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Wrongly Accused in Sex / Murder Case
Many innocent persons are wrongly charged victims as a result of police suspecting them of a crime based upon a wrong tip or bad evidence. Their lives are affected when their homes, businesses and personal property are searched, their names are put in the newspaper and their reputations are tarnished with being accused of a crime. Even after they are acquitted or charges are dropped, their lives can continue to be disrupted under the cloud of suspicion initially raised against them.
Matthew Hurayt Case
Take for instance the Matthew Hurayt Case. In 2006, Matthew Hurayt and his roommate John McDonough were arrested because a tipster told police that Hurayt had raped and killed De Jesus and buried her body under his new garage. Police searched Hurayt ’s house, dug up his yard and under his garage looking for De Jesus’ remains, which were not found. After spending a weekend in jail for suspicion of aggravated murder of De Jesus, who vanished mysteriously in 2004, Hurayt, a convicted sex offender, and his roommate were ordered released by a Judge on September 25, 2006, who rejected the assistant county prosecutor’s request to increase the bond on an unrelated assault case.
Hurayt subsequently filed a claim for compensation for $20,000 in damages to his property with the city’s Moral Claims Commission, but the claim was rejected. In 2006, he was convicted on an assault case and released in 2010. For the past three years, he has been harassed by people who broke his windows, set fire to his garage and harassed him with telephone calls thinking he was still connected to Gena De Jesus’ case.
Gena De Jesus along with victims Amanda Berry and Michele Knight were found alive on Monday May 6, 2013, after a 911 call led police to a house in Cleveland, Ohio where the three young women had been held in captivity for approximately 10 years. In a press conference, De Jesus’ mother called upon the community not to retaliate against the family of the three suspects arrested in the girls’ kidnapping case, referring to the Castro brothers.
Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Wrongfully Accused
If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, an Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges and clear your good name and reputation to get the charges acquitted or the case dismissed. Your Ohio criminal defense attorney can also determine if your records can be sealed and help you with the process so that your life is not further disrupted, making it more difficult to find a place to live or a job. In the circumstance above, Hurayt was convicted of another case and had to register as a sex offender regardless of the false accusations surrounding the De Jesus case. Our legal system has a basic footing in which “the law presumes that persons charged with a crime are innocent until they are proven by competent evidence to be guilty.” This quote is found in the comments on Supreme Court case Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).
California Hazing Codes
Participating in a hazing crime in California is considered a serious offense. You could be charged with a misdemeanor hazing offense or a felony hazing offense depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and whether someone died. If convicted, you could face jail time and/or fines and penalties. Under California Penal Code 245.6, a hazing crime must involve the following circumstances:
• Be part of an initiation or pre-initiation ceremony into a student organization or student body
• Involve serious bodily injury to a student at a school or college
• The hazing event does not include customary sanctioned athletic events or school events
This means that a hazing crime must occur in at school setting such as a high school of college sporting event or a sorority or fraternity pledging where upperclassmen or women are requiring freshmen to go through a series of tests. An example is the sports hazing death of Florida A & M drum major Robert Champion in 2011.
For criminal penalties to incur, serious bodily injury must include something like the following:
• Loss of consciousness
• A head injury such as a concussion
• A broken bone
• Loss or impairment of a body part
• A wound requiring extensive stitches
• Serious disfigurement
Even if someone is not seriously injured, if the hazing could cause a serious bodily injury to any student in school or college in the State of California, it is still considered a crime. However, a hazing incident which is considered humiliating or degrading would not be considered a crime under California Penal Code 245.6. Customary school athletic events or other events planned by the school administration are also not considered criminal hazing events.
When someone is seriously injured or dies as a result of a hazing event in California, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge anyone who participated in the hazing with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
If convicted of a misdemeanor hazing criminal in California, you could face a minimum fine of $100 to a maximum up to $5,000, and/or a one year jail sentence. If you are convicted of a felony hazing charge, you could face a minimum 16 months up to three years jail time. If you are a minor charged with a hazing offense, the case will be under the jurisdiction of the California Juvenile Court system instead of the California Criminal Court system.
A hazing victim or family of the victim may also file a civil lawsuit for damages against you or an organization that the victim was attempting to join if someone associated with the organization authorized the hazing incident. So you could face both a criminal and non-criminal civil proceeding.
Fighting Your Hazing Charges
If you are charged with a hazing offense in California regarding a high school or college hazing matter, a knowledgeable and experienced California criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges by arguing strong defenses to try and get the charges reduced to a lesser crime or get the case dismissed so that you don’t ruin your life and miss the opportunity to receive academic or athletic scholarships or other funding or jeopardize your changes of playing professional sports.
