Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

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Latest post 05-12-2008 4:21 PM by TownWithoutPity. 15 replies.
  • 05-09-2008 3:45 AM

    Question [=?] Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    California, Riverside County

    Recently a neighbor was arrested and charged with six counts of Battery on Police Officers. The most severe Count was: Serious Felony/Used a Gun/Great Bodily Injury and Least Count was: Misdemeanor/Interfering with a Police Officer. I was with him when he was arrested at a restaurant and club on Friday night.

    Although no one seems to care about my side of the story as I seen it and 12 others who were outside at the time he went to jail. He had no gun, did not hit an officer but did by accident sprain an Officers thumb as the Officer broke his wrist when twisting the neighbors hands behind him to cuff him. It seemed to me and others an involuntary muscle had jerked at the time his wrist was broken by the Officer who placed handcuffs on the neighbors wrist.

    I never knew a Police Officer for any reason can place handcuffs on anyone they want to put them on. I guess because the Officers (3 of them) were outnumbered since it was a restaurant (18 occupants) so they picked three people to cuff and called it detained while investigating a person who was beligerant at the club. The beligerant trouble maker was arrested with my neighbor but only a misdemeanor charge.

    The public defender was assigned to the neighbor and four months later it looks like it will go to trial since the DA is asking for a minimum 6 six years prison. The only prior arrest the neighbor has is two DUI's over a six year span but nothing else. After close friends of the neighbor looked in on the Public Defenders experience and history with court it turns out he has never been to trial, is 29 years old and is entirely a civil lawyer on leave of absence from his civil law firm job just putting in some required coursework at the busy court.

    The problem is the best offer from a private Attorney was $8,000 and could be much more like $12,000 or more.

    My question is: Is there a sliding scale or means to obtain funds from a state agency or non profit third party organization if my neighbor can only come up with $2,000? The Attorney for $12,000 felt it would be stricken from the record if he comes up with at least $8,000 retainer.

    Maybe I'm wrong in assuming six years is to strong for such a misfortune but I have heard of persons robbing a store and/or commiting violent crimes and getting less time than an accidental sprain can get a person that was not doing any thing wrong to begin with. Except he was at a restaurant club (Friday's) that had an individual there who was drunk.

  • 05-09-2008 8:43 AM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Feedback [*=*] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    Is there a sliding scale or means to obtain funds from a state agency or non profit third party organization if my neighbor can only come up with $2,000?

    No.
  • 05-09-2008 12:03 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    "The most severe Count was: Serious Felony/Used a Gun/Great Bodily Injury and Least Count was: Misdemeanor/Interfering with a Police Officer."

    If the charges made it to a felony court, there is evidence to substantiate them. The state's offer will reflect that.

    "Although no one seems to care about my side of the story as I seen it and 12 others who were outside at the time he went to jail."

    You need(ed) to talk to his defense attorney.

    "It seemed to me and others an involuntary muscle had jerked at the time his wrist was broken by the Officer who placed handcuffs on the neighbors wrist."

    Isn't clear if you mean he jerked and THEN the officer used force, or if the office just broke the guy's wrist out of the blue.

    Assuming the former, the officer doesn't know if the muscle action is voluntary or involuntary, so he'll just react to it.

    "I never knew a Police Officer for any reason can place handcuffs on anyone they want to put them on."

    Assuming a call involving a firearm, the officers are almost certainly going to detain people physically while they investigate. They can do that for officer safety.

    "After close friends of the neighbor looked in on the Public Defenders experience and history with court it turns out he has never been to trial"

    I can't think of ANY way you can actually verify that.

    "is 29 years old"

    He could have several years of practice under his belt at that age.

    "and is entirely a civil lawyer on leave of absence from his civil law firm job just putting in some required coursework at the busy court."

    I've never heard of people earning course credit for being public defenders.

    "Is there a sliding scale or means to obtain funds from a state agency or non profit third party organization if my neighbor can only come up with $2,000?"

    Probably not.

    "The Attorney for $12,000 felt it would be stricken from the record if he comes up with at least $8,000 retainer."

    I'd avoid that attorney. He probably didn't have the state's evidence and no competent attorney would give such an opinion on a six-count case (or any case) without a thorough review of the evidence.

    "Maybe I'm wrong in assuming six years is to strong for such a misfortune"

    Using a gun in connection with battery on LEO... There's nothing small about that.

    "I have heard of persons robbing a store and/or commiting violent crimes and getting less time"

    You cannot compare sentenced. The six years is an offer from some unknown prosecutor. Maybe he was in a bad mood that day. Or maybe he wants to be tough on crime.

    "an accidental sprain can get a person that was not doing any thing wrong to begin with."

    The defendant's version of events is that this was accidental. I can almost guarantee that the prosecutor doesn't see this as an accident.
  • 05-09-2008 12:32 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    If, in fact, this is a public defender vs. a contract conflict attorney, there's no way he'd be assigned to handle a felony case without any trial experience. Further, there are numerous courts in Riverside County and there's no way to check records by attorney name. Riverside does contract with various firms to provide attorneys to handle cases where the PD has a conflict. How they assign cases, I have no idea, but again I seriously doubt an attorney with no experience would be assigned to handle a serious felony. There's no such thing as "required coursework" except continuing education requirements which you can't get by handling cases in court.
  • 05-09-2008 12:59 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    The neighbor did not have a gun. When he was first arrested the charge was one (1) count of Battery on an Officer, a misdemeanor charge. But two days after he was arrested five (5) additional charges were filed on top of one (1) count of Misdemeanor Battery. One of the additional charges was: Serious Felony/Used a Gun. But there was no gun. The Public Defender is supposed to get that charge Stricken from the record. But the fact that the used a gun charge is on record (no such thing as eliminating (Stricken) anything from the record) it seems to indicate a serious violent criminal. In Riverside County any arrest, or any criminal charge such as a minor traffic violation (turn signal bulb is not working prroperly) is posted permanently on the internet world wide web site. I do not think It can ever be removed.

    A few of the neighborhood folks went on the internet and looked up names we had of neighborhood folks, some past work associate, ourselves, and anybody who we knew there first and last name and sure enough every negative encounter with police such as: person had no registration in vehicle to DUI's to Domestic Violence to gangs manufacturing firearms was clearly available whether accurate or not.

    I think it bothers myself because the Police clearly manufacture untrue stories and then the untrue story is made available to the general public as a true story or at least the general public assumes police tell the truth and therefore the police charges must be accurate when some charges claimed by police officers never took place.

    Is it possible to remove an arrest record, such as DUI or traffic tickets from the internet or do they stay forever available to potential employers, neighbors, insurance companies, and strangers etc.
  • 05-09-2008 1:10 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    The cops don't decide what charges are filed. They prepare reports that are forwarded to the DA's office. That office is where the criminal complaint originates and that office is who gets to decide what is or isn't charged. As for erasing arrests that didn't result in convictions, if the person can establish innocence, there is a provision where they can petition the cops and DA to have the arrest records completely expunged. As for Google, you have to contact them and ask them to remove the link/reference. They take their sweet time but will remove the active link. The cached stuff just has to fall off.
  • 05-09-2008 1:30 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] It isn't about what ACTUALLY happened . . .

    It is about the evidence in the possession of the state.

    "The neighbor did not have a gun."

    Someone is saying he did.

    "The Public Defender is supposed to get that charge Stricken from the record."

    I'm a PD. I have absolutely no power to dismiss charges, or I'd dismiss everything and go fishing.

    "sure enough every negative encounter with police such as: person had no registration in vehicle to DUI's to Domestic Violence to gangs manufacturing firearms was clearly available whether accurate or not. "

    Publishing of untrue information might allow the person to sue for libel.

    "I think it bothers myself because the Police clearly manufacture untrue stories and then the untrue story is made available to the general public as a true story or at least the general public assumes police tell the truth and therefore the police charges must be accurate when some charges claimed by police officers never took place. "

    Well, I clearly understand that since that's what I fight every single day, but there's nothing that can be done about that.

    "Is it possible to remove an arrest record, such as DUI or traffic tickets from the internet or do they stay forever available to potential employers, neighbors, insurance companies, and strangers etc. "

    Depends on who is publishing them and who is archiving them.
  • 05-09-2008 2:31 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: It isn't about what ACTUALLY happened . . .

    Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate this site and straight forward responses. It's not just the neighbors record being tarnished but my past record ( 2 DUI's in 14 years, one traffic ticket, and an assault charge on a guy breaking into my car at Albertson's 11 years ago) and another neighbors past record (tickets, and civil suit for a credit card he did not pay) seems to be of extreme importance when being considered for a job or promotion at work.

    I appreciate your comment on your efforts to minimize untrue reports and get honest facts from Police Reports. Police are supposed to be human beings and members of the community and yet they can not resist manufacturing untrue reports (that become records) on citizens. I have one Police Officer in the family and when he was a State Trooper in Rhode Island (thats were I was born and raised) he understood the impact of falsifying reports on a citizen. But now he is a Detective in Rhode Island and what I consider (and he used to) falsifying reports his new group of work associates consider "altering the facts" standard operating procedure.

