Archives : 2012 : June
Murder is a horrible, heinous crime. All agree to that. Prior to this week, 28 states had laws on their books that mandated to sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without parole.
The issue is that the justice system views juvenile offenders as too young and tender to appreciate the consequences of these crimes. In other words they cannot fully understand and comprehend their actions and the resulting circumstances that they have made because of their actions. Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the opinion for the Supreme Court, stated “Children are different” then adult offenders when it comes to crime and punishment. The cases before the court concerned two 14-year-old boys one from Alabama and one from Arkansas.
On Mondy, June 25th, in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision (Kagan, Bader-Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy & Sotomayor for the Majority and CJ Roberts, Alito, Scalia & Thomas for the Dissent), the court struck down the mandatory life sentence scheme for juvenile offenders. The Majority’s opinion shows that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are cruel and unusual punishment even if it occurred to over 2,000 US citizens (which doesn’t seem unusual) nor does it forbid life terms for youths convicted of homicide. This opinion will not release any one person from prison, or automatically grant anyone a new parole hearing. However, it does create a need to resentence a lot of juvenile offenders.
The Supreme Court followed the reasoning of Mary Barthelme whose work was instrumental in establishing the USA’s first Juvenile Court system in 1899 in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago) and other early advocates for juvenile justice. These proponents of juvenile justice come at crime and punishment for children from the angle of rehabilitation and not punishment. Punishment is still meted out for juvenile offenders; however, the focus is on making the child offender into a productive citizen and not to simply remove them from civilized society. The basic premise is that these offenders are immature and less deserving of the country’s harshest punishment.
The Supreme Court has been moving in this direction since 2005 when they struck down the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Then, two years ago the Supreme Court invalidated laws that sentenced children to life without parole for crimes that were less serious than murder.
In a justice system that deals in mandatory life sentences, the “whys” of a crime’s occurrence are not dealt with by the court, only the “hows” of the crimes are presented to the trial judge or jury. Justice Kagan in a footnote stated that life sentences can still be handed down to the most heinous of the juvenile offenders, however those sentences cannot be mandatory. The justice system must make accommodations for the juvenile offenders to present mitigation for the circumstances surrounding their crimes. That means that they can explain why these crimes occurred and not merely dispute how these crimes occurred. Judges need to consider factors such as juveniles are less culpable, less responsible for their actions and they’re immature compared to adults. Judges also need to consider the context of their homes and the environment in which they grew up.
This reasoning is in agreement with the very first proponents’ view of juvenile offenders and their crimes. Children now have a better chance of receiving a sentence that is rehabilitative in scope and not merely punishment.
For more information on the criminal defense attorneys at Imhoff & Associates, visit http://www.CriminalAttorney.com. The criminal law firm attorneys practice in Juvenile Law as well as all other areas of criminal law. Interested parties may also contact a criminal lawyer at the firm by calling 1-888-726-0574.
On June 7, 2012, at approximately 9:30 a.m., a fist fighting broke out at Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School located at 1260 W. 36th Place, Room K-3, Los Angeles, 90007 between parents of pre-school children during their children’s graduation ceremony, while terrified children watched in the background. The incident can be traced to budget cuts resulting in approximately 30 children having to share one caps and gowns, one set for the boys and one set for the girls, during graduation pictures.
According to witnesses, a room was filled with approximately 35-50 people, including parents, children and teachers, when a fight began between two mothers, after one mother (victim #3) accused the other mother of taking too long with a graduation gown. Parents became frustrated and several parents starting punching with their fists, pulling hair and a chair was allegedly thrown at victim (#3), who also reported her keys and purse missing. She later identified suspects #1-#4, stating that suspect #1 punched her, threw her on the ground and threw a chair at her. She accused suspect #2 of throwing a table at her and pulling her purse off her shoulder, accused suspect #3 of pushing her mother and accused suspect #4 by stating that,… “she did everything.”
Although there was some confusion between two suspects who were both identified as suspect #1, one of which was charged with robbery, but not named as a defendant on any felony complaint, and another who was also charged with robbery and named as a defendant on the felony complaint. However, later the first suspect #1 admitted that she accidently took the purse.
Suspect #2 was charged under California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) with assault with a deadly weapon, which carries a sentence of 2-4 years in a California state prison, if convicted. Her charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing.
Another victim (#1) said her phone was stolen as she came out of the rest room. The school reported that one victim sustained a cut lip, although it was not clear which victim. Victim #2, the mother of victim #3, said her purse was taken, but it was discovered later on the grass across the street from the school with any its contents accounted for. Victim #2 was treated by paramedics for anxiety and elevated blood pressure.
