Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Murder and the Death Penalty

Posted on: August 31, 2009 at 6:30 a.m.

Steven Anthony Jones was given the death penalty in a Los Angeles court on Friday after having been convicted of two horrific murders. Jones, who had been described in court as a killing machine had had a startlingly violent criminal record. Jones was convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of a man during a robbery of a car wash and bludgeoning a woman to death with a pick hammer while on an especially violent crime spree beginning in 2004 that stretched all the way to Arizona and included torture and rape in addition to murder. His crime spree continued well after his arrest in 2005 when Jones was also convicted of raping a prison inmate as well as torturing and attempting two Los Angeles murder others.

The death penalty is still a very real possibility for those convicted of especially violent crimes in Los Angeles. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys regularly work hard to defend against the death penalty, but the state and prosecutors can be as aggressive on the other side. While most people convicted of murder or related offenses are given 25 years to life in prison, or life in prison without parole, the death penalty is an option for the most violent criminal offenses, including the murder of a police officer or child, or murder for pay. Defendants previously convicted of murder are also much more likely to be given the death penalty in the event that they commit another murder. Under California Penal Code, section 190.2, a premeditated murder based on the victims race, color, nationality or country of origin is also punishable by death, making certain forms of hate crimes eligible for the death penalty as well.

While the death penalty is still very much in use in Los Angeles, if you have been charged with a serious crime such as murder, you do have options. Self defense, mental capacity and false confession are all common and effective defenses against homicide charges. With your very life on the line, you need an experienced, dedicated criminal defense attorney at your side. If you or someone you know have been charged with murder, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: jury trial defense




Los Angeles Bail and the Criminal Defense System

Posted on: August 20, 2009 at 5:29 a.m.

When a Los Angeleles criminal defense attorney sitsdown with someone for their first meeting, very often that person is behind bars or about to be booked. One question, or set of questions, that arises time after time has to do with Los Angeles bail. People might understand, from television, that if you are arrested, there is a way to get out of jail. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys often have to educate their clients on such things as bail and how it works, because the average person gets their legal education from "Law & Order" which usually does not tell the whole story.

A huge advantage to getting out of jail is the ability to more effectively assist your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, ensuring a more effective criminal defense. Also, if you are a non-citizen, being in jail could jeopardize your immigration status, so getting out of jail ASAP is a priority.

There are two ways to be released from jail: the bail option and something called "own recognizance." Bail works just like an insurance policy, to pay the amount set in bail means that the defendant guarantees that he or she will appear in court on the specified date after being released. The bail can either be paid "out of pocket" or through a bail bond. After successfully appearing at the court, the bail is returned to you by check, which often can take between eight and ten weeks to arrive. However, if you do not have the full amount of the bail, you can seek out a bail bond. Companies that issue such bail bonds usually charge about ten percent of the posted bail. So, if your bail is set at $50,000, then the company will charge you $5,000 to issue the bond.

Determining Bail

There are four major factors used in determining what amount bail is set at:

  1. The seriousness of the alleged crime. A more serious offense will call for higher bail amounts. Violent crimes, gang activity, grand larceny and other major felonies will have a higher bail amount that a misdemeanor.

  2. The suspect's criminal record is reviewed. If a suspect has a minor criminal record, or no criminal record whatsoever, then the bail amount will probably be lower.

  3. Will the suspect pose a risk to the community if released. Bail will be set very high, or the defendant could be denied bail in Los Angeles, if he or she is thought to pose a risk to others. Violent crime, domestic abuse, sex crimes and related criminal offenses in Los Angeles could cause bail to be set at a rate that the defendant cannot likely afford.

  4. Suspect's ties to family, community and employment are assessed. If the suspect is the main bread winner in his or her family, if they have strong community ties or other such factors, then bail will likely be lowered.


A Los Angeles judge will analyze all of these factors to determine at what amount to set the bail. This is also an early stage of negotiation and argument for the prosecution and defense. Having a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney arguing on your behalf will help you get a more favorable bail amount. A skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will present key facts, evidence and relationships to the judge. Also, many criminal defense attorneys have relationships with bail bondsmen and bail bond companies, and could assist you in getting your bail bond fee lowered from 10% to potentially 8%. This may not seem like much, but if you have committed a major felony and bail is set at $100,000, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney could save you $2,000 on your bail bond.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Los Angeles, contact the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner& Gorin today at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: bail and release




Los Angeles Warrants and the Law

Posted on: August 19, 2009 at 7:37 a.m.

