Criminal Defense Blog

Why we care about the California Public Records Act

There was a political firestorm over the last week about the Public Records Act. State funding for local government agencies to respond to Public Records Act requests was almost cut. This withdrawal of state funds would have made it essential optional for counties and local government agencies to respond to Public Records Act requests. Governor […]

The Arizona jury reached its verdict on Wednesday that Jodi Arias was guilty of first degree murder. Here are some tactics of the defense that I never understood. First, why would any defense lawyer let Arias talk to the press? A defendant has a Fifth Amendment right not to testify and not to make statements […]

You’re stopped for a DUI late at night. You’ve had a few beers. After the officer questions you, and instructs you to perform coordination exercises that he calls “field sobriety tests,” he asks you to submit to a chemical test. What can you do? In California, a condition of retaining your driver’s license is that […]

Under Miranda v. Arizona, before a suspect who is in the custody of the police can be questioned the police must read him or her Miranda rights. This includes a right to remain silent and the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning. Now that we know that the second man suspected of […]

Oakland police-officer involved shootings

An article in the Bay Citizen on Wednesday criticized the investigation of officer-involved shootings in Alameda County, and in particular, Oakland. The District Attorney’s Office conducts an investigation into every officer-involved shooting. The investigation is conducted by a rotating on-call team which includes an experienced deputy district attorney and an inspector. The problem, according to […]

Alameda County makes progress on alternative sentencing

Leadership in Community Alternatives (or “LCA”) is a private company that for many years has provided alternatives to prison and county jail, such as home detention, GPS monitoring, and alcohol monitoring. LCA enables people who are accused of crimes, but who are deemed a flight risk for some reason, to stay out of jail while […]

Status of federal gun control legislation

Since the tragedy in Newton, what have we done? Here’s the status of gun control legislation in Congress. – Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed renewing the Federal Assault Weapons ban, which was originally passed by Congress in 1994, but expired in 2004. Because of the gun lobby, her bill has become a long-shot. Senate Majority […]

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks the Bush administration put into place a system of warrantless surveillance of international telephone calls and emails by the National Security Administration. After it was leaked to the New York Times and civil rights groups complained, in 2008, Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FICA) to authorize the executive […]

Federal Sentencing and the Guidelines

The United States Sentencing Commission (“USSC”) just released a report to Congress studying federal sentencing data nationwide. Congress commissioned the report to see how sentencing has changed since the landmark 2005 Supreme Court case United States v. Booker. In Booker, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are discretionary, not mandatory. The court […]

Is our email private?

I was shocked by the access which law enforcement had to the email between General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. I wondered how safe is anyone’s email… Are the messages we keep in our password-protected Yahoo and Gmail accounts private? Without a warrant, the government can’t search through our letters or diaries. Why should email be […]