What Is A Brady Violation?

A Brady violation is when the District Attorney does not disclose or, in worst cases, hides material exculpatory evidence in a criminal case.

To prove a Brady violation, the defense must show that the withheld evidence is material. Evidence is material if there is a reasonable probability its disclosure would have altered the trial result. The Court of Appeal in many cases concludes that the prosecution’s failure to provide the defense with information related to Officer misconduct is not material.

The court will go to great lengths to not condone the prosecution’s conduct in withholding the evidence and that The defendant was likely entitled to discovery of at least some of the evidence of misconduct when it can be established it is material in a criminal prosecution.

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When Does A Police Sting Operation Become Entrapment?

Entrapment is neither an immunity from arrest nor a bar to prosecution; instead it is a defense that may be asserted by a defendant at trial, and which he has the burden of proving to the jury by a preponderance of the evidence. People v. Sherow (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1296, 1307.

In California courts (the federal doctrine is different), a defendant can escape conviction for a crime he in fact committed by proving that he did so in response to law enforcement conduct that was so overbearing it was “likely to induce a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime.” People v. Barraza (1979) 23 Cal.3d 675, 690.

Defendant need not admit the crime to assert an entrapment defense, Id., at 692; and his criminal predisposition is irrelevant. Id., at 688-89. Entrapment must be raised at trial, not for the first time on appeal. People v. Pijal (1973) 33 Cal.App.3d 682, 692.
“The law does not recognize a defense of vicarious entrapment.” People v. Vo (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 689, 695 (Officer pressures agent-A to get B to commit a crime, but A uses no pressure against B: no entrapment). However, if the agent does use overbearing techniques to induce a third party to commit a crime, the defense of entrapment lies. People v. McIntyre (1979) 23 Cal.3d 742, 747-748 (Officer does not pressure agent-A, but A pressures B to commit the crime: B is entrapped). In California, “We reject the doctrine of sentencing entrapment.” People v. Smith (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1207, 1216 (OK for undercover agent to supply enough drugs to invoke enhancement).

The cases that have involved this issue observe that Overbearing conduct could include an appeal to sympathies or emotions, a guarantee that the act was not illegal or would go undetected, an offer of exorbitant gain, or other inducement that would make the crime unusually attractive to a normally law-abiding person. Barraza, at 690. Examples: repeatedly cajoling a reluctant, recovering addict to arrange a drug sale (Barraza); exploiting familial relationships during times of family problems to generate an intra-family drug transfer.

However, If officers merely arrange an opportunity for a crime to occur, or do no more than assure a suspect he is not being “set up,” there is no entrapment. Police may use undercover officers, stings, decoys and similar means of apprehending criminals who succumb to temptations a law-abiding person would resist. (Thanks LACBA)

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Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney Announces Deal With SpaceX Employees

For 21 years Torrance Criminal Lawyer has been representing people within the tech industry, this week it has been decided to begin an agreement to offer discount representation for employees of Hawthorne’s Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

The decision allows SpaceX employees and its contractors to take advantage of the Law Firms’s group legal plan discount for services such as DUI, public intoxication, driving on suspended license, among many others. Matthew is committed to offering top shelf criminal defense in order to avoid serious ramifications flowing from convictions in Court.  In goes without saying that any indiscretion that shows up on a background check can cause problems with employment and security clearances.

To learn more about this special discount program, contact the Torrance Criminal Attorney directly at 310-527-4100.

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What Is An Accomplice In A Criminal Case?

The criminal laws define certain words which often differ with a laymens definition. In California a accomplice is often charged with others in criminal prosecutions. As a Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney I have represented many people charged as an accomplice, here is what the law says:

An accomplice is defined as one who is liable to prosecution for the identical offense charged against the defendant. This definition includes all principals in a criminal act (i.e., “[a]ll persons concerned in the commission of a crime”, see for example Penal Code 31, but does not include accessories (i.e., “[e]very person who, after a felony has been committed, harbors, conceals or aids a principal in such felony”, see Penal Code 32. Whether a person is an accomplice is a question of fact for the jury unless there is no dispute as to either the facts or the inferences to be drawn therefrom.

