Over the course of the past twenty-five years, I've been in and out of every jail in Los Angeles County. The main jails are the Downtown County Jail on Bauchet Street, Twin Towers which has three towers which is right across the street from the main LA County Jail.
The Wayside jail which is in Valencia which is near Magic Mountain which is basically called Peter Pitcher's Honor Ranch, also for females they closed the old Sybil Bran Building and now most females are housed at Lynwood Facility in Los Angeles County.
As far as weapons go in these different locations, I've seen a number of different weapons because I've handled cases where prisoners have been charged with possessing or using weapons while in custody.
Also, Wayside has put out a number of the weapons that they've actually confiscated inside the jails. So, I've seen the various types of weapons that can be made – shanks and all sorts of other weapons that inmates are making from the various things that they are given while they're in the county jail.
Weapons in Los Angeles County Jail is a Felony Offense
If you get caught with a weapon inside a Los Angeles County jail, then you'll typically be charged with a felony and be facing prison time that will be tacked on the back of your sentence that you're serving in the county jail.
A lot of times what I've heard of – I haven't seen, obviously, because I haven't been inside where the inmates are – but what I've heard of is that if you're caught with certain weapons.
I guess the Sheriffs have the discretion not to have you charged with a case, but they will discipline you and either put you in their program where you're locked down 24 hours a day or they can actually take away your good-time work time. So, there are various things that can happen to those people who possess weapons in the county jail.
Definition Of A Weapon Inside Los Angeles County Jail
Basically, a weapon is going to be anything can be used to injure another inmate. Obviously, if somebody has altered a lawful item into some sort of a knife or stabbing device, that is going to be considered a weapon for purposes of charging you in one of the Los Angeles County courthouses.
A lot of these weapons are extremely dangerous and if somebody actually uses one of the weapons inside one of the LA county jails and injures another person with it or kills them, they're going to be charged with whatever crime pertains to their actions.
So, if you're charged with possession or using a weapon inside the county jail or one of your loved ones is charged with possession or using a weapon inside the county jail, obviously you're going to want to get a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with these types of cases because they're taken very seriously.
Our jails are overrun with too many people in custody. They're overcrowded, and obviously, the judges and prosecutors are going to try to help the Sheriff' Department and really seriously coming down on individuals who are using weapons inside the jail.
Defenses for a Weapon Crime While In Custody In LA County
Obviously, all of the defenses apply that would normally apply outside the jail. If someone attacks you with a knife or some sort of a weapon that's been converted into a stabbing instrument, and you stab them back you certainly could have an argument that it's self-defense.
So, if someone comes after you with a knife and you respond with a knife, you certainly could use that as a defense. Of course, you still run into the problem of why either one of you has the knife in the first place, so, it's kind of a difficult situation because if they probably couldn't get you for stabbing somebody, but they might be able to get you just for possessing the knife.
But again, there are other arguments that could be made. If you know other inmates are arming themselves with a knife and they're out to get you and you make yourself a knife so you can defend yourself, then you might be able to mount a defense under those circumstances.
Typically, using any type of deadly force in a prison situation where the jails have weapons cannot be done if you're just trying to protect your property. If, for example, somebody came and tried to steal your court papers away from you and you used a knife to stop them from doing that, it would be an unreasonable force.
Defense of property is typically not going to permit you to use deadly force in the jails or even outside the jails.
A lot of times people are possessing items which the police or sheriffs are claiming are weapons but they're really not a weapon and there's some other lawful use for whatever it is that's being possessed.
That's obviously something that's going to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. So, if you have this situation going on, obviously your criminal defense attorney is going to have to take a look at whatever the weapon is, what the circumstances are inside the jail.
Then it can be determined whether it's a situation where you can actually defend the case – which you would be entitled to jury trial. Even if you're in custody – if you have a new open case for possession of a weapon while in jail – you can certainly assert your jury trial rights and prove to a jury that no, that's not a weapon – or yeah, I possessed the weapon, but it was because I felt like my life was in danger and all I was doing was trying to protect myself.
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