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Articles Posted in Probation and Parole

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As if the criminal courts are not busy enough effective July 1, 2013 Superior Court judges will now be required to conduct all parole hearings as of July 1, 2013. For the past several decades these hearings were conducted by the Department of Corrections hearing officers. However, under the new court realignment that began October 1, 2011 this task will now be required to be handled by judges.

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There is already great concern as to what impact that this change will have on the already severely overcrowded criminal court system. A total of 40,000 parole revocations were heard by the Board of Parole Hearings from January to June, 2012. While it is anticipated the total will go down somewhat due to the court realignment, there will be still be a major impact on the court system when this takes effect on July 1, 2013.

We will monitor this situation when it takes effect and this will make it even more important for a person facing a parole violation to retain an experienced criminal defense law firm like Wallin and Klarich to assist them. At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal attorneys have over 30 years of experience. We will aggressively fight for you to get you the best possible result in your case. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or contact us through our website at www.wklaw.com. With offices in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, and Orange Counties, we will be there when you call.

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Connie Keel was charged with first-degree murder for participating as an aider and abettor in the robbery of a liquor store that resulted in the death of the store clerk. Keel was convicted of murder in California at her 1981 trial, even though she was never accused of killing anyone with her own hands. To this day, Keel claims that she had no idea that her husband and cousin intended to rob the liquor store. However, under California’s Felony Murder Rule, prosecutors successfully charged her with first-degree murder. The penalty for first-degree murder is 25 years to life.

The Felony Murder Rule allows prosecutors to charge a defendant with first degree murder, if any homicide is committed during the course of specified felonies-such as robbery, rape, and burglary. An aider and abettor is anyone who helps the principal offender commit the crime. Keel is alleged to have waited in the getaway car while her husband and cousin robbed, and ultimately shot and killed the liquor store clerk.

The Felony Murder Rule is inscribed in California Penal Code Section 189. It states in pertinent part that “all murder… which is committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping…, is murder of the first degree.” California also recognizes the offense of second-degree murder, punishable by sentences of 15 years to life, for homicides committed during the course of other felonies not referred to in the statute but deemed “inherently dangerous to human life.”

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The Court Has Authority to Modify Probation at Any Time During the Probationary Term –Success Requires the Knowledge and Skill of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Penal Code section 1203.3 provides in pertinent part as follows: (a) “The court shall have authority at anytime during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence. The court may at any time when the ends of justice will be served thereby, and when good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person so held.”

The trial court is therefore authorized, during the time of probation upon proper showing, to modify probation. People v. Marin (1957, 4th Dist.) 147 Cal.App.2d 625, 627. 605 P.2d.659.

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Wallin & Klarich has been helping people who have been accused of violating their probation for over 30 years. Whether you were placed on probation for a misdemeanor offense or a felony, you should consult counsel before having to appear before the Court. When placed on probation, the Judge in essence, suspends jail/prison time over your head. If you violate any term or condition of that probation, the Judge can sentence you for up to the amount of jail/prison time you were originally looking at when you plead guilty to that crime. Thus, your exposure to serving jail time is enormous. You can violate probation by not doing what the Court ordered you to do, such as:

-failure to pay a fine -failure to attend or complete an alcohol or drug program -for testing dirty to your probation officer if you were on formal/supervised probation -for failing to report to jail to start a jail sentence -for failing to complete community service -for violating a law -for possessing material that you were previously ordered not to possess (ie. firearm, checks, credit cards, pornography, etc)

-for making contact with a person you were told you could not contact.

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When a defendant pleads guilty to a felony and is not sentenced to prison, he is usually placed on felony formal probation. That means he will have a probation officer and that he must comply with specific terms of probation. If the probation officer believes that he or she has violated the terms of his probation, the probation officer will ask that the felony warrant go out for the defendant’s arrest. In almost every county in California, the defendant is then arrested and held on a NO BAIL HOLD STATUS.

A “NO BAIL HOLD STATUS” means that the defendant will remain in custody for several weeks while the matter is investigated. The defendant will not be permitted to post bail while the probation violation matter is pending. In these cases it is extremely important to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney.

What many people do not realize is that to be found in violation of probation a probation violation hearing must take place. The District Attorney must present evidence to convince the judge by a “preponderance of the evidence” that a probation violation has in fact occurred. When you have an experienced criminal defense law firm on your side you can often defend a probation violation.

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A parolee that is arrested for a parole violation will have a “parole hold” placed on him or her at the time of arrest. This parole hold makes it so the parolee cannot be bailed out of custody.

If the parolee is arrested for a NEW CRIME, it is best to have the parolee waive his right to a speedy probable cause hearing until the court case is disposed of. The parolee will need to sign a waiver and when the new case is complete, you contact the board of prison terms and speak with the person in charge of setting the hearings and ask to schedule the hearing.

If the criminal case was won or dismissed, this is good evidence; however, the burden of proof for a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. In a parolee hearing it is a preponderance of the evidence (or a tip of the scale). So, just because the criminal case is dismissed or a not guilty verdict is returned, the parolee is still not guaranteed that the parole charges will be dismissed.

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It is important to understand HEARSAY evidence and its relevance at probation and parole violation hearings.

PAROLE revocation and PROBATION revocation after the imposition of a sentence are constitutionally indistinguishable. Parole and probation revocation is NOT part of a criminal prosecution and therefore not all of the rights due a defendant in a criminal procedure apply.

However, due process does require that a defendant at a probation revocation hearing be afforded, at a minimum, certain rights including, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses.

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.