PIA (Post Indictment Arraignment) Post Indictment Arraignment (“PIA”) is a hearing in which our Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys will accompany the defendant to court and schedule dates for motion hearings and jury trial. Typically, Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys will also have the defendant plead “not guilty” at this hearing. However, even though a defendant pleads “not guilty” does not necessarily mean that the case will go to trial. The vast majority of federal criminal cases resolve prior to jury trial.
***** Ya know, I’ve been inside a Hawiian State Prison in a PROFESSIONAL capacity…. They a bit my rough than California State Peisons! Id hate to be that guy!!!!! 😉
Attorneys assigning their first case to the office of Chris Loomis Consultations will receive a discounted rate on their first case assigned through 08-30-2011.
Call the office for details at (626) 230-3137 or email us at Chris@clcpi.com
27 rifles stolen from Southern California military base; feds offer reward for more arrests – The Washington PostJuly 30, 2011
*I would have preferred the M4’s that were on the base over the AK47’s. 😉
Defending people against the massive assault by the Federal Government called the War on Drugs in drug possession, drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to distribute or manufacture controlled substances cases calls on us to fulfil our duty as dedicated defense attorneys to ensure the government has abided by the Constitution in the area of search and seizure, including canine “alerts” or dog sniff cases.
United States Supreme Court Justice Souter’s dissenting opinion in Illinois v. Caballes sums up our attitude regarding narcotic cases where probable cause or reasonable suspicion is based on a positive canine alert.
“At the heart both of Place and the Court’s opinion today is the proposition that sniffs by a trained dog are sui generis because a reaction by the dog in going alert is a response to nothing but the presence of contraband.
Hence, the argument goes, because the sniff can only reveal the presence of items devoid of any legal use, the sniff “does not implicate legitimate privacy interests” and is not to be treated as a search.
The infallible dog, however, is a creature of legal fiction. Although the Supreme Court of Illinois did not get into the sniffing averages of drug dogs, their supposed infallibility is belied by judicial opinions describing well-trained animals sniffing and alerting with less than perfect accuracy, whether owing to errors by their handlers, the limitations of the dogs themselves, or even the pervasive contamination of currency by cocaine. … Indeed, a study cited by Illinois in this case for the proposition that dog sniffs are “generally reliable” shows that dogs in artificial testing situations return false positives anywhere from 12.55 to 60% of the time, depending on the length of the search. … In practical terms, the evidence is clear that the dog that alerts hundreds of times will be wrong dozens of times.”
Our dedicated defense attorneys defend all drug crimes at the Federal and State level including:
MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol, GHB Selling prescription pills (Xanax) Cocaine and crack cocaine Conspiracy Drug cultivation and manufacturing Drug trafficking, transportation, and distribution Heroin possession and sales Marijuana possession and sales Methamphetamine manufacturing and sales Possession of chemicals for drug manufacturing Possession with intent to deliver and drugs sales False or forged prescriptions Police sting operations.
To convict a criminal defendant, the prosecutor must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As part of this process, the defendant is given an opportunity to present a defense. There are many types of defenses, from “I didn’t do it” to “I did it, but I was too drunk to know what I was doing.” Here are some of the most common defenses that criminal defendants can raise.
The Defendant Didn’t Do It
Most often defendants try to avoid punishment by claiming they did not commit the act in question.
The Presumption of Innocence
All people accused of a crime are legally presumed to be innocent until they are convicted, either in a trial or as a result of pleading guilty. This presumption means not only that the prosecutor must convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt, but also that the defendant need not say or do anything in his own defense. A defendant may simply remain silent, not present any witnesses, and argue that the prosecutor failed to prove his or her case. If the prosecutor can’t convince the jury that the defendant is guilty, the defendant goes free.
The prosecutor must convince a judge or jury of a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This heavy burden of proof in criminal cases means that judges and jurors are supposed to resolve all reasonable doubts about the defendant’s guilt in favor of the defendant. With such a high standard imposed on the prosecutor, a defendant’s most common defense is to argue that reasonable doubt of guilt exists.
The Alibi Defense
An alibi defense consists of evidence that a defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. For example, assume that Freddie is accused of committing a burglary on Elm Street at midnight on Friday, September 13. Freddie’s alibi defense might consist of testimony that at the time of the burglary, Freddie was watching Casablanca at the Maple Street Cinema.
The Defendant Did It, But…
Sometimes a defendant can avoid punishment even if the prosecutor shows that that the defendant did, without a doubt, commit the act in question.
Self-defense is a defense commonly asserted by someone charged with a crime of violence, such as battery (striking someone), assault with a deadly weapon, or murder. The defendant admits that he or she did in fact commit the crime, but claims that it was justified by the other person’s threatening actions. The core issues in most self-defense cases are:
Who was the aggressor?
Was the defendant’s belief that self-defense was necessary a reasonable one?
If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?
