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Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | 20 hours ago

A 19-year-old Long Beach man was arrested for burglary, and a 38-year-old handyman from Saugus was cited for possession of burglary tools.

A 22-year-old director from Reseda and a 20-year-old secretary from Los Angeles were arrested for grand theft of money/property valued at or greater than $400.

A 27-year-old stocker from Lancaster and a 27-year-old security guard from Newhall were charged with theft of personal property. An unemployed 24-year-old Valencia woman was cited for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction.

A 19-year-old stocker from Newhall was charged with vandalism with loss valued at or greater than $400.

An unemployed 21-year-old Stevenson Ranch man and a 43-year-old waitress from Canyon Country were arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A 38-year-old cook from Newhall was charged with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. And an unemployed 39-year-old Pacoima man was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon/addict, etc.

An unemployed 47-year-old Canyon Country woman was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, with great bodily injury.
A 27-year-old auto salesman from Newhall, an 18-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles and a 44-year-old security guard from Canyon Country were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. Also, a 40-year-old construction worker from Lancaster and a 44-year-old forklift operator from Newhall were charged with battery against a former spouse.
An unemployed 34-year-old from Winnetka was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury/death.

A 37-year-old foreman from Canyon Country was arrested for escaping jail, etc. while charged with a felony.

A 22-year-old gardener and an unemployed 22-year-old woman, both from Watsonville, were charged with transporting/selling a controlled substance.

Possession of a controlled substance charges went to:
20-year-old construction worker from Newhall
20-year-old unemployed Burbank man
25-year-old unemployed Saugus man
26-year-old Newhall transient

DUIs with prior arrests included:
24-year-old salesman from Valencia
24-year-old chef from Newhall
70-year-old retired Agua Dulce man
21-year-old cook from Castaic
23-year-old salesman from Newhall
30-year-old counsel aid from Northridge
49-year-old unemployed Saugus man

Sexual Harassment in the News – California Penal Code 243.4

| Police Blotter | October 19, 2017

Just recently, an investigation by the New York Times blew the lid off of one of Hollywood’s dirty little secrets. Acclaimed producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of having sexually assaulted several Hollywood actresses, and has reportedly reached settlement on at least eight court cases regarding similar offenses stretching back to 1990.

Once the first accusation was made, they kept on coming. Many A-listers, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, have come forward stating they’ve been the victims of sexual harassment and/or assault by the movie mogul in the past. Currently, the LAPD and LASD are urging individuals who feel they may have been victims of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein to come forward.

There is no criminal investigation as of yet being conducted in Los Angeles, though the NYPD is investigating an incident that occurred in 2004, and police in London are currently investigating a separate occurrence. Weinstein was recently fired from his company once the allegations came to light, and has voluntarily entered rehab.

Sexual assault is covered under California Penal Code 243.4 PC and is described as touching the intimate parts of another human being for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal or abuse. Sexual assault differs from rape (PC 261) in that for someone to be charged with rape, actual penetration or sexual intercourse needs to have occurred; with sexual assault, touching will suffice. It should be noted that for someone to be accused of sexual assault, the touching must be unwanted.
Sexual assault is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Misdemeanor charges typically include things like the intentional fondling of someone’s breasts, or placing a hand on their backside without their consent. The crime can be charged as a felony if the victim:
Was unlawfully restrained
Was unaware that the touching was sexual in nature because they were convinced it was for professional purposes (think doctors)
Was institutionalized and mentally incapacitated or seriously disabled
Was forced to touch the intimate body parts of the defendant
When charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $3,000 and/or summary probation.

For felony offenses, the possible penalties include formal probation, 2-4 years in California state prison with a possible addition of 3-5 years if the victim suffered great bodily injury, a maximum $10,000 fine and/or mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | October 13, 2017

A 26-year-old self-employed Santa Clarita man was cited for possession of burglary tools. An unemployed 48-year-old La Puente man, a 23-year-old unemployed Acton man and an unemployed 22-year-old Long Beach man were each arrested for burglary. A 34-year-old unemployed transient was arrested for robbery. A 49-year-old Santa Clarita transient was charged with petty theft. And a 29-year-old gardener from Pacoima was picked up for receiving known stolen property valued at $950 or more.

A 46-year-old homemaker from Newhall and an unemployed 19-year-old Santa Clarita man were charged with vandalism, and a 34-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country was brought in for vandalism with loss valued at or greater than $400. An unemployed 46-year-old Canyon Country man was cited for refusing to leave a property upon request of the owner.

A 46-year-old laborer from Canyon Country was arrested for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger.

An unemployed 19-year-old Castaic woman was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. Also, a 28-year-old North Hollywood man who does general labor was brought up on charges of battery against a former spouse. An 18-year-old nursery worker from Gardena was arrested for battery with great bodily injury. Also, an unemployed 40-year-old Santa Clarita man was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to cause great bodily injury or death.

A 46-year-old production designer from Los Angeles was charged with failure to appear for a traffic warrant. And a 19-year-old unemployed Saugus man was arrested for a probation violation.

A 24-year-old surrogate mother from Parlier, Calif. was charged with being drunk with drugs. A 22-year-old heating and air conditioning man from Castaic was cited for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

 

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
21-year-old unemployed Castaic man
34-year-old caregiver from Lancaster
22-year-old unemployed Arleta man
48-year-old laborer from Frazier Park
36-year-old construction worker from Little Rock, Calif.
25-year-old unemployed Burbank man
26-year-old transient
37-year-old massage therapist from Canyon Country
46-year-old unemployed Newhall man

DUIs with prior arrests included:
19-year-old with an unknown occupation from Val Verde
50-year-old construction worker from Glendale
22-year-old administrative assistant from Valencia
27-year-old artist from Lancaster
32-year-old construction worker from North Hills
22-year-old bartender from Santa Clarita
30-year-old construction worker from Newhall
28-year-old driver from Woodland Hills
71-year-old broker from Santa Clarita
33-year-old postal service driver

Teaching Kids Awareness: The Dangers of Kidnapping

| Police Blotter | October 12, 2017

On Friday, October 6, a 12-year-old girl reported that she was grabbed by a man who tried offering her a ride while she was running with her soccer team in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Santa Clarita.

The soccer team had been running from the 23500 block of Bridgeport Lane to an adjacent neighborhood when the victim fell behind. It was then that she said a man asked her if he could give her a ride somewhere. When she declined the offer, the man grabbed her by the arm and dragged her a few feet before the victim was able to break free. Once the suspect lost his grip on the girl, he fled to his black car, believed to be a Toyota or Honda, and sped away.

Instances like the one above occur frequently all over the world, and the unfortunate truth is that in many of them, the victim doesn’t escape. This victim was extremely lucky that she was not only able to break free of the suspect’s grasp, but that he didn’t attempt to chase her down, but instead took off.

