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Recent Blog Posts

Jury Deadlocks Over Murder Charge in California DUI Case

 Posted on November 24,2010 in DUI

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.

The jury reportedly deliberated for days over whether the defendant should be held accountable for a murder charge. Initially, the jury was evenly split six to six in their votes for acquittal. The foreman of the jury reportedly says some jurors found reasonable doubt about whether the defendant knew he was impaired at the time he allegedly drove and crashed the Silverado.

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City in California Considers Posting DUI Arrests on Facebook

 Posted on November 18,2010 in DUI

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.

Huntington Beach police officers reportedly made 1,687 DUI arrests in 2009. The number reportedly is one of the highest rates in California, based upon the size of the city.

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Tests Show Santa Cruz Man Cited for DUI Was Not Impaired

 Posted on November 15,2010 in DUI

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.

The case load at the Santa Cruz Coroner's office regularly delays toxicology reports for a number of months. In March, the coroner reportedly released the toxicology report showing that the man had no alcohol or any illicit drug in his system. The normal medications detected in the man's system would not cause impairment, and would not serve as a basis for a California DUI charge.

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Former Hollywood Idol David Cassidy Charged With DUI

 Posted on November 11,2010 in DUI

Former teen heartthrob David Cassidy, best known for his role on "The Partridge Family" was arrested on suspicion of DUI last week. A Florida Highway Patrol officer claims he saw a white 2008 Mercedes weaving on the turnpike. The Mercedes allegedly cut off another vehicle on the turnpike. The actor was charged with DUI after the police investigation.

During the traffic stop the singer-actor allegedly admitted having a glass of wine with lunch earlier in the day. Cassidy reportedly also admitted to taking hydrocodone for pain around 3:30 in the afternoon. The officer stopped Cassidy at roughly 6:20 p.m.

The trooper claims a half-empty bottle of bourbon was under the seat of the Cassidy's Mercedes at the time of the stop. The actor reportedly was "swaying while standing" after stepping out of the vehicle. Cassidy reportedly failed field sobriety tests.

Cassidy submitted to a breath alcohol test. His blood alcohol content allegedly registered .139 and .141. The actor reportedly adamantly denies Cassidy being drunk at the time of arrest. He intends to challenge the DUI charges. He says the breathalyzer tests were flawed and did not provide a true measurement of his blood alcohol content.

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Tunnel, Marijuana Discovered in California Say Authorities

 Posted on November 09,2010 in Drug Crimes

Federal law enforcement officials claim they received a tip of the existence of a drug smuggling tunnel along the California border with Mexico. Officials say that a tractor-trailer parked outside an office building in the area drew their suspicion. They reportedly followed the big-rig northbound on I-15.

At a border checkpoint near Temecula, law enforcement stopped the truck and searched its contents. Authorities say they discovered 10 tons of marijuana in the trailer. The husband and wife who allegedly were operating the big-rig have been charged for alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Law enforcement says they obtained a search warrant for the office building on Via De La Amistad near the Otay Mesa point of entry based upon the discovery of marijuana in the truck. Authorities claim that the warehouse on the American side of the border held another 15 tons of pot.

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Police Search Neighborhood for Suspects in California Robbery

 Posted on November 05,2010 in Dealing with the Police

Upon reports of an alleged violent, takeover style bank robbery, La Mesa police flooded a neighborhood in search of suspects. SWAT teams reportedly locked the neighborhood down. Police evacuated residents and searched homes. An officer saw a man allegedly fitting a description of the suspected California armed robbers.

The man was walking away from a car. The officer called for backup. The man reportedly began to run, fleeing behind an elementary school. The officer called out to the allegedly fleeing man, ordering him to stop. The police officer un-holstered his gun and fired shots toward the suspect. All of the rounds the officer fired missed the allegedly fleeing suspect.

The man jumped a fence and disappeared into the neighborhood.

Backup officers from La Mesa Police, National City, The California Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation flooded the area near the elementary school.

Helicopters buzzed overhead. The search continued. SWAT teams continued to evacuate residents in search of two suspected armed robbers. Reports came in to the police station of alleged fugitives in neighborhood backyards.

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California Woman Sentenced to One Year for Burglary

 Posted on November 05,2010 in Shoplifting, Robbery & Burglary

Three days before the break-in, the couple and two young children that had lived in the home died in an unrelated car accident. The couple has a 19-year-old daughter that is away at college in another state.

Earlier this year the 30-year-old woman sought to have the charge reduced to second degree burglary. She said that due to the death of the California family three days before the alleged break-in, the dwelling was unoccupied. A second degree burglary in California carries a potential 5-year sentence. First degree burglary exposes an accused person to a potential 8-year sentence.

The judge declined the motion. He found that the 19-year-old college student had shown no intent to abandon the dwelling when she went away to college. The accused woman subsequently pleaded no contest to the charge.

At sentencing the prosecutor sought a 6-year prison term. The judge declined to impose the lengthy 6-year prison term. He found the case showed no evidence that the accused knew the family had died three days earlier. The judge could not "penalize this defendant for what happened up on Highway 37," the location of the unrelated fatal car crash.

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California High Court Upholds Speedy Trial Rights

 Posted on October 29,2010 in Criminal Defense

250 more criminal cases are on appeal after dismissals for violations of the right to a speedy trial. The Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to a speedy trial. A California defendant in a felony matter is entitled to trial within 60 days. Misdemeanor cases should be brought to trial within 30 days under California rules.

The ruling Monday arose from the dismissal of a California burglary charge in September 2008, and 17 other cases consolidated for review. No cases have been dismissed in the county since July 2009 based upon a shortage of judges.

In 2007 a task force comprised of judges reported that Riverside County had a culture of continuances that caused delays in the justice system. The agreed upon delays in 2007 led to delays of over a year for as many as 25 percent of the inmates in the county. One defendant sat for eight years awaiting trial, according to the 2007 task force.

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California Man To Face Murder Charge in Alleged DUI Crash

 Posted on October 26,2010 in DUI

Charges against a Gilroy man are expected to be upgraded on October 28 to include second degree murder. Police claim the 44-year-old man was involved in an alcohol related car crash that resulted in the death of a 4-year-old.

California DUI attorneys are aware that prosecutors in the state sometimes upgrade alcohol or drug related vehicular manslaughter charges based upon implied malice. In an implied malice case, the prosecutor seeks to prove that the accused was aware that an act is dangerous and commits the act anyway. The practice is known in California as a "Watson murder," based upon prior case law.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office has indicated that they will upgrade the charges this week against the Gilroy man. The accused rejected a plea bargain last week related to the current gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges.

Police claim that on July 11, 2010, the accused man was traveling on Highway 101 and crashed his pickup truck into a Chevrolet that was parked on the shoulder. A four-year-old boy was sleeping in a child restraint seat in the Chevrolet. A toolbox in the pickup truck allegedly was thrown into the air in the accident, and struck the four-year-old in the head. The boy died from his head injury.

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