Thursday, September 25, 2014

THE MOST POPULAR CRIMES COMMITTED BY JUVENILES

The following is a list of the most frequently committed juvenile crimes:

Robbery- PC 211 The taking of personal property that is in the possession of someone else, from the Victim’s person using threats or force.

- With kids, this crime can vary in seriousness from a gang incident, or use of a weapon, to the taking of a skateboard at a playground.

Aggravated Assault/ Assault With a Deadly Weapon- PC 245 An assault committed upon a person with a deadly weapon, or the force used was likely to produce great bodily injury.

- This crime is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as a Felony or a Misdemeanor depending on the seriousness of the injuries or use of a weapon.

Battery PC 242 The touching of someone, willfully, in a harmful or offensive manner. Any sort of physical touching directly or indirectly can be a battery, there does not have to be injury.

- If a child gets in a fight at school, pushes someone, or throws something at another, can technically qualify as a battery.

Burglary PC 459-460 Entering a structure, room, or locked vehicle with the intent to commit a felony (or petty theft) once inside. Often referred to as “breaking and entering.”

- Kids’ “beer runs” qualify as a burglary because they planned to steal the beer before they entered the store.
- Going into someone’s garage to steal a bike or skateboard is considered burglary
- It is a more serious charge (Strike Offense) if once enters a home, versus a commercial business (wobbler offense)

Possession of Burglary Tools PC 466 It is illegal to possession burglary tools with criminal intent- i.e. having the tools for the purpose of committing a burglary

- Things such as screwdrivers, pliers, porcelain chips, or other tools that will be used to break into cars or buildings or houses are considered burglary tools.

Petty Theft PC 484-488 The unlawful taking of someone else’s property valued under $950. If the amount is larger, the crime is considered Grand Theft.

- Whether it is shoplifting/taking and item from a store, or from someone’s backpack, or locker both are considered petty theft.

Vandalism PC 594 The malicious defacing, damaging or destroying of someone else’s property.

- This crime is a “wobbler.” Vandalism includes more than just Graffiti. Egging a car, or a house, damaging a mailbox, or city signs, or keying cars are also considered Vandalism under California Law.

A child being arrested and convicted of any these crimes can seriously affect their record. Many of these crimes are eligible for a diversion program, and if completed will not go on their record. Katie Walsh can help save your child’s criminal record.

Contact lawyer Katie Walsh at (714) 619-9355.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

USC STUDENT KILLED - JUVENILES CHARGED AS ADULTS

Four teenagers were charged Tuesday with murder in the fatal beating of a USC graduate student Xinran Ji. Jonathan Del Carmen 19, Andrew Garcia, 18, Alberto Ochoa 17, and Alejandra Guerrero, 16 are facing a murder charge that carries with it a special circumstance allegation that Ji was killed during an attempted  robbery. This special circumstance charge allows the prosecution the option of seeking the death penalty on Del Carmen and Garcia, but not Ochoa and Guerrero because they are minors.  The criminal complaint alleges that Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero used a bat and wrench, though the extent of Ji's injuries were unclear. The coroner's reports are pending.  Three of the teens were also charged in connection with a second robbery that occurred hours later at Dockweiler State Beach. LAPD officials said there were no indications the suspects had gang ties, or that the attack was racially motivated. 

Ji, a 24-year-old engineering student from China, was walking to his apartment near USC about 12:45 a.m. Thursday when authorities said he was attacked with a baseball bat. Despite sustaining a head injury, authorities said, Ji managed to make it home to his 30th Street apartment. A roommate found his body later that morning.

Can a Juvenile be tried as an Adult?


The answer is yes. Generally speaking, when someone under the age of 18 commits a crime, the case proceeds through the juvenile justice system. However, under certain very serious circumstances a juvenile can be tried in Adult Court. There are 3 different ways that can happen: 1) Mandatory direct filing, 2) Discretionary direct filing, and 3) a Fitness Hearing.

For mandatory direct filing, the prosecutor must file charges in criminal court when the minor is 14 years of age or older, and personally committed either murder with special circumstances or specified sexual offenses. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602(b).

For discretionary filing, the prosecution can, but does not have to, file a case directly in criminal court in two situations. One is when the minor is 16 years or older and is accused of committing a felony listed in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707(b), including robbery and carjacking. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707(d)(1). The second is when the minor is 14 years or older and he or she is accused of an offense punishable by death or life in prison or accused of personally using a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of felony; or when the minor is charged with a 707(b) offense and the minor had a prior 602(b) offense, committed the current crime on behalf of a gang, committed a hate crime, or committed a crime against a disabled or elderly victim. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707(d)(2).

The traditional way for a juvenile to be tried as an adult is after a judicial determination that the child is unfit to be dealt with under juvenile law- a “Fitness Hearing.” Instead of filing directly in criminal court, the prosecution exercises its discretion by filing the case in juvenile court and asking a juvenile court judge to decide whether the minor is fit to remain in the juvenile system. The prosecution is in effect asking the court to make the call.

In this case, both minors are 16 and 17 years old and being charged with murder with special circumstance (during the commission of a Robbery). Therefore the charges appear to meet the Mandatory and Discretionary direct filing standards. Because of their ages, the Minors cannot face the death penalty, but they can possibly be sentenced to life in prison without parole, if convicted of the crimes.

If your child or someone you know is facing criminal charges please call the Law Office of Katie Walsh (714) 619-935.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Do You Need An Attorney For Your Child's School Expulsion Hearing?

Yes!

Parents are going up against people who do this for a living. The District is not looking out for your child, the school district is looking out for the school district. An expulsion is serious for your child, and can leave a permanent mark on their record. Certain conduct requires expulsion, and other conduct requires an expulsion recommendation, but an attorney might be able to get the expulsion suspended for your child. Certain protocols must be followed by the School. Don’t fight for your child alone, hire an attorney to fight for your child.

Certain conduct requires Mandatory Expulsion (Education code 48900(a)-(q), 48900.2- .4, 48900.7) upon a factual finding of the student’s acts:

a) A student who commits one of the following shall be suspended and recommended for expulsion:
  1. Possessing, selling, or furnishing a firearm; 
  2. Brandishing a knife at another person (blade must be longer than 3 ½ inches); 
  3. Unlawfully selling a controlled substance; 
  4. Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault, or sexual battery; and 
  5. Possession of an explosive (destruction device) 
a) Unless the expulsion is inappropriate due to the particular circumstances, the principal shall recommend expulsion for:
  1. Causing serious physical injury to another person, except in self-defense; 
  2. Possession of any knife or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the pupil; 
  3. Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, except first offense of possession of not more than 1 ounce of marijuana (other than concentrated cannabis); 
  4. Robbery or extortion; 
  5. Assault of battery upon a school employee. 
b) Upon recommendation for expulsion, the governing board may order expulsion only if there is a finding of one or both of the following:
  1. Other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about appropriate conduct 
  2. Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others. 
a) The Principal, Superintendent, and Governing Board have full discretion in determining whether a student is expelled for certain acts upon a finding of one or both of the following:
  1. Other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about appropriate conduct. 
  2. Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others. 
Make sure the school is following the correct procedures, and that your child is being represented.  

Call attorney Katie Walsh, Orange County California juvenile law attorney, if your child is facing expulsion issues at (714) 619-9355.
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Can You Be Arrested For A Tweet?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Yes, if it is a criminal threat you sure can be arrested. Recently, a 14 year old Dutch girl was arrested for sending a twitter message directed at American Airlines.

The tweet sounded like a terrorist threat against American Airlines. The tweet directed at American Airlines said "Hello. My name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm going to do something really big bye."

The girl's Twitter account identifies her as Sarah, with the Twitter handle @QueenDemetraix. Her account has been suspended but her earlier tweets have generated lots of Internet discussion. American Airlines responded Sunday, saying "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI."

She followed the original message with one saying she was "kidding" and "I'm so sorry I'm scared now."

The crime of Criminal Threats can be a misdemeanor, or a felony crime. In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must prove the following four facts:
  1. You willfully threatened to kill or seriously injure another person;
  2. you intended your verbal, written or electronically communicated statement to be received as a threat;
  3. the threat on its face and under the circumstances was so "unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific" that it conveyed an immediate possibility of execution;
  4. and that the threatened individual reasonably feared for his/her safety or for the safety of his/her immediate family. 
There are many potential defenses for the crime of Criminal Threats: the threat was too vague and ambiguous, the victim was not in any fear, any fear the victim may have had was unreasonable, there was no “sustained” fear on behalf of the victim, the threat is protected by free speech, or the threat was not immediate. The prosecutor must prove every element in order for a person to be convicted of this crime. Apologizing after the fact does diminish the criminal threat.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime contact the Orange County California   Law Office of Katie Walsh at 714 619-9355 or Katie@katiewalshlaw.com
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