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A three judge panel in Fresno County has ruled that the use of the map app on an iPhone is prohibited under California's traffic laws. A 58-year-old man who works at Fresno State University says that he was caught in traffic in early January 2012.

While stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on California 41 in Fresno, he says that he checked his map. But the map was not a paper map, but a map app on his iPhone. A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was right there, and pulled the driver over to issue a ticket for unlawful use of a cellphone in a motor vehicle.

The man challenged the traffic ticket in superior court arguing that he was not talking on the hand held cellphone, and further arguing that he was not texting while driving. He reportedly brought a paper map into court to show that use of a paper map is more cumbersome than the smartphone app that he allegedly had been using.

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Law enforcement believes that a 32-year-old Morgan Hill, California man rented 6,000 square feet of space in three units of the commercial building. Morgan Hill officials say that changes had been made to the electrical system inside the warehouse.

Investigators say that 2,775 marijuana plants and 30 pounds of processed pot were seized from the warehouse. Investigators claim that the warehouse was outfitted with sophisticated marijuana growing equipment, as well as measures that authorities believe were intended to hide any odor of the marijuana grow from any outside sources.

Law enforcement concluded the warehouse raid and reportedly obtained a new warrant to search the home of a 32-year-old man who authorities believe can be linked to the marijuana operation. Police claim that more pot and equipment was located in a search of the home.

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Police say that a man in his 70s crashed into a house Tuesday afternoon-the house reportedly is slated for demolition. Movers reportedly were at the house, removing items from the garage in preparation for the demolition project. Authorities say that the man who lost control of his vehicle struck one of the movers before crashing into the Palo Alto residence.

Police investigating the Tuesday afternoon car accident identified the driver of the sport utility vehicle involved in the wreck as a 73-year-old Palo Alto, California resident. During the accident investigation, police apparently suspected that alcohol may have been a factor in the incident. Ultimately, police arrested the Palo Alto driver on suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

Police say that the driver was not injured in the crash. However, a mover working at the site reported suffered moderate injuries, including a possible broken ankle, according to the Daily News.

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Last December, this blog discussed a story where police used a trained dog to sniff a car seeking evidence of drugs during a Novato, California traffic stop. Courts generally have held that a dog-sniff outside a car is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore police do not need to obtain a warrant before using a dog outside a car. But the United States Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the legal analysis is different outside the front door of a home.

The issue rose to the high court on an appeal from a drug crime case out of Florida. The state high court had ruled that drugs discovered after police brought a trained drug sniffing dog to a home without a warrant were not admissible in a criminal trial against a resident of the home. Prosecutors appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the case, police say that they had received a tip that a marijuana growing operation was going on inside the home. An investigator brought his K-9 to the home and had the dog sniff the base of the front door.

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Officials in Stanislaus County, California say that the Central Valley Gang Impact Task force led a 10-month investigation before launching a highly visible sweep last week as authorities arrested 14 people on charges ranging from murder to drug crimes. The investigation and arrests involved officers and agents from the federal state and local levels. While many of the people were arrested on federal criminal charges, at least seven were taken into custody on state crimes.

Many people believe that a task force probe looks solely at a distinct and individual alleged offense. But, a task force probe may be opened to investigate general crimes. The latest visible sweep involved arrests in a variety of state and federal criminal allegations that may not be connected to each other in any way.

Authorities claim that the nearly year-long probe looked into allegations of criminal activity, and law enforcement believes that at least one alleged offense may have links to the Nuestra Familia or the street level gang known as the Norteños. But, in the end, not all of the people arrested in the sweep have been linked to gangs, according to information from the Modesto Bee.

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In 2010, federal judge ordered the release of a man who was sentenced under California's three strikes law in 1999. State officials delayed the man's release as the man's appeal works its way through the courts. State officials claim that technical issues in filing the criminal appeal justify holding the innocent man in prison until the courts rule on the legal issues. However, a federal magistrate ordered that the man be released pending the outcome of the appeal.

