Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Los Angeles Violent Crime and Self Defense

Posted on: January 19, 2010 at 12:08 a.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys representing people charged with violent crimes often explore the possibility of using "self defense" as a way to defend their client. A defense requires an intimate knowledge of the law as well as a keen ability to craft a unique criminal defense.

One such individual who needs a lawyer is Swedish rapper David Jassy. He is accused of killing a pedestrian who slapped his SUV while the pedestrian was in the crosswalk. David Jassy, a 35-year-old songwriter and producer from Stockholm, got out of his rented vehicle and assaulted pedestrian John Osnes, a 55-year-old jazz pianist, because he feared for the safety of himself, his girlfriend and the SUV.

Jassy allegedly punched the man until he fell and hit his head on the ground. Jassy is alleged to have then driven his SUV over Osnes, thus fleeing the scene of the crime (which is also illegal). Building a defense in such a case can be difficult because while witnesses to admit that Osnes hit Jassy's SUV, they claim he retreated to the sidewalk when Jassy got out of the car.

Before creating a unique legal defense, a Los Angeles criminal lawyer must first sit down with his client, review the police file, interview witnesses, review the crime scene, analyze the facts and possibly even hire private investigators. Creating an effective criminal defense means that the attorney must know the law, the courts, the prosecutors, etc. In this instance, the case happened in Hollywood and involved a celebrity, meaning that getting a fair jury trial could be quite difficult. If people are familiar with Jassy's music, they could be biased for or against him, which can complicate any criminal trial. In addition, since Jassy is from another country, this could also be used against him.

A violent crime is any criminal act that involves the use or threat of violence. In most cases, violence is used as a means to an end, especially during crimes such as rape and robbery. During the commission of a violent crime, the offender may or may not use a weapon. If the offender uses a weapon while committing a violent crime, the offense will usually be classified as felony.

If you have been accused of a violent crime, contact the criminal defense firm of Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin today by calling 877-781-1570.

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Los Angeles White Collar Crime Defense

Posted on: January 16, 2010 at 12:14 a.m.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Monday that it has charged Beverly Hills, California-based NewPoint Financial Services, Inc. and its co-owners and controller for conducting an unregistered offering fraud aimed at Iranian-Americans in the Los Angeles area. The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze their assets and preserve remaining funds that were collected from investors. The SEC also seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions and civil penalties against the defendants.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that NewPoint, co-owners John Farahi and Gissou Rastegar Farahi, and its controller Elaheh Amouei targeted investors in the Iranian-American community by touting New Point on a daily finance radio program that John Farahi hosts on a Farsi language radio station in the Los Angeles area. The SEC alleges that the Farahis or Amouei misled more than 100 investors into purchasing more than $20 million worth of debentures that they falsely told them were low-risk. Many investors also were falsely told that they were investing in FDIC-insured certificates of deposit, government bonds, or corporate bonds issued by companies. The SEC alleges that most of the money raised was instead transferred to accounts controlled by the Farahis to, among other things, fund construction of their multi-million dollar personal residence in Beverly Hills.

According to the SEC allegations, Farahi and Amouei also made further misrepresentations to investors in an effort to lull them into keeping their money with NewPoint, saying that their money is safe and that they are guaranteed to get the entirety of their investment back.

A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the defendants and whether a permanent receiver should be appointed is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.

A white collar crime is defined as an illegal act(s) using deceit and concealment to obtain money, property, or services, or to secure a business or professional advantage. This can differ from violent crimes because they usually don’t involve physical violence and tend to relate to financial matters instead. A conviction can carry heavy consequences depending on the severity of the crime.

In the case of the NewPoint co-owners and controller, there may be penalties as well as civil consequences that the defendants might face if convicted. An experienced team of Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorneys can guide you through the process of white collar trials and devise a strategy that can prove your innocence or reduce consequences. Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP can offer you advice and legal counsel if you have been accused or charged with a white collar crime.

