Posted by Tom Brown in State
on Feb 16th, 2011 | Comments Off on Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record In California
People make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes lead to criminal convictions and a criminal record. This may prevent you from getting a job, getting into school, obtaining a bank loan, and other benefits. Many employers conduct criminal background checks. Last week, Ken White wrote about how people with federal convictions lack a clear path to clear their record. But if you have been convicted of a crime in California, you may be able to clean up your criminal record. You may be able to have your conviction dismissed, sealed, or expunged.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and are still on...
Posted by Ken White in Federal
on Feb 11th, 2011 | Comments Off on Still Waiting For Federal Alternatives To Expungement
As criminal practitioners know, many states have well-defined procedures for expunging and sealing criminal convictions. California, for instance, allows defendants who have successfully completed probation in some cases to apply for reduction of charges and dismissal of their cases, a procedure that is routine and form-based in most California courts.
Federal defendants are not so lucky. There is no statute permitting dismissal or expungement of federal convictions. Federal defendants are generally restricted to three choices:
Seeking a Presidential pardon. Pardons are purely discretionary. ...
Posted by Ken White in State
on Jan 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on The Felony Murder Rule: Broader Than You Think
Most people have a vague familiarity with the felony murder rule, acquired from watching the ubiquitous episodes of the various Law and Order spinoffs and law school. But few people – in fact, few lawyers – realize how broad the rule is in California, and how attenuated the connection can be between the felony in question and the death.
Shaun Martin at the California Appellate Report points out a particularly egregious case, People v. Wilkins. Wilkins snuck onto a construction site, stole some building materials (including a stove), loaded them into his truck, and drove away. He didn’t tie...
Posted by Tom Brown in Federal, Privilege
on Jan 26th, 2011 | 1 comment
It just became harder for the U.S. Department of Justice to prove a case of witness tampering. Now federal defendants may not be convicted of witness tampering under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1) unless the government can prove that the defendant does more than appeal to a person’s right to exercise a privilege not to testify. Rather, the government must prove some other wrongful conduct, such as coercion, intimidation, bribery, suborning perjury, etc. The new interpretation of the term “corruptly” will likely significantly aid defendants in other criminal prosecutions, such as tax...
Posted by Ken White in Conspiracy, Drug Crimes
on Jan 21st, 2011 | Comments Off on Fifth Circuit Reminds Prosecutors About the Limits of Conspiracy
Both federal and state prosecutors love to charge defendants with conspiracy because a conspiracy count lets them tell an open-ended story in the charging instrument, renders a broader range of evidence relevant and admissible, and gives jurors a nebulous “well, they did something wrong” hook to hang a conviction on.
There are, however, legal limits to conspiracy charges. It’s good to see the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit remind federal prosecutors of those limits. On January 19, 2011, the Fifth Circuit published its opinion in United States v. Maria Aide Delgado,...
Posted by Ken White in Search and Seizure, State
on Jan 10th, 2011 | Comments Off on California Supreme Court Holds That Police Need No Warrant To Search Cell Phone
It’s been a long time since the typical cell phone was merely a phone – a portable version of the old rotary-dial instrument that used to be attached to your kitchen wall. Now cell-phones are personal computers, media-consumption platforms, personal organizers, and multi-function communication devices, permitting voice, video, text, and email communications. They contain a vast amount of data that most people would regard as confidential.
But to the California Supreme Court, they’re comparable to a pack of cigarettes.
This week, in People v. Diaz, the court upheld a drug conviction that...
Posted by Ken White in Site
on Jan 4th, 2011 | Comments Off on Welcome to You Must Acquit
Brown White & Newhouse LLP is pleased to announce the launch of You Must Acquit, its criminal defense blog. Here you’ll find commentary from the firm’s criminal defense attorneys on significant events and developments in the criminal defense world.
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