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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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A shooting was reported to have taken place in the Mountain View area recently. Police said that there was a verbal argument between two groups on the 200 block of Southlook Avenue a bit before 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday. The responding officer explained that the argument quickly turned violent when at least one person shot off many bullets into a crowd of people. As the shots were fired, the crowd dispersed and many people fled the scene. One man, a 27-year-old, was shot in the back. He was transported to the local hospital for treatment. It is believed that his injuries are not life-threatening. The SPPD arrested one 18-year-old man in connection with the incident. The shooting was believed to be gang-related. 

 

How Does San Diego Respond to Gang Activity?

 

There are 10 teams of uniformed officers and criminal investigators that make up the San Diego Street Gang Unit. They are divided into three categories:

 

  • Gang Suppression Team which is in operation every day of the week, every week of the year patrolling the streets where gang activity and crimes are the highest.
  • Graffiti Strike Force watches for new groups that splinter off into and begin developing their own criminal gang network. A group is considered a gang when the following criteria are met:
    • A group name or an identifiable leader
    • The group claims an area of the city or their turf, is a criminal enterprise, or engages in criminal activity that causes or contributes to the decline of a community
    • The group meets regularly
    • The group commits two or more felonies as listed in PC 186.22f
  • Gang Investigations are most focused on felony crimes committed by gang members and are specifically tasked with the removal of the most violent gang offenders from the public sphere.

 

Together the Street Gang Unit’s goal is to crack down on gang-related crime and reduce membership in gangs in the city. The city takes gang violence and crime seriously by forcefully prosecuting gang members. Everything from secret surveillance systems to special operations and fieldwork help the unit find and arrest San Diego gang members. Reducing gang activity is important to keeping the neighborhoods in the city and the residents safe.

Are You Facing San Diego Violent Crime Charges and Need Legal Representation?

 

The Law Offices of David M. Boerjte can help you when you have been arrested and charged with a San Diego violent crime. Our law firm has successfully represented individuals charged with:

 

  • Assault and Battery
  • Domestic Violence
  • Hate Crimes
  • Arson
  • Manslaughter
  • Illegal Possession of Weapons, 
  • Homicide
  • Attempted Murder

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In June, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that requires all people who are outside of their homes to have a mask on. People in California have been mandated to have a mask on at all times if they are not at home, and that includes wearing one while walking about outside. Supporting Gov. Newsom’s order is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has also ordered those in L.A. to be wearing a mask outside their private homes. However, despite these orders, one Los Angeles Councilman says there are too many people in his district who are not adhering to the requirements and are not wearing masks.

 

Councilman Paul Koretz who represents Bel Air, Westwood, Culver City, Encino, Palms, and South Robertson, says that he sees far too many people walking around his district directly disobeying the mandate. Koretz suggested that there be punishments for those who are not wearing their masks by considering refusal to wear one to be reckless endangerment. Now an L.A. City Council committee is exploring ways to motivate residents to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Recommendations include forms of enforcement including the issuing of citations in addition to a public education campaign explaining the need for masks.

 

Imperial County in California has been negatively impacted by the virus the most in recent weeks. This county, outside of San Diego, is nearing 23% for their test positivity rate over a two-week period. More testing and increased numbers in hospitalization rates from the virus are causing great unease across the state.

 

Gov. Newsom announced that he is leaving the COVID-preventative restrictions to be decided by officials in their respective counties. However, if these counties are unable to figure out an effective way of getting their residents to wear masks, Newsom said he would intervene. Newsome urged officials in Imperial County to re-issue the stay-at-home order and shut back down. 

 

How Does the Los Angeles Police Department Feel About Mask Enforcement Measures?

 

Newsom warned the state that those counties that will not comply with widespread maks-wearing will risk losing some of the $2.5 billion COVID-19 funding. The LAPD has tried to stay on the sidelines thus far, hoping that the public would overwhelmingly decide to wear their masks on their own. Police officials would prefer not to have to issue citations and fines to individuals without masks. There were cases reported of incidents in which people were charged with trespassing when they would not use their masks inside a private business. 

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At least $10 million in products, close to $100,000 in cash, and five guns were all confiscated by police as a result of raids on illegal marijuana dispensaries in Chula Vista. The police also arrested 15 individuals who were working the illegal operations in addition to one customer. Police Lt. Dan Peak said that the arrests led to six felony and 10 misdemeanor charges.

 

Residents in the area complained about the illegal operations that were largely located near elementary schools. In 2018, Chula Vista legalized dispensaries but have not issued permits leading to legal cannabis operations. Since 2014, there have been over 50 dispensaries shut down by authorities. Dispensaries that are shut down will often simply reopen after a period of time or relocate their operations, making the initiative to close these businesses down very difficult.

 

Not only are operations illegal, police argue that they are unsafe for the public. Modifications done to buildings are not approved or inspected and could be a fire hazard or otherwise trap people in an emergency situation. The increase in pressure for recent enforcement measures has upped the ante from civil proceedings to criminal charges. April alone saw six criminal complaints filed. The local police and the City Attorney’s Office with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office will not back down. These officials plan to continue moving forward with criminal enforcement on those locations which are illegally selling marijuana. The police indicated that at any given time, there are numerous illegally-operating dispensaries.

 

Marijuana Laws in California

 

Individuals aged 21 years or older are permitted to have a maximum of 28.5 grams of marijuana in their possession or up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. Consuming marijuana must be done on private property. If you rent an apartment and the landlord has not given consent for smoking, you are not permitted to smoke. Also, any location where tobacco is prohibited, marijuana is also not allowed.

 

The cultivation of plants is legal. Individuals aged 21 years or older are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants indoors or outdoors in areas where it is permitted through local regulations. To do business, both a state and local license are necessary. Without a license, selling marijuana is still a crime in the state of California. Licenses are issued by the Bureau of Marijuana Control. Also, selling to a minor is illegal and comes with felony charges.

 

Other laws say that driving with marijuana can garner you a fine of up to $100. Those who require medical marijuana can obtain it through non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries. Continue reading

Protests over the killing of of George Floyd by a police officer in downtown Minneapolis came with waves of violence and looting across the country. In San Diego, the aftermath of prolonged protests that melded with rowdy rioters was over 100 arrests being made by the San Diego Police Department. At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Monday, June 1, the SDPD announced that the charges were diverse and included failure to disperse, assaulting officers, burglary, and vandalism.

 

Due to the unrest, officials decided to close all state buildings with offices located in the downtown area of the city on Monday. Amy Palmer, the spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency indicated that the decision was made after discussions between the California Highway Patrol and the Office of Emergency Services, where it was determined that the closures were necessary. The Department of Motor Vehicles all the way through offices that act to license workers and those that provide healthcare were closed down while urging those employees who can work from home to continue to do so.

 

The protests contained very tense moments. At one point, traffic on Interstate 5 was shut down by the protesters’ presence in the streets. In some instances, officers fired tear gas, flashbangs, and used less-lethal ammunition to control the unruly crowds. Much destruction to the community was left afterward. After the protests subsided, a large group of volunteers spent their day cleaning up businesses that were damaged and picked up debris on the ground from the chaos that took place earlier.

 

What is Considered “Vandalism”?

 

When an individual is determined and intent to destroy or bring about damages to property by way of trashing or tarnishing the appearance of the property, defacing it, or ruining it in such a way that its value is decreased, this act is considered vandalism. Vandalism is a willful crime and can include any of the following acts:

 

  • Using a marker to write on a public bench
  • Carving words, letters, or symbols into a public tree
  • Scratching up a car or slashing tires
  • Smashing windows
  • Spray painting buildings

 

There are other terms that are used synonymously “vandalism.” These include “destruction of property” and “damage to property.” Depending on the state you live in, these terms may describe more serious forms of property destruction. Other states use these terms in tandem with vandalism keeping the crimes in the same category. Crimes associated with vandalism, therefore, vary by state, and as such, so do the penalties.

 

In general, in order for you to be proven guilty of committing vandalism, the prosecutor must successfully make the case that the following took place:

 

  • Your acts resulted in physical damage
  • Your damage was done to another owner’s property who did not give you permission to change their property’s appearance
  • Your acts were done intentionally, not by accident

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Two juveniles have been arrested for participation in the death of a 16-year-old boy who was found beaten and lying on a San Diego Street on Wednesday, April 15. San Diego Police Lt. Matt Dobbs said that the homicide was reported at 10:30 a.m. in the 3000 block of C Street in the Golden Hill area. When officers arrived at the scene they found the boy, identified as Lawrence Furchell, laying in the street with head trauma. The officials provided aid to the boy until an ambulance came to transport Furchell to the local hospital for treatment. Furchell died in the hospital.

 

Homicide investigators were evaluating the scene to determine how the incident took place. They indicated that Furchell was riding in a large black SUV and he suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The two boys who were arrested in connection with the crime were aged 17 and 16. They were booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of murder. 

 

Investigators are still assessing the incident and piecing together the crime scene to determine how the murder happened and why. They are asking the public to contact the homicide unit with any information related to the murder.

 

How Are Juvenile Crimes Handled in California?

 

Criminal defendants under the age of 18 can be sent to either juvenile court or tried in adult court, depending on the crime. If sent to juvenile court, there is no jury. A judge will review their case and determine whether or not the juvenile is guilty of a crime. Punishments for young offenders can range from moderate to severe, depending on the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.

 

Juvenile court may sentence the child to incarceration or non-incarceration punishments. Incarceration options could include:

 

  • House arrest
  • Removal from home shared with parents or guardian to a foster home or group home
  • Juvenile hall
  • Probation
  • Secured juvenile facility
  • Adult jail
  • Combination of juvenile facility until the age of 18 then to an adult jail

 

If a juvenile is at least 14 years of age, the crimes that could put him or her in front of an adult court include:

 

  • First degree murder
  • Rape
  • Forcible sex offenses with the help of other people
  • Forcible lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age
  • Forcible penetration by a foreign object
  • Sodomy by force or violence

 

Get the Help You Need From a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

 

The outcome of your child’s case will stick with him or her for life. If your child is being tried in adult court for murder, he or she could be looking at 25 years to life in prison. It is imperative that if you or a loved one is charged with a San Diego County murder that you immediately seek the counsel of an experienced San Diego murder and homicide defense attorney.

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