Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Los Angeles Racketeering and Gang Activity

Posted on: August 26, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

When a Los Angeles federal criminal lawyer represents someone charged with a gang related crime, there are some serious dangers in place for his client. Once a crime is alleged to have involved gangs or gang activity, the penalties become stiffer and the ability to contact people outside of jail can become limited.

A recent racketeering case in South Los Angeles has law enforcement officials doling out accusations of gang activity. A housing complex was swarmed by police and dozens of alleged gang members were indicted for murder, drug dealing, and attacks on police officers involving the racketeering case. The gang, known as the Pueblo Bishops Bloods, have allegedly terrorized the community for years, living mostly in the Pueblo del Rio housing complex. Roughly 30 suspects were taken into custoday, and at the moment there has been no comment by their Defense Attorney.

All told, 41 defendants were named in a federal indictment, many of whom were investigated over a two year period which uncovered evidence of at least two alleged murders and countless other crimes. Eight of those who were arrested were parolees and wiretaps were used to collect much of the evidence. The racketeering charges could add years onto the prison sentences of those convicted, making any defense built by their Attorneys quite difficult. According to law enforcement officials, the Pueblo Bishops gang was formed in the 1970's and currently has about 300 members and associates.

At Kestenbaum Eisner & Gorin, LLP, we possess the knowledge, background and skill to provide clients with the legal representation they need to stay free from prison. Our knowledge of the legal system and of prosecutors can help anyone accused of being in a gang, and our successful track record of criminal defense is highly sought after.

With over fifty combined years of experience, our lawyers can help you get the results you need for your future. If you need a qualified Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, contact us immediately. To learn more.

Tagged as: gang allegations




Los Angeles Gang Violence

Posted on: June 26, 2009 at 1:04 p.m.

The Los Angeles Police Department is closing in on members of both the 18th Street gang and Mexican Mafia gang after a 2007 attack left a seven-week-old infant dead. According to police, members of the 18th Street gang were attempting to attack a street vendor who had refused to pay them rent to operate his small business in the gangs territory. The street vendor survived multiple gunshot wounds to the chest while a single stray bullet pierced the infants heart as he sat sleeping in a nearby stroller, killing him instantly. Even other gang members were appalled, with members of the notorious Mexican Mafia allegedly demanding that those responsible for the infants death be punished.
According to Los Angeles police documents, 18th Street gang members tried to take matters into their own hands by luring the shooter to Mexico on the pretense of protecting him from Los Angeles investigators. Once across the border, the shooter (whose identity is being kept secret as he is aiding investigators in the case) was allegedly strangled and left for dead. When he regained consciousness, he called family members in the area and was eventually arrested by Los Angeles investigators. He is now cooperating with both Los Angeles and federal law enforcement as they pursue his former gang.
Gang violence has long been a problem in Los Angeles, and law enforcement investigates and prosecutes gang-related crimes heavily. Criminal charges such as weapons possession, drug charges and murder take on a whole new level of scrutiny when Los Angeles police label them as gang-related, leading to much more severe punishments. Longer jail sentences are handed down in the case of a conviction and those convicted of gang-related crimes are also forced to register with Los Angeles authorities as a gang member. Whether or not that affiliation is true or continues after a conviction, it is extremely difficult to make that association go away.

If you have been charged with a gang-related crime, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Their combined 50 years of courtroom experience in criminal defense will fight for you.

Tagged as: gang allegations, jury trial defense




Gang-Related Crimes in Los Angeles

Posted on: March 3, 2009 at 12:16 p.m.

In the city of Los Angeles, gangs and gang-related crimes have become a harsh reality. Law enforcement target gangs more and more everyday, which often leads to innocent people being caught up in a widely thrown legal net. Having a qualified and experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer by your side during a trial can make all the difference. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will also be a major asset during criminal investigations, police questioning and pre-trial proceedings.


Historically, gang-related violence in Los Angeles has a strong tie to economics: as the economy goes down, gang violence tends to go up. If historical trends hold true, then Los Angeles may see a serious surge of gang violence in the next few years. Most of what we hear in the media about gang violence deals with homicides. A well-publicized story in March of 2008 involved an African American high school football player being shot and killed, allegedly by a Latino gang member.


Gang-related criminal charges are very often more than just homicide and can include drug possession, distribution or trafficking, weapons possession, money laundering, racketeering, smuggling, intimidation, robbery, kidnapping, rape and prostitution. None of these are charges to be taken lightly, and in a city such as Los Angeles, which has a long history of fighting gang-related crime, can be punished quite severely. Los Angeles in particular has several times issued gang injunctions, in essence suing gang members.


