Activists Demand Answers About Secretive LAPD Program: What Is Operation LASER?

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 7:44 am    

An alliance of activist groups is suing the city of Los Angeles because the city has allegedly refused to respond to a public records request. The request concerns Operation LASER, a computer program used to identify criminals and potential criminals as well as areas where crime is likely to occur. Activists groups led by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition have asked the city to give details on the factors they use to operate LASER.

If you have questions about Operation LASER or are facing criminal charges in the Los Angeles area, contact a criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation.

How LASER Works

LASER, which is an acronym for Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration, tells police officers where they can locate both ex-criminals and persons whom they believe will be likely to commit crimes. LASER uses tools such as cell phone trackers and license plate scanners to search for these people, and combines this information with other data and CIA-created technology to pinpoint precise locations.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has praised the program for its “predictive policing” abilities, saying it helps reduce the amount of violent crimes committed in the city. Officers claim that Operation LASER has been a tremendous help in diminishing crime in the most dangerous neighborhoods and areas where gang violence is prevalent.

The Problems with LASER

While Operation LASER sounds like a great tool in theory, activist groups aren’t convinced. The fact that the LAPD is reluctant to provide public records on LASER, including the data collected and used to pinpoint criminals, has raised some concerns. They claim the program targets people using secretive tactics, and officers don’t actually inform these people that they are being observed as potential criminals. Peter Bibring, a lawyer for the ACLU, pointed out that once police intensify their observance of you, your chances of being wrongly accused of a crime often increase exponentially.

Groups are concerned about the police choosing to trail ex-criminals as well, saying it’s an unjustified move that keeps people under constant suspicion despite the fact that they have already paid their debt to society.

Another issue surrounding LASER is the data that’s used. What factors does the LAPD consider while pinpointing potential criminals? Groups fear the police are coming by this data in a dishonest manner, using information that is not regulated or made transparent to the public. While officers are encouraged to conduct reviews of their lists every six months, eliminating suspects who haven’t committed crimes in that time, there’s no actual requirement that they do so.

Contact a California Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a crime, it’s important that you remember your rights must still be observed. One way you can ensure you are treated fairly is by hiring a criminal defense lawyer. At Spolin Law P.C., we focus on building the best defense for your case, and we scrutinize treatment from the police and the courts to safeguard your rights as a citizen. To speak to one of our lawyers, contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a consultation.


Most Common Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Charged with a Crime

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 7:30 am    

Being charged with a criminal offense can put you in a difficult situation. Once you are charged, your mind likely goes in a million different directions at once, and you look for anyone who can help you make sense of what is happening. Unfortunately, others may take advantage of your worry and use it against you. It’s important to review some common mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime. By doing so, you can be prepared and protect yourself.

If you’re facing charges in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free, initial case consultation.

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Charged with a Crime

There are a number of steps you should take after being charged with a crime, and there are a number of mistakes you could potentially make if you find yourself facing criminal charges. These slip-ups include:

  1. Waiting to hire a lawyer.
    People who have been charged with a crime may wait to hire a lawyer until after they have been formally charged with a crime. In reality, you should find an attorney as soon as possible. You can take the time to interview a couple of criminal defense attorneys and find the right one for your case, but be sure to have representation as soon as you can. Having a lawyer on your side ensures your rights are protected throughout your entire case.
  2. Voluntarily making a statement to the police.
    When police officers are investigating a crime and they believe you committed it, they will do what they can to get you to confess. Often this means they’ll act very friendly. They will tell you that they are on your side, and they need your help to catch the “bad guy.” They may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer present because this is just an informal meeting.

    It’s important to remember that no matter how kind and understanding they seem, the police are trying to catch you. They want to earn your trust so you’ll talk to them. They’ll carefully go over your verbal and written statements to find any evidence to charge you. Remember that you have a right to remain silent, and you should absolutely exercise that right. Do not say a single thing until your lawyer is present.

