Long Beach, Grand Theft Auto, Prior Strike, Probation

Our client was framed for a crime and the District Attorney knew it, yet would not admit this to our office.
Summary:  Long Beach, client with prior “strike” and facing seven years in prison, probation granted with Cal-Trans.
Our client was charged with a single count of receiving stolen property (Penal Code § 496(b)), a felony, in the Long Beach Superior Court.  He had suffered four prior convictions for commercial burglary (Penal Code § 459), a prison prior and a prior strike conviction.  He faced seven years in prison.

Our client worked as a repo man for a company operating out of Long Beach and San Pedro.  He was not receiving as many assignments as another repo man because he did not bribe the operations manager.  Eventually, our client gave up and quit.  In disgust with the company, he reported the company to the State of California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services because the company manager was operating without a state license.

The company manager was upset about this and decided to retaliate.  He and his preferred repo man towed a repossessed car to our client’s house and then called the cops, claiming it was stolen.  Within an hour, police coincidentally were at our client’s house, seeking to arrest him.  Given our client’s prior criminal record, he was presumed guilty.

Our client came to us, exasperated because he faced seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  In fact, his prior counsel had failed to tell the District Attorney any of the key facts that pointed to our client’s innocence.  

The meat of the prosecution case was a supposed computer entry that our client made attempting to change the VIN number on the car.  Supposedly, the IP address from which this was made was our client.  Indeed, the evidence was a bit technical.

Greg Hill then sat down with the Client, who had himself figured out that the evidence was misleading.  Greg prepared a Defense Position Letter explaining to the District Attorney how the IP address was actually traceable to an address in Orange County, even though our client lived in Long Beach.  He explained how the “stolen” car was a stick shift and our client could not drive a stick.  He also explained how we had a witness, the Client’s neighbor, who saw the preferred repo man tow the car to our Client’s curb and leave it there late at night.

The District Attorney was not persuaded and offered the Client four years in state prison.  This was the mid-term sentence of two years, doubled because our Client had a prior strike.

Greg Hill then pled in the open to the judge in Long Beach.  Greg prepared a twelve page sentencing memorandum with many exhibits not only contesting the police conclusion, but also asking the Court to strike the strike for purposes of sentencing.

The judge read our brief, commenting that the brief was “very good” and sentenced our client to thirty-six months of summary probation, conditioned upon our Client completing sixty days of Cal-Trans.  Our client was extremely happy at avoiding any prison time.

For more information about the issues in this theft offense case summary, click on the following articles:
  1. What Is Grand Theft Auto?
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