Bellflower, Battery & Criminal Threats, Plea to Misdemeanor

Our client was charged with grand theft (Penal Code § 487), a felony, and misdemeanor battery (Penal Code § 242).  The District Attorney in Bellflower then reviewed the facts of the case and modified the charges, filing a complaint instead for misdemeanor criminal threats (Penal Code § 422) and misdemeanor battery.
In 50 Words or Less:  Bellflower, Battery, Criminal Threats and Felony Grand Theft, Resolved for Misdemeanor Battery and Summary Probation.
Our client, an African American male in his mid-40’s, and his brother-in-law, a Caucasian attorney in his early 40’s, had been feuding for years over an inheritance either our client or his sister might receive. 

Our client’s brother-in-law, whose practice had dwindled down to nearly no clients, had seen his wife’s inheritance as his windfall, so he orchestrated a scheme whereby he would have his wife file for conservatorship of her parents so she could have control over their assets and then keep it all for herself (and he would then benefit). 

Our client could clearly see what was happening.  He bragged to others that he would own the family home one day and rent it out.

At the same time, to ensure his brother-in-law could not credibly oppose the petition for conservatorship, he “baited” our client into a fight so that he could saddle our client with a criminal history, hopefully for a felony.  Our client had no criminal history. 

In the staged altercation, he first sucker punched our client in the face and ran about thirty feet away.  Our client, enraged, was then encouraged to “come get me, boy!  Make it easy!” while his brother-in-law filmed the episode. 

Our client prudently did not fight back.  Instead, he approached his brother-in-law and grabbed his video camera.  He then gave it to the Lakewood Sheriffs as evidence that his brother-in-law should be prosecuted.

The brother-in-law lobbied the Bellflower DA incessantly, encouraging the DA to charge our client with multiple felonies.  The brother-in-law always signed his letters with “Esquire” at the end, which we find is the surest sign one is not a practicing attorney or is fresh out of law school.

The District Attorney, however, wisely realized what was going on and listened to Greg Hill of our office, who negotiated a plea bargain that frustrated the brother-in-law’s scheme. 

Under the terms of the plea bargain, the criminal threats count was dismissed and our client pled no contest to the battery charge with two years of summary probation only and no classes, no community service and no fines.  As it was a no contest plea, it could not be used against our client in any civil proceeding. 

Moreover, in entering the plea bargain, Greg Hill insisted upon a People v. West waiver, further insulating the plea bargain from any use in the conservatorship proceeding.  Our client was very happy with the way our office defeated his brother-in-law’s plan and especially insofar as he owed no fines, did not have to perform any community service and did not have to take any anger management classes, which reflected the weak nature of the case.

At the half-way mark in the probation, the prosecutor promised to stipulate to early termination of probation, which would then allow our client to petition the court for expungement.

For more information about the issues in this case summary, click on the following articles:
  1. What are Criminal Threats and the Defenses to this Charge? 
  2. Immigration Consequences of a Plea to Misdemeanor Criminal Threats Are Not Grounds to Vacate a Judgment.
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