Friday, October 30, 2015

Brag Board: 10/30/15

I haven't updated this blog lately because I've been so busy negotiating great deals for my clients. Here are a couple recent success stories that I wanted to take a moment to brag about.

-People vs. A.T. (Riverside):  Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department served a search warrant at my client's house.  They found hundreds of marijuana plants growing in an elaborate hydroponic system.  My client also had several pounds of processed, dried marijuana, a few ounces of concentrated cannabis ("honey oil", "butane hash oil", or "BHO"), equipment used to manufacture the hash oil, cash, firearms and ammunition.  As a previously-convicted felon, my client was legally prohibited from possessing guns and ammo.

My client was charged with 5 felonies: cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale, manufacture of concentrated cannabis, possession of firearms by a felon, and possession of ammunition by a felon.  The maximum penalty was approximately a decade in prison.

We learned that the sheriffs had relied on a confidential informant to obtain their search warrant. We demanded to know the identity of the informant so that we could effectively challenge the legality of the warrant.  I wanted to know who this person was, what type of information he had provided to the police, how the police determined that the information was reliable, and what the police told a judge to get the warrant.

In order to preserve the confidentiality of their informant, the DA made my client an offer that was too good to refuse:  probation and a little house arrest.  As part of the negotiated deal, my client may use medical marijuana while on probation.

I call that a win.

-People v. M.F. (Fullerton):  The CHP and Anaheim PD found 15 pounds of marijuana in my client's apartment.  She was charged with possession for sale.  The maximum penalty was 3 years in prison.

In this case, police entered my client's apartment under a bogus pretext.  They claimed that they were investigating a suspected burglary and that they were checking on the "welfare" of the resident, because they had observed an unknown subject fleeing from her balcony.  Luckily, the cops were wearing body cameras and we could prove that their story was nonsense.

Again, the DA made my client an offer that was too good to refuse.  They reduced the charge to a misdemeanor and ordered 10 days of community service.  The minute my client completes her community service, probation will terminate.  Once that happens, she will immediately become eligible for an expungement.

10 days of community service and a couple weeks of probation for 15 pounds of marijuana?  We'll take it.

Both of these cases are good examples of why no self-respecting criminal defense attorney keeps track of his or her "win / loss" record.  If you ever hear a criminal lawyer brag about his "win / loss" record like a boxer, you should be very skeptical.  Maybe hire somebody else.

In many criminal cases, it's impossible to distinguish a true "win" from a true "loss".  When a client is facing a long prison sentence and the evidence clearly shows that he committed the crime(s), but he accepts a plea deal that seems disproportionately light, does that count as a "win"?  When the facts tend to show that my client belongs in prison, but I successfully negotiate a "slap-on-the-wrist", does that go down in the win column or the loss column?

I'm very proud of the work that I did on behalf of my clients in both of these cases, but both of the clients ultimately stood before a judge and pled "guilty".  I consider both of the above-described cases to be "wins", even though both clients were convicted.  And I still don't keep track of my overall "win / loss" record.

If you or a loved one is accused of a crime, call us for a free consultation.  (714) 505-2468.  Ask for John.  Thanks for reading.