As Ray Rice Gets Scratched From Roster, I Continue to Scratch My Head

September 13, 2014,

RayRice27.jpgPhoto by Keith Allison Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

For those of you who have been able to stick to FM radio, mute your televisions, and avoid the water cooler in recent weeks, former Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL, and everyone is talking about it.

Rice, who was originally suspended for two games for punching his then-fiancé Janay Palmer in a New Jersey casino elevator, had his punishment enhanced to an “indefinite suspension” by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after TMZ Sports released full video of the incident to the public.

While public opinion seems to be in favor of Ray Rice losing his job, I am personally in disbelief and can’t help but think, is everyone blind to what the NFL and media is doing here?

Aside from Rice, there are 14 other currently active NFL players with a history of alleged domestic violence, and not one was suspended indefinitely. Additionally, the NFL was allegedly told by Rice in an interview before the video was released that he punched his wife. Why did the NFL wait until the surfacing of video evidence to act?

The answer is simple--the media is now highlighting “domestic violence” as the cause of the month.

In light of this influx of unwanted media attention, the NFL is being forced to please the public and in doing so, the league has made Ray Rice its scapegoat.

Should the NFL Punish Rice for a Criminal Offense?

As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southern California, I have represented those accused of domestic violence for over 30 years and have handled over 5,000 cases. When a plumber or a teacher or an electrician commit domestic violence and have no prior record, they do not lose their job.
When persons found guilty of committing domestic violence in California are punished by the court, they are typically put on probation. They are then usually ordered to complete a 52-week anger management counseling course and forced to pay a fine or do community service. It is very rare that they go to jail for a first offense. Instead, they are ordered to remain away from their spouse or significant other for a period of time, and are then allowed to return home. If they do not violate their probation, the matter is closed.

The plumber may return to work after he is bailed out of jail. Teachers can go back to teaching their students. The electrician may even be working in your home within a few days of his or her arrest.

Is it the NFL’s responsibility to fire players for committing the same crime that thousands of other people do every single day? Of course not.

The NFL’s True Goals

The NFL cares about one thing, and that is the NFL’s image. Upholding the squeaky-clean image will allow team owners to continue to make millions of dollars.

In the eyes of the NFL, throwing the villainous Ray Rice under the bus will convince the world that the league holds the same anti-domestic violence beliefs as the public, and will not give those that commit domestic violence a second chance.

Please do not misinterpret this testament as indifference toward domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious and horrendous crime. Often, if a perpetrator does not get treatment and learn from his or her mistake, they will cause future harm. But, it is not the role of the NFL to decide what punishment Ray Rice should receive for his action. That is why we have a court system. The court system decides what fair punishment is and how to try to avoid this conduct in the future, not the employer.

The media needs to tell the truth. Ray Rice is being used by the NFL to give the appearance that the league is taking a harsh stance against domestic violence. Let Rice deal with his punishment through the court system. Give him a chance to go through anger management. Give him and his new wife a chance to recover and move on from this horrible incident.

The NFL is in the game to make millions and could care less about punishing its players, and it’s not the job of the NFL to punish players. We have a court system for that purpose.

Are Communications Between an Inmate and his Lawyer Confidential?

September 12, 2014,

Generally, communications between a defendant and his lawyer are supposed to be confidential. However, recent reports suggest that prosecutors have been increasingly intercepting emails and telephone conversations between imprisoned defendants and their attorneys. The DA has blamed alleged security concerns to justify this interference. This raises serious issues as to whether this practice violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Should prosecutors be able to intercept conversations between inmates and their attorneys?

The general rule is that defendants in custody have no privacy rights. However, criminal attorneys argue that they are entitled to confidential time with their clients. Without that time and privacy, it becomes very difficult to prepare for trial when the client is in custody. Defense lawyers feel that prosecutors are intruding on the sacred attorney-client relationship by limiting the ability to freely and confidentially communicate with their clients in custody.
Prosecutors argue that they have legitimate reasons to monitor inmate emails and telephone conversations. Most often, prosecutors and jail officials cite significant security risks and challenges related to sophisticated drug smuggling operations and intimidation of witnesses.