Tagged as: los angeles embezzlement, los angeles white collar defense attorney

Van Nuys Violent Crime Defense

Posted on: January 16, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

Violent crime defense requires a skilled attorney who understands the law, understands the courts and knows how to craft a great defense. A recent Van Nuys Carjacking will present some attorney with the opportunity to craft just such a defense. A Los Angeles man suspected of stealing two vehicles and trying to carjack two others in the San Fernando Valley was arrested today in Van Nuys after a resident identified him from security video shown on TV.

Tyreese Basey, 31, was arrested around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at a Van Nuys laundromat, said Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police believe a black Ford Explorer found in the laundry's parking lot had been carjacked Saturday, Eisenman said.

The alleged carjacking spree began around 5:15 a.m. Saturday when Basey unsuccessfully tried to steal a parked car in Van Nuys. Around 30 minutes later, Basey allegedly carjacked a vehicle that he later crashed. After crashing that vehicle, Basey allegedly got into an Encino home and demanded car keys from a couple in their 90s, who managed to push the suspect away and lock their door. Basey was also seen around 6:45 a.m. in the backyard of a nearby house, but that homeowner chased him away, Eisenman said.

Around 8:15 a.m., Basey allegedly stole the black, Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer.

"He was not just a criminal, but a desperate and reckless criminal,'' Capt. John Egan of the LAPD's West Valley Division said in a statement.

Basey was booked on suspicion of robbery and carjacking, among other charges. He was being held at Van Nuys jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

This violent crime also involved theft crimes, which are common and can carry heavy sentences depending on the nature of the theft crime. Theft crimes can include robbery, burglary, carjacking, shoplifting, armed robbery, credit card fraud, identity theft, vehicular theft, larceny, money laundering, and embezzlement. In the case of Basey, he faces a host of charges that include robbery, carjacking and possibly grand theft and vehicular theft. If convicted, Basey faces serious consequences that can adversely affect his life which can include community service, jail time, probation and more.

Theft crimes can range from petty theft to grand theft and research has shown that theft crimes are often signs of a deeper problem that can be psychological, emotional or the result of a drug addiction. In Basey’s case, police believe that his actions were so unusual that a personal crisis might have been what triggered the incident.

If you need qualified Los Angeles violent crime lawyer to keep charges off of your record, to keep it from affecting areas including employment, immigration status, and obtaining a professional license. The dedicated team at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP can help you if you have been accused of a theft crime.

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White Collar Crime and Los Angeles

Posted on: December 31, 2009 at 6:11 a.m.

Los Angeles white collar defense is incredibly complicated for many reasons: juries like to convict "crooked" executives; the evidence can be difficult to follow; prosecutors can make a name for themselves convicting a high profile individuals; etc. This is why defense attorneys must be knowledge regarding the law and equipped to go "toe to toe" with the city, state or federal government's best lawyers.

High profile defense attorney must be able to speak with the press without getting flustered or giving too much information away.

In a recent white collar case, a New York man was formally charged last week in scam at New York University. John Runowicz, who worked as an administrator for NYU’s Chemistry Department, has been accused of falsely submitting receipts by attaching them to University reimbursement request forms. Investigators in the case believe Runowicz scavenged discarded receipts at a local liquor store and claimed that they were departmental expenses to be paid for by the department’s petty cash reserves. Investigators estimate that Runowicz submitted roughly 13,000 false receipts between 2003 and January of 2009, conning the University out of more than $409,000 in petty cash expenses. Runowicz, who was fired from the University this past summer after an internal audit revealed his activities, has been charged with falsifying business documents in both the first and second degrees, and grand larceny. If convicted, he could be facing up to 15 years in prison.

When most people think of criminal activities, they tend to think of violent crimes such as robbery or assault. However, many crimes are committed everyday in Los Angeles that, like Runowicz’s alleged criminal activity at New York University, is entirely without violence. Crimes such as embezzlement, fraud or identity theft are typically committed with no threat of violence whatsoever. These crimes are commonly called “white collar" crimes, and while they may not appear as dangerous as violent crimes, they are also taken very seriously in Los Angeles.

