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On August 28 at 12:30 a.m., Chula Vista police were called about a body in the street. When they arrived at the scene, 33-year-old Laura Rodriguez was found dead. Her body was located near Shasta and 2nd street, 10 miles south of San Diego. According to Chula Vista Police Department Lt. Dan Peak, Rodriguez was found naked with head trauma. Lt. Peak said that her death was suspicious. 

 

Rodriguez is survived by two daughters aged 12 and 14. A GoFundMe page has been established to raise money for her funeral expenses. The page has accumulated close to $18,000, surpassing its goal of $16,000. According to the GoFundMe page, Rodriguez enjoyed hiking and biking and was a dedicated mother. She was a person who cared about others and was always there to help those in need.

 

Investigators indicated that they did not find any evidence that Rodriguez was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Her body was also void of gunshot wounds or stabbing injuries. Officers who arrived at the scene did attempt life-saving measures to save the young woman but to no avail. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

 

Rodriguez’s brother, Daniel, identified his sister as the victim during an interview with Fox San Diego. He asked anyone with information to please contact the police. A local resident has said that he heard the noise of an engine revving prior to Rodriguez’s body being discovered. A tow truck took a gray Chevy from the crime scene.

 

San Diego Violent Crime Rate

 

In 2018, the San Diego general crime rate was 1.3 times lower than the national average. That year, San Diego’s violent crime rate was 211.3 while the national average was 207.3 making it notably higher than much of the country. This is a significant increase from 2017, when the city’s violent crime rate was 8.6 times smaller than the national average’s violent crime rate. San Diego’s crime rate was 70.4% higher than in other cities in the country. For the past five years, the city of San Diego’s violent crime rate has been trending up while property crimes have been decreasing.

 

Violent crime includes homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. In just the first half of 2019, San Diego law enforcement reported on average 31 violent crimes every day.

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Scott Peterson became a well-known name when he was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife Laci in 2002. He was facing the death penalty for the murder. Recently, the California Supreme Court overturned his death penalty sentence. According to Justice Leondra Kruger, the trial judge dismissed jurors who were opposed to capital punishment. Discharging prospective jurors was not the right course of action. What should have happened is that these individuals should have been questioned further on their views.

 

The highest court in the state still maintained the guilty verdict of Peterson’s trial and indicated that prosecutors retained the ability to retry him for the death penalty. Not only did Peterson bring up the unfair removal of some jurors, but he also said that the immense amount of publicity that was put on his case before he went to trial precluded fairness. His trial was actually moved to San Mateo County because a judge said that there was no way he could see a fair trial if it took place in Modesto. Peterson’s lawyer said that there still was no fairness in San Mateo County, where a substantial number of jurors interviewed said that they believed he was guilty. For this reason, his trial should have been moved again to an area where there was not such rampant bias.

 

Despite the arguments surrounding the trial’s publicity, the court said that it would be difficult to find an area that had not already heard about the case so continually moving it would not have made a difference. The amount of attention that Peterson’s trial received was on the level of O.J. Simpson and the Manson family. 

 

Prosecutors are determining what course of action to take. They have not come to a decision on whether they will try him again for the death penalty or just allow him to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. One of the considerations that is going to factor into their decision will be the opinions of Laci’s family.

 

The Disappearance of Laci Peterson

 

Laci Peterson was 27 and only a month away from her due date when she went missing on Christmas Eve. According to Scott Peterson, he was fishing in Berkeley at the time of her disappearance. A search for her went on for four months, until a portion of her body and that of her unborn son was spotted by a passerby who was out on a walk. They were found on the rocky shore only a few miles from the location Scott Peterson said he was fishing. Laci’s family was supportive of Scott initially, not suspecting him. But when his mistress, Amber Frey came forward and admitted that she was dating him, that changed. Scott appeared to try to flee but authorities found him in San Diego county with bleached hair and $15,000, where they arrested him.

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The professional skateboarder, Robert Lorifice, was sentenced to five years on supervised release and one year on house arrest after his connection to the federal drug trafficking case. Jude Dana M. Sabraw sentenced Lorifice on August 7. In addition to his sentence, he must pay $2,000 in fines.

 

In 2019 Lorifice pleaded guilty for his intent to distribute the methamphetamine and heroin he had in his possession. Alongside Lorifice was Elizabeth Landis, who also pleaded guilty to the same charges. Landis was a former girlfriend of the professional skateboarder. The charges came about after a raid took place at Lorifice’s home. Authorities found the drugs as well as over 800 Xanax pills. Lorifice admitted that he and his former girlfriend organized drug deals and that they sold drugs for money.

