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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down L.A. Law


In a 5-4 decision issued earlier today, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Los Angeles law that permitted police to spontaneously inspect hotel guest records.

City of Los Angeles v. Patel, authored by Justice Sonya Sotomayor, ruled that Los Angeles Municipal Code 41.49, which requires hotel proprietors to keep and record particular information about their guests for 90 days, as well as make that information available upon demand to police, is unconstitutional.

The case provides hotel owners with the right to seek judicial procedures and judicial review before having to turn their records about private guests over to police with little or no notice, instead of being arrested immediately for non-compliance with police demands.

Under the Fourth Amendment, the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, among other things, and generally requires law enforcement to have a warrant to conduct such a search.

In this case, the Court ruled that the L.A. Police’s instant and unannounced demand for information constituted an unreasonable search, particularly because hotel owners had no opportunity to challenge the demand for information before a court.

City officials contended that the current ordinance was needed to effectively battle and eliminate illicit conduct such as prostitution, drug trafficking, and illegal gambling that may occur in hotels. 

The majority of the Court disagreed. As a result, L.A. officials must now rewrite the city law to provide hotel owners with more rights and protections so as to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Ronald G. Brower is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southern California. If you or someone you know is being investigated or charged with a crime, it is important to know about and to protect your constitutional rights.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower today.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Former Orange County Court Clerk Accused of Corruption



FBI and Orange County prosecutors have each initiated an independent investigation into the alleged corruption of a former Orange County court clerk.

The clerk is suspected to have illegally arranged fake plea deals for over a reported 1000 DUI and misdemeanor traffic cases dating back until 2010. Officials have indicated that the allegedly tainted cases include courts across all of Orange County.

Many defense lawyers whose names were associated with the defendants claim they never represented the defendants and their names were improperly entered as their attorney.

Jeffrey Wertheimer, the lawyer representing the Orange County Superior Court system, has indicated the courts are seeking to correct all of the affected cases.

As part of the corrective process, individual defendants from the tainted cases are being called back into court and facing questioning from a judge with little options.

One judge apparently informed a defendant that if no jail time had been served thus far, then the defendant would have to talk with the district attorney’s office about a new plea deal or face trial.

The tainted cases were reportedly uncovered after another court employee found an incomplete DUI case, which lead to an investigation of all cases entered by the clerk who covered that particular case. 

With so many cases potentially impacted, the investigations could take weeks or longer, and hundreds of defendants’ cases are now up in the air after being reopened.

Ronald G. Brower is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California. Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to learn how Attorney Brower can assist you or someone you know in the criminal justice system.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former LA Official Charged With Embezzlement


Thatcus Carl Richard, a 64-year-old man from Moreno Valley and a retired LA Department of Water official, was arrested one week ago for allegedly committing white-collar crimes while a municipal employee.

This past Monday, Mr. Richard plead not guilty to nine counts each of conflict of interest, public officer crime, and embezzlement by a public officer in excess of $1 million dollars.

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Richard misappropriated more than $4 million dollars in public funds while working as an audiovisual technician for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Mr. Richard’s former duties, according to the prosecution, included the management of audio and video purchase orders and contracts for the Department of Water and Power between 1996 and 2014. 

The district attorney’s office alleges that Mr. Richard, among other things, improperly facilitated the bidding process for the contracts such that the bids went to contractors and subcontractors owned by his personal friends, ultimately allowing Mr. Richard to gain improper benefits himself.

Mr. Richard and his attorney have denied the allegations, pleading not guilty to all counts at his arraignment earlier this week. The judge set bail for the defendant at $775,000 dollars.

According to Mr. Richard’s attorney, Mr. Richard suffers from Stage 4 cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and physical therapy. Mr. Richard appeared for his arraignment in a wheelchair and has reportedly missed numerous treatments due to his pretrial incarceration.

Mr. Richard is due back in court on June 28 for a bail review hearing where Mr. Richard will have the opportunity to ask the judge to reconsider the terms of his bail.

White-collar crimes carry serious penalties, including potentially lengthy jail sentences. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, contact the Law Office of Ronald Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you of and protect your rights.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Suspects Arraigned in Los Angeles Drug Bust

(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Daily News)

Two of the five suspects arrested in relation to a major drug bust in Los Angeles last week were arraigned this past Friday in court, pleading not guilty.

Eddie Perez and Jose Garcia Samano were brought before the Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles on Friday for the reading of the charges against them. Mr. Perez and Mr. Samano are each being held on $5 million bail.

The charges arise out of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking by the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force, which culminated this past Wednesday in the suspects’ arrest.

Law enforcement officials reportedly witnessed one of the suspects engage in a narcotics transaction last Tuesday night, and after stopping the suspects’ car discovered over 100 pounds of cocaine.

Police investigators discovered over 550 pounds of cocaine in another suspect’s garage the following morning. Police reportedly believe the suspects may have ties to a Mexican drug cartel. 

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 17. By then, the defendants’ attorneys will have received more information about the case and the charges against their clients.

No matter how major or minor the charges, a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Criminal defendants have significant constitutional rights that must be protected in our justice system.

If you or someone you know is being investigated or has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

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