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Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | March 21, 2019

Two individuals were charged with terrorizing/causing fear, including a 56-year-old director of photography from Valencia and 34-year-old construction worker from Newhall.

Charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant included a 21-year-old student from Canyon Country, a 35-year-old Palmdale resident, a 24-year-old HVAC specialist from Valencia and a 26-year-old paralegal from Valencia.

Both a 42-year-old self-employed Saugus resident and an unemployed 49-year-old Saugus resident were arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A 23-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident was arrested for resisting an officer.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

24-year-old Pasadena resident who listed his/her occupation as “massage”
27-year-old heat-treater from San Pablo
20-year-old student from Newhall
25-year-old student from Richmond
40-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
26-year-old tint installer from Stevenson Ranch
23-year-old self-employed Palmdale resident
22-year-old construction worker from Littlerock
31-year-old diesel mechanic from Canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

25-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident
45-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
42-year-old maintenance worker from Lancaster
49-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
30-year-old self-employed La Puente resident
30-year-old “appetizer cook” from Newhall
48-year-old operations manager from Palmdale
31-year-old unemployed Santa Barbara resident
26-year-old unemployed Newbury park resident
39-year-old Canyon Country resident
23-year-old bagger from Castaic
49-year-old unemployed Sacramento resident
53-year-old mechanic from Sylmar
42-year-old construction worker from Northridge

Penal Code 667.61: California’s ‘One Strike’ Law

| Police Blotter | March 21, 2019

You’ve probably heard about California’s “Three-Strikes Law.” If not, then pay attention – it’s one of the harshest sentencing proposals in the country. When it was first enacted, the law stated that if a person is convicted of three felonies, they will be sent to prison for 25 years to life.

In 2012, reformers and members of the public who had long fought to change California’s “Three Strikes Law” were able to get Proposition 36 onto the ballot. Under Prop 36, “California’s Three Strikes Law” was changed so that offenders convicted of a third felony would not automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life unless their third conviction was for a violent felony. Additionally, inmates who were sentenced under the old “Three Strikes Law” were given the opportunity to petition to have their sentences reduced, provided they were not convicted of a sex crime, a drug crime that involved a large amount of drugs, a firearm, great bodily injury, or certain other violent offenses.

California’s “One Strike Law,” covered under Penal Code 667.61, is a lot like the “Three-Strikes Law” in that it is a sentence enhancement for certain crimes. When a defendant is convicted of committing a crime under certain aggravating circumstances, PC 667.61 says that their sentence can be enhanced to include 15 years, 25 years, or life in prison.

For example, a person convicted of rape who already has a previous rape conviction on their record could face 25 years to life under PC 667.61 as opposed to 3, 6, or 8 years under Penal Code 261 – California’s rape law.

PC 667.61 does not apply to every felony. It covers a very specific set of crimes, including: rape (PC 261), spousal rape (PC 262), lewd or lascivious acts (PC 288), continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5), and a few other similar crimes. The aggravating factors that qualify one of the previously listed crimes for a sentence enhancement under California’s “One Strike Law” include: a previous conviction of one of the above listed offenses, kidnapping the victim, inflicting bodily harm on the victim, using a dangerous weapon during the commission of the crime, tying the victim up, and/or administering a controlled substance to the victim.

California imposes serious sentences for the most serious crimes. PC 667.61 applies generally to repeat, violent sex-offenders, and it is often up to a judge to determine what, if any, sentence enhancement is warranted.

Bad Girls and Boys

| Police Blotter | March 15, 2019

There were several individuals charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 45-year-old sales rep from Valencia, a 47-year-old Tehachapi resident, and a 45-year-old field technician from Valencia.

A 31-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for trespassing. A 58-year-old Rosamond resident was arrested for damaging property.

A 27-year-old insurance agent from Quartz Hill was arrested for false report of an emergency.

A 28-year-old Santa Clarita resident who refused to disclose his/her occupation was arrested for failing to appear after a written promise.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

27-year-old Canyon Country resident
41-year-old self-employed Ventura resident
25-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
37-year-old housekeeper from Lancaster
63-year-old “demonstrator” from Green Valley
23-year-old Canyon Country resident
25-year-old “oil fields” worker
50-year-old unemployed North Hills worker
28-year-old medical receptionist from Santa Paula
44-year-old construction worker from Van Nuys
38-year-old machinist from Castaic
32-year-old “tech” from Canyon Country
26-year-old salesman from Saugus
28-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
46-year-old construction worker from Modesto
28-year-old mechanic from Sylmar
25-year-old line cook from Santa Clarita
22-year-old clerk from Newhall
47-year-old golf pro from Valencia

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

28-year-old unemployed Pacoima resident
41-year-old shipping clerk from Palmdale
29-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
21-year-old barista from Saugus
28-year-old painter from Canyon Country

Kidnapping in California – California Penal Code 207 PC

| Police Blotter | March 14, 2019

When you hear that someone was kidnapped, what images come to mind? Do you think of a ski-mask-wearing bad guy forcing a victim into his vehicle at gunpoint? What about an adult grabbing a child off the street and speeding away? Recently, a Canyon Country man found out the hard way that kidnapping in California has a very broad definition.

