Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New York v. Ortega #05112/2012 "The Nanny Case"

In the “criminal law world” we hear about so many violent cases that sometimes they blur together. But a case from 2012 in New York City is certainly one of the worst. Nanny Yoselyn Ortega cared for a family of three children for two years prior to October 2012. She was so close to the family that they went and stayed with her family in the Dominican Republic several months prior to the incident. Then, on October 25, 2012, without warning, Ortega stabbed the six year old daughter and two year old son to death in the bathroom of the New York apartment in which she cared for them. Their mother returned home from a swim lesson with her middle child, to find her two children bleeding to death in the bathroom. Ortega proceeded to stab herself in the throat.

In November 2012, Ortega was indicted on charges of first and second degree murder and has pled not guilty. The defense initially requested a mental evaluation and the court found her “fit to stand trial.” This means Ortega is mentally capable and aware of what is going on. Two appointed psychiatrists evaluated her and her medical records, and found that she can participate and assist in her legal defense in a meaningful way. Ortega’s attorney said she would be contesting that finding at the next hearing in May. Ortega faces life in prison for the two murders if she is convicted.

On many levels this case hits close to home- as a mother, a former district attorney, and victim right's attorney. The judicial process can be lengthy and frustrating, particularly when one has never dealt with, or been a part of it. My heart breaks for these parents. Yet in the face of such darkness, they continue to be completely inspiring. They started the Lulu & Leo Fund in honor of their deceased children’s love of the arts & sciences. Please visit the Lulu & Leo Fund website to learn more.

Juvenile Law updates - Orange County California Law Offices of Katie Walsh 714-619-9355
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Effects Of A Juvenile "Conviction" On Your Child

The saying goes, “Everyone makes mistakes, right?” So will your child’s juvenile mistake haunt them the rest of their lives? Generally speaking: No.

The Juvenile Justice System is different from the adult system in that the goal of juvenile court is to rehabilitate the Minor; whereas in adult court the purpose is punishment. As such, all juvenile proceedings are closed, and private (not open to the public- as in Adult court).

In juvenile court a “Conviction” is not called a conviction- it is referred to as a “sustained petition.” Therefore, when asked on a job application or college application “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” Your child is able to mark NO. This is because, technically, they have not been “convicted of a crime.” They may have a “Sustained Petition,” but it is not considered a conviction. To go one step further, after a certain amount of time; you will want to get your child’s record “Sealed” (This procedure prevents anyone from seeing your child’s file unless they have a court order). The hope is for the minor to enter the adult world with a clean slate, without the negative effects of a “criminal record” following them around.

To be clear: certain government agencies will be able to see your child’s arrest in juvenile court, but a standard background check by private sector employers will not show the juvenile “conviction.”

This information applies to all crimes including serious & violent crimes (“strike offenses”). However, if your child commits another crime down the road, there are certain crimes that are “priorable” (such as a strike offense) and could affect the maximum amount of prison exposure time.

Juvenile Law Updates- Criminal Defense Law Offices of Katie Walsh 714 619-9355

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh No, My Child Was Arrested, What Should I Do?

Oh no, my child was arrested, what should I do?

Hire an Attorney!!

Why is it so important to hire an attorney ASAP...

Why is it so important to hire an attorney ASAP, versus having a public defender appointed or waiting until the first day in court?
  • The case needs to “start” as soon as possible. The wheels need to move immediately! Research and investigation need to be done and statements need to be obtained that possibly the police did not get or know about. When time passes people forget, they get afraid, and they do not want to be involved in the matter. For example: A friend of your child’s or a witness who was there, but not interviewed because the police felt there was already enough information with other witness statements to move the case along.

  • Often times the Police will not take statements from every witness. There could be a friend or witness that supports your child whom the police did not interview. It is important to gather evidence that will support your child, and present that to the District Attorney. It is possible with other evidence presented, outside the police report, the District Attorney will not file charges against your child, or file lesser charges than they were originally going to file.

  • Grades and school attendance need to be gathered for a detention hearing. To consider releasing your child from Custody the judge will want to note the child’s grades, school attendance and family history. That information is harder to gather if you just arrive to court without an attorney, or an attorney who was just assigned to your child’s case the morning of court. This information can be the difference between your child being detained, pending the case or being released home.

Juvenile Law updates- Orange County California Law Offices of Katie Walsh 714 619-9355
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