A witness who arrived late to the graduation took a video of the brawl with his cell phone, which later went viral over the world wide web. From the video, it was hard to determine who did what. None of the charges could be proved at the preliminary hearing. After reviewing the video approximately 10 times, Judge Bianco did not hold the defendants to answer.
While this may be an unusual incident, it does demonstrate how social economic impacts such as budget cuts at an inner city pre-school can turn a joyous graduation celebration into an emotional and heated argument resulting in an unfortunate situation where people can get hurt.
If you are facing a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon or a robbery charge in California, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney to defend you. For a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon, you could face prison time of from 2-4 years and fines up to $10,000. Under Section 245 (a) (1), a deadly weapon is considered any object, other than a gun, that is “capable of producing and likely to produce death or great bodily injury, that is not part of your body, including a knife, pencil or even a motor vehicle. Use of a gun enhances the penalties to Assault with a Firearm under Penal Code 244, and you can face a $10,000 fine and a four year state prison sentence. The attorney can argue self-defense, defense of property or defense of others, no credible threat, false accusations, the victim consented to the assault, or insufficient evidence.
If convicted of robbery under California Penal Sections 211-215, you could face up to 3, 6 or 9 years in state prison for first degree robbery. For a conviction of robbery in the second degree, you could get a sentence up to 2 to 5 years in state prison. The attorney can argue insufficient evidence, another person pushed you into committing the crime under duress or entrapment.
When you are represented by an experienced California criminal defense attorney, your attorney will vigorously defend you to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, community service, probation or get the charges dropped.
Investigation Leads to Arrest of San Diego Man
A local 20 year old San Diego man named Mark Camarilla, also known as “Cubby,” was recently arrested in Scripps Ranch and booked on charges of wire fraud and access device fraud. Camarilla is accused of operating an Apple call in scheme where he obtained serial numbers of Apple products he did not own, claimed the product was defective and asked for a replacement product to be shipped to him. He provided stolen credit card numbers, which could be charged if he did not return the defective device. Camarilla allegedly sold and shipped 4 new stolen iPhones to an undercover agent he thought was another fellow carder.
The arrest was part of a two year FBI international cyber crime investigation regarding “carding” crimes involving the theft and sale of personal information of unsuspecting victims spanning over 13 countries, including the United States. The sting resulted in the arrests of 24 persons, including Mr. Camarilla, as well as 10 other persons in the United States, and 13 persons in seven countries. Four suspects still remain at large. There were also 36 warrants executed.
If convicted, Camarilla faces up to 30 years in prison. According to the FBI, these massive arrests protected more than 400,000 potential victims and prevented losses of approximately $205 million. It is hoped by law enforcement that the arrests will help decrease carding schemes and forums worldwide.
California Cyber Crimes
Using carding schemes and forums to exchange information on hacking methods and computer security vulnerabilities, buying and selling personal information such as stolen credit card and debit card numbers and selling hardware to create counterfeit cards and goods purchased with stolen cards are considered illegal cyber crimes. It has been difficult to prosecute these crimes because law enforcement has not always had the right technologies to do so, and many times they span over multi-jurisdictions and countries.
With the development of new technologies, state, federal and international law enforcement are able to increase their efforts to work jointly to arrest and prosecute computer criminals. For example, California now uses its eCrime unit to investigate and prosecute multi-jurisdictional criminal organizations, networks, and groups involved in identity theft crimes using an electronic device. Other states such as Texas, Florida and Louisiana also have similar units which focus on various cyber crimes.
Under California Penal Code Section 484-502.9, there are various penalties and sentences for cyber crimes depending on the type of computer crime involved, the value of loss and injuries suffered by the victims and the defendant’s prior record. Computer crimes and crimes associated with computer crimes include:
• Hacking of a computer
• Computer Tampering and Trespass such as spreading a virus
• Duplicating computer materials without authorized use
• Copyright theft
• Identity theft
• Grand Larceny
• Cyber Stalking
Typically, if convicted of a cyber crime in California, you can expect to receive fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and/or imprisonment in a county jail or state prison for a term of one year up to three years or more. You may also be required by the court to pay restitution to victims for their losses suffered as a result of the computer crime.
Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
It is critical for a person facing an investigation for a cyber crime in San Diego to get proper legal representation immediately. Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys understand the impact that being under an investigation of this sort can have on your personal and business reputation, and we will try and keep you out of the public eye and media as much as possible. Your Imhoff San Diego criminal defense attorney will raise strong defenses on your behalf making sure that your constitutional Fourth Amendment rights regarding unreasonable search and seizure of your home and personal property have not been violated. Your San Diego criminal defense attorney will negotiate with prosecutors to try and get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you an alternative sentence such as community service or probation or get the case dropped.
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