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For many, Stephon Clark was the last straw.

In March, police who were responding to a 911 call regarding a person breaking car windows fired 20 rounds at Clark because they believed he was holding a gun. According to reports, eight bullets hit Clark in the back and neck. As the facts would later show, the object Clark was not a gun – it was his cellphone.

Clark’s death is the latest high-profile incident in which police have killed unarmed persons – many of whom were young, black men – through the use of what the officers believed was “reasonable” use of deadly force.

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While President Donald Trump’s Administration has taken a hardline stance against illegal immigration, the state of California has passed laws that make it difficult for federal immigration agents to find and arrest undocumented immigrants within the state.

One such law is the California Values Act (Senate Bill 54), which took effect this year. This “sanctuary state” law limits how local law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration officials.

However, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has found a loophole in the law in an effort to provide assistance to ICE.

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Companies like Ring make doorbells that allow video and audio to be recorded when motion is detected near your front door. It is now easier than ever to install security cameras in different rooms of your house to keep an eye on your pets or property while you are away. This technology may help you catch a thief, but could it also result in you facing criminal charges?

California is a two-way consent state, meaning both parties need to agree to a video or audio recording. So, do these cameras violate wiretapping laws because the other party is unaware he or she is being recorded?

Ring Doorbell Cameras and the Expectation of Privacy

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The recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has sent shockwaves throughout the country and sparked a national debate about gun control. California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but lawmakers are proposing 10 new gun laws in the wake of this school shooting.

Expanding the Definition of Assault Rifles in California

One important proposed gun law is Assembly Bill 1135, which would expand the definition of “assault weapon” in California. High-powered semi-automatic rifles without fixed magazines would be considered assault rifles under these proposed laws, but most .22 rifles would be excluded.

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Under California Penal Code Section 273.5, the crime of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse is defined as using physical force on a current or former spouse or significant other, mother or father of your child or cohabitant that results in that person suffering a traumatic condition.

If you are convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse under PC 273.5, you face up to four years in prison and up to $6,000 in fines.

In most cases when a person is accused of this crime, the alleged victim is their spouse, child, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend. The alleged victims of this crime often do not wish for the accused to be prosecuted. However, once a person is arrested for this crime, it is up to the prosecuting attorney whether to file or dismiss criminal charges.

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Federal immigration authorities recently issued a directive stating that they plan to enter federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests. In response, the California State Senate approved a bill that would keep ICE agents out of courthouses if it becomes law.

Senate Bill 183 would prohibit federal immigration agents from entering state buildings to make arrests without a valid federal warrant. This means ICE agents would not be able to detain, question or conduct surveillance on anyone in buildings such as courthouses, public schools, community colleges and other state-run buildings.

Why Stop ICE from Enforcing Immigration Laws?

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While visiting his parents on break from the University of Pennsylvania, 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, who identified as gay, was reportedly stabbed more than 20 times and left to die in a park in Lake Forest. Samuel Woodward has been charged with Bernstein’s murder, which authorities believe may have been motivated by Bernstein’s sexual orientation, and has plead not guilty.

In response to this crime, California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would create sentence enhancements for murder when the crime is motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender.

Proposed Sentence Enhancements for Murder Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender (Senate Bill 971)

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Lawmakers introduce new bills every year meant to protect citizens. However, one recently proposed law meant to protect the environment has drawn a lot of attention.

Being referred to as the “Straw Law,” Assembly Bill 1884 would reportedly punish restaurant employees for providing patrons with a plastic straw for their drinks. Would California lawmakers really punish waiters for giving out straws? Let’s explore the truth about the proposed Straw Law.

What the Proposed “Straw Law” Would Do (AB 1884)

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Your child is accused of breaking the law while at school. The police arrive and begin questioning your child. Using interrogation tactics, police coerce your child into confessing to a crime he or she did not actually commit.

How can this happen? Unfortunately, minors don’t have all the same rights as adults. However, a law that took effect on January 1, 2018 amended Welfare and Institutions Code Section 625.6 to give minors under 16 years old a chance to better understand the rights that they do have. The law hopes to curtail the amount of false confessions given by minors.

What are Miranda Rights?

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Over the past several years, California lawmakers have been overhauling the state’s criminal justice system in an effort to reduce the prison population. The latest law amed to curb jail and prison overcrowding went into effect on January 1, 2018, and changed how courts deal with cases involving simple possession of drugs.

Previously, if you were arrested for simple possession (in other words, possession for personal use only), the court could implement a deferred entry of judgment under California Penal Code Section 1000. Assembly Bill 208, which took effect at the start of 2018, made changes to PC 1000 so that pretrial diversion is now an option.

What does this change in law mean? Let’s explore the difference between deferred entry of judgment and pretrial diversion.

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.