Most white collar crimes also involve lengthy jail sentences, large fines and either probation or parole in the case of a conviction. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime such as embezzlement or fraud, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Let us fight for you, call us at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: los angeles embezzlement, los angeles white collar defense attorney

Los Angeles Violent Crime - Murder

Posted on: December 31, 2009 at 5:05 a.m.

When a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney represents someone accused of a violent crime, they must invest a great deal of time into researching all of the circumstances.

For example, an East Los Angeles man has been charged with murder of a 24 year-old woman. Doris Salguero, 24, was found dead in the backseat of her car and investigators in the case believe Fredy Hernandez, 30, stabbed her to death with an ice pick after seeing her at a holiday party more than a week ago. Police believe Hernandez wanted to rekindle his relationship with Salguero and when she refused, he attacked her. Hernandez is facing 26 years to life in prison if convicted of this crime.

Murder is possibly the most serious crime anyone can be accused of. The taking of another person’s life, whether intentionally or by accident, is prosecuted and punished vigorously with literally your own life on the line since a conviction for certain types of murder can send you to a California state prison for life. Do not forget that California is also one of 35 states that still, on occasion, hands down the death penalty in murder cases.

In regard to violent crime, there are five different types of murder (also called homicide): first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and lawful killing. Lawful killing occurs in very limited instances and is typically not punished by jail or prison time as most other forms of homicide are. One example of lawful killing is when a Los Angeles police officer shoots and kills a suspect under certain conditions while on duty. Both first- and second-degree murder involve the willful and deliberate taking of another person’s life. The difference between them is that first-degree murder is generally thought to involve premeditation while second-degree does not. First-degree murder also involves the much more severe punishment of either 25 years to life in prison or the death penalty while second-degree murder generally is punishable by 15 years to life in prison. Voluntary manslaughter is similar to second-degree murder in that it does not involve premeditation. Volunatary manslaughter, however, is the killing of another person “in the heat of passion" in response to legally acceptable provocation such as the defense of yourself or a child, for example.

Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by anywhere from three to 11 years in a California state prison. Involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles is defined as the loss of life through recklessness or extreme negligence, such as a death resulting from street racing. Involuntary manslaughter is typically assessed between two and four years of prison time in the case of a conviction.

Murder charges of any type are not to be taken lightly. If you have been charged with a violent crime, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Our attorneys have a combined 50 years of courtroom experience, and when your whole future is on the line, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side.

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Medical Marijuana: State vs. Federal

Posted on: December 8, 2009 at 2:29 a.m.

A new federal policy under the Obama administration has raised a lot of questions and concern among marijuana users throughout the country, particularly in California. The new policy states that the federal government will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, a departure from tough federal marijuana laws under the Bush administration. The irony of this new policy lies in one of California’s largest cities; Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries were once plentiful and the city, along with the state of California, was an advocate for legalized marijuana use. Around the time that the federal policy was announce, however, Los Angeles began to tighten its grip on medical marijuana dispensaries, in a puzzling display of role reversal. This polarization of opinion on behalf of Los Angeles has left many users in limbo when it comes to the legality of marijuana. The recent crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries seem to back track the cities stand on the issue before the federal policy was put into place, leaving users even more confused than before.

Unfortunately, there is still ambiguity within Los Angeles county laws on marijuana use and that has people scratching their heads on the legality of their activities. In Los Angeles, you are technically allowed to have small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but that all depends on which enforcement agency finds them on you. Medical marijuana use is legal in California, so state and city law enforcement agents might not arrest you for possession in your own home. If, however, you are found to have marijuana outside of your home, you might be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor drug possession offense. The sentencing aspect of a marijuana arrest provides even more leeway and confusion to offenders, if you are a first time offender you can forego tougher sentences by enrolling in a drug treatment program and by completing the program and avoiding being arrested or convicted your record is wiped clean.

This ambiguity in laws and sentencing techniques can leave anyone baffled, but an experienced Los Angeles drug defense attorney can help you navigate through all of the confusion of medical marijuana laws. The experienced defense lawyers at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP can help you sort through the drug laws in Los Angeles and will work on your behalf to minimize your sentence or have your case dismissed.

