Understanding Criminal Prosecutions In Long Beach Court


Criminal prosecutions in Long Beach occur in the local Superior Court.  That Court handles all charges that originate in L.B. City, Signal Hill, Harbor City, San Pedro and the areas adjacent to those municipalities.

The Court in Long Beach is the newest in Los Angeles County.  The Court boasts one of the most user friendly environments of any governmental structure but the system can be a little confusing when it comes to understanding how criminal cases are filed and prosecuted.

Initially, it must be understood that the Judicial system as far as state cases are involved revolves around the local district attorney being the seminal agency that files and brings forth any criminal charge.  However, in Long Beach that is not always the case.

If you are arrested in the city of Long Beach for a misdemeanor such as DUI, drunk in public or solicitation for prostitution, then the local city attorney, not the DA, files and prosecutes the case.  While the DA is responsible for representing the people in all felony matters, when it comes to petty offenses the city carries the ball.

Adding to the confusion, if you are arrested in San Pedro, the Los Angeles city attorney will be the plaintiff, as well as the Harbor gateway. Signal Hill however employs the DA to prosecute all of its minor infractions.

The good news is that when you walk into the Court you will be greeted by a huge electronic calendar that will guide you to the proper courtroom.  Good luck and I hope this helps in clarifying the local system.

Long Beach DUI Attorney Offers Free Case Evaluation

Obtaining information about the process and options following an arrest got drunk driving can be very valuable.

Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff offers a free case evaluation for folks seeking an unbiased view of their case.

A consultation can provide a perspective about how strong a case may be and whether hiring a lawyer would be cost effective.

Court Takes Up Issue Of Excluding Whites From Juries

In this criminal case (People vs Singh) the court addressed the issue of whether excusing white people during jury selection was improper.  During jury voir dire, the prosecutor made a motion to prevent exclusion of white jurors, observing that the defense had exercised eight peremptory challenges against Caucasian jurors. The court granted the prosecutor’s motion, reseated the last excused juror, offered defense counsel three additional challenges (which it could exercise against the juror in question should he be able to articulate race-neutral reasons for the challenge), and threatened counsel with monetary sanctions in the event of any further impermissible challenges. At the beginning of the trial, counsel put on the record the fact that he would have excused two more jurors but for the concern that the court would not sustain the challenges.

On appeal, Singh disputed whether Caucasians were a cognizable group, and argued that the court should have abdicated efforts to gauge the sincerity of his race-neutral justifications for his peremptories. The appellate court concluded that it need not reach either of those issues, because, even if the trial court erred, Singh failed to establish any resulting prejudice. An error in overruling a peremptory challenge does not result in any fundamental unfairness or interference with the reliability of the jury’s function. A defendant must demonstrate either bias or other grounds for a challenge for cause on the part of the juror in order to establish prejudice for reversal. Here, there was no demonstration of the necessary prejudice, so it was not necessary to resolve whether the trial court’s actions were erroneous.  Thanks CCAP.

Matthew Ruff is a Long Beach Criminal Attorney focusing on serious charges in the local Court


Appeals Court Upholds Restitution

In Long Beach criminal court people are convicted on cases and ordered to repay restitution as part of their sentence, in this case the appellate court upheld a large award in an unusual case (People vs Pierce .

Defendant pleaded no contest to a home invasion robbery and admitted he acted in concert with two other men. One his codefendants left the scene in the victim’s truck and crashed it into a telephone pole, damaging the pole and a house. Pierce was sentenced to state prison. At his initial sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered him to pay restitution of $539.57 plus interest to one victim, and reserved jurisdiction to modify the amount. After that hearing, the prosecutor moved to modify the victim restitution award for the victim and to add three additional victims in relation to the telephone pole (both for the damage to the pole and the damage caused by the pole falling on a house). The trial court granted the motion and added nearly $50,000 in restitution to the amount previously ordered.

