Inglewood, Shoplifting at Michael's, Case Dismissed
Our client, age 30, with no prior record, was arrested after a loss prevention employee at the Hawthorne Michael’s observed our client placing two kitchen items in her large purse. This was the Michael’s on Ocean Gate, just off Rosecrans Avenue.
Summary: Inglewood Courthouse, client shoplifts from Michael’s, no prior record, case dismissed after client pays $200 booking fee.
According to the loss prevention employee, our client placed two kitchen items in her purse and then walked around the store looking at other items, but within three minutes proceeded out the front door of Michael’s towards her car without paying.
Our client was then stopped by loss prevention officers and verbally berated for quite some time by one particular loss prevention officer, who our client described as taking an unusual interest in the case and seemed quite zealous about insulting our client and her racial heritage.
The items in question, a spoon serving set and an ice-cream scooper, were valued at less than $50.
Our client was then held in a tiny office for almost three hours before loss prevention released her. Police were never called to the store, so there was no reason to hold our client for an extended period of time after the stolen items were inventoried and our client’s identity was noted.
About a month later, our client, worried about a criminal complaint being filed in court as loss prevention promised would happen, contacted our office. Greg Hill met with the client, who showed Greg the civil recovery demand sent to her by a lawyer for Michael’s. Greg recommended she pay the demand, but only after Greg enclosed payment with a declaration for the attorney for Michael’s to sign that consented to a civil compromise of the case upon accepting the payment. Greg also recommended that the client take a shoplifting prevention course online.
The attorney for Michael’s accepted payment from our client and returned a signed declaration consenting to a civil compromise of the criminal case.
Our office then contacted the Hawthorne City Attorney’s office who advised a complaint indeed had been filed, an arraignment had already been conducted and since our client was not there, a bench warrant was issued. Greg was somewhat miffed that the Hawthorne City Attorney’s office had our client’s address, but did not notify her that a complaint was filed so that she could appear and prevent a bench warrant from being issued.
Greg Hill then appeared in the Inglewood Superior Court immediately and had the bench warrant recalled. The complaint filed against our client charged her with violating Penal Code § 484(a), “petty theft.”
Greg then showed the Hawthorne City Attorney our client’s payment of the loss prevention fees and the signed declaration from Michael’s attorney consenting to a civil compromise. Greg then mentioned that he intended to file a Motion for Civil Compromise (under Penal Code §§ 1377 and 1378) to dismiss the case.
The Hawthorne City Attorney responded that she could not stipulate to a dismissal based on a civil compromise, at least based only upon a showing that our client had written a check. She said, however, that if our client could show that Michael’s cashed the check, she would not oppose our motion. This was an odd request, but Greg asked the client to contact her bank to get a photocopy of the back of the check to show it indeed was cashed by Michael’s.
Before the next court appearance, the client provided Greg with a photocopy of the back of the check, showing it indeed had been cashed. Our client also finished the online shoplifting prevention course and had a certificate of completion to prove it.
Greg then brought the photocopy of the check and a copy of the certificate of completion for the online shoplifting prevention course to court and the Hawthorne City Prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case if our client paid the $200 booking fee with the City of Hawthorne.
Our client then did so and at the next court appearance, the City Prosecutor dismissed the case. Our client was quite happy with this result.
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