 

Lorifice and Landis said that they attempted to get rid of the drugs in the house by flushing them down the toilet and in a sink in the master bedroom. When the authorities entered the home, they found the pair trying to flush the drugs away. Deputies found drugs next to the toilet and in the sink. They also found Xanax pills, heroin, and meth in a closet. There was money and a passport located in a safe that was in another closet. Throughout the bedroom were plastic baggies, various pills, marijuana, mushrooms, packing materials, and a digital scale. Altogether, there were 231.6 grams of heroin, 193 grams of meth, 196 grams of marijuana, as well as over $16,000 taken from the home.

 

Even Professional Athletes Fall on Hard Times

 

As a native of Encinitas, Robert Lorifice was interested in skateboarding at a young age. Since he was 6, he would go to the Magdalena Ecke YMCA skatepark and practice his craft. He admired other professional skateboarders like Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald, who were also local to the area and would skate at the park. By the age of 16, Lorifice was good enough to turn pro. He steadily worked his way up the ranks of professional vert skating. When he was just 22, he won four X Games medals for vert and MegaRamp. 

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A man is facing a plethora of charges after he shot a BB gun at a business in Oceanside. The man was identified as Steve Soto, 23, of Carlsbad. Soto allegedly drove to Bliss Tea & Treats at approximately 7:10 p.m. and fired a BB gun at the business, which resulted in a shattered window. The cost of the damage was estimated at over $1,800. 

 

The business had signage posted that they were owned by black people and that they were in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Using surveillance footage, San Diego detectives were able to identify the vehicle that Soto was in when he shot at the business. Eventually, that footage helped the authorities arrest Soto.

 

Soto is facing vandalism and  hate crime charges for his actions. Additionally, he also is looking at assault with a deadly weapon for a prior offense in which he used his BB gun to shoot another man. The criminal complaint states that both incidents have also added two misdemeanor counts of discharging a BB gun in a grossly negligent manner to the list. 

 

Soto pleaded not guilty to all of the charges during his arraignment. The owners of Bliss Tea & Treats served him with a protective order requiring him to keep his distance from them, and the victim who was shot in the May incident also received a protective order against Soto. Soto is being held in custody and will be going back to court this month.

 

After the news came out about the incident, a GoFundMe page was created for the shop. The page successfully raised over $3,000 for the owners of Bliss Tea & Treats to put toward fixing the damage caused by the shooting.

 

Is a BB Gun Considered a Weapon in California?

 

In California, PC 245(a) makes it illegal to assault another party using a deadly weapon or any type of tool that is not a gun. The law does identify BB guns as an instrument, not a firearm. This is so because PC 16700 dictates that BB guns are not considered real guns, but rather imitation guns. Despite not being considered a real gun, they are still considered a weapon when they are used to commit an assault on another person. When you intend to cause another person harm by shooting your BB gun, and the BB pellets connect with a victim causing injuries, you could be looking at an assault with a deadly weapon charge in California.

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A 24-year-old woman was seriously injured when she was hit by a flying object while walking to her car in Carmel Valley. According to authorities, the incident took place in the parking lot located at 12600 Torrey Bluff Drive at approximately 9:45 p.m. The woman was with friends when a dark-colored SUV drove past and a person in the car threw an object out of an open window, striking the woman. She was hit in the eye and her injuries were so severe that she reportedly sustained permanent orbital-bone damage.

 

Now, investigators are asking the community to help identify the person who threw the object. If found, the individual will be facing felony battery charges. Currently, there is no description of the individual. Using surveillance footage from around the area where the attack happened, the authorities are trying to look for clues as to who did it. They are not getting much help because they have yet to find video documentation of the incident. The San Diego Police Department does believe that the assault was unprovoked. 

 

Anyone who has information on the incident has been asked to call San Diego Country Crimes Stoppers or to go online and provide their feedback. All contact with the agency is anonymous, and an individual with helpful information may be eligible for a monetary award of as much as $1,000.

 

What is the Orbital-bone of the Eye?

 

The cup-shaped bone that encapsulates your eye is what makes up the eye socket. The structure of the eye socket is shaped by seven different bones. The bones protect the eye and give it a place to sit within the face. Muscles for eye movement, tear glands, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments are also held within the eye socket. When the eye socket sustains an injury like a fracture, 28% of these cases will result in damage to the eye and some amount of vision impairment.

 

All of the seven bones are vulnerable to being fractured, or only a few may be damaged depending on the details of an accident. The type of fracture that results will then be classified into one of three categories based on how the fracture took place and how the bones respond to the impact. When a person sustains an eye fracture, the victim may experience any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Reduced vision
  • Seeing double
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Bruising 
  • Bleeding around the eye
  • An eye that tears up
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sunken eye or a protruding eye
  • Loss of eye movement

 

For some eye fractures, surgery will be required. In other cases, surgery is unnecessary and the injury can heal with time. 

