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San Diego Judge Refuses to Lose His Bias Now Finds a Formal Complaint
Is it about time? It was reported today that a San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep has had a formal complaint made against him that could lead to his removal from the Bench.
The Complaint details how Kreep repeatedly made racially and sexually charged comments in court and some that were both racially and sexually charged, like speaking to a Taiwanese prosecutor about Chinese prostitutes.
The Complaint also includes information on how then candidate Kreep did not end his political activities as required of persons running for Judge.
Kreep was also a “birther”, a person who was claiming President Obama was not a natural born United States citizen and falsified his Hawaii birth certificate. Maybe that should have been enough to bar him from becoming a Judge if it demonstrated that he could not be objective when weighing facts in controversy. After all, that IS what a judge is supposed to do. And lawyers who appear before judges often will openly express a concern regarding openly biased decisions.
San Diego Defenders has openly commented that we believe that being a “former prosecutor” is a potential detriment to makings of a good criminal defense and DUI defense attorney. That is to say, if you are a prosecutor and your job is to convict those charged of a crime, it is a hard habit to shake once you become a defense lawyer. Arguably, it is the prosecutorial bias.
The “bias argument” can be made against judges that are former prosecutors. It is hard to change your prosecutorial bias overnight and indeed it does take some –re-programming! This leads to the same argument against “birthers” running for public office. Main stream media is reminding Trump and Clinton in this election season that they both had a “birther bias”. Bias is almost always an issue during an election.
Judges are elected (despite many conveniently being appointed months before the election where they run as a “sitting judge”). The bias many voters have is to elect the so-called “sitting judge” although the voter is unaware that the judge had been sitting for only a few months. How then did Judge Kreep slip in on the bench? He was elected on one of the few political races each decade in which there was no sitting judge previously appointed. Lawyer Gary Kreep ran against lawyer Garland Peed. That’s right, it was “Kreep vs. Peed” a memorable matchup! Birther Kreep won and now it seems to be haunting him just before Halloween 2016.
The “birthers” never claimed that Obama’s mother was not a United States citizen. Birthers only claimed Obama was born outside the United States and therefore did not meet the constitutional definition of a natural born citizen. Setting aside the fact that nearly every legal scholar who has studied the issue has concluded that if a person is born to a United States citizen, they then are a natural born citizen (Just ask Ted Cruz, born in Canada or John McCain born in Panama ), to push the birther concept may show a lack of judgment. And, to be fair, both Trump and Clinton appeared to have made the same argument. That is not what this article is about.
“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President….” This is from Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. Whether or not a person is natural born or not is only significant for one reason, whether they can become President. There is no other use or significance for this term.
So, a “birther” was asking us to believe that back in 1961, when many Black Americans were prevented from even voting, the Civil Rights Movement at its height, racism and discrimination everywhere, Obama’s mother decided to fake his birth certificate so he could be a citizen and perhaps President someday.
Anyone can see how Judge Kreep got off to a bad start. But to ignore his duty to set ANY BIAS aside as a judge seems to have been his undoing and the basis on the serious challenge he now faces in remaining on the bench.
San Diego Defenders (619) 258-8888
Can I Get a Marijuana DUI if I Have a Medical Marijuana Card?
In California, with medical marijuana being legal and the decriminalization of pot possession for personal use (it is now not a crime, just a ticket), many people are confused about whether you can get arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. The simple answer is, you can.
It used to be that the law concerning DUI’s said it was illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. To try and clarify things, these laws have now been separated. Vehicle Code section 23152(a) says it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Vehicle Code section 23152 section(e) says it is illegal to drive while under the influence of any drug. Finally, Vehicle Code section 23152(f) says it is illegal to drive while under the influence of a combination of alcohol and any drug. To be clear, a “drug” can be any illegal drug, marijuana or any prescription drug whether or not you have a prescription.
As far as marijuana or pot is concerned, if you do not have any alcohol in your system, then it falls under section (e). If you also had something to drink, then it is section (f).
What Does Under the Influence of Marijuana Mean for DUI’s?
Marijuana DUI’s are far more subjective than alcohol DUI’s. With alcohol, there is a “legal limit.” If you drive and are 0.08% or more, that is illegal all on its own, even if you actually are not impaired. But, with marijuana, there is no set “legal limit.” That is for two reasons, first, there simply has never been a law passed that sets a legal limit for pot or marijuana. Second, and the biggest reason no legal limit has ever been set, there is essentially no reliable science to base a limit on.
