The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

September 2012 Archives

'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Headed to Jail for Probation Violation?

Pardon the confusion, but who is this strange man? Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Sam Bacile, a.k.a. Abanob Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. (our personal favorite) Kritbag Difrat, legally named Mark Basseley Youssef, was arrested yesterday for allegedly violating his probation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The 2010 conviction in question was, surprisingly enough, for bank fraud. You might remember the man with infinite names as the "filmmaker" behind the sacrilegious "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube clip that has led to protests, riots, and a lot of really angry people.

Jordan Hill Takes Plea; No Jail Time for Alleged Domestic Violence

Seven months ago, Jordan Hill was a nearly washed-up former first round draft pick. He was languishing on the Houston Rockets' bench and waiting for the offseason, where he might get a chance with another organization.

His wish came early, as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as a throwaway piece for the Lakers' salary dump of Derrick Fisher. Unfortunately for him, immediately after he started to contribute to his new team, his former girlfriend came forth with allegations of domestic violence.

Today, he's the recent recipient of a two-year $8 million contract, has become an invaluable contributor to the greatest franchise in the history of professional sports, and best of all, he'll be a free man.

Sheriff's Employee Caught Taking Upskirt Photos at Target

She thought it was strange that the man was following her. Both the lady and her husband noticed that Jose Alderete had been following them a little closely, but were not sure why. Finally, she decided to take an odd path and see if he continued to creep. He did.

Then she noticed him stooping behind her with his cellphone attached to his shoe, reports The Orange County Register.

The woman’s husband chased Alderete to the parking lot and stopped him from deleting the images off of his phone. When the police arrived, they made an even more surprising discovery: Alderete worked for the Sheriff’s department. Prior to being put on paid administrative leave, he handled supplies for inmates in county jails. He was not a sworn officer.

Chris Brown Catches a Break, Didn't Violate Probation ... Maybe

Chris Brown committed a crime, and pleaded guilty in California. He served his probation in Virginia. In one state, consumption of a certain substance is legal. In the other, it is not. When his probation requires him not to break any laws, does doing something legal in one state, and illegal in another, qualify as a violation?

In case you were wondering, Brown failed a drug test for marijuana, reports the Los Angeles Times. Brown has a medical marijuana card here in California but tested positive in Virginia. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean he smoked in Virginia - tests can turn up positive weeks or even a month after someone consumes cannabis.

L.A.'s District Attorney Election May Impact Pot Clinics, 3 Strikes

The race for the top spot in the District Attorney's office here in Los Angeles has come down to two people: Jackie Lacey and Alan Jackson. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lacey is a seasoned administrator and former second-in-command behind outgoing DA Steve Cooley. Jackson is a famed and experienced prosecutor who has won numerous high-profile convictions.

Lacey is a Democrat, while Jackson is a Republican. Lacey stands behind the former administration, while Jackson has disagreed with them in the past.

None of that really matters, though, to us regular folk, does it? The best person to represent the people is arguably not determined by party affiliation or past trial victories. The victor should represent the views of the people. In a recent debate, the two candidates described their views on two hot topics in the upcoming election: medical marijuana clinics and "three strikes" laws.

Well Reviewed Chef Boils Wife for Four Days to Dispose of Body

David Viens just wanted some sleep. His wife was nagging him and wouldn’t let him rest peacefully. The two had reportedly done cocaine earlier in the night and were arguing over money missing from the couple’s well-reviewed restaurant. His solution, according to the Los Angeles Times, was to bind her hands and feet and cover her mouth with duct tape. When he awoke the next morning, he found her dead on the living room floor. He later told his daughter that his wife died after choking on her own vomit.

Viens’ first creative solution backfired. His second solution, revealed in an interview with investigators and played to jurors in court this week, was to boil the body for four days.

Juana Valencia, Accused of Murdering Her Newborn, Headed for Second Trial

On December 22, 2009, Juana Perez Valencia, 21, of Anaheim, did something that most of us would consider unthinkable: she threw her newborn child in the dumpster. According to the Los Angeles Times, the child was born full-term, weighed 6.3 pounds at birth, and was found in a plastic bag in a dumpster behind Sombrero’s restaurant in Stanton, where Valencia was employed as a server.