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.
Seriousness of College/High School Hazing Crimes
According to a survey conducted by Alfred University, approximately 80% of all college athletes have been hazed survey. Most hazing on high school, college and pro levels is not reported. However, since 1980, the media has brought to the public’s attention through police reports or the courts more hazing among athletes being abused. Several athletes have suffered serious injuries and death.
Northern Illinois University Fraternity Members Face hazing Charges After Student Dies
A more recent incident involving hazing occurred last year when members of a Northern Illinois University fraternity turned themselves in after the death of a freshman, David Bogenberger, 19. According to the coroner, Bogenberger was found dead on November 2, 2012, as a result of cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication and a blood –alcohol content five times that of the legal driving limit, after a night of drinking. The night before Bogenberger’s death, he had participated in a non-sanctioned event called “parents’ night,” which involved fraternity pledges moving from room to room, answering questions from other fraternity members and being provided with alcohol. A spokesperson for the University said the fraternity and 31 members have been accused of violating the school code of conduct and zero tolerance for hazing. The fraternity could be asked to forfeit its standing as a student organization and the students could face expulsion and other penalties.
Illinois Hazing Laws
Under Illinois law, hazing is illegal. According to Lt. Jason Leverton of the Dekalb, Illinois police department, 22 arrest warrants were issued for members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Five of the fraternity members were charged with felony hazing and 17 more face misdemeanor charges. The 17 students facing misdemeanor charges could spend up to one year in jail and receive $10,000 in fines if convicted. The other 5 members charged with felony hazing could spend from one to three years in jail and face $25,000 fines if convicted. There are 44 other states that have laws banning hazing. The hazing death of Florida A & M drum major Robert Champion in 2011 has also brought the seriousness of college and sports hazing to the forefront.
Participating in a hazing event can have serious consequences, especially if someone dies as a result of the hazing. Persons who have been charged with felony or misdemeanor hazing require the assistance of a good Illinois criminal defense attorney to help them fight the charges. While hazing is sometimes hard to prove and juries have a hard time understanding it, such charges should be taken seriously, as they can ruin a student athlete’s life jeopardizing scholarship and other funding and their chance to play college or professional sports.
Defendants in FAMU 2011 Hazing Death Case Now Facing Stricter Manslaughter Charges
Stiffer charges of manslaughter have now been filed by the new prosecutor against the 13 defendants accused of participating in the 2011 death of 26 year old Florida A & M University (“FAMU”) marching band member Robert Champion. According to authorities, Champion died of multiple blows from many individuals during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus parked in a hotel parking lot after an annual rivalry football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman in 2011. In addition, prosecutors have also charged two more individuals with manslaughter, who are awaiting arrests.
The manslaughter charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison in Florida. A status hearing on the case has been set for August 2013. It is not unusual for prosecutors to charge a defendant with a lesser charge while investigations are ongoing and later change the charge to a stricter one when more evidence has been found to justifying doing so.
Two other former band members were not among the 13 charged. Their cases were resolved last year. Both defendants pleaded no-contest to third degree felony hazing and have since been sentenced. One former FAMU band member received six months of community control, two years probation and 200 hours of community service. The other band member received four years of probation and 200 hours of community service. The FAMU has since taken measures to fight hazing and has suspended the band. The University is also looking for a new director of the band. Champion’s parents previously rejected an offer to settlement with the University for $300,000 in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Champions against the University.
Manslaughter differs from murder in that it is the result of killing someone without premeditation or malice as a result of an accidental death. In Florida, manslaughter is considered a second degree felony. A manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in state prison.
Florida Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know have been charged with a manslaughter offense in Florida, you should hire a Florida manslaughter criminal defense attorney immediately. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience diligently representing clients charged with manslaughter. Your Imhoff criminal defense attorney will review all the details of your case to make sure that the all the facts are uncovered so that we can build a strong defense on your behalf. Your Imhoff attorney will argue such defenses as excusable homicide (result of an accident or in the heat of passion), justifiable homicide or self-defense (resisting an attempt by someone to kill or harm you, defending yourself) or defense of others in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you alternative sentencing or get your charges dropped, depending on your specific case details.