The Supreme Court has held that once a defendant’s right to counsel has attached, government intrusion into the attorney-client relationship violates the Sixth Amendment. To prove this, the defendant must show a realistic possibility of prejudice caused by the intrusion. Although there may be legitimate reasons for monitoring inmate communications, it is concerning to have a legal system in which prosecutors have unregulated access to defendants in custody. Such indiscriminate access jeopardizes the sacred attorney-client relationship. So the question remains, does privileged attorney-client communication in custody really exist?

Give us your feedback

At Wallin and Klarich, we encourage feedback from our clients and our readers. Tell us what you think. Do you think prosecutors should be able to interfere with attorney-client confidentiality when defendants are in custody?

Court Rules Your Silence Can Be Used Against You

September 10, 2014,

You are arrested for hit and run and the police have you in the back of their car. You are at the scene of the accident, and the alleged victims are also at the scene. You are probably worried about the potential consequences you face and how it will affect your life. However, the California Supreme Court thinks that you should also express worry about the victims.

In a recent decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that if you do not ask how the victims are doing, this lack of empathy can be used against you if your case goes to trial, even if you are not asking because you are invoking your Fifth Amendment rights.

When Silence isn’t Golden (People v. Tom)

Richard Tom, a San Mateo man, was involved in a car accident in which an 8-year-old girl was killed and her sister was injured. During a two-hour gap between when he was detained and when he was read his Miranda Rights, Tom remained silent.Hit%20%26%20run%202.jpg
At trial, prosecutors told the jury that Tom’s silence displayed a “consciousness of his own guilt.” Tom was later convicted for vehicular manslaughter, in part due to the fact that he requested to leave the scene of the accident without asking how the victims were doing.

A Court of Appeals reversed Tom’s conviction, but the Supreme Court disagreed. The decision means that if you remain silent after your arrest but before officers inform you of your Miranda Rights, that silence can be used as evidence against you.

What to Do if You are Arrested after a Car Accident

This ruling proves the importance of knowing your rights if you are arrested. If you are placed under arrest at the scene of a car accident, it is critical that you do the following:

  • Immediately tell every police officer present that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent and you will not be making any statements
  • Use a smartphone or recorder to record the statement and inform the officer you are taping the conversation to preserve your rights

If you simply sit quietly without clearly stating that you are exercising your right to remain silent, the prosecution can introduce as evidence that you did not ask about the victims, which will make you appear heartless and guilty.

What Wallin & Klarich Thinks

The appalling decision interferes with the rights of citizens and allows the prosecution and police to play games with people after they have been placed under arrest. It has always been assumed that people have an absolute right to remain silent, and that silence has never been allowed to be used as evidence against you in court.

The courts have consistently maintained that you have a constitutional right to say nothing. However, this ruling unnecessarily changes that. If you do not make an unambiguous assertion of your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, your silence can be used against you.

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you are being accused of hit and run, vehicular manslaughter, or any serious crime, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of these crimes. We can help you navigate the complex legal process and understand your legal rights.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available to serve you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.

Can Prison Officials Screen Legal Mail?

September 8, 2014,

If you are in prison, you probably have a good reason to contact an attorney. Often, the only way for prison inmates to communicate is through letters with their lawyer. But prison officials can read your mail if you are in prison…or can they?

While prison officials are legally allowed to screen your mail to ensure that no contraband or dangerous items are being sent to inmates, California law does not permit anyone to read your legal mail. This law was recently called into question in nearby Arizona.

Court Rules Constitution Protects Attorney-Client Communication

Arizona death row inmate Scott Nordstrom alleged that a prison officer read a letter he was sending to his attorney in 2011 despite the fact that the mail was labeled “legal mail.” He filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections but a district court dismissed his complaint. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that prison officials violated Nordstrom’s Sixth Amendment rights by reading his legal mail.