  3. Submitting to tests without express permission or a court order.
    The police may ask you to submit to a blood, breath, or DNA test when they first bring detain you. You do not need to agree, unless your lawyer says it’s okay or you are presented with a court order. If the police are asking you to take a test while you are being questioned but they don’t have a warrant, they cannot force you to agree.
  4. Withholding information from your lawyer.
    Your lawyer is on your side. When you don’t tell them the whole story, you are making their job more difficult. If they don’t have all the facts, they are unable to give you the best representation. Even if you’re embarrassed or ashamed, you have to tell them everything. They are not there to judge you, they are there to help you.
  5. Resisting arrest.
    Just because you’re not legally obligated to talk to the police, you aren’t allowed to act however you want. Resisting arrest, yelling, or getting physical with a police officer will only end badly. You could be hit with even more charges, or worse, they can use physical force to bring you in. This could lead to serious injuries.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime, you’re likely confused and concerned. Luckily, you can get answers and have some of your concerns addressed when you hire a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. At Spolin Law P.C., we take the time to answer your questions, explain the process, and give you some ideas of the outcomes you may face. We will also inform you about mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime so that you can protect yourself in the future. Our extensive experience with the criminal justice system gives us the ability to fight for your rights and build the best defense.

Call us today at (310) 424-5816, or use the online form to schedule a free case consultation.


Homicides Decrease in Los Angeles, but Violent Crime Rises Again

Posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 8:18 am    

According to crime statistics compiled by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), property crimes and violent crimes increased during 2017. Yet the number of homicides and instances of gun violence decreased during that period, a development that the LAPD attributes to its computer statistics and community-focused policing strategy.

Known as COMPSTAT, the LAPD’s policing model is supposed to “put police officers back in the business of actually proactively fighting crime rather than just reacting to it,” according to the department’s website. Another cornerstone of this strategy is to hold police managers “directly accountable for combating the crime in their assigned area,” while giving them the autonomy to develop their own, local tactics.

If you’re facing charges for a violent crime, contact a Los Angeles violent crimes attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation today.

Has a New LAPD Strategy Helped Curb the Murder Rate?

Last year’s six percent decline in the murder rate was welcome news, since the rate was on the rise during 2015 and 2016. But since 2010, murder rates across Los Angeles – and in most other parts of California – have remained generally stable according to research by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

Murder rates in LA began steadily decreasing after the 1990s, when the yearly murder rate could reach past 1,000. The decrease continued until around 2010, when the murder rate stabilized between 200 and 300 yearly victims. The number of murders has remained stable despite many reforms to the California criminal justice system and law enforcement strategies over the last seven years.

Against this backdrop, there were significant local variations in crime rates. Communities of color tended to fare worse – especially when it comes to murders. For example, blacks make up only eight percent of Los Angeles citizens, but accounted for 36 percent of its murder victims in 2017.

According to Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice research fellow Mike Males, these facts show that law and order reforms may not cause significant changes to crime rates. Instead, long term trends, as well as local or short term variations, might result from socio-economic factors and the local activities of gangs.

Property Crimes and Violent Crimes Are Still on the Rise Despite New Strategy

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stated that COMPSTAT, with its “data-driven community-focused strategies, expanding community trust, and relentless follow-up,” was partly responsible for the decrease in shootings and homicides. The LAPD now relies on data to predict where crimes might occur, and focus their resources in those areas.

But if this new policing strategy is succeeding, why have property crimes increased for three years in a row? In 2017, the LAPD recorded 95,495 property crimes – 6,007 more than in 2015. As for violent crime, it’s been increasing for four years now. There were 28,481 incidents of violent crime in 2017, versus 24,596 in 2015. Robberies and aggravated assaults led the increase – although this could be due to efforts by the LAPD to more accurately report these crimes.

Charged with a Crime? Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Aaron Spolin is a former prosecutor who knows how the criminal justice system works. If you are facing criminal charges, his experience and advocacy can help you get the best outcome possible under your circumstances. Contact Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816 for a free consultation about how we might defend your case.


Common Types of Internet Fraud

Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 8:06 am    

Internet fraud is a broad term that encompasses many different offenses, some of which may be prosecuted under either California or federal law. Fundamentally, fraud consists in using deception to get someone else to give you something of value. So any time you use the internet to complete such a scheme, you have committed internet fraud.

