Schwartz & Powell

Articles in "homicide"

Intent Matters: Not Guilty Murder In The First Degree

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Schwartz & Powell, the most experienced and accomplished homicide or murder criminal defense lawyers in Ventura County, have done it again.

Robert I. "Bobby" Schwartz's client was found not guilty of murder in the first degree when so charged along with a gang special allegation. His client was facing life in prison without possibility of parole.

Architects of CA Death Penalty Say No To DP: Yes to Prop 34

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

California’s death penalty will be abolished by a Yes vote on Proposition 34 in November. Proposition 34 imposes life without parole for first degree murder. Those urging the abolition of the death penalty include social progressives but a growing number of fiscal conservatives joined the fight against the death penalty in favor of Proposition 34.

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.

The Death Penalty- A Ventura Criminal Defense Lawyer's Thoughts

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Any Ventura County criminal defense lawyer knows it costs a fortune to prosecute death penalty cases. I knew this when I was a Deputy District Attorney for Ventura County prosecuting capital murder. Nothing defending death penalty cases has changed my mind.

What I would like you to think about today is the cost of the death penalty system in California. It costs a lot of money the State can't afford.

PLEA BARGAINING: REPRESENTATION RIGHTS

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Ventura County criminal defense lawyers with any substantial experience realize, when the proof is there, a defendant should know about and consider plea bargaining. Not every criminal charge should go to trial.

Keep Your Eyes On The Road, Your Hands Upon The Wheel

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Jim Morrison of the Doors would be the last person in the world to teach Driver Safety Classes but for all his issues his lyric perfectly states what a driver’s duty is--pay attention.

Inattentive driving will have you talking to a Ventura County criminal defense lawyer faster than you can say “reckless driving …driving under the influence . .. vehicular manslaughter or murder.”

Vacation Not Incarceration: Alcohol Fueled Crimes

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Spring is here and summer nears. We should all have a lot of fun at the beaches, lakes, mountains and deserts near Ventura. But be careful. Drunkenly and recklessly causing any injury of significance could easily elevate too much sun and wine into a prison case. California criminal law is full of pitfalls for the unwary.

Vacation Not Incarceration: Alcohol Fueled Crimes

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Spring is here and summer nears. We should all have a lot of fun at the beaches, lakes, mountains and deserts near Ventura. But be careful. Drunkenly and recklessly causing any injury of significance could easily elevate too much sun and wine into a prison case. California criminal law is full of pitfalls for the unwary.

Fourth Amendment Stripped Naked

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution used to prohibit unreasonable search and seizures. The present United States Supreme Court seems not to understand this fundamental principle of constitutional and procedural criminal law.

Stop the Death Penalty in November 2012

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

The Death Penalty faces a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" vote in November 2012 when the punishment hits the California ballot. Earlier this week 800,000 signatures of registered voters looking to abolish the barbaric practice of killing convicted killers have been delivered to Sacramento. The demise of State authorized homicide will be in the electorate's hands this election year.

Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter: " Infracticide"

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Almost if not all licensed drivers in the State of California and Ventura have committed a variety of minor Vehicle Code infractions. These violations range from illegal lane changes, speeding a few miles over the speed limit, rolling through a stop sign in the fabled “California stop,” to violations such as failure to yield, passing unlawfully and a big fine violation of blocking an intersection while making a left hand turn. Ordinarily, if one is guilty of these offenses, one pays a fine and suffers a few points added to his or her license for DMV purposes. There is no probation, jail or criminal fine above that for the ticket itself. These offenses are infractions of interest to DMV, your insurer, your employer if you drive as part of your job.

U.S. Supreme Court : No GPS Tracking Without Warrant

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

The United States Supreme Court recently said warrantless GPS tracking of a cocaine dealer is a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. They reversed his conviction because in this drug case the motion to suppress evidence properly should have been granted. The evidence was obtained through secretly tracking the dealer with a GPS device law enforcement planted under the dealer’s automobile. The court in U.S. v. Jones decided 9-0 that GPS tracking requires a warrant.

“I Don’t Want to Talk”: Police Interrogation

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

Most people believe their rights under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent and not allow police interrogation must be respected by law enforcement. After all, the Fifth Amendment is the law so why would law enforcement try to break the law by violating Miranda? That doesn’t make good common sense. Don’t we want to ensure the police don’t browbeat citizens suspected of criminal conduct? Don’t the police want to obey the law in conducting their business?

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.