Prison officials argued that they need to be allowed to inspect all inmate mail in order to “establish the absence of contraband and ensure the content of the mail is of legal subject matter.” However, the Court of Appeals established a difference between inspecting mail for contraband and actually reading letters.

In a split decision, the court said that allowing prison officials to read legal mail would have a “chilling effect” on the Sixth Amendment rights of inmates to disclose personal information, including incriminating evidence, to counsel because inmates might choose not to disclose such information out of fear of prison officials seeing it.

Can Prison Officials Read Emails?

While the ruling protects the rights of inmates, there is a related issue before the court that has yet to be resolved. Letters between inmates and attorneys will be secure, but technology has caused most people to ditch snail mail for email. Should emails sent between inmates and their lawyers have the same legal protections as letters?

Thus far, different state courts have reached varying decisions on how to handle emails sent by inmates, and it will be interesting to see what final decisions are made.

What Does Wallin & Klarich Think?

At Wallin & Klarich, we believe that the legal system must uphold inmates’ constitutional rights to freely and openly communicate with their lawyers. Whether people in custody strongly believe that they are innocent or understand they are guilty, they must be able to convey their reasoning to their attorneys without fear of incriminating themselves.

The ruling is a smart decision that will allow attorneys to properly assess the circumstances of each case and provide an accurate strategy for defense to achieve the best possible outcome in each individual case. It also allows inmates to feel safe in communicating with their attorney.

We want to know what you think about this decision. Should prison officials be able to read inmates’ legal mail? Should emails be granted the same protection as legal mail? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tragedy in Ferguson: The Mike Brown Shooting Could Lead to New Law

September 5, 2014,

For the past two weeks, the eyes of the country have been fixed upon Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, where an unarmed, teenaged African-American named Mike Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. While driving his patrol car, Wilson approached Brown and a friend as they walked in the middle of a street. Wilson ordered them to get on the sidewalk, and an argument ensued. Although the facts about what happened in the next few seconds are in dispute, the end result is clear: Wilson shot Brown six times, twice in the head.1

The racially charged shooting has torn the community apart, sparking protests and confrontations among citizens, journalists, and police officials. In response to this uproar, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stepped in, imposed a curfew and deployed the National Guard to Ferguson.2 Across the rest of the nation, the shooting has renewed the debate about police procedures, and the militarization of local law enforcement.3

Cameras on Cops – The Mike Brown Law


In the wake of this tragedy, nearly 150,000 people signed an online petition on the White House’s petition website, urging President Obama’s administration to pursue a new federal law known as the “Mike Brown Law.” This law would require state and local police officers to wear body-mounted video cameras to record all interactions while on duty. The law would also provide additional federal funding to state and local police agencies for the purchase of the cameras and data storage for the video files they create.4

Under the White House’s policy, any petition that receives 100,000 or more signatures within 30 days of its posting requires a response from the administration. As of today, the White House has not responded.

Though the White House has yet to issue a response, the push for body-mounted cameras is not new. Last year, the police department in Rialto, California concluded a yearlong study in which officers wore cameras at all times during their patrols. The study found that the presence of the cameras changed the behavior of both officers and citizens dramatically. Complaints against Rialto police officers dropped 88 percent, and officer use of force against citizens dropped nearly 60 percent.5 Recently, police departments in larger cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas, have begun to test the use of officer-worn cameras in the field.6

The Benefits and Burdens of a Mike Brown Law

Rialto’s police chief, William Farrar, sees the camera program as beneficial to both the officers and the public. “When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better,” Chief Farrar said. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.” 7

A Mike Brown Law would not be uncharted territory for the federal government. Between 2000 and 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded more than $21 million in federal grants to police agencies in 47 states and the District of Columbia for the purpose of funding a similar policy, the installation of dashboard-mounted cameras in police vehicles.8 Currently, more than 70% of law enforcement vehicles are equipped with a camera system.9


A study of the use of vehicle cameras reflects the findings in the Rialto study. Since the installation of vehicle camera systems, departments have reported positive enhancements to officer safety, professionalism, training, and performance. Police agencies have reported a reduction in the number of valid complaints against officers, increased accuracy in evidence gathering through the use of video and audio recordings, and an improvement in public opinion.10

Of course, such a law would be expensive to implement. The Spokane Police Department paid $733,000 for the purchase of 220 cameras, plus an annual fee for data storage.11 Equipping every officer in the country with a camera would produce a high volume of video and audio footage to be logged and stored, which could lead to police departments having to outsource this task and giving access to these interactions to third parties.