In a gang injunction, after evidence is gathered from local law enforcement officials and community members, a judge signs the order, which amounts to a restraining order, restricting the activities of every person named in the injunction. In most cases, the injunction stipulates that the people named may not associate with each other, wear certain types of clothing, make certain hand gestures, possess weapons, vandalize property or do drugs within a specified geographic area. Most of these activities are already illegal, so violating the injunction would constitute contempt of court and would add to the punishment issued from a conviction of another crime.


While the American Civil Liberties Union has argued many times against the unconstitutionality of gang injunctions, other cities in California and across the nation have adopted gang injunctions as a way to curtail gang activity. In Los Angeles alone, there are currently 33 gang injunctions against 50 gangs, covering roughly 11,000 people. Gang-related crime is prosecuted very heavily in Los Angeles, with punishments often including several years in prison.


If you are being charged with a gang-related crime, finding a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with experience in gang crimes is the most important thing you can do for yourself.



Tagged as: gang allegations




Gang Activity and the Death Penalty

Posted on: January 14, 2009 at 7:23 a.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys understand that when criminal activity, especially violent criminal activity, is coupled with gang activity, the resulting penalty can be severe. For most Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, part of the defense strategy when defending someone accused of a gang-related crime is to debunk the "gang" accusation.


For years, authorities say, McGhee waged a campaign of terror in the northeastern part of Los Angeles. A shot-caller for a long-entrenched gang, he hunted rivals but sometimes killed indiscriminately, boasting in rap lyrics about the pleasure he felt in taking life.


He taunted law enforcement and led a sophisticated ambush that ensnared two Los Angeles Police Department officers in a barrage of gunfire. While locked up, he incited jail riots and assaulted guards, responding to one attack in which an officer survived by saying, "Next time I'll have to stab him." On Friday, McGhee, once one of the nation's most sought-after fugitives, sat shackled in orange jailhouse scrubs as Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry sentenced him to death for the murder of three people.


"He is a committed killer and an obvious danger to society," Perry said. Police and prosecutors described McGhee as a thrill killer who was among the most feared members of the Toonerville gang, which was formed in the 1950s and claims as its turf a largely middle class area north of Los Feliz Boulevard between San Fernando Road and the Los Angeles River.


Violent felony convictions carry serious jail-time, and the "time off for good behavior" line you hear on television is rarely a reality. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, such as the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, defend those accused of violent crimes every day. Violent crimes are criminal acts that involve 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.


Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP is a criminal defense law firm that has been helping clients throughout Southern California contest their criminal charges and obtain superior results for years. Our skilled violent crimes attorneys have over 50 years of collective court room experience and we are fully prepared to undertake our clients cases. When we work with our clients, we do everything possible to make sure that they receive the attention, resources, and dedicated legal counsel that they deserve.



Tagged as: gang allegations, jury trial defense




Gang Allegation Penal Code Section 186.22 Dismissed on Appeal

Posted on: November 29, 2008 at 3 p.m.

Under California law, the state and police use the gang allegation aggressively in prosecuting cases of robbery, murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and other serious felony crimes. Penal Code Section 186.22 is the legal vehicle to add substantial prison time, even for participants that had just collateral involvement. The legislature's viewpoint is that if the suspect is a gang member, he must be punished just as severely as the shooter, because he is part of the same criminal organization. Needless to say, once juries hear about gang membership and the gang's prior activities, the jurors have a hard time hearing about defense evidence of innocence or guilt by association.

Recently an appellate court dealt with the issue of what constitutes a "criminal street gang" in violation of Penal Code Section 186.22. The court concluded that a finding that a group to which a defendant belongs is a "criminal street gang" cannot be based solely on the relationship between that group and a larger criminal organization.

The justices overturned the special-circumstance finding that a convicted murderer killed his victim as part of gang activity. The court said there was enough evidence to prove that defendant's group, the STP, was a criminal street gang, but that jurors may have

Tagged as: california criminal laws, gang allegations




Proposition A Fails, What That Means for the Law

Posted on: November 7, 2008 at 11:25 a.m.

Proposition A was a ballot measure that would have raised $30 million a year for Los Angeles anti-gang programs, and it fell just shy of the two-thirds vote needed to pass, according to unofficial returns tallied this week.

The anti-gang measure was defeated by six-tenths of a percentage point, according to unofficial returns. Supporters hope late absentee and provisional ballots may change the outcome.

Proposition A, which would have charged property owners in Los Angeles a flat rate of $36 per year, was one of dozens of tax measures that saw a surge of support thanks to the high general election turnout across Los Angeles County.

Anti-gang measures often target violent crimes. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys often represent gang members and alleged gang members, focusing their criminal defense tactics on laws that increase penalties if it can be proved that the accused belonged to an organized crime group.

