Criminal Defense Blog

SF cops and Fairfield coroner suspected of misconduct

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 6 SF police officers on public corruption charges. They are alleged to have falsified police reports, entered rooms at SRO’s without probable cause, and stolen residents’ belongings. The indictment is the culmination of an investigation which began in 2011 when the SF Public Defender’s Office released video surveillance […]

US Gov’t expands ban on profiling by federal agents

In 2003 the United States Department of Justice under President Bush issued guidelines prohibiting racial profiling. As President Bush stated, “It’s wrong, and we will end it in America.” This was a step in the right direction. There were several loopholes, however. First, it did not apply to national security investigations. Second, it applied to […]

In November of 2012, California voters passed Proposition 36 known as “the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012.” Proposition 36 made it so that a defendant with two prior strikes who commits a felony offense will no longer be sentenced to life in prison unless the new felony is a serious or violent felony or […]

The review group on government surveillance practices just released its report to the White House. The task force was appointed by President Obama to review government intelligence-gathering practices in the wake of the revelations by Edward Snowden of massive mining of individuals’ email and cell phone data. The White House will review the forty or […]

Alameda Board of Supervisors approve house arrest

It’s been frustrating for defendants and their loved ones, but some judges in Alameda County have taken the position that electronic home detention is not an alternative to county jail. These judges reason that if the judge has discretion in deciding the punishment, then electronic home detention is an option. But if the offense contains […]

Case empowers police officer whistleblowers

The Ninth Circuit has decided an important employment law case. In Dahlia v. Rodriguez, the court held that a Burbank police officer who complained about police misconduct by fellow police officers could bring a lawsuit for employment retaliation. The plaintiff in Dahlia was assigned to assist a robbery investigation. He observed other officers beating and […]

DOJ’s new perspective on marijuana enforcement

As I mentioned in my last blog and as you’ve no doubt heard by now, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced potentially far-reaching changes in federal criminal law enforcement. This blog looks at the Department of Justice’s position on marijuana. Deputy Attorney General James Cole testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday and sent […]

“Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it. The reality is, while the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes remains necessary, we cannot prosecute our way to becoming […]

The federal Department of Justice is still investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a federal criminal case against George Zimmerman, namely a prosecution alleging that George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights. The law in question is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. Unlike the title, […]

Should it really matter that at the time George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, Trayvon might have managed to have gotten the upper hand and was slamming George’s head into the pavement? If the reason Trayvon struck George was that George accosted him, wouldn’t that still make Trayvon the person who acted in self defense and […]