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A former San Diego sheriff’s deputy has been charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting a subject who was running away from a park ranger’s vehicle. The subject was identified as Nicholas Bils, age 36. Bils was arrested by park rangers at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park after he and park rangers got into a dispute. Once inside the park ranger’s vehicle, Bils was able to slip out of his handcuffs, exit the vehicle, and try to flee the vicinity. 

 

Aaron Russel, age 23, was the San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who spotted Bils running. Russel began to chase Bils down the street in front of a San Diego courthouse. During the chase, Russel fired four shots at Nicholas Bils, killing him.

 

Kathleen Bils, the mother of Nicholas Bils, said that the confrontation with the park rangers took place because the rangers were trying to tell her son that the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kathleen indicated that her son was suffering from a major fear of law enforcement and was also a paranoid schizophrenic. According to Kathleen, Nicholas had a long history of mental health issues. She explained that the park rangers must have scared her son and that he reacted the way that he did because he did not understand what they were saying. According to reports, Nicholas began swinging a golf club at the rangers and then tried to run from them. The rangers eventually caught up with Nicholas, and when they did they arrested him and placed him in their vehicle. Nicholas was able to escape out of a window that was rolled down at the time of his arrest.

 

How is Lethal Force by a Police Officer Treated in California?

 

In 2019, Governor Gain Newsom signed updated legislation that was introduced by California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that described new rules on when law enforcement can legally use lethal force in the line of duty. The law states that an officer can only use lethal force when necessary. Before this law was signed, the guidelines on lethal force said it could be used if any reasonable officer would have done the same thing given the circumstances. The legislation made California one of the most strict states in the nation when it comes to law enforcement’s ability to use lethal force.

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An inmate at the Donovan Correctional Center in California died on Friday, July 10. Details as to how and why the inmate passed have not yet been released. An investigation into the death is currently underway. One of the responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General is to ensure that there is fair management, oversight, and transparency with regards to practices and procedures with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Who is Incarcerated in California State Prisons?

According to data released by the Public Policy Institute of California, there have been approximately 115,000 inmates serving time in California’s prisons since 2017. Out of all of the state-owned prisons, 37% are over capacity. African Americans represent a majority of the prison population in California. The information released by the PPIC indicates that 28.5% of the population is made up of African-American males. Imprisonment of African Americans is 10 times that of their white counterparts. This is also the case when it comes to the female population. In the female prison system, 25.9% of the female inmates are African American. This means that African-American women are imprisoned at a rate five times higher than white women.

Over 81% of the inmates who are imprisoned in the California correctional system were born in the United States, while 13% were born in a foreign country. The diverse population has at least one thing in common, which is that they are aging. During the period from 2000 to 2017, the number of prisoners who were aged 50 or older skyrocketed to 19% of the population. While this time period showed an increase in the aging population, it also reported a decrease in younger inmates aged 25 and below. When looking at all of this information combined, the average age of a male in California state prisons is 40, while the average age for women is just below that at 38.

There are many prisoners who will be released after they serve about half of their four-year sentences, but a greater number of inmates will be serving time far beyond this amount of time. While the types of crimes that cause an inmate to be imprisoned are diverse, the most common offenses that brought people to be incarcerated in California state prisons in 2017 included:

  • Assault
  • Weapons offenses
  • Robbery

All of these offenses are considered serious violent crimes by the state.

Do You Need a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you have been arrested for a crime in California, you may be facing some amount of jail time. Spending time behind bars is not only difficult, but having this blemish on your record can negatively affect your life and the opportunities available to you after your release. It is important to fight your charges, and the California criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Boertje have the experience you need to help you reduce potential jail time or even eliminate it altogether. Continue reading

Crime in America is not something that occurs in only some states; every state has its hotspots where criminal incidents are high. In California, according to the Department of Justice’s Crime Data report, violent crime decreased by 1.5% from 2017 to 2018. The homicide rate also decreased by 4.3%. Other notable decreases in crime include:

 

  • Robberies were down 4.5%
  • Motor vehicle theft decreased by 8.3%
  • Larceny theft was down by 3.7%

 

Even the total arrest rate in California was reported to have decreased by 1.1% from 2017. Although the trend from 2017 to 2018 showed a decreased rate of crime, there is no question that some cities are far more dangerous than others.

 

What Were the Five Most Dangerous Cities in California in 2019?

 

  1. Eureka is not just an unsafe city for the state of California, but it tops the charts as one of the most unsafe in the nation. There are more than 1,700 crimes reported each year in the city. The majority are property crimes, but there is a significant portion made up of violent crimes. Approximately 244 reported crimes out of the total are violent.

 

  1. Commerce, located in Los Angeles County, has over 9,000 property crimes reported for every 100,000 people. Burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft have significantly higher rates in Commerce than compared to the rest of the country. While there has been a dip in violent crime in the city, murder, rape, and assault incidents are also higher when compared to the U.S. as a whole.

