Articles Posted in Criminal Law

Recently Tiger Woods was arrested in Juniper, Florida for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.  Mr Woods has a child with his ex wife Elin Nordegren.  At the time of their divorce Mr. Woods was also involved in a drug related incident whereby he crashed his car into a tree and claimed he was high on ambien.  He was not charged with a crime at that time. After the incident he divorced his ex wife and achieved a amicable outcome with regards to his divorce and child custody arrangement. He is the father of two children, Sam, 9 and Charlie, 7.  In a recent interview Tiger Woods opened up about how he parents his children.  Although his golfing career has hit a slump his parenting life appears to be of a very caring and thoughtful father.  In the interview he did recently he talks how his father Earl Woods would communicate to him at his eye level.  He stated that because his father would get down to his eye level when talking to him it creating a strong father son bond. This type of behavior is something he has passed on to his kids to develop that similar bond.

As a result of the recent DUI Mr. Woods might not suffer a disastrous custody battle as if he did not have this strong bond with his two children.  In addition, Tiger states that after the divorce he has developed a strong friendship with Ms. Nordegren and can talk to her about his relationship with his children openly.  Thus, because of this tight bond with his ex wife he might not suffer a big break in his relationship with his minor children.  Drugs and alcohol are a very bad combination when dealing with a custody battle among ex spouses or partners.  Getting behind the wheel of a car and driving drunk shows poor judgment which can transfer over to how you parent your children.

The police spotted Mr. Woods late at night driving down a road in Jupiter, Florida near his home weaving in and out of the lanes.  The local police noticed the erratic behavior and made a traffic stop.  Upon approaching Mr. Woods after the traffic stop the police noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Tiger’s breath.  A Police officer can make a stop based on a reasonable suspicion that the person was driving while under the influence.  In addition, once the stop is made and the officer notices that the person smells of alcohol they can administer what is called field sobriety tests.  The Juniper police office approached Mr. Woods after the stop and asked him to breathe into a breathalyzer.  Tiger refused to do it.  Thereafter, Mr. Woods was placed under arrest.  I a person does not give a breath test then they will lose there license for a year and will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Most people who hire criminal defense attorneys are facing jail or some serious caltrans or some penalty that is very egregious that they seek an attorney to get out of the predicament they find themselves.  There are many types of alternative sentencing in criminal courts that offer a somewhat better deal and sentence that going to public jail.  Recently it has become an issue in politics whereby private prison had been being phased out of our communities.  However, now with the new president he wants to privatize prisons and keep them working and functioning in our  society.

private jails in local cities is a great alternative if you have the money to pay for a private jail.  You get your own cell and own clothes and can use the phone.  It provides a safer and more livable environment for those seeking a more appropriate environment for those seeking a safer place to do time.

the other private jails are the ones that get the overflow from prisons who are suffering an overpopulation problem.  Governments have not been able to resolve the issue in house and sought private investors to run the prisons.  These type of private prisons are a profit making machine whereby the owners are making alot of money with little concerns for the safety of the inmates.  This type of private jail is not recommended for the “club fed” type seeking comforts of local pay for stay local jails.

domestic-violence-photo-child-300x243If you have been faced with a charge of domestic violence or a party is seeking a restraining order on you you must be careful about prior acts of domestic violence that can creep up on your during a contested hearing or trial. Often clients feel that prior acts of domestic violence may not have much weight with the Judge , however it is to the contrary. Prior acts of domestic violence can often tip the scale in favor of the party seeking a restraining order. In a civil setting he burden of proof to prove a domestic violence case is preponderance of the evidence. That means it is more likely than not an act of domestic violence occurred. The judge will often give the benefit of the doubt to the party seeking the restraint order.

Now what prior acts constitute domestic violence? It may be very surprising to know that Simple acts that might seem innocuous to our every day relationships with our significant other will be Fuel by the other party to prove up their case.

Acts such snooping through someone else phone even once can be seen as obsessive behavior and look bad upon the court. Also looking through baggage if that person goes on a trip can be viewed as too nosy and appear over controlling if you are looking for something. Stopping. Y uninvited by the other party can also be seen as stalking and shown to be an act of domestic violence.

Even politicians are susceptible to the laws and regulations of domestic violence. They too can be disciplined and even effected by the filing of restraining orders and Stay Away Orders.  One might think that because they are a politician and hold a public office and are voted by the people to represent them in the legislature that they are above the domestic violence laws of the United States.  However, this has proven to be untrue as in the case of South Carolina legislator Chris Corley who was indicted on felony domestic violence charges.  The South Carolina House Speaker suspended Mr. Corley after the domestic violence charges were done.

A 911 call was made from Mr. Corley’s house and in the background on the 911 call children’s voice were heard screaming as Mr. Corley allegedly was pointed a gun at his wife. Under California law Corporal Injury to the spouse under Penal Code section 275 is a felony and can send a person to state prison for 2, 3 or 4 years.  This charge occurs when it is inflicted upon a family member.  In Mr Corley’s case he allegedly attacked and beat his wife.

His children were heard on the 911 call telling their dad to stop the aggression.  This type of behavior as well will probably end up on criminal charges.  Exhibiting violence in front of the children can be a criminal charge as well.  Under Penal Code section 273a wherein if a person places a child in danger willfully or recklessly placing a child in a dangerous circumstance.

