COMMENTARY BY ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL, SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE:
“The New York Times reported on February 8, 2013 that a former member of the armed forces and Navy reservist went on a rampage against police officers and their families, killing at least three individuals. The 33 year old suspect, who was identified as Christopher J. Dorner, was in 2008 fired from the Los Angeles Police Department. This murderous vendetta set off a search throughout many cities in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Torrance and San Diego. In the evening hours yesterday, however, the burned truck owned by the suspect was discovered in flames near Big Bear, a popular summer and ski resort about 100 miles from San Diego.
The story has been covered in nearly all of the daily print and electronic news. In addition, the article noted the former cop posted on Facebook what was described as a rambling 6000 word manifesto threatening more violence due to racism and corruption in the LAPD as he pledged to kill two dozen named police officers to retaliate for his dismissal allegedly as a result of filing a false report accusing a colleague of abuse. He further claimed he sought to clear his name before resorting to violence but was not successful as he struggled with severe depression from the sequence of events.
The sad reality is that these senseless murders could have been avoided. Dorner would likely have benefited from psychiatric care and treatment for his acknowledged depression and been able to control his anger and rage and/or utilize meaningful steps and tools in order to lead a productive life, given his background , knowledge and skills.”
Commentary by Sam Spital Criminal Defense Attorney:
“A 4:00 a.m. Sunday fire that seriously damaged a Greek Orthodox Church in an amount estimated to be a ¼ million dollars in El Cajon, an adjacent city to San Diego, was reported in the digital NBC Channel 39 news on January 28, 2013 . The story revealed the suspect in the arson, 38 year old Darin Williams, has a history of being institutionalized, in out of mental hospitals. He was arrested for arson, burglary and a hate crime. Fortunately, the fire occurred at a time when no one was inside the Church that was founded about 20 years ago.
The reporter did not personally offer nor seek an opinion from a forensic expert on the motive of the suspect with whom other church members were aware. It was also known that the Reverend allowed him to live on the grounds, had received his checks and was paying his bills. It is evident Williams needed more than spiritual guidance for his mental illness. This story is a further example of a far too common situation in which an individual fails to be accountable for his apparently overpowering challenges; even more importantly, it evinces how others with whom he came in contact failed to insist upon him obtaining ongoing therapy and psychiatric care to safeguard against this and similar devastating scourges repeatedly taking place in society today.”
Commentary by Federal Fraud & San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Sam Spital:
“The digital edition of UT San Diego, formerly known as San Diego Union Tribute, published on January 22, 2013 a story concerning T.J. Bonner who previously led the nation’s Border Patrol labor union for two decades and was charged with Wire Fraud and Conspiracy, although his lawyer is now contesting both the prosecution case and procedures used to obtain an indictment sought by the U.S. Attorney who is claiming the defendant defrauded the union out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The article revealed the Government’s attorney responded to the pretrial motions attacking search warrants served on Bonner by asserting the warrants were valid and the evidence seized from his home are admissible. On the other hand the reported noted that the defense lawyer is seeking to dismiss the charges that Bonner submitted false claims for travel, meals, professional sports game tickets and reimbursement for wages; the defense contends the expense claims are legitimate because they were directly related and incurred while the defendant was working on union business. This will be a highly contested matter given the union boss has held a public role in which he served as an aggressive advocate for union members and in doing so was a powerful critic of government policy.”
This is an update to a previous blog post.
In response to a three-part series by The San Diego Union Tribune, lawmakers have pledged to take action and ramp up efforts so the area’s assisted living home do not fall short.
The findings from the investigation, which was done by the U-T in conjunction with the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at USC, shocked legislators. It showed that people accused of abuse and neglect are rarely prosecuted, and the maximum fines are staggeringly low.
It is inexcusable that people who abuse and neglect those that they are supposed to be caring for are not being properly prosecuted. Thankfully it has now been brought to the attention of lawmakers. This can pave the way for stronger legislation and action to protect those who are being harmed.
“On December 16, 2012, the online edition of KFMB Channel 8 posted a story regarding a 1:30 a.m. Chula Vista home invasion that resulted in 4 suspects being arrested for robbery, firearms-related charges and conspiracy. The officers were led to the suspects by cell signals and calls made after the alleged crime from an iPhone among other things stolen from the victim.
The reporter did not include any information relating to the background, occupation and/or employment, nor presence or absence of any criminal history of the suspects, only that there were two females and two males, two of whom were 20 and one was 28 while another was age 24. Each of the defendants will be appointed a Public Defender if they do not retain private counsel. Due to a probable conflict of interest, each of the defendants should and, therefore, will have separate attorneys. The role of defense counsel is to investigate the charges, analyze the facts and develop a defense strategy. It is automatic that a criminal defense attorney must safeguard the rights of his client both as to the procedures involved in the case and the elements of the charges. In addition, one should advance a preemptive and offensive attack on the evidence as well as to raise proof of mitigation, and possibly remorse and rehabilitation, if any.”
Unfortunately bad things can happen to good people. My heart goes out to this unsuspecting 57 year old Chula Vista woman who innocently became an acquaintance with and befriended Valdez, who in turn and according to the news accounts betrayed a good citizen and human being.