Perhaps most important of all, a Mike Brown Law could raise concerns of privacy. The cameras would record every activity the officer is involved in, including any investigation within a private home or other private property. Without additional safeguards controlling access to the footage, this could lead to unauthorized access to private information.

While these potential drawbacks of a Mike Brown Law are not trivial, the bottom line is that studies of these systems paint an overwhelmingly positive picture for such a program. Body cameras could prevent unnecessary trials by preserving a true and unbiased account of each police encounter, and the improvement in behavior on both sides of the law could reduce the incidences of violence when the law and the public collide.

No one can say for certain whether a camera would have prevented Mike Brown’s death; however, there is strong evidence which suggests that if the Mike Brown law goes into effect nationwide, it would prevent countless deaths caused by the actions of members of law enforcement.

Share Your Feedback With Us

At Wallin & Klarich, we encourage feedback from our clients and our readers. Tell us what you think about this topic. Should the federal government enact a law that requires police to wear a video recording device at all times while on duty? What benefits do you see in making this a requirement? What rules should be in place regarding the cameras? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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6. [Id.]
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10. [Id.]
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Split Sentencing Gives Inmates a Chance

September 3, 2014,

The city of San Diego introduced a “split sentencing” program in an effort to reduce the number of repeat criminal offenders. Split sentencing provides offenders with the opportunity to spend part of their sentence in jail and the remainder in supervised rehabilitation within the community. As early signs begin to point to a reduction in San Diego’s recidivism rate, other counties are beginning to take note and preparing to follow suit. 1

The Details of Split Sentencing Programs

Established through a joint effort between the court, law enforcement, probation department and the district attorney and public defender offices, the program will provide participants with a variety of resources. These resources, which include substance abuse treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational therapy, are offered in order to supply offenders the necessary skills to cope with their mandatory supervision and to ensure that they do not reoffend in the future.

As part of the collaborative effort, judges remain closely involved in the progress of the inmates as well. Judges often talk to the offenders about receiving their GED while in custody or reiterate the importance of attending their treatment or therapy. Christine Brown-Taylor, the reentry services manager at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, favors this hands-on approach over incarcerating the individual without providing him or her resources to recover.

“You can’t measure the impact [the program] has on the individual in an empowering away, a motivating way, to continue with that positive direction, versus sitting in jail and doing nothing” Brown-Taylor said. 2

While the split sentencing program is relatively new to San Diego, the results thus far have been promising. As of the end of last month, over 600 offenders have had their sentences split between jail and supervised rehab. Although she has yet to obtain the full data, San Diego County deputy district attorney Lisa Rodriguez believes that the recidivism rate for those under mandatory supervision is half as high as the offenders who spent their entire sentence behind bars.

Speaking on the matter, Rodriguez said, “It really requires that you have a collaborative team who is willing to engage in it…I think overall we all can feel its working.” 3

What Wallin & Klarich Think

The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich fully support the idea of split sentencing and feel it should be adopted throughout the entire state. If the county wants criminal offenders to turn their lives around, they should supply individuals with the proper tools to do so. Treating criminal offenders as individuals rather than a mere statistic will undoubtedly decrease the rate at which these individuals reoffend and will better society as a whole.

What Do You Think?

This is a complex issue that has individuals from all over California weighing in on what they think is best for the state. What are your thoughts? Do you think split sentencing is the best option for criminal offenders? Or, do you feel as if those who have broken the law should serve their entire sentence behind bars. We would love to hear your opinion on this topic.

1. [Los Angeles Daily Journal, “New Split Sentence Court Making an Impact” – August 25, 2014]

2. [Id.]