The fact that “the witness was prosecuted for the same offense as defendant does not alone establish her to be an accomplice [as a matter of law].” Criminal liability as a principal attaches to those who aid in the commission of a crime only if they also share in the criminal intent ,  see also Pinell v. Superior Court (1965) 232 Cal. App.2d 284, 287) or, in the language of penal code section 31, abet the crime. Thus a person is an accomplice only if at the time she acted she had “guilty knowledge and intent with regard to the commission of the crime.” (People v. Duncan (1960) 53 Cal.2d 803, 816.)

For example, in (People v. Tewksbury (1976) 15 Cal.3d 953, 967, The defendant was not necessarily an accomplice merely because she was held to answer for the same crimes as defendants and then granted immunity. Nor did she necessarily become an accomplice if it be deemed that she aided in the commission of the crimes.

The importance of an accomplice is particularly at issue in cases where the accomplice testifies against others. In these cases, the law requires corroboration, such as other evidence that the testimony is reliable.

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Can A Torrance Criminal Defense Atttorney Help Seal A Case?

California law allows a defendants in a criminal case to expunge as record if they have successfully fulfilled their conditions of probation and stay out of trouble. Many people would like to go a step further and remove or seal the case thereby erasing any record. This is difficult to do.

There is a process to seal and destroy an arrest record if the person is found to be factually innocent by a Court of law. In order to accomplish this result the person cannot be found to have pleaded guilty or no contest and cannot have been convicted in court.

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A Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney Explains How To a Reduce A Felony Drug Possession To A Misdemeanor

Recently California changed its laws to allow for a prior felony drug possession to be reduced to a misdemeanor. Any criminal defense attorney can do it for you, but it can be done without a lawyer, here’s how to do it:

How to apply Prop 47 (PC 1170.18) If Convicted, serving a sentence:

Defendant submits a petition to Court for recall of sentence. Upon receipt, Court determines if defendant satisfies criteria (i.e. convicted of specified offense and has no disqualifying prior convictions).
 If criteria is satisfied, then offense is reduced, and defendant is released with credit for time served, but is subject to parole under PC 3000.08 for one year unless the Court, in its discretion, waives the parole period.
 Court may deny reduction if its finds defendant would pose an “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety”. In reviewing, Court must consider:
o Defendant’s criminal history, including types of crimes, injuries to victims, length of prior prison commitments and remoteness of crimes.
o Defendant’s disciplinary record (or lack of) while incarcerated.
o Any other evidence the Court deems relevant in deciding if a reduction would result in an
unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.
 “Unreasonable risk of danger to public safety” is defined as an unreasonable risk that defendant will commit a new “super” strike.

If you have been Convicted, sentenced and time already served:

Defendant files a petition for reduction. Unless requested by defendant, no hearing is necessary. Upon receipt of the petition and verification that defendant satisfies the criteria the Court shall grant the reduction.
For pending cases it is expected the Court or DA will be reducing those immediately. For cases in which Formal Probation was granted the statute does not specifically address how to handle, but it seems logical that the intent would be the same as those who’ve been convicted and have served time, perhaps with the remaining period of probation converted to Conditional/Informal Probation.

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Are You Eligible For a DNA Expungement?

California allows for the collection and retention of DNA samples for felonies and some misdemeanor crimes but in recent years some felony charges have been made misdemeanors and a person can request an expungement of their DNA records in some cases. For example, in Torrance a lawyer can seek to have a DNA sample removed from the California database by filing a petition.

Penal Code sections 296 and 296.1 authorize the collection of a DNA sample under a variety of circumstances, including when a person incurs a felony juvenile adjudication. However, these statutes do not authorize the collection of a DNA sample based solely on the commission of a misdemeanor. After reviewing the plain language of section 1170.18 and applying rules of statutory construction, the Court of Appeal has concluded that “the voters did not intend that a reclassified misdemeanor offense be deemed a felony for purposes of retention of DNA samples.” The fact that reclassification of a felony to a misdemeanor is not among the grounds listed in Penal Code section 299 for DNA expungement does not change this conclusion.
In some cases the superior court can be directed to reconsider a DNA expungement request by a criminal defendant.

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