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Public views on marijuana and the laws regulating the herbal substance are constantly changing. The debate about marijuana and its effects have caused states and legislatures all over the country to reconsider legalizing the drug. Some states already have - in the form of medical marijuana. Since medical marijuana became lawful (and popular), manufacturers are coming up with alternative ways to produce the product. 

Marijuana soda is the latest craze that will soon hit market shelves. Manufactured by a California soda maker in Soquel, California, Canna Cola (as it will be called) will reach medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado in just a few months.

The manufacturer says the new soda line will include the "flagship cola drink Canna Cola, Dr-Pepper-like Doc Week, the lemon-lime Sour Diesel, the Grape Ape, and the Orange Kush." Each 12-ounce bottle will include 35-65 milligrams of  tetrahydrocannabinoil (also known as TNC and the main ingredient in pot).

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A Los Angeles school police officer allegedly falsely reported a shooting last week. The Los Angeles Times reports that a senior LAPD official says the school officer's protective bullet-proof vest appeared to have been hit by a bullet. The officer reportedly suffered bruises to his chest. Los Angeles Police reportedly locked down a 7-square-mile area in response to the reported shooting.

Authorities say that the school officer has been booked on a felony charge of filing a false police report. The story that the use of a deadly weapon had occurred prompted a massive police response in the west San Fernando Valley last week.

The school officer had claimed that he confronted a man who was allegedly trying to break into cars on the El Camino Real High School Campus. He claimed his vest took a single bullet. He said he was knocked back by the impact of the bullet and hit his head in the alleged January 19 shooting.

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U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns from the Southern District of California has been appointed to hear the case. Judge Burns asked if the defendant was able to comprehend the proceedings. The defense declined to raise the issue at this time. The judge entered not guilty pleas on Loughner's behalf.

Additional charges may be filed in the matter. Six persons were killed in the alleged shootings and 13 people were wounded. A grand jury continues to be involved in investigated evidence in the case. Prosecutors reportedly expect to file a superseding indictment in the next 30 to 45 days.

Prosecutors turned over evidence to the defense prior to yesterday's arraignment. The defense acknowledged receiving two discs from the prosecution. The discs reportedly contain hours of video retrieved from Loughner's home computer. Additionally, the defense reportedly received statements from witnesses to the alleged shootings.

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The California Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that allows law enforcement to search the texts and other data stored on a cell phone without a warrant after an arrest. Cell phones are becoming more and more sophisticated as technology advances. The data stored on a cell phone may be free game to law enforcement after an arrest under the ruling.

The case stems from a 2007 Ventura County arrest. Police arrested the defendant in the case on suspicion of committing a California drug crime. After arresting the man, police found a cell phone that the defendant was carrying. Roughly 90 minutes after the arrest, an officer searched through text messages stored on the cell phone and found a text message that allegedly incriminated the defendant.

The message reportedly read "6 4 80." Police alleged the message related to the sale of six ecstasy pills for $80. The man later confessed to the drug deal. The defendant challenged the admissibility of the evidence in court on the basis that the warrantless search was illegal.

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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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Last year, Howard K. Stern was convicted by a California jury of drug conspiracy charges related to prescription drugs he allegedly obtained for his girlfriend Anna Nicole Smith. Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007. Prosecutors charged Stern, Smith's psychiatrist and primary physician with a total of 23 felony charges. In October, a jury acquitted the primary physician of all charges, but Stern and the psychiatrist received several convictions in the matter.

Thursday, Los Angeles County superior Court Judge Robert Perry threw out the convictions against Stern. The judge also dismissed two drug conspiracy convictions obtained against the psychiatrist and reduced one conviction to a misdemeanor. The California drug charges against the two could have resulted in hefty prison sentences had the convictions stood.

The judge in the case stated Thursday that the jury completely acquitted the primary physician of all charges. He said the verdict acquitting the lead defendant in the case was a "stunning repudiation of the prosecution's case." The judge indicated his regret for not taking action earlier. The judge reportedly said the state's case was flawed based upon the prosecutor's misunderstanding of the law related to conspiracy.

