Category Archives:Los Angeles

Warning: fopen(/home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/ait-cache/_wplatte/_snippets.content-nav.php-3006f3b579b31e45dd5b47e071c6c4e7.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/AIT/Framework/Libs/Nette/ on line 8439

Warning: fopen(/home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/ait-cache/_wplatte/_snippets.content-loop.php-cc93731903d922ac1f016501beda8cc9.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/AIT/Framework/Libs/Nette/ on line 8439

Tennis Umpire Cleared of Murder Charges, Gets Job Back

The murder charge against U.S. Open tennis referee Lois Goodman, 70, was recently dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Goodman was arrested in her referee uniform last August just days before the US Open. Police said she had bludgeoned her husband to death with a coffee mug in her Los Angeles home then stabbed him to death with the pieces. Goodman claimed her husband suffered a heart attack and then fell down the stairs.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office dropped the case before Goodman lawyers presented a report by former New York pathologist Michael Baden that attributed Alan Goodman’s death to heart issues and not head injuries from an assault.

The D.A.’s office did not reveal why it sought to withdraw charges in the high-profile case after a month of claiming that Lois Goodman murdered her husband. They said the case remains open. However, the pathology report that disputed the coroner’s finding reveals the head wound portrayed as deadly was, in fact, superficial.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck defended his department’s handling of the investigation. He said investigators were “largely guided” by information obtained through the coroner’s office. “And some other information came up that contradicted some of that. So this is in the D.A.’s hands right now,” Beck said.

Goodman, said she found her husband dead at their Woodland Hills home. She told authorities that she came home and found a bloody trail up the stairs to their bedroom. She believed he had fallen, then made his way to bed. Responding officers believed her and the home was cleaned up.

But three days later, a coroner’s investigator visited the mortuary to sign the death certificate and reported he found ”deep penetrating blunt force trauma” on Alan Goodman’s head and ears. The observations launched a homicide investigation. In a search warrant, a detective described how investigators had found blood throughout the home.

Lois Goodman’s lawyers later revealed that the tennis umpire’s DNA wasn’t even found on the alleged murder weapon. She also passed a defense-arranged polygraph test conducted by a former FBI examiner, according to her lawyers.

The USTA reinstated Goodman as a professional referee in the wake of the decision by prosecutors to drop charges that she bludgeoned her husband to death.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call Don Ho Law at 714-748-7715 to speak with an experienced and aggressive attorney who can help you fight the charges.

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wal-Mart May Be Named in Lawsuit Over Lost Wages

On November 30th, warehouse workers in Southern California have filed a petition in court to name Wal-Mart as a defendant in a federal wage-theft lawsuit, marking a significant turn in low-wage supply chain workers’ fight with the world’s largest retailer. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek back pay and damages for workers who allege they were cheated out of wages at a Mira Loma warehouse that serves Wal-Mart.

The addition of Wal-Mart in the ongoing federal suit would draw the nation’s largest retailer into a case that raises questions about the human cost of the company’s tightly controlled supply chain.

A court document filed in Los Angeles claims, “recent discovery has established that Wal-Mart bears ultimate responsibility for the violations of state and federal law committed against plaintiff warehouse workers,” who “perform hard physical labor for long hours with little pay under hot, hazardous, and dust-filled conditions, unloading and loading trucks destined for Wal-Mart stores and distribution centers throughout the United States.”

A lawyer for the workers stated,  “we believe Wal-Mart knows exactly what is happening and is ultimately responsible for stealing millions of dollars from the low-wage warehouse workers who move Wal-Mart merchandise.”

The class-action lawsuit, filed in October 2011, accuses Schneider Logistics Transloading and Distribution, owner of a warehouse complex in Mira Loma, and two staffing agencies of shorting contract workers on pay.

In an email, Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman argued the allegation that the company was accountable for the maltreatment of the warehouse workers.

“We disagree with the characterization,” Fogelman said. “Wal-Mart is Schneider’s customer. We have a set of business needs that we pay them to meet, just like any company might hire an accounting firm to do taxes or an advertising firm to help launch a new product.” Fogelman also states the third party service providers, which Wal-Mart utilizes, are responsible for running their day-to-day business and manage their people independently of Wal-Mart. In a statement earlier this month, however, Fogelman said Wal-Mart was aware of problems at warehouses that serve the company. According to Fogelman, Wal-Mart had started inspecting facilities where concerns had been raised and would begin audits of warehouses such as Schneider “within days.”

