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Kidnapping Defense Story

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | May 17, 2024

For those people whose relatives or family members are charged with California Penal Code 207 PC kidnapping, you're looking for answers and are trying to find an attorney who can help.

A lot of the abduction charges these days carry life. So, if you're convicted of Penal Code 209, aggravated kidnapping, you face a life sentence in prison.

That's a brutal hammer for the prosecutors, and unfortunately, in my experience - having handled these kidnapping cases for now over 30 years.

I see the prosecutors misusing the kidnapping charge to try to scare the defendant into pleading guilty, maybe to some other charge, or even the other kidnapping Penal Code Section 207 PC that doesn't necessarily carry life with it.

Actual Kidnapping Case

This story has to do with a case that I had in Long Beach. The alleged victim owed my client money. My client tracked her down at work, waited for her to get out, and then confronted her with somebody else.

There was an argument. The confrontation was on videotape, but there was no audio, so you couldn't hear what was said. Long story short, the alleged victim claimed that my client tried to throw her in the trunk to move her or carry her away and get her to pay the money that was owed.

However, the woman is never thrown in the trunk on the video, and you can't hear any threats of throwing her in the trunk, but the prosecutor still filed a kidnapping charge against my client.

Negotiation with Prosecutor

When I met with the prosecutor and gave him more of the details and also reviewed the video with him, I said I look; you can't charge my client with PC 207 kidnapping because he did not move the alleged victim a substantial distance, which is one of the elements which is required for a kidnapping charge.

I said maybe you could charge an attempted kidnapping, but you have to have proof that my client was trying to grab the victim and move her a substantial distance. You don't have that. You just have the victim claiming that.

Of course, the victim owes my client $10,000.00, doesn't like my client, doesn't like what my client said to her, and would love to get the advantage against my client when my client is imprisoned for a long time.

So, of course, she's going to say whatever it takes to get my client convicted of a kidnapping charge where my client is looking at life in prison. This is not good enough for a jury; I told the prosecutor the following:

  • You're going to need some more evidence.
  • You're going to have to see my client forcing the victim into the trunk,
  • You will have proof that my client would move her a substantial distance.
  • All you're doing is speculating about that happening, but you don't have proof.

Kidnapping Charges Dismissed

I was fortunately able to convince the supervisor that it was not a kidnapping case. The kidnapping charge was dismissed, and we were able to work out something else because my client did touch the alleged victim, and there was evidence that she did not act lawfully, so we were able to work out some sort of battery charge.

The great thing about it was I was able to avoid life in prison. Not only that, but I could also prevent any custody time.

So, it's unbelievable how somebody goes from facing life in prison to a scenario where they do no custody time. But, to do that, you have to understand the law.

Elements of a Kidnapping Charge

You have to understand the elements of the kidnapping charge. Often, what I do when somebody is charged with a crime like kidnapping, for example, pulls the jury instructions - the CALCRIM 1215 Jury Instructions.

California Penal Code 207 PC - Kidnapping

Most Judges use that. Either that or one of those jury instructions for any crime will show the elements the prosecutor has to prove to convict a person.

The jury will be handed those jury instructions. They'll listen to the evidence and decide whether every crime element was met. If one element wasn't met, there's no conviction for that charge.

So, that's where I often start with clients, explaining what the prosecutors have to prove, and then we look at their case. We grab the facts and circumstances from their case.

We compare it to the crime's elements and assess whether or not the prosecutors can meet them. I often see that you have a situation where some elements are disputed.

In other words, the client says it didn't happen, and the prosecutors say they think it did. We believe we can prove it. That's where you get the argument, and you must decide whether you have a kidnapping case.

So, if you need the best if you or a loved one is charged with kidnapping, I've been doing this for over 30 years. I started out working for the prosecutor's office. Then, I worked for a superior court judge as his right-hand man, and finally, in the early 1990's, I became a criminal defense attorney defending people like you. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.