California Government Considering Law to Become Sanctuary State

California Senate Bill 54 has recently been introduced; it proposes to establish a new law to prohibit law enforcement agencies from cooperating with Federal Immigration Authorities. Whether state law enforcement (State Police; CHP, etc.), county (Sheriff), city (local police),  school police or security departments, organization or individual, they would be prohibited from investigating, detaining and/or arresting anyone suspected of a crime that would constitute or be characterized as aiding, assisting, helping or facilitating the enforcement of immigration laws. The Attorney General of the State of California will also be mandated to publish model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement by the U.S.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In addition, the bill would require the University of California, public schools and libraries, along with all other facilities that provide services related to education, wellness, physical or mental health, and courthouses to implement a similar policy.

ICE would still be permitted to conduct deportation raids in California, however, they could not rely upon or be assisted by state or local law enforcement (police, sheriffs, etc.). Basically, California would become a “sanctuary state” and countless numbers of individuals claim the state would be protecting criminal felons from being deported. In addition, ICE would be banned from entering jails to interview inmates suspected of living in the United States illegally.

You may be against the idea of sanctuary cities, but as you can see from SB 54, our California government is currently in the process of establishing it as a “state sanctuary.”

Opponents have argued against this bill because it would allow those with criminal records, such as violent felons, to remain on the streets. Proponents  claim by protecting immigrants, even those who have committed violent crimes and/or other felonies,  it is the only humane thing to do for anyone who lives in California. They cannot accept the proposition that there have been many innocent citizens who have been murdered at the hands of undocumented immigrants with prior criminal felony records.

Additionally, Senate Bill 54 does not distinguish between those non-documented immigrants who have a minor infraction, such as driving with an expired vehicle registration tag or broken taillight, and those who are extremely serious and heinous criminal offenders, such as having been convicted of murder, rape, arson and child molestation. Hence, California’s 2013 Trust Act that protects unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 and other undocumented individuals living in California, who otherwise have been law-abiding, would be superseded by SB 54 and, therefore, these individuals would then be subject to deportation by ICE officers if they were arrested for an infraction.

 It has been reported that California gets about $1 BILLION A DAY from the federal government, and if that is withheld as a sanction against stopping immigration officers from picking up non-documented individuals (politically correct name for illegal immigrants) who have a criminal record, there will inevitably be budget shortfalls in California.

Even if the majority of the California  population oppose sanctuary cities, and no doubt will oppose SENATE BILL 54 that otherwise will make California a “sanctuary state,” if you want this to go to a referendum (to be put on a forthcoming ballot so everyone can have a chance to vote their conscience), you should place your name, city and email address on the web page posted by and this link from California State Senator Jeff Stone.

Law Enforcement Can Search a Shared Residence Even When a Co-Tenant Objects

In the recent case of FERNANDEZ v. CALIFORNIA, 12-7822 (February 25, 2014) the U.S. Supreme Court held the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not violated and, therefore, law enforcement can make a warrantless search of a shared residence when a co-tenant provides consent even though the other co-tenant shortly before refused to allow a search.

The general rule as to searches of a residence is that any occupant may provide consent to a search of the premises. Also, searches are considered reasonable and, therefore, deemed permissible without a warrant when the consent comes from the sole occupant of the premises However, when an inhabitant is physically present and refuses to consent to a search, that refusal is deemed legally dispositive, regardless of the consent of a fellow occupant.

Here, the U.S. Supreme Court created an exception and distinguished earlier case law that held the police cannot use any evidence seized as a result of a lawful arrest that takes place when there is a warrantless search performed immediately after a co-tenant refuses to allow a search, even though a co-tenant consents, relying upon the facts in the within case that the objection was made by an occupant that was no longer on the premises.