In Los Angeles, a warrant usually refers to a specific type of authorization issued by a judge or magistrate which gives law enforcement the ability to perform an otherwise illegal act, such as coming into a home without authorization. On television shows and movies, warrants are always a key item used to demonstrate how complex the criminal justice system can be, with lawyers, police and judges wrestling with legal issues.

The United States was founded on principles of individual liberty, and limiting the power of the federal, state and local governments from harassing citizens. Illegal search and seizure is a legitimate violation, something the courts and the citizenry should take very seriously. In Los Angeles, the legal system is structured to have checks and balances so that government power does not overstep its limits and violate both the state and federal Constitutions. When the police go to a judge to obtain a warrant, which is a clear symbol of the system of checks and balances designed to protect average citizens.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys work hard for clients to make sure that police, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials obey every limit placed upon them by the warrants they've obtained.

There are three types of warrants: search warrants; arrest warrants; and bench warrants. Qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will have experience with each of these types of warrants. In fact, at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, our criminal defense firm has "insider" experience with these warrants. Our team spent years in various Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, so our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys understand how warrants are issued and what their limits are.

  • Search warrants - Search warrant limits are set by the United States Constitution. Law enforcement must follow certain requirements before obtaining a search warrant, which include having probably cause which they must clearly demonstrate to the judge in question.

  • Arrest warrant - An arrest warrant is very similar to a search warrant. In Los Angeles, an arrest warrant must be obtained from a judge and gives police the authorization to arrest a specific person. Once the individual is in jail, he or she must be taken to court and appear in front of the judge.

  • Bench warrant - A bench warrant gives permission to arrest someone if they have failed to appear in court due to a pending criminal action. The goal of any bench warrant is to bring someone into court for their appearance. The show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" often deals with people who have failed court appearances and so have bench warrants issued.


Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, such as those at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin are skilled in dealing with all types of warrants, and can provide experienced advice, counsel and knowledge regarding them. If you, or someone you love, has a warrant out for their arrest, our criminal defense firm can help protect you, protect your rights and make sure that any law enforcement actions obey Los Angeles law and the Constitution. Contact us today at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: bench warrants, california criminal laws




Los Angeles Rape Defense

Posted on: August 14, 2009 at 7:38 p.m.

Any Los Angeles rape is obviously a serious issue, but for the victim and the alleged perpetrator. Sex crimes can lead to serious prison time, long periods of probation, fines and even being placed on the California Sex Offense Registry.

A recent sex crime case involved a government official and a great deal of intrigue. The general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has been placed on administrative leave by the mayor. This happened because the general manager is under a Los Angeles police investigation into a rape allegation made against him. In this sex crime, a woman alleged that the man sexually assaulted her at his downtown condo.

Los Angeles police are current investigating these allegations, however the man's Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is stressing that the accusations have not been proven. Allegedly, the woman went with friends on a "bar hopping" trip and after several drinks she blacked out. When she woke up the next morning, she says she was being raped by a man she later identified as the general manager.

In a sex crime trial, dealing with the jury could be difficult, and a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney must navigate the courtroom without offending the jury. If he portrays the victim as a tramp, the jury could turn on his client. If the attorney is too kind, the jury could wonder if he knows his client is guilty.

If you or someone you love is accused of a sex crime, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: sex crime accusations




California Child Pornography Charges

Posted on: August 14, 2009 at 7:55 a.m.

When a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney represents someone charged with child pornography crimes, he must devise a unique, sophisticated defense. Any child pornography charge in Los Angeles, or any other part of California, carries serious penalties and requires the skill of a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with a unique background, successful track record and unmatched knowledge of the law.

One individual who could have used a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is Keith Griffin of Marin County. he claimed that the child pornography police found on his computer was indeed downloaded...by his cat. He claims that he would step away from his computer for long periods of time and return to find his cat had downloaded the child pornography without his being present. Unfortunately, the man had over 1,000 images of child pornography on his computer and is being charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography He is also being held on $250,000 bail.

If you are charged with such a sexual offense, you need could be facing some of the stiffest penalties California has to offer. For example, possessing, distributing or manufacturing child pornography is punishable by serious jail time, long periods of probation, community service, limited access to public parks and even inclusion on the California Sex Offender Registry. Any of these penalties could cause permanent damage to your future, your relationships, your current employment and more. Los Angeles child pornography laws offer severe penalties, and both juries and judges can be prejudiced against anyone charged with such a crime.

The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin have years of experience with child pornography laws, including Section 311.11 of the penal code. Our criminal defense team has years of experience with Los Angeles courts, Los Angeles laws, sex offenses and more. In fact, our attorneys have over fifty years of experience, and many of those years were spent working in Los Angeles District Attorneys' Offices.

