Criminal Defense Blog

Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy

I recently learned that a friend who is African-American has been detained by the police several times for no good reason. On each occasion, the police stopped him, frisked him for weapons, and asked to know his name and date of birth so that they could proceed to run his rap sheet. When his record […]

Can a DUI be a Felony?

A routine question I ask my new clients is whether they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the answer: No, just a DUI. A DUI is a crime. Most of the time, it’s a misdemeanor. Sometimes a DUI can be charged as a felony. If the […]

Legacy of Exonerations

Check out the National Registry of Exonerations. This database, which is jointly sponsored by the University of Michigan and Northwestern schools of law, attempts to keep track of all exonerations nationwide. The Registry records every exoneration since 1989 and can be sorted by geographic area as well as by cause(s) of wrongful convictions, such as […]

Goodbye to the Felony-Murder Rule

To be guilty of murder, don’t you have to kill someone? You would think. After all, the taking a life is the cornerstone of murder. That’s why people who are guilty of murder are punished so severely. But, shockingly, under California law, you don’t have to be a killer, or even someone who assists a […]

Can I vote if I’m a convicted felon?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t vote. I’m a convicted felon.” Is that true? No!!! While voter registration rules vary from state to state, in California, you can vote after a felony conviction. You just have to finish serving your prison or jail sentence and be off of parole. Even […]

The Anti-Science Wing of the Department of Justice

This Saturday April 22 is Earth Day. It’s also the March for Science. On Saturday, peaceful protestors (including myself) from around the country will take to the streets to protest of the contempt for science and knowledge that are the hallmarks of the Trump Administration. To find a march near you, click here. You should […]

Alameda County fires health-care contractor

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 this month to terminate its contract with Corizon Health Care, the for-profit provider of medical services at Alameda County jails. This is welcome news. Just recently, I had to ask a judge to release a defendant detained at Santa Rita Jail. My client had lost his right hand in an explosion. At […]

How about gun control now?

Even Justice Scalia, who in DC v. Heller greatly expanded the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, recognized that the right to bear arms is not absolute.  In that decision, he noted that no one can question that the government has the power to regulate firearm possession, as through longstanding regulations preventing felons […]

Charges Dismissed Against Rick Perry

I’m not a big fan of the former Texas governor Rick Perry, or of Texas for that matter. But I’ve got to say that I sympathize with him. Last fall, Rick Perry ran for President of the United States, but dropped out of the race because his name and reputation were tainted by pending criminal […]

Is the president gonna take away my guns?

The other day a client asked me whether I thought he should go out and buy a firearm. “Why do you want to buy a gun?” I asked. “With everything you’re hearing about Obama trying to take our guns away,” he replied, “Do you think it’s true? Do you think I should buy a firearm?” […]

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