While there is a fair amount of research that says most people are not safe to drive at 0.08% or more, there is almost no research on driving and being high on marijuana. I have heard prosecution experts testify that if you have even the tiniest amount of the active ingredient of marijuana in your system, you are unsafe to drive. That is simply not true. At the other end of the spectrum, some research has concluded that drivers at a moderate level of intoxication with marijuana, a little high, are statistically safer than your average sober person.
Currently, to be guilty of a marijuana DUI, you have to be so impaired by the marijuana that you cannot drive with the same care and caution of a sober person.
WARNING – Several groups are currently working to get propositions on the California ballot this June seeking to legalize marijuana here. Some are using the same model used in Colorado, who recently legalized pot. They set a “legal limit” for marijuana of 5 nanograms of THC-9. Almost anyone who smokes marijuana, especially if they do so regularly, will easily have 5 nanograms in their blood system if they smoked any time recently, whether they are actually high or impaired or not. A similar proposed law was defeated in Sacramento in 2014.
How Do They Determine If You Were Too High to Be Driving?
First, the police will look for symptoms of being “stoned.” They are trained to look for red/watery eyes, an odor of marijuana, problems remember ing things and keeping track of time. They will make you do field sobriety tests, but, they are of little value in determining if someone is impaired by the pot they used.
Second, they will test your blood or urine to see how much is in your system. Blood tests for marijuana look to see how much THC-9 is in your system. That is the primary active ingredient in marijuana that makes someone feel high and could impair them. The test will also look to see how much of the metabolites you have in your system, primarily THC-11.
Many prosecutors will not even file a pot DUI unless the person had at least 10 nanograms (ng) of THC-9 in their blood test. Anecdotal evidence suggests most people would be pretty “high” at that level. It is also useful to look at how much of the metabolite is present. The larger the amount of THC-11 as compared with THC-9 means the person is on the downside of the effects of the marijuana. The bigger the THC-11 compared to the THC-9, the further and further back towards totally sober the person is.
Very few lawyers really understand the science, or lack thereof, concerning marijuana absorption, how it affects the mind and body, how it is measured and the research concerning driving. If you get arrested for a marijuana DUI, it is critical to get a lawyer who does.
Medical Marijuana Cards
Whether or not you have a medical marijuana card or not really doesn’t affect a marijuana DUI case. It could help in negotiations or at trial to show you are used to the effects of marijuana. But, there is not exception to the law if you have a medical marijuana card.
MADD is A Non-Profit Scam
No one is going to argue that drunk driving is not dangerous and a very poor and irresponsible choice. But, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) should not be exploiting the tragedies that come from drunk driving to be perpetuating their existence and high salaried executives.
Recently, reports have been coming out from non-profit watchdog groups about how MADD really is not accomplishing anything anymore except making money for themselves.
For example, when propositions were on the ballot to make it easier for drunk driving victims to sue insurance companies if they did not pay off quickly, you would think MADD would be all for them. Helping the victims, right? No, MADD opposed the measures arguing that they could lead to drunk drivers suing, even after that claim was totally debunked. Why? Maybe it was the donations that exceeded a million dollars MADD got from insurance companies.
There are a lot of exploiters in the world. But, when an organization holds itself out as a noble cause and simply uses that to take advantage of the suffering of others for its own gain, then they are the worse type of hypocrites.
The executives at MADD make huge salaries. That only continues if they keep brining in donations. That only happens if they perpetuate fear of drinking and driving. That goes hand and hand with seeking harsher and harsher penalties for DUI and broader and broader laws lowering legal limits et cetera.
MADD now spends nearly two thirds of the money it brings in on paying its leaders and paying for advertising to get more donations. Their initial primary purpose, educating the public about the potential dangers of drunk driving, has been accomplished. People are as aware of that as they are the risks of smoking.
Our police are cashing in through MADD, too. Many of the DUI checkpoints we see are paid for by MADD. The cops are paid overtime to run them. They happily do so, even though it has been proven that they catch more drunk drivers with the same number of cops on patrol, rather than standing around a checkpoint.
MADD even makes statistical claims that are shown to be untrue. It is time for everyone to get mad at MADD and our politicians, like the Senators in Sacramento who just voted to require ignition interlock devices for ALL first time DUI’s who happily buy in to MADD’s crap so they can look tough on crime.
It Is Important to Hire an Affordable Lawyer Close to Court in Chula Vista South Division of San Diego Superior Court !
