Category : Domestic Violence
A Look at the Prosecutorial Decision Making Process
The Vera Institute of Justice’s study entitled The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision Making, with the support of the National Institute of Justice, analyzed how prosecutors make decisions in criminal cases. The Vera Institute conducted their study by looking at such factors as initial case screening and charging decision, plea bargains, recommendations for sentencing and case dismissal filings. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the current prosecutorial decision making process lack of public oversight is really serving the goals of the criminal justice system and fairness to defendants and victims.
The study found that while prosecutors said they were “committed to doing the right thing,” prosecutors had differences of opinions on what is considered “fair treatment” of victims and defendants, preferred different plea bargaining strategies and had different constraints placed upon them. However, the study revealed that there were two common questions that prosecutors asked themselves, which influenced the outcomes of their decision making process-Can I prove the case? And should I prove the case?
Results of the study reflect that prosecutors used the strength of evidence as the primary factor in their decision making process balanced by other factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal history, fairness to the victim and defendant as well as contextual factors such as office polices, constraints of lack of resources such as shortage of courtrooms and judges and their relationships with colleagues and other actors in the criminal justice system including law enforcement officers, judges and defense attorneys in making their decisions. The study recommended that future research should focus on the magnitude of these constraints and the pressures they have on influencing prosecutorial decisions.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?
Since the investigation and prosecution of defendants is a very complicated process of rules and procedures, influenced by the constraints placed upon prosecutors, it is necessary for defendants to seek the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges and make sure they are being fairly represented.
If you are facing criminal charges for a misdemeanor or felony including DUI, vehicular manslaughter, drug crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes, property crimes, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sex crimes, having the proper legal representation can influence the outcome of your case. Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys understand how to navigate the criminal justice system. We have earned a reputation for working with prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure that you receive a fair and just defense. Your Imhoff criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate all the evidence against, build a strong defense on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate alternative sentencing for you or try to get the case dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.
A 36 year old Sacramento man was arrested for allegedly killing his 9 year old son with a hatchet while his son was sleeping on a couch. Police were called to the scene of a North Sacramento home on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, where they found the victim dead. According to police, another resident of the home heard glass shatter and found the victim. The accused has served time in prison for domestic violence, and was involved in a bitter custody battle with the child’s mother. He is being held in jail and will be arraigned on Friday March 1, 2013.
California Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence incidents involve an assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any physical injury or death committed by an individual against a spouse or former spouse, family member or relative, person they are currently having a relationship with or have had a past relationship with, or someone living in the same house. You could face felony domestic violence charges, a misdemeanor battery charge or a murder charge if you kill the victim. Under California penal code Section 422, even making a threat to harm a victim is also considered a domestic violence crime.
Sentencing and Penalties
A conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence offense means you could face a minimum 30 day jail sentence and/or community service as well as having to attend a mandatory 52 week batter’s class. You could receive one year in county jail or two to four years in state prison and/or a fine up to $6,000 for a felony domestic violence conviction. For a murder conviction, you could face 15 years to life in a California state prison or life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. Under California’s three strikes law, you could receive a mandatory 25 years to life prison sentence if you are convicted in California of three felony crimes.
Sacramento Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense or murder in Sacramento, you will need the expertise of an experienced Sacramento domestic violence attorney to help you fight your charges. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we understand the seriousness of such charges and the impact a conviction can have on your life and your family. A good domestic violence criminal defense attorney will investigate the evidence against you, interview witness and negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get your alternative sentencing or get your charges dismissed, depending on your case situation.
Domestic Violence not Hate Crime
Eight months of investigation regarding the beating death of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi woman, led to the arrest of the victim’s husband, 48 year old Kassim Alhimidi on Friday November 9, 2012. Mr. Alhimidi has been charged with murder. El Cahon police say the slaying was the result of a domestic violence incident and not a hate crime. According to sources, Mrs. Alawadi was planning to divorce her husband and take the children to Texas and her husband was aware of her plans for quite some time.
A threatening note that called the family terrorists and telling them to go back to where they came from was found near Mrs. Alawadi’s body. The family confirmed that a similar note had been left at their door several weeks earlier, but the incident had not been reported to the police nor did they keep the note.
The crime sparked international intention, especially among the Muslim community, when earlier reports indicated that it might be a hate crime. In a tearful interview with media after the incident, Mr. Alhimidi’s claimed to the Arabic Al Arabiya News that: “My wife was a victim of xenophobia.” However, evidence police found in Alawadi’s Ford Explorer revealed that she was in the process of filing divorce papers, which were partially completed in her own handwriting.