Storage Wars Star Charged With Drug Charges
Forty year old Mark Balelo, A & E’s Storage Wars star, was found dead of an apparent suicide a few days after his arrest for a drug-related offense on Saturday February 11, 2013. Balelo was arrested at his place of business for possessing a controlled substance, and was due in court on February 19th. After his release from jail, and apparently feeling distraught, he called his fiancée and told her he was afraid of hurting himself. She met him at his office on Sunday evening February 12, 2013, and left after a few hours later because he seemed better. An employee found his body on Monday, February 13th. Balelo apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving his car running in the garage of his auction house located in Simi Valley. An autopsy has been scheduled.
Balelo became known as “Rico Suave” on the Storage Wars because he dressed in flashy attire at auctions he attended. He also made headlines in 2011 when he assisted Nicolas Cage with the retrieval of a rare 1938 comic book valued at $1 million regarding Superman’s debut that was stolen from Cage’s home.
Facing Drug Charges in Los Angeles
Drug crimes are one of the most prosecuted offenses in Los Angeles. Drug crimes are prosecuted on both the state and federal level. Los Angeles drug crimes may include possession, sale, distribution, trafficking or manufacturing. Controlled substances include a variety of illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (X), Methamphetamine or crystal meth as well as prescription drug painkillers including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Hydrocodone or ADD drugs including Aderall, Ritalin, Concerta.
Marijuana possession, distribution, cultivation and transportation that does not fall under the California medical marijuana laws is illegal. Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor or an infraction and more than an ounce is considered a felony under California Health and Safety Code Section 11357.
You could face a minimum 90 day to one year jail sentence for a misdemeanor drug crime and between three and five years or more prison time for a felony drug crime in Los Angeles. However, a majority of people arrested for simple misdemeanor drug offenses and some felony drug possession offenses may be eligible for alternative sentencing under California Prop 36 or drug diversion and may be able to avoid jail time or get their case dismissed.
Los Angeles Drug Attorney
If you or a loved one are facing drug charges in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, you should hire a good criminal defense drug attorney to help you fight the charges. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience defending hundreds of clients facing a variety of drug charges. We will thoroughly investigate all the evidence the prosecution has against you to make sure that your constitutional rights were not violated when the police searched you, your home, business or car resulting in the seizure of drugs and drug charges being filed against you. Your criminal defense drug attorney will vigorously defend you to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you alternative sentencing under Prop 36 or drug diversion or get your case dropped if available with your case details.
Law Firm Shooting in Arizona
According to Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson, a 70 year old suspected gunman named Arthur Douglas Harmon, killed Steve Singer, 48, chief executive officer at a call center and defendant in a lawsuit which Harmon filed over furniture that Harmon’s company, Reback Design, had refurbished, during a mediation session at a Phoenix office building on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Also shot was litigator Mark Hummels of the Law Firm Osborn Maledon and President of the Phoenix Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Singer’s attorney. Mr. Hummels is not expected to survive. Thompson said the two men were targeted by the shooter. A 32-year-old woman was also treated for a non-life threatening injury and two additional persons people were taken to the hospital and treated for “stress related symptoms.”
Harmon fled the scene in a rental car, while firing a weapon at a witness who pursued him. The witness was not injured. Harmon’s body was found by a landscaper on Thursday January 31, 2013, in the bushes of a Mesa shopping center. He appears to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A handgun was also found at the scene.
This shooting comes after heightened awareness and heated national debates over gun control as a result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting incident in December 2012, which resulted in the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is also currently conducting hearings in Washington on proposed gun control measures, including background checks.
Arizona Gun Violence Crimes
Statistics reflect that Arizona ranks high in gun deaths. This may be explained by the fact that Arizona is one of the leading states in the nation for gun ownership. If you commit a gun violence crime in Arizona resulting in the death or serious injury of someone, you could be charged with murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, aggravated assault or other offenses. Prosecutors prosecute such crimes to the fullest extent of the law. You could face long prison sentences, including life in prison without the possibility of parole or even the death penalty, fines and have to pay restitution to the victim’s family. A good criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges.
Hiring an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing gun violence charges in Arizona are considered quite serious. It is recommended you hire an experienced and knowledgeable Arizona criminal defense attorney to represent you. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience representing clients charged with murder, homicide, aggravated assault, robbery or related gun violence crimes. We work aggressively to achieve the best case results for our clients. Your Imhoff criminal defense attorney will investigate the evidence against you, interview witnesses and build a strong defense arguing a variety of defenses to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you alternative sentencing or raise reasonable doubt so you may be able to avoid a conviction or get your charges dropped.
