California Lawyers Association

Criminal Law

Updates and events from the Criminal Law Section

For nearly two decades, Kevin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, most recently as senior litigation counsel in the Major Frauds Section. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, including five years as Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section, Kevin led several of the highest-profile and heaviest-litigated cases brought with the district, including five RICO cases that he successfully prosecuted. Kevin tried 15 cases, including four multi-month trials, and secured the conviction of every trial defendant on a broad array of charges that included numerous financial crimes, money laundering, false statements, perjury before the grand jury, trial perjury, and obstruction of justice. Read more
The E-Bulletin will be featuring short biographies of our new ExCom members. This month we are featuring Amyra Cobb Hampton and Bryant Estep. We are fortunate to have such qualified new ExCom members. If you are interested in joining us on the ExCom, feel free to submit an application. Read more
Want to meet criminal law practitioners from around California, hear how COVID-19 has affected people's practices, and swap war stories? Join the Criminal Law Section Executive Committee for a Virtual Happy Hour! Read more
“Tell me something your client did when no one was keeping score,” responded then-U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota to a query when I interviewed him late last year. I had asked him what an attorney can do when faced with representing a client who has committed a reprehensible offense with a lengthy criminal record. “I think well of people who act out of the goodness of their hearts,” he added. Read more
The Criminal Law Section Executive Committee is keenly aware of this pivotal moment in the history of our nation and realizes that systemic change, reconciliation, and racial healing is needed to form a more perfect union. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of George Floyd. But more than sincere condolences is needed to prevent further deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Thus, we join the many diverse and powerful voices across our nation… Read more
Before rejoining the Zuckerman Spaeder LLP law firm in Washington, D.C., Judge Mehta worked for the highly acclaimed Public Defender Service in Washington, which was founded by Charles L. Ogletree, now a Harvard Law School professor. Asked what a lawyer can do at a sentencing hearing to make a difference if he’s already provided the court with a quality sentencing memorandum, Judge Mehta says, “Bring passion and candor to the case. Humanize your client. While I don’t know of any judge who takes the bench without an idea of what the sentence is going to be and the sentencing memorandum is vitally important, hearing the lawyer’s words at the hearing definitely can sway me. For example, show me that your client is not necessarily who he or she was at the time of the offense.” Read more
Due to the COVID-19 risk in our jails and prisons, every effort should be made to avoid incarceration and, for those in prison, get released. Here are some strategies that attorneys can use to help clients avoid, or at least delay, custody during the pandemic. Read more
U.S. District Judges Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York and Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California in San Francisco are legendary sentencing judges. Read more
“What is best for the victim?” asked U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. “What is best for the community? What is best for the defendant?” Read more
What can you do if faced with the government argument that a lesser sentence for your client would depreciate the seriousness of the offense and promote disrespect for the law? As one judge once told me, “Tell me something that your client did when no one was keeping score.” Read more

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