9 posts categorized "Criminal Procedure"

March 19, 2013

Lindsay Lohan Threatens to Kill Lawyer

As if Lindsay Lohan doesn't have enough problems already! Lindsay instructs her lawyer, Mark Heller, to say no more to the judge.  Heller continued to talk.  Lindsay quietly questions him and then finally says "Oh my god, I'll kill you" (see video below).

Although New York's Heller was scolded by Lindsay's California judgesfor being incompetent when it comes to California law, my guess is that he's a tad more qualified to speak before the judge than is Lindsay.  Regardless, I just wanted to share the TMZ video with you.


Heller made a great deal for Lindsay on charges that she lied to a police officer about a car crash, drove recklessly and violated her probation concerning intertwined shoplifting and drunken-driving convictions

Lindsay pled no contest to the crimes of reckless driving and lying to cops. She will be sentenced to 90 days of inpatient rehab, followed by 30 days of community labor and a year and a half of psychological therapy. However, she will not have to serve any jail time, assuming she complies with the terms of the sentence.

What are your thoughts?

March 24, 2012

Falsely Arrested For Shoplifting

Mike Ross Headshot
Michael Ross, Attorney at Law

Have you or a loved one been falsely arrested for shoplifting?

  Handcuffs 002 Vectorportal

Everyday, innocent people who have not stolen anything are falsely arrested for shoplifting by store security or even sales staff.  Such action is usually the result of over-zealous or poorly trained security hired by the stores for the purpose of so-called “loss prevention.” 

Although many people are falsely arrested everyday, they may be unaware that they have a right to compensated with money damages for false arrest, civil assault & battery, and intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

In all too many cases, the store personnel misinterpret the innocent activities of a legitimate shopper as that of a thief.  Security or store clerks might then execute what is commonly known as a “citizen’s arrest” on the unfortunate shopper, setting in motion a series of traumatic events calculated to humiliate and intimidate the shopper.

Do Not Sign Anything!

Confession 001 seriykotik1970  Shut up 001 oriolsalvador
Do Not Admit Anything!

If you are arrested then above all, do not sign any sort of document for the store that has arrested you, and do not admit or plead guilty to anything.  Neither should you enter a guilty or no contest plea in criminal court, because this will almost certainly preclude you from successfully claiming and recovering money damages from the store.

What Is Theft Anyway?

“Theft” is defined as the taking away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. 

Can Store Personnel Actually Arrest You?

Yes, but...

Shopkeepers privilege 001In California, as in most states, there is what is known as a “shopkeeper’s privilege” for storeowners or their agents to perform a citizen’s arrest on a shoplifter.  However, this justification of using this privilege is conditioned on the arrested person actually having committed a theft.  If the arrested person has not committed a theft but is arrested, the store is civilly liable to the arrestee for money damages, and possibly for criminal false imprisonment.

Inspector clouseau 001 txmx2In many cases, an innocent shopper has examined an item of merchandise, somehow arousing the suspicions of security people who end up arresting the shopper, but the shopper had not stolen the item.

Another scenario is when a shopper takes a bag or shopping cart outside of the store – sometimes just a matter of inches and for only a moment – simply to hail a friend or relative.  Cases like these and many others occur ending with false arrests every day.

False arrest victim 002 the GOnce the innocent shopper is arrested, the person is usually handcuffed (although this raises the issue of excessive force, which is impermissible in any arrest) and taken to some windowless office in the back of the store.  There, it is common for security people to use intimidating tactics to force the arrest person into signing a confession. 

Often the arrested person is kept for hours before police are summoned, and preventing the arrested person from communicating with friends, relatives or their attorney.  In extreme cases, children are also “arrested” by security and not allowed to call relatives.  Obviously, this sort of treatment can result in mental, emotional, and occasionally physical trauma that can affect a person for years.

