The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

January 2011 Archives

Veronica Sylvester Arrested After Children Found Impaired by Marijuana

Keep your pot cookies away from your children. That is the lesson that 33-year-old Veronica Sylvester may have learned after her two daughters ate a marijuana-laced cookie in their Covina home.

KTLA News reports that the two girls, ages 10 and 11, found the chocolate chip cookie wrapped in plastic on their kitchen counter and decided to split the cookie between themselves on Monday January 24. When the girls began to feel ill, they were transported to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.

Conrad Murray Invokes Right to Speedy Trial in Manslaughter Case

A Los Angeles judge found that there is enough evidence for Dr. Conrad Murray to stand trial in the involuntary manslaughter case involving Michael Jackson's death. According to The Los Angeles Times, the physician has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge and is set to have his trial begin on March 28.

Dr. Murray reportedly invoked his right to a speedy trial at his hearing. Judge Michael Pastor stated at the hearing that it is rare for the defendant to request a speedy trial. But as stated in FindLaw's Legal Dictionary, the right for the defendant to have a speedy trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. One purpose of this right is to lessen the time that the accused must endure the anxiety and publicity of the impending trial. In this case, a speedy trial may also minimize the damage that delay might cause to Dr. Murray's ability to present a defense.

Charles Manson Follower Patricia Krenwinkel Denied Parole

A Charles Manson follower was denied parole once again on January 20 after spending the last 40 years in prison. At age 63, Patricia Krenwinkel has now been imprisoned longer than any other woman in California history. KTLA News reported that not a single Charles Manson follower has ever been granted parole and that follower Susan Atkins actually died in prison last year after being denied compassionate release when she was terminally ill with cancer.

Krenwinkel was one person convicted of having a role in the 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their Los Feliz home. The crime was among the most notorious murder crimes of the 20th century.

Suspect Arrested in Gardena High School Shooting

Just when people across the nation are calling for tighter gun control laws, Gardena High School steps into the media spotlight with an accidental school shooting incident.

According the Los Angeles Independent, a student accidentally shot two of his classmates when a gun discharged while it was inside of a backpack. One bullet hit the two students, who were both hospitalized after the Gardena High School shooting. The name of the 17-year-old suspect was not released in this case, but authorities say that the boy who allegedly possessed the weapon is now in police custody.

Doris Payne Convicted of Grand Theft in San Diego County

An 80-year-old woman named Doris Payne calls herself an international jewel thief and admits that she has been stealing high-end jewelry for five decades. Payne is from Long Beach, but has been jailed in several states for burglary and theft convictions.

Most recently, The Los Angeles Times reported that Payne was convicted of grand theft and burglary by a San Diego County jury on January 12. The elderly woman now faces more than five years in prison when she is sentenced on February 9.

Men Charged After Smuggling Endangered Turtles into LAX

Federal officials with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service arrested two Japanese men on January 7 at the Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly smuggling 55 live turtles in their luggage, all of which were species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). KTLA News reports that the two suspects were identified as 39-year-old Atsushi Yamagami and 49-year-old Norihide Ushirozako.

Theft of French Bulldogs From Orange County Home

Hold on to your puppies. A Los Angeles County man has been accused of stealing a French bulldog from a dog breeder in Santa Ana and admitted that he planned to mate the French bulldogs that he had and sell their offspring.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the French bulldog that was stolen from a Orange County dog breeder was valued at $3,000. The suspect, Darryl Jerome Cole, allegedly pushed the dog breeder to the ground inside of her Santa Ana home and ran off with the bulldog named Macy. After a search of the suspect's home, deputies found another French bulldog that was believed to be stolen in a September robbery in Chino. The dogs that were found at Cole's home reportedly appeared to be in good physical condition.

An Orange County judge sentenced a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy to one year in jail and five years of probation for filing a false police report against her ex-husband and firing a gun inside of her home in the city of Westminster, which endangered nearby children. The Los Angeles Times reported that the former deputy Patricia Margaret Bojorquez was convicted of the crimes on January 6 and that she is already on probation for two Orange County DUI convictions.

Will Lindsay Lohan Be Charged With Battery?

It looks like pop star Lindsay Lohan is in legal trouble again. This time the legal drama stems from an incident at the Betty Ford Center on December 12, where the actress was staying for her court-ordered rehab. According to KTLA News, a former worker at the clinic initially claimed that Lohan pushed her when she was trying to get the actress to submit to a breathalyzer test.

The clinic worker Dawn Holland, however, later dropped the criminal complaint and says that she no longer wishes to cooperate with the investigation. But even though Holland says that she no longer wishes to press charges, Riverside County prosecutors can still charge Lohan with battery. At the very least, Riverside County investigators will probably send a copy of their criminal investigation to the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Preliminary Hearing For Conrad Murray Begins in Los Angeles

The doctor accused of killing pop star Michael Jackson by administering a lethal dose of propofol was in court yesterday for a preliminary hearing. CNN reported that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor is scheduled to hear testimony over the next couple weeks and will decide whether there is probable cause to try Dr. Conrad Murray of involuntary manslaughter.

The doctor currently remains free on $75,000 bond. Prosecutors said in court that Dr. Conrad Murray administered the powerful anesthetic propofol to the pop star six nights a week for roughly two months before Jackson's sudden death in June 2009. Murray did not tell responding paramedics and emergency room doctors that he had given Jackson the anesthetic. Prosecutors also stated that the doctor waited at least 21 minutes after he found that the King of Pop was unresponsive before calling 911. The delay in calling 911 is contrary to guidelines for standard care.