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September 2013 Archives

Farmers fret over stolen metal

To some, copper is as good as gold. As the down economy slowly begins to recover, many California farmers and ranchers are still experiencing problems with petty theft of metal components from their property. Throughout a variety of agricultural regions, property crimes are leaving rural operations without brass fixtures, steel pipes, copper wires and other important items. Now, new laws have been passed to increase the penalties for such thefts, largely at the behest of the agricultural lobby in the state.

Doctors to be held accountable for overdoses

As increased concern is mounting about the number of fatalities associated with prescription drug abuse, lawmakers in California are taking legal moves to protect residents through increased penalties for physicians who prescribe drugs unnecessarily. Instead of focusing on the person who is possessing the medications in these drug crime cases, officials say the new move will prevent doctors from prescribing unconscionable amounts of narcotics and other commonly abused drugs.

Teens charged with sex crimes

A massive investigation has been launched and two Vista Murrieta students are facing charges for juvenile crimes after several underage girls reported that the students sexually assaulted them. The older of the two California teens, who had been football players for the school, has been indicted on counts of forcible rape, lewd acts with a girl under 14, and false imprisonment involving at least three different girls. The older boy, age 17, has also been accused of dissuading a victim from reporting a crime. Charges against the younger boy, age 16, have not been specified because of the nature of the crimes, but he was also indicted for sex-related misconduct.

Gun bills would extend ownership restrictions

California defendants facing weapons charges may soon be subject to stiffer penalties if a new list of gun-control bills passes through the state legislature. Nine new control bills have already passed in September, with an additional set of measures currently under consideration. The pending legislation would prohibit the sale of rifles that have detachable magazines. These measures would also widen the range of crimes that could be considered for 10-year bans on firearms possession for convicts.

California law could lessen drug penalties

A new law in California could save the state millions each year and provide extra rights to those accused of drug crimes. The measure, S.B. 649, would help counties throughout the state save nearly $170 million annually by changing the nature of the drug possession charges. Low-level, nonviolent offenders could have their charges reduced by a judge - felonies would become misdemeanors. Judges in these cases could use their discretion to lower the seriousness of the offense, considering criminal past and the nature of the alleged crime.

Report: Juveniles need protection in interrogation

Why would you admit to a crime that you didn't commit? It may seem counter-intuitive, but a growing number of young people implicated in juvenile crimes are being coerced into confessing by unscrupulous law enforcement officers, according to recently released information. Statistics show that young people, who are far more impressionable, are more likely to admit to crimes in which they were not involved. Further, nearly 40 percent of exonerations for youth under age 18 in California and elsewhere involve false confessions; that contrasts sharply with the 11 percent rate for adults.

Accountant accused of stealing school lunch money

A Rialto Unified School District employee is facing allegations of employee theft after school officials claim they saw her stuffing students' lunch money in her bra. The woman, age 48, was arrested in early August after the accusations surfaced, spurred by video surveillance tapes that reportedly caught the woman with sticky fingers. She has since resigned as the accountant for the school district's Nutrition Services Department, according to local news reports.

'Revenge porn' may soon be criminalized

When lovers in the past were spurned, the worst they could do for so-called "revenge" would be to talk down their ex or write a name and number on the bathroom wall. Now, with the ubiquity of tech devices that have photo and video capabilities, a more disconcerting type of revenge is surfacing - revenge porn. This violation occurs when someone shares intimate photos that had been intended to stay inside the context of a relationship; a woman spreads a picture of her ex's genitals to her friends' cell phones, for example, or a man posts a video online of a sexual encounter with his partner. Now, new California legislation could characterize these activities as sex crimes, albeit only as misdemeanors. Potential violators could spend up to one year in prison in connection with this regulation if it is passed.

Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results