Kidnapping is a danger for children of any age, from the young and helpless to those in their teens, and it’s important that you speak with your children and make sure they know what to do if they ever find themselves in a situation like this. Below are a few tips to help you out:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Whether your child is walking alone or with friends, they should always take a look around once in awhile to make sure they aren’t attracting any undue attention. People who look like easy targets tend to be easy targets, while those who are more alert have a much better chance of thwarting a would-be attacker.
  • If possible, call the police right away. This one might seem obvious, but that’s not always the case when it comes to teenagers. When panicked, teens have been known to text friends, significant others or even make posts on social media before thinking to call the police. If your child is kidnapped and has access to their phones, tell them to immediately dial 911 and keep the phone on speaker. Cell phones can be traced, and their chances of being found increase significantly if they can leave their phone on while being tracked.
  • Use what you can. When someone is grabbed, they typically focus on trying to free the part of their body that’s being handled. Instead, teach your kids to focus on using the parts of their body that are free. For example, if a kidnapper grabs them by the arms, your child can still use his/her legs to stomp on the fragile bones of their assailant’s feet, kick the attacker in the groin, the knee, or use a free arm to scratch at his/her face.
  • Be loud and be clear. During an attempted kidnapping, children and teens should, if nothing else, make sure to scream loudly for help and state that the kidnapper is not their father/mother. The more commotion that’s created will bring more attention to the attempted crime, and possibly spook the kidnapper into flight. If not, bystanders may be able to come and help.

Planning is easy, but being able to act in the moment can be something else entirely. Make sure your kids are well-versed in what to do if they find themselves in a situation like this.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | October 6, 2017

A 34-year-old pool man from Ukiah, Calif. was arrested for oral copulation of an unconscious victim. An unemployed 18-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

An unemployed 19-year-old Saugus woman, a 43-year-old salesman from Newhall and a 50-year-old Valencia man who refused to give his occupation were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. A 55-year-old contractor from Saugus and a 33-year-old Canyon Country man who works in the health industry were each arrested for battery against a former spouse.

An unemployed 43-year-old Santa Clarita man was charged with throwing a substance at a vehicle with the intent of causing great bodily injury.

A 36-year-old mover from Newhall was arrested for carrying a switchblade knife on his person.

A 22-year-old mechanic was cited for issuing a false representation of himself.

A 22-year-old barber from Saugus and a 63-year-old retired maintenance manager from Sylmar were arrested for burglary.

A 29-year-old truck driver from North Hollywood was picked up for getting credit/another person’s ID.

A 48-year-old transient carpenter was charged with receiving known stolen property.

A 49-year-old light tech and a 37-year-old framer from Canyon Country were charged with possession of a controlled substance with specific prior arrests.

A 32-year-old electrician from Saugus, a 28-year-old insurance agent from Valencia, and a 41-year-old self-employed Canyon Country man were each charged with possession of a controlled substance. A 21-year-old construction worker from Castaic and an unemployed
19-year-old unemployed Frazier Park man were charged with possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

A 31-year-old L.A. actor was picked up for possession of a controlled substance for sale.

A 41-year-old dog trainer from Acton and a 32-year-old cook from Palmdale were cited on charges of driving without a license.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
31-year-old case manager from Saugus
21-year-old benefits coordinator from Canoga Park
58-year-old Lancaster man
49-year-old warehouse worker from Canyon Country

 

It’s Illegal to be in Possession of a ‘Destructive Device’ 18710 PC

| Police Blotter | October 5, 2017

LASD deputies received a call on Thursday, September 28 from concerned residents reporting a suspicious vehicle parked in front of a Lawndale home. When deputies arrived, they located the suspicious vehicle and questioned its two occupants. Upon conducting a search of the vehicle, deputies discovered a handgun and detained the male suspect while a female was later released. A further investigation of the home ensued, during which deputies came across nearly 30 pieces of military-grade ordnance.

According to authorities, the ordnance included grenades, ammunition, and a variety of shells of various sizes that appeared to date back to WWII. The home where the devices were discovered had been owned by a WWII veteran who passed away a few months prior to the incident. After the veteran’s death, the house remained empty until it was overtaken by transients.

Upon discovering the cache of weaponry, residents of the surrounding homes were evacuated for about 14 hours while members of the bomb squad analyzed the items. Most of the grenades and explosive devices were deemed to be inert, though some of the ammunition found on-site caused concern among investigators. Authorities are still looking into the cache of grenades, mortar rounds, artillery shells and ammunition to find out where it came from, how long it had been there, and to whom it belonged.

If the items are traced back to the previous owner of the house, it wouldn’t be the first time someone had such items in their possession. Under California Penal Code 18710 PC, it’s illegal to possess a “destructive device,” including grenades, bombs, explosive missiles, certain rockets and rocket-propelled projectiles or projectiles containing any kind of explosive or incendiary material. Under this definition, it isn’t required that the explosive device be a military-grade bomb or projectile; homemade items like Molotov cocktails count as explosive devices. For someone to be charged with violating 18710 PC, they must simply possess the destructive device — it isn’t necessary that the individual planned to explode it or use it in any way.

18710 PC is a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Potential misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

For felonies, the potential penalties are enhanced and include 16 months to three years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The felony penalty is enhanced to include 2-6 years in California state prison if the defendant is found to have possessed the explosive device near a public street or highway, private residence, public building (such as a theater, school, church or college), near any vessel for hire that carries passengers (trains, planes, cable cars, etc.) and in or near any public place that is ordinarily passed by human beings.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | September 29, 2017

An alleged fugitive from justice — a 21-year-old entertainer from Fort Lauderdale — was arrested in Santa Clarita.

A 34-year-old assembly line worker from Stevenson Ranch was arrested for disobeying a domestic relations court order. And an unemployed 25-year-old Castaic woman was charged with violating a promise to appear for a work release program.

An unemployed 29-year-old Santa Clarita transient was arrested for murder.

A 44-year-old driver from Saugus, and two Canyon Country men — an unemployed 24-year-old man and a self-employed 48-year-old man — were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A bee remover — a 22-year-old Sylmar man — was arrested for passing false checks/receipts/certifications, etc. And an unemployed 54-year-old Santa Clarita man was charged with acquiring access to a credit card in four or more names in fewer than 12 months.

An unemployed 50-year-old Santa Clarita woman was cited for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction.