3. [Id.]

Do You Have to “Friend” Your Probation Officer?

August 29, 2014,

Did you hear the one about the guy from Oregon who thought it would be a good idea to taunt his probation officer through Facebook? 1 Or about the judge in Arizona who decided that a convicted sex offender violated his probation by posting on MySpace? 2

Like in many other states across the country, probation officers in California are using social media to track and monitor you if you are on probation. In the recent case People v. Ebertowski, the defendant often used his social networking accounts (such as Facebook, MySpace, or Instagram) to recruit members to his gang. Because of this, the court ruled that surrendering his login information to his probation officer was a valid condition of his probation. 3


The court held that even where there is “(1) a legally protected privacy interest; (2) a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances; and (3) conduct constituting a serious invasion of the privacy interest,” the constitutional right to privacy is not violated if “the invasion of the privacy interest is justified because it substantially furthers one or more legitimate competing or countervailing privacy or non-privacy interests.” 4

This ruling means that if you want to receive probation for a crime that you committed, you will have to agree to turn over your passwords to your social network accounts and your cellphone to your probation officer.

How Does Probation Work?

If you are convicted of a crime in California, the judge has wide discretion in deciding your sentence. California law authorizes the judge to sentence you to the maximum prescribed penalty for the crime of which you are convicted, or, if you are eligible, the judge can suspend your sentence and grant probation for a misdemeanor or felony (Cal. Penal Code §1203.1).

The judge can impose any term or condition on your probation so long as it is related to the crime of which you were convicted. These conditions could include that you agree to an advance waiver of your Fourth Amendment rights. In order to be granted probation instead of a jail or prison term, the judge may require you to give up your right to privacy by consenting to any searches by a probation officer without probable cause or a warrant. 5

Legal Justification for Social Networking Searches

The Ebertowski case suggests that depending on the type of crime committed, the courts will consider the surrendering of passwords to social networking accounts or cellphones to be a part of your consent to search at any time. Certain crimes, such as recruiting for a gang might be best monitored through these sites, and the court need only find that it is reasonable for the probation officer to have this access to monitor your activity to determine whether you have violated the terms of your probation.

Contact Wallin & Klarich If You Have Been Accused of Violating Your Probation

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a probation violation, you should WK%20Partners%20Photo.png
contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. If your probation is terminated due to revocation, you can be sentenced to serve the maximum amount of time in custody allowed by law.

The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience dealing with judges, prosecutors and probation officers to help minimize the potential consequences of a probation violation. We may be able to negotiate for a solution that does not require you to serve any time in custody. We will do everything within our power to win your probation revocation hearing.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will do everything they can to help you get the best possible result in your case.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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4. [Id., quoting In re Christopher M., 127 Cal.App.4th 684, 695 (2005), disapproved on a different point by People v. Gonzales, 56 Cal.4th 353, 373 (2013).]
5. [People v. Mason, 5 Cal. 3d 759, 488 P.2d 630 (1971), disapproved of on other grounds by People v. Lent, 15 Cal. 3d 481, 541 P.2d 545 (1975).]
Photo obtained from:

California’s New Cybercrime Laws

August 27, 2014,

The advancement of the Internet has led to a wave of new crimes. While technology improves rapidly, the law has struggled to keep up and adjust to new crimes that are being committed through technology.

In 2012, the Cyber Crime Protection Security Act was passed to punish people who try to access another person’s personal information through cyberattacks. The act also increased criminal penalties for fraud and related activities committed with a computer. 1

Let’s take a look at some new laws that have been passed recently that may affect how you use the Internet…

The Kill-Switch Phone Law

In hopes of reducing smartphone theft and sales of stolen cellphones, California recently passed the “Kill-Switch Bill” into law. Under the new law, all phones sold in California manufactured canstockphoto0436401.jpg after July 1, 2015 will need to have a kill switch button that allows users to remotely wipe all data from the phone’s memory and lock the phone, making it unusable. 2