The release follows the federal court ruling finding the man innocent of the alleged third strike crime. The judge ruled that the man had not received proper representation in his criminal defense in the 1999 trial.

Despite the federal ruling finding the man "actually innocent" of the alleged crime, the legal issues are not necessarily over, according to KTLA. The man had been sentenced under California's three strikes law after being convicted for allegedly carrying a concealed knife during a 1998 bar fight in Northridge, California.

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Police in Los Angeles have not provided a great deal of public information, but authorities claim that rap artist Too Short was arrested on driving under the influence and drug charges early Wednesday morning. The allegations apparently arose after some kind of stop--Reuters reports that the stop was a routine traffic stop, but, the New York Daily News claims more specifically that the officer made the stop to investigate the driver for DUI.

Police claim that during the investigatory stop the officer believed that the hip hop artist appeared to be under the influence. The officer says that he requested that Too Short perform field sobriety tests. However, authorities claim that the rap artist tried to flee on foot. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police claims that Too Short tripped after about a half of a city block while running and was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI.

Authorities claim that while sitting in the police car the rapper discarded undisclosed drugs in the back seat of the squad. Too Short was processed on the DUI allegations--the artist blew a 0.09 percent alcohol level during the investigation, according to TMZ.

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A California state senator from San Francisco is seeking to give prosecutors the option to charge some drug crimes as a misdemeanor level offense. The proposal would not only reduce potential exposure to time behind bars for possession of drugs for personal use, but would also keep a felony off of a person's record, which can make it difficult for the person to later find a job.

Senator Mark Leno's proposal would not modify California's marijuana laws, as possession of a small amount of marijuana is already considered an infraction under state law. State law gives authorities the option to charge possession of methamphetamine for personal use as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. The new proposal seeks to expand that kind of discretion in cases involving allegations of possessing of small amounts of heroin, cocaine and other so-called "hard drugs."

Obviously, there is some opposition to modifying California's harsh drug possession laws. State Senator Jim Nielson believes that people who may possess small amounts of drugs may commit other crimes to later buy the drugs. He apparently wants to keep possession of small amounts of drugs as a felony level offense to punish suspects for speculative offenses that he believes may possibly happen at some later time.

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Last fall, an off-duty Petaluma Police officer crashed a motorized scooter on the fourth fairway of the Rooster Run Golf Club. The police department held a benefit golf tournament at the public golf course October 5. The off-duty officer who crashed a scooter had worked the graveyard shift the night before the tournament and reported in the morning to drive a golf cart transporting "pin-up girls" around the course during the tourney and other tasks related to the event, according to the Press-Democrat.

At some point, authorities say that the officer borrowed a motorized scooter from a fellow officer and reportedly took a run onto the course. That is when he allegedly crashed, suffering undisclosed injuries. Officers and police brass were all over the course for the tournament, but after the wreck, the off-duty cop was not asked to perform field sobriety tests, nor did he submit any breath or blood sample.

Someone at the golf course called 911, and the officer was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital for treatment. About a month passed, and Petaluma Police reportedly contacted the California Highway Patrol to open a DUI investigation related to the incident. Petaluma Police claim that the department had been looking into the incident and desired to have an independent investigation opened.

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Police in Oakland, California arrested a parolee on suspicion of theft crimes after searching his cellphone Sunday morning. This blog has previously discussed a variety of issues where law enforcement needs to obtain a search warrant. However, Oakland Police say that no search warrant was necessary in Sunday's investigation because the man is on parole.

What law enforcement claims to have found in the cellphone search were pictures of a Gold-Rush era jewelry box and a pistol which were stolen in two separate alleged burglaries at the Oakland Museum. Law enforcement arrested the parolee after the investigation.