A 33-year-old unemployed Newhall man was charged with possession of a device/instrument/paraphernalia and an unemployed 30-year-old San Fernando man was picked up for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

A 24-year-old host from Los Angeles and a 48-year-old auto repair man from Newhall were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

An unemployed 24-year-old Stevenson Ranch man was charged with driving with a license that was suspended/revoked for another reason.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
32-year-old construction worker from Newhall
23-year-old set dresser from Lancaster
26-year-old independent contractor from Palmdale
31-year-old self-employed Bakersfield man
21-year-old student from Canyon Country
21-year-old cashier from Acton
24-year-old unemployed Bakersfield man
35-year-old driver from Val Verde
45-year-old manager from Los Angeles

Criminal Threats – PC 422

| Police Blotter | September 28, 2017

Recently, a woman was arrested for entering a Kardashian-owned boutique in West Hollywood and threatening employees. The suspect, M. Medrano, is suspected of entering the boutique in the late morning on Thursday, September 21, and proceeding to point a firearm at employees of the store while demanding that they “stay away from Cuba.” She then knocked over several items as she exited the store. Two hours later, Medrano returned to the store with a 16-inch machete and swung it at reporters and bystanders outside while claiming, “The Kardashians will be executed if they step on communist territory.”

Nobody was injured during either altercation, and Medrano was able to escape before authorities arrived on both occasions. Thanks to video footage, deputies were able to track down Medrano at her home. After serving a search warrant, investigators discovered two pellet guns, one of which looked similar to the weapon brandished in the boutique. The suspect was arrested at her home on suspicion of assault and making criminal threats. She is currently being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Criminal threats are covered under California Penal Code 422 PC and are described as threatening to physically harm or kill someone, thereby putting the victim in a state of fear for his/her own safety, or that of the individual’s family.

The 422 PC is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a felony, the penalties include up to three years in California state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. If the defendant uses a deadly or dangerous weapon to communicate a threat (which Medrano apparently did), an additional and consecutive sentence of one year in California state prison can be added.

Assault is covered under California Penal Code 240 PC and is described as willfully doing something that was likely to result in the application of force against someone else while the defendant has the ability to apply force to another person. The defendant doesn’t actually have to apply force to another person in order to be charged with assault. The suspect simply needs to willfully act in a way that’s likely to result in the application of force while in a position to be able to apply that force. For example, throwing a dinner plate at someone, even if it misses, could be considered assault. However, throwing a dinner plate at someone who is much too far away to be hit by that plate would likely not result in assault charges.

Assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor, with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | September 22, 2017

An unemployed 50-year-old Canyon Country woman was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, firearm.

An unemployed 41-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested for passing false checks/receipts. A 47-year-old Santa Clarita man who refused to give his occupation was brought up on charges of giving false information to a peace officer.

A 43-year-old Newhall man with an unknown occupation was arrested for preventing/dissuading a witness/victim from testifying.
A 25-year-old cook from Canyon Country was charged with vandalism with a loss valued at or greater than $400.

A 24-year-old gardener from Saugus, an unemployed 23-year-old Reseda man, an unemployed 23-year-old Newhall man, an unemployed 25-year-old Chatsworth woman and a 30-year-old construction worker from Acton were charged with possession of a controlled substance. And a 27-year-old delivery driver from Castaic was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

A 54-year-old unemployed Neenach, Calif. man was charged with vehicle theft with a prior felony arrest. And another Neenach, Calif. man was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle.

An unemployed 23-year-old L.A. man was charged with driving with a license that was suspended/revoked for another reason.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
62-year-old installer from San Gabriel
28-year-old self-employed Valencia woman
41-year-old roofer from Palmdale
24-year-old Sylmar man who refused to give occupation
24-year-old salesman from Saugus
21-year-old student from Northridge
27-year-old janitor from Palmdale
23-year-old dancer from Palmdale

When Bail is Revoked

| Police Blotter | September 21, 2017

Ex-pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud some time ago, and was, until recently, out on bail pending his sentencing. Last week, prosecutors argued in front of a judge that because of his online antics, Shkreli was too dangerous to be allowed his freedom and should have his bail revoked. The judge agreed, and Shkreli now sits in jail awaiting his sentencing. Situations like this don’t occur often, but when they do, they often leave others worried that their bail could similarly be revoked.

The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to be released on bail. It does not, however, guarantee them the right to stay out on bail. When a person is released on bail they’re still expected to obey all local, state and federal laws, as well as abide by any and all conditions that may have been set by the judge. When someone is released on bail but is found to be in violation of the law or their bail conditions, they can have their bail revoked by a judge. Any money they paid to get out of jail is not refunded, whether it is to the court or to a bail bondsman.

Another reason someone can have their bail revoked (or outright denied in the first place) is if they’re deemed to be dangerous to the community or any other individual. The safety of others is the most important factor a judge takes into consideration when granting someone’s release on bail. If the defendant is believed to be a danger to one or more people, they’ll likely have their bail denied outright.

Martin Shkreli’s case is a little different. While he wasn’t deemed to be a danger at the time his bail was granted, prosecutors were able to successfully argue that the behavior he engaged in afterward did make him dangerous. The behavior at the center of the complaint was a Facebook post made by Shkreli offering a $5,000 bounty for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair, with the follicle intact. Prosecutors felt that the Facebook post constituted solicitation of assault.

Shkreli’s defense lawyers argued that the post wasn’t serious. However, when the post was made, the Secret Service was prompted to provide additional resources toward protecting Clinton, due to the fear that one of Shkreli’s social media followers may carry out the assault.

When released on bail, it’s important to remember that suspects are not free to go about their lives as they did before they were arrested. They’re expected to be on their best behavior, obey all laws and conditions, and to attend all of their court hearings at the appointed dates and times. Whenever someone is found to be in error, bail can not only be revoked, but it can make it much more difficult to bail the person out again.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | September 15, 2017

A 28-year-old manager from Newhall was arrested for indecent exposure/illegal entry to an occupied dwelling. A 46-year-old driver from Long Beach was arrested for defacing property and an unemployed 27-year-old transient was charged with vandalism. A 30-year-old shop foreman from Lancaster was charged with obstruction/resisting an executive officer.

Authorities picked up a 21-year-old receptionist from Montebello for failure to appear for a traffic warrant. And a 22-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man was picked up for violation of felony parole.

A 32-year-old construction worker from Valencia was arrested for rape by force/fear.

An unemployed 59-year-old Santa Clarita woman was arrested for battery on a non-cohabitating former spouse. A 34-year-old construction worker from Stevenson Ranch was picked up for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A 32-year-old machinist from Castaic was cited for carrying a loaded firearm on his person or in his vehicle in a public place. And an unemployed 26-year-old Santa Clarita man was charged with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on his person. Also, a 44-year-old cashier from Los Angeles was charged with possession of a switchblade knife in his vehicle or a public place.