Apple already integrated the technology into its iOS 7 operating system, and law enforcement agencies are reporting iPhone robberies are down. In San Francisco, iPhone theft is down 38% and it is down 20% in New York City and London. 3

While the goal of the law is to reduce cellphone theft, police will also be able to access the tool under California Public Utilities Code Section 7908. Police will be able to cut off service, but it will require a court order except in emergency situations that pose a threat of death or great bodily injury. 4

The Data Breach Notification Law

Chances are your personal information is in the hands of one or more companies. Addresses, credit card information and Social Security numbers could all be saved on company databases, but this may not be safe. In 2013, Target’s database was hacked, and more than 40 million accounts were accessed. 5

Taking effect at the beginning of this year, the Data Breach Notification law requires companies to notify customers if they have experienced a security breach. If your personal information is hacked through a company’s database, the company is required to send you a real-time notification. 6 The new law states that the agency must, “disclose the breach of security…in the most expedient time possible.” 7

The Minor’s Privacy Law

Minors are often targets of identity theft because they do not check their credit history. 8
A new law expected to take effect January 1, 2015 will protect minors’ personal information. Under the law, websites or online services that store information for K-12 students will be prohibited from selling or disclosing students’ personal information. 9

Encouraging responsibility from adults rather than the minors, the law will also apply to school districts, schools and teachers who operate websites that collect or store information from minors. 10

California is at the forefront of technological innovation. As a result, the state is exposed to cybercrimes and other criminal acts relating to the Internet. Do you think the state government is doing all that is necessary to prevent cybercrime? Are these new laws too invasive? Please share your opinion about this ongoing issue.

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4. [Id.]
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State Budget Prioritizes Rehabilitation over Incarceration

August 25, 2014,

A major breakthrough in the rehabilitation process for criminal offenders was reached recently when new budget legislation was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. The new legislation, which makes rehabilitation for offenders a top priority, will fund programs to help reduce the percentage of repeat offenders. While this new development is certainly a step in the right direction, some skeptics contend that in order to effectively implement criminal justice realignment entirely, more funding is needed.

The 2014-2015 Criminal Rehabilitation Budget

Much of the stakeholders’ concerns are rooted in the fact that a majority of the state’s budget -$500 million to be exact– will be used to pay for the construction of jails and other criminal justice facilities. Most members of the Californians United for a Responsible Budget feel that it is in the state’s best interest to fund social service programs and reduce the use of prison and jail facilities. Spokeswoman Emily Harris echoed this sentiment, adding, “The budget deal continues to send billions of dollars down the ‘rat hole’ of incarceration while including no significant restorations to anti-poverty and social safety net programs..” 1 Bad%20Check.jpg

A smaller portion of the budget- $106 million – will go towards rehabilitation programs and an even smaller amount of $12 million will be allotted to training local law enforcement how to deal with mentally ill and drug-addicted individuals.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, however, remains optimistic for what the future holds. “In this budget, we are finally taking significant steps to slow the revolving door where three out of every four offenders have simply cycled in and out of prison cells with no chance to turn around their lives,” 2 Steinberg said.

What Wallin & Klarich Think

The allocation of money to the rehabilitation of mentally ill and drug-addicted criminal offenders is not only effective, but long overdue.

In an ideal world, criminal offenders with mental disorders and substance abuse issues could rely on protected, safe residential communities to carry out their sentences. In these “communities,” residents would have access to the particular therapy that they required (psychotherapy, medical care, substance-abuse treatment), which would better prepare them for integration into the outside world. 3

At Wallin & Klarich, we firmly believe that those who suffer from mental disorders or are addicted to drugs should be dealt with differently than other criminal offenders. By constructing programs that will attempt to rehabilitate this particular group of offenders, the state will be creating a lifelong solution to the issue rather than a temporary fix.

What Do You Think?

Our firm always welcomes feedback from both our readers and our clients. Do you think funding rehabilitation programs is the correct way to approach the issue of repeat offenders? Can you think of an alternative solution that might be more effective? We would love to hear from you.

1. [Daily Journal – State budget focuses on rehabilitation of criminal offenders – June 23, 2014.]

