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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Stanford Swimmer Appeals Conviction

sexual assault
It seems like everyone is discussing sexual assault these days, especially those on college campuses, in Hollywood, and at the White House. It’s fair to say that at no other time in modern history has the conversation been so fierce or have so many women found the courage to speak out against their assailants. This kind of spotlight has the potential of being a watershed moment in American history; a time we will look back on and remember when women around the country said enough is enough and men realized that their positions of power in society would no longer protect them from recourse.

What is happening in Washington and Hollywood is of the utmost importance, but we must remember that the topic at hand is a societal issue involving young and old alike. Sexual misconduct, assault, and rape happen every day on college campuses; these are environments where many victims are unwilling to come forward and assailants often face no punishment for their actions. What’s more, even when young women do muster up the strength seek justice, perpetrators either receive a slap on the wrist or escape discipline completely.

Who could forget the former Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, caught in the act of sexually assaulting a fellow female student; who, after being found guilty of multiple offenses, was handed a six-month jail sentence and some probation time.


Sexual Assault Conviction Appeal

The above case brought the passing of legislation like AB 2888, which attached a mandatory minimum sentence for similar incidents in the future; and AB 701, which widens the scope of the state's definition of rape. Naturally, millions of people around the country and beyond were disturbed by Turner’s punishment. Such individuals got even angrier when they learned that he only served 3-months of his sentence before being released for good behavior.

The case is inciting people’s outrage even more upon learning that not only would Turner do little jail time, but his attorney also filed an appeal last week, SF Gate reports. Turner’s attorney alleges prosecutorial misconduct and deprivation of due process and have decided to resort the age-old tactic of victim blaming — calling into question the amount of alcohol Emily Doe consumed on the night of the assault.

“How often are we manipulated into prioritizing the abuser over the abused?” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County), author of AB 701. “How often are we being suckered into a side of a debate that we shouldn’t even be having?” 

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen initially called for a six-year sentence for Turner, according to the article. Rosen doesn't appear all that concerned about the appeal.

“Brock Turner received a fair trial and was justly convicted,” Rosen said in a statement. “His conviction will be upheld. Nothing can ever roll back Emily Doe’s legacy of raising the world’s awareness about sexual assault.”


Orange County Criminal Attorney

If you are in need of legal representation, please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. He has over 30 years of experience practicing law in Southern California and is committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Wrongfully Convicted Man Pardoned

A Simi Valley mother and son were killed in 1978, leading to the arrest and eventual conviction of Craig Richard Coley in 1980. This month Governor Jerry Brown pardoned Mr. Coley after DNA testing revealed that the now 70-year old inmate was wrongly convicted, KTLA reports. Coley was serving a life sentence (without the possibility of parole) for allegedly strangling his former girlfriend Rhonda Wicht and smothering her 4-year-old son to death.

Ever since being convicted, Coley has been fighting to prove his innocence. His efforts didn’t look like they would result in a favorable outcome when the conviction was upheld during an appeal. Then, in 2015, Coley petitioned for a new investigation by the Board of Parole, according to the article. Somewhere along the way a former detective, captain, and an officer became convinced of Coley’s innocence.


DNA Saves The Day

Coley’s case was reopened in October 2016 at the behest of Simi Valley Police Chief David Livingstone, The Los Angeles Times reports. A reëxamination of a piece of evidence that was used to convict him was conducted, revealing others’ DNA, but not Mr. Coley.

Those who advocated for the pardon believe that the original detective who worked on the case “mishandled the investigation or framed” Mr. Coley, according to the article. Michael Schwartz, a prosecutor with the Ventura County district attorney’s office, said the agency has:

“...not determined at this point that a detective engaged in misconduct, but our office and the Simi Valley Police Department are continuing to investigate all aspects of the case to determine what happened and who is responsible.”

The murder of Rhonda Wicht and her four-year-old son Donald was the first double homicide in Simi Valley.


Orange County Criminal Attorney

Please contact Ronald G. Brower if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. With over thirty years of experience, attorney Brower can provide you the best defense.

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