If you are facing child pornography charges, contact our law offices today at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: child pornography pc 311_11




Sex Crimes and Los Angeles

Posted on: July 31, 2009 at 6:56 a.m.

Los Angeles sex crime defense attorneys work hard to represent those charged. Sex crimes are difficult to battle against, in part because of the social stigma associated with the crime. The general public will often find anyone accused of a sex crime guilty, even before they are prosecuted.
In a recent case, NFL star Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been accused of raping a Nevada woman. The woman, a Harrahs Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino VIP Services Manager, has filed a civil suit against the quarterback claiming he asked her to come to his hotel room to fix a broken television set. After determining that there was nothing wrong with the television, the woman, whose identity has been withheld, claims Roethlisberger blocked the doorway, pushed her onto the bed and raped her. The lawsuit filed by the woman states that she had met Roethlisberger several times in the past when he had participated in an annual celebrity golf event hosted by the resort. The woman claims she reported the incident to the hotels chief of security, Guy Hyder. The lawsuit accuses Hyder and several other Harrahs employees of covering up the incident and making derogatory remarks about her character. No Nevada law enforcement agencies were contacted by the woman and there were no criminal charges filed or investigations into the allegations taking place. Since Roethlisberger is not being accused of a criminal offense, he will not serve jail time if he is found guilty in the civil suit. The woman accusing him of rape is suing Roethlisberger for $380,000 in medical expenses for the treatment of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, $30,000 in lost wages and an unspecified amount of damages. Since this is a civil case and not criminal, neither the Steelers nor the NFL have released any statements as to what kind of punishment, if any, Roethlisberger will be given.

The sex crimes of rape and sexual assault charges are nothing to take lightly. Even if this case does not appear on Roethlisbergers criminal record, it could permanently damage his good reputation. Had this woman filed criminal charges against Roethlisberger, he could have been facing as much as eight years in a state prison, in addition to probation or parole.

Just because someone makes an allegation against you does not mean that there is no way to defend yourself against it. Insufficient evidence, lack of witnesses and the absence of DNA evidence are some of the strongest defenses against sex offense charges. If you have been accused of a sex crime such as rape or sexual assault, call the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin.

Tagged as: sex crime accusations




Los Angeles Police Brutality

Posted on: July 30, 2009 at 7:03 p.m.

As citizens, we all would like to believe that the Los Angeles police force fights for the safety and orderliness of our community. Nobody ever wants to believe that our local law enforcement officers would abuse their power, but the unfortunate reality is that sometimes they do. The excessive use of force by the Los Angeles police is, in particular, a sticky point between Los Angeles police officers who say they are merely trying to do their jobs and community members that would accuse the Los Angeles police of overreacting.

Take, for instance, the case of a Texas man who was recently tasered by police in the parking lot of a church in Webster, TX. Jose Moran, a pastor of the Iglesias Profetica Peniel Church, was tasered after interfering with a routine traffic stop that local law enforcement officers were conducting. Police at the scene maintain that Moran was belligerent, shouting at them and actually shoving one officer before running into the church.

Police accounts state that Moran was asked to leave several times before an officer attempted to arrest him. An officer used his taser gun to subdue Moran and pepper spray to disperse the crowd that had surrounded him. According to Moran's son, Omar, Jose Moran came outside to the parking lot to offer assistance ot the officer making the traffic stop, then went back inside.

Omar Moran maintains that police followed his father into the church, kicking in a door and using the taser gun on his father twice before using the pepper spray on the crowd. Omar Moran also noted that his father has heart problems and remains hospitalized since the incident. Webster police noted that while their officer had only used the taser gun on Moran once, the gun usually leaves two marks on the victim. Only the people at the scene can say for certain who was at fault for the outburst.

If you are involved in a crime, or a police investigation, that involves Los Angeles police brutality, you should contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney right away. A criminal defense attorney could help you get the best results possible for your case if it involves police brutality.

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense and feel that the police involved in the incident handled you with excessive force, call the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin to fight for you.

Tagged as: california criminal laws




NASCAR and Meth Charges

Posted on: July 16, 2009 at 10:48 a.m.

Any Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will tell you that drug crimes are a serious offense and can be heavily prosecuted by Los Angeles police. Drug crimes include drug possession, drug sales, drug trafficking and drug manufacturing, all of which can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. You may not always be able to predict just who will be an addict or a drug crime offender, and in fact many celebrities use drugs that are a big surprising.

When you think about celebrity drug use, you may be thinking in regards to cocaine or some "fancy" drug. However, as recent events have shown, many celebrity drug crimes involve drugs you may think are "lower class" drugs.

NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for Meth recently, highlighting a long history of alleged drug use. When people think of Meth, they don't think about professional athletes with millions of dollars; they usually think of a trailer in the High desert. However, this drug crime and others are perpetrated by people of all walks of life.

A quality Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who defends drug crimes will counsel you through any investigations, interrogation and so forth. Los Angeles drug crimes defense involves sophisticated legal technique, and a top-notch understanding of Los Angeles Drug crime law.

The state of California has zero tolerance when it comes to drug related offenses. All drug crimes are taken seriously by law enforcement and prosecuted to the fullest extent. Commonly committed drug crimes include: drug possession, drug possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, drug distribution, drug cultivation, and money laundering.

If you have been charged with a serious criminal offense, do not hesitate to call Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP at (877) 781-1570. Our knowledgeable legal team can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.

Tagged as: drug crimes defense




Los Angeles Crime

Posted on: July 15, 2009 at 9 a.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys hear stats all the time that are manipulated to call for the hiring of more police officers, more severe punishments and so forth. One of the major challenges for any defense attorney is defending their client against not only criminal charges, but public opinion as well. A skilled, qualified attorney will know how to navigate the courts, the judicial system and the laws in Los Angeles, all of which are unfortunately influenced by crime statistics.


When it comes to tracking Los Angeles crime statistics, the citys media outlets are doing a far better job than the Los Angeles Police Department. Recent reports have claimed the LAPDs online crime tracking database has omitted as much as 40% of the actual crimes committed in various parts of the city for the last six months or so. The crime mapping program is available online and was launched in 2006 as the publicly accessible version of Chief William Brattons highly-touted CompStat system, which is used internally by the Los Angeles Police Department to track crime statistics and guide deployment. Administrators for the public crime mapping website have so far chalked the statistical omissions up to programming errors and say they are looking into the problem. As one example, the public website in April mistakenly attributed thousands of crimes to the Los Angeles Civic Center area, making it appear to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. The websites administrator has since dropped the crimes that were incorrectly attributed to that neighborhood from their numbers, but has yet to report them on the site in the correct locations.


Whether or not the Los Angeles Police Department is reporting their statistics correctly, criminal offenses are still obviously being committed in the city every day.


If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Los Angeles, call the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Our combined 50 years of courtroom experience in defending against criminal charges will fight for you. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that each case is different from the next, and that seemingly insignificant details can make a big difference in the outcome of each one. Our attorneys will carefully comb through your case to search for the best possible outcome for you. In many instances, we may even be able to have your charges dismissed altogether. When you are facing potential jail time and a criminal record, let us protect you.



Tagged as: california criminal laws




Murder and Los Angeles

Posted on: July 13, 2009 at 2:14 p.m.

Rory Holland, a former Biddeford, Maine mayoral candidate, has been charged with two counts of murder after a tense six-hour standoff with police that left two young men dead. Details remain unclear, but local police were summoned to Hollands home around 1:30 in the morning last Tuesday. Holland reportedly barricaded himself inside his home while Gage Greene, 19, and his brother Derek Greene, 21, lay dying in the street of gunshot wounds. Holland surrendered to SWAT members shortly after 6:15 that morning. Police accounts allege Holland shot Gage once before he shot Derek three times in the chest and torso.

Reasons for why the incident started vary, with some sources saying tensions between Holland and both Greene brothers had been simmering after an assault incident last month. Other sources believe last weeks events may have been a drug deal gone awry. Rory Holland has a history of violent criminal offenses: in his home state of Kansas, Holland was convicted of both attempted murder and assault before moving to Portland, Oregon where he was eventually convicted of assault. He ran for mayor of Biddeford last year and lost, collecting just 300 votes. Residents of Hollands South Street neighborhood say he has been terrorizing the neighborhood for years. Maine does not support the death penalty in murder cases, however, life in prison is a possibility for Holland.


In Los Angeles, murder (often referred to as homicide by Los Angeles law enforcement) is divided into several categories, each with its own penalty. First-degree murder in Los Angeles is killing that is willful, deliberate and premeditated, generally garnering a sentence of either death, or 25 years to life in a state prison. Second degree murder is also the willful intent to kill or seriously injure someone, but not in a premeditated manner with a typical sentence of 15 years to life in prison for a conviction.


Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are necessary when facing murder charges. A public defender will treat you as one of a hundred people they have to defend, but a private Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will give you the attention you need and deserve.


If you have been charged with murder in Los Angeles, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. With so much on the line, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Our combined 50 years of courtroom experience in criminal defense will ensure the best possible outcome for you.



Tagged as: jury trial defense




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