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Often in cases where a person is accused of a crime, new stories are written with one side. A police report is often the only public information available to a reporter, so they publish stories that rely heavily on a police report and have little or no commentary from the person accused.

When a woman was arrested three times in five days last week in Santa Cruz, she wasn't afforded to ability to tell her side of the story about drug charges she is facing or respond to allegations by police. According to one news article, the woman was arrested for intent to commit illegal drug activity early in the week. She was later released. It isn't clear what kind of activity the police say the woman may have committed, and the story did not include her response to the allegations.

The woman was later arrested for trespassing before being released again. The she was arrested for allegedly resisting arrest or obstructing an officer. The police were at the residence where she was arrested to execute a probation search. They said they didn't find the person they were looking for and arrested the woman for refusing to exit the house or apartment.

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The issues were recently before the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco in regard to a man charged with failure to provide a DNA sample after an arrest on suspicion of arson in 2009. In January 2009, California law began requiring any person arrested for any felony to submit a DNA sample. The law requires the sample to be provided "immediately following arrest, or during the booking . . . process or as soon as administratively practicable after arrest."

The appellate court struck down the law as unconstitutional. The court says a person arrested for a felony, but has not appeared before a judge for "a judicial determination of probable cause" is more like an ordinary citizen than a prisoner.

Ordinary citizens, cloaked in the presumption of innocence, have the full expectation of privacy, free from unreasonable governmental intrusions. The court says convicted prisoners have a "limited expectation of privacy" under the Fourth Amendment.

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Prosecutors in Sacramento have filed 34 felony charges against a former Sacramento Police Officer for allegedly lying on police reports, in criminal court hearings and on driver's license suspension forms in DUI cases. In September, the District Attorney's Office dismissed 79 criminal cases in Sacramento County due to the false allegations of the police officer came to light. The current criminal charges filed against the former officer stem from 24 of the dismissed cases.

The majority of the dismissed cases involved charges brought against Californians for allegations of driving under the influence. In January 2010, the officer was placed on administrative leave after he was accused of brandishing a weapon while he was off duty. During the administrative leave, an attorney reviewed videotape of a DUI traffic stop that had been captured on the officer's squad car video camera. The footage reportedly showed different facts than those written in the officer's police report.

Reviews of other dash-cam footage showed additional discrepancies related to allegations of failed field sobriety tests that were not supported in the videotapes. Other discrepancies discovered through review of the videotapes show contradictions to what the officer wrote in police reports about witness statements and the demeanor of individuals under investigation.

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Tagged in: Santa Cruz

Experienced Santa Cruz marijuana cultivation attorneys know that state law allows certain individuals to grow marijuana for medical purposes. It is not uncommon for law enforcement to come to different conclusions in different cases. However, the conclusion law enforcement reaches remains merely an accusation if charges do arise.

The two raids this week in Arcata resulted in only one of the cases leading to charges. On March 14, police served a search warrant at a home and claim they discovered nearly 700 marijuana plants and over two pounds of processed marijuana. Police say they also seized marijuana cultivation equipment in the March 14 raid.

A 36-year-old Arcata man reportedly was placed under arrest and will face charges of possession of marijuana for sale, operating a house for the manufacture of drugs, cultivation of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, possession of concentrated cannabis and possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

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Posted on in DUI

The maximum enforcement will occur when the most people are likely to be celebrating. Increased patrols will occur from Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 11:59 p.m. both this weekend and next weekend. California Highway Patrol officers will be focusing on DUI, speeding, and seatbelt enforcement.

Last year's maximum enforcement period lasted from December 18 to January 3. During that time, 22 people were killed in California accidents and the highway patrol made 1,104 DUI arrests with 48 of those arrests in Santa Cruz County. According to a CHP representative, there were 90 accidents in Santa Cruz County over the holidays last year, and 11 of those accidents were related to DUI.

California's law enforcement agencies take a very hard line against DUI. Earlier this year, Insurance.com released a list of what it considered the top DUI cities in the United States. When they measured the percentage of applicants for car insurance who had been convicted of DUI, they found that four California cities made their top 10.

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Tagged in: Santa Cruz

On New Year's Eve a tragic accident took the life of an 80-year-old Santa Cruz man and injured the three occupants of another car. The three injured men are in their 20s who all survived the crash. Now the family of one of the injured men wants to clear the name of the 80-year-old driver who police cited for DUI after the crash based upon suspicion.

The day after the accident, a CHP officer told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the fatal accident was "possibly DUI related." On January 2, 2010, the officer was quoted in the newspaper saying the 80-year-old driver was suspected to be driving under the influence.

Law enforcement reportedly observed the man at the scene of the accident, which occurred around 4:45 a.m. The CHP officer reportedly questioned the man as he lay on a stretcher at the scene of the accident. The man reportedly died later in the evening at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

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Tagged in: Santa Cruz
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