Valencia already stood trial for the murder of her child once, but it ended in a hung jury and a mistrial, reports the Orange County Register. The main issue at trial was whether the child suffocated during childbirth or whether she suffocated the infant afterwards. Her attorney argued that the death was an accident borne out of inexperience and naiveté. Valencia was a 19-year-old junior in high school at the time, and hadn’t finished high school back in Mexico due to poverty.

Fake Bishop Oscar Perez Gets 300 Years for Molesting 5 Boys

Though he reportedly lied about his credentials as a Catholic bishop, Oscar Perez, 69, still holds power over his congregation. Despite the pleas of his followers to the court, Perez received the maximum possible sentence of 330 years for the 26 molestation counts that he was convicted of in July, reports the Orange County Register. The 26 charges stem from his assault on five boys during sleepovers at his Lake Forest apartment.

The convicted pedophile preached out of a rented space at an Episcopal church. He told the parents in his congregation that he wanted boys, mostly 9 and 10 years of age, to help him spread the word of God. When Perez felt ill, he'd request that the boys sleep over.

Methamphetamine Lab Busted in Buena Park

We don’t normally cover methamphetamine labs. They’re so common that hearing about them is akin to hearing that someone was shot in Chicago. It happens. It’s not really news. Nonetheless, we really haven’t covered the laws regarding meth production lately, so as a service to the public, and in homage to the great Breaking Bad, here’s the skinny (Pete).

According to the Orange County Register, SWAT officers raided a house in Buena Park last night after a business rival anonymous tipster notified the police of ongoing sales of large quantities of drugs at the house. The search warrant was administered by the SWAT because drug dealers and manufacturers tend to be armed and those guys have a lot of sweet gear. When the cops arrived, they noticed the eau de meth and located meth and meth paraphernalia.

Seven people were arrested.

NoHo Man Arrested for Murdering His Parents

Jonathan Mercado, 25, was seen as odd by his neighbors, even before he was arrested on Tuesday, reports the Daily News. He had been seen pacing in front of his house, fighting loudly with his father, and was described by a neighbor as “really weird.” Still, oddity alone usually does not make a murderer.

What does define a murderer is bludgeoning your parents to death. Jonathan is accused of exactly that, after his mother’s body was found wrapped in a sheet and left in the back of an abandoned truck. When police showed up to 47-year-old Veronica Mercado’s home to investigate, they found Jonathan’s father, Alexandro Mercado, 51, bludgeoned to death in a bedroom.

Hungry Homeless Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Pelican

Sorry PETA, but this ain’t gonna fly.

A 30-year-old hungry homeless man was arrested late last month on felony animal cruelty charges for killing a brown pelican with his bare hands for the purpose of eating it, reports LA Weekly. Sergio Alvarez reportedly grabbed the bird by it’s neck and wringed the life out of it’s body as bystanders looked on in horror.

Amanda Bynes Pressed Her Luck; Charged With Two Hit and Runs

Amanda Bynes might be “insane.” Is that rude? Possibly. Is it accurate, according to the commonly stated cliché? Quite possibly.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Bynes has reportedly engaged in dangerous driving behavior over and over again. Then again, she seems to be expecting the same result: A free pass.

We’ve covered the hit-and-run DUI. She also avoided a hit and run charge earlier this year. However, she’s had so many traffic violations in the last year that we’re surprised she’s still driving. Her recent run-ins include:

82-year-old Lady's 57-year-old Rap Sheet Gets 7 More Charges

Gangster Granny, it's time to retire. Eighty-two-year-old Doris Thompson is the new bad-ass of the senior citizen cell block. Police say the career-criminal with Don King-styled hair was finally caught after a recent streak of medical office robberies, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Thompson's seven recent robberies all involved the same modus operandi. She would enter a medical office, hide until closing, and then locate the cash box. In one recent robbery, she reportedly stole cash, a device used to measure toddlers' temperature, and a urine cup. In total, prosecutors say that she has taken over $17,000 during the robberies. Identifying her off of the surveillance video was relatively easy for detectives due to her distinctive hair style.