The lawsuit alleges that Schneider and staffing agencies Premier Warehousing Ventures and Impact Logistics conspired to “cover up the extent of their wrongdoing by failing to keep mandatory payroll records, falsifying records of hours worked and compensation owed, and concealing, denying and/or misrepresenting to the workers the amount of their earnings and on what basis these earnings were calculated.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have already secured several favorable rulings. If the court approves adding Wal-Mart, the Schneider warehouse’s only customer, to the case, lawyers for the workers will seek to prove that the company pressured Schneider to hold down costs by underpaying subcontractors who loaded semitrailers with goods destined for Wal-Mart stores. As many as 1,800 workers in Southern California could receive back pay and damages as a result of the case, and the impacts could be felt in other warehouse centers as well.

The success or failure of the suit could have wider implications for workers who try to sue subcontractors. Much of the retail sector’s supply chain is now founded on a system of outsourcing, where larger, brand-name players subcontract the work to smaller, little-seen players, who hold the legal liability for workers’ well-being. A similar prearrangement now persists in many food-processing and manufacturing operations as well.

Many hardworking laborers are exploited by the companies they work for, often being denied the very basic right to know what they had earned for the work that they were doing. Some workers are denied minimum wage, while others are not being paid appropriately for overtime worked. 

If you or someone you know believes they have a workplace complaint, call Don Ho Law at 714-748-7715 to speak with an experienced employment law attorney who can discuss your options with you.
Published by Don Ho Law.  Don Ho is a criminal defense and employment law attorney in Orange County, California.

Enhanced by Zemanta

La Puente High School Soccer Players Accused of Hazing and Sexual Assault

Four teenage soccer players have accused teammates at La Puente High School of luring them into a ritual of hazing and sexual assault to initiate them into the varsity soccer team, on school grounds, in a room next to the coach’s office. 

The victims were as young as 14 years old and the alleged events are believed to have happened in May. One player was allegedly hospitalized.

The victims’ attorney said the soccer coach “lured young boys to a back room to facilitate varsity members of the team sexually assaulting the boys by attempting to sodomize them with a foreign object… This has been taking place for at least two years, possibly longer,” the attorney said. The victims’ attorney has also claimed the school attempted to cover up the hazing incidents and that they “knew or should have known that these horrific acts were being carried out on school grounds.”

Officials said a mother of one of the alleged victims alerted authorities in early September after she heard her son crying in his room and he told her what happened.

The coach of the boys’ soccer team has been placed on paid administrative leave, said Barbara Nakaoka, superintendent of Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. Nakaoka declined to identify the coach. “This is deeply disturbing to me and the entire community,” Nakaoka said. “We do not and will not turn a blind eye to reports of harassment or hazing.”

Four people were cited and could face charges, pending a review by the Los Angeles District Attorney, said Sgt. Dan Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit. Three of the four people arrested are minors, and one has since turned 18, according to Scott. These four people were night identified and all four were released to their parents.

“We believe there was hazing and assault, but no teachers or faculty members are believed to be involved,” Scott said. He said authorities conducted interviews with more than 70 boys at the high school, but noted that the investigation is ongoing. Sheriff’s officials were notified of the accusations about two weeks ago, following a complaint from the mother of one the alleged victims. “We are looking at all sports because the allegations of assault occurred over a few years, and there are multiple allegations,” Scott said.

Parents arrived on campus Monday to vent their frustration and demand answers. They displayed signs and banners, calling for school officials to be held accountable if the allegations prove true. School officials told reporters Monday that they are cooperating with law enforcement and have taken immediate steps to determine whether any policies were violated.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault or have been accused of committing sexual assault, it is important to seek immediate representation from experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. It’s every parent’s desire to see their children grow to be healthy productive individuals, but often times kids make mistakes and find themselves within the legal system. Attorney Don Ho, LLP, is experienced in representing juveniles in delinquency cases and navigating the long term consequences of those being accused.

Suspect Arrested in L.A. Arson Rampage

Harry Burkhart was arrested on Monday in connection with a four-night arson rampage that have caused millions of dollars of property damage in the Los Angeles area.
Nightly Car BonfireImage by strangnet via Flickr

The suspected arsonist is believed to be connected with at least 53 fires that have been reported since Thursday, December 29.  Eleven fires were reported on the morning of Monday, January 2 alone, and the majority of them were started in the city of Los Angeles.  Officials say the fires caused at least $3 million in damage to vehicles and structures, and the city spent considerable money shifting officers into the area to capture the arsonist. 

