Client Bites Security Guard, Arrest for Mayhem, No Prison
Our client, age 26, was at Dodger Stadium enjoying a warm summer Saturday evening with her friends. She was regularly taking certain prescription medications for her manic depression, but they had run out. She had ordered more medication from Costco, but it was not ready yet.
At the Dodger game, against the San Francisco Giants, she enjoyed one or two large beers. At some point at around the fourth inning, she told one of her friends that she needed to use the restroom. Her friend went with her.
After our client used the restroom, she allegedly began arguing with other fans waiting in line at a concession stand. Our client allegedly said to them, “Do you know who I am? I’m from New York and I’ll fuck you up!” Our client actually was not from New York at all. Our client was not a gangster or a violent person. She was a barista at Coffee Bean and lived at home with her parents.
Security was summoned to the scene and approached our client. Our client was allegedly argumentative to the security officers, who tried to separate our client from the others in line. Our client was uncooperative, so the six foot, two-inch-tall, 230-pound police officer took our client (all five foot, three inches and 130 pounds) to the concrete floor in Dodger Stadium.
Our client panicked at the sheer violence with which she was taken down to the cement and bit the security guard’s forearm quite hard, digging into his flesh almost all the way through sufficient to bite away an “orange slice” sized area of flesh. She also bit him on the hand, but not as deeply.
The officer then applied handcuffs and put a plastic bag over her head because she was spitting at him.
The client was then taken to the Los Angeles Police Metro Detention Center and booked on charges of mayhem, Penal Code § 203 due to the severity of the injuries to the officer. Our client’s parents were shocked at the charges and bail was set at $100,000.
The parents called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. Greg immediately went to the police station on the following day, a Sunday, to speak with the client.
The client explained her situation with the lack of medication. She also explained how she had a prior conviction from Torrance Superior Court for residential burglary approximately four years earlier (Penal Code § 459), which is a strike offense. This would double any sentence the judge might impose. She further described how after the 459 conviction, she had picked up a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia arising out of her use of methamphetamine.
The first issue of order was bail and having it reduced in light of the recent published decision in In re Kenneth Humphreys. In that case, the California Supreme Court identified alternative methods for assuring public safety that a judge is supposed to consider when evaluating public safety and having a defendant post lower bail or even being released on his or her own recognizance.
So, at the arraignment in two days, Greg did argue for lower bail for the client, citing to Kenneth Humphries, and the judge did reduce bail from $120,000 (it was raised just prior to the arraignment) to $20,000. Surprisingly, however, the client’s parents did not post bail to have their daughter released at that time. They would later post bail a few weeks later when their daughter’s presence at a family funeral was desired. At that point, our client had 50 days in custody.
Over the next few months, Greg filed a motion for imposition of mental disorder diversion under Penal Code § 1001.36, but the judge denied this due to our client’s prior strike. The offer was six years at this point.
Finally, Greg filed a motion to strike a strike for purposes of sentencing under People v. Superior Court (Romero) (1996) 13 Cal.4th 497, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 789. This “Romero” motion sought to have the judge intervene in resolving the case by removing the strike for sentencing purposes only.
The judge granted the motion and then indicated his tentative ruling were our client to plea in the open. The tentative was to sentence our client to three years in state prison, suspended (a “joint suspended”), placing her on three years of formal probation with 120 days of county jail (with credit for 100), order to perform 20 days of Cal-Trans labor, undergo an HIV and hepatitis blood test and continue mental health counseling. The client accepted the judge’s tentative ruling.
The client and her family were extremely happy. The client’s exposure dropped from a maximum of fifteen years to actual custody time of ten days maximum, as she needed to still serve 20 days in custody. She would be able to return to work as a barista and continued her schooling at El Camino College. This was a very good resolution in a serious case