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Nobody wants to go to jail. You will have little opportunity to contact your family and friends, and you will not be able to move about freely or enjoy the daily activities of your life. However, residents of Orange County may have more reason to want to avoid jail time. According to a report published recently by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), conditions in Orange County jails are inhumane.santa-ana-jail-300x175

After a two-year investigation by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the organization reported troubling conditions in Orange County jails that the ACLU claims violate state regulations and the U.S. Constitution. The report found that inmates in Orange County jails are exposed to violent, abusive and unhealthy conditions, including a pattern of denial and indifference by jail officials.1

According to the ACLU’s Jails Project report, inmates in Orange County jails receive inadequate medical care, suffer abuse, and are exposed to persistent overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions.

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Hate-speech-300x168Gun control has long been a controversial topic, but the conversation has become even more heated with the rise of mass shootings and domestic terrorism. In an effort to balance gun rights with public safety, California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent people who are convicted of hate crimes from owning guns.

Assembly Bill 785 – introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) – would prohibit people who have committed a hate crime from possessing or purchasing a firearm for 10 years after their conviction.

Expanding Current Law to Hate Crimes

Under current law, you are prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms if you are convicted of a violent misdemeanor or misdemeanor involving the use or threatened use of a firearm. However, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has pointed out that the law has an “absurd” loophole.

According to Jones-Sawyer, the list of misdemeanors classified under this law does not include PC 422.6, which makes it a crime to use force or threats of force to injure, intimidate or threaten another person based on that person’s race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, gender or sexual orientation. Therefore, people convicted of this crime are not prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years.

AB 785, which is being called the Disarm Hate Act, would close that loophole. Jones-Sawyer says it will “help keep weapons out of the hands of those who have demonstrated a dangerous readiness to escalate bigotry into criminal threats and violence.”

Why Pass This Law Now?

Opponents to AB 785 worry that the language is so broad that it could apply to petty crimes. Jones-Sawyer believes this proposed law would help curb gun violence without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Continue reading →

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Concealed-weapon-2-300x199In 2016, California voters allowed a number of laws that aimed to strictly regulate firearm and ammunition purchases within the state. One of those laws banned Californians from owning or possessing large-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The law was set to go into effect on July 1. However, just days before it officially became law, a judge blocked it. So, is it illegal to possess large-capacity magazines in California?

California Voters Pass Law Banning Large-Capacity Magazines

The sale of large-capacity magazines was banned in California in 2000, when voters elected to outlaw people from purchasing magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. However, the law did not completely ban large capacity magazines within the state.

A stipulation in the law allowed individuals who had already purchased large-capacity magazines before 2000 to keep them for personal use. Individuals who owned a firearm purchased before 2000 that can only be used with a large-capacity magazine also were exempt from the laws.

However, voters passed Proposition 63 in 2016. This law, which was set to take effect July 1, eliminated exemptions from the large-capacity magazine law and increased the maximum penalty for owning large-capacity magazines. Therefore, anyone who possessed or owned a large-capacity magazine would have been required to:

  • Transfer the magazines to federally licensed gun dealers,
  • Move the magazines out of the state,
  • Turn in the magazines to law enforcement, or
  • Destroy the large-capacity magazines

Judge Blocks Gun Magazine Law from Taking Effect

On June 29, days before the gun magazine law was set to take effect, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez issued a preliminary injunction to block it at the request of attorneys representing the Nation Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading →

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Internet_Social-Media_Computer_Cellphone-300x200It’s no secret how much President Trump loves taking his message directly to the public through his Twitter account. Recently, Trump’s account has started to block people who express opposition to his tweets. By blocking these people, it prohibits them from reading and responding to tweets from Trump’s account.

Do you have a right to see the president’s tweets? There is currently a legal battle pending as to whether it is a violation of the First Amendment for Trump to continue to block people from seeing his tweets.

Is Twitter a Public Forum?

The central question in this case is whether the president’s Twitter account is a “designated public forum.” Under the First Amendment, a designated public forum is a forum that is set aside by the government for the purpose of free expression. In such a forum, the government may only place limits on the time, place, and manner in which the speech is made, but cannot censor the content of speech without a compelling interest.

The Knight First Amendment Foundation is arguing that the president’s Twitter account is a designated public forum and blocking people from this forum is a violation of their First Amendment rights. The foundation is stating that since the president of the United States controls the account, the government therefore operates it for the purposes of public expression. By blocking access to the account to people who are critical of him, Trump is censoring the free speech rights of those who disagree with him, according to the Knight First Amendment Foundation.

The argument has some weaknesses. First, like other social media services, Twitter is a privately owned and operated service that allows anyone to sign up for an account and use it for free. Also like other social media services, users must agree to Twitter’s terms of service before they can use the site, which means that Twitter reserves the right to deactivate accounts that violate those terms. Thus, President Trump’s legal team could argue that Twitter is a private forum in which the president is but one of millions of participants, and therefore the content can be regulated. Continue reading →

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background_check_job_employment-300x300In November 2016, California voters approved Prop 64, making the recreational use of marijuana legal in the state. However, this does not mean that every person in California can do as he or she wants when it comes to the drug. There are still a number of ways that using marijuana can lead to you facing criminal charges.