A deputy reserve sheriff made the initial traffic stop that led to the arrest of the suspect.  Materials that could have been used to set fires were found by detectives inside the suspect’s minivan.  “I feel very good that we’ve got the right guy,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck.” (The suspect) had the right stuff in his van, and we are very confident we found our man.” 
According to police information, Burkhart was a 24-year-old German national who carried travel papers from Chechnya.  He had spent time in Germany but had lived in Southern California for the last several years.  While the investigation remains ongoing, reports have surfaced that Burkhart may have been upset over his mother’s potential deportation. 
Burkhart was originally scheduled to be arraigned in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday afternoon, but the arraignment was postponed until January 24.  Burkhart’s bail was set at $2.85 million and he was ordered to surrender his passport.  Until a suspect is formally charged, Los Angeles residents have been warned to keep a closer watch on their own and their neighbor’s property, and to report any suspicious activity to police. 
Under California law, arson can be considered a felony that carries severe punishments depending on the damage caused.  Although, no one has been hurt by the fires, there has been widespread damage to vehicles and structures, and Burkhart was booked on suspicion of arson of an inhabited dwelling.
Below is an example of the types of penalties and punishment you may face if you are convicted under California’s arson laws.
Misdemeanor reckless burning  (Penal Code 452 PC)
  • Informal  probation
  • Up to one year in a county jail, and/or 
  • A fine of up to $1,000.
Felony arson or reckless burning (under either Penal Code 451 or 452 PC)
  • 16 months to nine years in the California State Prison (16 months to three years in the state prison if convicted of attempted arson)
  • Up to $50,000 in fines, or twice the amount of an actual or anticipated gain (if the prosecutor proves that you set the fire for financial gain), and 
  • A possible strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes Law. (This penalty only applies if you are convicted of malicious arson under Penal Code 451 PC
Aggravated arson (California Penal Code 452.1)
“Aggravated” instances of arson will be punished even more severely than “typical” felony arson charges.  You face an additional and consecutive sentence of one to five years in the California State Prison if any of the following circumstances exist:
  • You have a prior felony conviction for malicious or reckless arson under either Penal Code 451 or 452 PC,
  • A firefighter, officer, or other emergency personnel suffers great bodily injury (defined as a significant or substantial physical injury) as a result of the offense, (for a more detailed discussion, visit our page on the legal definition of great bodily injury)
  • You caused multiple structures to burn, or
  • In the commission of the offense, you used a device to accelerate the fire or to delay ignition.
Because the punishment and penalties are so severe for an arson conviction, it is critical to secure legal representation from a skilled California criminal defense lawyer.  He or she understands the many defenses that may cause arson or reckless burning charges to be reduced or even dismissed.  If you’re facing arson charges or any other serious criminal offense, contact the Orange County Criminal Law firm of Don Ho, LLP immediately for assistance on building your defense.
All factual information taken from the Los Angeles Times

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dr. Conrad Murray Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter for the Death of the King of Pop

Cropped from :File:Michael Jackson Star on Hol...Image via Wikipedia On November 7, a Los Angeles jury in the well-publicized criminal trial Dr. Conrad Murray found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.  Dr. Murray will remain in custody pending his November 29 sentencing.  He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison and likely the loss of his medical license.
Following a seven-month investigation, Michael Jackson’s private physician, Dr. Murray, was formally charged with a violation of Penal Code 192(b) PC California’s involuntary manslaughter law.  The complaint, filed by the county district attorney’s office, alleged that Dr. Murray in violation of , “did unlawfully and without malice kill Michael Joseph Jackson, a human being, in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony; and in the commission of a lawful act which might have produced death, in an unlawful manner, and without due caution and circumspection.”  More specifically, the violation was for administering a lethal dose of propofol, a powerful anesthetic, to Jackson, which led to the singer’s death.
Despite a lengthy investigation and trial, the jury only took a day-and-a-half to come back with a guilty verdict.  Jury members are now able to discuss the case with the public, however, California law prohibits them from profiting from discussion of the case for at least 90 days.
Although it is a serious felony, involuntary manslaughter is the least severe of the possible homicide charges.
California Penal Code 192(b) PC defines “involuntary manslaughter” as an unlawful killing that takes place
  1. during the commission of an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony), or
  2. during the commission of a lawful act which involves a high risk of death or great bodily harm that is committed without due caution or circumspection.
It is an unlawful killing that is done without malice or intent to kill, and the maximum prison sentence is four years.
Hopefully with the news of the guilty verdict, Michael Jackson’s family, friends and fans will be able to find closure after the King of Pop’s tragic and untimely death.
If you’re facing involuntary manslaughter charges or any other serious criminal offense, contact the Orange County Criminal Law firm of Don Ho, LLP immediately for assistance on building your defense.
All factual information taken from the Los Angeles Times
Enhanced by Zemanta

Warning: fopen(/home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/ait-cache/_wplatte/_snippets.content-nav.php-3006f3b579b31e45dd5b47e071c6c4e7.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/donholaw/public_html/wp-content/themes/lawyer/AIT/Framework/Libs/Nette/ on line 8439