Criminal Defense Blog

Hello, Anyone Home? Cell Phones and the Right to Privacy

The California Supreme Court came down with a very controversial decision this month. In People v. Diaz the court decided that the police may automatically look through your cell phone or smart phone just because they have arrested you. They do not need to actually have probable cause to believe that evidence will be found […]

Oakland Councilman DeLaFuente Dodges DUI Charges

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office announced yesterday the decision not to bring criminal charges against Oakland City Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente, who was arrested for a DUI last month. To many this smacks of favoritism, including me. The facts of De La Fuente’s case read like so many DUI cases that have […]

Trail-Blazing Not for Prosecutors

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the conviction of Prabhat Goyal of fifteen counts of security fraud and other white collar crimes. Mr. Goyal, the former CFO of Network Associates, Inc. (NAI), faced charges in a high profile commercial case in which prosecutors claimed that Mr. Goyal materially misrepresented sales revenue […]

Federal Pleas Waiving Right to DNA Testing

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice is scrapping a policy, put in place during the Bush Administration, of requiring federal defendants to waive their right to DNA testing in order to plead guilty. Mr. Holder should be applauded for doing away with this troubling rule. It is by now beyond dispute […]

Twists And Turns in Jail Credits

Due to prison overcrowding and the budget crisis, the California legislature acted last year to shorten prison and jail sentences. Now, the legislature has voted to repeal that legislation and restore the older, longer sentences, even though our budget is still in crisis and too many people are in jail. Here’s what you need to […]

About all those paroleees reoffending

The San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday about a study released by the California Department of Corrections about paroled felons. The study found that 47.5% of persons on parole are back behind bars within a year, and a total of 67.5% are back within three years. What the Chronicle also reports later in the article, is […]

Changes to the Penalty for Pot Possession

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just signed a law which takes effect immediately reducing the penalty for pot possession. This comes on the heels of the movement to pass Prop 19, which would make possession or cultivation for personal use of small amounts of marijuana legal under California law.  What does all of this mean? Until now […]

Grand Theft has Just Gotten More Grand!

For as long as anyone can remember, petty theft was the theft of property valuing $400 or less. That made grand theft the theft of property valued at $400 or more. Of course back in the day, $400 was a lot of money. But it’s gotten to the point where if someone lifts a coat, […]

U.S. Congress Improves Federal Crack-Cocaine Sentencing

During the summer, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-220, became law. This long overdue reform reduces the disparity, or double standard, between crack cocaine and powder cocaine at federal sentencing. For years, the possession of five grams of cocaine base or crack would land you in prison for a mandatory minimum term […]

Repealing Capital Punishment

Oakland state senator Loni Hancock has announced that she will be introducing legislation to ban the death penalty in California. Her argument is most persuasive because it is practical. Regardless of where you come out in the debate about the moral legitimacy of the death penalty, it is difficult to ignore the numbers which she […]