A 26-year-old manager and three clerks were charged with embezzlement of property valued at more than $400 by an employer: a 25-year-old Saugus woman, a 32-year-old Palmdale woman and an 18-year-old Canyon Country woman.

A self-employed 21-year-old Newhall man was arrested for theft of personal property. A 32-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man was arrested for robbery.

A 34-year-old landscaper from Castaic, an 18-year-old student from Oakland, an unemployed 26-year-old Bakersfield man and two construction workers from Sylmar were arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. And three Bakersfield residents were arrested for receiving known stolen property worth more than $950: an unemployed 19-year-old man, a 23-year-old janitor and a 21-year-old cashier.

A 37-year-old plumber from Lancaster and a 30-year-old nurse from Lakeview Terrace were arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. An unemployed 21-year-old Saugus woman and an unemployed 26-year-old Valencia woman were picked up for possession of a narcotic/controlled substance. A 35-year-old construction worker from Chula Vista was picked up for selling/offering to sell or transport marijuana.

A 30-year-old Canyon Country man whose occupation is listed as professional skater, a 22-year-old heating and A/C technician from Castaic and a 29-year-old unemployed Sylmar man were cited for possession of a device/instrument/paraphernalia.

A 56-year-old flight attendant from Valencia was charged with a DUI of a combined drug and alcohol influence.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
33-year-old mental health worker
37-year-old location scout from Valencia
42-year-old probation officer from Lancaster
31-year-old Valencia man
23-year-old machinist from Palmdale
27-year-old self-employed Buena Park man
33-year-old unemployed Visalia man
59-year-old banquet manager from Palmdale

SB 10 – Bail Reform’s Assault on Marsy’s Law

| Police Blotter | September 14, 2017

For those who aren’t aware, Senate Bill 10, or SB 10, is an initiative in the California State Senate to eliminate California’s bail system. Despite the protestation of the Association of California Judges and law enforcement agencies across the state, the bill remains in play in the state government.

Eliminating California’s bail system would have disastrous effects on the crime rates across the state by allowing violent criminals to remain on the streets pending their trials. Another, often overlooked yet important, feature of SB 10 is that it would put the victims of violent crimes at serious risk by circumventing some incredibly important features of Marsy’s Law.

Marsy’s Law was named after Marsy Nicholas, a UCSB senior who was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Though it took 25 years for the law to pass, Marsy’s Law amended the state Constitution by significantly expanding the Victims’ Bill of Rights. There were 17 rights afforded victims under Marsy’s Law, including the right (upon request) to be informed of, and given the opportunity to provide testimony before an accused defendant is released. The purpose of this right is to make the court aware of the defendant’s behavior and any potential threat he or she may pose to the alleged victim of the crime. Currently, should the defendant be found a serious threat, it’s possible that they would not be allowed bail.

Currently, when setting bail, a judge is to “take into consideration the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of his or her appearance at the trial hearing of the case.” If SB 10 were to pass, thereby eliminating California’s bail system, the alleged victims of violent crimes would have no part in whether or not the defendant is released from police custody. Furthermore, judges’ discretion would be significantly hindered — if not eliminated outright – as SB 10 will only allow information about the current case to be considered when someone is charged with a crime; their criminal history will not be taken into account.

SB 10, if passed, would inevitably result in the release of individuals charged with serious and violent crimes, and would, in turn, put the alleged victims of those crimes in danger. Not only would it flood the streets with alleged criminals, but it would rescind very important rights currently held by the victims of these crimes, which took 25 years to enact.

Local Crime and Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | September 7, 2017

Newhall

An alleged burglary occurred on the 24500 block of Newhall Avenue on Aug. 31 at 1:22 a.m.

And on Sep. 4 at 10 p.m. an assault was called in from the 23700 block of Via Canon.

Saugus

An assault was reported on Sep. 1 at 9:06 p.m. from the 27400 block of Catala Avenue. A theft was reported on Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. on the 27100 block of Bouquet Canyon Road and another theft was reported from the 26400 block of Bouquet Canyon Road on Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m.

Santa Clarita

An alleged arson was reported on Sep. 1 at 1:23 p.m. on the 27400 block of Garza Drive. And on Sep. 3 at 7 p.m. there was an alleged assault on the 23900 block of Calgrove Blvd.

Valencia

An assault was reported near the intersection of Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road on Sep. 1 at 9:40 p.m. And on Sep. 3 at 12:45 p.m. there was an alleged assault near Lyons Avenue and Peachland Avenue.

Stevenson Ranch

On the corner of Stevenson Ranch Pkwy and The Old Road there was an alleged assault on Sep. 2 at 11 a.m. A theft was reported on Sep. 2 at 6:30 p.m. on the 24900 block of Pico Canyon Road.

Police Blotter

A 31-year-old construction worker from Sylmar was charged with violation of felony parole. And a 25-year-old bartender from Canyon Country was cited for resisting an officer.

A 26-year-old administrator from Santa Clarita was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.
An unemployed 55-year-old Saugus man was charged with vandalism.

A 27-year-old Long Beach man who works in oil rig scaffolding was brought up on charges of driving with a suspended/revoked license.

A 39-year-old engineer from Valencia, an unemployed 36-year-old Valencia woman, a 54-year-old schoolteacher from Santa Clarita, a 47-year-old insurance man from Canyon Country, a 38-year-old unemployed Los Angeles woman and an unemployed 26-year-old Canyon Country man were arrested for battery against a former spouse. And a 26-year-old construction worker from Newhall was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A 29-year-old lot man from Canyon Country was arrested for willful cruelty to a child/child endangerment.

An unemployed 31-year-old Saugus man was arrested for burglary.

A 23-year-old construction worker from Granada Hills was charged with transporting/selling a controlled substance.

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
41-year-old chef from Thornton, Colo.
27-year-old sales rep from Canyon Country
26-year-old unemployed Valencia woman
21-year-old telemarketer from Sunland
22-year-old painter from Santa Clarita

DUIs with prior arrests included:
24-year-old waitress from Canyon Country
28-year-old business owner from Stevenson Ranch
25-year-old cook from Canyon Country
46-year-old orthopedic administrator from Castaic
50-year-old dental assistant from Canyon Country
53-year-old welding inspector from Canyon Country
49-year-old office clerk from Chatsworth
28-year-old construction worker from Newhall
47-year-old plumber from Long Beach

Three Strikes, You’re Out: California’s Three Strikes Law

| Police Blotter | September 7, 2017

Most people are aware that California has a law which stipulates that anyone convicted of felonies three times gets sent to prison for life. What people may not know, though, is that not every felony-level crime applies to California’s Three Strikes Law, and that the law itself is a lot more nuanced than they’ve been lead to believe.

