Legal Blog

Client Celebrates Freedom with His Lawyers After Life Sentence Is Overturned

Published on October 9, 2020

Earlier this week a Spolin Law client visited the firm’s office to celebrate his newfound freedom. After two years of work by the firm, the client’s life sentence was dismissed, and he was finally released shortly before the office meeting.

Spolin Boardroom Group Shot after Client’s Life Sentence was Dismissed

The client and his family celebrated with Spolin Law attorneys and staff. Pictured, right to left, are Aaron Spolin (attorney), C.T. Jr. (client), Caitlin Dukes (attorney), Hemi Tann (case manager), C.T. Sr. (client’s father), Michael Alfi (firm mailroom manager), D.T. (mother), and T.A. (fiancé).

The client’s fiancé, father, and mother were present at the happy occasion. Spolin Law employees present also included attorney Aaron Spolin, attorney Caitlin Dukes, case manager Hemi Tann, and mailroom manager Michael Alfi.

The client had originally been convicted of murder because a person had died during the course of a robbery in which the client participated. However, the client had absolutely nothing to do with the death, did not want it to happen, and had been powerless to stop the unfortunate chain of events that eventually lead to the death. Notwithstanding this fact, the District Attorney’s Office had charged the client with murder. Based on changes in state law since the conviction, the judge agreed with the Spolin Law attorneys that the client’s murder conviction had to be dismissed, resulting in a re-sentencing that eliminated the life sentence.

The firm had won the client’s case several month ago (see earlier link); however, the CDCR and prison facility had improperly kept the client in custody due to an inaccurate interpretation of the client’s time credits. Spolin Law attorney Caitlin Dukes repeatedly contacted the CDCR to resolve this issue and get the facility to actually release the client. The client is now considering a money-damages lawsuit for improper confinement during the extra months he spent in prison.

“It was beautiful to see their whole family together,” said Hemi Tann, who is a case manager at the firm. “I felt wonderful knowing that we had helped this family get their son back.”

The client has already been offered a job as an auto mechanic and hopes to begin work shortly. He will finally have a chance to make up for the years he lost and start his life over with his fiancé, who supported him throughout the process.

To discuss this case or any other appellate matter with a Spolin Law attorney or staff member, call us at (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Appeals, Criminal Law, Violent Crimes

Innocent Spolin Law Client Charged with Murder Walks Free After All Charges Dropped

Published on July 19, 2019

This past Tuesday shortly before noon a Spolin Law client charged with murder walked free after a judge dismissed the charges against him.

The client — a high school senior — had been charged with murder based on his alleged participation in a street racing contest where another driver had struck and killed a pedestrian. The client had not in fact been participating in any street racing and was not the driver who struck the pedestrian. The case was heard by Judge William Wood of the San Diego County Superior Court, Juvenile Division. The client’s family had hired Spolin Law P.C. to write the motion to dismiss the case and had also hired attorney Carl Bradley Patton to represent the client in the “jurisdiction hearing” that resulted in the dismissal.

Spolin Law’s motion to dismiss argued that all charges against the client should be dismissed and that the prosecution had not in fact presented evidence showing the client’s participation in a car racing contest. In support of this argument, the motion cited numerous prior cases with similar fact patterns and highlighted that convictions in other courts for the same crime were not analogous; other cases had all involved significantly more evidence of actual racing. The arguments were enough to persuade the Superior Court judge to drop all charges—including the murder charge—and dismiss the case.

When the ruling was announced, a wave of relief swept through the client’s family seated in the courtroom. The client himself let out a deep sigh of relief and, with tears in his eyes, embraced his father and other family members who were in the court. At that moment he was a free man, and he walked out of the courthouse with his family moments later. He will now be able to return to his life, which will include completing high school, applying to colleges, playing sports, and being with his family.

For more information about Spolin Law P.C. and how our attorneys may be able to help on a criminal case, feel free to contact us at (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Criminal Law, Juvenile Court, Violent Crimes

Minor Charged With Homicide Found “Fit” for Juvenile Court

Published on June 2, 2017

After an approximately two-week court hearing in Inglewood Juvenile Courthouse, a 17-year-old Spolin Law P.C. client facing homicide charges has been found “fit” to remain in juvenile court. While she could have faced life in prison in adult court, in juvenile court her maximum period of confinement is now eight years.

When a minor is charged with a crime, the prosecutor may petition the juvenile court to transfer the case to adult court. The vast majority of minors facing homicide charges end up transferred to adult court, where a finding of guilt routinely results in a lifetime behind bars. Minors kept in juvenile court are confined in Juvenile Hall, which must release them by the age of 25. While adult court is focused on retribution and punishment, juvenile court focuses on rehabilitation, and the educational and extracurricular activities offered in Juvenile Hall reflect this.

