I have handled many murder cases over the last 26 years which is defined under California Penal Code 187. Most of them have been in the downtown Los Angeles courthouse which is called the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
That's where most of the murder cases are filed. That's where the prosecutors who handle murder cases are, and detectives, do a lot of cases out of downtown Los Angeles.
So, if you or a loved one is charged with murder and the case is in the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, you'll start in Department 30. That's the arraignment court. You'll appear there.
If it's a murder case, it's probably going to take longer than a normal criminal case, so they won't move it out of Department 30 until it's actually ready to go to preliminary hearing.
Defense Lawyer with Experience Handling PC 187 Murder Cases
To defend these cases the right way, you really need an attorney who has experience and who has fought a lot of these cases, because obviously, everything is on the line.
So, a lot of attorneys that have done criminal defense, even for a long time, are afraid to do murder cases. They won't take them. I've even had some of them do the preliminary hearing, and then the people retain me after the preliminary hearing.
The, I ask them, why didn't you stick with the other attorney and they say, because the other attorney says he doesn't really do murder cases, which is, of course ridiculous.
He shouldn't have touched the case in the first place and done the preliminary hearing because the preliminary hearing in a murder case is crucial. That's where you can lock witnesses into testimony, you can damage people's credibility. You really get a good peek at the strength of the prosecutor's case.
I've done a lot of investigation post-preliminary hearing once I see what they're claiming, once I see how strong or weak their evidence is, and sometimes you realize that there are other witnesses that can be talked to.
There's other evidence that can be gathered in order to properly defend a murder case in the downtown LA courthouse, 210 West Temple. I've been handling them now for 26 years as a defense attorney.
I've worked for the prosecutor. I've worked for a Superior Court judge. I know how to defend a murder case. I know how to negotiate a murder case.
Review of the Prosecutor's Evidence in PC 187 Murder Cases
I think the first thing we have to do is sit down and look at all the evidence — the evidence on your side and the evidence that the prosecutors and police are trying to use against you — and then make a decision whether or not you can actually win the murder case.
Sometimes you look at it and you decide, based on all the circumstances, that the best thing to do is to have your attorney negotiate for you and try to work out some sort of a resolution because if you lose in the murder case, you won't come out of prison again.
Other times, the choice is made for you. Sometimes the prosecutors won't even make you an offer or they'll make you such a high offer, like over 20 years or more for example, that it doesn't make any sense to take the deal.
You might as well go to trial. So, there's all sorts of things that can happen in murder cases and you really can't go with what I would characterize as a cookie-cutter defense, meaning you do the same thing every single time.
No, you have to look at what happening in a particular case. You have to look at the strength of the prosecutor's evidence and you have to look at the strength of your own evidence.
Can you defend it? What are the motives of the people who are involving you with the murder case? So, there's a whole host of things that we consider when we consider a defense.
Seeking a Lesser Charge in PC 187 Murder Cases
A defense doesn't necessary just mean that you're taking a case to jury trial and trying to get the not guilty verdict. Sometimes a defense means we're trying to get a lesser charge.
Sometimes a defense means we're trying to avoid a life sentence, especially when you're talking about a murder case. Prosecutors are the most sophisticated prosecutors that are tenured, that have experience.
They're the ones that are going to try these murder cases and the homicide detectives that investigate and help the prosecutors deal with these murder cases are the best that LAPD or the sheriffs that are dealing with the case have.
So, you really have to get an attorney, who knows what they're going. I've handled many cases. I've had a lot of success. I know what it takes to make the right moves. If you or a loved one is charged with murder in the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, pick up the phone.
Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We'll sit down and go over everything. Everything will be kept confidential even if you don't hire me. But I guarantee one thing, when you come in and meet with me, you will get an education.
You will get the truth. You will get somebody who not only knows how to fight but knows how to strategy a defense in a murder case.