Alhimidi has denied the murder charges and insists that it was a hate crime. Police advised him that pings from his cell phone place him near the home at the time of the homicide. The couple’s four youngest children are currently in protective custody. Hanif Mohebi, the executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations said, “Since the beginning our ultimate goal was to get justice for Sister Shaima Alawadi.”He also referred to the case as “a family tragedy,” and said that domestic violence “has no place in our faith.”
California Domestic Violence Offenses
A domestic violence incident involves an assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any physical injury or death committed by a person against a current spouse, former spouse, girlfriend, fiancée, a person involved in a dating relationship or other family member. You could be charged with a felony domestic violence crime or a misdemeanor battery in San Diego if you commit domestic violence or with murder if you kill the victim. Threatening to harm the victim is also considered domestic violence under California Penal Code Section 422.
Sentencing and Penalties
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, you could face a minimum jail time of 30 days and/or community service as well as mandatory attendance of a 52 week batter’s class. For a felony domestic violence conviction, you could receive one year in county jail or two to four years in state prison and/or a fine up to $6,000.
Hiring a San Diego Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense or murder in San Diego or the surrounding areas, it is important that you hire a San Diego domestic violence attorney immediately to defend you.
Nationally known tennis referee, 70 year old Lois Ann Goodman, appeared at a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles, CA on October 3, 2012, in connection with her arrest by Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives in August, 2012, while she was in New York getting ready to work at the U.S. Open, for allegedly killing her 80 year old husband, Alan Goodman.
On April 17, 2012, Mrs. Goodman called police and told officers when they arrived at her home that she found her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs. According to Lt. David Storaker, chief of detectives, LAPD Topanga station, police officers did not find any signs of forced entry at the scene. They became suspicious of Mrs. Goodman’s statements and made further investigations. On August 2, 2012, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office ruled Alan Goodman’s death a homicide caused by multiple injuries to the head. The arrest warrant reflected a coffee cup as the murder weapon.
According to Prosecutor Ransom: “It was a very violent crime. The victim suffered multiple stab wounds to his head and was left there to die…”She left him in the bed dying, went to a tennis event and had her nails done … We see no remorse…” Defense attorney Alison Triessl claims her client, Lois Goodman, is physically unable of committing the crime because she has had knee and shoulder replacements.
If convicted, Mrs. Goodman could face life in a California state prison. She is currently free on a $500,000 bail and confined to home arrest, except for being allowed to visit her attorney’s office, without advising the court. A judge scheduled the next hearing for November 8, 2012.
Los Angeles Murder Rates Down
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for January 2011 through December 2011, violent crimes were down slightly in Los Angeles from 2010, although murder numbers remained around the same. In 2011, there were 20,045 violent crimes of which 297 were murders compared with 2010 with 21,484 (per population of 3,837,207) violent crimes of which 293 were murders.
California Penalties for Murder
Under California Penal Code 187, murder is defined as “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” In California, there are three different degrees of murder that you can be charged with:
· Capital murder with special circumstances (the most serious murder charge)
· First Degree Murder
· Second Degree Murder
A capital murder with special circumstances charge means that you allegedly killed someone for financial reasons, killed multiple victims, killed a law enforcement, firefighter, judge, prosecutor an elected official or a witness to prevent them from testifying, or you killed someone in connection with a hate crime. If convicted, you can face stiff penalties ranging from 15 years to life in a California state prison, or life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
First Degree Murder charge means that you planned to kill someone, you waited for a victim and tortured them, or you killed them while committing a felony crime (first degree felony murder rule) or killed them by the use of a destructive device or explosive. Penalties for a first degree murder conviction in California range from 15 years to life in a California state prison or life without the possibility of parole.
Second Degree Murder charge means you committed any other murder which does not fall under a first degree murder or capital murder with special circumstances. Murders involving alcohol or drugs are considered murders in the second degree because they are willful, not premeditated and without malice. Penalties for a second degree murder conviction in California range from 15 years to a life sentence in a California state prison, to life without the possibility of parole if you have served any previous time for a murder conviction.
Penalties may be enhanced for drive-by-shootings which cause death or serious injury to the victim, especially if the victim is a police officer. You could expect to receive 25 years to life or life without the possibility of patrol for crimes involving a police officer and 20 years to life for death or injuries to other victims. You may also have to pay fines up to $10,000 and pay restitution to victims.
