentenced to a 29-years-to-life prison term for the alleged roughly $21 theft crime.

Now a group of Stanford University law professors have drafted a new proposed ballot initiative seeking to reform the harsh consequences of the sentencing law. The new proposal does not go as far as the 2004 measure that was defeated in the legislature. The new measure seeks to limit felonies triggering third strikes to serious or violent felonies for many convictions.

However, in contrast to the legislative measure narrowly defeated in 2004, the new proposal carves out an exception for so-called "hard-core" repeat offenders, that sources characterize as murderers, rapists and child molesters. In those cases the exception will allow any felony conviction, even a felony shoplifting conviction, to trigger a third strike.

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Police say that an investigation into a string of alleged burglaries in Soledad led them to a location in south Monterey County. Officers from Soledad, Greenfield, King City and the Gonzales police departments converged to execute a search warrant Saturday at the location.

Law enforcement personnel seized a variety of items during the search, according to the Salinas Californian. Law enforcement claims they found roughly a pound of crystal methamphetamine, a small amount of cocaine and other prescription medications during the search. Police further claim the seized weapons, jewelry and stones police believe may be diamonds during the raid.

Police arrested two people after the search. A 25-year-old man police claim is a gang member and a 25-year-old woman police claim is a gang associate were taken into custody after the Saturday raid.

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The task force reportedly will focus on people law enforcement believes are gang members. A story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel does not explain how the task force arrives at the conclusion that a suspect is a gang member. Under California law, many offenses provide more severe sentences if prosecutors allege the offense was committed by an alleged gang member. Gang crimes in California can also lead to strikes under the California three strikes law.

The Santa Cruz task force reportedly plans initially to focus on alleged gang crimes in the South County. However, officials say the gang task force will also investigate alleged gang members in other areas of the county, including Santa Cruz, Live Oak and Soquel. Authorities claim they have identified as many as 19 gangs, each of which reportedly will receive task force scrutiny.

Officials have not disclosed the number of members will be included in the overall task force. Law enforcement says the gang task force reportedly will change in size, depending on the time of year and as the task force determines the need for additional officers.

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The California three strikes law actually increases a person's exposure to significant prison time before the third strike. The number of people crowding California prisons has received a high level of scrutiny since the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to reduce the overcrowding of our state prisons.

Most Californians know the three strikes law allows prosecutors to seek a mandatory 25-year-to-life sentence in allegedly qualifying cases. Currently, roughly 8,700 are serving prison time on a third strike under the law. However, 32,390 people are serving increased sentences under the second strike provision of the law. Second strike prisoners account for nearly 20 percent of the state's prison population.

The provision under the three strikes law related to second strikers allows prosecutors to seek double the prison time for a second strike conviction. Barry Krisberg, a researcher at UC Berkeley's institute on law and social policy says the significance of the second strike provision "is having an enormous impact on our prison population, and many second strikers are serving more time than third strikers, but when people talk about the policy of reforming three strikes, nobody wants to touch the second strike."

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Prosecutors claim the woman stole money and a bracelet from Alex Trebek's hotel room while the TV host and his wife were sleeping. Trebek says he woke up in his hotel room and saw a woman rummaging through his belongings. The TV host says he chased the woman.

The woman now accused of breaking into the hotel room says she was not involved in the alleged burglary. The woman was visiting in the hotel and happened to be waiting at the elevator when a man approached her. She reportedly says Trebek approached her and asked if she had been in his room. She says she had not been in the room. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the woman ran because she feared police would become involved.

The woman reportedly was detained downstairs by hotel security. The woman was arrested on suspicion of burglary and is being held on $625,000 bond. Prosecutors say the woman has burglary convictions dating from 1990 and 1991, which prosecutors are considering relying on to seek a 25 to life sentence under the California three strikes law. A decision whether to pursue a three strikes sentence reportedly will be made after a preliminary hearing is held in the case.

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Another issue that can be difficult to grasp for many Santa Cruz residents is what constitutes a deadly weapon. California law recognizes firearms as a deadly weapon. But Californians can also face charges of assault with a deadly weapon in certain circumstances, even when no firearm is involved. For instance, a Glendale woman has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after allegations arose that the woman used her SUV to attack an ex-boyfriend.

Police claim the woman drove into a parking lot Saturday evening and ran into her ex-boyfriend. Initially the man was pinned against a wall, according to law enforcement. The man reportedly pulled out his cell-phone and photographed the license plate attached to the SUV, according to police. Law enforcement claims the woman responded to the photograph by backing up a short distance, and then ramming the man a second time with the SUV.