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Los Angeles Warrants

Posted on: November 25, 2009 at 11:30 p.m.

Nikola Dragovic, UCLA’s Serbian star forward, was arrested last Friday in connection with an incident that took place after a concert in Hollywood last month. Dragovic and a friend have been accused of pushing a man into a glass display case following an argument. Initially, Dragovic filed a report of the incident with UCLA’s campus police. But after the district attorney filed a felony assault charge against him and issued a Warrant for his arrest, Dragovic turned himself in after a game against Cal State Bakersfield. While Dragovic was booked and later released on bail, he has been suspended from playing basketball for the university. Dragovic plans to plead not guilty when he appears before a judge in late December.

Now is a great time to discuss the different types of Los Angeles Warrants that are issued in the city. Our nation’s Constitution protects us from being arrested or searched for no reason. Warrants essentially give a Los Angeles police officer the right to arrest, detain, or search you in connection with a crime. All Warrants issued in the city are court orders signed by a Los Angeles County judge. A warrant for arrest is issued in cases like Dragovic’s where a defendant is suspected of having committed a crime, but has not yet been arrested by law enforcement agents. A bench warrant is typically issued when a defendant has failed to show up at a scheduled court date. Bench warrants are then issued allowing law enforcement agents to hunt you down and bring you before the court. Search warrants give Los Angeles law enforcement agents permission to either search you or a particular location in connection with a crime that has been committed and that you are believed to be involved in.

Once you find out that either an arrest Warrant or a bench Warrant has been issued in your name, it is important that you contact the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP immediately. As experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience in dealing with all types of warrants, we know that ignoring warrants can lead to big problems. Call today for expert legal advice and help in dealing with any warrants issued against you.

Tagged as: arrest warrant, bench warrants, los angeles criminal defense attorney, los angeles warrant

Juvenile Crime Stats

Posted on: November 25, 2009 at 11:26 p.m.

Juvenile crime is a serious issue in Los Angeles, with many gangs utlizing young people who may have lost their way. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys actively represent all minors accused of Juvenile crime. Many of our attorneys have worked in Los Angeles district attorney's offices, which gives us a unique instight into Juvenile crime criminal trials, law enforcement tactics and much more.

A new report by the County of San Diego revealed that arrests rates in the county have actually risen slightly over last year, in large part due to increasing numbers of minors being arrested for Juvenile crime. Unlike San Diego County, most other large counties in California, including Los Angeles, have seen a slight decrease in the number of arrests made over the last year. According to the San Diego Association of governments, adult arrests in the county rose just 1% while the number of minors being arrested jumped by 9%.

Many parents are under the impression that children under the age of 18 either do not commit or are generally not arrested for criminal acts. This viewpoint could hardly be farther from reality. While it is true that crimes committed by minors in Los Angeles are taken very seriously indeed by law enforcement agencies, it is also true that courts tend to focus on more rehabilitative punishments. In Los Angeles, minors are even subject to a completely different judicial system when they commit a crime, the Juvenile Court System. In some states this same court system may also be called Family Court or Probate Court. The focus of many punishments for juveniles convicted of a crime is reforming or reshaping the child’s behavior. Many people believe that with the proper counseling, younger criminal offenders are more likely to “straighten up," and go on to lead normal, law-abiding lives. Minors who commit more serious Juvenile crimes may actually be tried in the regular, adult court system depending on the nature of their crime and their age. Because minors can and do commit crimes ranging from shoplifting and vandalism to assault, sex crimes and even murder, punishments also vary widely. Probation, counseling, community service, and fines are frequently given in the case of a conviction. For more serious crimes, juvenile offenders may find themselves sentenced to time in a juvenile detention center or even an adult jail.

If your son or daughter has been charged with a Juvenile crime, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with juvenile crimes of all types and can help you navigate the often confusing Juvenile Court System. You would not give up on your child, and neither will we.

Tagged as: juvenile crime, los angeles criminal defense attorney

Reaching a Plea Bargain

Posted on: November 23, 2009 at 6:22 p.m.

If you've been arrested for, or charged with, a crime, you need a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend you, how to operate during a trial and possible how to please bargain successfully.

