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Visalia Criminal Law Blog

Rams player arrested for alleged DUI

On Sept. 16, California authorities arrested Los Angeles Rams football player Aaron Neary on suspicion of drunk driving. He was taken into custody in Simi Valley.

According to media reports, Neary, who is a center on the Rams' practice team, was spotted driving erratically near Royal Avenue and Sinaloa Road at around 6:27 p.m. Witnesses called 911 to report that they saw a vehicle crash into various objects, including trash cans, mailboxes and a bus stop sign. Neary allegedly kept driving after each collision.

Man with 3 previous DUIs busted for DUI, drug possession

On Sept. 4, a 30-year-old California man was arrested on suspicion of drugged driving and possession of illegal substances in Redwood City. He has three prior DUI convictions.

According to the California Highway Patrol, officers observed a white 2016 Audi stopped on the right shoulder of northbound U.S. Highway 101 at approximately 12 a.m. They further noticed that someone was sitting in the driver's seat, so they approached the car to check on that person's condition. When they got close to the car, they allegedly smelled marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

Federal agents target 92 Osage Legend Crips gang in LA County

Federal agents used multiple search warrants to conduct a sweep in August against alleged gang members believed to be trafficking drugs throughout Los Angeles County. Across Inglewood, Hawthorne and Los Angeles, agents searched locations such as a convenience store where authorities said that gang members refined cocaine into crack and distributed it throughout the area. The early morning searches resulted in the arrest of 10 people suspected of belonging to the 92 Osage Legend Crips gang that operates in California.

According to the grand jury indictment, gang members occupied a Stop and Shop Market at 1041 S. Prairie and used it as their base for drug manufacturing. A press release from a law enforcement agency described drug distribution points throughout the county that allegedly included a U.S. vets office and a Social Security office in Inglewood.

One arrested after cars perform donuts on Bay Bridge

On Aug. 19, a California man was arrested after he and several other drivers performed a series of donuts on the top deck of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. The "sideshow," an informal performance of automobile stunts, brought traffic to a standstill. Several videos of the incident were posted on social media.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the sideshow happened at around 10:45 a.m. Another sideshow reportedly occurred in Oakland earlier in the day. Witnesses said cars from that event later drove toward the Bay Bridge.

California police seize drugs, firearms, body armor in 6 raids

Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the police in Salinas as the department raided six locations. Police arrested seven individuals, including a 24-year-old man dubbed the "Cocaine Cowboy" who had been arrested a month earlier at the California Rodeo Salinas. Law enforcement claim to have recognized him as a known gang member and reportedly found cocaine in his cowboy boot during that arrest.

Police encountered the man again while searching 1430 Linwood Drive. The search of that location allegedly yielded heroin and cocaine that police suspected was for sale. Authorities recorded finding a stolen firearm as well. A 22-year-old woman was also arrested at that location.

Victims' rights advocate facing drug trafficking charges

California resident and victims' rights advocate Henry T. Nicholas III was taken into custody on Aug. 9 after police in Las Vegas allegedly discovered large amounts of illegal drugs in his hotel room. Reports indicate that the 59-year-old entrepreneur and his female companion are both facing drug trafficking charges. Nicholas earned his fortune in the technology sector before championing victims' rights legislation. The laws he advocated for are named after his late sister, a college student who was killed by a former boyfriend in 1983.

According to media reports, Nicholas contacted hotel security when his room key did not work. After gaining admittance to the room, security personnel are said to have discovered an unconscious woman lying on the floor. Nicholas is said to have admitted to the security officers that several canisters scattered about the room and the semi-inflated balloon hanging from the woman's lips were filled with nitrous oxide.

NFL player moving forward after drunk driving arrest

NFL player Daryl Worley expressed gratitude for his second chance to continue his career in California after signing with the Oakland Raiders as a cornerback. He had been expecting to play for the Eagles, but that team waived him after his arrest for drunk driving and possession of an unlicensed weapon. Worley said that he has not heard from the NFL yet about disciplinary actions for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

His arrest occurred in April, when police reported finding him unconscious inside his vehicle that was blocking a highway. According to public court records, he entered a guilty plea during his court appearance in June. He accepted responsibility for misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and carrying a gun in public. He had originally faced a felony charge for the unlicensed firearm, but prosecutors dismissed the felony. His sentence included 72 hours of jail time, which he had already served, along with probation for two years.

Study suggests new measures to fight trade fraud

Trade fraud is a growing problem in California and throughout the United States, according to new study published in the Oregon Review of International Law. According to the authors of the study, the issue costs the U.S. millions in lost tax dollars every year and puts the public at risk. However, trade fraud crimes are difficult to detect and prosecute.

For the study, the authors analyzed 47 criminal and civil trade fraud cases that occurred between 2000 and 2016. The defendants in the cases ranged from executives at large corporations to the owners of small neighborhood businesses. The study determined that criminal charges may not be the best way to battle this "new frontier" of white-collar crime. Instead, it recommends developing teams from various federal agencies that will pursue cases under the False Claims Act of 1863, which was designed to bring down fraudulent suppliers during the Civil War.

Study looks at impact of Proposition 47 on racial disparity

In a study that appears in The American Journal of Public Health, researchers argue that if more felony drug offenses were reclassified as misdemeanors, as was the case with California's Proposition 47, many racial disparities in the criminal justice system would be reduced. Furthermore, certain populations would have better health outcomes. Researchers identified a number of other factors that are affected by felony drug convictions as well, including immigration status and financial aid for college along with access to jobs, housing and health benefits.

After the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, racial disparities in arrests dropped in contrast to what the study's lead author argued was the case with the rise of incarceration beginning in the 1970s. The study analyzed data from 2011 to 2015 and looked at ethnic and racial disparities just after Proposition 47 and one year after. According to the lead author, police practices changed even within the first month.

Police find both driver and passenger to be impaired after crash

Police in Petaluma, California located a vehicle that was reportedly involved in a hit-and-run collision just after 9 p.m. on July 14. When police approached the vehicle, they found a 28-year-old man sitting in the driver's seat. However, he was not the one authorities say was driving the car when the crash occurred. Instead, they say that a 28-year-old woman who was also in the vehicle had been driving when the accident took place.

Police say that they determined that they had switched seats while talking with them. Both individuals had a blood alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit in the state. They were both taken into custody for driving under the influence and taken to Sonoma County Jail. Authorities say that the man who was in the driver's seat when they first approached was on probation for a previous DUI.

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