On appeal, Pierce contended that the trial court erred in modifying the restitution order without vacating the previous order, to avoid duplication of the restitution award to the original victim. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that it was clear that the trial court’s intent in issuing the modified order was to supersede the previous restitution order. Pierce also argued that the trial court erred in imposing restitution for damages caused by a codefendant because the prosecutor explicitly waived the claim at the initial sentencing hearing. The appellate court also rejected that argument. Although the prosecutor initially did not seek victim restitution relative to the telephone pole, the victims were all entitled to full restitution for the economic loss they suffered as a result of Pierce’s conduct. (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd. (f).) The prosecutor cannot waive a victim’s right to restitution. ) (CCAP)

Most criminal defense attorneys will ascertain the exact amount of any restitution before any plea is made.


Long Beach Getting Tougher On DUI Offenders With Priors

One of the first contacts a defendant has with the judicial system is the arraignment which provides a time to enter a plea and allows the prosecutor to ask for bail pending adjudication of the case.  Bail is a right in misdemeanor cases but the Court can also allow release on OR which means own recognisance release.

In the past, most accused would be allowed to be released on OR even if they had prior convictions.  This is no longer the case.  The Long Beach City Attorney is now seeking bail on all cases of drunk driving where the defendant has a prior conviction.  This means you could be remanded at the arraignment in spite of having been cited out by the police.

What can be done ?  If you are facing a DUI case in the city contact a Long Beach DUI Lawyer before your arraignment to discuss your options and ways to avoid being taken into custody at the first Court appearance.  If you fail to plan for the case you may be shocked and surprised when you find yourself in handcuffs in the courtroom.

Grand Prix Of Long Beach 2015

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach got off to a good start this year without any major glitches.  Here are a few tips to avoid trouble this year:

1.  If you are going to drink, get a designated driver.  Long Beach police are out on saturation patrols the entire week. If you do get arrested a Long Beach DUI Attorney should be contacted immediately in order to request a hearing to save your license.

2.  When consuming alcohol at the event always find a restroom.  Public urination arrests were up last year and the fines are heavy.

3.  Avoid excessive consumption of booze.  The police are trained to arrest anyone for public intoxication who may be unable to care for themselves or are unsafe.  If you are contacted by security or a cop, be polite, that goes a long way in avoiding an arrest and a sure trip to jail.

the bottom line is that you can have a good time and stay out of trouble if you use common sense.  If you or a loved one does get arrested, call Long Beach a Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff for a free consultation, toll free at 1-877-212-2090 or visit his website.


A Criminal Defendant Has A Right To Withdraw A Guilty Plea, In Some Circumstances

A defendant in a criminal case may be permitted to withdraw his plea if good cause exists.  However, many Judges will deny these requests and when they do they must state the reasons for it.  This Appeals case is a good example of what should and what should not be done. Perez was charged with possessing drugs for sale and a firearm. He expressed to his attorney his concerns about his immigration status, and was misadvised that he should plead guilty because then his sentence would be short and he could more likely avoid deportation. Perez pled guilty and was placed on probation. A federal immigration court then ordered him removed from the United States based on his conviction for possession of methamphetamine for sale. Following these developments, Perez timely filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea based on ineffective assistance of counsel, and presented declarations as to the incorrect advice he received. The trial court, without stating its reasons, denied the motion. Perez obtained a certificate of probable cause and appealed. The Court Held: Reversed and remanded. A Judge may permit a guilty plea to be withdrawn if the criminal defendant establishes good cause to withdraw the plea. The trial court’s decision to deny a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is final absent an abuse of discretion. Here, if the declarations Perez submitted in support of his motion were believed, he established good cause to withdraw his plea based on trial counsel’s affirmative misrepresentations regarding the immigration consequences of his plea. The district attorney did not file an opposition and the trial court did not make an adverse credibility finding. In these circumstances, the trial court abused its discretion, as its denial without any statement of a reason provided no reasonable basis for the denial. “[W]hen the evidence is one-sided and the court’s ruling is contrary to that evidence, an order denying relief should alert the reviewing court as to the reason(s) for such a ruling.”(CCAP)