Not guilty
Many people who have been falsely arrested have never been in trouble with the law in their lives.  This makes the experience of being arrested even more traumatic.  They are treated like common criminals throughout the entire arrest process, and this affects the innocent arrestee terribly.  Often the person cannot go out into a public place for a very long time.  Relationships are strained, their work suffers, and the person may feel – correctly so – that his or her very health has been severely affected.

You Can Sue The Store For False Arrest!

Lawsuit 001
What can be done if this happens to you or a loved one?  The remedy for such outrageous behavior lies with the courts and finding the right lawyer to bring the offending store to account for their wrongdoing.  This means to make a claim for money to compensate you for the store’s wrongdoing, or to file an actual lawsuit for money damages. 

The Law Office of Michael Ross has been successful in recovering compensation for victims of false imprisonment for nearly twenty years in the courts of Northern California.

Mr. Ross may be contacted at:

The Law Offices of Michael Ross

473 Jackson Street, 2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111-1607

(415) 345-1335

Email:  [email protected]


March 05, 2012

Law Talk With Lowell Steiger

With guests criminal defense attorney Jennifer Gardner, Esq. and mediator/attorney Alec Wisner.  Interesting discussions about criminal matters, whether victim's families should influence sentencing in criminal matters, mediation, OJ, Johnny Cochran, Casey Anthony, Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke.  With guest participation via text. Please watch and enjoy.

Click here to watch the video if you can't access it from the player below


August 10, 2011

Tweeting During Trial Could Land You In Jail!

12 angry men Well, it's official.  If you're doing your civic duty as a juror in California and you Tweet (or Facebook or e-mail or... name your technology) about the trial, you will officially be in criminal contempt of court.  What does that mean to you?  It could mean six months in the klink! 

    No tweeting Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Friday (Assembly Bill 141, authored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Los Angeles) which requires trial judges to tell jurors that existing bans on conducting their own research about the case, or talking to outsiders about it, applies to electronic and wireless communication. Violations by jury members will be punishable by up to six months in jail for criminal contempt.

No facebook     Having just served as a juror last week on a criminal matter and as an attorney trying a civil matter just a couple of months ago in Santa Monica, I can attest to the fact that judges take the use (or misuse) of technology very seriously.  They admonish the jurors not to discuss the case with anyone including their significant others or the jury when not in actual deliberations.  They further stress, and I mean STRESS, the rules forbidding the use of electronic devices to Tweet, text, Facebook, e-mail or in any other way, shape or form any information, thoughts, questions or other communication about the case.  Jurors are not to use electronic devices to research the case or any facts about the case.

    As a lawyer, I actually think that these are good rules.  Verdicts are to be based upon the evidence admitted during the trial.  Verdicts are not to be based on a jurors' independent research.  I believe that the integrity of the judicial system must be preserved.  Read California Criminal Jury Instructions 101-102.

    You may also be interested to read what others are saying about this new law.  Most think that it's just one more useless law designed to quash the First Amendment and ultimately create more crowding in our already overcrowded jails.  Here are links to other articles and comments about this bill:

California Jurors Tempted By Technology Could Face Jail Time (Article) (Wall Street Journal Blog)

California Jurors Tempted By Technology Could Face Jail Time (Comments) (Wall Street Journal Blog)

Jurors To Be Told Not to Tweet Under New Law (SF Chronicle)

California Governor Sends Message to Jurors: No Tweeting (Law Technology News)

What do you think?

July 05, 2011

Casey Anthony Found Not Guilty of Murder: Your Thoughts!

What are your thoughts about the Not Guilty Verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial?  Please enter your comments below or in the comment section of the video


June 05, 2010

Indecent Exposure Defense Strategy

Need I say any more?