The minor was represented by Aaron Spolin throughout the proceeding. Further details of the case and applicable legal defenses cannot be disclosed due to the strict confidentiality rules associated with juvenile court. After the minor is arraigned in the juvenile court, the case will proceed to the pre-trial phase.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, has a track record of success handling violent crime cases. He has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. To receive a 100% free and confidential consultation from an attorney or staff member today, please call this number: (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Criminal Law, Juvenile Court, Violent Crimes

Criminal Defense Attorney Attacked by District Attorney’s Office Investigator

Published on March 16, 2016

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney James Crawford was attacked on March 9th while inside a courthouse preparing for hearings. In fact, attorney Crawford describes an attack carried out by an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Photos after the assault and battery show Crawford with a large, swollen red and black area under his eye, other bruising on his face, and a collared shirt splattered with blood.

Crawford is a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles with a focus on white-collar crime, DUI and DWI offenses, federal crime, and domestic violence. He described his interaction with the DA’s investigator as one-sided and catching him completely by surprise. According to Crawford, he approached a witness to advise the witness of his rights. A DA investigator in charge of the witness interfered with Crawford’s communication, and the exchange escalated. Then, when Crawford noted the allegations of misconduct arising from the county’s jailhouse informant program, the investigator rushed towards Crawford and began to punch him repeatedly in the head and face. Multiple Santa Ana police officers eventually pulled the investigator off of Crawford. The investigator is currently on leave as a result of the incident.

The president of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Matthew Guerrero, has called for a “thorough, independent” investigation into what occurred, including the disclosure of any records, video, or other documents related to the incident.

While the District Attorney’s Office has not released an alternative version of events, Guerrero is currently criticizing law enforcement for its non-communicative reaction, describing it as “circling the wagons.” President of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, Tom Dominguez, has called for calm as the incident is investigated, and is arguing that defense attorney Crawford may be simply trying to “drum up a payday.”

A conviction for simple misdemeanor assault could result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, while misdemeanor battery has the same maximum jail sentence but a maximum $2,000 fine. In addition, a conviction would almost certainly result in the investigator losing his job and no longer being eligible for a position in a law enforcement agency. Nonetheless, the outcome of the fracas involves a number of open questions, including whether there is sufficient public trust in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to have final say over whether to prosecute a member of their own office. Any decision not to prosecute will be described as a result of an inherent conflict of interest. It is for this reason, among others, that some, including Northeastern University law professor Daniel Medwed, argue that the DA’s Office may need to be subjected to federal oversight.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, has a track record of success handling violent crime cases. He has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. To receive a 100% free and confidential consultation from an attorney or staff member today, please call this number: (310) 407-7348.

Categories: Criminal Law, Violent Crimes

Latest Update on Venice Beach Shooting of Homeless Man

Published on January 13, 2016

In the latest update on the Venice Beach police shooting of a homeless man, the Los Angeles Police Chief has called for charges against the officer involved, Officer Clifford Proctor.

By way of background, in May of 2015 amidst the national discussion of police conduct, Officer Proctor shot Brendon Glenn, a homeless man who was not armed. Proctor had forced Glenn to the ground and, according to LAPD investigators, Proctor shot Glenn twice in the back when Glenn attempted to push himself up.

You can read the most recent Los Angeles Times story here: L.A. Police Chief Beck backs charges against the officer who fatally shot Venice homeless man, L.A. Times, Kate Mather, January 11, 2016.

Officer Proctor initially reported that Glen was attempting to take Proctor’s weapon and that he fired in self-defense. However, based on a review of forensic evidence and eyewitness reports, the LAPD investigators determined that Glenn did not make a movement directly towards Proctor’s gun but was merely pushing himself up off of the ground. These findings are what prompted LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to recommend criminal charges.

If charges are filed, it will be the first time in 15 years that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against an officer for an on-duty shooting.

The District Attorney’s Office has not specified whether they will charge Proctor, but his conduct could fall under one of a number of homicide crimes under the California Penal Code. CA Penal Code section 187 defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.” Malice includes acts where the offender intended to kill the victim, knew his actions would kill the victim, or acted with “conscious disregard for human life.” Proctor could also face charges for lesser homicide and non-homicide offenses.

LAPD Chief Beck does not have final authority over whether Proctor is prosecuted. District Attorney Jackie Lacey will make that decision. However, it does not bode well for Proctor that his chief has recommended charges.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, has a track record of success handling violent crime cases. He has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. To receive a 100% free and confidential consultation from an attorney or staff member today, please call this number: (310) 407-7348.

Categories: Violent Crimes, Weapon Offenses


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