2. [Id.]

3. []

Should California Allow Digital Search Warrants?

August 22, 2014,

In California, drivers who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI can refuse to have their breath tested. When a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, the police officer can request a warrant to have the suspect’s blood tested. However, it takes time to receive these warrants, so law enforcement will often opt against requesting one. 1
A potential solution to this problem is being put into place in Missouri, which has enacted a “no refusal” policy. The policy essentially allows police officers to request a digital warrant for blood tests when DUI suspects refuse. Instead of physically visiting a judge, a warrant can be requested and authorized electronically in a matter of minutes. 2

While the policy in Missouri will not affect you if you are pulled over for DUI in California, the situation will be monitored closely and could lead California lawmakers to push for a similar policy. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using digital warrants in California…

Pros of Electronic Search Warrants

The obvious advantage of an electronic search warrant for law enforcement is the speed of which they can be obtained. Police officers who are currently working late at night have to fax warrant requests or affidavits to on-call judges. The judge can sign it and return it via fax. 3

As you can imagine, this process can take a while. An electronic search warrant would allow police to submit documents at the scene of a crime from an electronic device. Judges would be able to respond from anywhere in seconds. This could lead to more arrests of guilty persons.

Electronic warrants would also serve environmental benefits. Going through the warrant process electronically would significantly reduce the amount of paper used by law enforcement.

Cons of Electronic Search Warrants

The quick process of obtaining a digital warrant could be considered a positive for law enforcement, but it could also violate your rights as a citizen. The purpose of requiring police to obtain a search warrant is to instill a “checks and balances” system in order to protect your right to be free from unreasonable searches. With the ease at which a digital warrant could be obtained, police officers and judges may not invest the time and care necessary to decide if you should be searched.

It could also lead to instances in which law enforcement feels the need to quickly obtain evidence. This can lead to hasty decisions and possible violations of your Constitutional rights.

For example, if you are pulled over for having a broken tail light, the officer can request to search your car. If you refuse, the officer can quickly request a search warrant for your car. Within minutes, the officer could be searching your vehicle despite your refusal.

One major disadvantage of the electronic search warrant is the fact that there is no paper copy. With a paper copy, officers can present it to a suspect, renter or owner. 4 This allows citizens to trust the officer and be informed as to why their property is being searched.

Do You Think California Should Allow Digital Warrants?

Adopting digital warrants would have a major impact on Californians rights. Do you think that digital warrants should be adopted? Do you feel that allowing law enforcement to acquire a digital warrant would be a violation of your Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches? Wallin & Klarich would like to hear your opinion. Leave your comments below.

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4. [Id.]

Should California Regulate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

August 20, 2014,

A bill that would have begun regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries in California and required dispensaries to get state licenses before opening stalled in the California State Assembly. 1

Senate Bill 1262 was initially approved by the California State Senate, but it was blocked by the Assembly Appropriations Committee before it could move on to the governor for final approval. Officials are expected to try advancing a similar bill next year. 2

Requiring Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Get a State License (Senate Bill 1262)

Introduced by State Senator Lou Correa, SB 1262 would have required medical marijuana dispensaries to get a license from the state in order to conduct business and have cities where medical marijuana dispensaries are located sign off on any such licenses. 3 Federal%20Crimes%20vs.%20State%20Crimes%20-%20California%20Federal%20Attorney.jpg

In order to create a licensing system and standards for cultivating, transporting and providing medical marijuana, a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation would have been created within the Department of Consumer Affairs. Similar bills that have also failed had the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulating marijuana.

The bill would have allowed local governments to tax medical marijuana and develop their own regulations.

It also called for guidelines to ensure that physicians recommend marijuana only after real examinations and prohibit physicians from having a financial interest in medical marijuana dispensaries. 4

Financial Impact of Regulating California Medical Marijuana Industry

The bill would have helped regulate an industry that many people believe has been poorly regulated since medical marijuana was approved by voters in 1996. 5 In California, the medical marijuana industry is a $1.8 billion industry. 6

Passing the bill into law would have had an immediate financial impact on the state, but taxes generated from regulating marijuana would have made up for it quickly.

