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Orange County man facing serious animal abuse charges

An interesting case out of Orange County this month will highlight the importance of having a good defense attorney at your side when facing serious criminal charges. As we have pointed out in past posts, not only can a lawyer make sure that prosecutors stay in check with their charges, but they can also help explain your side of the story. In the end, this may be the most important piece of your criminal defense.

In the Orange County case, when a 53-year-old elementary school teacher’s mother passed away, neighbors noticed that he became “increasingly reclusive.” A known python breeder, neighbors became concerned when they started to smell a stench emanating from the man’s California home and called police to complain. What police later found at the man’s home is what led to the very serious criminal charge he now faces.

According to animal control officers, more than 400 non-venomous snakes were found inside the home, 240 of which were considered dead and had to be taken away from the home. The 182 that were found alive were considered to be incredibly malnourished and in poor health condition. It’s because of this that the Newport Beach man has been charged with a felony count of animal abuse by a caretaker. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

But just like any other criminal defense case, the man will have the opportunity to explain to a court judge his side of the story. It’s possible that the death of his mother had more of an impact on his life than he or anyone else would have thought. His grief may have prevented him from providing the standard of care his snakes needed. Explaining this in court may prompt a judge to offer leniency, which would come as a relief as he may not have meant for the situation to escalate as it did.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Teacher who had hundreds of snakes in his house to be charged,” Paloma Esquivel, Mar. 14, 2014

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