Self-defense is rooted in the belief that people should be allowed to protect themselves from physical harm. This means that a person does not have to wait until he or she is actually struck to act in self-defense. If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would think that he or she is about to be physically attacked, that person has the right to strike first and prevent the attack. However, an act of self-defense cannot use more force than is reasonable — someone who uses too much force may be guilty of a crime.
The Insanity Defense
The insanity defense is based on the principle that punishment is justified only if the defendant is capable of controlling his or her behavior and understanding that what he or she has done is wrong. Because some people suffering from a mental disorder are not capable of knowing or choosing right from wrong, the insanity defense prevents them from being criminally punished.
The insanity defense is an extremely complex topic; many scholarly works are devoted entirely to explaining its nuances. Here are some major points of interest:
Despite popular perceptions to the contrary, defendants rarely enter pleas of “not guilty by reason of insanity.” When they do, judges and jurors rarely uphold it.
Various definitions of insanity are in use because neither the legal system nor psychiatrists can agree on a single meaning of insanity in the criminal law context. The most popular definition is the “McNaghten rule,” which defines insanity as “the inability to distinguish right from wrong.” Another common test is known as “irresistible impulse”: a person may know that an act is wrong, but because of mental illness he or she cannot control his or her actions (this person is described as acting out of an “irresistible impulse”).
Defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity are not automatically set free. They are usually confined to a mental institution until their sanity is established. These defendants can spend more time in a mental institution than they would have spent in prison had they been convicted.
An insanity defense normally rests on the testimony of a psychiatrist, who testifies after examining the defendant, his or her history, and the facts of the case. Courts appoint psychiatrists at government expense to assist poor defendants who cannot afford to hire their own psychiatrists.
Once a defendant raises his or her sanity as a defense, he or she must submit to psychological tests conducted at the behest of the prosecution. This can be a very painful and humiliating experience, one that many defendants choose to forgo rather than rely on the insanity defense.
Under the Influence
Defendants who commit crimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol sometimes argue that their mental functioning was so impaired that they cannot be held accountable for their actions. Generally, however, voluntary intoxication does not excuse criminal conduct. Defendants know (or should know) that alcohol and drugs affect mental functioning, and thus they should be held legally responsible if they commit crimes as a result of their voluntary use.
Some states allow an exception to this general rule. If the defendant is accused of committing a crime that requires “specific intent” (intending the precise consequences, as well as intending to do the physical act that leads up to the consequences), the defendant can argue that he was too drunk or high to have formed that intent. This is only a partial defense, however, because it doesn’t entirely excuse the defendant’s actions. In this situation, the defendant will usually be convicted of another crime that doesn’t require proof of a specific intent. For example, a defendant may be prosecuted for the crime of assault with specific intent to kill but only convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, which doesn’t require specific intent.
Entrapment occurs when the government induces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish the person for committing it. However, if a judge or jury believes that a suspect was predisposed to commit the crime anyway, the suspect may be found guilty even if a government agent suggested the crime and helped the defendant to commit it. Entrapment defenses are therefore especially difficult for defendants with prior convictions for the same type of crime.
Criminal Law Myth # 1: “They didn’t read me my rights, so they have to drop the charges.”
When you’re questioned in custody, the police are required to read you your rights and offer you the opportunity to have an attorney present. However, the idea that charges must be dismissed if the police failed to read your rights is overly optimistic, and can lead to a dangerous false sense of security.
First, the police aren’t always required to read your rights before questioning you; that only comes into play during “custodial interrogation”.
Second, even if the police were required to read you your rights and failed to do so, the charges won’t necessarily be dismissed. In fact, they usually won’t. In most circumstances, if the police were required to read your rights and failed to do so, then whatever information they gathered during that questioning cannot be used against you.
Sometimes that leaves the prosecution without sufficient evidence to go ahead with the case against you, but in most cases it only means that your statement is excluded and the case moves forward without it. If other evidence exists, such as physical evidence, witnesses, or a police report, it may still be used in your case.
Criminal Law Myth # 2: “That’s entrapment!”
Entrapment has a very specific meaning in the criminal justice system, and it doesn’t mean most of the things that the average person believes that it means. In simple terms, entrapment means that law enforcement officers led you to do something that you wouldn’t have done unless they’d encouraged you to do it.
The fact that the government provided the opportunity to commit the crime is generally not sufficient to establish entrapment if you were ready and willing to commit the crime. This includes trying to buy illegal drugs or solicit prostitution from an undercover police officer.
Criminal Law Myth # 3: “My juvenile record is sealed.”
It’s certainly true that most juvenile criminal records can be sealed, but if you have a juvenile criminal record, chances are good that it has not been sealed unless you took specific action to make that happen. Although many people assume that juvenile criminal records are automatically sealed, most states require that you make a request or a motion in order to have your records sealed. If you have a juvenile criminal history and have been assuming that your records are sealed, check into the laws in your state. You will probably need to take legal action if you wish to have your juvenile criminal record sealed.