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How Prosecutors Prove Witness Intimidation


Recently I have had a run of witness intimidation cases under California Penal Code 136.1 that have come my way in practicing criminal defense for the past 26 years and being part of the criminal system for almost 30 years.

I really don’t see that many witness intimidation cases and the ones that I have seen in the past relate to witnesses in court being threatened by family members or other people and being arrested right there in court.

Gang-Related Cases

But now we’re seeing a lot of witness intimidation cases being filed in Los Angeles county, especially in gang-related cases. This is where people are set to testify against gang members and somehow other gang members are getting to these witnesses.

They are even seeing them on the streets, and saying or doing something that the police or prosecutors believe is witness intimidation.  The point is that, especially in these gang cases, it really doesn’t take that much for the police and prosecutors in Los Angeles, especially, to be able to mount a case for witness intimidation.

Dissuading a Witness – California Penal Code 136.1

How Prosecutors Prove Witness Intimidation California Penal Code 136.1 PC

In Penal Code 136.1 PC cases, prosecutors will have to prove whoever is being intimidated is a potential witness in a criminal case.

They basically have to prove that whoever is being intimidated is a potential witness in a criminal case.  The person that is talking to them, obviously, has to:

  • know or reasonably know under the circumstances,
  • that the person they are talking to is a potential witness in a criminal case, and
  • they have to say or do something, or
  • the circumstances have to be such that they are intimidating that witness,
  • knowing that witness may be intimidated by whatever it is they say or do.

It’s a pretty nebulous definition and it’s really one of those cases, in my opinion, when it comes right down to it, that jurors will know it when they see it.

In other words, prosecutors aren’t going to be able to get away with some ridiculous case where the person doesn’t even know that the other person is a witness in the case and they’re allegedly saying or doing something and it’s not really a witness intimidation case.

On the other hand, let’s say you have a witness who is going to testify against a particular gang member. Then, that gang member’s fellow gang members are now somehow in front of that witness.  They’re doing and saying things and make it clear they are trying to intimidate that person.

The prosecutor can put that scenario together in front of a jury where a jury can pretty clearly tell that these people have come specifically for the purpose of intimidating that witness, now they’re going to have a chance to make a case for witness intimidation.

Criminal Defense for Witness Intimidation Cases

So, if you or a loved one is charged with witness intimidation and they’re either guilty or innocent, I stand at the ready to help you.

Criminal Defense for Penal Code 136.1 PC Witness Intimidation Cases

Call the Hedding Law Firm for help with your criminal case at (213) 374-3952

Pick up the phone.  Ask to speak to Ron Hedding.

Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as we think.  Sometimes it kind of sits in the middle and the key thing is to get an attorney who has experience, knows how to handle these types of cases.

So, first we can make the decision about whether or not this is going to be a case we’re going to fight.

If not, then whether this is going to be a scenario where we’re going to try to negotiate, work out some sort of resolution that makes sense and do damage control.

So, that’s the first step.  The next step is executing a plan to get you the desired result. So, pick up the phone.  Make the call now.  I stand at the ready to help you.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.

We serve clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Ventura County, Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.

Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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