The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

July 2012 Archives

An Open Letter to Matt Barnes About Threatening Cops

Matty B, let's start this off by saying that the true Lakers fans are going to miss you. You've graced the Los Angeles basketball scene with hustle, great cutting to the basket, and tenacious defense for the past couple of years. Not bringing you back is a mistake, especially with a true point guard coming in that could capitalize on your off-ball movement.

You know what else was a mistake? Threatening that cop. Sorry, allegedly threatening that cop, if the report from KTLA is true. Sure, it was absolute bull that the cops reportedly just ran across you in Manhattan Beach and then realized that you had an outstanding traffic warrant for over $23,000 -- but threats of violence? Never a good game plan.

LAPD Officer Gets Sweetheart Deal in Hotel Felony Theft Case?

What's the proper way to sentence law enforcement officers who commit a crime? On the one hand, they've done so much good, and have such a clean record, that they seem to deserve a break. Then again, they have abused the trust of their employer, or employers, and given a bad name to police officers in general.

Should they be given a "get out of jail free card" for their past good deeds, or be held to a higher and harsher standard for breaking the public trust?

Felony Arrestee DNA Collection Gets Second Look by Appeals Court

America is a wonderful place. We are granted a lot of freedoms, many of which were intended to protect us from tyranny and overreaching by our sovereign powers, including federal, state, and local governments. One of the most fundamental rights is the right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure.

Now, some will say, that in this modern age, certain freedoms must be limited for the safety of the masses. Take a look at the PATRIOT Act, for example. Whether or not you are in favor of that controversial measure, there's no question that it curtails some of our freedoms in the areas of search and seizure.

A more local example, which will now be reviewed by the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is California's Proposition 69, a DNA collection law passed in 2004, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Zsemlye Faces Life Sentence For Groping Fully Clothed Child

It’s always interesting to poll the pulse of the community in the wake of a sex-offense against a child. News of an accused child-groper in Orange County hit the press earlier this week, and as always, the responses were colorful.

The alleged assailant, Frank Zsemlye, 27, reportedly followed a 13-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister into a public park bathroom. He then forced the older child into a stall and groped her through her clothing. After she screamed, he released her and tried to flee. Bystanders chased him down and the police took him into custody, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Minka Kelly Sex Tape: Is it Child Porn?

Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, where would you be without the brave trailblazers that came before you, like Pamela Anderson and ... Minka Kelly? According to TMZ, the sex tape dates back to 1998 and was between her and an ex-boyfriend. The question is, what took so long?

It might have something to do with her age. In the video, two songs from Brandy's Never Say Never album were played (and sung along to) during the sex acts. Sixteen days after the album was released, Kelly turned 18.

Fred Willard's Hanky Spanky Could Cost Him, But Was it Illegal?

It has not been a good 24 hours for Fred Willard. Last night, at about 8:45 pm, Willard was arrested for doing something not altogether unusual: self-pleasuring. The problem was, he was in a movie theater, reports TMZ.

Now, before your jaw drops in shock and you begin to judge him, note that he was in an adult porn theatre. This was no Disney flick. One would imagine most of the patrons of such establishments were doing the same thing. In fact, what he was doing might not have even been illegal.

Teen That Tried to Penetrate Kid With Steel Rebar Gets Plea Deal

After staring down four years in prison on charges of attempted sexual penetration and assault with a deadly weapon, a San Bernardino teen agreed to a plea deal for probation and 180 days of jail, reports the Associated Press. In exchange for the lenient sentence, Fernando Salgado, 18, will testify against his 27-year-old teacher, Emmanuel De La Rosa.

Authorities say that three boys were attacked in separate incidents in De La Rosa's summer school masonry class. The Los Angeles Times reports that in one incident, three students held down a 14-year-old and pulled his pants down. Salgado then attempted to penetrate him with a piece of steel rebar. Another similar incident, involving another student, involved a broom handle.

Justin Bieber Chase: The Anti-Paparazzi Law

Last week, we somewhat-reluctantly reported on Justin Bieber's speeding incident. He was pulled over and ticketed for speeding at 80 mph. He caught a break, however, as a L.A. City Councilman and former LAPD officer was calling for reckless driving charges.

He told the officers that he was being chased by paparazzi, which didn't help him escape the ticket. Shortly thereafter, he called 9-1-1 again to report that the paparazzi had resumed pursuit. The police pulled both parties over and gave them warnings.

The CHP also promised to investigate the paparazzi for creating a dangerous situation. That's where this ordinary legal tale turns into something actually interesting.