Internet fraud is a growing problem in the United States and the state of California. As the amount of business conducted over the internet increases, so does the amount of fraud. The problem reached such proportions that in 2011, the California Attorney General created an “eCrime Unit” dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of internet fraud and other cyber crimes.

If you are being investigated by the eCrime Unit or another law enforcement agency, you need an experienced fraud attorney on your side. Call Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816 to find out how we can help you.

Internet Fraud Can Take Many Forms

New fraud schemes are constantly emerging as our technology and habits evolve. Some of the more established forms of internet fraud include:

  • Phishing – When you impersonate a company or bank employee over email to get a customer to give up account details, you have committed phishing. Phishing is usually a form of identity theft punishable by fines and/or one to three years behind bars under California Penal Code section 530.5.
  • Spam – Most spam is just junk mail. But some messages may contain links to harmful malware that can enable thieves to access your computer. Messages that contain viruses tend to offer free credit-report checks, low interest loans, free dating services, and sweepstakes winnings. When the malware is used to obtain credit card numbers and personal identifying information, this type of fraud is also prosecuted under California Penal Code section 530.5.
  • Credit card fraud – Reputable online retailers do not save your data unless you give them your permission. But untrustworthy retail websites may save your credit card number and billing address, and then make charges to your account. Credit card fraud might also be achieved through phishing, such as when a person pretending to be an employee of your credit card company asks for you to confirm your PIN and account number. Credit card fraud may be charged under California Penal Code section 484e, which calls for fines and/or prison terms of between one and three years.
  • Hacking – California Penal Code section 502 prohibits many forms of accessing computers and their data without the owner’s permission. Depending on the circumstances, the offense is punishable by fines alone or by up to three years in prison. In many cases, hacking is facilitated by deception. For example, the hacker may obtain passwords through phishing, or may even gain physical access to the target computer. These actions may entail further criminal penalties.
  • Non delivery of merchandise – On auction websites like ebay, you may encounter scams where a seller fails to deliver the product you paid for. Your efforts to contact the seller will fail, and you may be unable to get your money back. Alternatively, you may receive a product of lower value, or a counterfeit item, which is punishable under California Penal Code section 350.

The Penalties for Internet Fraud Under Federal Law Are Harsher

In general, the cost of defending against federal charges – and the potential penalties – are higher than with state charges. Federal laws against internet fraud are different than California laws because in many cases, you do not have to actually complete the fraudulent scheme to be convicted. A mere attempt to commit internet fraud may be sufficient for you to face crippling fines, and the possibility of prison sentences ranging up to 20 years in the most serious cases.

Contact a Los Angeles Internet Fraud Attorney Today

As a former prosecutor, Los Angeles fraud defense attorney Aaron Spolin is well positioned to help you counter your internet fraud charges. Do not plead guilty to your charges before speaking with a lawyer, as there may be evidence to show that you acted without criminal intent. Call Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816 for a free consultation about the possible defenses that may apply to your case.


What Are the Most Common White Collar Crimes?

Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 6:48 am    

White collar crimes, in general, are non-violent crimes committed with the purpose of achieving financial gain. Although they are non-violent, they can result in serious penalties. If you are being investigated for or charged with a white collar crime, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. today. Call us at (310) 424-5816 to find out how we can help you.

Some of the most common white collar crimes include:

Fraud
Fraud is essentially committing a deceitful act for money. There are different types of fraud, including:

  • Securities fraud- Securities fraud includes insider trading, which is where a person uses confidential information about a brand or company to buy or sell stock in the stock market. Corporations can also commit securities fraud if they knowingly issue false or misleading public statements about the company’s financial health and prospects in order to attract investors.
  • Insurance fraud Insurance fraud is a scheme to collect on an insurance policy. When committing insurance fraud, you may end up committing another crime alongside it. For example, burning down a building for the insurance money would add an arson charge to insurance fraud.
  • Business or corporate fraud- Business fraud is different from securities fraud because these businesses aren’t just making false statements; they’re doctoring financial documents as well. Falsified financial statements usually swell profits and hide losses, and they can be used to hide illegal transactions as well. Business fraud can also be used to describe illegal kickbacks to executives or misuse of company funds or property.
  • Ponzi Schemes- By now, most people are familiar with Bernie Madoff, the executive who orchestrated the largest Ponzi scheme in history. A Ponzi scheme is spearheaded by a fake enterprise used to attract investors. The business promises to pay their investors back with funds the business earns. In reality, it does pay back some early investors, using the money collected from newer investors. Mr. Madoff spent nearly 20 years relieving thousands of people of tens of billions of dollars.

