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Prosecutors are seeking second-degree murder charges against a 28-year-old Santa Rosa, California woman after she was allegedly involved in a fatal car accident in Sonoma County Saturday afternoon. Deputies claim that the woman was involved in some form of domestic dispute with her ex-boyfriend before the fatal crash. Authorities say that the ex-boyfriend had left on his motorcycle during an argument and the woman hopped in her Acura to chase after him.

Witnesses claim the Acura and motorcycle were speeding at 50 to 80 miles per hour on Hall Road, west of Santa Rosa. Authorities claim that the woman lost control of her Acura and struck a Lexus while chasing her ex-boyfriend. The Lexus then slammed into a Triumph sports car. The Triumph flipped over, trapping the driver inside. The sports car erupted into flames, killing the driver.

Originally, Sonoma County deputies arrested the woman on vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving charges. But prosecutors upped the ante this week, and filed second-degree murder charges against the woman, based upon the theory of implied malice. This blog has previously discussed implied malice in the context of so-called "Watson-murder" cases after an alleged fatal DUI car accident.

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Investigators in Santa Clara County claim that DNA evidence points to a Morgan Hill man in the Sierra LaMar case. Law enforcement arrested the Morgan Hill man Monday on suspicion of kidnapping and murder in the disappearance of the 15-year-old young woman. Authorities say that they have direct and circumstantial evidence against the 21-year-old man who was booked into jail earlier this week.

Investigators claim that they had many suspects during the investigation into the disappearance of the young woman. However, authorities now say that they believe the young woman is dead and the Morgan Hill man is the only remaining suspect. Although authorities say many suspects were looked at during the investigation, the Morgan Hill man was placed under 24-hour surveillance beginning on March 28.

The man's mother says that the family found GPS devices attached to both of the family vehicles. Police say that they had secretly attached a GPS device to the Morgan Hill man's red Jetta hoping to find the missing 15-year-old. Several weeks ago authorities reportedly seized the Morgan Hill man's Jetta.

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Tagged in: kidnapping murder

California authorities reported to Oikos University in East Oakland Monday morning after gunshots reportedly rung out on the college campus. Students and others at the college dove for cover when the shot were fired. Officials say that as many as 10 people may have been hit by bullets, but conflicting reports have been issued as to how many people were killed in the college shooting.

SWAT team officers entered the college and other officers swarmed the campus and nearby locations Monday. Several miles away from the East Oakland campus, police in Alameda reportedly have arrested a man at a shopping center who law enforcement believes is connected to the incident.

Details about the entire incident remain confusing across media reports, including conflicting reports on the number of wounded or killed in the East Oakland shooting, and what led law enforcement to Alameda.

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During the same week that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision to leave eyewitness identification analysis alone, the high court threw out a murder conviction because prosecutors did not disclose that an eyewitness who testified against the defendant at trial initially told police that he could not identify the killer. For nearly 50 years, prosecutors have known that the Constitution requires that the state must turn over material evidence that prosecutors have that may be favorable to the criminal defense.

In overturning the criminal conviction, Chief Justice John Roberts writes, "We have observed that evidence impeaching an eyewitness may not be material if the state's other evidence is strong enough to sustain confidence in the verdict." Eight justices on the Supreme Court agreed in Tuesday's ruling that the prosecutor's failure to disclose the evidence in the murder case violated the defendant's rights, requiring a reversal of the conviction. Justice Clarence Thomas was alone in dissent.

The case arose from allegations surrounding a 1995 shooting. Five people were killed during an armed robbery in a New Orleans home. During the trial, an eyewitness told the jury that he had been "face to face with [the defendant] during the initial moments of the robbery." The Supreme Court says that testimony was the only evidence the prosecutors had linking the defendant to the crime.

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Typically, allegations involving drugs in news stories revolve around drug crimes. Drug possession charges and possession with intent to sell can bring serious consequences if a person is convicted of a California drug crime.

This blog recently discussed the unusual charges brought against a Northern California mother involving "implied malice" to support a second-degree murder charge against her, which involved allegations that her breast milk contained sufficient methamphetamine to cause her son's death. This blog has also previously recounted stories in DUI cases where prosecutors seek murder charges based upon implied malice. Those cases are typically referred to in California as "Watson murders" based upon prior California case-law.

Now prosecutors on the Central Coast are seeking a murder charge against a Paradise man based upon the implied malice theory. The case involves allegations that the defendant supplied methadone to an allegedly inebriated woman who later died. The Supreme Court rule some time ago that providing drugs to someone is not inherently dangerous enough to support a murder charge under the legal theory known as the "felony murder" rule.

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The Constitution guarantees that a criminal defendant receives a fair trial. One of the most important foundations of our justice system is the right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury. The California Supreme Court ruled last week that two men, who have been sitting on death row for nearly 15 years, were denied their right to a fair trial, and the state high court reversed those convictions.

