When our client was just 18 years old in 2007, he was arrested for felony domestic violence (Penal Code § 273.5(a)). He allegedly stole his girlfriend’s car and while she tried to stop him from driving away in it, he pushed her out of the moving car onto the road near the intersection of Parthenia Avenue and Willis Street in the Van Nuys area.
Police responding to the 911 call at 5:10 a.m. wrote in the police report that the victim had no visible injuries from being pushed out of the moving car onto the road, but she did have a half-inch bleeding contusion to her left ring finger, a one-inch abrasion to her right inner wrist and a quarter inch scratch to her right elbow from the struggle with our client inside the car.
Officers noted that it was odd that the woman, who was only five feet, eight inches tall, compared to our client, who stood six feet, four inches tall, was not injured from falling onto the pavement from a moving car, so they only recommended charges of domestic violence, not carjacking (Penal Code § 215) or grand theft auto (Penal Code § 487(d)(1)), or taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent (Vehicle Code § 10851).
Our client and the woman had a child together, the police report noted.
For some reason, no criminal case was filed after the client’s arrest for 273.5(a).
However, our client was later arrested for second-degree murder and was convicted of this crime in 2009. He then went off to prison.
In late 2021, his wife (not the victim from the 2007 incident) contacted our office to ask us if we could file a petition to seal the arrest report and court file (if any) for the 2007 domestic violence arrest. She explained that the arrest for domestic violence on her husband’s record meant she could not have any overnight visits at the prison with her husband, who she met in 2013 and married in 2015.
The client’s wife had discussed this record extensively with the prison where our client was housed and the CDCR recommended that our client have that domestic violence record sealed, even though there never was a conviction.
Greg and the client’s wife discussed the requirements and exceptions to sealing the case under Penal Code §§ 851.91 and 851.92. There was no exception for a petitioner, such as our client, being in custody on another crime.
However, there was an exception for the statute of limitations not having expired. Greg pointed out to the client’s wife that, academically, the statute of limitations for filing a felony case for domestic violence was tolled by our client being remanded into custody. Since the incident took place in September 2007, the three-year statute of limitations for a felony did not run until September,2010, but the client was remanded to state prison for second degree murder in 2009, before the statute expired.
Greg explained this to the client’s wife, who asked Greg to file the petition anyways because the District Attorney assigned to the case and the judge may not see what Greg saw.
The client’s wife then retained Greg Hill & Associates to file the petition. Our office then did so, serving the petition to the Devonshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office at the Van Nuys Courthouse (in the basement of the west tower).
A hearing was then set for the petition and Greg appeared, a bit nervous that the District Attorney or the judge would realize the statute of limitations for felony domestic violence technically had been tolled by our client being in prison for his conviction for second degree murder.
The judge assigned to the case was an extremely nice man who Greg had a two-week jury trial before almost ten years earlier. The judge and Greg talked about that trial a bit and how Greg’s former client had been considered for parole already. The judge recalled the jury trial very well.
The judge then signed the petition to seal the arrest record and the court file for our client. Greg relayed the good news to our client’s wife, who was extremely happy with the news.
For more information about petition to seal issues, please click on the following articles: