Criminal Defense Blog

Supreme Court strikes down unaffordable bail

Supreme Court strikes down bail you can’t afford

The much-awaited case In re Humphrey was decided last week by the California Supreme Court. Kenneth Humphrey was was arrested for the charge of robbery. A judge decided to “release” him as long as he posted bail. The trouble was, Humphrey couldn’t afford bail. Like for so many criminal defendants, bail was so high, that, […]

New California Law, AB 1950, Shortens Probation

Effective as law on January 1 of 2021, California Assembly Bill 1950 places strict limits on the length of probation. For most misdemeanor cases, probation may be not longer than 1 year. For most felony cases, probation may be not longer than 2 years. Some offenses are an exception to these time limitations, so consult […]

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 […]