The two men were accused of being involved in a gang. Prosecutors accused one of the men of ordering the second man to murder two men who prosecutors had claimed were members of a rival gang. Gang-related charges in California can carry significant penalties upon conviction, and after a jury trial the two men were convicted of the murder charges and sentenced to death row.

During deliberations, one of the jurors reportedly had misgivings about the credibility of one of the prosecution's witnesses in the trial. It is an important function of the jury to weigh the credibility of witnesses in a criminal trial. However, two jurors apparently complained to the judge during deliberations about the juror who found the witness lacked credibility. The judge dismissed the juror, finding that the panelist acted improperly by allegedly considering evidence not presented during the trial.

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Prosecutors are now seeking murder charges against a Northern California woman whose son died last November due to "methamphetamine toxicity," according to a report in the Times-Standard. In July, the woman appeared in court for a preliminary hearing to defend against an involuntary manslaughter charge.

The judge reportedly ruled that the state had sufficient evidence to support the manslaughter charge. However, prosecutors recently refiled the case charging the woman with murder, claiming that the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing showed the mother acted with "implied malice" when she breast-fed her child after allegedly smoking methamphetamine.

The woman is now vigorously defending against the murder charge arguing that there is no evidence that she acted with a conscious disregard of a danger to human life. Implied malice murder charges are complicated animals under California law.

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Prosecutors are now seeking murder charges against a Northern California woman whose son died last November due to "methamphetamine toxicity," according to a report in the Times-Standard. In July, the woman appeared in court for a preliminary hearing to defend against an involuntary manslaughter charge.

The judge reportedly ruled that the state had sufficient evidence to support the manslaughter charge. However, prosecutors recently refiled the case charging the woman with murder, claiming that the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing showed the mother acted with "implied malice" when she breast-fed her child after allegedly smoking methamphetamine.

The woman is now vigorously defending against the murder charge arguing that there is no evidence that she acted with a conscious disregard of a danger to human life. Implied malice murder charges are complicated animals under California law.

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Over the long holiday weekend, many government offices across the country were closed down in observance of our nation's independence. At the same time, at least one courthouse drew national media attention as the murder trial of Casey Anthony wrapped up and the jury began deliberations.

Santa Cruz criminal defense attorneys know that the constitutional principles that guarantee a defendant the right to a fair trial include the right to a fair and impartial jury. To that end, the judge in the Anthony murder trial sequestered the jury early on. The trial concluded over the holiday weekend and the jury began its deliberations on the Fourth of July. Tuesday, after roughly 11 hours of deliberations the jury let the judge in the case know that a unanimous verdict was reached.

Casey Anthony was accused of murder in the June 16, 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter. She faced a number of other serious charges in related to the 2008 incident. At trial, she chose not to testify in her own defense.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the murder conviction of a California woman Monday. The federal appellate court held that the woman was denied the right to a fair trial. California state courts and one federal judge previously had upheld the conviction.

The matter began with allegations in October 1993. Police claim the woman was driving a car in Long Beach on an October afternoon casing stores with friends, intending to return later that night and commit a California robbery.

The woman reportedly drove into a liquor store parking lot. Police allege two of the woman's friends got out of the car and entered the liquor store. Law enforcement claims the two came out of the store, when one went back in, robbed the store and shot the proprietor, killing him. The woman reportedly waited in the car during the alleged incident.

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The original investigation centered on a 2004 shooting outside a Pico Rivera liquor store. A homicide officer reportedly was reviewing photographs of tattoos of suspected gang members when he saw a familiar depiction on the chest of the 25-year-old. The investigator says the tattoo depicted a scene similar to that involved in the 2004 liquor store shooting.

Police arrested the man on a minor charge in 2008. While the tattooed man was being held in jail on the minor charge, police say they used a jailhouse decoy to get a confession to murder from the young man.

While he was being held on the murder charge, law enforcement claims the man called his mother on two separate two occasions. The calls in the jail are monitored. Prosecutors say the phone calls include evidence of a drug conspiracy. Prosecutors claim that the man conspired with his mother and three other people to smuggle narcotics into the jail system.

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18 years ago, a San Francisco man went to prison after a conviction for his alleged involvement in a drive-by shooting. Two people died in the Hunter's Point shooting. The San Francisco man stood trial and was convicted. For the San Francisco man, it was a long journey to justice. On Wednesday, the 40-year-old dressed in all white and donned a big smile as he strode out into the California sun.

Cheers erupted as the man tasted freedom. Family and supporters approached to give the man hugs. When asked what he would do with his new found freedom, he answered simply, "Take it one day at a time." The 40-year-old gained his freedom after a judge found that police suppressed evidence in the trial 18 years ago and paid a witness to lie on the stand. The judge threw out the two California murder convictions against the man.

The judge found that the lead homicide inspector was involved in suppressing the evidence in 1989 and was aware of the secret payoff made to a witness in the case. Frank Jordan was San Francisco Police Chief in 1989. He was surprised that police watched as paid witnesses provided perjury in the case. He says of the 18 years the man spent wrongfully serving a prison sentence, "there's no way that time can be replaced."

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