Many people are confused about California’s legal marijuana laws. Here are some common questions we have heard, along with answers to those questions.

  • Can I Drive While Possessing Marijuana?

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AWDW-300x145In 2015, a terrorist attack in San Bernardino left 14 people dead. The shooter used assault rifles to kill his victims. This horrific event led to a crackdown on weapons in California. However, now that new gun laws have taken effect, gun rights groups are attempting to fight them.

Gun Rights Groups Challenging California Laws

Since 2015, California lawmakers have passed several laws prohibiting different types of weapons and ammunition. Now, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), the state’s affiliate of the National Rifle Association, has filed a series of court challenges against California’s new gun laws.

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You might not think lying about who you are is a big deal, but in California you can get into trouble if you falsely identify yourself in several ways. Simply lying to a police officer, and/or telling him or her that you are somebody else could get you arrested for committing a misdemeanor. Using a fake ID can lead to even more trouble.

If you manufacture, display, or possess a fake ID with the intent to commit forgery, you could be charged with a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Below are some of the more frequent ways you can get into trouble for misuse of and ID card.

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Bail_Bonds_bondsman-300x200Six out of ten. That is the number of people who are arrested and held on suspicion of committing a crime in California who never face criminal charges. This is because those wrongly accused of crimes can spend months and even years in custody while their case works it way through the criminal justice system. Despite ultimately being exonerated, there is still a significant cost paid by many of these people.

In an attempt to eliminate this inequity in our justice system, California lawmakers have introduced legislation that would drastically change the bail system in the state.

Does Bail Punish Poor People?

The bail system allows defendants to pay a certain amount of money to the court as a guarantee that they will show up their court hearings. In most cases, a person charged with a crime will seek the help of a bail bond company that will post the full amount of bail in exchange for a non-refundable fee (generally equal to 10% of the bail amount set by the court).

This means if bail is set at $50,000, the defendant can pay a bail bondsman $5,000 to be released from custody while the case is pending. If the charges are dropped or if the defendant is found not guilty at trial, the bondsman receives the $50,000 back from the court, but keeps the $5,000 the defendant paid him or her.

The current bail system punishes people who are not able to afford bail. That is why California lawmakers want to change how the courts calculate bail fees.

Income-Based Bail Amounts

Currently, the average bail in California is $50,000, and bail fees are based on the crime allegedly committed rather than the defendant’s ability to pay. A new bill working its way through the California legislature would eliminate bail in some cases and change the way it is calculated in others.

Under this proposed law, in cases where the person’s crime is one that is not serious or violent, home detention or monitoring devices could be used in place of monetary bail. In cases involving serious or violent crimes where bail fees would be required, the courts would be directed to use the defendant’s income as the basis for the amount of bail required.

Will the Bill Become Law?

The bill is not without its critics. The bail industry, victims rights groups and law enforcement agencies oppose the bill, saying that the proposed change will lead to more people failing to show up to court, and that it will cost counties more money to supervise individuals who are given a bail alternative. Continue reading →

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Orange-County-Courthouse-300x225California is gearing up for an immigration showdown with Washington.

A new bill, which recently passed through the State Assembly, seeks to provide a safe harbor for immigrants who are going to California courts. Under President Trump’s aggressive immigration policies, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have detained undocumented immigrants for possible deportation at courthouses despite the fact that they were going to court as victims or witnesses to a crime.

If the bill passes, law enforcement officers would be prohibited from detaining victims and witnesses for immigration violations.

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customs-300x199Immigration has been a major issue concerning President Donald Trump’s administration. Since Trump took office, the number of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has increased, and there have been reports that federal agents have arrested people in courthouses.

Los Angeles has long held that it will be a sanctuary city for immigrants. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized this stance recently by calling for further protections for immigrants in the city.

Deportation Reports Impacting LA

At an event at the Lincoln Heights Youth Center Complex in East Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti addressed alarming trends in the city. Garcetti noted that Los Angeles has seen fewer visitors at its city parks, libraries, art centers and senior centers recently. He believes the reason for this may be that families are staying home to avoid potential contact with law enforcement for fear of being deported.

There has also been a drop in the amount of reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence among the city’s Latino population, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. While these facts cannot directly be attributed to the actions of the Trump Administration, the decline has not been seen in other demographics.

City of LA Supporting Immigrants

To address the deportation fears that many have, Garcetti signed an executive order called “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All.” This order prevents port and airport officials from being deputized as federal immigration agents.

The order builds on current LAPD immigration enforcement policies where law enforcement officers cannot check the immigration status of individuals in custody. Current policies also state that individuals cannot be detained longer than warranted per the request of federal deportation agents without a court order. Continue reading →

About Wallin & Klarich

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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.