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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Mario Chavez, 22, was arrested in connection with the robbery of a smoke shop. According to San Diego Police, Chavez went into the Cherokee Point smoke shop located and used a knife to rob the store. The SDPD got the call about the robbery after 11:30 p.m., and Officer Robert Heims responded to the crime scene.

Chavez reportedly walked into the shop and requested many items from the display. After he made his selections, he took his knife out and approached the clerk. He then demanded a lighter. While Chavez was still in the store and standing at the counter, the clerk alerted authorities. When the SDPD arrived, Chavez was still in the smoke shop and the police arrested him. The SDPD took Chavez to the San Diego Central Jail at approximately 3:40 a.m. where he was booked on suspicion of robbery.

Robbery in California

Under California Penal Code 211 PC, when you are charged with robbery you have taken property that belonged to another party against the other party’s will and by means of force or fear. Robbery is considered a felony in California and convicted individuals could be looking at as much as nine years in state prison.

You will need an effective legal defense strategy to combat your robbery charges. Some of the most common defenses against a robbery charge are:

  • You were not trying to do anything mischievous by taking the property because you believed you had the right to do so. For example, a friend says they are going to give you an item they no longer need. You agree to accept it and then you go to their home to pick it up but they are not home. You go to take the item, but their roommate is home and tries to stop you from taking it. A struggle over the property ensues, and you use force to pull the object away from the roommate. The roommate does not know that you were told you could have the object, which is why there is a struggle.
  • You are innocent of the crime because it was not you that committed the crime. You were mistakenly identified as the criminal.
  • You did not use force or fear to steal property. An example would be if you sat by another party, and when the other party set down their purse, you picked it up without them seeing and walked away. Yes you were near the other party and you stole, but you did not use force or intimidation to do so.
  • You were falsely accused of stealing property.   

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A man was strangled at a park in Emerald Hills by another man who was allegedly yelling “I’m going to kill you” to the victim. On July 11, a man who was described as approximately 40 years of age with a thin mustache and goatee, who was about 6’ in height and around 170 pounds. He had a look that could indicate he had jaundice or other condition that caused the whites of his eyes to be yellow in color. The suspect attacked a 23-year-old man at Emerald Hills Park on Bethune Court. The San Diego County Crime Stoppers used the information to release a composite sketch for the community of the suspect. If found, the suspect will be charged with attempted homicide.

The incident took place in the middle of the day at 1:50 p.m. According to the victim, the suspect tried to grab for the victim’s cell phone which was on a table in the park. When the victim witnessed this the two men got into a physical altercation. The suspect revealed a box cutter and began threatening the victim that he was going to kill him. The suspect used the box cutter to stab the victim in his arm, and then he proceeded to strangle the young man. After the San Diego Police arrived on the scene they were able to get the victim medical care. The victim received 18 staples to the laceration on his arm.

The last report of the suspect placed him walking into a canyon near Kelton Road and state Route 94. The SDPD is hopeful that the sketch will result in more leads from the public. The suspect was said to be wearing a bright orange, flat brim hat that had a white “C” on the front, a very large navy sweatshirt with a hood, dark-colored sweatpants, and a gray backpack that had zebra stripes at the time of the attack. The investigation is active and ongoing. 

Can Composite Sketches Lead to Arrests?

When a suspect connected to a crime is at large, the police take many actions to locate and find the individual. One of the ways that they look for information is to reach out to the community and see what details and facts they can gather to help them find the suspect. They will also release composite sketches if they have a victim or witnesses that can provide a description. The sketch can help get the public more involved in helping and potentially lead to an identification. 

There are many factors that go into how accurate the drawing will be including the recollection of a witness and the skill of the artist. While there may not be firm statistics on how effective composite sketches are at finding suspects, it is known that there are cases where a sketch was pivotal in finding a suspect and making an arrest. Continue reading

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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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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