An analysis conducted by the Assembly Appropriations estimated setting up a Bureau of Medical Marijuana would have cost $20 million. However, if the bill had been approved, it could have resulted in about $400 million in sales taxes generated in California each year.

Despite the bill’s potential financial impact, stalwarts believed that were too many revisions to the bill and it included too many additional provisions to be passed into law. The most objections came from the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Drug Policy Alliance.

Among the complaints, proponents of the bill disagreed with provisions discouraging people with prior felonies from obtaining licenses and with having the Department of Consumer Affairs manage the program.

Do You Think California Should Regulate Medical Marijuana?

While Senate Bill 1262 was not passed into law, the topic of regulating medical marijuana remains a highly controversial issue. What do you think about Senate Bill 1262? Did the California State Assembly make a mistake by failing to pass the bill into law? Should medical marijuana dispensaries be required to get a license before conducting business?

Wallin & Klarich would like to hear your thoughts about this controversial issue. Please leave your comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

1. []

2. [Bills on crack cocaine, medicinal pot advance in California, May 28, 2014,]

3. [Id.]

4. [Id.]

5. [Id.]

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Should Selling Crack Cocaine and Powder Cocaine Carry the Same Punishment?

August 18, 2014,

The federal Anti-Drug Use Act of 1986 created separate sentencing guidelines for crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine. California adopted the same sentences a year later, resulting in crimes involving crack being sentenced 100 times harsher than crimes involving powder cocaine. Under the law, it takes one-tenth the amount of crack cocaine to trigger the same strict sentences as powder cocaine. 1 Possession%20of%20Drugs%20for%20Sale%202.jpg

In an effort to reduce severe prison overcrowding, California is rethinking overly harsh criminal sentencing, especially for nonviolent crimes such as drug offenses. The California State Senate recently gave initial approval to Senate Bill 1010, which would reduce penalties for possessing crack cocaine for sale so they would match the punishment for crimes involving powder cocaine. 2

The bill will soon be voted on by the California State Assembly. If passed, it will then go before the governor for final approval. 3

Reducing Penalties for Possessing Crack Cocaine for Sale (Senate Bill 1010)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11352, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to sell is currently punishable by three, four or five years in county jail and a fine of up to $20,000.

Introduced by State Senator Holly Mitchell, Senate Bill 1010 would reduce the penalties for possession of crack cocaine (also known as cocaine base) for sale to equal the penalties for possession of powder cocaine. If passed, sentencing for those convicted of possessing cocaine base for sale would be reduced to two, three or four years in county jail. 4

The proposed bill would also make it easier for anyone convicted of either of these possession of cocaine offenses to obtain probation in lieu of jail time.

Why Pass Senate Bill 1010?

Supporters of Senate Bill 1010 argue that California’s current laws have led to institutional racism, citing state statistics that show African Americans are imprisoned for possession of crack cocaine for sale at a rate of 43 times more than whites. Since the sentencing guidelines were adopted in the late 1980s, cocaine base has been associated more with African Americans in urban neighborhoods, while powder cocaine has been more popular among wealthy and middle-class whites. 5

According to supporters of SB 1010, sentencing guidelines have led to a culture of rehabilitation amongst whites who possessed powder cocaine and arrest and punishment for blacks who possessed crack cocaine. The Journal of the American Medical Association said the two forms of cocaine have essentially the same effects on the human body. 6

Should Penalties for Selling Crack Cocaine and Powder Cocaine Be Equal?

What do you think about California’s proposed new bill? Should possession of crack cocaine for sale carry the same punishment as possession of powder cocaine for sale? Do sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine promote racism? Should California pass Senate Bill 1010 into law?

Wallin & Klarich would like to hear your opinion on this matter. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

1. []
2. [Bills on crack cocaine, medicinal pot advance in California, May 28, 2014,]
3. [Id.]
4. [Id.]
5. [Id.]
6. [Id.]