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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Voting Rights for Felons

AB 2466
The United States is a democracy, which means that every citizen has the right to vote after maturing to the proper age. It’s a right that's never taken for granted; a significant number of countries around the world do not permit their citizen's such liberties. When we vote for someone running for office or a piece of legislation that could have an impact on our lives, it's a reminder that our voice matters. That we are just as crucial to the entire process as those elected to lead us.

There are instances when one can lose their right to take part in the democratic process. The majority of states have laws on the books prohibiting those convicted of certain crimes (felony crimes) like murder from voting. Each state handles it differently, but the result is usually the same. Convicted felons cannot vote.

As you can imagine there are some who take issue with disenfranchising a considerable swath of the American populate. It’s one thing to strip one’s right to vote while incarcerated, but after felons are released, they still can’t vote in most cases. Despite any efforts made to rehabilitate oneself while behind bars, individuals do not have their constitutional right to vote reinstated.


Voting Rights in California

At the end of September, California Governor Jerry Brown restored voting rights to thousands of felons, CBS News reports. With the passage of Assembly Bill 2466, felons not serving time in Federal prisons will be allowed to vote even if they are still doing time in a county jail. AB 2466 will apply to low-level convicted felons.

The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City), is the direct result of a lawsuit arguing that felons doing time in county jail should not be treated commensurately with Federal inmates, according to the article. The suit won and, as a result, as many as 50,000 felons will be voting again. The ACLU claims that current laws prohibiting felons from voting were modern-day “felony disenfranchisement” and a “legacy of Jim Crow.” However, opponents of the bill say that the bill rewards criminals for their bad choices.

“Close elections, especially at the local level, could now turn on a handful of ballots cast by people in jail,” said Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) in a statement.


Orange County Criminal Attorney

If you have been charged with a felony, please contact The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. His stellar track record over 30 years of legal practice, means that Attorney Brower will give you the best chance of favorable outcomes.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Miranda Rights for Youth

Miranda rights are straightforward for most Americans, even for people who have never had a run-in with the law. Millions of people have heard them read, time and time again, on television and in the movies. One doesn’t need to be a criminal to grasp the importance of not saying anything that is self-incriminating. A person's Miranda rights, essentially, are a right to silence when in the presence or custody of law enforcement officers. Your rights are as follows:
  • You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
  • If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?
An adult reading the above rights shouldn’t struggle to see that saying anything without the guidance of an attorney is risky business. Many adults do forego their right to consult with an attorney before questioning or exercise their right to remain silent. It’s a decision that, in a significant number of cases, is made at considerable cost. If some adults are unable to comprehend the value of their Miranda rights, it’s more than likely that the majority of adolescents don’t have a clue about their rights. This is a reality that has been exploited far too often resulting in innocent young people receiving punishment for crimes they didn’t commit.


Protecting Miranda Rights for Young People

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed three pieces of relevant legislation written to protect children, Human Rights Watch reports. The three bills:

Senate Bill 395: police cannot interrogate children 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney. Before, children of any age were allowed to waive their right to an attorney, even when parents had no idea their child was in custody.

Senate Bill 394: minors sentenced to life without parole can now earn parole after 24 years of incarceration. “No other country outside the US imposes life without parole sentences on children. By signing SB 394 into law, Governor Brown removes this shameful exception in California,” said Elizabeth Calvin, senior children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch.

Assembly Bill 1308: will extend through age 25, “Youth Offender Parole,” a special process that allows the Board of Parole Hearings commissioners to take into consideration various factors that may have led to a youth’s crime—thus reducing culpability. The bill extends the age limit from 22. Please take a moment to watch a short video:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Criminal Attorney for Juveniles

If your son or daughter is charged with a crime, then an attorney should be present from the onset. Please contact Ronald G. Brower, his experience spanning over three-decades can dramatically improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SB 239 Signed Into Law

SB 239
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that practically every American adult has feared contracting at some point or another. One could even say that people growing up in the 1980’s and after were taught to always use protection, for fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Particularly HIV, which can lead to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

It could also be said that a number of forces collided at the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic which cast the potentially deadly condition into a different light than that of other STDs. If you were a teenager or adult in the ‘80’s and early 1990’s, then you can probably remember the falsehoods being spread about HIV. One that led to several stereotypes, rooted in fear, not fact. Resulting in legislation being passed in certain states that made it a felony to not disclose knowledge of a person’s illness to a sexual partner. Yes, that’s right: People who fail to tell their partner(s) about it, can land them in jail. No other blood-borne pathogens carry the risk of jail time for failing to disclose.


HIV: From Felony to Misdemeanor

Last week, California's Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation changing the punishment for the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV/AIDS, The Los Angeles Times reports. One of the reasons for the alteration is modern medicine, according to the bills authors. Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) point out that people with HIV live longer lives and the use of medication nearly eliminates the possibility of disease transmission.

“Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” said Wiener. “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.” 

SB 239 applies to HIV-positives who donate blood without disclosing knowledge of their condition, the article reports. Sen. Wiener argues that the risk of felony had lead some people to not get tested for the virus. Reasoning that not getting tested would protect them from being charged with a felony after exposing someone else. Thus, reducing the designation of the crime is in the interest of public safety.

“We are going to end new HIV infections, and we will do so not by threatening people with state prison time, but rather by getting people to test and providing them access to care,” Wiener said.


Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a committing crime, please contact The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. With over 30 years of experience, attorney Browser can help you or a loved one achieve the best possible outcomes.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Menendez Brothers Murders

menendez brothers
In the United States, we have long been fascinated by the genre known as “true crime.” There is hardly a household in America that does not dedicate a block of time to watching shows like Law & Order and CSI which are often inspired by real events. Others opt for the reality TV approach, such as The First 48. But, at the end of the day, most people tune in to Law & Order, and the spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent created by Dick Wolf.

In recent years, there has been a desire to redirect TV viewer attention to murder cases which captured America’s attention in the 1990’s. The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story was aired last year, and for those too young to remember the details it was like watching the horrific story unfold for the first time. A few years before the O.J. trial, there was another murder case that grabbed the attention of people across the country. The Menendez Brothers of Beverly Hills, California.


True Crime In America

In 1989, Lyle and Erik Menendez brutally murdered their father and mother in their upscale Southern California home. In 1994, the two brothers were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder; they were sentenced to life in prison for their crimes. Now, 28 years later, Dick Wolf has decided to bring the case back into the spotlight. "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders" premiered on September 26, 2017, on NBC. The eight-part mini-series is the first installment of Law & Order True Crime. The show airs at 10 PM EST every Tuesday for the next several weeks.

The case of the Menendez brothers, much like the Simpson case, was unique. Being some of the first high profile trials to be televised from the courtroom. Thus, allowing Americans a “fly-on-the-wall” experience to the criminal justice system. Recently, Lyle Menendez spoke with Today’s Megyn Kelly by telephone from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, CA, saying that he and his brother were “blinded by emotion,” and hopes that God is “very forgiving.” You can take a moment to watch below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Orange County Homicide Attorney

Attorney Brower has extensive experience in homicide defense and is prepared to provide the quality representation for you or a loved one. If you are in need of sound representation, please contact us at your convenience.

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