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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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If you spend any amount of time online (and we know you do because you are reading this article), you are undoubtedly familiar with Internet “trolls.” These are the people who, empowered by the anonymity of the Internet, seemingly only enjoy life when they are making someone else’s life miserable. internet%20trolls.jpg

Trolls usually operate by reacting to an online opinion post or comment of someone by deliberately posting offensive or inflammatory replies. The goal is to push the buttons of the other person, and the troll gleefully watches as their target becomes upset. In extreme cases, trolling gradually evolves into something worse: cyberbullying, which often involves severe harassment, and even threats of death or serious bodily injury against the other person or their family.

In the United Kingdom, Parliament has decided to take a stand against Internet trolls. A new law has been proposed to amend the 1988 Malicious Communications Act. At the time it was passed, the Malicious Communication Act created a six-month sentence for persons who intentionally send indecent or grossly offensive messages and threats. 1 The law, passed before the age of social media and online comment sections, will be updated to include messages sent through electronic means, and will increase the maximum jail time to two years.

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In one of the stranger bits of news to start 2016, Sean Penn, the Academy Award-winning actor and director, secretly met with and interviewed one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, aka “El Chapo.” Guzmán is the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, one of the largest criminal organizations in Mexico. Mexican actress Kate del Castillo arranged the interview after the drug lord approached her about creating a movie about his life. Following the meeting, Penn’s interview with the notorious fugitive ran in Rolling Stone.1Immigrants Arrested

Six months before the meeting with Penn, Guzmán escaped a maximum-security prison. A few months after he met with Penn, the Mexican navy raided El Chapo’s coastal hideout in Los Mochis, recapturing the fugitive and returning him to prison.

Now that El Chapo has been arrested, many people are wondering if Penn’s interaction with the drug lord could be considered a crime. Continue reading →

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Think of all the technological innovations over the last two decades that we use to stay connected to each other on a daily basis: computers, tablets, smartphones, and wireless Internet access. For many of us, it is difficult to imagine living without these conveniences. tablet.jpg

What if you had been asleep for the past 20 years? What would you think an “app” is? To you, a smartphone would look like something out of a science fiction movie, and it would be staggering to you if someone told you that an infinite amount of information could be accessed from a device that fits in your pocket. You would feel like a time traveler who had gone far into the distant future.

This is exactly what it would be like if you had just been released from prison after 20 years. Technologically speaking, prisoners exist in a state of suspended animation. Cut off from the world that has advanced leaps and bounds from the time they began their sentences, many prisoners have never seen the things the rest of us take for granted.

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Brandishing%20a%20Weapon%20-%20California%20Gun%20Laws%20-%20PC%20417.jpgPrior to legally purchasing a firearm in California, you must first abide by a series of rules and regulations. These guidelines were created to ensure that you act responsibly as a gun owner. Possessing a firearm may provide owners with a sense of security and well-being, but, as we know far too well, if a firearm is put into the wrong hands the outcome can be tragic.

A Los Angeles woman is learning this lesson the hard way as she becomes the first parent to be prosecuted for unsafely storing a firearm after her teenage son brought the gun to school. 1

LA Mother Faces Jail Time After Son Brings Gun to School

Last May, the son of 41-year-old Leah D. Wilcken allegedly brought a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun with seven rounds of ammunition to Will Rogers High School in Van Nuys. 2 Once at school, Wilcken’s son showed the gun to a friend, who notified a school administrator who then informed the police.
Upon searching the student’s home the next day, police recovered a shotgun and four additional handguns. The guns, all unlocked and unsecured, were discovered in a dresser drawer, a kitchen cabinet and behind a dresser.

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Should a woman face criminal prosecution for child abuse if she smokes, uses drugs, or drinkssmoking%20wiki.jpg during pregnancy? That is the debate that many states have wrestled with for decades. For example, in the case of Cornelia Whitner, South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled that she could be criminally liable for using cocaine during her pregnancy. 1 However, the court’s ruling did not stop at the use of illegal drugs. The court stated that the rule would apply to both legal and illegal substances, meaning that a pregnant woman in South Carolina could be charged with child abuse for smoking a cigarette or drinking a glass of wine.

Other states have followed this line of thinking. Tennessee has a law that makes it a misdemeanor to drink or use illegal drugs during pregnancy if the child is born addicted to those substances. 2 Hawaii has considered laws making it a felony for endangering the welfare of a minor to consume alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. In addition, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and Nevada are all states where prosecutors have tried unsuccessfully to secure convictions for pregnant women under similar charges. 3

California’s Approach to Child Abuse Crimes

Child abuse crimes in California generally fall under two broad categories: physical abuse and child endangerment. Physical abuse crimes under California Penal Code Section 273(d) require willful infliction of cruel punishment and/or an injury to a child that causes a traumatic condition, and the action was not part of a reasonable punishment of the child. 4

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Remember the days of asking a celebrity for an autograph? If you spotted a Hollywood actor or famous musician, you had to find anything they could sign. Those days are gone. Autographs have been replaced with photos, and every celebrity is asked to stop and take a selfie that will be posted online for the world to see.

However, altering digital photos is now easier than ever. While everyone is on a quest to post the most epic celebrity selfies, some will use deceptive measures to do so. Recently, a California attorney was called into question for photos posted on her law firm’s website that seemed to be doctored to give the appearance that she was pictured with famous clientele.

When Ultimate Selfies Turn Out to Be Ultimate Lies

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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.

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Recently, a San Fernando Valley-based independent driver for the rideshare service Uber was arrested after being suspected of criminal activity involving a woman too drunk to tell him where she wanted to go.

uber%20wiki.jpgFrederick Dencer, 32, of Encino, was charged on suspicion of kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault, according to LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. 1

The driver was held in custody after the woman called 911 to complain that she had awoken in a motel room in Panorama City early in the morning following a night of bar-hopping. The woman was alarmed to discover she was lying next to a shirtless man. She told police investigators she didn’t know how she got there.

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The on-going saga of Donald Sterling’s public meltdown took another bizarre twist recently when his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, sought a court order against the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers after he allegedly threatened witnesses in connection with the contested sale of the team.canstockphoto1070874.jpg

Shelly Sterling had sought an emergency protective order after Donald Sterling had left hostile voicemails for the two doctors who had found him mentally incompetent. Donald Sterling was also accused of threatening Ms. Sterling’s attorney.

The doctors’ opinions give Ms. Sterling sole authority to negotiate the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, according to the provisions of the Sterling Family Trust.

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.