Police believe that the man is linked to a burglary at the museum on January 9 when the jewelry box disappeared, and also to a burglary November 12, when gold nuggets and gold-rush era pistols disappeared. However, for now at least, the man is charged with receiving stolen property related to the box.

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When a person is on probation for a prior conviction, authorities tend to seek ways to allege a probation violation. Many probation violations may involve technical violations of a term or condition. However, some people may face allegations of a violation based upon new criminal charges. When probation violations are alleged with new charges, a person may face criminal consequences arising from the alleged violation, as well as in the new criminal case.

That type of combination was involved in the recent drunk driving charges that Bobby Brown was facing. The singer was arrested October 24 on suspicion of DUI. That was Brown's second DUI arrest during 2012, and the 44-year-old singer was still on probation for a March 2012 DUI when he was picked up last October in Los Angeles, California on the new DUI allegations. Authorities also say that Brown's license was suspended at the time of the October DUI arrest.

The singer did not personally appear in court Tuesday. However, his criminal defense lawyer entered a plea on behalf of Brown to resolve the criminal issues involved. Brown was ordered to serve 55 days in jail, but the jail time actually is divided among several different issues. The judge reported imposed 10 days each on the new DUI conviction on the conviction for driving while suspended. The court also ordered Brown to serve 35 days for the probation violation on the prior DUI.

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A California lawmaker is proposing a form of zero tolerance rule to driving under the influence of medications under California law. The measure proposes to make any detectable amount of any drug listed in California's schedules of controlled substances would suffice to bring California drugged driving charges against a driver.

The Santa Ana, California state senator says that the proposal would make an exception for medications that are duly prescribed by a doctor and taken in accordance with the medically prescribed dosage. The exception reportedly would account for medical marijuana law in California.

Some commentators compare the drugged driving proposal to the legal limit to drive set for alcohol. California law presumes that a driver is impaired at an alcohol level of 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. However, the measure proposes to give law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to bring DUI charges based upon any detectable amount Class I through IV drugs and medication for drivers who have no prescription.

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For the second time in roughly a-year-and-a-half, a California medical marijuana patient has been charged with marijuana cultivation charges after police raids in two separate counties.

In September 2011, Butte County officials conducted a raid on a home in rural Concow, California. Police reportedly seized marijuana plants during that raid. Authorities say that 39 plants were found. The residents of the home were arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation charges, despite California's medical marijuana laws.

Authorities brought felony drug charges accusing the residents of possession of marijuana and possession with intent to sell pot. Child endangerment and abuse charges were also filed based upon the presence of children and the medical marijuana patient's consumption of marijuana while breastfeeding, according to authorities.

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In 1981, the United States Supreme Court ruled that officers have the authority to detain people without suspicion of criminal activity during the execution of a search warrant at a residence.

The 1981 ruling was based on the concepts of officer safety and to keep a person from fleeing during a raid. However, the high court provided more clarification to the scope of the constitutional authority law enforcement has in detaining people without suspicion during a raid in a ruling handed down Tuesday.

The justices voted six to three limiting the authority of police to detain a person related to a search to the immediate vicinity of the location identified in the search warrant. Generally, law enforcement is not entitled under our Constitution to unreasonably detain a person without a basis to suspect the person of criminal activity.

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Law enforcement arrived at the residence after police suspected a Fairfield couple of marijuana crimes. Police in Vacaville, California claim that law enforcement saw activity that officers believe may have been some kind of marijuana transaction. The married couple drove away after the alleged pot deal. However, authorities say that they obtained a search warrant. Officers apparently found the married couple in Modesto January 31 and searched their car.

Authorities say that 50 pounds of processed marijuana was discovered, along with a handgun. After the car search, officials went to Fairfield to raid the couple's home. Officers say that they found more pot at the residence, along with other items that were seized.

Following the raid in Fairfield, Vacaville police expanded their probe and obtained warrants to search two more homes in Vallejo. It is not clear from the media what led authorities to suspect contraband may have been present in the Vallejo homes. Law enforcement says indoor marijuana grows were discovered at the Vallejo locations. No arrests were made at those homes.

