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Why We Defend People

In 2009, I was a prosecutor in Orange County when I became a defendant in my own criminal case. I was falsely accused of domestic violence, and I was charged with two felony counts even though I was the one who called the police three times that night over my accuser’s behavior. It was surreal. Read More

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A Personal View of California’s Bail Reform

This problem of locking people up before trial is personal to me. Ten years ago, I was falsely accused of a crime, and I spent a night in jail based on one person’s word. I had committed no crime, but I was booked for and charged with felony domestic violence, and I had to take the Read More

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The Pros and Cons of Bail Reform

We’ll see how California’s new bail law plays out in practice. On one hand, it promises to treat rich and poor alike when it comes to keeping someone in jail until any trial. It says everyone will get out within twelve hours on a misdemeanor charge, with some exceptions. And if you’re accused of a Read More

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California to End Money Bail

On August 28, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 10 into law. It becomes effective October 1, 2019, and as you may have heard, it changes everything. It completely repeals the chapter of the Penal Code that provided for cash bail and replaces it with an entirely new one. Here’s the gist of it. If you’re arrested for Read More

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Poor Reality Winner

On Thursday, she was sentenced to over five years in prison, and I feel sorry for her. Who is she? Maybe one of the most interesting people you’ll read about. She was nine years old on September 11, 2001. She was a straight-A student growing up, and she turned down a full ride to college on an engineering scholarship Read More

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The Common Application Bans the Box

Do you have a kid in high school? Are you in high school yourself and plan to go to college? You may want to check this out. On August 7, the Common Application announced that it will no longer ask about an applicant’s criminal record, starting with the 2019-20 pool of applicants. The Common Application Read More

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Happy Birthday, 14th Amendment

Did you know? This summer marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment. To commemorate the occasion, here is a look at the Ohio congressman who authored arguably the most important amendment after the first ten. If he’s forgotten today then it’s a shame because he’s responsible for these momentous words: “All persons born Read More

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Misdemeanors are the Meat and Potatoes

The meat and potatoes of the criminal justice system, that is. And you may think of them as small potatoes, but they’re not. They take up most of the space on the proverbial plate, and they’ve got bite. They take up the most space because they make up eighty percent of all criminal cases across Read More

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The Trial Penalty

That’s the title of this new report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It looks at the steep decline of jury trials in our system, explains why that matters, and examines how to preserve this important right to trial by jury. What is the trial penalty? It refers to the big difference in Read More

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‘Tis the Season for Healthcare Enforcement

Speaking of health care, the federal government brought the heat again this summer. As it has for several years, it announced major, coordinated raids and arrests of healthcare providers and professionals around the country. We covered the government’s raids in 2015 and 2017, and they’re getting bigger and badder each year. This year’s takedown set new records Read More

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