Saturday, June 17, 2006


Its Summer of 2006 and the Supreme Court of the United States basically just decided that Law Enforcement does not have to follow basic long excepted procedure in order to search your house. It continues to amaze me at how our personal liberties and rights to privacy are literally disappearing daily and no one seems to care. Unfortunately its not until we are confronted face to face with the criminal justice system that we realize how truly messed up it is. We all watch WAY too much television and our knowledge of HOW our criminal justice system works and functions has largely been spoon fed to us not from school, lawyers or reality sources; but shows like OZ, CSI and Law and Order.

MYTH #1: JAIL IS NOT HOT, SEXY OR FUN. Despite what many of our porno movies and episodes of OZ have shown us; anyone who actually spent time in either a county, local or state penal institution will tell you that JAIL is living HELL. Lucky for our community, LA County Jail does have a "gay ward" where gay inmates are segregated from the general population. They are segregated because if they weren't many of us would get beaten to a pulp. However, the "gay ward" is still no Holiday Inn. As many of us have read, our local jail system is horribly over crowded and heaven forbid you are ill or have HIV Positive and are subjected to this place. Although recently I have found the local jail staffing to be OVER accommodating for people who are in custody with special needs; if you are in one of these places and do not have a private lawyer to help you through your "stay," your situation is grave indeed.

MYTH #2: POLICE HAVE TO INFORM YOU THEY ARE POLICE, WHEN ASKED. After working in the legal system for over 16 years now, it still amazes me of how much of the general population believe that Police Officers or other Law Enforcement members must disclose their status if simply asked. The myth clearly came from television as it is so totally illogical if you take the time to think about it; how would anyone ever get caught?

MYTH #3: POLICE NEED A "REASON" TO PULL YOU OVER OR QUESTION YOU. Yes, there is something called "probable cause" which states that Law Enforcement must technically have a reasonable belief as to criminal activity or the violation of some law to approach you. However, the court system has become so lax on this requirement; Law Enforcement can basically come up with any excuse should they choose to simply "mess" with you. I love it when I get attitude at parties or gatherings because I am a criminal defense attorney. Most people think they will NEVER have any interaction with someone of my ilk as their behavior is NEVER illegal. I then explain to them that 90% of my clients never thought they would ever be in my office and it could have to each and every one of them.

MYTH #4: THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WORKS, IS FUNCTIONAL AND CAN BE RELIED UPON TO PROTECT "YOUR RIGHTS." As it stands today, the criminal justice system in LA County is on the verge of collapse. Although many of the people who work in this system both on the Government Sector and the Private Sector are doing their best to work "within" the system; many do not. I have personally witnessed situations where people were hauled off to jail based on simple mistakes, clerk errors or wrongful allegations made by people with a grudge. YES, you can easily become victim to these situations.

This list is far from exhausted. However, I think by reading this you get the idea. The best advice I can give, is to simply have a game plan in action should you get caught up in this system. Talk to your close friends and relatives and discuss with them YOUR wishes should you ever get caught up in this system. Have a lawyer in mind should you need one, and discuss this with your friends should you become be incapacitated to contact one.

If you have questions about this or any other legal matter please do not hesitate to contact my office at (310) 749-4LAW. Additionally, I have posted most of my old articles at FREELEGALINFO4U.BLOGSPOT. COM.