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Bruce Jenner and Kim KardashianBefore Bruce Jenner was famous for living in front of the camera on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” he was an Olympic champion, taking home the gold medal in the 1976 decathlon at the Summer Games in Montreal. Winning the decathlon gave Jenner the unofficial title of greatest athlete in the world, and secured his place as one of the best competitors the United States has ever produced.

Nearly 40 years later, Jenner could potentially become a champion in a different respect. Recently, news reports have surfaced that the 65-year-old father of six is beginning the process of living his life as a woman.1 Though he has yet to speak out on his transition, many sources close to Jenner and his family have reported that he identifies himself as a transgender person. With that change comes the opportunity to become a leader in the fight for transgender rights, a social group against whom discrimination is still legal in many states and countries around the world.

Transgender Defined

According to the Gender Equity Resource Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the term “transgender” is an umbrella term that refers to any person whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to the biological gender of their birth. Transgender covers the spectrum from persons who have had surgery to be physically transformed to the other sex to persons whose identity is expressed through their clothing, grooming, or behavior. Transgender also applies to persons who identify as neither male nor female.2

What are the Rights of Transgender Persons in California?

California is among a handful of states that have specific protections against discrimination on the basis of a person’s transgender status. California Government Code sections 12940-12951 and 12955-12956.2 – the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – prohibit discrimination against anyone based on his or her gender, gender identity, or gender expression. The law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against transgender employees, and for landlords to discriminate against transgender buyers or tenants.3 Services provided by the state government cannot be denied to transgender persons, nor can their participation in state funded activities be limited on the basis of their gender identity.

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You may reason that, since your children have drunk alcohol with friends, they would be a lot safer if they did their drinking at home. But cities have created social host ordinances prohibiting adults from providing alcohol to minors, even in their own home.

Minors Consume AlcoholJeff Lake, father of 18-year-old Olivia Lake, was arrested recently for throwing a Playboy-themed party in Poway, Calif. to celebrate Olivia’s 18th birthday. There were reportedly “up to 200 teens” in attendance when the police arrived at the party. Many of the teens were allegedly drinking and, in keeping with the Playboy Mansion theme, scantily clad.1

Lake was charged with violating a Poway social host ordinance. If he is convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.2

Many California municipalities have enacted social host ordinances to discourage underage drinking. Studies have found that although law enforcement has cracked down on liquor sales to minors, many underage drinkers obtain liquor at home or at a friend’s house.

California Social Host Ordinances

Social host ordinances in California generally hold the adult in charge of the premises responsible if underage persons are allowed to drink on the premises and the adult:

  • Knows or should have known the drinking is taking place, and
  • Fails to take reasonable action to stop it

Social host ordinances do not generally allow the police to enter your property without a search warrant. However, if police discover that underage drinking is taking place on your property, they can give you a citation or arrest you.

Penalties vary based on each city’s ordinance. If you are cited for a first offense infraction in Laguna Beach, you will have to attend a parent education class. In Poway, where Jeff Lake was arrested, you could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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PredPol PolicePolice departments in California are utilizing new cloud-based software that helps law enforcement agencies predict where criminal activity will occur. The software analyzes historical crime data then creates printable maps marked-up with red boxes indicating 10 to 20 locations where crimes are most likely to happen during a police officer’s shift. The software identifies these 500-by-500-feet hotspots by analyzing the time, place, and type of crimes that have occurred in the past.1

While the software is relatively new, this type of “predictive policing” is gaining traction, and departments are paying from $10,000 to $150,000 annually for the chance to use the new technology. The system, called “Predpol,” is currently being used by about 60 police departments in major cities across the country, including in Los Angeles. PredPol’s use is expected to jump through 2015.2

How PredPol Works

PredPol runs historical data points, (place, time, and type of crime) through a criminal behavior pattern algorithm that helps law enforcement officials give officers a customized map specific to their shift and duty area. During roll call at the beginning of each shift, police officers are given the map and told to focus on those areas between calls. PredPol officials say officers who patrol the hotspots for up to 15 percent of their daily shift will prevent more crime than if they solely relied upon their instinct and knowledge.

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Many police agencies in California are beginning to implement the use of body cameras on officers, and this has led to a growing debate about whether police body camera footage should be released to the public.

Some people argue that denying the public access to the filmed police encounters defeats the purpose of the body cameras, which is to promote transparency in the way police interact with citizens. But the Southern California chapter of the ACLU is demanding policies that will protect people’s privacy, while police agencies are worried about what could happen if the footage is made public.1

Pros and Cons of Releasing Body Cam Footage

body camera footageThose arguing that police body camera footage should be released to the public argue that transparency is the underlying idea behind using body cameras. The threat of making footage public could reduce police-involved shootings of unarmed people, and transparency would help ordinary citizens understand how difficult it is to do the job of a police officer.

However, releasing the videos to the public would not come without consequences. Potential victims and alleged offenders would have private moments publicly displayed for all to see, which could be especially jarring during a moment of crisis, such as a domestic violence incident or assault. This could even cause some people to avoid calling police due to privacy issues.

Public viewing of footage could also taint potential jury pools and hinder a police investigation.

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You’re probably aware that texting while driving is illegal in California. But, if you text while driving, you need to know that a new device currently in pre-production would allow police officers to know when you’re texting, even if they can’t see your phone.

texting while driving CaliforniaA small tech firm has developed a new tool that could help law enforcement officers catch texting drivers. ComSonics, a radar gun manufacturer, says their handheld tool is “close to production.” It works by detecting the radio frequencies emitted by a texting phone inside of a vehicle.1

Cellphone activities, such as browsing the internet, talking on a call, or texting, admit different frequencies that can be picked up by the new ComSonics device. Being able to differentiate between texting and call frequencies will make the device useful in all states that have texting bans and even the ones that allow for some type of cellphone use while driving.

