Category : kidnapping
Importance of DNA Testing in Criminal Cases and Convictions
Recently the Virginia Supreme Court exonerated Gary Diamond, a man who was convicted of abducting a woman and her two children from an Interstate 95 rest stop in Prince William County in 1976. Mr. Diamond served approximately 3 years of a 15 year sentence for two separate abductions a month apart, one of which he admitted guilt and the other where he maintained his innocence. The justices in the case granted Mr. Diamond a writ of actual innocence after DNA testing eliminated him as the person whose bodily fluids were found on the woman’s clothing.
The exoneration came about as the State’s Department of Forensic Science was in the midst of reviewing old cases where biological evidence had been collected prior to the availability of DNA testing. As a result, the mistake was discovered in Mr. Diamond’s case. Mr. Diamond’s appeal attorney of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, pointed out that this is another example of an unfortunate circumstance of an innocent person being found guilty of a crime they did not commit. A total of 8 people have been exonerated in Virginia as a result of these investigations. The Virginia attorney general’s office supported the Diamond petition for writ of actual innocence.
The use of DNA technology is the preferred method of linking an individual to a crime and is used in many criminal trials. DNA testing in an effective tool in proving the innocence of people who were wrongly convicted. Many old cases are being re-opened to exonerate innocent people. How DNA works is when a blood or hair sample or bodily fluids are taken from a crime scene or victim, they are compared with the suspect’s known DNA. The results can exonerate a person by showing that they are not a match. A DNA expert can testify to this at trial that the person is innocent and should be released. Many people have been exonerated through DNA testing even though they may have served many years in prison or were facing the death penalty.
If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia or have been convicted of a crime that you did not commit, DNA evidence can play an important role in eliminating you as a suspect in that crime or getting you exonerated. A good Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges to get the case dismissed on lack of evidence or help you clear you name post -conviction by getting the case reopened and having your DNA tested to prove your innocence.
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.
Under Ohio Chapter 2905.01, you can be convicted of the felony crime of kidnapping in the first degree if you hold another person by force, threat or deception, or in the case of a minor under 13 years or a mentally incompetent person, remove them from the place where they are found or restrain their liberty, or hold a person for the purposes of ransom, as a shield or hostage, facilitate a felony crime or flight thereafter or terrorize or inflict serious physical harm or engage in sexual activity against the victim’s will. If a kidnapper releases the victim to a safe place and they are unharmed, then the kidnapping crime is considered a felony in the second degree in Ohio. You could face a sentence of indefinite prison with a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison for a first degree felony kidnapping in Ohio, and minimum of 10 years in prison and maximum of life in prison for a second degree felony kidnapping in Ohio.
You may also face lesser charges under Chapters 2905.02 for the crime of abduction, which is a third degree felony, if you remove someone by force or threat to another place where the person is found, restrain their liberty to create a risk of physical harm or hold them in involuntary servitude. For a third degree felony, you could face a prison term from one to five years. Under Chapter 2905.03, you could also be charged with the lesser crime of unlawful restraint, which is a misdemeanor of the third degree, if without privilege you commit a crime with sexual motivation by knowingly restraining the other person or restrain the person’s liberty. For a misdemeanor of the third degree conviction, you face not more than sixty days jail time.
A WEWS-TV weekend sport anchor, Terry Brooks, 32 of South Euclid, IL, was indicted on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 of nine counts including one count of kidnapping, four counts of rape, and four counts of attempted rape. Mr. Brooks is accused of allegedly raping a 21 year woman sometime between September 1, 2009 and September 14, 2009, after going to Jack’s Sports Bar in South Euclid. Prosecutors said the victim and the defendant knew each other. According to prosecutors in the case, Mr. Brooks took the woman to his residence and raped her and then dropped her back off at the Sports Bar to get her car. The crime was not reported until January 2010. The victim said that she knew Brooks for awhile, but did not consent to having sexual intercourse with him. The South Euclid initially opened an investigation. Brooks claims he is innocent of the charges. He is on a leave of absence from the news station until the investigation is over. Brooks’ arraignment is scheduled for August 18, 2010.
If you are arrested in Ohio and charged with kidnapping and/or rape, these are very serious crimes. It is recommended that you hire an Ohio criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to lesser charges such as abduction or unlawful restraint or get the charges dismissed by claiming that the victim consented to both leaving with the defendant and that the sex was consensual or get the charges dismissed based upon mistaken identity or insufficient evidence.