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A 21-year-old Victorville man allegedly was speeding in a large SUV Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. Witnesses claim that the young man attempted to pass a Toyota that was traveling in the same direction. Witnesses say the 21-year-old crossed into the center lane of the roadway to make the pass.

A Mitsubishi Outlander was traveling in the opposite direction on the same road. Witnesses say the 21-year-old avoided hitting the Mitsubishi head-on. The SUV then rolled over and crashed into the fence of an elementary school. After a short investigation the 21-year-old was arrested on suspicion of violating California DUI law.

The 21-year-old reportedly insisted to a San Bernardino deputy that it was Sunday and not Tuesday. Law enforcement claims that the man was acting confused and belligerent after the crash.

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News surfaced nine months ago that a technician at the San Francisco Police Department Crime Laboratory was skimming evidence from the narcotics unit for her own personal use. The technician reportedly stole cocaine evidence. The San Francisco Police Department closed the narcotics unit in May.

A U.S. Senator announced last month that he intends to introduce federal legislation to reform the field of forensic science nationwide. On the heels of the scandal in San Francisco, many experts are questioning the integrity of evidence used in California drug possession cases.

The rogue technician crime lab scandal only extended as far as the San Francisco narcotics unit within the lab. Sources have reported that other discrepancies have occurred in the lab. A mix-up of test tubes containing DNA evidence has been reported. Officials reportedly concealed the DNA mix-up for two years.

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California DUI attorneys are aware that the highway patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force over the New Year's holiday, strictly enforcing California DUI laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently urged states to employ a "No Refusal" policy, even in states that have enhanced implied consent test refusal laws.

Earlier this month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged states to have on-call judges available to issue a warrant in test refusal cases. Nine states, not including California, already participate in the "No Refusal" program in some form. The purpose of the push to issue warrants is to create scientific evidence to increase convictions under the individual states' DUI laws and deter further driving under the influence.

Here are some tips to keep in mind over the holiday weekend may help you to avoid being pulled over for suspicion of violating California's tough DUI laws.

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Tagged in: test refusal

Generally, in California, the statute of limitations for filing charges for burglary is three years. Failing to bring charges within the statute of limitations would normally bar the state from prosecuting the alleged crime.

Monterey police suspect a person has been committing a series of burglaries. Police have no idea of the identity of the person who police believe has committed a violation of the California burglary law on a number of occasions. Although police have no idea who may have been involved in the alleged incidents, law enforcement has obtained a "John Doe" warrant based upon a DNA profile.

According to Sgt. Bill Clark, it it's the first case where DNA evidence has been used in Monterey County to obtain a warrant. In January, the California Supreme Court upheld the use of a "John Doe" warrant in a case arising in 1994.

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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

Reported violent crime was down last year in America according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is the third consecutive year that Americans saw lower violent crime rates. Across the country allegations of violent crimes were down 5.3 percent in 2009 when compared to 2008. More than 1.3 million violent crimes were reported in the United States in 2009, according to the FBI.

California violent crimes reportedly fell 5.8 percent in 2009 from the previous year. FBI statistics show that California reported 174,459 violent crimes in 2009. The California violent crime rate in 2009 was roughly 472 alleged offenses per 100,000 residents.

Allegations of murder and non-negligent manslaughter are listed by the FBI as among the violent crimes. Murder and manslaughter dropped 7.9 percent last year. Allegations of robbery declined 7.6 percent, aggravated assaults fell 4.8 percent and reports of California burglary dropped 3.2 percent.

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Proposition 215 legalized medical marijuana in 1996, upon a doctor's recommendation. In 2003, California created a state marijuana ID card program. It was two years before the program got off the ground with the launch of the ID card in 2005. The optional ID cards have not become as popular as officials expected.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana, up to an ounce, is not an offense that can subject a person to arrest under California state law. With medical marijuana, however, problems can often occur. The California marijuana ID cards were created to help protect Californians from arrest or having their medical marijuana seized by law enforcement.