San Diego Defenders, APC is located across the street from the Chula Vista’s San Diego Superior Court, South Division. Why is that so important? I am Daniel Smith, the supervising attorney for San Diego Defenders and I am a third generation lawyer. My father, the late Judge Ralph G. Smith, Jr. handled thousands of DUI (or DWI as they are known in AZ) used to say to me that the letter of the law was important. However, the Judge said, “you cannot underestimate the value of a lawyer who knows all the court personnel including the judges, prosecutors and the clerks that run the court!” If you are going to Chula Vista South Court, San Diego Defenders is across the street and has been there longer than the judges and prosecuting DA currently there.
Virtually everyday, either myself, Dan Smith, my associate attorney Jon Pettis, or my good friend Capt. Alan Spears, walks across the street and enters the courthouse known as either Chula Vista Court of South Court. There we meet the deputy sheriffs at the door with smile. “Good morning counselor, what’s up today?” It is hard not to reply with the typical “Livin the dream, that’s all!” The clerks upstairs work hard and many times we have to ask them for favors “madam clerk, may I bother you to pull a file?” We treat them with kindness and why not? They work day in and day out to keep the wheels of justice turning. And we all know that those wheels move painfully slow by no fault of the clerks.
When we meet with the prosecutor alone, as is the case with most misdemeanors, we have to remember they are people too. Some compassionate, some neutral, some robotic (“no, I don’t have the authority to make that deal”). The fact is that we at San Diego Defenders make it a point to get to know who we are dealing with and who they are as people. What are they particularly biased against or biased for? Do they understand that active military client may have to deal with a bust in rank from their command or worse yet that they may be thrown out “disengaged”? Does the deputy district attorney understand the consequences of a first time DUI or petty theft to a student that hopes to become a nurse, doctor, or join the military just to name a few occupations? Just this morning my associate came in from South and informed me that there is a new prosecutor in Department 3 and all he says is “no” to everything. Are we going to have to set everything for trial to get his attention I asked? I hope not, said Jon. I think he is just new and does not have the confidence to make decisions so he is afraid to say yes, so we will work on him. I nodded, okay, at least I know what is up for a few weeks. If not, we may need to call a meeting with the supervising deputy district attorney about the situation.
Felony cases are different. And we know it. After arraignment, we set what is known as an RH or readiness conference. There we meet with the judge and the prosecutor at the same time. It is very important to know if the judge is a former prosecutor because sometimes they still act like one. So the approach is different and sometimes it is more important to meet with the felony disposition deputy district attorney away from the judge. Sometimes we smile and sometimes we bark, but it is important to know who you are dealing with and what their recent history has been.
San Diego Defenders is the law firm that knows Chula Vista or South Division of the San Diego Superior Court the best and it shows in our results. Call us today for an affordable payment plan for the best defense team for Chula Vista South Court. (619) 258-8888
Can I Be Charged with PC 484 –Theft or PC 459 – Burglary If I Never Even Left The Store?
A lot of people do not truly understand what can amount to a petty theft, sometimes also referred to as shoplifting, or commercial burglary. It is common for people think they have not committed a crime when they enter a store with the intent to steal a small item (or forget to pay intentionally) or that they can still get charged with committing a crime even if they do not get away with stealing anything.
For example, I had a call the other day and the young lady said, “I put some makeup in my purse, but they grabbed me before I left the store! I can’t be charged with burglary AND shoplifting!!” She told me that she wanted to become a nurse and if she was convicted the school would not accept her. And for the most part, she is right. Even if you get into the program, you cannot do “clinicals” (work on the hospital floor) while on probation. The list of problems if you are convicted goes on.
In California, to be found guilty of petty theft, the prosecution has to prove several things:
· You took possession of property that belonged to somebody else;
· You took that property without the owner’s consent;
· When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or to take it away from the owner for so long
that they would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property;
· And, you moved the property even a small distance and kept it for any period of time. (Penal Code section 484, Jury Instruction
So, even if you have not taken the makeup (in your purse) outside the store or to another section, a jury can find you have taken possession of it and intend to keep it, the crime has been committed. Of course, there are many defenses and San Diego Defenders understands them.
Everyone should keep in mind, today. Almost all stores have security cameras watching. Some can see almost every inch of the premises. Even if you are still in the store, if you hide something in your clothes or a bag, even stolen makeup can probably be seen. Other things that are important in shoplifting cases is whether the item out of its packaging or the tags are off when you picked it up, that can be a defense.
When someone is accused of shoplifting, it is important to have a defense attorney who really understands the law in order to be able to challenge all the things the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Don’t listen to your all the story from people you may know. Call us and we can evaluate your case. Your future may depend on it!