 

  1. Red Bluff comes with a crime rate that is 168% higher than all the crimes reported in the whole state of California. If you visit Red Bluff, you have a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim of a crime.

 

  1. Oakland is a big city — the eighth largest in California. Residents are at high risk for both property crime and violent crimes there. Living in Oakland, you have a 1 in 7.6 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Crime in Oakland is almost 160% higher than the national average.

 

  1. Emeryville, located north of Oakland, has the most property crimes reported versus any other city in the state of California. The violent crime rate is seeing a decrease, but it is still much higher than in other cities in the state. Emeryville has been the most dangerous city in California for three consecutive years, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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There are those who would not have sentenced Betty Broderick to prison and those who believe her sentence was just and that prison time was deserved. In 2017, Betty had the chance at parole but was denied. Betty never refuted that she shot her ex-husband and his young wife, but she did explain that she was a battered woman at the hands of her ex-husband and she committed the murders when her life circumstances became so overwhelming that she snapped. There have been numerous television shows and movies inspired by the crime.

 

What is Betty Broderick’s Story?

 

In 1965, Betty and Dan Broderick met during a Notre Dame football weekend in South Bend, Indiana. At the time of their meeting, Dan was a senior in college and Betty attended an all-girls Catholic school in the Bronx. While Dan was living at school, Betty lived at home with her family. Dan was immediately taken with the pretty young blonde and was in constant communication with her. According to Betty, they were very similar and both had the same dreams for their future, including enhanced social status and a large family. 

 

In 1969 Dan and Betty married, and by 1970 they became new parents to their daughter, Kimberly. Dan attended medical school and then pursued a law degree at Harvard Law School. In 1971, the couple moved to Massachusetts and had their second daughter, Lee. By 1973, Dan was hired at a Law Firm in San Diego, California, and moved to a beautiful beachfront community. The couple then went on to have more children, Daniel in 1976 and Rhett in 1979.

 

The Brodericks lived a luxurious life of country clubs and vacations, their children went to private schools and they appeared to have the perfect existence. But they argued quite frequently and sometimes the fights were violent. The children’s home life was volatile. In 1983 Dan hired a young legal assistant, Linda Kolkena, who looked strikingly similar to Betty in her younger years. After working together, Dan had an affair with Linda.

 

Betty found out about the indiscretions of her husband and eventually, after a tumultuous multi-year process, divorced him. Dan and Linda went on to marry. More turbulent times ensued between Betty and Dan. Betty was bent on revenge and broke into the home of Dan and his new wife Linda, where she shot both of them while they slept.

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On Saturday, May 23, a woman allegedly brandished a knife and fought a police canine in the East Village. According to the San Diego Police Department, an officer shot and wounded her. The incident was reported at 9:50 p.m. in the 500 block of Park Boulevard. Witnesses called the police to report being hit by glass that the 26-year-old woman was throwing at them from an upper-level apartment.

 

Lt. Andra Brown of the SDPD said that upon arrival, broken glass and furniture were seen on the sidewalk. Officers attempted to talk with the woman, but this did not stop her from throwing items from her apartment window. Officers also noted that she was seen at her window with a knife.

 

The officers were able to get into her apartment where they found her barricaded in her bathroom. They continued to try and speak with her and used a variety of techniques to get her to come out of her bathroom including chemical agents and a police canine. The woman allegedly punched the canine and was threatening officers with the knife. In response, one officer shot the woman. Once she was down, they engaged in first aid and also called the paramedics.

 

None of the officers nor the canine sustained injuries from the incident. Homicide detectives investigated the incident because of the officer’s action to shoot the woman. They found the knife in the apartment. The officer that shot the woman was not named and the woman’s identity was not released. It is known that the officer was with the SDPD for over 11 years. Upon completion of the investigation, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office will review it and decide if criminal liability exists.

 

In addition to the homicide detectives’ investigation, Internal Affairs will also review the incident to see if any policy violations took place. The Shooting Review Board will look at the actions that the officer took to ensure they were proper and the Community Review Board on Police Practices will inspect the details of the incident. Last, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be keeping watch over the investigation.

 

When can an Officer Shoot a Firearm?

 

Law enforcement officers are legally allowed to use deadly force if there is a reasonable belief that the incident they are involved in has an impending threat of lethal force coming their way. They can also use their firearm if they believe there is a potential for another officer or a member of the public to be the recipient of deadly force. 

 

The idea of what is “reasonable,” the details of the situation, and the information the officer has at the moment comes into play when evaluating a shooting incident. Under the penal code, officers are able to evaluate a situation and use the necessary force required to control it. Officers can use force when there is resistance or if they determine it is appropriate to try and stop themselves or another person from being hurt or killed.

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