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Criminal Defense Attorneys

Felony Vandalism Case Dismissed at Arraignment, LAX Court

Our client, age 33, called our office after learning that there was a felony bench warrant for him issued from the Airport (LAX) Courthouse.  He was anxious about this and asked us what he could and should do.

Our office investigated the criminal case online from our office from the Los Angeles Superior Court website, using our client’s name and date of birth, and discovered the warrant was probably related to a felony vandalism (Penal Code § 594(a)) case.  The limited information available online did provide us the case number and the date of the alleged crime.

Greg shared this information with the client, who responded that he was in the hospital for surgery on the day of the alleged vandalism.  He had checked himself into the hospital the day before and was discharged two days later.  On the day of the vandalism, he was under general anesthesia in surgery.

Greg looked further into the case, using the courthouse computer database (which is accessible to the public over the Internet), and confirmed the date of the incident, the bond amount associated with the warrant ($50,000), the judge who issued the warrant and the day the warrant was issued, which was the arraignment when our client failed to appear in court.

Greg also investigated the client’s criminal history and found he had four earlier cases, all misdemeanors from the Lancaster courthouse.  All four were from 2019 and 2020.  The first one was for domestic violence (Penal Code § 243(e)(1)) and false imprisonment (Penal Code § 236).  The other two were for violation of a criminal protective order (Penal Code § 273.6(a)).  Greg looked further into each of these and saw that the client was facing a 90 day county jail term, suspended, in the second case for violation of a criminal protective order, so the pending vandalism case in the Airport Courthouse seemed to trigger such a 90-day jail term.

Greg told the client that he suspected the case involved vandalism to a car or residence, most likely reported by the victim of the domestic violence in Lancaster, but who had perhaps moved to the area near the Airport Courthouse, i.e., Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Venice or Westchester.  The client said he did not know if the victim from Lancaster had moved.

Greg further discussed these prior cases with the client and asked him to get any hospital records he had that showed his whereabouts at the hospital on the day of the alleged vandalism.  Greg then discussed the judge who issued the bench warrant and his demeanor, as well as the calendar DA for that courtroom and Greg’s history with her over the last ten years, including when she was in other courthouses years earlier.

The client then came to the Airport Court with Greg the following day.  Greg asked to have the case added to the calendar and the DA brought her file to the court room.

Greg then looked at the police report and found that the reporting party for the vandalism was a former girlfriend of our client.  According to the former girlfriend, our client had spray-painted “Bitch” on the passenger side of her Chevy Malibu and shattered a rear window of her car.  She even had a video of our client near her car, taken by a security camera at her apartment complex.  The victim told police that she recognized a reflective vest our client wore because “he wore it before” and that she recognized the way our client walked, too.  The former girlfriend also told police that our client had been following her around for days prior to the vandalism.  The repair cost to the car was $1,994.34, which her insurance paid.

Our client was shocked and explained he did not own such a reflective vest, which appeared to be one worn by a road repair worker.  Our client had never worked in such a capacity.

Greg then discussed the police report with the prosecutor and showed the prosecutor our client’s medical records from his surgery, which described our client checking into the hospital the day prior to the vandalism alleged and being discharged the day after the vandalism.  The district attorney looked deeper into the file and then left the courtroom to discuss the case with her supervisor up in the District Attorney offices upstairs from the court room at issue.

After about ten minutes, the prosecutor returned and explained that the video of the event did not play and besides, the “still shots” printed from the video did not seem to match our client, who had very distinctive Rastafarian hair that took years to grow.  The man in the video had a shaved head.  Moreover, the medical records our client provided were authentic and not altered in any way.

The prosecutor then agreed to dismiss the case in the interest of justice pursuant to Penal Code § 1385  Our client was extremely relieved, as he avoided the 90-day county jail  term that the Lancaster judge had suspended over him, contingent on our client “obeying all laws.”  Our client also avoided a felony conviction.

For more information about vandalism, please click on the following articles:
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"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
"Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him." S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
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