In 2014, an Orange County man was killed after Tustin officers responded to reports of a domestic disturbance. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the man had a history of instability and was not taking medication for his depression or bipolar disorder. When officers arrived, they were told that the man was using meth, had taken a knife to the wall and broke the door. Officers told the DA that when they approached the man, he picked up a knife and ran toward them. They then opened fire and the man was killed. Read the rest »
A 24-year-old Anaheim man could face the death penalty after allegedly killing his wife and his 6-month-old son. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the Anaheim man appeared in court on June 25, 2015 but did not enter a plea. Officials believe he stabbed his wife and child to death with a kitchen knife during an argument on June 22, 2015. He faces two felony counts of murder with special circumstances and a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, the minimum sentence is life without parole. It is unclear if prosecutors will pursue the death penalty.
The differences between a murder case and a murder with special circumstances are significant. While a murder charge can result in life without parole, special circumstances allow the court to pursue the death penalty. Back in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was cruel and unusual punishment to randomly decide when a murder suspect will face murder charges. Now, prosecutors must prove that the murder involved special circumstances that merit the death penalty. Read the rest »
As the temperatures continue to climb throughout southern California, it’s likely that many people will simply turn up their AC and hope to get through another hot summer in peace. While hiding out under the air vents in your home is always an option (albeit an expensive one) there are plenty of ways to escape the sizzling triple digit temperatures. Here are some of the best ways to stay cool and comfortable during the hottest days of the year in Orange County. Read the rest »
Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being. Depending upon the circumstances of the death, homicide can result in murder or manslaughter charges. Murder cases must involve “malice aforethought.” This means that the defendant either had express or implied malice at the time of the incident. Therefore, in order to be convicted of murder, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant either deliberately intended to commit murder or acted without care for the person’s safety.
If the prosecution believes that there was malice aforethought, the defendant will likely face murder charges instead of charges for manslaughter. There are two categories of murder charges: first-degree and second-degree. First-degree murder charges typically involve premeditated planning and intent to kill. First-degree murder cases must also involve a special circumstance such as the use of a weapon, an explosive device, armor-piercing ammunition, a drive-by or poison. Read the rest »
There are many changes that take place when a teenager turns 18. Children often view turning 18 as an exciting time because they are now old enough to vote, get married and they can enjoy the many freedoms that come with being an adult. However, not all the changes that come with becoming an adult are positive. Teenagers who are 18 or 19 are considered adults under the law and are treated as such.
When a 17-year-old makes a poor choice and is caught, it is possible that the authorities will inform the parents of the transgressions without making an arrest. Once that child turns 18, however, it is much more likely that he or she will face criminal charges for activities that s/he could have gotten away with just a few months earlier, such as trespassing, vandalism and possession. Furthermore, a criminal conviction can have long-term consequences. Read the rest »
Under the U.S. Constitution, individuals have certain rights when charged with a crime. However, there are different Constitutional rights available for a defendant when he or she is a juvenile. While juveniles do not have all of the same rights as adults, they do have a number of protections that are provided through U.S. Supreme Court cases and state laws.
Here are a few examples of the constitutional due process rights that are afforded to juveniles:
- Probable cause: Officers must show probable when they search juveniles. Similar to adults, juveniles are protected from a search unless there is probable cause. However, when there is a quasi-parental relationship, such as between a teacher and student, the adult only needs reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing rather than probable cause. Read the rest »
A 56-year-old Newport Beach physician has been arrested and charged with tax evasion and embezzlement. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, he was charged with one felony count of embezzlement and eight felony counts of willful failure to file a tax. He also faces sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime and property loss. He is looking at 10 years in prison if convicted.
Officials say the man misappropriated $220,000 from a hospital charity account while working at Irvine Regional hospital before it closed in 2009. The staff voted to donate the charity funds to Hoag Hospital Foundation, but prosecutors say the Newport Beach man instead wrote checks from the account to himself and his own medical practice. He also has been charged with failing to file personal state income tax returns and business income tax returns for his practice. Read the rest »
A 44-year-old woman faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in a Santa Ana court to stealing over $500,000 from her Irvine employer. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, she pleaded guilty to one felony count of wire fraud. She was given a credit card for business purposes when she worked as an assistant to the president of Advanced Real Estate Services. She allegedly charged $196,781 on the card and cashed checks and conducted money transfers of $318,835 for personal purchases from 2008 to 2014. She is scheduled to be sentenced December 7, 2015.
Wire fraud is a federal offense that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Wire fraud occurs when someone devises a scheme to obtain “money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce.” This includes theft and fraud through use of any “writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds.” Read the rest »
In 1993, a 16-year-old boy became the first Orange County juvenile to receive a sentence of life in prison without parole for contributing to a fatal carjacking. In 2012, a state law was passed that allowed inmates serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles to be resentenced. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the now 39-year-old man was released the week of March 27, 2015 as a result of the new law.
There are a number of reasons why the Orange County man was able to take advantage of the new law. He was only 16 when he was sentenced to life without parole. During the carjacking that occurred in 1991, he was not the participant who killed the driver. One of his friends shot the victim. Under California law, all participants in a robbery are legally responsible for a death that results from the theft. It is unclear if the fact that he did not pull the trigger helped his case, but it could have. Furthermore, he took part in multiple work and education programs during his time in prison, which is a reflection of his maturity and growth. Read the rest »
A 35-year-old man was arrested on drug charges when police seized 16 pounds of marijuana from his vehicle. According to a Daily Pilot news report, the man was arrested by Costa Mesa police in the 3000 block of Capri Lane in Mesa Verde. Officials say the pulled the vehicle over, searched the car, and found the marijuana. The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to sell. The passenger was not arrested. It is unclear what led to the initial traffic stop or if the driver has a record of similar offenses.
Marijuana crimes have changed significantly over the past few years in California, but there are still harsh penalties for possessing and selling marijuana without a prescription or license. For example, possessing 28.5 grams or less of marijuana in Orange County for personal use is punishable by a fine of $100. Possessing over 28.5 grams can result in misdemeanor charges punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine. Read the rest »