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Why are there so Few Good Murder Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles County?

It’s my opinion after having practiced criminal defense for twenty-five years now, worked for the District Attorney’s office, worked for a Superior Court Judge and have my own practice since 1994 — so, I’ve been a defense attorney approximately twenty-five years, just defending people charged with crimes.  In the early 90’s when I first started out, I was actually defending murder cases, so I’ve been defending them since that time and I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve seen attorneys.  I’ve heard what people have said.  I’ve taken over cases for attorneys who didn’t know what they were doing.  So,… Read More

How to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Today’s Modern Society

This is a good question because a lot of people are actually going to the internet to hire their attorney.  They can do a very broad search.  They can find out about the attorney’s reviews.  They can look at their credentials.  They can look at how long they have been practicing.  They can check the State Bar of California and see whether they’re a member in good standing.  There’s all sorts of things.  And they can do it very quickly.  So, that’s what is so impressive about the internet. What I’m seeing — and I’ve been doing this for twenty-five… Read More

Pre-Filing Dismissal Process In a Los Angeles Criminal Case

I have a lot of clients who retain me before any case is filed against them.  Sometimes a case is under investigation.  Other times, they’ve been arrested, posted a bail and they’re waiting for their first court date which is called the arraignment in a criminal case.  In some cases, not all, there is a chance to try to get the case dismissed or get what they call a non-filing before the court date, or even at the court date, thus it’s  important to understand the pre-filing issues. Mitigation Package A lot of times what we do is, file what… Read More

Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Case in Los Angeles

The bottom line is that the prosecutors in any case in Los Angeles, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony, have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Now trying to figure out exactly what that means is not always easy.  There’s a jury instruction — and the jury instructions that are used in Los Angeles are the CALCRIM 103 – Reasonable Doubt.  It basically says, the Judge tells the jury, I will now explain the presumption of innocence and the People’s burden of proof.  The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  The fact that a… Read More

Cautionary Instructions Given to Jurors in a Criminal Jury Trial

When someone serves on a jury trial, one of the big instructions that is given to them is CalCrim 101.  That really talks about the jurors’ conduct during the trial.  It also discusses the participants’ conduct.  One of the biggest things they want to make sure that a jury understands is that they’re not to talk to the parties — either the lawyers or the defendant in a criminal jury trial in Los Angeles while the trial is pending.  A lot of times people say you can at least say hi, and be polite, but this is inappropriate. What we’re… Read More

Criminal Jury Instructions in Los Angeles County

Every time a jury trial starts the trial judge is responsible for reading all the pertinent jury instructions throughout the course of the trial.  A lot of trial judges will start right from the beginning when the panel of jurors — fifty, sixty, seventy jurors — are brought into the courtroom and they’ll start to read them the instructions.  It’s pretty much up to the trial court how they want to do that. The first instruction is talking about how important it is for them to serve.  It talks about our criminal justice system – that we have one of… Read More

Justifiable Homicide in California

Defending Against Harm to a Person Within A Home or on a Property in Los Angeles People talk about this all the time.  If somebody brakes into your house and you end up using deadly force against that person, you’d probably be in a good position to have a justifiable homicide if that person was actually killed.  The prosecutors could certainly charge you with a murder if you kill somebody, but if you’ve got a justifiable reason, then you’re able to defend the crime.  Justifiable homicide in California for private citizens is covered under California Penal Code Section 197. But of… Read More

Protecting Juvenile Records in a Criminal Case

When it comes to these juvenile cases, one of my primary goals as a criminal defense attorney who practices in the juvenile area is to try to protect my client’s record.  Having a criminal record moving forward with your life — especially at such a young age as a juvenile — is very difficult to get a job, to get education and to advance yourself in your life.  So, what we try to do is set things up so that either right from the beginning we can keep the record clean or set it up so in the future, if… Read More

Role of a Witness in a Jury Trial in a Los Angeles Criminal Case

A lot of people think this is a simple question.  A witness will come, testify, and a jury decides.  But, obviously, it’s more complicated than that especially in a criminal case.  In a criminal case in Los Angeles, or anywhere across the country, the prosecutors have the burden of proof, so they have to put their case on first in a trial and then the defense attorney who is representing the defendant in a criminal case, gets an opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses as well.  Basically, this means a defense attorney can ask questions after the prosecutor and the defense… Read More

Can Co-Defendant’s Statements Be Used Against Other Co-Defendants in Criminal Cases?

This is a big question because a lot of times — especially in felony cases; not as much in misdemeanor cases — there’s a group of people arrested who are allegedly involved in a criminal conspiracy or other criminally-related activity and the police will separate all the people and take statements from them, and a lot times some of the defendants actually make statements that not only hurt themselves — incriminate themselves — they also incriminate their co-defendants and say stuff that causes their co-defendants to be put in a bad position.  That statement, if used against the co-defendant, would… Read More

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