Embezzlement
Embezzlement is taking money from a person or company where you are employed. Employees figure out a way to tap into the company’s funds and direct some of that money to their own bank accounts.

Embezzlement is also a white collar crime often committed by politicians. It seems like every election the public hears of those in political offices using campaign funds to pay for their own personal expenses like mortgage payments or gifts for their spouses.

Tax Evasion
Tax evasion, or avoiding paying taxes owed, can be accomplished a number of ways. Sometimes a company falsifies their tax returns, or they hide property or assets to make it look like they have less taxable obligations. Sometimes, they simply decide not to pay any taxes owed.

Money Laundering
Money laundering takes money earned from a disreputable source and makes it look like it has a legitimate background. Chances are you’re already committed a crime by acquiring “dirty money” in the first place. Laundering money helps people avoid paying taxes or facing criminal prosecution for the funds.

How a White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Help

White collar crimes don’t typically end in bloodshed, but the court does not see them as victimless crimes. On the contrary, because these crimes have the ability to take an entire business down, causing hard-working employees to lose their jobs and pensions, they are taken very seriously. If you’re facing charges for a white collar crime, it may be in your best interest to get help from a criminal defense lawyer. The attorneys at Spolin Law P.C., PC have extensive experience representing people who have been hit with criminal charges. We give your case undivided attention and fight for your best possible outcome.

Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a consultation.


Understanding California’s Three Strikes Law

Posted on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 at 6:28 am    

California’s Three Strikes Law was introduced in 1994 as a way of dealing with certain repeat felony offenders. The state’s criminal justice system considers repeat offenders to be challenging to deal with, since they can be difficult to reform. The Three Strikes Law significantly extends prison terms with the idea that offenders will work to modify their behavior to avoid spending so much time behind bars.

“Strikers,” as these offenders are known, are also taken off the streets for a longer period of time, which puts citizens at ease.

The California Three Strikes law only applies to certain offenders, but it can be significantly higher penalties. If you’ve been charged with a crime and are concerned about getting a strike, contact Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816.

Composition of the Three Strikes Law

The Three Strikes Law is so named because its core regulation puts three-time offenders already convicted of multiple serious felonies in prison for a minimum of 25 years to life. Not every felony has to be serious; for example, if you were convicted previously of a serious and a non-serious felony, and you’re sentenced for a third, serious felony, your prison term may still be dictated by the Three Strikes Law.

But there’s more to the law than just “three strikes and you’re out.” Other important factors to keep in mind include:

  • “Two Strikes.” If you have previously been convicted of a serious felony offense, and you are sentenced for a second felony (whether serious or not), your sentence may be twice as long as the legal timeframe for the new conviction.
  • Consecutive sentences required. The law requires that sentences for multiple felony offenses run consecutively, instead of concurrently. The number of felony convictions that can be added to a consecutive sentence is limitless.
  • Time period between felonies not considered. It doesn’t matter if your pervious felony conviction is a year old or 25 years old. The amount of time that has passed in between felony convictions is not taken into consideration.
  • No probation, no suspension. You will not be eligible for probation, nor will you be able to receive a suspended sentence.
  • A limit on credits. Anyone serving under the Three Strikes Law may only reduce their time in prison by one-fifth through work or education credits, whereas other prisoners may reduce time by up to one-half.
  • Proposition 36. In 2012, California voters amended the Three Strikes Law in two ways. (1) The third strike must be a violent or serious felony (previously, offenders could be sentenced under the law even if their new felony was not serious). (2) Strikers could petition to have their sentence downgraded to Two Strikes if they qualify under the amendment.

