1043 Civic Center Drive
Suite 200
Santa Ana, CA 92703


714-997-4400

Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

California Governor Signs AB 1909

AB 1909
We wrote about a piece of California legislation back in August, that would have serious impact on prosecutors throughout the state—especially for those who willingly omit or falsify evidence. The bill AB 1909, proposed by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 30, 2016. Any California prosecutor who is found withholding or falsifying evidence can now be charged with a felony and be sentenced to prison time, The Huffington Post reports. Depending on how serious the offense is, prosecutors who are found guilty could be sentenced from 16 months to two or three years in prison.

If you have not been following this story, we can tell you that the legislation is in response to alleged corruption involving Orange County prosecutors and police. Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders accused county prosecutors and police of:
  • Violating Defendants’ Rights.
  • Illegally Obtaining Evidence
  • Withholding Evidence
  • Misusing Jail Informants
“A non-trivial number of prosecutors — and sometimes entire prosecutorial offices — engage in misconduct that seriously undermines the fairness of criminal trials,” said Judge Alex Kozinski,  9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sanders believes that every case over the last 30 years involving a jailhouse informant should be re-examined, according to the article. The stakes are extremely high considering that prosecutorial misconduct has resulted in murderers having their sentences vacated. The goal of the legislation is to deter this kind of behavior in the future. Before the passing of AB 1909, the aforementioned offenses were just a misdemeanor for anyone who omits or falsifies evidence.

“Hopefully, this will provide an additional deterrent against prosecutorial misconduct,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine. 

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Ronald Brower at 0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Marijuana Legalization in California

prop 64
In less than a month, Californians will vote on the legalization of marijuana, Proposition 64. While California was the first state to pass legislation for medical marijuana, legalizing recreational use has proven to be more difficult. But, 2016 is likely to be the year that everything changes, not just in California—but across the country.

Today, 25 states have medical marijuana programs and four states have legalized the use of marijuana for adults. More states are going to vote on both medical cannabis and legalization, and in some state such legislation is expected to pass. We are currently sitting on a precipice regarding the future of marijuana in this country. As more and more states take a softer stance on marijuana, it is likely that adult cannabis use will become legal on the federal level before too long.

In the United States, the majority of nonviolent drug offenders are behind bars for a marijuana possession charge. People’s lives have gone into a tailspin due to their use of a drug that is considered by many to be benign, and many feel users should not have to worry about doing jail time. Relieving some of the burden on our penal institutions is one of the central arguments to legalization.

While marijuana is a far cry from, let’s say heroin, it is still an addictive substance that can lead to and have a negative impact on people's lives. Those against legalization efforts typically cite concerns about teenage marijuana use. Health experts widely agree that marijuana can wreak havoc on the developing brain. Nevertheless, it is likely Prop. 64 will pass regardless of health concerns. The Los Angeles Times conducted a poll which found that 58-percent of California voters are in favor of legalization.

Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Ronald Brower at 1 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Prop 57 Could Lower Prison Population

prison
Ever since President Richard Nixon declared “war on drugs” in the United States, prison populations across the country began to swell. While America makes up about 5 percent of the world population, we house more inmates per capita than any other country. In fact, the United states has over 2 million citizens in prison, that is roughly 750 prisoners per 100,000 people. China which has over a billion people living within its border, only has 1,548,498 prisoners, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of America’s staggering prison population is the fact that over half of all inmates are behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses. When you add to that the fact that most prisons and jails are not equipped to house the number of prisoners that the state deems need be behind bars, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

If you have been following the news recently, you are likely aware of the fact both prisoners and guards are on strike across the country—protesting the fact that prisoners are living in unsuitable environments and guards in Alabama are scared to be in a work zone that could erupt in violence at the drop of a hat, VICE News reports. The concerns include:
  • Overcrowding
  • Understaffing
  • Squalid Conditions
  • Low Pay
  • Dangerous Work Environment
The severity of prison overcrowding in America has many state lawmakers looking for solutions, and in California the answer may be early parole. This November, California voters are being asked to decide on Proposition 57, which would allow certain prisoners to seek parole earlier, The Mercury News reports. In 2011, a California prison population cap was imposed after a panel of federal judges determined that the overcrowding in prisons led to inadequate health care services.

“Californians clearly understand that it makes sense to give people incentives to turn their lives around so we can focus our law enforcement resources on dangerous criminals and avoid the potential of an arbitrary court-ordered release of prisoners,” said Dan Newman, a Yes on 57 spokesman. 

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Ronald Brower at 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jerry Brown Signed AB 701 and AB 2888

sexual assault
Over the last few months we have been following the case of the former Stanford University swimmer and Olympic hopeful Brock Turner. It was a case that caught national attention, not because it was sexual assault on a college campus, a recurring tragedy that occurs at colleges all over the country, but due to the fact that Turner received such a light sentence for the crimes for which he was found guilty.

If you have been following this story, it is likely that you became aware of the fact that the state of California has much stiffer sentences for those convicted of rape, compared to those convicted of sexual assault. This was made particularly evident by the Stanford case, when Turner was looking at a maximum of 14 years in prison for the three felony sexual assault convictions, the judge only gave Turner six (6) months in county jail and three (3) years of probation.

Turner’s slap on the wrist spurred national debate and led to California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) to introduce AB 701 to widen the scope of the state's definition of rape. Assemblymen Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced AB 2888 which would prohibit a judge from handing a convicted sex offender probation in certain crimes.

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 701 and AB 2888, The Los Angeles Times reports. While the Governor has been trying to move away from mandatory minimum sentencing laws in California, he felt that the legislation was necessary.

"Nevertheless, I am signing AB 2888, because I believe it brings a measure of parity to sentencing for criminal acts that are substantially similar," said Brown. 

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Ronald Brower at 0 Comments Links to this post