Indecent exposure strategy

March 07, 2008

Japanese Digital Cameras That Can Identify Age and Gender

Japanese_security_camera Well, 1984 has come, gone and returned!  Reuters is reporting that the Japanese have invented a digital camera that can identify the gender and age of its subject!  Once in production, this camera will make it easier for police to identify criminal suspects.  Click here to watch the full report.  The camera, which debuted at the Tokyo Securities Show, has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 years.  Apparently, the inventors have uploaded over 1 million mug shots to their database.  The camera's software will be able to take the image and match it with those mug shots, thereby helping the police in their search for the proper suspect.

While in place as a surveillance camera in retail stores, it can also be used to determine customer demographics by identifying the age and gender of their customers as they browse and make their purchases.

Currently, the only images in their database are those of Asian people, limiting the current usage to Asian subjects.

To me, the implications are both exciting and scary.


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


February 04, 2008

Strip Search: Outrageous Police Conduct and Abuse Video

Sheriff This video of the brutal strip search by male and female Stark County, Ohio deputy sheriffs of a young woman speaks for itself.  I am so outraged and angered by what this video depicts that I had to post it to my blog.  I hope that this never, ever happens to you or a loved one.  What is truly galling is that the sheriff himself says that his deputies did nothing wrong -- in spite of the fact that their own procedural handbook demands that strip searches be conducted exclusively by members of the same sex as the strip searchee.

USA Daily summarizes the story as follows:

A woman called 911 in Stark County Ohio after being assaulted only to find herself arrested and savagely stripped of all her clothes by seven male and female police officers.

The videos below show this woman screaming as male and female officers forcibly tear off the woman’s clothes in what looks to be a sexual assault without penetration.

The 125 lbs woman was hand cuffed and pinned face down on the ground. Screaming and asking what the officers were doing. The does not appear to be any reason that police officers woul conduct a strip search on the assault victim
The woman was then left naked in her cell for six hours and was forced to use toilet paper to cover her self up. She claims that she was also denied medical attention after the assault. When finally being taken to booking the woman’s husband says she was forced to where nothing but a weighted vest.

The victim is suing the Stark County Sheriff’s office in an attempt to hold the seven police officers accountable.

Amendment VIII of the U.S. Bill of Rights states:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Here are some additional related links:



Broadband Reports

WUSA9 News

Crooks and Liars

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


June 29, 2007

Do Police Need A Search Warrant for a Cell Phone?


Reprinted from Bytes in Brief by permission of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., www.senseient.com

On May 23, 2007, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of
California ruled that warrantless searches of three defendants’ cellular
phones violated their Fourth Amendment rights. In 2004, the three
defendants, Edward Park, Brian Ly, and David Lee, were arrested during the
raid of a marijuana hothouse. After they were taken to the San Francisco
Police Department, the defendants’ belongings were inventoried including
their cell phones. However, before the phones were placed in property
bags, SFPD Inspector David Martinovich searched defendant Lee’s cell phone
and instructed other inspectors to do the same with the other defendant’s
phones. Martinovich admitted to perusing the defendant’s phone and writing
down the contacts list before turning it over to the property clerk but
claimed that the search was a permissible booking search. When the
defendants filed a motion to suppress evidence found on their phones, the
prosecution defended the search by likening it to the search of an
arrestee’s wallet which is permissible. However, the court disagreed with
the government’s analogy and found that a warrantless search of a cell
phone goes far beyond the rationale for searches incident to arrest. The
judge concluded that there was no basis for an immediate search of the
phones such as to prevent concealment or destruction of evidence, and
therefore, the police had time to obtain a proper search warrant. Although
in this particular case the court ruled the searches unconstitutional, the
judge noted that the Fifth Circuit handed down a contrary ruling and that
neither the Ninth Circuit nor the Supreme Court had addressed the issue.
The defendants’ motion may be found at
http://www.politechbot.com/docs/cell.phone.4a.brief.052907.pdf  and the
government’s reply may be found at

Read the Full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger represents injury victims.  Free consultation.

Please contact Attorney Lowell Steiger by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (323) 852-1100.


Treated With the Respect That You Deserve

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