On the morning of Wednesday, March 6, deputies responded to a domestic violence incident near a business on Soledad Canyon Road. According to witnesses, the incident began with a man and woman getting into an argument, and then the man allegedly grabbed the woman by the arm and forced her into his vehicle against her will. Deputies responding to the scene were able to locate the suspect relatively quickly and he was quickly arrested and on suspicion of kidnapping and domestic battery.

Kidnapping is covered under various California Penal Codes, including: 207, 208, 209, and 209.5. Each penal code deals with different situations, but in general, a person can be charged with kidnapping when they move someone else a substantial distance, without that person’s consent, and by using force, fraud or fear to do so. In the case of the Canyon Country suspect above, grabbing his girlfriend by the arm and forcing her into his vehicle likely qualified as “use of force or fear.”

It’s important to note that a person’s intent when they allegedly kidnap someone is irrelevant. A suspect doesn’t need to intend to assault, injure, ransom, or otherwise harm their victim in order to be charged with simple kidnapping. The crime occurs when the victim is moved a substantial distance against their will by the use of force, fraud, or fear. However, if an individual does kidnap someone for ransom or with other intentions in mind, it can upgrade their charge from simple kidnapping to aggravated kidnapping.

The penalties for kidnapping depend on the circumstances of the case. Simple kidnapping, for example, is a felony for which the penalties include 3, 5, or 8 years in California state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted of aggravated kidnapping and the victim was a child under 14, the prison sentence is increased to 5, 8, or 11 years in state prison. The penalty is increased to a life sentence with the possibility of parole if the kidnapping occurred with the specific intent to ransom the victim, extort them, use them in a variety of sex crimes, or carjacking.

The suspect in the Canyon Country incident is likely being charged with simple kidnapping, though the additional charge of domestic battery could end up increasing his jail time, if convicted.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | March 8, 2019

There were several individuals arrested for battery against a former spouse, including a 29-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident, a 53-year-old LifeAlert dispatcher from Santa Clarita, and a 52-year-old technology worker from Canyon Country.

A 38-year-old postal worker from Northridge was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 22-year-old student from North Hollywood was brought in for opening an alcoholic beverage in a public park/place.

DUI’s with prior arrests include:

34-year-old nurse from Canyon Country
26-year-old butcher from Pacoima
33-year-old unemployed Azusa resident
36-year-old tech from Virginia
26-year-old server from Santa Fe
34-year-old mechanic from Valencia

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

18-year-old painter/babysitter from Santa Clarita
21-year-old cleaner from Lancaster
32-year-old warehouse worker from Palmdale
45-year-old construction worker from Granada Hills
25-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
33-year-old unemployed Bakersfield resident
28-year-old unemployed Tarzana resident
42-year-old oilfield worker from Bakersfield
22-year-old window washer from Santa Ana
38-year-old installer from Saugus

Craigslist Emerges as Hot Spot for Fentanyl

| Police Blotter | March 7, 2019

Investigators have long trolled the pages of Craigslist looking for people looking to commit illicit activities. Whether it’s selling stolen merchandise, advertising one’s sexual services, or simply selling drugs, you may be able to find it on Craigslist – if you know where to look.

Over the past several months, Craigslist has emerged as a major hub for people looking to buy and sell the dangerous drug called Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid that’s typically used in a medical setting to ease intense post-surgical pain in hospitalized patients, or to treat short-term conditions that are accompanied by significant pain. Fentanyl is roughly one-hundred times more powerful that morphine, most doctors’ go-to drug for pain relief, and about 50 times more powerful than heroine.

Controlled substances and other illicit chemicals have been sold on Craigslist under a variety of pseudonyms (roofing tar – heroine, clear-sealant – crystal meth, and M30 – oxycodone). Over the past year, on Los Angeles’ Craigslist pages, investigators have seen more and more ads for Fentanyl. Like other drugs, Fentanyl has its own pseudonyms, including China White Doll and White China Plates.

According to assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles Ben Barron, Craigslist has proven to be an extremely effective agent in the dissemination of illegal drugs. Barron is in charge of prosecuting Los Angeles’ first Craigslist-related Fentanyl death.

The death occurred when the suspect, A. Madi, allegedly sold Fentanyl to the victim after being contacted through his post on Craigslist. The victim had just recently left drug treatment and like so many others, went right back to using. The victim originally contacted Madi via the suspect’s Craigslist ad looking for heroine. However, Madi was out of heroine at the time, and instead introduced the victim to Fentanyl. A few days later, the victim was found dead in his apartment of an apparent Fentanyl overdose; a baggy of the drug near the victim’s body.

A search of other major U.S. cities’ Craigslist sites only turned up a handful of similar ads. It’s believed that the Fentanyl market on the site is limited to Los Angeles due to the area being a prime hub for drugs out of Mexico and China – with both countries housing labs that produce a great deal of the substance.

Many believe the explosive popularity of Fentanyl is the result of several high-profile busts of heroine dealers in the Los Angeles area, who sold to addicts unable to get prescription opioids after doctors stopped over-prescribing them. That being said, it would seem the growing popularity of Fentanyl, much like heroine, is not the result of the traditional drug trade getting bolder, but the result of the pharmaceutical and medical industry’s overzealous habits in prescribing opioid painkillers.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | February 28, 2019

A 46-year-old driver from Santa Clarita was arrested for hit and run causing injury/death. And a 20-year-old Day Wireless employee was charged with cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death.