The ID cards are optional, but many say their cost make them unattractive to many Californians. In 2007 the fee for the cards jumped from $13 to $66. Patients covered under Medi-Cal pay half that rate. Counties add their own fees to the cards that can push the price to over $100 each year.

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Tagged in: medical marijuana

Posted on in DUI

An assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings was arrested early Thursday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. The incident occurred around 1:15 in the morning. A California Highway Patrol officer says he noticed a broken taillight on a 1993 Mercedes-Benz. The officer made a traffic stop, which led to the California DUI arrest.

The assistant coach was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and released later Thursday Morning. He has since reportedly made a public statement about the arrest. He says that he had a couple of drinks before the arrest. In his statement he says his "blood alcohol level was slightly over the legal limit." California law places the legal limit at .08 BAC.

The coach said in his statement that he is "very sorry, embarrassed and disappointed for the position in which I put myself and team." The assistant coach is one in a string of people affiliated with the King's to be pulled over on suspicion of DUI over the past few years.

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Horror stories in California prisons have been on the radar for roughly two decades. A sometimes heated debate regarding the issues of overcrowding and substandard medical care filled a 90-minute U.S. Supreme Court hearing last week. U.S. Supreme Court justices are being asked to rule on the extent to which federal courts can issue an order to ease overcrowding in California prisons.

People convicted of a California felony may be sent to the already overcrowded prisons in the state. The case on review in the Supreme Court stems from suits filed against the state of California dating back to the 1990s alleging that overcrowding violates inmate's Eighth Amendment constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. Over the years federal courts have issued orders demanding that California implement better treatment for inmates in the overcrowded prison system.

A three-judge federal appellate panel issued a ruling last year that requires the state of California to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of capacity within two years. Roughly 36,000 to 45,000 prisoners would have to be released or transferred to other facilities to comply with the court order.

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A 21-year-old Oakland man reportedly called police around 5 a.m. on Wednesday to report a shooting. The man had not been hit by any bullets, but did have an injury. The 21-year-old was treated for the injury at a local hospital.

The man spoke with a police officer about the shooting. The officer directed the 21-year-old to the Oakland police headquarters. The officer notified headquarters that the man wanted to speak with investigators about a potential shooting. The officer also indicated the man matched the description of a suspect in a recent California armed robbery.

Two Oakland police officers reportedly spoke with the 21-year-old about the possible shooting that morning. After taking a statement about the early morning shooting the two police officers reportedly began questioning the man about a number of Oakland area armed robberies.

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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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A Gilroy man faced such a charge last week. The matter went to trial. Prosecutors allege the Gilroy man drank beer before climbing behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Silverado on February 3, 2009. The prosecutor claimed the man then ran a red light, broadsided a van and killed a six-year-old passenger in the van.

The prosecution brought a charge of second degree murder based upon implied malice. The 37-year-old defendant reportedly was convicted of DUI roughly ten years before the 2009 incident occurred. A second DUI reportedly was entered on the defendant's record when the defendant was a juvenile. The older conviction was more than 20 years old.

The prosecutor reportedly argued to the jury that the prior convictions for DUI and the alcohol education courses ordered in the previous matters left the defendant familiar with the risks involved with drinking and driving.

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Tagged in: California

The Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Huntington Beach is looking into publishing the names of driver arrested for DUI on the city's Facebook page. The Huntington Beach City Council asked local law enforcement in the city if the police would be willing to post the names on the internet. The tactic is being characterized as a public shaming of the accused.

Huntington Beach, like many cities in California, is becoming increasingly aggressive in its focus on DUI charges. The city reportedly has added more officers who focus on DUI cases. In addition to the public shaming tactic on the internet, the city intends to send letters to bars after one of the bar's patrons has been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

The public shaming on Facebook arose as an idea after the Huntington Beach Independent, a community newspaper, stopped publishing listings of the names of drivers arrested for driving under the influence.

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Tagged in: California

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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