The law was passed in the ‘90s as an angry reaction to the murders of 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds and 12-year-old Polly Klaas. The perpetrators of the crime were two men with violent criminal records, and the law was constructed to stop repeat offenders from committing violent crimes by putting them permanently behind bars. The reaction was certainly understandable, and the law that resulted from that reaction sounded like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, data gathered since then has been unable to verify that the law did anything to reduce crime.

In 2012, the law was changed. Up until that point, any felony (even a “wobbler”) could result in a strike on a person’s criminal record. As such, offenders were receiving a third strike for committing relatively low-level crimes like possession of a controlled substance, or receiving stolen property. The change that occurred in 2012 was known as Proposition 36. It won the popular vote in every county in California, and significantly impacted California’s criminal justice system. Once Proposition 36 came into effect, all three strikes committed by an offender had to be violent felonies, as opposed to just the first two, for someone to be sent to prison for 25 years to life. If the third offense is a felony, but doesn’t count as a strike, the defendant will still face an enhanced sentence of double the normal penalty for the crime.

To understand how the law works in its current form, it’s important to understand which crimes qualify as a strike and which do not. Misdemeanors do not count as a strike, nor do many felonies. Those that do qualify are going to be serious felonies and/or violent felonies. Serious felonies are crimes like arson, robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, murder and rape.

Non-violent felonies, like receiving stolen property, do not qualify as a strike. However, some felonies that wouldn’t otherwise qualify as a strike will do so if they’re performed in a violent manner, such as using a firearm or inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.

Last, but not least, not every crime that counts as a strike will necessarily result in a strike on the defendant’s record. It’s possible to have a strike removed by the judge, at their discretion, at any time before sentencing. Additionally, defense attorneys can file what’s known as a Romero Motion and ask the judge to dismiss a strike in furtherance of justice.

Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | September 1, 2017

A 55-year-old Canyon Country salesman was brought in for stalking. And an unemployed 31-year-old Panorama City man was charged with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on his person.

A 42-year-old construction worker from Burbank was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. A 48-year-old operator from Pacoima and an unemployed 46-year-old Castaic woman were charged with battery against a former spouse. An unemployed 31-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury/death.

A 20-year-old mason from Palmdale and an unemployed 30-year-old Saugus woman were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, with a firearm.

A 20-year-old warehouse worker from Frazier Park was charged with vandalism.

An unemployed 26-year-old Newhall man was arrested for violation of parole for a felony.

A 51-year-old administrative assistant from Canyon Country was charged with embezzlement totaling more than $400. An 18-year-old WalMart employee and an unemployed 18-year-old Bakersfield woman were charged with grand theft of money/property valued at more than $400.

An unemployed 25-year-old Castaic woman was picked up for unauthorized entry into a non-commercial dwelling.

A 29-year-old transient musician and a 36-year-old truck driver from Canoga Park were charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A 35-year-old Sylmar woman who works in banking was charged with possession of a controlled substance, and a 45-year-old unemployed Palmdale man was brought in for possession of a controlled substance with specific prior arrests.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
52-year-old broker from Stevenson Ranch
27-year-old cashier from Newhall
28-year-old estimator from Canyon Country
23-year-old deli worker from Newhall
29-year-old dental assistant from Canyon Country
22-year-old dental assistant from Gilroy
30-year-old installer from Saugus
23-year-old customer associate from Canyon Country

 

Understanding California Penal Code 1320.5 – Failure to Appear

| Police Blotter | August 31, 2017

California Penal Code 1320.5 comes into play when someone has been charged with or convicted of a felony and failed to appear in court while they were out on bail. The potential penalties include felony probation, up to one year in county jail or 16 months to three years in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, those who were out on bail and failed to appear will more than likely have to forfeit their bail to the courts. All of these punishments are in addition to those of the original crime with which the defendant was charged.

California Penal Code 1320 PC is applied when someone is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and was released from police custody on their own recognizance. If charged with a misdemeanor, the penalties for violating 1320(a) PC include misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If charged with a felony, the charge will be under 1320(b) PC and the potential penalties are increased to felony probation, a county jail sentence of up to one year or 16 months to three years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

When people are arrested, the process is pretty much the same for everyone. They’re taken to the local police or sheriff’s station, fingerprinted, photographs are taken and a comprehensive national background check is conducted to look for additional warrants. Once all of that is complete, the individual will either be released on their own recognizance or bail is set (for all but a very few) and it will be possible to get them out of jail via bail bond. To some, having to pay bail before being released from police custody may seem like a shameless cash-grab by the authorities — but it’s not. Bail serves a very important purpose in the criminal justice system.

When someone is charged with a crime, they’re going to have to go through the court process to determine whether or not they committed that crime and, if so, what their punishment will be. It’s pretty safe to say that nobody likes being punished, and most folks would do whatever they could to avoid it, whether they deserved it or not. When a person, their family or friends have to put up money to get someone released from police custody pending their trial, it adds a particularly powerful incentive for the defendant to make sure that they appear in court at the appointed date and time.

Despite the financial incentive to follow the rules and appear in court, some individuals still choose to try and avoid law enforcement. When this occurs, they’ll typically be charged with violating California Penal Code 1320 or 1320.5 PC — failure to appear. As you can probably imagine, failing to show up for court when you’ve been charged with a crime is illegal, and these two Penal Codes outline what happens when someone does.

Local Crime and Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | August 24, 2017

Valencia
A theft allegedly occurred on August 15 at 12:45 a.m. on the 24500 block of Town Center Drive. On August 17 at 4:45 p.m. a theft was reported on the 26100 block of Magic Mountain Pkwy.

Saugus­­
Two burglaries were reported—one on the 27700 block of Bouquet Canyon Road on August 15 at 4 a.m. and another on the 27600 block of Bouquet Canyon Road on August 18 at 2:15 a.m.

Canyon Country
A theft was reported from the 27700 block of Sand Canyon Road on August 13 at 5 a.m. On August 17 at 9 p.m. a burglary was reported on the 27600 block of Dagmar Way.

Santa Clarita
A theft allegedly occurred on August 15 at 10 p.m. on the 19100 block of Golden Valley Road. A report of grand theft auto came in on August 16 at 5:45 p.m. near Dockweiler Street and Sierra Hwy.

Newhall
A robbery was reported on August 17 at 10:30 p.m. on the corner of 2nd Street and Park Street. A burglary allegedly occurred on August 18 at 3:10 a.m. on the 24700 block of Valley Street.

Castaic
Two cases of aggravated assault were reported—one on August 13 at 7 p.m. on the 30500 block of Corsica Place and another on the 30000 block of Medford Place on August 15 at 4 p.m.

Stevenson Ranch
An alleged burglary occurred on the 25300 block of Silver Aspen Way on August 16 at 11 p.m.

