Legal Blog

Weapon Possession and Child Endangerment: A News-Based Legal Analysis

Published on March 23, 2017

On Sunday, March 19th, Manhattan Beach Patch reported a hit-and-run outside Los Angeles International Airport around 9am. The 41-year old man who was suspected of the hit-and-run allegedly had a loaded handgun inside his Chevy Avalanche, along with a 12-year-old child. Safety precautions led officers to remove the suspect from his vehicle, where he is described as becoming aggressive towards the officers and trying to jump back into his car. Officers then pushed the suspect to the ground, where he was taken into custody.  The 12-year-old child who was in the vehicle said that there was a loaded handgun in the car. Police later reported they had found a loaded Glock semi-automatic pistol in the suspect’s center console. The suspect was booked under charges of possession of a stole firearm, outstanding warrants, child endangerment, and resisting arrest.

California Penal Code section 25605 outlines rules relating to possessing a handgun. The Penal Code states a handgun may in certain circumstances be possessed by a legal resident over the age of 18, so long as the handgun stays within that person’s place of residence, business, or private property (California Penal Code § 25605). It is illegal to openly carry guns unless one has obtained the proper license to carry a concealed weapon.  Obtaining concealed weapon licenses in California is extremely difficult.  One of the many requirements is outlined in Penal Code section 31645, which necessitates a passing score on a firearms and safety test. However, one is not permitted to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon if they are deemed lacking in moral character, or have no special purpose to carry a weapon. Whether the alleged hit-and-run suspect had a license to carry a concealed weapon is unclear. However, the fact that he was arrested outside terminal 2 of LAX indicates that he violated the restrictions that prohibit weapons in school zones, buildings housing governing officials, polling places, and public transit facilities. LAX being a public transit facility, carrying a weapon in its vicinity is illegal.

The courts do not take gun laws lightly, and California has a reputation for forcefully enforcing gun law violators.  Prosecutors routinely offer uncompromising plea deals to those charged with weapons offenses, and courts are loath to undercut these offers. The result for those with illegal firearms can amount to significant jail or prison time as well as substantial fines.

California Penal Code 273a defines child endangerment as, essentially, putting a child through physical or mental pain, allowing the injury to a child under the adult’s supervision, or placing a child in a dangerous situation. This penal code is different from child abuse, as it allows for punishment even if a child doesn’t directly suffer injury. Child endangerment prosecutions can be initiated as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the case. A misdemeanor results in up to one year in county jail, whereas a felony results in up to six years in a state prison. It is common that if proof arises where a child is placed in a situation with risk of great harm, the suspect will be charged with a felony. The suspect has yet to have a court hearing, but due to the circumstances of the situation, it will not be surprising if he is charged with a felony. Endangering a 12-year-old child with a loaded Glock outside the terminal of one of America’s business airports has the potential to involve significant jail or prison time. Nonetheless, as with all criminal cases reported in the news, there may be more to the story than law enforcement has reported.  For example, there is a possibility that the suspect may have been lawfully carrying a firearm and simply forgot that it was inside his vehicle when he entered the vicinity of the airport.  However, we will have to save any discussion of possible defenses for another day or, perhaps, another blog post.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning criminal defense lawyer 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 Aaron today, please call this number: (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Child Endangerment, Criminal Law, Weapon Offenses

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 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 charger 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 Aaron today, please call this number: (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Violent Crimes, Weapon Offenses

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