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LOS ANGELES CRIMINAL DEFENSE BLOG

The Case for Decriminalizing Drugs

The United States is just coming to the realization that treating illicit drugs as purely a criminal matter has limited effectiveness in dealing with the problem, that it costs our government untold millions, and has led to one of the largest prison populations in the world. For all of the time, money, and effort the nation has expended to eliminate drug use, trafficking and the many other undesirable consequences, we find ourselves almost 50 years into the effort with little to show for it. Symbolic of the official attitude toward drugs is the federal government’s War on Drugs.

The War on Drugs

Obama Pardons Prison Sentences

This week President Obama pardoned or commuted the sentences of 231 prisoners, making it the largest single-day clemency announcement of his presidency. The majority of the pardons and commutations over the past eight years of his presidency have been given to people with non-violent drug convictions, thus shedding a light on one of the biggest issues facing our nation: incarceration related to illicit drugs.

President Obama Pardons 231 Prison Sentences

Drugs have been for years a part of the national dialogue in all sectors of American culture – political, social, and, most noticeably, in popular culture. It seems that a sizeable segment of the population has a desire to get high, and a cursory look at history hints that this has long been the case.

Prop 47 and Decreasing Participation in Diversion Programs

The Decreasing Participation in Drug Diversion Programs

A story relayed a few months ago in the newspaper provided interesting insight into just how the controversial Prop 47 had changed day-to-day procedures within the LAPD. As many will remember, Proposition 47 turned certain felonies, like drug possession, into misdemeanors, with the corresponding promise that dollars saved on locking up drug users would be put into treatment.

Two officers had detained a homeless man who had set up a rough encampment under a freeway underpass. While one officer carefully watched the handcuffed man, the other officer gingerly rummaged under a grimy mattress, presumably the homeless man’s sleeping accommodations. This search yielded two needles and a glass pipe with a small amount of methamphetamine inside. Prior to Prop 47, the homeless man would have been hauled off to jail to face a felony charge.

Daniel Perlman on ABC 7 News

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A man accused of making two threatening phone calls against the Islamic Center of Southern California struck a very different tone during an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News.

In Jail Because They Can’t Post Bail

It’s hard to believe, but across the nation about a third of the people sitting in jail are there for one reason – they can’t afford to post bail.

Because They Can’t Post Bail They’re In Jail

According to the Prison Policy Institutes, roughly a third of the people sitting in jail cells across the nation are serving time behind bars before being convicted because they can’t afford to post bail. It’s a fact that California lawmakers are trying to change.

Actor Facing Felony Battery Charges

Actor Anthony Michael Hall has been arrested for felony battery after he allegedly broke his neighbor’s wrist.

Actor Anthony Michael Hall Facing Felony Battery Charges

Actor Anthony Michael Hall, best known for his role in the ’80s teen movie “The Breakfast Club,” was recently arrested for felony battery after he allegedly broke his neighbor’s wrist and also injured the man’s back. The altercation, which occurred in September, was captured on the security camera of the apartment complex where the two men live.

The Holidays Are the Biggest Time For Crime

The holiday season is often the biggest time for crime. If you’ve been accused of committing a crime during the holidays, you’ll want to know just what you’ll need to avoid jail time in 2017.

The Biggest Time for Crime is the Holidays

The most common crimes that occur during the holiday season are the following:

Christopher Bathum Charged with Money Laundering and Sexual Assault

Christopher Bathum, a self-described “rehab mogul,” and founder of Community Recovery of Los Angeles, was recently charged with multiple sexual assault offenses. He is also facing charges of defrauding insurers in a $175-million billing scheme, alongside his company’s CFO, Kirsten Wallace

Bathum Charged with Multiple Counts of Sexual Assault

Prosecutors have charged 55-year-old Bathum with two separate cases of sexually assaulting nine patients and laundering money. The company he founded, Community Recovery of Los Angeles, runs 19 sober-living facilities in Southern California and Colorado. Bathum has pleaded not guilty to all charges: 12 counts of furnishing drugs and 34 counts of sexual assault-related offenses, sexual exploitation, rape, and rape of an intoxicated person.

What Happened When California Decriminalized Marijuana

Noticeable (and Notable) Effects of California Marijuana Laws

Observers have seen a number of noticeable (and notable) consequences in California resulting from the gradual move toward decriminalization of marijuana laws. Prior to the relaxation of such laws, so-called experts voiced dire warnings against partial legalization, of civic disorder, increased lawlessness and a drastic rise in other drug use. For the most part these warnings have proved unfounded.

Two pivotal events have been instrumental in shaping the current marijuana landscape in the state. California Proposition 215, also known as the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative or the Compassionate Use Act, was placed on the 1996 general election ballot as an initiated state statute which was subsequently approved by the voters. The marijuana industry further expanded in California by the full decriminalization of marijuana that went into effect in January of 2011 when possession of one ounce (28.5 grams) or less of marijuana became an infraction, punishable only by a maximum $100 fine (plus fees), given that the possessor had no criminal record.

Nightclub Owner Sentenced for Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking

According to authorities, a Pico Rivera nightclub owner was recently sentenced to prison for money laundering and his involvement in a drug-trafficking ring operating within the United States and Mexico.

Edgar Fragoso Sentenced in Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking Case

Edgar Fragoso, the owner and general manager of El Rodeo nightclub, has admitted to laundering roughly $235,000 in cash through his nightclub based in Pico Rivera. Fragoso’s plea deal called for all but one of the money laundering charges against him to be dismissed. As part of that same plea deal, Fragoso surrendered his liquor license. Additionally, Fragoso received a two-year split-sentence of prison and home detention and was ordered to pay a $14,000 fine and complete a three-year term of supervised release.

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