Criminal Defense Blog

ACLU files civil rights lawsuit against Prop 35

On November 7, one day after Californians passed Prop 35, the ballot proposition on human trafficking, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging one of its provisions. On that same day, Federal District Court Judge Thelton Henderson granted a temporary restraining order staying enforcement of the provision which requires all convicted sex offenders […]

California Ballot Prop Score Card

Here’s how I plan to vote on the initiatives on the California ballot that involve criminal justice. Prop 34 – Abolition of death penalty A wide range of voters will support this proposition to abolish the death penalty in California and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. Some will support it from […]

Prop 35 and Sex Trafficking

Proposition 35 (“Californians Against Sexual Exploitation” or “SAFE”) has an appealing title and a goal with which no one can take issue, combating the problem of human trafficking. There is just one thing. The evils that the Proposition seeks to address – forced labor and forcing people to enter the sex trade – are already […]

In 2006 California voters passed Prop 83 known as “Jessica’s Law.” Jessica’s Law makes it illegal for registered sex offenders to live within 2000 feet of any public or private school or park where children regularly gather. The residency requirement is designed to protect children against sexual predators. Interestingly, though, the residency requirement applies whether […]

Finally, electronic home detention in Alameda County

Judge Carol Brosnahan, a well respected Alameda Superior Court judge, just issued a decision of which we can all be proud. Electronic home monitoring can mean the difference between a person keeping his job or losing his job, keeping his home or losing his home, raising his kids or watching them be taken by CPS. […]

In Graham v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court held that sentencing a juvenile convicted of a non-homicide crime to life without the possibility of parole is ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ under the Eighth Amendment. The court relied on differences between juveniles and adults. “Developments in psychology and brain science continue to show fundamental differences between […]

The complicated web of laws in California banning “assault weapons” can leave well-intentioned and law-abiding gun owners scratching their heads. First, the law provides a list of assault rifles by make and model. Then, it provides a catchall definition which makes it illegal to have any semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine and […]

New Data on Local Supervision of Felons

Initial data was released by the Chief Probation Officers of California about “Realignment.” Realignment was the radical sentencing reforms passed in October of 2011 that shifted much responsibility for incarceration and supervision from the state to the counties. According to the Chief Probation Officers, initial data is encouraging. Felons released to local community supervision have […]

The science of eyewitness identification

Last year I wrote about a path-setting decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court finding that the criminal procedures for eyewitness identifications needed to be revamped. Although the ruling was binding only in New Jersey, the decision had implications nationwide. Wrongful convictions based upon faulty eyewitness identifications occur not just in New Jersey. A full […]

Arizona Immigration Case

The Supreme Court ended the 2012 term with the must-anticipated federal health care law decision. But the High Court also came out with several other notable decisions during the last week of its term. In Arizona v. United States the Supreme Court was asked to decide the highly controversial law passed by Arizona in 2010 […]