The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

August 2010 Archives

Sale Of Knives To Minors Can Result With Misdemeanor

Attention all business owners and store clerks in the city of Los Angeles:

Make sure that you do not sell a knife, blade, or any other stabbing weapon to anyone under the age of 18, if you want to avoid the possibility of developing a criminal record.

That's right, it is actually illegal to sell knives and daggers to a minor in Los Angeles. The law went into effect in 1993, when it was unanimously passed by the Los Angeles City Council and signed by Richard Riordan, who was the city mayor at the time. The Los Angeles Times reported that the city council passed the law in hopes of reducing injuries and deaths amongst youngsters.

Jay Mariotti Arrested After Domestic Dispute

ESPN commentator Jay Mariotti has been hitting the media headlines this week, but it's not because of his opinions over well-known athletic stars. It turns out that the man was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of felony domestic assault after he got into an argument with his girlfriend, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.

Man Spends 24 Years in Prison After Being Wrongfully Convicted

Thomas L. Goldstein was convicted of a 1979 murder and spent 24 years in prison for a crime that he claims that he did not commit. The murder conviction came after a jailhouse informant testified that Thomas Goldstein had confessed to the murder when they were in the Long Beach Jail together.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a federal judge overturned the murder conviction 24 years later in 2004, after the credibility of the informant's testimony was called into question. It turns out that lawyers representing Thomas Goldstein claimed that the informant was promised leniency in a grand theft conviction if he testified against Thomas Goldstein.

Posting Bail After an Arrest

So you have a friend or family member that has just been arrested and they're asking you to post bail. What does that mean?

After an arrest, a person may have to wait months before their case goes to trial. But our criminal justice system allows defendants to be free from jail until they are proven guilty. After all, the Eighth Amendment of our Constitution states that ''No cruel and unusual punishment is to be inflicted." Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys say that this includes imprisoning an innocent person.

Salon Owner Accused of Stealing From Celebrities

The owner of Chez Gabriela Studio in Beverly Hills was arrested on Wednesday by U.S. Secret Service agents for allegedly ringing up unauthorized credit card charges on the accounts of some high profile celebrity clients. KTLA News reports that the victims of the alleged credit card scheme include Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler, Melanie Griffith, Cher, Anne Hathaway and Scott Speedman.

Poker Player Arrested At The Bicycle Casino

When gambling at the Southern California casinos, it's important to keep your cool and not lose your temper, even if the cards just aren't in your favor.

The Los Angeles Times reports that poker player Mesbah Khaffaji was arrested Sunday night after he allegedly spit food in a card dealer's face during a no-limit Texas hold'em game at a Bell Gardens Casino. Police suspect that the man became angry after losing a hand.

Bill Proposed to Make Party Crashing a Misdemeanor Crime

Uninvited guests that show up to the Oscars, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, or any other glamorous Hollywood event might be able to walk away with just a slap on the wrist for the sin of party crashing. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) hopes to change this.

The Assembly member has proposed a new law, Assembly Bill 451, which would make the act of party crashing a misdemeanor crime that would be punishable with up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. The law would simply expand California's definition of trespassing so that unauthorized entry to exclusive events can be clarified, giving law enforcers guidelines on how to handle such a situation.

The Mystery of Mitrice Richardson

The Los Angeles Times reports that Mitrice Richardson was arrested almost one year ago for not being able to pay an $89 dinner tab at a Malibu restaurant. California Penal Code Section 537 states that such an offense is typically a misdemeanor crime and is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Anybody accused of getting food without paying always has the right to be represented by a Los Angles criminal defense attorney. Yet Mitrice Richardson never got herself a lawyer and after her arrest, she mysteriously went missing.

Father Accused of Killing Daughter and Putting her in Freezer

Clarence Butterfield has been accused of murdering his 21-year-old daughter and stuffing her in the freezer of his motor home, which has led to his indictment on count of murder during torture and mayhem and one count of assault with a firearm.

But perhaps this murder case is all just one big misunderstanding. KTLA News reports that opening arguments in the case began this week, where defense attorney Lisa Eyanson says that the man loved his daughter and kept the girl's body in the freezer for two years because he couldn't bear to part with her. The attorney argued that Clarence Butterfield, of San Clemente, thought that he could revive his daughter by putting her in the freezer since the Bible reportedly says that a person can be resurrected with faith.

Grim Sleeper Suspect Has a New Lawyer

A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney doesn't always have to cost the defendant a great deal of money. Lonnie Franklin, who has been accused of being the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer was appointed a new attorney in a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday, who says that she will work for free.

KTLA News reports that the new lawyer is Louisa Pensanti has had experience handling multiple murder cases and has agreed to work pro bono on the Grim Sleeper case. As we reported in an earlier blog post, Lonnie Franklin's arraignment has been postponed until August 23. The man has been charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Star Lindsay Lohan Back In Rehab Once Again

Young star Lindsay Lohan went straight to rehab from jail earlier this week, but MTV news reports that the young celebrity is now quite familiar with rehabilitation clinics. The "Mean Girls" star has reportedly been in and out of rehab for quite some time through several different attempts to get clean.

Richard Alarcon Charged With Perjury and Voter Fraud

After a 15-month investigation, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office has formally accused Councilman Richard Alarcon of lying about where he lived and illegally claiming that a Panorama City house was his residence. Prosecutors say that this was done so that he could run for an office that represents the Pacoima and Sylmar neighborhoods.

Many people may not realize that such a lie can be considered a felony offense. According to KTLA News, Richard Alarcon was charged with 18 felony counts, which include perjury and voter fraud. The councilman's wife has also been charged with three counts of perjury and three counts of voter fraud.

Former L.A. County Deputy Peter Felix Sentenced in Drug Case

Peter Felix was sentenced to four years in state prison yesterday for attempting to smuggle drugs into a Castaic jail where he worked. The Los Angeles Times reports that the now 27-year-old man used to be a deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, but was arrested in October 2008 after he was caught carrying 161.5 grams of heroin, 24.4 grams of methamphetamine and 51.5 grams of marijuana on the job. Peter Felix then resigned from his deputy position and pleaded no contest to possession for sale of a controlled substance last June.