A 36-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was brought up on charges of prostitution with prior knowledge of AIDS.

Two individuals were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, including a 44-year-old therapist from Stevenson Ranch and a 48-year-old unemployed Newhall resident.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

An unemployed 23-year-old Lancaster resident
24-year-old mover from Canyon Country
30-year-old assistant manager from Santa Clarita
24-year-old mechanic from Canyon Country
35-year-old gardener from Newhall
47-year-old welder from Canyon Country
29-year-old construction worker from Gardenia
24-year-old recruiter from Valencia
24-year-old lighting designer from Valencia
34-year-old mechanic from Palmdale
51-year-old self-employed Encino resident
38-year-old unemployed Los Angeles resident

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

22-year-old construction worker from Palmdale
26-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident
40-year-old unemployed Newhall transient
47-year-old painter from Val Verde
38-year-old caretaker from San Gabriel
32-year-old graphic designer from Simi Valley
61-year-old carpenter from Azusa
58-year-old nurse from El Monte
30-year-old Postmates driver from Quartz Hill
20-year-old “labor worker” from Irwindale
27-year-old security officer from Lancaster
33-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
31-year-old mover from Bellflower
28-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
43-year-old carpenter from Long Beach ­­

Murder vs. Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

| Police Blotter | February 28, 2019

Murder and manslaughter are similar crimes, though they have very different penalties. Here is a description of the two, in addition to what makes them different.

Murder, covered under California Penal Code 187 PC, is described as “the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.” The term “malice aforethought” means that “the killer with wanton disregard for human life, does an act that involves a high degree of probability that it will result in death.” Basically, it means that the killer wanted to kill someone, and then performed a necessary action that had a high probability of killing someone.

Voluntary manslaughter is covered under California Penal Code 192(a) PC and is described as “the killing of another person that one commits during a sudden quarrel, in the heat of passion, or based on the honest but unreasonable belief the need to defend oneself.”

As you can see, both crimes involve one person willfully killing another. However, the key difference between murder and voluntary manslaughter is the term “malice aforethought.” To be charged with murder, a prosecutor must be able to prove “malice aforethought,” to be charged with voluntary manslaughter, they do not. Below are two scenarios intended to illustrate the difference between the two crimes.

Example 1: A wife comes home early from work to surprise her husband, but is surprised herself when she finds him with another woman. Upon seeing this, the wife is overcome with rage, picks up a lamp from the bedside table, hits her husband in the head and he dies. In this scenario, the wife did not come home with the intent of murdering her husband, so there was no malice aforethought necessary to make a murder charge stick. Instead, she would likely be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter because the killing occurred in a moment of passion.

Example 2: A wife thinks her husband is cheating on her so she hires a private investigator to watch him while she is at work. The P.I. comes back with indisputable proof that the wife is indeed being cheated on. The wife then plans to take revenge on her husband by poisoning his drink with arsenic. The husband drinks it and dies. In this case, the wife would definitely be charged with murder, since she planned to kill her husband with the arsenic (malice aforethought).

Most of the time, voluntary manslaughter isn’t charged; it’s agreed to as a plea bargain in a murder case. The penalties include 3, 6, or 11 years in California state prison, a potential strike under California’s Three Strikes Law, a maximum $10,000 fine, community service, counseling, loss of firearm privileges, and any other conditions that the court believes are relevant to the case. For murder convictions, the potential penalty includes 25 years to life in prison, life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | February 21, 2019

Four individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse, including a 47-year-old painter from Valencia, a 28-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident, a 48-year-old engineer from Newhall and an 18-year-old full-time student from Newhall.

A 23-year-old consultant from Santa Clarita was arrested for possessing obscene matter depicting a minor.

A 31-year-old personal trainer from Palmdale was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle. And a 22-year-old student from Santa Clarita was arrested for carrying a loaded firearm on their person/ in a vehicle/public place.

There were several individuals charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 41-year-old insurance broker from Castaic, a 63-year-old fireman from Valencia and a 28-year-old manager from Newhall.

DUI’s with prior arrests include:

37-year-old mason from Canyon Country
21-year-old caregiver from Castaic
56-year-old self-employed Newhall resident
36-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles
24-year-old workhand from Canyon Country
26-year-old paralegal from Pacoima
26-year-old server from Newhall
27-year-old manager from Saugus
53-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
57-year-old construction worker from Palmdale

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

26-year-old carpenter from Los Angeles
28-year-old carpenter from Los Angeles
24-year-old canyon country resident
49-year-old Santa Clarita resident
38-year-old electrician from Saugus

Armed Robber Sought by SCV Sheriff Station Deputies

| Police Blotter | February 21, 2019

Shortly after 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, Joe’s Liquor in Canyon Country was robbed by a masked suspect. According to reports, several calls reporting a potential robbery came in at about 12:40 p.m., and deputies rushed to the scene. Witnesses describe a man wearing a black ski mask, armed with a handgun who had a “darker skin tone” fleeing from the scene mere minutes before police arrived.