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The conflict between state and federal laws, the scope of California's medical marijuana laws and local ordinances barring or regulating medpot dispensaries have all been tough issues across the state for some time now.

As the courts and officials struggle with the state of medical marijuana issues, law enforcement in Southern California have made arrests alleging that a group of people violated California drug possession and sales laws by allegedly selling bath salts in medical marijuana facilities.

Ventura County authorities claim that the substances contain methamphetamine-like qualities and were sold under the monikers, such as, "Bubbles," "Stardust," and "lady bug attractant" according to a Southern California district attorney.

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Tagged in: Bath Salts

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the date that prosecutors say Chris Brown struck Rihanna in Southern California. Brown entered a negotiated plea deal with prosecutors in 2009 and pled guilty to felony assault, according to CNN. In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation, and under his plea agreement, he was allowed to perform community service in Virginia.

Brown appeared in court Wednesday after prosecutors claimed that Brown failed to perform the 180 days of community service required under his sentence. The entertainer did not appear alone at the hearing, Rihanna reportedly sat behind Brown in the courtroom.

Prosecutors challenge the records that Brown submitted to show that he had completed the service in Virginia. Brown was allowed under his sentence to perform the service under the supervision of the Chief of Police in Richmond, Virginia. But the prosecutor in Los Angeles calls the paperwork sloppy and fraudulent. However, officers out east reportedly assert that Brown performed the community service as required.

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The California Highway Patrol believes that a 20-year-old Watsonville, California man was driving under the influence when police say he crashed his car into a Lakeview Road home Sunday. Authorities seek felony DUI charges against the man. The CHP says that a woman inside the Watsonville home suffered major injuries when a Ford Fusion crashed into the residence. The woman reportedly was trapped by a dresser in the home and the car that slammed into the home.

Emergency responders extricated the woman from the wreck and flown to a trauma center in Santa Clara County. Authorities say that the woman suffered major injuries.

Police say that the 20-year-old driver accused of slamming into the home had a blood alcohol reading above the California legal limit. The CHP says that the man measured around twice the legal limit, although details about the chemical test and the actual alleged blood alcohol level were not reported in a recent Santa Cruz Sentinel report.

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Police say that the argument began in the restaurant, and authorities assert that Harris became angrier when his dining partner poured soy sauce on the former tackle's rice at the restaurant.

However, prosecutors say that the verbal argument during dinner did not resolve, and eventually grew to a physical altercation later in the evening. The former NFL football player was charged last fall with felony domestic abuse with great bodily injury and assault with great bodily injury. He pled not guilty to the charges during the fall, and the case is now scheduled to go to trial in April.

Prosecutors claim that the 240 pound former tackle had a romantic relationship with a 220 pound Los Angeles resident, who was visiting the San Francisco area when the argument broke out. Authorities also say that the two men had previously lived together, but had broken up before the alleged altercation. Police accuse the former football player of pinning his ex-boyfriend against a plate glass window as the argument escalated.

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The California Highway Patrol claims that a Hesperia, California woman struck her fiancé in a freak accident early Thursday morning in Phelan. Law enforcement says that investigators still do not know what happened in detail. However, the CHP believes that the woman was impaired when she struck her fiancé after he got out of the car the couple was allegedly sitting in before the accident.

The CHP says that each the man and the woman involved were not wearing clothes when law enforcement arrived at the accident scene. Officials believe that the woman's fiancé had gotten out of the car for an unknown reason. He is believed to have walked in front of the car while his fiancé moved into the driver's seat.

The CHP accuses the woman of hitting the gas pedal and the car struck the man as he crossed in front of the car. Authorities say that the woman slammed on the brakes, but lost control of the car as it ran across the street, striking a chain link fence.

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Tagged in: felony DUI charge
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