The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Child Abuse in Los Angeles

Child abuse can broadly be defined as any type of cruelty that is inflicted upon a child. Mental abuse, physical harm, neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation are all considered different forms of child abuse in California. Lawmakers are constantly making new developments and proposing new bills when it comes to child abuse as a criminal matter.

If you need legal advice on any criminal law issue in Los Angeles, including cases dealing with child abuse, you should speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can assess your legal issue and help develop a good defense strategy. You can find a local attorney by viewing FindLaw's directory of Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys.

Recently in Child Abuse Category

Don't Leave Kids in Hot Cars: It's the Law

Leaving kids in hot cars can lead to unintended and incredibly tragic consequences.

With temperatures in California soaring into the 90s, a car's interior can heat up to 135 degrees or higher, and prove fatal to a small child .

As the temperature continues to rise, so does the risk of vehicular hyperthermia, or heat stroke -- especially for a child left inside a hot vehicle.

For that very reason, it's illegal in California to leave a child in a hot car.

Mom Who Tossed Baby Off Parking Garage Pleads Postpartum Insanity

A mother accused of doing the unthinkable is now pleading the predictable. Sonia Hermosillo, 32, of La Habra, is accused of tossing her 7-month-old son off of a parking garage in August 2011. Her attorney argues that the entire incident was caused by postpartum psychosis, and as a result, her client is not guilty by reason of insanity, reports the Orange County Register.

Before you completely dismiss the argument, note that it took three psychologists’ evaluations to determine that she was competent to stand trial - a much lower bar than sanity. The first two evaluators disagreed with each other, necessitating a tiebreaker. Competency is described as having the ability to understand the proceedings and assist with one’s defense. Her attorney previously described her condition as “marginally coherent.”

Trial Underway For Man Accused of Touching Sleeping Girls

His lawyer admitted that he was an “inadequate man” with compulsions, though they were not sexual. The prosecutor described him as every girl’s worst nightmare. Who exactly is the man who creeps in the night?

Meet Roberto Jacobo Reyes. He is facing a multitude of charges resulting from five incidents over a 13-month period. Each involved breaking into a female victim’s home and touching her while she slept, reports the Orange County Register.

'Operation Boo' and Other Halloween Sex Offender Laws

Halloween might just be the most fun day of the year. As a kid, nothing is better than getting to stay up late, dress up like a Power Ranger, and score buckets and buckets of candy. For young adults, it's an excuse to dress in the most odd and obscene outfits one can imagine and get plastered.

For parents, however, it can be a worrisome day. There are a myriad of dangers that are exacerbated by Halloween, including lead-tainted costumes, drunk drivers, and worst of all, child predators. California gets it. That's why they have the following rules that restrict the movement of sex offenders. It's still a good idea to check the Megan's Law website and plan your trick-or-treating route accordingly, but these laws will hopefully add an extra bit of peace of mind.

Prop. 35: Increases Sex and Labor Trafficking Penalties - Part II

On Wednesday, after discussing the pros and provisions of Prop. 35, we asked the rhetorical question, "Who could argue against additional penalties for child sex traffickers?" Well, we call those people lawyers. Whatever you do, don't rely on the state-provided arguments. They are laughably bad.

So, why might Proposition 35 actually be worth voting against? There are a few reasons. The increased sentences might qualify as cruel and unusual in certain cases. Longer sentences also mean further strain on the state budget. Plus, we already have laws that cover these acts. Finally, the law might allow voluntary prostitutes to escape punishment.

Prop. 35: Increases Sex and Labor Trafficking Penalties - Part I

Proposition 35 is well-intentioned. No one can credibly deny that. If it passes, it will increase penalties for labor trafficking and add penalties for trafficking in the sex trade, especially in regards to minors. It also requires those convicted of sex trafficking to register as sex offenders. And really, who could possibly object to increasing penalties for pimps of underage prostitutes?

What it Changes

Under existing state law, labor trafficking is already illegal. Typically, this is where someone is coerced into providing labor without pay under duress, such as the abduction of an illegal immigrant and coercion with threats of deportation. Prop. 35 increases the potential punishment from five years in prison to twelve.

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 naivetĂ©. 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.

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.

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.