California Three Strikes Law
Under California’s three strikes law, you could receive a mandatory 25 years to life prison sentence if you are convicted in California of three felony crimes.
Violent crimes such as murder are considered very serious offenses in California. If you are facing a California murder charge, it is important to hire an experienced California criminal defense attorney to defend you. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience successfully defending clients charged with murder in California. Your Imhoff California criminal defense attorney will argue strong defenses on your behalf such as self-defense, mistaken identity, accidental death, insanity, or that your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights were violated regarding search and seizure of your home or personal property in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime or get your case dismissed.
Although data shows that violent crimes are declining in America, this is really nothing new–the real story is that the rate of decline has slowed. In many regions, the numbers of violent events are lower, but by a smaller margin than previous years — and the ultimate violent crime is skyrocketing in some locales. Get the real facts below.
If you know you are a suspect or have been charged with a violent criminal offense, you do need a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Learn about Imhoff & Associates here and more about related DUI/DWI information.
Florida law defines domestic violence as an assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal infliction of physical injury or death committed by a person to a family member including a spouse, former spouse, relative by blood or marriage or household member who currently lives or previously lived with the assailant. Convictions for domestic violence require a minimum county jail sentence of five days when intentional bodily harm is involved. Courts will waive the minimum five days in cases where the defendant is sentenced to a state prison and may give longer sentences, probation or community service as well. Victims who feel they are in imminent danger of domestic abuse can file for protection with the court by obtaining a restraining order which prohibits the retrained person from coming within 500 feet of them. Violations of restraining orders are considered a first degree misdemeanor. A conviction of an assault under Florida Statute 784.011 is considered a second degree misdemeanor. A conviction of a battery under Florida Statute 784.03 is considered a first degree misdemeanor. Penalties for domestic violence crimes include jail or prison time, fines, community service, probation, mandatory counseling and treatment.
On September 12, 2011, Manny Ramirez, a former outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was arrested at his Weston, Florida home after a domestic disturbance with his wife. According to the police report, Ramirez’s wife Juliana said they were arguing in the bedroom, and he slapped her face, which caused her to hit her head on the headboard of the bed. She said she called police because she was afraid the episode might escalate further. Police observed that Ramirez’s wife, Juliana, had a red swelling on her face and a small bruise on the back of her head, but she refused any kind of medical treatment. According to a deputy, Ramirez denied hitting her and said that when he grabbed her by her shoulders and shrugged her, she hit her head. Ramirez was taken into police custody. He retired from the Dodgers last April following a report that he had tested positive for taking performance enhanced drugs.
When Florida police are called to a domestic violence incident, they will arrest someone and take them to jail in most cases. The Florida State Attorney is also bound by law to try domestic violence cases aggressively. The prosecutor can prosecute even if the victim decides not to press charges. Since domestic violence and domestic abuse charges are considered serious crimes in Florida, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel immediately if you are arrested for these crimes. An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can present your side of the incident prior to charges being filed to make sure that both sides are heard before the State Attorney makes a decision to file charges against you. The attorney will also be able to interview witnesses and review the police report. The attorney can argue such defenses as self-defense, defense of others or that the incident was an accident in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you probation, attendance of a batter’s class or get the case dismissed.
California Domestic Violence
Under California law, domestic violence incidents involve the corporate injury or trauma to a current spouse, former spouse, domestic partner, co-parent of a child, girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancée or someone you are dating by either striking the person violently or causing bruising or swelling. You could either be charged under California Penal Code Section 273.5 with a felony domestic violence or a misdemeanor battery under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), if there is no visible sign of injuries. Penal Code Section 422 also considers threatening someone with the intent to commit harm against them as a crime as well. California police have the authority to arrest offenders who violate restraining orders under Penal Code 836. However, the district attorneys are not required to prosecute offenders. As a result, victims may be at a higher risk of experiencing repeat incidents of domestic violence by their ex-domestic partner, person they have had an intimidate experience or dating experience with.
Penalties and Fines
If you are convicted of domestic violence charges in California, you could face a minimum of 30 days in the county jail or mandatory attendance of a batter’s class for a first time misdemeanor, or one to four years in the state prison and a fine up to $6,000 or both for a felony domestic violence charge. Immigrants convicted of domestic violence will automatically be deported. Having a domestic violence charge on your record may prevent you from obtaining a job or a government college loan or other financial assistance.
