“This August 30, 2012 article described a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by a death row inmate for the murder of three young boys in the summer of 1975. The California Supreme Court unanimously denied the appeal, noting the 521 page Petition is an example of the abusive practice by prisoners and/or their lawyers consuming endless time for the Court to review otherwise frivolous and untimely appeals.
The Associate Justice wrote in the Court’s opinion there was overwhelming evidence the defendant was guilty of killing the three boys, and that ‘he forcibly sodomized one victim (possibly after he was dead) and that he represented a continuing threat to the safety of children in the neighborhood (inferable from the discovery by police that petitioner possessed hundreds of photographs of young children).’ The Defendant had admitted to the police he had gone to a park in Los Angeles County to take pictures of young boys, and confessed to slitting the boys’ throats, as well as admitting he choked the 7-year-old boy (the son of a family friend) after he asked to leave the defendant’s apartment where he planned to take nude photos of him, according to a previous 1995 ruling from the California Supreme Court.
The Court further stated: ‘Some death row inmates with meritorious legal claims may languish in prison for years waiting for this court’s review while we evaluate petitions raising dozens or even hundreds of frivolous and untimely claims.’ The task of a seasoned criminal appeal lawyer in handling such cases is extremely time-consuming. However, they usually are recognized if not commended by their genuine focus on both the facts and the law in a succinct and compelling manner, far different than many who claim or believe they know what they are doing and simply ramble, failing to present and/or articulate legally sound arguments.”
Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer
“The article linked to my commentary describes a 32 year old Real Estate Agent who was sentenced to four years in Prison for falsifying loan documents to help convicted drug traffickers obtain two homes to cultivate huge quantities of marijuana.
The reporter failed to describe the defense, offense and mitigation, if any. Hence, it is not appropriate for me to comment &/or provide an opinion on the case. Suffice it to say, an aggressive defense is the minimum that an attorney should provide a defendant.”
Sam Spital, Lawyer
~San Diego Criminal Attorney
~California Professional License Defense Lawyer
The Bill is premised on the theory anyone under age 18 (except those convicted of torture or the killing of a law enforcement officer) can obtain what amounts to a “get out of prison card” because juveniles should not be incarcerated for life without parole if they can show rehabilitation. But, it is a slippery slope and eventually the legislature may say the same for adults.
Why keep anyone in prison after 25 years?
Then, should we ask the same question after a convicted felon has spent 20 years in prison?
Is there a sufficient deterrence for rape, robbery, murder, kidnapping and other heinous crimes since there no longer would be life sentences?
What about the adult population in prisons that are over 65, should they be incarcerated any longer?
There are complex issues on all sides of the equation, but interestingly no Republicans supported the Bill. Do these Assembly persons know something about dangerous felons and the theory and purpose of crime?
Perhaps the narrative should be changed and we should give our criminal trial judges more discretion in imposing sentences since they have witnessed the facts of a crime and are a better resource.
The debate continues.
Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer
The amount of fraud and waste connected with the Medicare program is staggering. Not only are these dollars being taken away from the fund to use for patients that need and deserve care and treatment, but it is adding to and crippling the huge debt of the United States. It is inconceivable for the public and the legal system and, therefore, strains credulity that anyone might believe they would get away with such criminal behavior.
On the other hand, the role of a criminal defense attorney is not only to rebut the prosecution case if possible, but to insure the procedures are followed. In this case, the focus would not only be on the offense as well as defense, but to emphasize any mitigating facts and circumstances. It is hoped that prior to sentencing his defense attorney was able to establish the defendant acknowledged his wrongdoing and was remorseful and apologetic. Otherwise, the Judge would not have the benefit of any redeeming qualities when the Court imposed the sentence.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding an alleged criminal offense and its resulting trial and conviction, beginning a jail sentence is rarely an easy transition. As such, it can be comforting for defendants to have certain personal belongings in prison with them. But as a federal judge recently made clear, inmates have no constitutional right to those items, and are therefore at the mercy of the court and jail officials when seeking comforts from home.
In the case, an inmate who was serving time in a federal prison for his role in an alleged conspiracy to commit securities fraud requested that his family be able to order and bring him a jigsaw puzzle with which to play during his incarceration. Jail officials refused, and the inmate filed a lawsuit, alleging that his constitutional right to free speech had been violated by the refusal.
Specifically, the inmate argued that possessing the puzzle was an expression of free speech and was therefore protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The judge disagreed, ruling that the inmate had not shown a clear violation of his constitutional rights by the jail’s refusal to allow the puzzle.
The inmate also argued that the prison regulations that forbade the puzzle were unfair and baseless, and that there was no logical reason to ban a puzzle that was a similar size to an allowed book. The judge again disagreed, citing the “limitations on the ability of prisons to process and store inmate property” as the reason that books are allowed but puzzles are not.
What do you think? Should the jail have allowed the puzzle?