Lisa Steed, a former Utah Highway Patrol Officer, who was named Utah Highway Patrol’s “Trooper of the Year” in 2007 for making more than 200 DUI arrests, was fired by the department in November for alleged misconduct charges related to her duties. Steed admitted in Court in May of 2012, that during administering a BAC test on Theron Alexander in March 2010, she removed her microphone to perform an unauthorized act.
A class-action lawsuit was filed against Steed and her superiors on December 14, 2012, in District Court in Salt Lake City. The amount of monetary damages is yet to be determined. The lawsuit alleges that Steed filed false DUI charges against numerous people who had passed sobriety tests during her career with the police force. According to Studebaker, more than 40 people have contacted him claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them for DUI or drug charges.
According to the lead attorney in the lawsuit, a dashcam video from 2011 shows Steed pulling over an unidentified woman, who has now joined the lawsuit, for a suspected DUI and arresting her after performing a series of sobriety tests. The attorney claims that even though the woman passed all the tests, she was still arrested for DUI. The charges against the woman were later dropped because her blood test revealed that that there was no alcohol in her system.
Another dashcam video in 2009 showed Steed stun-gunning a motorist, who was determined to be sober later. The state settled the case against Steed in November 2011 for $40,000, without admitting any wrongdoing by Steed or the department.
Steed is currently under investigation by the FBI.
Hiring a Utah DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for a DUI in Utah, you should hire a Utah DUI criminal defense attorney to help you fight your charges and conviction. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we successfully represent clients facing DUI charges in any of the following courts: Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logal, Brigham City, Provo, Orem, Sandy, Roy, Bountiful, Taylorsville, Bennion and all surrounding courts. We understand the seriousness of the charges and how a conviction can impact your life. Your Imhoff criminal defense DUI attorney will review your police report and field sobriety tests to make sure there were no errors or mistakes or your constitutional rights were not violated. We will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf.
Head of IMF Charges Dismissed
Charges filed against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May 2011 for allegedly sexually assaulting an immigrant hotel housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, in his New York Sofitel hotel room, were dismissed in August of 2011. Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal pleading not guilty to all charges. Lack of evidence and credibility issues regarding the accuser’s past ended up undermining the prosecution’s case. The dismissal order was issued by Justice Michael J. Obus of State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The victim’s lawyer claimed that Mr. Strauss-Kahn forced the victim to perform oral sex. The victim’s attorney’s motion asking that the District Attorney’s office be disqualified was denied and also struck down on appeal. The victim’s civil lawsuit suit against Mr. Strauss-Kahn was settled on December 10, 2012 for an unspecified amount of damages. Mr. Strauss-Kahn is expected to return to France after winding up his U.S. personal matters. Mr. Strauss-Kahn still is facing legal troubles in France where he was charged with a different sex crime in October 2011 in Lille.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a sexual assault charge, you could face a long prison sentence, fines, penalties and have to register as a sex offender. You should hire a criminal defense attorney immediately to represent you.
California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36 on the November 6th ballot, which revises the controversial California “Three Strikes” law, passed in 1994.
The new law allows persons convicted under the Three Strikes Law to petition the court for relief and significantly reduced sentences if their third strike conviction was based on a non-violent or non-serious minor felony, and providing the judge determines the person is no longer an unreasonable threat to public safety.
There are approximately 3,000 persons currently serving life sentences for non-violent or non-serious crimes that will now have the opportunity to apply for new reduced sentences. The new law will also prevent people who have committed petty offenses from having to serve harsh life in prison sentences for such minor crimes.
Prior to the passage of Proposition 36, anyone convicted of two serious or violent felonies was subject to being sentenced under the Three Strikes law to 25 years to life, even for a minor third crime. A person previously convicted under the Three Strikes Law for a serious or violent third felony or certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or for a crime involving firearm possession would not be eligible under the new law for a reduced sentence.
California Criminal Defense Attorney
If you currently serving a life sentence in a California prison because you were convicted under the California Three Strikes Law for a third non-violent or non-serious crime, you should contact a California criminal defense attorney to determine whether you are eligible to apply for a reduction to your sentence. The attorney will prepare and file the petition with the court and represent you at the hearing. It is also important that you hire a California criminal defense attorney to defend you if you are currently facing criminal charges in Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles or the surrounding areas to help you fight the charges and avoid a conviction.
The Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys represent clients in the Sacramento, San Diego Los Angeles and throughout the State of California facing both serious and non-serious felony and misdemeanor charges. We have a high success rate for winning cases at the trial level and upon appeal. At Imhoff, we will use all our resources to vigorously fight for you, raising strong defenses and negotiating with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you probation, community service or get the case closed.
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