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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog

 

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Study on Eyewitness Evidence May Challenge Old Beliefs

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week may force researchers, scholars, and courts to re-evaluate its assessment of eyewitness testimony.

For years now, psychologists, law professors, lawyers and judges have become skeptical of eyewitness testimony. Studies have indicated that eyewitness evidence was often inaccurate or skewed.

The number one cause cited for wrongful convictions has been erroneous eyewitness evidence.

Now, however, researchers from UC-San Diego have conducted a study that calls into question whether eyewitness evidence is always unreliable.

The study found that the confidence of the eyewitness in their identification or observation strongly related to accuracy. Additionally, the study also found that simultaneous lineups (an identification procedure where police bring in multiple suspects to be viewed by a witness or victim at the same time) are more accurate and fair than sequential lineups. This, too, cuts against the grain of prior beliefs about identification procedures.

While this study raises questions about previously held beliefs concerning eyewitness evidence, further research and study will be required to corroborate its findings. Nevertheless, it presents questions the legal and academic community will have to confront.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense lawyer in Southern California. Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with a range of crimes over the course of his three decades of practice.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Lawsuit Challenges Cash Bail System

A lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco seeks to abolish the cash bail system employed by criminal courts across the country.

Equal Justice Under Law, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington D.C., brought the suit and essentially alleged that the bail system has created an unequal justice system in which the rich and poor have fundamentally different experiences and outcomes.

The organization has filed similar lawsuits in seven jurisdictions around the nation. At its heart, the lawsuit claims that the bail system as it currently operates is unconstitutional.

Wealthier criminal defendants are often able to post bail and avoid the pressure to plead guilty to avoid pre-trial detention. On the other hand, indigent defendants aren’t usually so fortunate. Defendants in the criminal justice system with less means often cannot afford to post bail, are more likely to be detained before trial, and thus plead guilty more frequently to avoid that possibility.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires individuals—rich and poor alike—be afforded equal protection under the law. The Eighth Amendment requires that bail not be excessive. To date, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled the cash bail system unconstitutional.

It remains to be seen whether one of the lawsuits filed by Equal Justice Under Law will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court and require the Justices to contemplate such a question.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney with 30+ years of experience. If you or someone you know is being investigated or has been charged with a crime, it is important to speak to a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower at 714-997-4400.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Man Sentenced for Tattoo Artist's Death

Robert Andrew Falcon, 32, was sentenced to 16 years in state prison earlier today after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of a well-known tattoo artist last year.

On October 9, 2014, Falcon and Michael Christopher Pebley—also known as “Trigz”—got into an argument that escalated into a fight nearby Pebley’s tattoo business, Sin City Tattoo shop. During the course of the argument, a shooting occurred and Pebley was killed. Pebley was 40 years old.

The case was investigated by the North Hollywood Division of the LAPD. This past November 17, Falcon admitted to using the firearm during the fight and pleaded no contest. He was sentenced today, nearly one month later.

No contest pleas are typically entered into by defendants in exchange for a lesser sentence than the maximum penalty that could be imposed if found guilty at trial.

Criminal cases are procedurally complex and require the guiding hand of an experienced attorney. It is critical that you have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can advise you about the process, protect your rights, and defend your best interests.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southern California.

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Bay Area Man Indicted for Assault on Airline

Lawrence Wells, 54, was arrested on Wednesday, December 16, by FBI agents in connection with an assault that occurred on a flight earlier this year.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Wells on one count of assault causing serious bodily injury while on an aircraft.

Wells, originally from the Bay Area, is expected to appear in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for his initial court appearance.

According to the indictment, Wells choked and punched the victim after the flight left Los Angeles bound for San Francisco. Approximately 10 minutes after departure the caption declared an emergency and returned to Los Angeles where federal agents and Los Angeles Airport police were waiting and arrested Wells.

If Wells is convicted he could face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Federal offenses are serious crimes that can carry sentences longer than criminal charges in state courts. It is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are being investigated for or charged with a federal crime.

Ronald G. Brower has been practicing criminal law for over three decades and handles a wide range of criminal matters, including federal crimes. His office can be reached at 714-997-4400.
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