What Is Considered a “Serious Felony”?

It’s important to understand what is considered a violent or serious felony offense, since these felonies affect strikers. Examples of these offenses include:

  • Violent Felony Offenses- Murder, robbery, rape, other types of violent sexual assault.
  • Serious Felony Offense- Serious felonies include all the same offenses under violent felonies, but also include a whole host of other crimes, such as assault with the intent to commit robbery or attempted murder.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Even with the amendments, the Three Strikes Law can spell serious trouble for anyone who is facing multiple felony charges. If you are in need of help with your felony charges, you should contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Spolin Law P.C., PC. Our team of highly qualified attorneys work hard to provide the best defense for our clients. Contact us today at (310) 424-5816.


Spolin Law P.C. Gets Two Cases Dismissed in One Day

Posted on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 at 5:11 pm    

Earlier today Spolin Law P.C. secured the dismissals of two separate cases in Van Nuys Courthouse.

The client had been charged with two drug-related crimes in 2014.  At that time she had pled guilty on both cases, was granted probation, and had agreed to come back to court regularly for court-ordered updates.  However, she then left the state of California without the court’s permission, seeking a better life for herself in Nevada.  Because she had left California and did not show up in court on her check-in dates, the court had ordered a bench warrant for her arrest.  A bench warrant is a warrant seeking a person’s arrest due to a failure to come to court.

Van Nuys Courthouse

Since that time—and despite the warrants—the client had rebuilt her life in Nevada.  She opened a successful business and started a half-way house to help others recovering from drug addiction.  She had turned her life around; nonetheless, she still worried about the open warrants.

The client hired Spolin Law P.C. to represent her on these cases.  While the client remained in Nevada, attorney Aaron Spolin represented her in Van Nuys Superior Court.  Mr. Spolin presented to the judge a number of documents showing the client’s successful rehabilitation and argued for the judge to not only  remove the warrants but also to dismiss the two underlying cases.  This client had proven that she overcame her addiction and deserved the chance to start over with a clean criminal record.

After considering the documents presented and hearing the arguments, the judge granted Mr. Spolin’s request.  He “quashed” the warrants and dismissed both cases.  Under the law used for the dismissals, the former convictions will now be completely removed from the client’s record. As Penal Code section 1210.1(e)(1) states: “the arrest and the conviction shall be deemed never to have occurred.”

The client—who remained outside of California throughout Spolin Law P.C.’s representation—is now free of these former convictions and associated bench warrants.

If you’re accused or charged with a crime in California, call one of our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at (310) 424-5816.


Benjamin Carew-Gonzales Wins 2017 Spolin Law P.C. Scholarship

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 12:38 pm    

Benjamin Carew-Gonzales has won the 2017 Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship.  Mr. Carew-Gonzales is a student at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.  As a result of his selection, Spolin Law P.C. will pay $1,000 towards his college tuition and fees.

Mr. Carew-Gonzales was selected based on his essay, academic achievement, and personal background of continuing his family’s commitment to service.  Mr. Carew-Gonzales is an example of the type of person whose personal goals involve the protection of others.  As he notes in his essay, one of Mr. Carew-Gonzales’s earliest memories was that of his father instructing him to “defend those who cannot defend themselves, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Four other students were selected as honorable mentions in recognition of their outstanding essays and personal achievements.  Below is a list of all those recognized in this year’s scholarship season:

  • Winner: Benjamin Carew-Gonzales (Austin Community College; Austin, Texas)
  • Honorable Mention: Courtney Smith (Augustana College; Rock Island, Illinois)
  • Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Taylor (Louisiana Tech University; Ruston, Louisiana)
  • Honorable Mention: Stefan Pinkston (University of Scranton; Scranton, Pennsylvania)
  • Honorable Mention: Amber Banks (Alabama A&M University; Huntsville, Alabama)

Spolin Law P.C. would like to thank everyone who applied this season.  For those interested in applying for next year’s scholarship, the application deadline is October 1, 2018.