Kim Kardashian, Steve Jobs, and the Rules of License Plates

In what seems to pass for news these days, TMZ is reporting the breaking, life changing, and faith shattering news that Kim Kardashian was pulled over for a lack of license plates on her two-week-old Rolls Royce. Life’s an [expletive], right?

We know, you don’t really care. Neither do we. We really don’t. We swear.

Yes, yes, we did just cover a Justin Bieber speeding ticket. Fine. You win.

But KK’s little plate mishap, which TMZ reports resulted in no ticket because she had the plates in her glove box, does bring to mind the tale of another odd celeb: the late, great Steve Jobs.

Cudahy Corruption Case: Culprits Cop Pleas, Admit Election Fraud

Two of the noble statesmen accused of official misconduct and federal bribery offenses closed their cases today by agreeing to plea agreements, reports the Los Angeles Times. David Silva, and Angel Perales, along with Osvaldo Conde, were arrested last month after a federal informant recorded them soliciting bribes. In exchange, they promised to help the informant open a marijuana dispensary in Cudahy.

As Perales' reportedly told the informant, "It's politics, bro." (Does anyone else want that on a t-shirt?)

Apparently, Cudahy politics also involve voter fraud and ballot tampering. According to the Los Angeles Times, Perales admitted to manipulating the mail-in absentee ballots. Perales and an unnamed accomplice would open the ballots and discard those for opponents. Those for incumbent candidates would be resealed and returned for counting.

A Clean Slate: The FindLaw Guide to Expungement

It was a dark evening. The blood-red moon forebode danger. The 13 Blue Moons forebode stupidity. It was the perfect storm of stupidity getting in that car. Moments later, he was pulled out of the car. The officers pulled him over due to the missing front license plate.

Two damned rusty screws were the catalyst to a night in the drunk tank. After field sobriety tests, Breathalyzers, a shared cell with multiple drunk homeless men named Steve, a plea bargain, and thousands of dollars fines, the only remnant of that night is the scarlet "DUI" on his record.

Rapper Game Beats Down 40 Glocc, 40 Doesn't Snitch

The Stop Snitchin’ Movement strikes again. Rapper Game, a.k.a. The Game, born Jayceon Taylor, was involved in an altercation with rapper 40 Glocc, a.k.a. Big Bad 4-0, a.k.a. Tory Gassway last week. It wasn’t merely your average street fight, however. Game recorded the incident on his phone and posted it on the internet, reports TMZ.

“Iphone in my left hand….. Mayweather’n this n**** with my right !!! #AtTheSameDamnTime” Game via Twitter.

40 Glocc, defending his manhood, took to Twitter with allegations that Game brandished a gun before beating him. He later stated in an interview that he did not plan on pressing charges. After all, doing so would make him a snitch and validate Game’s creative nickname for him: 40 Snitch.

Justin Bieber Gets a Speeding Ticket on a Slow News Day

Justin Bieber would like you to know two things. First of all, if he was your boyfriend, he would never let you go. Second, the paparazzi really sucks.

Bieber was caught speeding in his insanely amazing Fisker Karma hybrid vehicle by a former LAPD motor officer, reports TMZ. The chromed out car zipped by L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, formerly of the LAPD, at speeds the Councilman estimated to be over 100 mph.

It wasn't all his fault, however. He was being chased by a string of paparazzi. According to Bieber's people, he only drove like a maniac to escape the maniacs.

Former Raider Anthony Smith Charged For 4 Murders; Death Penalty?

A former Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders first round draft pick, already facing a retrial on a Palmdale murder charge, now faces another three gruesome murder charges, reports the Los Angeles Times. Anthony Smith, who played defensive end for the team from 1991 to 1997, faces the possibility of the death penalty, though a decision on whether to pursue the ultimate punishment will be made closer to the time of trial.

The 2008 Palmdale murder of Maurilo Ponce, 31, was tried back in April, but ended in an 8-4 hung jury leaning towards guilt. Ponce was shot six times, including twice to the head.

Partake in Your Patriotic Duty: Where Fireworks Are Legal

Fourth of July just isn't the same without fireworks. They symbolize freedom, and instantly bring to mind the "rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air." There is nothing like the smell of cordite in the evenin'.

Fireworks are America.

So, where can you take part in your patriotic duty to partake in pyrotechnics? Well, if you prefer to watch, rather than do, the Los Angeles Times has a map of all of the major displays this year.

Those displays can be a lot of fun, but really, what man doesn't have the urge to light things on fire?