Former NBA star Jayson Williams is expected to reach a plea bargain deal on Friday November 20, 2009 for a case stemming from a 2002 incident that resulted in the accidental shooting death of a limousine driver at his home. The case has dragged on for nearly eight years and the plea bargain would effectively reduce the initial aggravated manslaughter and reckless manslaughter counts to a count of aggravated assault. The plea bargain will reduce Williams’ jail sentence to no less than 18 months and no more than three years.

Plea bargains are agreements in criminal cases where the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original charge with a recommendation of a lighter sentence. A plea bargain can also reduce the severity of charges in a criminal case, for example, a felony hit and run charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor charge if a plea bargain is reached. Reaching a plea bargain requires a professional defense attorney that will negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to attain a favorable outcome.

The Williams case is one out of countless of cases that occur each day where a plea bargain is negotiated or reached. Every day, defendants are offered plea bargains and agree to these bargains for a reduced sentence. With the assistance of a defense lawyer, a defendant could get a plea bargain that helps them stay clear of prison and even serious fines. In Los Angeles, these instances are concurrent and can happen to anyone. A professional attorney can help sort out your legal troubles through negotiation and plea bargains. With a dedicated team of attorneys you can be given opportunities to reduce a jail sentence or avoid jail time altogether. The criminal defense lawyers team at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP can assist you in reaching a plea bargain in criminal cases and potentially reduce your criminal charge to a lesser charge.

The former Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets player faced a trial on a reckless manslaughter count where the jury deadlocked, he was to face a retrial in January. The plea bargain will essentially resolve all charges in the case and reduce the charge to aggravated assault. Through the plea bargain, Williams will avoid a longer jail sentence and heftier charges.

When you need to reach a plea bargain but don’t know where to start, contact us and we will work by your side to reach that plea bargain you seek.

Tagged as: los angeles criminal defense attorney

Mortgage Fraud Crimes

Posted on: November 19, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

Not all crimes in Los Angeles involve the use of violent force. While violent criminals accused of such crimes as assault or theft are generally apprehended by police officers in blue uniforms, people who commit crimes such as fraud are usually arrested by federal agents in white shirts and ties, hence the name white collar crime. As the real estate market in Los Angeles keeps spiraling downward, many people are talking about mortgage fraud crimes. Typical mortgage fraud crimes include the falsification of mortgage loan documents, fraudulently inflating the value of real estate, or, most recently, home loan modification fraud.

It is illegal in Los Angeles to make false statements on a home loan or credit application. Fudging the numbers on reported income, assets or debt has been a frequent practice by loan officers as well as people seeking a home loan in recent years. Whoever misrepresents the financial or identification information on a loan or credit card application could be charged with a federal crime and sent to prison for it.

In some cases, real estate industry insiders in Los Angeles have been caught working together to falsely inflate the value of a residential or commercial property. If banks, real estate agents and appraisers all work together to say a home is worth more than it actually is, and someone actually buys the house, they can all make more money, right? Well, they can also all go to prison together for fraud. White collar crime is in the news quite a bit lately, and this could add the further complication of a biased jury.

As the local economy in Los Angeles continues to be affected by high unemployment and job losses, many people are turning to mortgage loan modification to avoid foreclosure on their homes. While home loan modification is a legitimate path to stabilizing your finances, several unscrupulous loan modification organizations have sprung up to take advantage of desperate people. Some mortgage loan modification organizations actually ask homeowners in need of help to send their mortgage payments to a third party. Trusting homeowners usually find out a few months down the line that their supposed mortgage payments never actually got to their lenders and now they are in an even more precarious position.

Note that none of these white collar crimes involved the use of physical force, but all of them could enormously damage the lives of others. White collar crimes may seem less important or less serious than violent crimes such as assault or murder, but being convicted of a crime such as fraud in Los Angeles is still a very serious matter. If convicted, you could be fined up to $1,000,000 and sent to a federal prison for up to 30 years.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, call the criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. With your whole future on the line, you need an attorney experienced in defending these type of charges. Let us fight for you.

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