What are the best practices for handling California Penal Code 664/187 attempted murder cases in Criminal Courts Building (CCB) downtown Los Angeles court?
I've handled many attempted murder cases in CCB court at 210 West Temple, also known as the Clara Foltz Courthouse. This is the central hub court in downtown Los Angeles, and obviously, they've got most of their best prosecutors. They treat attempted murder cases very seriously.
I think the best practice is to first meet with your attorney. If you're a loved one calling on behalf of a family member who's been arrested and charged with attempted murder and is in jail with a bail of $1 million or more, you've come to the right place because I've been doing this for 30 years.
I started working for the district attorney's office, then as a superior court judge. Since the early 1990s, I've been representing people like you or your loved one; handling attempted murder cases successfully.
In our first meeting, we're going to talk about whether or not the prosecutors have the evidence to prove an attempted murder case because they often over-file these cases.
They charge attempted murder when it should not be charged. One of the biggest things we're looking for is whether they can prove that the person was trying to kill the other person and verify that person was the shooter.
For example, if it's shooting that, there's not some self-defense claim. So, you've got to look at all of these angles and decide whether or not they can prove it. Our California criminal defense lawyers will review this topic further below.
Fighting the Elements of the Crime
If they can't prove it, we're going to fight. We will attack them at the preliminary hearing, where they have to bring on evidence and show that the person committed the crime they're being charged with.
That would be one of the first attacks that we would make, and then, of course, you're entitled to attack them at a trial if they move forward with the case or can survive the preliminary hearing.
Another thing you're looking at is, did the person intend to kill. In other words, many times, maybe there's assault with a deadly weapon – some other crimes, and the prosecutors try to get that PC 664/187 attempt murder charge because they're trying to get that 15 to life over the person's head.
That makes it a lot easier for them to resolve the case. If they've got the 15 to life, the person is afraid to go to trial because if they lose, the judge must give them a mandatory 15 to life on a first-degree attempted murder charge.
What is Penal Code 664/187 Attempted Murder?
Under PC 664/187(a), attempted murder in California is when someone intends to kill the victim and takes a direct step towards killing them, but the victim survives.
First-degree murder attempted murder is punished by life in state prison. The sentence for attempted second-degree murder is punishable by five, seven, or nine years in state prison.
Attempt murder is trying but failing to kill someone. There are two crucial factors, called elements of the crime, that must be proven for a conviction:
- A perpetrator took a direct step towards killing another person; and
- Perpetrator intended to kill that person with malice aforethought.
A direct step requires more than planning it. It requires putting a plan into action and that a murder would have happened.
An example of a direct step includes shooting a weapon at someone or stabbing them with a knife. Direct action does not have to include any physical touching.
To obtain a conviction, prosecutors have to prove an intent to kill. This means the location of a victim's injuries is essential. In some attempted murder cases, there are no injuries, and they must depend on the circumstances to prove intent to kill the victim.
Maybe we can argue that you only intended to scare the victim as defined under Penal Code 240 PC assault. Perhaps we can convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge to Penal Code 245(a)(1) assault with a deadly weapon.
Unless it can be proven that a perpetrator intended to kill, the PC 664/187 attempted murder charge can't be sustained.
Attempted murder in California is a specific intent crime. If the perpetrator did not intend to kill someone, then no attempted murder occurred. Maybe we can argue that you only intended to maim the alleged victim as defined under Penal Code 203 PC mayhem.
What Are the Enhanced Penalties?
Attempted murder is a violent felony under the three-strikes law. Thus, a conviction will be a strike on the defendant's criminal record. A third strike carries 25 years to a life sentence in state prison.
Gang-related attempted murder carries an additional 15 years to life as defined under Penal Code 186.22 PC, California's criminal street gang sentencing enhancement.
Attempting murder with a gun carries enhanced penalties under the 10-20-life “use a gun and you're done” law defined under Penal Code 12022.53 PC, including the following:
- Ten years in state prison for using a gun,
- 20 years for firing a gun, or
- 25 years to life for causing a great bodily injury (GBI) or killing someone with a gun.
Solicitation of a crime as defined under Penal Code 653f PC is appointing someone to commit certain crimes, such as PC 187 murder, and carries up to nine years in prison.
Mitigation in Attempted Murder Cases
Other things we're going to look at is, if you are guilty of the crime and they can prove it, we're going to try to mitigate the circumstances:
- We're going to look at your criminal record;
- We're going to look at the circumstances surrounding the charges and activities that led to your arrest;
- We're going to try to look at every single angle possible;
- We'll get character letters and do what's called a mitigation package for the prosecutors where we send them information about you;
- What type of person you are – letters from your family, friends, your job, church, volunteer work;
- Whatever we have to use to paint a good picture of you.
Because often, what I see happening in these attempted murder cases is that the police investigate, and they're just looking to paint a bad picture.
So, if you need the best, you've come to the right place if you've got an attempted murder case at CCB, the Clara Foltz courthouse. Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. We offer a free case evaluation by phone or fill out the contact form.