Deputies searched the area to no avail, and it’s believed that the suspect escaped with several thousand dollars. Law enforcement’s efforts to locate the victim were hamstrung by staff at the liquor store who sent the surveillance video to a third party before showing it to SCV Sheriff Station deputies. Without any information on what the suspect looked like, their build, etc. deputies were forced to search the area with inadequate identifying information on the suspect.
Robbery is covered under California Penal Code 211 PC and is described as taking personal property from someone else or their immediate presence, without their permission, through the use of force or fear. An interesting fact about PC 211 is that, in order for an action to count as robbery, the suspect must intend to deprive the owner of the property permanently or for long enough that the owner of the property would be denied a major portion of its value or enjoyment.

For example, suppose a man is playing Frisbee with his new girlfriend’s son and the Frisbee gets caught in a tree. The little boy starts to cry and the man doesn’t want his new girlfriend to think he made the boy cry, but the Frisbee is caught in the tree just out of reach.

Suddenly, the man notices a woman walking down the sidewalk with her purse and, not one to ignore opportunity when it knocks, he asks the woman if he can use her purse to knock down the Frisbee. The lady, not willing to give her purse over to a random stranger, naturally declines. The sobs of the child grow louder, and the man begins to panic because he knows the boy’s mother will hear sooner or later. So, he pulls out a knife and threatens to cut the woman if she doesn’t give him her purse. Naturally, she gives her purse to the man who uses it to knock the Frisbee out of the tree and silence the child. The man then gives the purse back to the woman.

The situation above describes a scenario in which someone takes personal property from the possession of another person against their will. However, the man in the story would probably not be charged with robbery because he didn’t intend to deprive the woman of her purse permanently. He would, however, likely be charged with another crime. Threatening people is not the way to get them to let you borrow things, even if it’s for a moment.

Robbery is divided into two separate crimes, first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is charged if the victim is the driver or passenger of some sort of transportation for hire (taxi, bus, cable car, etc.), the robbery takes place in an inhabited dwelling, or the robbery takes place during or immediately after the victim uses an ATM. The possible penalties include felony probation, three to six years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-degree robbery is defined as any robbery that does not meet the criteria for first-degree robbery. The possible penalties include: felony probation, two to five years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Since the suspect allegedly used a firearm during the robbery, the potential sentence is significantly enhanced under California’s “10-20-Life Use a Gun and You’re Done Law.” Under this law, using a gun during a robbery enhances the prison sentence to 10 years, firing a gun during a robbery enhances the prison sentence to 20 years, and 25 years to life for causing great bodily injury or death by using a gun during a robbery.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | February 14, 2019

A 22-year-old car washer from Santa Clarita was arrested for false imprisonment. And a 57-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was charged with attempted burglary.

Two individuals were arrested for theft of personal property, including a 35-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident and a 31-year-old unemployed transient.

A 40-year-old peace officer from Stevenson Ranch and a 20-year-old Santa Clarita resident who works at the Hollywood Bowl were arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A 50-year-old construction worker from Saugus was arrested for battery.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

30-year-old software technician from Canyon Country
69-year-old retiree from Valencia
49-year-old soccer coach from Valencia
40-year-old cook from Canyon Country
53-year-old “medical rec” from Canyon Country
18-year-old screen installer from Shafter
25-year-old unemployed Rosamond resident
43-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
25-year-old San Francisco resident who refused to state his/her occupation
32-year-old Newhall resident who works in irrigation
26-year-old technician from Los Angeles
21-year-old student from Newhall
63-year-old pharmacist from Saugus
50-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
46-year-old unemployed Anaheim resident

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
52-year-old unemployed Shadow Hills resident
31-year-old unemployed Stevenson Ranch resident
28-year-old mechanic from Canyon Country
48-year-old Pasadena resident who works in movie production
29-year-old painter from Valencia

Impersonating a Police Officer – California Penal Code 538 PC

| Police Blotter | February 14, 2019

On Friday, February 8, a man was arrested by the LASD under suspicion of impersonating a police officer. The arrest came after police were sent video in January of a man wearing an LAPD T-shirt antagonizing a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. The people gathered to protest the October shooting of an unarmed black man by an LAPD officer inside a gym. In the video, the suspect can be seen wearing a T-shirt with the LAPD logo on it and chanting “white power” at the protesters. The suspect in the case is of Asian descent.

LASD deputies made the arrest when they saw the suspect wearing the same T-shirt bearing the LAPD logo on it and recognized him from the video footage. Upon being interviewed, the suspect admitted to impersonating a police officer on multiple occasions in an effort to “get respect.” After his arrest, the suspect was released from custody on $2,500 bail.

Impersonating a police officer is covered under California Penal Code 538 PC. Simply dressing like a police officer for a Halloween party, a play, or even as a joke isn’t enough to be charged with violating PC 538. You cross the line when you dress up as a police officer and fraudulently cause another person to think that you are a police officer. Additionally, PC 538 requires that anyone who sells genuine police uniforms must verify that the person to whom they are selling actually is a police officer. If not, the merchant will be charged under PC 538(d).

There are two notable exceptions to the law. When someone is wearing a police uniform for the sole purpose of a theater production or movie/television filming, or if that person has written permission from the identified law enforcement agency (in this case, the LAPD). These exemptions extend to selling, transferring, and wearing a police uniform.

Impersonating a police officer is a misdemeanor in California. The possible penalties include summary probation, up to 6 months in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | February 7, 2019

Three individuals were arrested for grand theft money/property <$400, including a 46-year-old salesman from Van Nuys, a 26-year-old customer service agent from Woodland Hills, and a 31-year-old unemployed West Hills resident.