Police Blotter

A 32-year-old Canyon Country man who refused to give his occupation was brought in for refusing to leave a property upon the request of the owner. A 42-year-old transient from Valencia was cited for trespassing, and a 36-year-old mechanic from Glendale was charged with vandalism.

A 27-year-old tech from Valencia was arrested for stalking in violation of a temporary restraining order. And an unemployed 62-year-old Saugus man was picked up for a sex registration violation. An unemployed 38-year-old Granada Hills man was charged with disobeying a domestic relations court order.

A 23-year-old Stevenson Ranch salesperson, a 27-year-old produce manager from Castaic and a 37-year-old caregiver from Saugus were each arrested for battery against a former spouse. A 44-year-old project manager from Saugus, an 18-year-old disc jockey from Canyon Country and a 38-year-old professor from Albany, New York were brought up on charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A 47-year-old programmer was cited for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury/death.

Several individuals — all unemployed were cited for theft of personal property: a 23-year-old Valencia woman, a 19-year-old and 33-year-old from Santa Clarita, and a 30-year-old Saugus woman. A 36-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested for receiving known stolen property valued at more than $950.

A 29-year-old delivery man from Canyon Country was arrested for getting credit/etc. with another’s ID.

A 27-year-old handyman was charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
DUIs with prior arrests included:

22-year-old barber from Lancaster
33-year-old machinist from Littlerock, Calif.
18-year-old unemployed Valencia man
26-year-old worker from San Fernando
32-year-old laborer from Castaic
50-year-old tech from Valencia
24-year-old supervisor from Newhall
32-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
20-year-old unemployed Panorama City woman
41-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man
31-year-old medical assistant from Newhall
22-year-old pool technician from Saugus

Penal Code 422 PC: Criminal Threats

| Police Blotter | August 24, 2017

Did you know it was illegal to put someone in a state of fear? Under California Penal Code 422 PC, California’s criminal threats law, it’s possible to be arrested just for threatening someone. Not all threats are considered criminal threats. For a threat to qualify, a few criteria must first be met. You must first threaten to physically harm someone and, by doing so:

  • The person is placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for their safety or that of their immediate family
  • The threat is specific and unequivocal and
  • The threat was communicated verbally, in writing, or by an electronic device

For example, threatening to shoot someone could be considered a criminal threat if the criteria above is met. Additionally, telling someone they had better “watch out” or “watch their back” could be considered a criminal threat. The crime of making criminal threats is taken seriously in California, and it’s possible to be charged with the crime even if you didn’t really intend to carry out the threat, or if you didn’t have the means to. The crime isn’t in the intention of the person making the threat, but putting the target of the threat in fear.

Interestingly, only verbal statements that are spoken, written, or transmitted electronically will suffice for a criminal threat charge. So, if an individual were to make a gesture that indicated “I’m going to kill you,” such as making a gun with their finger and pretending to fire it, the gesture would not be enough to count as a criminal threat even if it put the target in fear. However, if the person making the gesture adds a verbal “pow,” this would qualify as a verbal statement and thus possibly result in a criminal threats charge.

For someone to be charged with violating California Penal Code 422 PC, the threat must be specific. It doesn’t have to be so specific as to state a time or place for the action being threatened to be carried out, but it cannot be vague. Telling someone “I’m going to get you,” without an act of violence or show of force that would place someone in reasonable fear would likely be too vague to warrant a criminal threats charge. It’s also crucial that an individual actually be put into a state of fear for a criminal threats charge to even happen. If it’s obvious that the intended target of the threat was not put into a state of fear, there is no criminal threats charge.

422 PC is a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For a felony, the possible penalties include up to three years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Local Crime and Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | August 18, 2017

Valencia
A burglary was called in at 4 a.m. on August 9 on the 26900 block of Cape Cod Drive. And a theft was reported near the intersection of Chadsford Drive and Grandview on August 9 at 9 p.m. On August 12 at 1:15 a.m. a theft was called in from the 24200 block of Trevino Drive.

Canyon Country
A burglary was reported on the 20400 block of Soledad Canyon Road on August 12 at 12:01 a.m. And that night, at 10:15 p.m., a burglary was reported on the 20300 block of Rue Crevier.

Santa Clarita
A burglary was called in from the 19900 block of Golden Valley Road on August 13 at 3:20 a.m.

Newhall
A theft was reported on August 10 at 5:30 a.m. from the 23600 block of Meadowridge Drive.

Stevenson Ranch
A theft was reported on August 12 at 7:07 a.m. on the 24300 block of The Old Road.

Car Window Allegedly Shattered by BB Gun
A Santa Clarita citizen turning east on Bouquet Canyon Road from Centurion Drive in Saugus reported that her car window shattered following a loud noise on Wed., August 9, 2017. The driver told the Gazette it was likely a BB gun, but she was unaware of its origin, just that it came from the left side of her Toyota Camry, shattering the driver’s side window.
“I sat there for 20 minutes in shock. I was afraid to get out of my car,” said the driver, who asked to remain anonymous. “I was just terribly scared.”
She reported the incident to the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Dept. a few days later. Shirley Miller, spokesperson for the department, said that it was classified as vandalism, and the cause was inconclusive.

A “warrior of the Lord” and a “songwriter” from Canyon Country were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, with great bodily injury, as was an unemployed 45-year-old Canyon Country man.

A 54-year-old dishwasher from Canyon Country was arrested for battery on a non-cohabitating former spouse. A 20-year-old driver from Sylmar was arrested for battery with great bodily injury. And a 42-year-old caretaker from Palmdale was arrested for assault likely to produce great bodily injury. An unemployed 30-year-old Canyon Country man and a 39-year-old falconer from Castaic were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A 44-year-old pharmaceutical rep from Stevenson Ranch was arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A 20-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man was arrested for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. And a 22-year-old field worker from Lancaster was brought up on charges of carrying a loaded firearm on his person/in his vehicle in a public place.

An unemployed 19-year-old Canyon Country woman was cited for refusing to leave a property upon the request of the owner. A 46-year-old general contractor from La Habra was charged with vandalism with loss valued at or greater than $400.
An unemployed 52-year-old Valencia woman was charged with grand theft of money/property greater than $400. An unemployed 53-year-old Valencia man was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A 38-year-old self-employed Saugus man was brought up on charges of obtaining a controlled substance/prescription by fraud. And a 36-year-old self-employed North Hollywood woman and a 23-year-old security guard from Los Angeles were charged with possession of a narcotic/drug/alcohol/drug paraphernalia in jail.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
37-year-old operations manager from Valencia
44-year-old machinist from Van Nuys
24-year-old Canyon Country student
30-year-old HVAC technician from Lancaster
42-year-old mover from North Hollywood
21-year-old laborer from San Fernando
25-year-old dental assistant from Reseda
31-year-old self-employed Castaic man

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
20-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man
24-year-old construction worker from Anaheim
24-year-old unemployed Culver City man
22-year-old lane attendant from Castaic
57-year-old unemployed Newhall man

California Code 10801: Operating a Chop Shop

| Police Blotter | August 17, 2017

On Friday, August 11, a police officer shot and killed two dogs as he was investigating an alleged chop shop in Bakersfield.

