Category Archives:Crime

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Bus Driver Helps Arrest Riverside Robbery Suspect

A Riverside bus driver, Bob Owens, is credited with helping police catch a violent robbery suspect who boarded his bus in Corona when he recognized Erick Cunningham’s, 45, face from posters. 

Police said that on April 16, Cunningham, used a hammer or mallet to bludgeon a 52-year-old owner of a Riverside tobacco shop and then grabbed cash from the register. The victim was hospitalized in serious condition. 

On Thursday morning, Cunningham boarded Owen’s bus in Corona and took a window seat at the front of the bus, according to the Riverside Transit Agency.

Owens calmly waited, taking care not to appear nervous, for his opportunity to alert law enforcement that Cunningham was on his bus. 

Owens waited until he could quietly ask another bus driver to alert police during a stop. Minutes later, Owens made a stop on his route at the Galleria at Tyler, and officers were waiting.

Cunningham was being held on $1 million bail. He is expected to appear in court Monday to face felony charges.

If you are facing a criminal charge, you will need an aggressive and comprehensive defense by an experienced criminal attorney. Attorney Don Ho is deeply rooted in the Southern California legal community and has established relationships with several deputy district attorneys and judges in Riverside and Orange Counties. Contact Don Ho Law today for help fighting your charges and/or reducing your sentence.

Published by Don Ho Law. Don Ho is a criminal defense and employment law attorney in Riverside and Orange County, California. 

Boy Scouts of America 'Perversion Files' Published, Reveal Incidents of Misconduct in Orange County

What began as a newspaper investigation unearthed several hundred descriptions of abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.

This Thursday, thousands of pages of secret “perversion files” kept by the Boy Scouts of America were made public. These files named 19 Orange County members banned from scouting over allegations of child sexual abuse. Previosly, 28 Orange County cases have been made public. Together, they total 47 Orange County cases.

The Scout files were released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. They had been used in a court case there, brought and won by a plaintiff who alleged an assistant scoutmaster molested him in the 1980s.

The Scouts began keeping files on those suspected of abuse shortly after the group’s establishment in 1910, in a struggle to keep pedophiles out of its ranks. The Scouts said Thursday that the files, consisting of handwritten letters, memos from local leaders, police reports, and newspaper clippings, helped them track offenders and keep children safe.

Though there are numerous documented cases within the files, it is not clear whether the Scout leaders took allegations of abuse to the police in cases that occurred within Orange County. Deron Smith, spokesman for the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has said the Scouts now require all leaders and volunteers to report any instance of abuse to police.

The files hold specific instances of convicted child molesters and sexual offenders serving as Scoutmasters and working directly with children. The files feature cases that span two and one-half decades, from 1959 to 1985. They indicate that a convicted child molester once served as a local Scoutmaster, a registered sex offender worked with a Santa Ana Scout pack and a man later hospitalized as a “sexual psychopath” helped lead a Scout troop in Orange.

One Orange County scout leader, Kenneth Morgan Harper, was listed on the Megan’s Law website as a registered sex offender. Harper was sent to prison for child molestation more than 20 years after the Scouts removed him from a Buena Park troop for having a police record of “sexual perversion”.

Also the files indicate that any effort to keep the sexual deviants out of the Scouts were disorganized and lacked guidance. Within the files there exists at least on memo from a Scouting executive pleading for better guidance on how to handle abuse allegations.

This was the second big release of files detailing allegations of abuse within the Scouts. A set released in the early 1990s as part of another court case detailed nearly 1,900 cases from 1971 through 1991.

Former Boy Scouts still struggle to cope with the abuse they suffered at the hands of Scout leaders, and those who are willing to tell the stories of their abuse have come to feel abandoned by an organization considered a pillar of American society. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, or have been accused of committing sexual abuse, it is important to have representation from qualified attorneys. The attorney at Don Ho Law, is deeply rooted in the Southern California legal community and has established relationships with several district attorneys and judges in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, which can make all the different in the success of your case.

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Juvenile to be Tried as Adult

The Orange County district attorney’s office announced on Tuesday that teenager Jesse Shockey,  accused of murdering a 19-year-old man during a fight in a Huntington Beach park, will be tried as an adult.  Shockey, 16, of Garden Grove, is being charged with one felony count of murder and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.  If he is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.

In most cases, when a minor is accused of committing a crime in California the minor is adjudicated within the juvenile delinquency system. However, in serious cases, the law allows (and sometimes requires) the minor be tried as an adult in adult criminal court.

A minor tried in adult court faces the prospect of a lengthy sentence in adult prison with adult offenders.   At worst, a minor adjudicated within the juvenile system faces commitment to the California Youth Authority until the age of 25.

In the state of California, juveniles can be prosecuted as adults in several ways.  One way is when a prosecutor makes a request and a judge approves.  Another way is when a juvenile commits a serious crime.

If the prosecutor wants to charge a minor as an adult, whether or not the minor can remain in juvenile court comes down to what a judge decides during the minor’s fitness hearing.  A fitness hearing is a legal proceeding where a juvenile court judge decides whether a minor who has been accused of violating a criminal law is “fit” for the juvenile court system.  The judge will look at five factors, including the seriousness of the alleged crime, to determine whether the minor is likely to benefit from the rehabilitative services of juvenile delinquency court.  If the judge decides that the minor is “fit” for the juvenile system, the minor stays in juvenile court.  If the judge decides that the minor won’t benefit from those services, the minor gets transferred to adult court.

Another way a juvenile can be prosecuted as an adult is dependent on the severity of the alleged crime.  Under Proposition 21, prosecutors have the discretion to charge a juvenile as an adult if a serious crime was allegedly committed.   The law says the minor must be tried in adult court in cases of murder with special circumstances, if the prosecutor alleges that the minor personally killed the victim.  Additionally, in the following sex offenses, if the prosecutor alleges that the minor personally committed the offense and other extenuating circumstances: rape with force, violence or threat of great bodily harm; spousal rape with force; violence or threat of great bodily harm; forcible sex in concert with another; lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 with force, violence or threat of great bodily injury; forcible sexual penetration, sodomy or oral copulation by force, violence or threat of great bodily injury.

The gate to to nowhere - Juvenile Court on New...

Nevertheless, minors are never eligible to receive the death penalty.   The United States Supreme Court made this clear in the 2005 case of Roper v. Simmons holding that such a penalty for a juvenile constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  In 2010, the nation’s highest court further clarified in Graham v. Florida that a minor convicted of a non-homicide crime cannot be sentenced to “life without parole” (LWOP).  California courts are conflicted over the issue of whether a minor can constitutionally be sentenced to an “effective life sentence,” such as 110 years, but the California Supreme Court has agreed to review the issue in a gang-related case out of Los Angeles involving attempted murder.
If you or a loved one is a juvenile and is facing a criminal charge, it is important that you speak with an experienced juvenile crimes attorney.  Contact the Orange and Riverside County Criminal Law firm of Don  Ho, LLP immediately for assistance on building your defense.
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