For anyone who has suffered the pain of a conviction for a felony sex offense, even if an attempted sex offense, the stigma and embarrassment are enormous. The social ostracization and employment difficulties also cast a shadow over one’s life, seemingly forever. Sadly, such convictions are often plea bargained with the client fearful of prison and the terrible fate that a sex offender must face in prison from other inmates.
In the case of our client, in Riverside, he faced even more dire consequences because the alleged victim was under fourteen years of age.
Our client entered into a plea bargain in 2009 when he was 26 years old and scared of prison. When the public defender announced that he was being offered a deal with no prison or even jail time, but three years of formal probation, our client readily accepted the deal.
The humiliation of being a convicted felon destroyed his self-esteem although he was a college graduate.
He then successfully completed probation in 2012 and moved away from Riverside, shunned by his family and friends. In fact, he moved overseas and secured work as a software engineer. Yet he wanted a better job, but was hesitant to apply because of the background check that he feared the potential employer would run.
Finally, he heard about expungement and, not knowing Penal Code §288(a) is excluded from relief under Penal Code §1203.4, hired a young attorney in Riverside to file the petition. This was in 2018. The judge denied the petition and the young attorney told our client that his conviction was ineligible for such relief because it was excluded from 1203.4.
The client was devastated, but continued to search the Internet for some way to expunge his conviction. He thought there may be a change in the law that might allow this.
In late 2019, he happened upon the website of Greg Hill & Associates, which had published an article about a published decision wherein a conviction for attempted lewd acts was expunged.
From outside the United States, the client emailed our firm and Greg responded, eventually also talking with the client by phone about the People v. Lewis decision, a 2006 Fourth Appellate District decision, recently affirmed by the Sixth Appellate District in 2014 in People v. Anthony Joseph Marinelli (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th 1. In Marinelli, the Sixth Appellate District explained that under §1203.4(b) the exclusionary provisions applied to “violations,” not attempted violations.
The client then asked Greg if he would be willing to file the petition again, but explaining to the judge that Lewis and Marinelli allowed such relief. Greg was hesitant, as he was unsure if the judge or the District Attorney would even read the petition and his accompanying points and authorities. However, Greg agreed.
Greg Hill & Associates then prepared the Petition for Dismissal, attaching to it a short points and authorities that attached both the Lewis and Marinelli decisions for the judge to review. Greg Hill & Associates also attached a declaration from the client stating why he sought the relief requested and explaining his situation in life, living with the crippling stigma of being a convicted felon and a convicted sex offender. The declaration included attachments with letters of recommendation from his boss and one of his co-workers.
Greg Hill & Associates then filed the petition in the Riverside Superior Court and served the petition on the District Attorneys’ office, expecting a vigorous opposition with sarcasm and rich with condescension.
However, after filing the petition and receiving a hearing date, the District Attorneys’ office offered no opposition to the request. The client and Greg were shocked.
Then, without even a hearing, the judge handling the matter in Riverside mailed Greg Hill & Associates the signed order granting the petition. The ruling restored Greg’s faith in our judiciary and even the prosecution for not opposing the motion because the law was in our client’s favor in fact.
The client was overjoyed, telling Greg that a huge weight had been taken off his back. He was very appreciative.
For more information about expungement issues, please click on the following articles: