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Articles Tagged with California criminal defense attorney

When Americans go to the polls, they have to believe that their vote counts and that all votes will be counted honestly and appropriately for fair and free elections to take place. However, when the established rules are not followed and the system is abused, anyone involved in such actions can be charged with voter fraud. In California, voter fraud is a crime, just as it is in every state across the nation. There are four categories in which acts of California voter fraud can fall within the scope of the law. These are the four violation categories:

  • Voter registration
  • Petition initiative 
  • Election day and voting
  • Nomination and election campaign

California Voter Fraud Violations Explained

Below details a breakdown of California voter fraud violations.

  • Voter Registration Fraud – When ineligible voters are registered to vote, that will fall under voter registration fraud. Examples of ineligible parties would be animals, deceased persons, fictitious people, or anyone under the law who does not have the right to vote. If you are charged with California voter registration fraud, how you are charged will be based on the details of your crimes. As a wobbler crime, a prosecutor can decide to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges come with as much as a year to be served in county jail while felonies can come with up to three years of jail time. Fines may also be assessed.
  • Election-day Fraud – When there is an exchange of money for votes, aggression or threats for votes, voting multiple times in the same election, voting when you are not lawfully allowed to vote, falsely taking on another person’s identity to vote these acts are considered election-day fraud. These actions will result in California felony charges and the punishment can be jail time up to three years and fines as high as $10,000.

Being arrested and charged with voter fraud violations in California is serious and there are many consequences for such actions. Other illegal acts related to the voting system include:

  • Trying to intimidate or influence a vote within 100 feet from the polling location
  • Having a gun at a polling place
  • Meddling with a voting machine
  • Fraudulently voting with mail-in ballots

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On Thursday, September 8, a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with charges of stalking. The man allegedly was stalking a San Carlos woman who is attending UC San Diego. According to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Jonathan Derasacosta was arrested for stalking the UC San Diego female student. The Sheriff’s offices also said that this was not the first time that Derasacosta was arrested for stalking the same woman. In 2019, Derasacosta was arrested two times on suspicion of stalking this UC San Diego student.

According to reports, the female student built a relationship with Derasacosta before she traveled to Southern California for school. When the COVID-19 crisis took place government officials decided that some people in jail should be released to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Derasacosta was one of these individuals who was released in early 2020.

The report of Derasacosta’s actions includes that he went to the victim’s home in San Carlos. While she was taking online classes, she saw Derasacosta use a substance that was red in color, and may have potentially been blood, use it to write her name on a wall. The female victim did not know that Derasacosta moved to San Diego when she started college at UC San Diego.  

The actions Derasacosta took resulted in an arrest for suspicion of stalking, committing a felony while on bail, and disobeying a court order. The authorities are asking the public for any information that they can supply. 

What is Stalking in California?

California’s penal code 646.9 PC says that the crime of stalking includes following, harassing, and threatening other people so much so that the person you are attacking is concerned for their safety. Stalking in California is considered a wobbler charge, which means that it can be either charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Time served for a conviction of a California stalking charge can mean you will spend as much as five years in jail or prison.

Some examples of legitimate stalking include:

  • Making excessive calls to another party when they have not asked to be called or have asked you to stop. Also, making threatening statements while on the phone.
  • Sending unwanted gifts regularly that have threatening notes.
  • Disputes with neighbors where you are making threatening statements on a daily or weekly basis about the dispute and your dissatisfaction with their actions or inactions.

To combat charges or stalking some strategies include:

  • Downplaying the threat and showing that it was not believable.
  • Saying that the plaintiff was making up stories and that the crimes you are being accused of have never happened.
  • No intent to cause terror or fear in the plaintiff ever existed.
  • You were engaging in behavior that was protected under the constitution.

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On June 25 San Diego police received a call at just before 10:30 p.m. regarding an assault incident that took place. When the authorities arrived at the scene, located at the Charles Lewis III Park in the 4300 block of Home Avenue, they spotted a man with stab wounds. The man was identified as 31-year-old Leah Capaal Worley. He was alive when deputies arrived at the Ridgeview-Webster neighborhood. 

According to the SDPD, Worley had multiple stab wounds in the upper parts of his body. Paramedics were also on the scene and they were able to transport Worley to the local hospital. At the hospital, Worley succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead. Now, the SDPD is appealing to the public for any information on the person who stabbed and killed Leah Capaal Worley.

Despite being found on the 4300 block of Home Avenue, investigators suggested that they believe Worley was actually stabbed on the 4600 block of Home Avenue. Investigators said that after he was stabbed, he drove himself to the location where the authorities found him.

Are There Many Fatal Stabbing Victims in the United States?

When examining the Federal Bureau of Investigations statistics, the numbers show that blunt objects such as a hammer or a club are responsible for more deaths every year in the United States than deaths from rifles. In 2017, the statistics indicate that over 460 people died as a result of trauma from a blunt object while that same year, just a bit above 400 deaths resulted from gunshot wounds from rifles. 

In 2017, knives and other sharp cutting tools were behind over 1,500 people. What this means is that stabbing deaths happen frequently, much more so than deaths from being shot by a rifle. In 2017, a death from a violent act was four times more likely to occur from an assailant with a knife than an assailant with a rifle.

From January 2020 through July 2020, the City of San Diego Police saw 1,888 reported violent assaults. During this timeframe, there were also 30 murders. The neighborhoods of Southcrest and Mountain View in the greater San Diego region had the most murders during this time, with three each. In the first half of 2019, local law enforcement agencies reported receiving over 5,500 violent crime incidents resulting in an average of 31 violent crime incidents taking place per day in the San Diego area. Continue reading

A 63-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after an altercation in which he was shot. The incident took place in the Jamacha-Lomita neighborhood in San Diego at approximately 4:00 p.m. Police were called to the 7900 block of Gribble Street on Friday afternoon. The police said that the victim was in an active argument with the shooter and the altercation ended with the victim being shot three times. 

The police were able to secure the victim and have him safely transported to the local hospital for treatment. The victim is expected to survive his injuries. According to the San Diego Police Department, the incident appears to be gang-related, and the detectives are conducting the investigation. The only identifying information that the police have to offer is that the suspect is a black male who had on a red t-shirt.

The Most Helpful Tips for De-Escalating an Argument

Not every argument ends in gunfire, but when tensions are high, people can be unpredictable. Depending on what the argument is about and the character or temper of the parties involved, the outcome of a verbal disagreement could be violence. To avoid this perilous situation when you are in a heated argument, consider trying the following tips:

  • Take a moment and step back to inhale deeply. This time of pause will allow you to better calm yourself and reassess the situation and your response. By internally counting to 3, you can figure out why you are having the disagreement and the best way to let the other party know you heard them, even if you do not agree with them.
  • Use facts and reason when you provide your response, Never allow your emotions to take over just because doing so may feel good at the time. An outburst will not likely do anything to help; it will likely raise the tension.
  • When you are arguing your side, it is better to make a clear explanation of your position rather than trying to compete to win over another party. You can clearly explain how you feel and why without trying to win, and this approach can lower the intensity of the confrontation.
  • Not every disagreement has to be an argument. Sometimes people fight over the most insignificant things. Pick your battles and save your energy and time for only those conflicts that really warrant the effort.
  • Keep an open mind and consider that people do not always think the same way. If, potentially, you can look at the situation from the other party’s point of view, you may not agree but you may have a better understanding of what they are saying.
  • When no resolution is in sight, it is ok to “agree to disagree,” and then move on.

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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 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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