 

 

Mr. Carew-Gonzales’s winning essay submission is posted below:


The Constitution means me everything to me and my family.  I will give a little background to my family life and then you will see how things have shaped my life.

I guess I should start from the beginning. I was born and raised in a small affluent town in the inner city of San Antonio where my family was far from affluent. I come from a family that values an education and effort put forth to be greater than any expectations set. My grandfather barely completed the second grade, while his wife, my grandmother started over with nothing after her family was run out of Mexico by Emiliano Zapata in the early 1900’s and was forced to work in the fields as a little girl. My mother’s parents barely completed high school. These figures in my parent’s life influenced them to at all costs graduate with a college degree. They did. They didn’t stop there, they understood the value of an education so well they planned for the future by buying a small two bedroom one bath house in Alamo Heights School District so that my brother and I would be prepared for college when the time came. Following the purchase of a house, my parents applied for the drawing of the Spanish Immersion Program at Alamo Heights Elementary School. Luckily, we were selected. This monumental moment in my life has bettered my education and life experience by giving me the ability to speak another language fluently and communicate with a wide variety of people, as well the ability to immerse myself in another heritage and culture.

My parents instilled the mindset of hard work and determination into my life at a very young age. To be myself and not to be afraid to go against the crowd if I know that’s what is right. That perseverance, knowledge, and a little bit of sweat can go a long way. To respect my elders and always reply with yes/no ma’am, yes/no sir no matter the situation. To hold my ground and not only defend myself, but also protect those who cannot protect themselves. To love and be loved and not to be afraid to show your emotions at times. Tell the truth no matter the circumstance and before bed each night thank God for the opportunity and blessing of another day.

One of my first memories was my father telling me “You’re going to be a leader of men someday, defend those who cannot defend themselves, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and be a person that others will turn to for guidance and direction” being so young it was hard to comprehend, but it is something that has shaped me into the man I am today. Throughout my years my father’s words have rung true. I have led a diverse group of men and women, from the football field on Friday night to 6AM ROTC land navigation and PT (Physical Training) in college. Then this past summer where I worked at a Christian summer camp (Laity Lodge Youth Camp) and led a large group of men, women, and children in high ropes activities, as well as worship where I encouraged these individuals to go outside their comfort zones and become vulnerable to trust. My second language of Spanish has also only helped me with that leadership and ability to communicate and help those who cannot communicate with others.

With all of this being said you can start to get the idea that my family was very grateful to come to the United States back in early 1900’s and to start over.  My grandparents as well as my parents have always instilled what it means to be proud to be an American and what the Constitution allows every American the basic freedoms.  We respect the Constitution, the American flag and our Country.

My family also has a sense of duty to preserve our Constitution and defend it.  My father served our country in the United States Army for 8 years.  I have enrolled into ROTC to follow in my father’s footsteps.  My younger brother just enlisted into the Marine Corp and will ship out at the end of the year.  We take pride in our Constitution and what it means to live in a country where we are free.

With this past weekend’s events with the President and the NFL controversy just shows that our country’s Constitution allows for freedom of expression.  It does not matter your political views or if you see the protest as right or wrong – it just shows that we as Americans have the privilege to express our views freely.  For this we all should be grateful for our Constitution.

Our founding fathers had amazing insight to allow us to live protected with certain fundamental rights.  When I think of the Constitution I think of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. These branches mean that there will be laws to protect our citizens. The checks and balances mean that no one person will take over the county.  The Constitution along with the Bill of Rights protect us in many ways that most do not truly appreciate.

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


California Supreme Court Sides with Spolin Law Client

Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 9:34 am    

The California Supreme Court sided with a Spolin Law client earlier this month, effectively saving the client from a potential 50-year-to-life sentence.

Spolin Law represented the client throughout the appeals court process. Earlier this year, attorney Aaron Spolin had won the client’s matter in the California Court of Appeal. When the prosecutor appealed the Court of Appeal’s ruling, the California Supreme Court sided with the Spolin Law client by denying the prosecutor’s petition for further review and thereby settling the matter in the client’s favor.

This is the conclusion of a months-long appellate battle that began when Spolin Law won a hearing in May, which situated the client in juvenile court for a double-murder trial involving elements of self defense.