Many television shows such as "The Shield" and "Law & Order" depict gang activity and the criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles who defend them. While these aren't always accurate depictions of how gang members and criminal defense attorneys collaborate, it does show the laws and the anti-violence angle of law enforcement.

Violent crimes carry heavy penalties, including jail time, fines, community service and more. Violent crimes are prosecuted as felonies, and only skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are able to either plea them down to misdemeanors, or get the accused off. Those found guilty of violent crimes are also heavily sentenced, especially when gang activity is linked to the crime.

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: gang allegations




Politics and Gangs: Proposition A

Posted on: October 16, 2008 at 8:59 a.m.

Proposition A will be on the ballot in Los Angeles on November 4. It will be an interesting proposition for Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, regular citizens and suspected gang members. Rather than simply arrest every gang member they can find, the city is attempting to stop the growth of gangs. The measure, which needs two-thirds support to take effect, is a $36-a-year tax on every piece of property in the city to raise $30 million a year to fund gang prevention and intervention programs.

Two years ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton made gang suppression their top priority, developing a top 10 list of the most wanted gangsters and gangs in the city. It resulted in high-profile arrests and a startling drop in gang crime. The most recent figures released by Bratton showed gang homicides have dropped to 119 from 164 a year ago and overall gang crime is down 19 percent. Part of that is enforcement, but officials also credit the new emphasis on diversion programs.

For years, Los Angeles criminal attorneys have tried to encourage the city not to simply throw accused or suspected gang members in prison. Giving them options instead would be a more effective way to slow down the crime rate.

Villaraigosa gained control of the anti-gang programs July 1, and his office has been going through requests for proposals to begin the new effort. One program funded this past summer, Summer Night Lights, offered activities at selected city parks to keep kids from joining gangs. Proposition A is designed to make sure such programs have an ongoing source of revenue, Hahn said.

The Los Angeles Police Department estimates there are 400 gangs and 38,000 gang members within the City of Los Angeles. Gang violence results in loss of life and negatively affects living conditions in many parts of the City.

Some of the causes of the growth of gang violence across the City are the lack of job and training opportunities and other healthy productive options for youth. Currently, the City cannot adequately fund programs and activities that help young people develop employment skills and provide positive alternatives to gangs that are necessary to end gang violence.

Tagged as: gang allegations




Gang Violence and Los Angeles

Posted on: October 13, 2008 at 9:59 a.m.

One of the longest running stories in Los Angeles is the influence and level of violence of gangs. Gang activity has cost the lives of many Angelinos, and the high profile murders and violent crimes are heavily prosecuted by the district attorney in hopes of being able to stem the tide of violence.

Recently a Los Angeles gang member was extradited from Mexico to face charges of murdering a 12-year-old boy a decade ago has been sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole. A judge rejected the man's request for a new trial and sentenced him to life plus an additional term of 145 years to life. A jury convicted him in August of murder and attempted murder. Although he denied he was the gang member whose stray bullet struck Steven Morales in the head in 1998 as the boy played baseball in front of his Highland Park home, the judge showed no leniency.

More than 1,400 criminal street gangs exist in Los Angeles County. Gang crimes

Tagged as: gang allegations, jury trial defense




Organized Crime, Gangs and Consequences

Posted on: July 23, 2008 at 9:25 a.m.

Organized crime and gang activity are situations that police, the media and politicians often pay great attention to, and this leads to laws that can be extremely harsh for those accused of belonging to a gang. Many reports have surfaced of late about feet washing up on shore in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The feet are alleged to be involved in some sort of gang activity or organized crime. Some authorities believe people who got on the "wrong side" of certain people had their feet cut off, and may have been killed.

In Los Angeles, gang activity is said to be increasing in volume. Authorities are targeting those individuals thought, or accused of, being involved with gang activity.

Gang crimes are quite varied, everything from graffiti to murder. Gangs are also often involved in drug activity in the communities they inhabit.

The penalties for belonging to, or being affiliated with, a gang come from both state and Federal authorities. The United States Senate passed the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007, which attempted to prosecute gang activity by defining new federal criminal offenses and boosting federal criminal penalties for gang crimes. While some criticize the law as vague and that it infringes upon local law enforcement, Congress is attempting to curb gang violence through more strict laws.

Attorneys defending those implicated in gang related crimes must have the kind of knowledge and experience that will allow them to understand the laws, the law enforcement philosophy and the nature of the justice system. The attorneys at Kestenbaum Eisner & Gorin LLP have decades of experience and have a track record of successfully defending clients from a variety of criminal charges.

Tagged as: california criminal laws, gang allegations









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