An unemployed 18-year-old Valencia resident was charged with making criminal threats. And a 23-year-old Newhall resident was arrested for battery.

A 23-year-old Monrovia resident who refused to list his/her occupation was charged with resisting arrest.

A 31-year-old unemployed California City resident was arrested for battery against a former spouse.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

31-year-old window installer from Canyon Country
25-year-old manager from Canyon Country
45-year-old project manager from Santa Clarita
43-year-old Lancaster resident who listed their occupation as “sell cellphone”
30-year-old help desk analyst from Canyon Country
32-year-old welder from Newhall
42-year-old medical assistant from Santa Clarita
62-year-old retiree from Los Angeles
50-year-old social worker from Val Verde
25-year-old car technician from Burbank

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

34-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
49-year-old unemployed El Monte resident
40-year-old Moreno Valley resident who listed their occupation as “warehouse”
29-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
46-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
18-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
22-year-old self-employed Castaic resident
22-year-old who listed their occupation as “casher”
44-year-old cook from Castaic
25-year-old elevator mechanic from Canyon Country
27-year-old landscaper from Littlerock

The Danger of Driving While Impaired

| Police Blotter | February 7, 2019

Over Super Bowl weekend, members of the CHP and deputies from Santa Clarita Sheriff Station arrested nine people for allegedly driving under the influence. According to law enforcement, there is an average of about 10 DUI-related arrests in the area any given weekend. The fact that Superbowl weekend only saw nine means that even though a lot of people were celebrating this weekend, it didn’t equate to more people driving drunk.

Law enforcement agencies including the LASD, LAPD, and CHP, have long been vocal about their efforts to increase their vigilance when it comes to stopping impaired motorists. DUI checkpoints are held regularly at different locations around the county and saturation patrols are conducted at various times of the year. The consequences of driving under the influence will vary from situation-to-situation. Some people get behind the wheel while intoxicated and end up arriving at their destination. Others, however, like the recently-sentenced Saugus resident K. Hussain, are not so lucky.

On February 5, 2018, Hussain was driving on McBean Parkway near Bridgeport when his truck hit a tree and severed a water main. Both he and his toddler son were taken to the hospital with injuries. A few hours later, Hussain was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI with injury. He was sentenced this month to two years in California State prison.

The penalty for a DUI depends largely on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history. A first-offense misdemeanor DUI carries the penalties of up to six months in county jail, a fine of $390 to $1000, six months suspended or restricted driving privileges, three or nine months of DUI school, and other associated costs totaling upwards of several thousand dollars.

For a third-offense, the driver faces much stiffer penalties, including six months to a year in county jail, the same fine, two years mandatory ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle (or three years of having their driving privileges suspended if they do not comply), 30 months of DUI school and significantly higher associated costs and fees.

If charged as a felony, defendants face anywhere from 16 months in state prison for a first-offense to three years for subsequent felony offenses. Additionally, they face up to five years of suspended driving privileges.

Of course, the real cost to driving under the influence comes when collisions occur which involve fatalities. Alcohol-related deaths are not uncommon, and when it happens, the charges and penalties a defendant faces increase sharply and include murder.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | February 1, 2019

A 45-year-old unemployed Saugus resident was arrested for stalking.

A 22-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was charged with terrorizing/causing fear and a 20-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was arrested for damaging property.

Two individuals from Canyon Country were arrested for battery, including a 39-year-old massage therapist and a self-employed 32-year-old.

Charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc went to a 58-year-old welder from Santa Clarita, a 24-year-old operations manager from Canyon Country, a 27-year-old driver from Stevenson Ranch and a 34-year-old Canyon Country resident who works for Oakwood Corporate Housing.

A 58-year-old self-employed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for avoiding registration compliance.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

21-year-old hair stylist from Valencia
26-year-old barber from Sylmar
29-year-old cook from Newhall
51-year-old retiree from Lancaster
52-year-old clerk from Saugus
30-year-old unemployed Los Angeles resident

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

33-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
44-year-old retail worker from Canyon Country
34-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
30-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles
28-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
59-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
26-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
51-year-old clerk from Castaic
30-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
30-year-old unemployed Newhall resident

Shoplifting: What it is and How it’s Different From Other Forms of Theft

| Police Blotter | January 31, 2019

Recently in Stevenson Ranch, a suspect entered a business on the 24700 block of Pico Canyon Road, put two bottles of perfume into his backpack, and then left the store without paying. He was arrested shortly thereafter by deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station and charged with shoplifting.

Shoplifting is covered under California Penal Code 459.5 PC and is described as: “entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny (to steal something) while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that was taken or attempted to be taken is valued at no more than $950.” The law goes on to state that “any other attempt to enter a commercial establishment in order to commit larceny is burglary.”

The term “shoplifting” has been around for decades, if not longer. However, the actual crime of shoplifting has only been on the books in California for 4 years. Prior to the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, shoplifting could have been prosecuted as burglary.
Burglary is covered under California Penal Code 459 PC and is described as entering any residential or commercial building or room with the intent to commit a felony. The reason shoplifting is no longer considered a type of burglary (even though the elements of the crime can be identical) is because in order to be charged with burglary, a person must enter the residential or commercial structure with the intent to commit a felony. Stealing something with a value of $950 or less is considered petty theft, which is a misdemeanor – not a felony. Therefore, since the crime of burglary requires someone to enter a residential/commercial structure with the intent of committing a felony, it would not apply when the crime committed by the suspect was a misdemeanor (petty theft).

