10.0John William Thornton REVIEWS
Call Us831-426-5800 Call Us831-566-4357
303 Potrero Street, Suite 30, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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.


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."


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.


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.


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.

Tagged in: test refusal
Back to Top