When officers arrived at the scene, the suspect took off and one of two pit bulls charged an officer, who fired his weapon and killed both dogs. The other officers eventually chased down the suspect and arrested the 23-year-old. At the site of the alleged chop shop, officers discovered a stolen vehicle, a stolen vehicle engine, multiple stolen auto parts and three stolen motorcycles. The suspect was charged with possessing stolen property, possessing a stolen vehicle, operating a chop shop and resisting arrest.

While usually seen in movies and television, chop shops are very real. Operating a chop shop is covered under California Vehicle Code 10801 VC.  A chop shop is defined as anyplace where someone knowingly stores, takes apart, or alters a stolen vehicle or vehicle parts for the purpose of selling it, disposing of it, or altering its identity. In order to be charged with violating VC 10801, a person must knowingly do one or more of the things listed above. For example, if someone were to be asked by a friend to store some car parts in their garage and those parts turned out to be stolen, the person storing them would probably not be charged with operating a chop shop.

An individual charged with operating a chop shop does not have to own the shop itself in order to be charged, nor do they have to be in a supervisory position. Additionally, the chop shop itself doesn’t have to be a continuing operation. It’s enough that a person is actively involved in the operation of the chop shop and that the shop is used at least once for one or more of the purposes listed above.

The penalties for operating a chop shop vary depending on the circumstances of the case. California Vehicle Code 1081 VC is known as a “wobbler,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Usually, the severity of the charge will be determined by factors such as how many cars or car parts the chop shop was currently working on, the size and scope of the operation, the total monetary value of the items discovered, and the operators’ criminal history. When charged as a misdemeanor, VC 1081 carries the possible penalties of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For felony convictions, the penalties include up to four years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

Interestingly, California Vehicle Code 2805 VC allows police officers to inspect auto shops and automobiles without a search warrant under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are 1) to locate a stolen vehicle and 2) the search takes place during a time when business operations of that shop will not be hindered by the search. The searches allowed under VC 2805 are only to be conducted on premises where vehicles are worked on as a business, such as an auto shop or garage. Private property is not covered by the law.

Local Crime and Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | August 11, 2017

Valencia
A petty theft was reported on the 26100 block of Magic Mountain Pkwy on August 5 at 9:25 p.m. and at 10 p.m., and again on August 6 at 6:45 p.m.

Saugus­­
On August 6 at 3:22 a.m. a theft was reported on the 27600 block of Seco Canyon Road. An assault allegedly occurred on August 7 at 1 p.m. on the 22500 block of Honnold Drive.

Canyon Country
A theft allegedly occurred on the 28300 block of Sand Canyon Road on August 3 at 9:55 p.m. A theft was reported on the 27500 block of Sierra Highway on August 7 at 2 a.m.

Santa Clarita
On August 5 at 11 p.m. a theft was reported near Via Princessa and Weyerhauser Way. And at 11:05 p.m. a theft was reported near Lost Canyon Road and Medley Ridge Drive.

Newhall
A theft was reported on August 5 at 1:30 a.m. on the 21200 block of Ficus Drive. A burglary allegedly occurred on August 8 at 3:15 a.m. on the 23700 block of Via Canon.

Castaic
A burglary allegedly occurred on the 31700 block of Castaic Road on August 3 at 2:09 a.m. Another burglary was reported on August 5 at 11:30 p.m. on the 27600 block of Peridot Way.

Stevenson Ranch
On August 4 at 3:45 a.m. a theft was reported on the 26800 block of Kendall Lane. A petty theft allegedly occurred on the 25400 block of The Old Road on August 6 at 1:30 p.m.

A 31-year-old caretaker from Saugus was arrested for manufacturing/selling/giving/lending/possessing metal knuckles. A 47-year-old truck driver from Tehachapi was cited for carrying a loaded handgun: not owner.

A 37-year-old paramedic from Saugus was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury/death. And a 30-year-old construction worker from Castaic was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

An unemployed 50-year-old man from Mineral Wells, Tex. was arrested for disobeying a domestic relations court order. A 43-year-old unemployed Saugus man and a 27-year-old Newhall man who works at a temp agency were each charged with failure to appear for a traffic warrant. An unemployed 32-year-old Los Angeles man was charged with vandalism.

A 38-year-old project coordinator from Newhall was charged with burglary.

A 22-year-old medical assistant from Santa Clarita was charged with shoplifting after a specified prior conviction. A 23-year-old unemployed Burbank woman was picked up for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. And an 18-year-old Santa Clarita woman who works in fast food was charged with grand theft of an auto/horse, etc.

Citations for possession of a controlled substance went to:
23-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man
38-year-old Valencia man
23-year-old Santa Clarita transient
30-year-old sales representative from Costa Mesa
20-year-old construction worker from Newhall
36-year-old laborer from Canyon Country
39-year-old carpenter from Frazier Park
21-year-old unemployed Castaic man
54-year-old self-employed Castaic man
35-year-old unemployed Canyon Country woman
20-year-old unemployed Santa Barbara woman

DUIs with prior arrests included:
26-year-old trash collector from Saugus
51-year-old loader from Los Angeles
28-year-old mechanic from Castaic
28-year-old construction worker from Newhall
26-year-old airlines employee from Los Angeles
40-year-old bus boy from Canyon Country
24-year-old worker from Santa Clarita
22-year-old caregiver from Van Nuys
29-year-old grip from Canyon Country
29-year-old field laborer from Bakersfield
34-year-old writer from Los Angeles

The Devil Made Me Do It: What is Competency to Stand Trial?

| Police Blotter | August 10, 2017

The U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial. But, what happens when the defendant isn’t capable of participating fully in their defense because of a mental illness or developmental disability? Can a person’s trial be deemed fair if they’re unable to participate in their own defense?

In California, nobody can be forced to stand trial or be convicted of a crime if they’re unable to understand what’s going on in court or rationally participate in their own defense. When someone is charged with a crime because there’s evidence they could have committed it, prosecutors want to get a conviction to hold the person accountable. As such, it can be difficult to prove that someone isn’t competent to stand trial.

