When our client was 33 years old, he and a friend decided to “base jump” off one of the towers supporting and rising above the Vincent Thomas bridge. He and his friend were experienced in base jumping, which involves jumping off fixed objects or cliffs and then opening a parachute during the descent to land safely.
Our client and his friend studied the layout of the Vincent Thomas Bridge and the landing zone possible underneath. The visited the area during daylight hours and noted where poles, telephone lines and support wires (or cables) were located. They then decided on an evening with negligible winds and low humidity so that they did not slip on the steel structure while climbing to the top of the western tower.
On the evening selected, the two then were driven part way across the bring before the vehicle stopped momentarily to let our client and his friend exit. They then quickly climbed over a small chain link fence and began a climb up to the western tower. The ascent took just a few minutes.
Once at the top of the tower, high above the cranes and all other structures, the two momentarily enjoyed the view before jumping off. Our client jumped first, followed shortly thereafter by his friend.
They “pulled the cord” on their parachutes after only a second or two and then steered themselves into the Catalina Express parking lot by Berth 95. Our client landed and quickly gathered up his parachute and his friend did the same. The two then walked towards the exit of the parking lot, but were stopped by a security guard who observed the two landing.
The same security guard also called the Harbor Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, who arrived at the scene within five minutes.
Our client and his friend were then arrested for trespassing. They would later be charged in Long Beach Superior Court for violation of Los Angeles Municipal Code § 11.00(m) by violating Los Angeles City Code § 63.44(B)(9) involving parachute jumping in property owned by the City of Los Angeles.
The client called Greg Hill & Associates and discussed the case facts with Greg Hill, who had to laugh a bit about such a stunt, but was also intrigued by how the court would handle the case.
Greg explained that he believed the judge assigned to the case would grant a motion for judicial diversion, which would lead to the case being dismissed in the interest of justice after a period of time, up to two years, under Penal Code § 1001.95.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg filed a motion for imposition of judicial diversion, which was indeed granted and after a year, the case was dismissed in the interests of justice under Penal Code § 1385.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates to have the police report and case file sealed under Penal Code §§ 851.91 and 851.92. Our office prepared, filed and served the petition to seal. Such a petition was eligible for sealing because a case was filed, but it was dismissed without a conviction and the charges could not be refiled (as it was a misdemeanor charges and the “one file” rule applied). The case was also not excluded from eligibility based on a pattern of prior charges or prior arrests for domestic violence, child abuse or elder abuse.
The judge assigned to the hearing on the petition was somewhat amused by the case facts and curious to know how the client and his friend base jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The Los Angeles City Attorney assigned to the case was equally intrigued by the case, although his predecessor counsel handling the open case a year later was not.
The judge in the Long Beach Superior Court granted the petition to seal the police report and court file, which greatly relieved the client because he had no other criminal history. Such an order would be transmitted to the California DOJ to remove the entry of the case having been filed at all and the same order would be served by the court clerk to the Los Angeles Police Department to seal the police report in their records.
The client was happy with this outcome because he was interested in either a lateral move within his field or working for a client in-house.
For more information about petitions to seal, please click on the following articles: