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The California Supreme Court took the time today to rule on one of the most obvious issues in criminal justice: if you fail to appear, your bail will be forfeited. Imagine that?! If you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to appear in court if you are charged with a misdemeanor offense. It’s one of the many benefits of having a lawyer handle your case for you.
Very few truly understand the burden of proof in a criminal case – “beyond a reasonable doubt”. It is a question pondered by many, and the issue with many convictions which are later re-investigated such as the one of Adnan Syed, who in 2000 was convicted of murdering his then girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The podcast surrounding Syed’s conviction, which to many is based on unreliable evidence and an unsubstantiated investigation, went viral and highlighted the question at the heart of every criminal case: what is proof beyond a reasonable doubt?
Like many questions, the answer may lie in showing what it is not. It is not proof that an individual is “probably” guilty; or even proof that an individual is “most likely” guilty. Even If there is strong circumstantial evidence that points to one’s guilt, yet there is evidence that places a doubt in a jury’s mind that is based in reason, a criminal defendant is entitled to an acquittal. In no criminal case in California is a jury ever asked to determine if a criminal defendant is innocent. It is why a finding of acquittal is a finding by the jury that the defendant is “not guilty”. In the case of Adnan Syed, the shaky circumstantial evidence certainly raises one’s eyebrows, but it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed murder?
Having effective representation in your criminal case by someone such as Pat Carey who understands the burden of proof in a criminal case, and who has shouldered that burden in thousands of criminal cases, is essential to an effective criminal defense.
Did you know that you don’t need to be “caught in the act” in order to get busted for a DUI? Many have challenged their license suspension for a DUI based on the fact that they were not caught while driving, arguing that circumstantial evidence should be insufficient to prove their guilt. In Orange County, Ashley Coffey presented that premise to the California Supreme Court.
Expert representation is crucial to not only the criminal process, but also the administrative process when it comes to a DUI arrest. Contact a former prosecutor with insider knowledge on how to defeat your criminal case AND your driver’s license suspension – www.southbaydefenselawyer.com.
In general, California’s three strikes law is fairly straightforward. If you have a prior “strike” offense (a serious or violent felony), your second felony results in twice the term it would get if you didn’t have a prior felony. If that second strike is for a serious felony, then five more years are added on. Thus, for second strikers, the court determines the base sentence, doubles it and adds on five more years.
Of course, real life isn’t always that simple. In many cases, the second strike is a conviction for several offenses, with multiple terms. Does the serious felony enhancement apply to each term, meaning your five extra years can pile up to become extra decades? Not according a Supreme Court decision just a few weeks ago which held that the serious felony enhancement may be added only once as part of a second-strike sentence.
The California’s Supreme Court declined to revisit a controversial January ruling on mandatory registration for certain offenders. The case the court declined to rehear, Johnson v. Department of Justice, revived a mandatory registration law that many argued was homophobic and unjustly subjected gay and lesbian defendants to greater punishments than their straight counterparts.
For expert representation on cases requiring 290 sex offender registration, contact former Deputy District Attorney Pat Carey who is up on the law and experienced with handling all things criminal defense.