In order for someone to be considered incompetent to stand trial, one of the following criteria must be met:
•The defendant is unable to understand the nature of the criminal proceedings, or
•The defendant is unable to assist their defense lawyer in a rational manner

According to California law, defendants must have a rational, as well as factual, understanding of the proceedings against them. Under this definition, a person doesn’t necessarily need to be insane or suffering from some sort of chronic mental disorder to be considered unfit to stand trial. A person with a severe mental disability would also qualify. While a person with a mental disorder, such as someone who suffers from severe paranoia or delusions, can be found incompetent to stand trial, it doesn’t equate to the insanity defense.

Insanity is a complete legal defense which, if successful, means that the defendant can never be found guilty or punished for the crime. They can still be remanded to a mental institution. When someone is found incompetent to stand trial, they can still be found guilty of the crime they are charged with committing in the future, if they are later determined to be fit to stand trial after mental health counseling.

To determine whether or not a defendant is competent to stand trial a series of smaller hearings are held regarding whether the individual is competent to stand trial. The point of these trials is to understand the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the trial, not if they’re guilty of committing the crime. If it’s determined that, at the time of the trial, the defendant is not competent to stand trial, they are usually sent to a mental health institution to receive treatment in the hopes of bringing them into a mental state in which they are competent to stand trial.

If the competency hearings result in a ruling that the defendant is competent to stand trial, then the criminal trial will proceed from the point at which it left off to determine the defendant›s competency.

Local Crime, Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | August 5, 2017

In the Neigborhood

Valencia

On July 26 at 8:17 a.m. grand theft vehicle of an automobile/passenger van was alleged from the 27000 block of Santa Clarita Street.

Shoplifting was reported from the 24400 block of Magic Mountain Pkwy on July 28 at 3:36 p.m. At 10:07 p.m. on July 28 a petty theft was called in from the 28600 block of The Old Rd.

 Saugus­­

Grand theft vehicle was alleged at 4:45 p.m. on July 28 from the 24000 block of Creekside Rd.  Petty theft from an auto was reported on July 30 at 5:00 a.m. on the 25800 block of Milano Lane.

 Canyon Country

Aggravated assault with a knife was alleged from the 19600 block of Fairweather St. in Canyon Country on July 25 at 10:30 p.m.

Two vehicle burglaries were reported from the 27200 block of Luther Drive on July 29: one at 12:00 a.m. and the other at 12:20 a.m.

Newhall

An attempted burglary was reported at 10:45 p.m. from the 24600 block of Walnut Street on July 26. On July 29, shoplifting was alleged at 3:00 p.m. from the 23400 block of Lyons Ave.

Castaic

On July 24 at 3:21 a.m. a burglary was called in from the 32200 block of Castaic Rd and on July 31 at 8:00 a.m. a vehicle grand theft was reported from the 31400 block of Ridge Route Rd.

Stevenson Ranch

A strong-arm robbery from a store, business, motel, etc. was alleged on July 29 at 2:36 p.m. from the 25800 block of The Old Rd. Petty theft was reported from the same block on July 20 at 4:00 p.m.

Bad Boys and Girls

A 28-year-old air conditioning repairman and a 31-year-old construction worker from Lancaster were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. A 36-year-old cashier from Canyon Country was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm with great bodily injury.

A 20-year-old food service employee from Valencia was cited for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction. An unemployed 25-year-old Newhall woman was arrested for burglary.

A 28-year-old musician from Canyon Country was arrested for embezzlement of a property under lease/lien greater than $400 in value. A 30-year-old Newhall woman and a 48-year-old teacher’s aide from Santa Clarita were arrested for theft of personal property. A 34-year-old construction worker from Chatsworth was charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

An unemployed 26-year-old Saugus man and a 20-year-old receptionist from Canyon Country were charged with making/possessing/uttering fictitious instruments.

A 29-year-old landscaper from Newhall was picked up for resisting an officer.

A 27-year-old coordinator from Mission Hills was arrested for preventing/dissuading a witness/victim from a repossession.

A Canyon Country transient was charged with vandalism. A 46-year-old unemployed Castaic man was charged with trespassing on closed lands.

A 45-year-old salesperson from Pomona and an unemployed 25-year-old Pomona woman were picked up for transporting/selling a controlled substance.

 

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

25-year-old recycler from Canyon Country

30-year-old landscaper from Canyon Country

29-year-old mechanic from Newhall

22-year-old unemployed Castaic woman

 

DUIs with prior arrests included:

25-year-old make-up artist from Valencia

24-year-old clerical worker from Lancaster

27-year-old security guard from Palmdale

27-year-old trainer from Bloomington, Calif.

35-year-old laborer from Bakersfield

35-year-old secretary from Lancaster

50-year-old salesman from Valencia

28-year-old laser tech from Valencia

Penal Code 192(c) – Vehicular Manslaughter

| Police Blotter | August 3, 2017

Recently, 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez decided to post a live stream to her Instagram account while driving on a Northern California road. As we all should know in this day of social media, live streaming and driving is not legal, nor safe to do. Unfortunately, this resulted in a horrific crash, taking the life of her 14-year-old sister.

The video began by showing Sanchez driving her car, moving erratically and at one point taking her hands off the wheel. According to CHP officers, she veered off the road onto a shoulder during the video and attempted to overcorrect, which ended up sending the vehicle into a field, where it flipped over and ejected Sanchez’s younger sister who was riding in the front passenger seat without a seat belt.

Sanchez continued to upload her live stream in the aftermath of the crash, and during the video can be seen shaking her sister and attempting to get her to wake up. Authorities and emergency medical personnel who arrived at the scene reported Sanchez being hostile toward them, throwing out racial slurs, spitting on a police officer and kicking an EMT in the face before she was strapped down on a gurney.

At the scene, Sanchez refused an alcohol screening, though it was later confirmed at the hospital that she had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent at the time of the accident. Sanchez was charged with several crimes after the accident, including two charges of vehicular manslaughter and 4 DUI-related charges. She is currently being held in jail in lieu of $530,000 bail.

Vehicular manslaughter is covered under California Penal Code 192(c) PC and is described as causing the death of another person while driving a vehicle by either committing an unlawful act that is not a California felony or a lawful act that may cause death.

For example, if a person is speeding on a highway and collides with another vehicle, killing that driver, they could be charged with PC 192(c). Speeding isn’t a felony, it’s an infraction; so, if a death occurs as a result of that infraction, the driver would be charged with manslaughter. Were an individual to cause the death of another person while committing an act that was a California felony, they would likely be charged with murder – PC 187.

The penalties for vehicular manslaughter will depend on whether or not the death was the result of gross negligence or normal negligence. If it is determined that an individual acted in normal negligence, PC 192(c) is a misdemeanor. Should the defendant be found to have acted in gross negligence, then the crime becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties include summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of $1,000. Felony penalties include felony probation, 2-6 years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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