Malcolm McIntyre, a ComSonics spokesperson, explained that the tool uses technologies similar to those used by cable repairmen to find damaged areas in transmission cables underground. McIntyre said that the new technology must get legislative approval and a commitment to adopt by law enforcement agencies prior to the start of production.

Consequences of Texting while Driving in California (VC 23123)

In California, it is illegal to text while driving under California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5. If you are cited for texting while driving, you will face a fine of $20 for a first-time offense. With additional fees and penalty assessments, the total fine will be about $165.

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execute gays law CaliforniaToday’s date is March 16, 2015. Please take specific note of the last four digits, 2-0-1-5, which signifies the year that we are currently living in. Not 1815, not 1915, not even 1950, 2015. I am certain of this because I was compelled to check my calendar several times today after reading an article that I came across.

Recently, Huntington Beach attorney Matthew Gregory McLaughlin drafted a barbaric ballot proposal that calls for the execution of all gays.1 (Yes, you are reading that correctly.) This proposal has caused a nationwide uproar and has many activists calling for his immediate disbarment.

Details of the “Sodomite Suppression Act”

McLaughlin’s initiative, titled the “Sodomite Suppression Act”, would mandate that any individual who freely touches another person of the same gender in a sexual nature would be “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”2 But wait, there’s more. McLaughlin’s Act also calls for anyone who sells or supplies “sodomistic” material to pay a $1 million fine, face a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years and possibly be exiled from the state.

Can an Attorney be Disbarred for an Inflammatory Ballot Proposal?

While there is certainly no shortage of support for those calling for the disbarment of McLaughlin, some legal experts say that the chance he will face disciplinary action is unlikely. Ethics attorney Diane L. Karpman told the Daily Journal that disbarring an attorney for simply expressing an idea, regardless of how senseless and inhumane, is unlikely to happen.

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To touch a child for the purposes of sexual gratification is often referred to as “lewd and lascivious conduct.” Under California Penal Code Section 288, this crime can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor. Generally, lewd and lascivious conduct charges occur when the victim is under 14 years of age.

Lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor is a serious crime with serious consequences. If you are convicted of lascivious acts with a child under PC 288(a), you face three, six, or eight years in state prison and a fine of $10,000. But there are also some additional penalties you could face if you are convicted of this crime.

Additional Consequences of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor (PC 288)

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Because lewd and lascivious acts with a minor is a serious offense, there are a number of repercussions that you could face beyond a jail sentence and fines. These consequences include:

  • A felony charge can result in a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • You may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under PC 290
  • You may have your picture and information posted for the public to see on the Megan’s Law website
  • An additional five years in state prison may be added to any existing sentence if it is shown that the victim suffered great bodily injury

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Dez Bryant VideoRumors have recently surfaced regarding the existence of video footage allegedly depicting NFL star Dez Bryant committing an act of domestic violence. According to sports gossip blog Terez Owens, the video shows the Dallas Cowboys receiver committing an act that is “five times worse than the Ray Rice video.”

The video is surveillance footage from a Walmart store that reportedly shows Bryant beating a woman, according to the site. Cowboys COO Stephen Jones has denied knowledge of such a video despite media reports that the team is aware of its existence. However, if the media is to be believed, it seems the video does exist. ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter said he is aware of the video, and that he first heard of it in September.

Why Hasn’t the Video Been Released to the Public?

If we learned anything from the Ray Rice incident, it’s that these types of videos may be held in secrecy for quite some time. After surveillance footage of Ray Rice striking his fiancée in an elevator was released to the public last year, it was later discovered that the video evidence had been withheld by investigators for months.

However, the Bryant video has allegedly not gone public for another reason: extortion. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the video’s current owners are looking to cash in on it by threatening to sell it publicly unless Bryant and his agents pay them. If this is true, they could be charged with extortion.

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hit and run Los AngelesLos Angeles is launching a system targeted to stop a growing epidemic of hit and run incidents and arrest those who commit hit and run. The new system will publish information on social media to alert the public to vehicles involved in hit and run incidents. The make, model, color and license plate number of a vehicle suspected to be involved in a hit and run will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Nixle, a website where government agencies share information to other agencies and subscribers.

Los Angeles City Hall is also offering “standing rewards” for information leading to the arrest and conviction of hit and run drivers. The rewards are graded as follows depending on the circumstances of the case:

  • $1,000 for property damage
  • $5,000 if somebody was hurt
  • $25,000 for serious injury, and
  • $50,000 for a hit & run fatality1

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digital drivers licenseLaws regarding driver’s licenses have been around in the U.S. for more than 125 years, starting in 1910 when New York established laws for motor vehicle chauffeurs. In 1888, German automaker Karl Benz was issued the first driver’s license in the world before he drove his Motorwagen (the Model 3) 200 miles in the world’s first long distance automobile trip.1

Currently, there are about 210 million licensed drivers in the United States,2 and more than 24 million of them are licensed in California.3 A new bill proposes to allow these millions of Californians to carry their driver’s licenses and IDs on their smartphones.

Assembly Bill 221, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a mobile phone app that would enable California drivers to access a digital driver’s license or identification card. The bill also requires that the digital license or ID is “accepted as a valid government-issued identification.”4

Are Mobile App Driver’s Licenses Safe?

According to Dababneh, digital driver’s licenses would be safer than the current licenses we carry in our purse or wallet. He said that the app will have built-in safeguards.

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About Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.