Schwartz & Powell

Articles in "Drug Crimes"

PLEA BARGAINING: A GREAT DEAL FOR WHOM?

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

The dirty little truth about plea bargaining is this: innocent people plead guilty to charges for which they are not actually guilty so as to avoid the risk of greater sentences should they be convicted at trial. People’s risk tolerance can trigger a surrender syndrome causing them to plead guilty merely to get out of jail in a reasonable time.

Eyewitness ID: Who’s on First, So Who’s on Second?

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

The old Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First . . .” comedy bit is a riot. Regrettably it is all too true for Ventura criminal defense lawyers who must fight wrongful identification testimony and citizens wrongfully accused of and then convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Any case depending on eyewitness identification depends on the witnesses’ ability to perceive, to recollect and to relate his or her observations accurately; and from time to time the examination of such witnesses does sound a bit like the Abbot and Costello routine. But it is not so funny when one’s life or liberty or fortune hangs in the balance. This type of evidence is notoriously unreliable. Any experienced Ventura lawyer knows this.

Gang Crimes and Special Allegations: Disparate Racial Impact?

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

If a a crime is committed by a targeted group of African Americans or Hispanic youths who associate with or become members of a "criminal gang" the alleged offender is often looking at more jail or prison time - and it can be decades - than an offender not so affiliated or associated.