Nick Oliveri, the bassist and singer with Queens of the Stone Age, was arrested on Tuesday July 12, 2011, at his Hollywood, California home for domestic violence after a five hour standoff with the LAPD SWAT team. According to the police, Oliveri and his girlfriend got into an argument on Monday. Oliveri left the scene before police arrived and returned to his home on Tuesday. Police were afraid that he might have taken his girlfriend hostage, but she left the home around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Oliveri was taken into police custody around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening after LAPD knocked on his door. Investigators are checking into what went on at the house and whether Oliver was under the influence of narcotics.
California domestic violence/domestic battery charges are serious. If you are arrested for either, you should contact a California criminal defense attorney immediately to represent you. The attorney can argue defenses such as self-defense, defense of others or accident in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you probation or attendance of a batter’s class or get the charges dismissed.
On July 5, 2011, an Orlando jury at the Orange County Courthouse found defendant Casey Anthony not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child regarding charges filed against her in 2008 regarding the death of her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony. She was convicted of four lesser misdemeanor crimes of providing false information to law enforcement officers. If Casey had been convicted of first degree murder, should could have faced the death penalty in Florida. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced her to the maximum four year sentence for her misdemeanor convictions of lying to authorities. He denied the defense’s request to combine the misdemeanor counts into one which could have meant that she would have been released immediately. She was given time served and good behavior and is expected to be released on July 17, 2011. An unnamed juror who was interviewed after the decision said the reason the jury found Casey not guilty of the more serious crimes of murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter is that the prosecutors failed to show how Caylee was murdered.
The circumstances surrounding the case began when Cindy Anthony reported her granddaughter, Caylee Anthony missing on July 5, 2008. Casey Anthony was arrested on July 16, 2008 on circumstantial evidence and charged in October of 2008 with first degree murder. In December of 2008, almost six months after Caylee was reported missing, police investigators found parts of the decomposed body of Caylee with duct tape in the woods near the Anthony residence. It was established by the prosecution and admitted by the defense team, that Casey Anthony lied to sheriff deputies about working at Universal Studios, about employing a nanny that took care of Caylee and that the nanny, whose name was Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez took the child (it was later determined that no such person existed, about telling two imaginary people Caylee was missing and about receiving a telephone call from Caylee the day prior to when she was reported missing). Photos were presented showing Casey at a Florida nightclub partying with friends prior to the child being reported as missing.
At trial, Casey’s lead defense attorney Jose Baez claimed that Casey had lied to cover up the family tragedy that Caylee had accidentally drowned in her grandparents George and Cindy Anthony’s pool. He also claimed that Casey did not tell the truth because she was frightened of her father George Anthony, who her attorney Baez claimed started molesting Casey at age eight. Baez also claimed that Casey’s brother might be Caylee’s father, and that the meter reader who found Caylee’s remains may have moved them. None of these allegations were ever proven. Casey’s defense team was able to raise enough reasonable doubt about the duct tape that showed no evidence of Casey’s DNA on it, which prosecutors argued was allegedly used to suffocate Caylee. They also raised doubt about conflicting testimony regarding the odor inside the Anthony car. It had not been established whether it was a decomposing body or trash left in the car. The prosecutors did not clarify why chloroform was so important to the case.
The case became one of the most watched and talked about cases since the O.J. Simpson murder trial and attracted a crowd of spectators and national and international media coverage. In fact, outside the courthouse the day the verdict was read, people expressed their outrage that justice had not been served for Caylee. Casey Anthony could profit from the case by selling her story to publishers, filmmakers or by signing a television contract.
If you are arrested for murder, aggravated child abuse or aggravated assault of a child, these are serious crimes. Depending on your state laws, you could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of first degree murder. You should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney can argue such defenses as circumstantial evidence or lack of evidence, mistaken identity, self defense or defense of others to either create enough reasonable doubt to get you acquitted or have the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser crime.
Lindsay Lohan’s Estranged Father Michael Lohan, Pleads Not Guilty to Misdemeanour Domestic Violence Charges
You could be charged with felony domestic violence under California Penal Code 273.5 if you cause corporal injury or trauma to a former spouse, current spouse, fiancée, girlfriend or someone you are dating or the parent of your child by striking the person violently or causing a bruise or swelling, or you could be charged with a misdemeanor battery under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) if there is no sign of visible injuries. Threatening someone with committing harm to them is also a crime in California under Penal Code Section 422.