If the value of the items stolen was over $950, or if the individual committed another felony while inside the structure (buying/selling controlled substances, for example), then it’s possible that they would be charged with burglary instead.

Shoplifting is also similar to, but not quite the same, as the crime of robbery. Under California Penal Code 211 PC, robbery is described as taking property from someone’s immediate person or presence, against that person’s will, by use of force or fear. Robbery is always charged as a felony regardless of the value of the item(s) stolen.

The difference between shoplifting from a business and robbing that business depends a lot on how the suspect gains possession of the stolen items. If someone slips a candy bar into their pocket and leaves without paying for it, it’s shoplifting. If a person slips a candy bar into their pocket, then grabs the clerk by the collar and threatens to kill them if they call the cops, it’s likely to be charged as robbery. In both scenarios, the merchandise taken was the same, and not worth much. The key difference was that during the robbery scenario, the merchandise was taken through the use of force or fear, whereas in the shoplifting scenario it was not.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 24, 2019

A 33-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was arrested for “mayhem.”

A 20-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident was charged with attempted murder. And an unemployed 20-year-old from New York was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 26-year-old unemployed Reseda resident was brought up on charges of vandalism.

Three individuals were arrested for burglary this week, including a 25-year-old unemployed Madera resident and a 21-year-old busser from Newhall, and an unemployed 33-year-old Palmdale resident was arrested for first-degree burglary.

Charges of battery against a former spouse include a 46-year-old camera operator from Canoga Park and a 46-year-old security guard from Canyon Country.

A 30-year-old hair stylist from Lancaster was arrested for robbery.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

42-year-old cook from Canyon Country
28-year-old food service worker from Valencia
21-year-old waitress from Stevenson Ranch
23-year-old student from Palmdale
24-year-old bus boy from Palmdale
24-year-old banker from Sylmar
33-year-old Canyon Country resident who works in shipping
49-year-old machine operator from San Fernando
34-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
26-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
33-year-old recycler from Los Angeles
21-year-old unemployed Hollywood resident
20-year-old laborer from Valencia
33-year-old warehouse worker from Van Nuys

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

32-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
38-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
22-year-old unemployed Inglewood resident
41-year-old unemployed Modesto resident
38-year-old carpenter from Saugus
41-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
25-year-old “repo man” from Castaic
32-year-old construction worker from Valley Village

Child Neglect and Filing a False Report of a Crime

| Police Blotter | January 24, 2019

Recently, police were called to the home of Blac Chyna after it was reported that she was drunk and being neglectful of her child. Upon arrival, police discovered that Blac Chyna, and everyone else at her home, were sober and the child was fine. A nanny was also present.

It’s believed that the false report of a crime was related to a fight between Blac Chyna and her makeup artist on Sunday. However, the reality star is also known to have feuded in the past with ex-lovers’ current girlfriends.

Child neglect is covered under California Penal Code 270 PC and is a serious crime. It can be charged when a parent fails to provide physical necessities for their minor child, without a lawful excuse. Interestingly, the term “parent” is given an extremely broad definition under California law. It includes both adoptive parents, as well as those who hold themselves out as parents (such as foster parents), as well as the husband of a woman who gives birth to a child while the husband is living with her. The term does not cover anyone who no longer has any rights or obligations to the child due to a court decision.

Often times, reports of child neglect are made when a parent or parents are too poor to provide for the physical necessities for their minor child. A prosecutor will typically take into account the family’s financial situation when dealing with child neglect cases. For example, if a parent loses their job and is unable to afford adequate meals, new clothes, or whatever other physical necessities the child needs, and is able to prove that the job loss is the reason why, the prosecutor will likely drop the charges. However, if a lack of money is due to mishandling funds, or if the parent spends their money on something other than their child’s welfare and, as a result, is unable to properly provide for them, the charges will probably still apply.

Often, 270 PC is charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the crime can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances which usually involve a paternity suit. When charged as a felony, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, 1 year and 1 day in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Making a false report of a crime is covered under California Penal Code 148.5 PC and can be charged when someone falsely reports a misdemeanor or a felony to a police officer, prosecutor, grand jury, or state or local employee designated to receive reports from citizens (such as 911 operators). Penal Code 148.5 PC is only charged when the person who makes the false reports knew that it was false as they were making it. There is no penalty or charge if you report a crime and it turns out that no crime was actually committed.

Penal Code 148.5 PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalty of up to 6 months in county jail. However, based on the defendant’s prior criminal history, motive for making the false report, as well as the consequences of the false report, judges often sentence convicted defendants to little or no jail time.

California Penal Codes (Weapons): Did You Know?

| Police Blotter | January 18, 2019

California Penal Code 24310 PC

Carrying a machine gun in a violin case was a common trope in old mobster movies. It’s a practical idea for anyone trying to get a gun someplace without being noticed, and today you can buy all sorts of custom containers to carry your firearms. However, for residents of California, it’s illegal to do so.