After Mr. Spolin won the hearing that would allow the client to be retained in juvenile court, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office appealed the finding to the California Court of Appeal. They argued that the lower-court judge had abused her discretion in ruling for the Spolin Law client and had improperly applied the law. In the defense response, Mr. Spolin argued that the lower court had ruled properly due to (1) new changes in the law enacted by Proposition 57, (2) the intent of the recent proposition coupled with clear legislative intent, and (3) the client’s lack of sophistication, prior trauma, clean record, and ability to be rehabilitated.

To view the table of contents outlining Spolin Law’s appellate arguments, click here.

After Spolin Law won in the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court effectively sided with the Spolin Law client by rejecting the prosecution’s attempt to overturn the lower court’s finding. Because the California Supreme Court is the highest court with regarding to California law, there is no further court to which the prosecution can appeal. Therefore, this appellate issue is finally and permanently resolved in favor of the Spolin Law client.

Speak to a Criminal Appeals Lawyer at Spolin Law P.C.

Spolin Law founder and former prosecutor Aaron Spolin is ranked in the top 1% of criminal law attorneys in the state of California. He is an award-winning Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney and, along with the other attorneys at Spolin Law, has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. For questions regarding how a criminal appeals attorney may help you appeal your case today, please call (310) 424-5816.


Spolin Law P.C. Wins Case in California Court of Appeal

Posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2017 at 12:57 pm    

Earlier today the California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Spolin Law P.C. on an appeal that will have lasting positive effects on one of the firm’s clients.

Background:

A Spolin Law client was accused of a homicide crime based on a killing that occurred when the 17-year-old female client was confronted by an adult gang member.  The prosecution filed a motion seeking to move the case to adult court.  Aaron Spolin, representing the minor, opposed the motion.  After an approximately two-week hearing, the juvenile court judge ruled in favor of the Spolin Law client and found her “fit” for juvenile court.

The ruling was significant because the client would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison in adult court.  Instead, now in juvenile court, the client faces a maximum sentence of seven years in a juvenile rehabilitative facility.  Juvenile court is also focused primarily on rehabilitation.

To read about the original juvenile judge’s decision, click here: “Minor Charged with Homicide Crime Found ‘Fit’ for Juvenile Court.”

Appeal:

The prosecution appealed the judge’s decision to the California Court of Appeal.  Specifically, they filed a “petition for a writ of mandate” asking the court to overturn the original juvenile judge’s decision.  Prosecution appeals are extremely rare because juveniles charged with homicide crimes are almost always sent to adult court; this case was a rare exception.

The Court of Appeal was faced with two legal issues.

  1. What effect did the recent Proposition 57 have on how juveniles should be evaluated in deciding whether to send them to adult court?
  2. Did the juvenile court judge “abuse her discretion” in keeping the minor in juvenile court?

The prosecution argued that Proposition 57 (passed by California voters in November of 2016) did not change the criteria for evaluating minors, and that the juvenile court judge in this case had abused her discretion.  Spolin Law’s opposition brief argued that Proposition 57 had substantively changed the law in key areas and that the judge’s decision was supported by the defense evidence presented.

The stakes were high for the Spolin Law client.  If the prosecution had won the appeal, the client would have been sent to adult court where she would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison (instead of the current juvenile court maximum of effectively seven years).

Announcing their decision this morning, the California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Spolin Law client.  They denied the prosecution’s petition and are allowing the case to proceed in juvenile court.  This means that the client will remain in juvenile court.  

Given the circumstances of the case and the unique background of the client, this was an eminently fair outcome.  The client will now be in the juvenile court system, which has a primary focus on rehabilitation.

(Update 1/1/2019: The prosecution ended up appealing this issue to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court eventually denied the prosecution’s petition and thereby effectively ruled in favor of the Spolin Law client. To read about the subsequent events in this case, read the updated article posted here.)

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney, has a track record of success handling criminal cases. He has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. To receive a 100% free and confidential consultation from Aaron or any of the other appeals attorneys at Spolin Law P.C., please call this number: (310) 424-5816.