The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

December 2012 Archives

Rachel Buffett Pleads Not Guilty to Covering Up Fiancé's Alleged Killings

Though Meatloaf would do anything for love, one has to wonder if he would do that.

Rachel Buffett, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of protecting her beloved future husband, legally referred to as being an accessory after the fact. Police say that she provided them with a fabricated story after her fiancé murdered two people, reports the Los Angeles Times. She claims that she is only guilty of being a poor judge of character and of trusting the wrong man.

Santa Claus Arrested for Animal Cruelty? May Miss Christmas

"On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Donner, on Vixen ... I said ON VIXEN, GOSH DARN IT!" Santa yelled, before cracking the reigns of his sleigh one more time. Vixen sighed and struggled to move onward before collapsing. In a rush to finish his delivery schedule, Santa left Vixen in Bakersfield and replaced her with Clarice

Leaving a reindeer in Bakersfield alone is a crime worthy of punishment. However, what animal rights activists truly took issue with was Santa's over-demanding workload. In a single night, longer once the twenty-four time zones are taken into account, Santa pushes his reindeer to pull a heavily-loaded sleigh over 4.6 million miles. It is astonishing that any reindeer survive.

Fashion Mall Shooting Presents Interesting Legal Question

A man pulls out a gun and shoots 54 rounds in the direction of a mall. He is not aiming at any people, nor does he hit any people or structures. The only injuries that occur happen after panicked bystanders, understandably upset after the mall shooting in Oregon and the Newtown mass murders, knocked over a mother and her 4-year-old daughter.

Is Marcos Gurrola, 42, guilty of a crime? Assuming his confession and the evidence holds up, yes. This isn't his first shooting escapade either. According to the Orange County Register, he confessed to 10 other shootings since April, as well as an incident at the Fashion Mall last year, when 10 rounds were discharged into the air.

He deserves punishment. The question is, how much?

Pomona Man Makes Newtown Copycat Threats on Facebook

After nearly every tragedy, there is some idiot, seeking notoriety, that makes copycat threats. After James Holmes' act of mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, a twerp on Twitter made threats against a New York theatre where Mike Tyson was set to perform. Now, after 20-year-old Adam Lanza committed his disgusting spree killings in Newtown, Connecticut, an idiot in the Los Angeles area allegedly made threats on Facebook about shooting up local schools, reports The Associated Press.

The alleged Facebooking fool is Kyle Bangayan, 24, of Pomona, who was arrested on Sunday for making criminal threats. He is being held on $500,000 bail. Nine firearms were seized from the site of his arrest, his father's east Hollywood residence. His father gave police and FBI agents permission to search the home. There is no indication yet whether the firearms were owned legally and to whom they were registered. We don't even know if Bangayan had access to the guns.

Defendant Turns Razor on Own Attorney in Court

Well, that’s one way to jsut about guarantee a mistrial. A defendant in an attempted murder trial, identified by the Los Angeles Times as Eduardo Macias, 32, pulled out a smuggled razor blade and slashed his own attorney’s cheek, in front of jurors and horrified high school students in San Diego, before being subdued by bailiffs. The teenage witnesses were at the trial as part of a high school civics lesson on how the judicial system works.

According to the Union-Tribune, the defendant, who has Mexican Mafia ties, and who was on trial with two codefendants for an attempt to murder a fellow inmate, smuggled the razor blade into the court using his mouth. The attack took place during the final witnesses’ testimony. The courtroom was cleared and the jurors were interviewed in an adjacent courtroom by police officers as witnesses to Macias’ latest crime.

L.A. District Attorney's Office Admits Prop. 36 Mistake Freed Northridge Killer

On December 2, Northridge was rocked by news of a quadruple homicide on the front lawn of an illegal boarding home. The reportedly execution-style murders were allegedly committed by Ka Pasasouk, 31, who was on probation at the time. Today, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office released a statement where they admitted that an administrative error allowed Pasasouk to avoid being sent back to jail in September, reports City News Service.

The administrative error involved a determination of Pasasouk's eligibility for a drug diversion program under California's Proposition 36. Pasasouk was arrested on a methamphetamine possession charge in September and because the District Attorney's office found him eligible for a drug treatment and diversion program, he was not sent to prison, despite the objections of probation officials.

Murder Conviction Upheld Despite New DNA, Witness Recantation

Ten years after his testimony helped to convict William Richards of the murder of his wife, Pamela Richards, Dr. Norman D. Sperber regrets his testimony that Richard's distinctive dental deformity only exists in one or two percent of the population. Without a scientific study, he told the court that he shouldn't have used percentages. Perhaps he is correct. However, he did say at trial that his statements were not based on studies. The harm, if any, was probably minimal.

However, Dr. Sperber now says that with his additional experience, he isn't even sure that the marks were from a human bite injury.

Calif. Supreme Court: DNA, Evidence Cast Doubt on Murder Conviction; Is it Enough?

Pamela Richards was murdered on August 10, 1993. When the police arrived, approximately 32 minutes after the victim’s husband called 911, the property was pitch black. Despite the darkness, William Richards was able to give the deputy a tour of the entire crime scene, including the separate locations of the victim’s pants and underwear, and pointing out that a bloodstained paving stone was thrown down the rough, downward sloping terrain of the side of the property. During the tour, Mr. Richards would fall to his knees and start crying, then resume the tour.

To the sheriff’s deputy, it all felt a little too rehearsed.

According to the court, further investigation would reveal that both spouses were having extramarital relations and that Pamela may have been planning on leaving her husband for another man.