California Penal Code 24310 makes it illegal to manufacture, import into the State of California, keep for sale, offer for sale, give, lend, or possess a camouflaging firearm container. The most notable example of a camouflaged firearm container is shaped like a musical instrument, but there are other styles too, including books, globes, clocks, first-aid kits, and more.

24310 PC is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties include no more than one year in county jail. Felony penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison. The severity of the charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case.

California Penal Code 29810 PC

Anyone who is convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors is legally obligated to relinquish their firearms. For example, a defendant is convicted of felony assault and, after the conviction, the defendant turns over his hunting rifle to the local police station.

Under California Penal Code 29810 PC, the courts must instruct the defendant that he or she is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having any firearms, ammunition, or magazines. The courts will provide the defendant with a Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form, upon which any and all firearms, ammunition and/or magazines the defendant has must be identified. Then, the defendant can either relinquish the items to law enforcement, sell them to a licensed gun dealer, or have them stored by a licensed gun dealer.

Failing to fill out and submit the Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form is an infraction punished by a $100 fine. If the firearms are not relinquished and law enforcement finds out about it, the defendant will likely be charged with a crime, namely California Penal Code 29800 PC – felon with a firearm – a felony. If convicted, the defendant faces 16 months to three years in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

California Penal Code 22010 PC

For the most part, California Penal Code 22010 PC makes it illegal to own or possess nunchakus (nunchucks) in California. Nunchucks are a traditional martial arts weapon that consists of two rods attached at one end by a rope or chain.

Most members of the public are generally prohibited from owning this dangerous weapon; however, there are a few exceptions: self-defense schools with a regulatory or business license that keep the nunchucks on the premises; people who are taking someone else’s illegal nunchucks to the police station where they can be properly disposed of like the menace to society they are; possession of antique nunchuks by a person authorized to own them; authorized museums, libraries, and historical societies; or people making a movie, TV show, or video production.

If an unauthorized person is caught in possession of a pair of nunchucks, they face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if charged as a misdemeanor. Or, up to three years in prison and $10,000 fine for a felony.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 10, 2019

A 35-year-old driver from Newhall, a 26-year-old caregiver from Saugus, and a 26-year-old driver from Newhall were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc. And a 30-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was arrested for battery.

Four individuals were arrested for battery against a former spouse, including a 44-year-old counselor from Canyon Country, a 44-year-old social worker from Canyon Country, a 37-year-old unemployed Newhall resident, and a 56-year-old unemployed Saugus resident.

An unemployed 53-year-old Canyon Country resident was arrested for taking a marked cart from a retail establishment.

A 25-year-old cook from Lancaster was arrested for reckless driving.

A 46-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was brought up on charges of assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm) with great bodily injury.

An unemployed 40-year-old Venice resident was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owners consent.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

22-year-old manager from Clovis
26-year-old Reseda resident who works in finance
35-year-old student from Saugus
26-year-old salesman from Santa Clarita
51-year-old stocker from Valencia
Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

29-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
32-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
29-year-old unemployed canyon Country resident
31-year-old actor from Canyon Country
36-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
37-year-old CEO from Chatsworth
30-year-old unemployed transient
40-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
34-year-old unemployed Hawaii resident
35-year-old cleaner from Texas
39-year-old landscaper from Newhall
50-year-old mechanic from Tulare
18-year-old electrician from Lancaster
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

Felony Probation – What Is It?

| Police Blotter | January 10, 2019

Recently, a 40-year-old Santa Clarita woman was in the news after being arrested for violating her probation. According to the SCV Sheriff Station’s Facebook page, they received reports about a motor home that had been parked for several days outside of a business on Golden Triangle Road. Deputies went to check it out, and while doing so, discovered that one of the occupants was on active probation and also in possession of illegal narcotics. She was arrested and taken to the Sheriff’s Station for her probation violation and the motor home was towed.

Felony probation is not freedom, it’s used as an alternative to prison. It allows for a person convicted of a felony to either remain in the community provided that they agree to live under certain conditions and supervision of the courts and a probation officer.

Probation is a possible sentence for many California felonies – but not all of them. Probation may not be granted to defendants who commit violent or serious felonies, as well as certain sex crimes. Probation is seldom granted for people who commit crimes that include: great bodily harm to the victim, offenses involving deadly weapons, grand theft of over $100,000, furnishing PCP, and being a public official convicted of embezzlement or receiving bribes.

If a person is going to be put on probation, it will happen at the time of their sentencing. A judge will either “suspend execution” of the defendant’s jail or prison sentence provided that the defendant adhere to specific conditions upon their release, or the judge will sentence the defendant to probation with no conditions attached.

If a judge does set conditions for a defendant’s probation, they can vary pretty widely. Generally, most probation conditions include: meeting with a probation officer once a month, paying restitution to the victim, participating in therapy, drug testing, performing community service, and, of course, not breaking any other laws.

Probation typically lasts for anywhere from three to five years, and any violations that occur during that period are taken very seriously. If the violation is relatively minor, it’s possible to receive a warning from a judge and not have probation revoked. When this happens, judges have the power to set even stricter conditions with which the defendant must comply for the remainder of their probation. When someone commits a serious probation violation, such as committing a violent crime, not meeting with their probation officer, or being in possession of narcotics, judges are far less likely to be lenient and issue a warning. In these cases, defendants are often sent directly to prison or jail for one or more years.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 3, 2019

Several individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse this week, including a 42-year-old Spanish interpreter from Anaheim, a 44-year-old photographer from Valencia, an unemployed 48-year-old transient and a 46-year-old hair colorist from Stevenson Ranch.