    He is not the same person anymore since becoming a Detective. But two good friends here in California are City Police Officers and raerly get caught up with altering the facts unless forced to do so by dispatch or a superior at the department they work.

    Thanks again for your input.
  • 05-09-2008 2:54 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: It isn't about what ACTUALLY happened . . .

    I understand that you witnessed at least some of what occurred at the time of arrest. Do NOT, however, assume anything is or isn't in the officers' reports. They are not public record and to assert that the officers' are lying when you have no idea what is actually in their reports is uncalled for. Some cops lie but that is not ALL cops and it's never helpful to paint all based upon the actions of the few. DA's often way overfile cases and it's entirely within their discretion what to file. What they can prove either at the preliminary hearing or at trial is always another matter entirely.
  • 05-10-2008 10:15 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    >>>>The Attorney for $12,000 felt it would be stricken from the record if he comes up with at least $8,000 retainer.

    With a six year exposure, that sounds like a deal. I'd find a way to raise the $8,000. Of course, I'd also require that the attorney put his "feelings" into the form of a "gurantee" that it "would be stricken from the record".

    I'd also place a side bet that the chances of you getting that "gurantee" are not even slim to none.



  • 05-10-2008 12:14 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    I do not believe all police officers falsify police reports. I do believe that probably 20% or more of police reports are falsified whether the Officer wants it to be or not.

    The falsifying of information by Police or DA's is well known by a growing percent of the population. The Department of Justice in Washington D.C. is one agency who investigates corruption in Police Departments and attempts to curtail or minimize these acts against citizens. But with the caseload USDOJ has there is no way to get Police or DA's accountable for their actions in the near futue.

    The USDOJ and other agencies that oversee police corruption can not bring about a change that would result in keeping police departments honest but they try.

    An individual is challenged with monumental cost to bring charges of falsifying records against Police Departments. And getting witnesses who know the facts to come forward against police is non-existent. They do not want retaliation from police, they do not want to miss work, or just do not want to get involved.
  • 05-10-2008 1:27 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: It isn't about what ACTUALLY happened . . .

    Above all else in my post it was a goal with my neighbor to see if any way or means possible to eliminate from the report/record the charge of One Count: Serious Felony/Used of a Gun, Which was recently, "Stricken".

    But Stricken does not mean removed and some employers have reviewed the freely available report and assume he had a gun but that the DA could not prove that he did.

    Serious Felony/Use of a Gun changes the entire end result of these charges no matter if found not guilty it is still reported and seems to be viewed as serious negative for employment. The old system before where "a person is innocent until proven guilty" seemed more fair then the recent concept that "a person is guilty until proven innocent"
  • 05-10-2008 3:02 PM In reply to

    re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    “I do believe that probably 20% or more of police reports are falsified whether the Officer wants it to be or not.”

    I don’t know where you get the 20% figure that forms your belief. Undoubtedly some police falsify information, there is no data that I know of that supports that it occurs in 20% or more of cases. And the degree of it happening almost certainly varies from department to department. In the places I am familiar with, defense attorneys do not cite this as a big problem. I’d be surprised if it occurred in 20% or more of cases in many departments, however. It’s frankly just not needed, police can get plenty of criminals without the need to resort to that.
  • 05-11-2008 2:59 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] The presumption of innocence has not changed, but technology has

    “The old system before where ‘a person is innocent until proven guilty’ seemed more fair then the recent concept that ‘a person is guilty until proven innocent’”

    But this has not changed. What you need to realize is that the presumption of innocence applies at trial; that’s why the state must prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt rather than making the defendant prove innocence at trial. It has long been the case that arrest records were made available to the public. In one of the towns I grew up in, the local paper has published all arrests, traffic tickets issued, and the like for decades. This of course occurred much more often in small towns, where the local newspapers print everything that happens to fill space. But even in larger towns, if people wanted that information, they could go to the city or county courthouse and get it. People have always been free to assume someone was guilty just from being arrested and charged even though they were not convicted, although those that understand much of anything about the process won’t do that.

    What is different now is that the computer and the internet have made these records much more accessible. You can now find records like this from the comfort of your own home rather than going to each courthouse in person and the search can be done in seconds instead of hours. Not all places put this information on-line, so getting this information is still a little bit hit or miss, though.

    However, note that the background checks that employers get from police departments do NOT include the arrest information, only convictions.
  • 05-11-2008 8:31 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Felony Criminal Charges in Hands of Civil Attorney ?

    You missed the point. There may or may not be a viable defense. However, no credible attorney is going to gurantee you that if you "pay the fee", the charges will be stricken.
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