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Monday, March 30, 2015

Trial of Boston Marathon Bomber Moving Along

The federal jury trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the alleged—and now admitted—Boston Marathon bomber, has garnered national attention.

Today, government prosecutors are expected to rest their case. For nearly a month now, prosecutors have presented jurors with numerous witnesses and substantial evidence. Much of the testimony has been emotional and graphic.

Tsarnaev’s defense attorneys candidly told the jury during their opening statement that Tsarnaev “did it.” Given the overwhelming amount of evidence against him, Tsarnaev’s lawyers have focused their efforts on saving their client from the death penalty.

When the prosecution closes its case, the defense will have the opportunity to present its own case.

A key strategic decision that must be made in all criminal cases is whether to have the defendant, the accused, testify. Because their strategy is focused on sparing Tsarnaev from the death penalty, it is unclear at this time whether Tsarnaev will testify.

Some experts think if Tsarnaev testified and expressed remorse then he has a better chance of avoiding the death penalty. However, nearly all experts agree that allowing a defendant, including Tsarnaev, to testify exposes a defendant to the risk of damaging testimony brought out on cross examination.

Over the next few days we will learn in the Boston Marathon trial how the defense will proceed with their own case. Will they call witnesses? Will they put Tsarnaev himself on the stand? Will their efforts be enough to spare Tsarnaev from the death penalty?

Only time will tell.

Ronald G. Brower is an experienced and leading criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California. If you or someone you know is being investigated or has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower today.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Venice High School Students Accused of Sexual Assault

Fourteen students at Venice High School have been accused by the Los Angeles Police Department of sexual assault. The students are all boys between 14 and 17 years old.

Twelve of the students, at this time, have either been arrested or turned themselves in to police. None of the students’ names have been released because they are minors.

The boys are alleged to have engaged in sex acts with girls from the school. Images of the acts are rumored to have circulated on social media.

School officials claim they first became aware of the activity on March 10, and immediately informed the police. Since then, school officials have held public meetings to reassure parents of the safety of the students.

Most of the boys accused have been released by police to their parents and removed from the school. The school district is currently in the process of determining whether the boys will be expelled.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated prosecutors have 60 days from when the citation issued to press criminal charges against the boys.

Allegations of sexual assault are very serious. Do not face these types of accusations alone.

If you or someone you know has been accused of sexual assault, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend your rights and liberty.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

California Supreme Court to Decide If Police Can Take DNA Samples

The debate about the proper balance of individual privacy and public safety continues.

Last month, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear a case concerning whether it is constitutional for law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from persons who have been arrested.

How the Court rules could have a major impact on law enforcement practices.

The case comes to the California Supreme Court after a state Court of Appeals last year declared that law enforcement’s collection of DNA samples from arrestees was unlawful.

On the one hand, law enforcement officials argue that the collection of DNA samples—typically achieved by a cheek swab—and synching it with a national database allows police to quickly and precisely determine whether the person arrested may be connected to another crime.

Privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, however, contend that the state’s collection of DNA evidence from people who have only been arrested—but not arraigned, much less convicted—violates the arrestee’s constitutional rights.

The Court of Appeals ruled the collection of DNA evidence from someone who has only been arrested, but “never been convicted, or even charged, with a crime,” violated a protected expectation of privacy and was illegal.

It is unclear when the California Supreme Court will issue its decision on the matter.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, is under investigation, or has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. Attorney Brower is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend your constitutional rights and liberties.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Couple Pleads No Contest in High Profile Case

David Pregerson, hit and run, Voung, plead, Los Angeles

A highly publicized hit-and-run case involving the death of a federal judge’s son reached a resolution earlier today.

Marguerite Dao Vuong and her husband, Michael, pleaded no contest to the charges offered against them. 

Marguerite Dao Vuong was accused of hitting David Pregerson, the 23-year-old son of U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson, in the early hours of December 27, 2013 and driving away. David died four days after the incident.

Michael Voung purportedly told police he had been driving the car, not his wife.

Ms. Voung pleaded no contest to the hit-and-run charge. She was sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Voung pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact. He was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years’ probation.

Criminal prosecutions are complex and require a strong defense. Contact the Law Office of Ronald Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend and guide you or someone you know against a criminal prosecution.

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