Pursuant to Family Code section 4320(m), there is a rebuttable presumption that when there has been a criminal conviction for an act of domestic violence by one spouse against the other within 5 years before, or any time after, filing of the dissolution petition, a court should not make a spousal support award to the abusive spouse.

So, what does this mean? If you have been convicted of an act of domestic violence by your spouse within 5 years (before or after the filing of the divorce petition), a court has discretion to not award the abusive spouse with spousal support.

Does the abusive spouse have any recourse? For instance, if the abusive spouse has redeemed himself or herself, if he or she has attended anger management classes etc., is there a chance to obtain spousal support, especially, if there is a great disparity in income between the parties? According to the same code section, in order to rebut the presumption set forth above, “the court may consider, among other things, documented evidence of a convicted spouse’s history as a domestic violence victim.”

It was reported earlier this week that RFK Jr. has filed for divorce from his wife of 16 years, Mary Richardson Kennedy. Mary Kennedy is RFK Jr.’s second wife and they have four children together. RFK Jr. divorced his first wife back in 1994 and they have two children together.

RFK Jr’s divorce comes on the heels of the drunk driving incident involving his wife. Mary Kennedy was arrested on May 15 after a police officer witnessed her driving her car over a curb near their home in Bedford. Police report that Mary had a blood alcohol level of 0.11%. The legal limit is .08%. On May 28, Mary was arraigned but RFK Jr. did not appear for said arraignment.

Certainly, alcohol related problems can trigger one spouse to file for divorce. If you and your spouse are experiencing marital problems, divorce may the way out. Contact an Orange County divorce lawyer for more information.

Wow…last week the internet as a buzz over the plethora of California family law and criminal law issues involving Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. Talk about a relationship gone really ugly. Turns out that Mel Gibson is now going to be investigated by the District Attorney for alleged domestic violence, child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon charges. Gibson’s case will be referred to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for felony review. Again, this is a perfect example of a family law matter that crosses over into criminal law issues. It’s very common to see these crossovers. Indeed, typically, if someone is involved in a domestic violence dispute, most likely a temporary restraining order is issued ordering the perpetrator to stay at least 100 yards away from the victim. Often times in emergency situations, the police are called to the scene of the incident and an Emergency Protective Order is issued to protect the victim. In serious situations, depending on the crime, criminal charges will also be filed.

If you have an Orange County domestic violence issue and/or an Orange County criminal law issue and wish to obtain further information about your rights, contact an Orange County family law/criminal law attorney for more information.

Source: Mel Gibson Case Headed to D.A.

Stemming from a strange case out of Indianapolis, Shannon Ellis became pregnant two years ago to the surprise of her family members. Supposedly, her husband had a vasectomy and they told everyone the vasectomy was reversed, thereby explaining the surprise pregnancy. This story turned out to be false. Truth be told, through DNA testing, Ellis became pregnant by a 14 year old boy. The 14 year old boy is a relative of Ellis’ husband. Ellis allegedly coaxed the boy into having sex. The two of them continued to have sex after she gave birth. Presently, Ellis is facing sexual misconduct charges with a minor and could face up to 10 years jail time.

From an Orange County divorce lawyer perspective, questions begin to arise regarding the welfare of the child. If the mother is in jail and the father is a minor, who will be the best person to care for the best interest of the child? The baby is currently in the care of Ellis’ husband. However, a child custody battle is pending between the minor’s parents and Ellis’ husband.

At this stage, I do not know how the Indiana courts will rule with respect to this type of scenario. However, from a California child custody point of view, it would make sense if guardianship proceedings are involved considering the circimstances surrounding the biological parents.

A bill was heard the past Tuesday wherein a State legislative committee sought to close what its author claims to be a loophole in California’s no-fault divorce rule. In part, the legislation will specify that spouses who solicit the murder of their soon to be ex-spouse are not entitled to collect financial rewards during divorce proceedings.

The bill was enacted because of the facts concerning John Pomroy, a police detective. His wife collected about $70,000 from their estate after she was released from prison in 2004. His wife allegedly became addicted to painkillers, alcohol and drugs. The couple subsequently separated when his wife became physically abusive. Pomroy eventually moved out of the former family residence and was awarded custody of the children. When the wife faced the loss of her kids and lack of financial support from her husband, she hired members of the Vagos motorcycle gang to kill Pomroy while he was on duty.

The Califrnia Family Code states that if spouses are convicted of murdering or attempting to murder their husband or wife, they are not entitled to reap any financial benefits during divorce proceedings. However, in the event they hire someone to murder their spouse, the victims’ assets are not protected.

Sometimes family law matters overlap with criminal law matters. A Huntington Beach woman, Angela Marie Aiton, 34, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping her own daughter in an Orange County court last week.

Angela Marie Aiton was charged with a felony count of child stealing.

Aiton reportedly left a Newport Beach Cheesecake Factory last Friday taking daughter Symphony.The young girl was on a court-ordered visitation with her foster father. Aiton told the foster father she was taking the girl to the restroom and he stated that she never returned. The abduction triggered a Orange County-wide Amber Alert.