Those charged with corporal injury on a spouse include a 31-year-old unemployed Valencia resident, a 55-year-old retired Newhall resident, a 37-year-old unemployed Newhall resident and a 51-year-old manager from Valencia.

A 29-year-old teacher from Valencia was arrested for corporal injury on a child. And a 30-year-old Newhall resident was charged with arson of property.

A 40-year-old salesman from Encino was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Two individuals were arrested for vandalism, including a 19-year-old unemployed Stevenson Ranch resident and a 21-year-old unemployed Valencia resident. And a 31-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was brought up on charges of attempted robbery.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

49-year-old police officer from Valencia
25-year-old U.S. Marine from Sun Valley
21-year-old delivery person from Canyon Country
22-year-old mechanic from Sylmar
23-year-old Panorama City resident who listed his/her occupation as “tire”
22-year-old delivery person from Lynn
20-year-old car washer from Canyon Country
34-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
26-year-old barber from Santa Clarita
26-year-old construction worker from Newhall
29-year-old driver from Canyon Country
22-year-old cashier from Azusa

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

19-year-old waiter from Santa Clarita
33-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
29-year-old construction worker from Newhall
48-year-old Saugus resident
46-year-old HVAC specialist from Valencia
58-year-old general maintenance worker from Canyon Country
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
39-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
50-year-old handy man from Stevenson Ranch
37-year-old waiter from Canyon Country
44-year-old disabled veteran from Canyon Country
56-year-old unemployed Pacoima residents

Violent Crime Drops in Los Angeles in 2018

| Police Blotter | January 3, 2019

Law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles have been hard-pressed to explain the rise of violent crimes that the area has experienced over the past five years. However, in 2018, the effort they’ve put in to trying to reverse the trend are beginning to bear fruit. According to recent statistics, Los Angeles saw a total of 253 murders over 2018, a decrease of 9.9 percent since 2017, during which 281 murders took place.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a tweet praising the hard working officers of the LAPD and touting the news as evidence that their crime fighting strategies have been working. He credited the LAPD’s view that personal safety is a “shared responsibility” among the public and law enforcement, and that working together is the only way forward.

One way in which the LAPD has successfully worked with the public to share the responsibility of public safety is through their commitment to community policing. The practice is based upon a partnership between the LAPD and the community. The responsibility of identifying, reducing, eliminating, and preventing problems that erode order and safety within the community is shared by the LAPD and the community itself.

The LAPD believes that if people are able to bring their community’s specific needs to the attention of the LAPD, a plan can be put together by which problems of safety and order can be resolved that increased patrols or police presence may not necessarily solve. Community policing also serves to foster a bond of trust between members of law enforcement and members of the public as it creates greater familiarity between the two parties.

Unfortunately, not all of the LAPD’s crime prevention tactics have been embraced as quickly by the public as community policing was. One major point of contention was the LAPD’s use of the controversial “predictive policing” strategy. The strategy includes technology developed by the CIA that incorporates street-level intelligence with cell phone and license plate tracking of ex-convicts and other things. All of that data is then run through a powerful computer called Palantir to identify specific locations throughout the city where crime is most likely to occur. The LAPD lauds the technology as a way to indicate where best to spend their resources, while some members of the public are dubious about the relative secrecy surrounding the technology.

Much of the blame for the spike in violent crimes that began in 2014 was heaped on the passage of the controversial Proposition 47 which reduced the severity of a host of felonies to misdemeanors, thereby reducing the potency of the punishment’s deterrent. However, a study conducted by UC Irvine found that the spike in crime was not due to the passing of Proposition 47 – a finding which law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys found difficult to accept.

Bad Girls and Boys

| Police Blotter | December 28, 2018

A 55-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for murder of the second degree on a peace officer.

A 36-year-old account representative from Valencia was charged with cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death.

Two individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse, including a 34-year-old electrician from Val Verde and a 39-year-old studio city resident.

A 26-year-old unemployed Saugus resident was booked for disobeying a domestic relations court order.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

20-year-old server from Saugus
29-year-old chef from Valencia
24-year-old Canoga Park resident
21-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
27-year-old cook from Valencia
41-year-old Palmdale resident
26-year-old construction worker from Pacoima
58-year-old contractor from Canyon Country
36-year-old chef from Newhall
39-year-old Los Angeles resident
24-year-old assistant manager from Palmdale
40-year-old auto detailer from Canyon Country
29-year-old lead manager from North Hills
64-year-old car mechanic from Granada Hills
31-year-old packager from Valencia
32-year-old packer from Canyon Country
56-year-old hairdresser from Valencia
32-year-old auto detailer from Newhall

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

22-year-old customer service representative from Brandon, Mo.
27-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
37-year-old cook from Newhall
22-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
46-year-old unemployed Mission Hills resident
49-year-old unemployed Mission Hills resident
19-year-old “driver’s helper” from Saugus
62-year-old construction worker from Newhall
31-year-old Santa Clarita resident
27-year-old stage crew member from Sylmar
33-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
36-year-old Caretaker from Canyon Country
31-year-old Uber driver from Castaic

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