Some commentators have expressed outrage at the opinion as it would mean law enforcement can only initiate a consensual search if an objecting co-tenant is not standing at the door declaring the police cannot come inside and should stay out. Proponents in favor of the current opinion state the distinction in the current Supreme Court holding is the fact the objecting co-tenant was not present at the exact time a co-tenant gave consent. Nonetheless, defense attorneys would argue these distinctions are illusory since it would mean the police could come back a few minutes after they were told they could not search the premises and do so without a warrant as long as another occupant gave consent. They further contend this ruling makes it easier for law enforcement to search a residence without a search warrant when there are simple procedures for them to first obtain a search warrant. Lastly, those who object to the Court ruling believe it is a further example of the erosion of our civil liberties and right to be safe and secure in our homes without government intervention &/or intrusion.

• Tattoo Shop Manager Fights for His Life in Robbery Attempt (Sam Spital)

Commentary by San Diego Robbery Defense and Criminal Attorney Samuel Spital:

“On February 4, 2013, NBC Channel 39 reported the manager of Classic Tattoo in El Cajon, a city to the east of San Diego used martial arts to save his life from two robbery suspects who pistol-whipped him at about 2:00 a.m. The manager sustained serious injuries to his head when he was hit several times with a gun. The robbery suspects tried to take money from his pocket and his motorcycle, but the manager said ‘I put him in a guillotine, disarmed him and tried to get him out of the shop [at which point both robbers ran away].’

There were no other details relating to the case, including the type of weapon(s) used by the robbers, nor whether the business had video cameras &/or whether a description of the suspects was provided by the manager. As our economy continues to fall and there continues to be greater unemployment, even businesses that historically have not been targets of crime because they do not maintain large amounts of money or valuables now have to be vigilant. It is clearly worthwhile today for all types of businesses to install Video Surveillance Systems as one of the more common tools to safeguard their operations and property, let alone their own personal safety. Excluding the owner(s) of a business, there is workers’ compensation insurance available for temporary and permanent injuries sustained by employees and which is required by law. Many homeowners are also giving greater consideration to the installation of home security systems, which have become less expensive due to the wide variety being mass produced and sold by big box stores.”

4 suspects arrested in Chula Vista home invasion robbery (Sam Spital)

“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.”

Thieves lived off jewelry heists, casino robbery (Sam Spital)

COMMENTARY BY San Diego Theft Defense and Criminal Attorney Sam Spital:

“The UT San Diego news reported on December 3, 2012 two leaders of the robbery of multiple high-end jewelry stores and a casino in San Diego were found guilty and now face sentencing. Their crime spree began about a year ago and it was alleged their ‘team’ seized millions of dollars worth of merchandise and cash. Besides Barona Casino, Ben Bridge Jewerlers in Fashion Valley, they targeted expensive jewelry boutiques in malls throughout California, including Santa Clara, Riverside and Orange County.

The article did not include any statements made by the criminal defense counsel, such as either defendant expressing remorse, recognition of wrongdoing, their presentation of closing arguments and/or mitigation. It is likely the sentence will be life in prison. Whether print, broadcast or electronic, the news media in large part fails to provide a balanced account in reporting crimes so that the public is more fully informed.”

–Sam Spital

Robbers Dressed as Cops go on Crime Spree throughout San Diego

COMMENTARY BY ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL:

“On October 29, 2012. KFMB-TV (Channel 8) and CBS online reported police are investigating a crime spree in which two robbers were wearing security officer type clothing with the word “police” and a badge in three separate incidents. One actually took place across the street from my Mission Valley office in which the thief identified himself as a police officer and robbed a man in the parking lot outside a local bank. Later the same day, another robbery took place outside a credit union in Escondido when an off-duty San Diego Police Officer was using an ATM machine, and as the thief who wore a hat with the word “police” imprinted took off he shot the officer. There was yet another and third robbery in the Oak Park community of San Diego in which two individuals hijacked a vehicle in a parking lot of the mall as they wore vests with the word “police” on them and were armed with guns. As we face a significant economic crisis in America, crime is on the rise in various parts of the country. Hence, all of us need to be more vigilant than ever before.”

ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL

PEOPLE vs. ISLAS (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Samuel Spital:

‎”On October 18, 2012, the California Court of Appeal in the case of PEOPLE vs. ISLAS, (Case # B233087
http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B233087.PDF), affirmed and in part modified the Decision of the Los Angeles Superior Court, holding there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant on charges of burglary due to entry into a building with the intent to commit a crime and felony false imprisonment due to an express or implied threat of harm. Contrary to the defense argument, the absence of a weapon, lack of any physical contact nor express threat of harm did not vitiate the conviction. The Deputy District Attorney as part of his case in chief presented a gang expert who testified the defendant had visible gang tattoos and this was enough to cause the victims to fear their personal safety [by indelibly marking in their brain terror and do what I say] as ‘I am a gang member.'”

SAM SPITAL, CRIMINAL LAWYER

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B233087.PDF

Prosecutors re-file robbery charges against off-duty firefighters involved in fight

“KFMB TV digital edition reported on October 4, 2012 the District Attorney re-filed criminal charges against three off-duty San Diego Firemen accusing them of robbery. This criminal charge stems from an altercation in which the initial Complaint was assault and battery and making threats. The trial court judge ordered the defendants to stand trial for grand theft after the Preliminary Hearing, dismissing the other charges as he noted they acted in self-defense. Explaining the basis for grand theft, the Judge stated the defendants continued to pursue the alleged victims after the bar fight ended, and were found to have in their possession the wallet and several contents thereof that belonged to one of the alleged victims.

The article has many references to individuals that each gave their account of the specifics, but one would have to read the police report as well as the transcript of the Preliminary Hearing to properly render an opinion as to the facts and conclusions. Therefore, I do not want to speculate on the defense I might assert if I was retained as counsel. Suffice to say, if any or all of the firefighters are found guilty of robbery, they each not only face the loss of their employment but a “strike” and up to three years in State Prison.”

SAMUEL SPITAL, LAWYER

Two men hold up pizza delivery man (Sam Spital)

“The Union Tribune on September 15, 2012, reported two individuals were arrested on suspicion of committing the crimes of kidnapping and carjacking.

They are charged with forcing their way into a pizza driver’s car and requiring him to drive to at least two other locations before fleeing.

It is possible the District Attorney will charge the two individuals with other criminal offenses due to the facts ( for example, using a knife or dangerous weapon).

The article did not, however, include any other information so it is unclear what took place at the two business locations, if anything. Hence, the motivation and intent of the suspects seems in question.
If anything of value was taken, it was also not reported by the writer. There would seem to be several issues for a criminal defense attorney to investigate and potentially argue given the above news account. Due to potential or actual conflicts of interest, each suspect should have his separate criminal defense lawyer.”

Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer

Firemen charged with robbery, felony assault, and threatening a witness

Three firefighters in San Diego pleaded not guilty to felony charges after they were accused of fighting with a pair of brothers, robbing and threatening three brothers. The firefighters, aged, 36, 26, and 29 were charged with robbery, threatening or intimidating a witness, making criminal threats and felony assault. According to reports, the firefighters also caused great bodily injury.

The prosecution stated that one of the alleged victims was leaving a bar when he was involved in a verbal altercation with the firefighters, one of whom made a derogatory comment. The firefighters then followed the man and assaulted him. After they left the bar, the alleged victim called his brother, then pursued the firefighters and there was another fight. It was reported that one of the firemen took a wallet from one of the brothers, removed cash, and a family photo. He also threatened him and said he has pictures of his children so he should not contact law enforcement.

When a police officer drove by and approached the firemen, they found the cash, bank card, and photos of the brothers. The firefighters pleaded not guilty and could face nine years in prison if they are convicted. All were jailed the night of the fight, but posted bail. They were off-duty at the time of the incident.

One of the firemen was a 12-year veteran of the Fire-Rescue Department. According to their defense attorneys, the firemen have strong ties to the community and continue to be employed at the fire department.

Defense attorneys have stated that the brothers were the aggressors and the firemen acted in self-defense. Defendants will face potential penalties enforced by the criminal justice system as well as any personal and professional consequences of a criminal allegation.