The woman reportedly told police she had parked at the man's feet initially. She says the man began insulting her mother, according to law enforcement. She noticed the man was taking a photograph and allegedly ran into the man because she is afraid of her ex-boyfriend, according to police reports.

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California's three strikes law has been around since 1994. Since the law was passed, no inmate serving a 25 year to life three strikes sentence has received parole through a California Board of Parole hearing, until this week. Wednesday the Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to a 48-year-old man who was sentenced in 2007 to 68 years in prison under the California three strikes law after a conviction for a home invasion robbery.

The parole board approved the release of the inmate under a new California law aimed at reducing prison costs. The law allows the board to consider medical parole for inmates who are so ill that the state considers the inmates are no longer a threat to the community.

Prison officials reportedly refused to discuss to specific details about the man's health. The man is in a long term care facility. Guarding the inmate at the facility reportedly costs $750,000 a year; medical costs to cover his care are an additional expense the state seeks to save through the medical parole.

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State and federal law enforcement agents swarmed neighborhoods on Los Angeles yesterday arresting as many as 80 people. Law enforcement says the operation was the culmination of more than two years of investigations. Sixty six Californians were arrested on suspicion of California weapons and drug charges. Federal authorities took an additional 14 Californians into custody, reportedly under federal indictments.

Law enforcement says the previous investigation included the use of undercover agents who allegedly purchased as many as 90 firearms. Undercover agents reportedly also bought drugs during the investigation. Police say agents bought roughly 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of crack, 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2 kilograms of heroin and 26 pounds of marijuana during the investigation.

Police allege that the focus of the investigation was on alleged California gang members and their associates. Law enforcement says they were particularly focusing on Rancho San Pedro, a gang that currently has 600 members and 400 associates.

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The Assembly proposal was introduced at the urging of the Riverside County district attorney's office after the November death of Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio. Prosecutors allege that a 45-year-old man killed the police officer after a foot chase through Riverside's Fairmont Park. The man accused of beating and shooting the Riverside officer to death has not yet been tried on charges, but could face the death penalty in the matter if convicted at trial.

The accused reportedly has a prior conviction for battery on a police officer relating to an incident dating back to 1990. The man's prior history reportedly provided the impetus to introduce the new measure in the Assembly. The proposed measure failed on a vote of 3-4 in its first committee test on Tuesday.

The chairman of the panel, Tom Ammiano says he has some "very serious concerns" about the measure. The main concerns center on the impact such a measure may have on the already overcrowded California prison system. The proposal is expected to be reconsidered at a future time.

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An 18-year-old Fallbrook man entered a plea agreement that may expose him in the future to California's three strikes law. The 18-year-old agreed to plead guilty to three separate counts of California burglary charges. Each separate conviction qualifies as a strike under the California three strikes law.

Prosecutors reportedly dropped other charges pending against the teen in exchange for the three strikes plea agreement. The teen agreed to a three and a half year prison sentence under the current plea agreement. Actual sentencing in the matter is scheduled for April 6.

Prosecutors will have the ability to seek a sentence of 25 years to life if the teen is charged with any offenses in the future that qualify under the California three strikes law.

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In 1999, the man again faced a California DUI charge. A jury convicted the man of the charge at trial. The Santa Clara County judge in the case sentenced the man in 1999 to 25 years to life under California's three strikes law. The judge relied on the two prior DUI convictions as the first two strikes. The California Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and the California Supreme Court denied review.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower courts concluding that the judge made additional findings of fact regarding the prior convictions in violation of the South Bay man's due process rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a number of decisions spanning more than a decade regarding a defendant's right to a jury.

At the 1999 sentencing, the prosecutor submitted documents to the court while arguing that the 1993 convictions should serve as two strikes. At issue was the conviction for inflicting bodily injury. The federal appeals court determined the trial judge found facts beyond the scope of the mere fact that the man had a previous conviction.

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An alleged accomplice to the burglaries already pled guilty to one count of commercial burglary and possession of a stolen car in the matter. The alleged accomplice was sentenced to county jail time after conviction.

After of a rash of alleged break-ins at vacation properties and neighboring residences, law enforcement received a report of a suspicious vehicle near the Lancaster Estate Winery near Healdsburg, California. Police responded and found the 42-year-old defendant's alleged accomplice in a car containing alleged stolen property from the break-ins.

The alleged accomplice reportedly told police that the defendant had helped the accomplice in burglarizing the properties. The alleged accomplice told police that the defendant was armed with a Colt .45 and was not going to go down without a fight.

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