Penalties and Fines
You could face a minimum 30 days jail time for a first time misdemeanor domestic battery conviction and mandatory attendance of a 52-week batter’s class. For a domestic violence felony conviction under Penal Code 273.5, you could face up to one year in county jail or two to four years in state prison, or a fine up to $6,000 or both. If you are an immigrant and are convicted of domestic violence, you will be deported. A domestic violence conviction stays on your record, and you could be denied employment, a state license or other benefits such as federal college Pell grants and other assistance.
Michael Lohan, actress Lindsay Lohan’s estranged father, plead not guilty in Beverly Hills court on May 23, 2011, to misdemeanor domestic violence charges against his ex-fiancée and girlfriend Kate Majors for allegedly holding her against her will and not allowing her to call police. He was arrested on March 21, 2011 and charged with false imprisonment, preventing the report of victimization and inflicting corporate injury on a co-habitant. He faces up to one year in prison if convicted. Bail was set at $200,000. Majors filed a police report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after an argument that occurred between the couple turned physical. Majors also claimed that Lohan became physically violent towards her during the filming of Celebrity Rehab at the time she visited Lohan at the Pasadena Therapy Centre to take part in a therapy session with Lohan. Lohan has a history of arrests in New York regarding harassment charges filed by former girlfriends.
If you are arrested for domestic violence or domestic battery in California, you should contact a California criminal law attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to argue self-defense, defense of others or accident to get felony charges reduced to a misdemeanour with probation or attendance of a batter’s class or gets the case dismissed.
An arrest for domestic abuse in California is a serious matter. It could affect your chances of obtaining employment, prevent you from purchasing a fire arm and you could face jail time, fines, attendance of a batter’s counseling program and/or a drug or alcohol program, paying restitution payments and probation depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Under California Penal Code Statutes 13700, an act of domestic abuse is considered abusing someone you have a “domestic” relationship, which includes the following persons:
· Spouse or former spouse or cohabitant
· Roommate or former roommate
· Person you may be dating or previously dated
· Parent of your child
· Family members including parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and first cousins
The definition of abuse is considered the intentional or reckless causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, or placing a person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Many times, victims take out a restraining order against their abuser. The restraining order may be enforced by California police, who are authorized to arrest violators of domestic restraining orders under California Penal Code Section 836. The district attorney’s office determines whether the charges to be filed will be a misdemeanor domestic abuse or a felony domestic abuse based upon the circumstances of the case. If the victim suffered minor injuries or threats, then the charges will most likely be a misdemeanor charge. However, if the victim suffered serious injuries, felony charges will be filed. It is not unusual to charge both parties if there are no witnesses and both claim abuse occurred or the police find cuts and bruises on both parties.
You could face the following penalties if you are arrested for domestic abuse in California:
· For a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge, you face fines and up to six months jail time as well as attendance of a domestic violence counseling program and 40 hours of community service and probation.
· For a felony domestic abuse charge, you face fines and jail time ranging from three months to three years, as well as attendance of a domestic violence counseling class and 40 hours community service and probation.
In addition, if drugs or alcohol are involved, you may be required to attend an AA or NA program under California Penal Code Section 1203.097 and pay restitution to the victim and payments to a women’s shelter in the maximum sum of $5,000.
Help for Victims
The Governor signed a budget package on October 8, 2010, which included $20.4 million dollars to be allocated for statewide domestic violence shelter services that will be administered through the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA). This action now returns critical funding that was eliminated under a line item veto in July 2009.
Former Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his 25 year old live in girlfriend during an argument, which occurred at their Oceanside beachfront home on Sunday evening October 17, 2010. Oceanside police said the woman suffered minor injuries and did not require medical attention. Seau was released on bail from Vista jail on Monday. He was involved in an accident shortly thereafter as his Cadillac Escalade went over 30 ft. of boulders on an oceanfront cliff in Carlsbad. He was treated for minor injuries caused by the near fatal crash. He told police he fell asleep as he was heading south on Carlsbad Blvd. around 8:42 a.m. Monday. He awoke as the SUV started going over the side. Despite rumors that the accident was an attempted suicide involving the use of drugs or alcohol, Carlsbad police said they did not believe Seau was attempting suicide, and there were no signs of any type of intoxication. The results of a blood test that Seau agreed to take at the hospital will be available in six weeks. The domestic violence case is expected to be sent to the Oceanside District Attorney’s office on Friday according to Oceanside police. A tentative arraignment has been scheduled for Monday, October 25, 2010 should prosecutors decide to charge Seau.
If you are arrested in California for domestic abuse, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed on the basis of self-defense or a simple misunderstanding or by getting the parties to enter into a civil restraint agreement agreeing to leave each other alone.
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