The crime of kidnapping in Massachusetts is a serious felony offense. Chapter 265, Section 26 of the Massachusetts Statutes provides that anyone who forcibly or secretly confines, kidnaps or imprisons another person against the person’s will within the Commonwealth or forcibly carries or sends such person outside of the Commonwealth with either the intent to secretly confine or imprison that person, faces imprisonment in the state prison of not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $1,000 and imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 2 years. If a firearm, gun or assault weapon is involved in the crime, the punishment is confinement in state prison for not less than 10 years or in a house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years. The firearm provision does not apply to a parent of a child under 18 who takes custody of the child.
If the kidnapping crime is committed in connection with the intent to extort money, the punishment is life in prison or any term of years in the state prison, unless a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon are used, then the punishment is life or for any term of years, but not less than 20 years in the state prison. When someone is armed with a dangerous weapon and inflicts serious bodily injury or sexually assaults the confined or kidnapped person, the punishment is imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 25 years. Bodily injury is defined under the statute as “permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ or substantial risk of death”.
When the kidnap or confinement offense involves a child under 16 who is taken against his or her will within the Commonwealth or forcibly carried or sent out the Commonwealth either with the intent to secretly confine or imprison the child, the crime is punishment by not more than 15 years in state prison. This provision does not apply to a parent who takes custody of a child under 16 years of age.
Two Worcester men were accused of stealing a 2002 Toyota Sienna on July 12, 2010 from a Gulf gas station 185 Madison St. with two sleeping children in the back seat while the driver was in the gas station. Police were called and within minutes found the van parked at the corner of Lafayette and Scott with the two children in the vehicle unharmed. Witnesses gave police a description of the two men. Jaime Collazo, 36, was then arrested shortly thereafter hiding on a third floor porch and charged with two counts of Massachusetts kidnapping and trespassing. The other defendant, Christopher Colecchi, 28, was also accused of stealing another car after the incident and was pursued by the police on the I-290 in a high speed chase and then by foot after he crashed the vehicle. Colecchi was charged with two counts of Massachusetts kidnapping, operating a vehicle as to endanger, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and possession of Class B substance. Colecchi’s defense attorney says his client told him that whoever took the first vehicle got out as soon as they discovered the children were in the vehicle. Jaime Collazo, 36 was also arrested hiding on a third floor porch and charged with two counts of kidnapping and trespassing. Collazo’s defense attorney said the suspects had no intention to kidnap anyone, and that the van was stopped when the suspects noticed the children inside.
If you have been arrested for a kidnapping or related offense in Massachusetts, you should hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney immediately to defend you. These are serious charges, and you could face long prison sentences and other penalties, including fines. The attorney may be able to argue that there was insufficient evidence in your kidnapping case, or the alleged crime against you was one of mistaken identity or a misunderstanding or the alleged victim that was taken voluntarily consented to go with you to get the case dismissed or reduced to lesser charges.
Two women and one man in Tracy, California face criminal charges for allegedly kidnapping and keeping a 17-year old young man chained within their home.
The young man, only identified as “Kyle,” had been in the custody of his aunt, Caren Ramirez, for over the past year. Ramirez—along with Michael Schumacher and Kelly Lau—are the three adults that face criminal charges in this case.
The three defendants face criminal charges including:
- False imprisonment
If convicted, each of these defendants faces over 15 years in jail.
History of Kyle’s Imprisonment
According to authorities, Kyle’s recent imprisonment was only the latest incident in a string of abusive situations Kyle has escaped. After taking him away from his abusive father a few years ago, Sacramento County Child Protective Services (SCCPS) had placed Kyle in a foster home, which he ran away from due to abuse.
Defendants Have History of Child Abuse
In an effort to keep him with family, SCCPS then placed Kyle with Ramirez. However, in 2007, Ramirez was arrested for child abuse after she was caught beating Kyle with:
- Kitchen utensils
In the incident report, authorities found serious bruises all over Kyle’s body. While Ramirez received probation for this abuse, she was eventually arrested when she failed to appear in court.
At this point, SCCPS placed Kyle with another family in the Sacramento area—from which he also ran away. Since this 2007 disappearance, no one—except Ramirez, Schumacher and Lau—knew where Kyle was.
The details of Kyle’s recent imprisonment have only come forth after Kyle jumped over an 8-foot fence to escape the Ramirez house. Earlier this week, Kyle—wearing only boxers and a 3-foot padlocked chain around his foot—ran into a nearby gym and begged employees to hide him from his captors.
Employees took him in, called authorities and fed Kyle while they awaited police. Despite being 17 years old, Kyle was so emaciated that he appeared to be about 5 years younger, according to the gym’s employees.
Local authorities are still investigating the details of Kyle’s past year at the Ramirez house. They haven’t specified the precise nature of his recent abuse.
A trial date has yet to be set for this case.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
Have you been charged with a crime? If so, contact us today to talk to an experienced professional who will provide you with the legal support you need to get your charges reduced, if not dropped altogether.
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