Shoplifting, Torrance, Client Age 18, Judicial Diversion

Our client, who turned eighteen years old twenty-three days earlier, went into the Macy’s at the Redondo Beach Galleria.  He had graduated from high school the prior June and was attending classes at El Camino College.

He needed some clothes, so he walked into Macy’s with an empty shopping bag.  He then went to the men’s section, where he looked at a leather jacket worth about $245.  He put it in his shopping bag.  He then proceeded to another area and loaded in a package of underwear, three dress shirts and a pair of socks.

He then walked out of the store and was almost immediately stopped by loss prevention.  He put the shopping bag on the ground and tried to run, but only got a few steps before being stopped.

He was taken back into the store and into the loss prevention office there.  The loss prevention officer there then took out the items in the bag and laid them on a table, taking a photograph of the items.  He then looked on the computer there and found out the prices of the items.

Our client apologized and asked to call his parents to come to get him.  Loss prevention, however, had other ideas and called the Redondo Beach Police Department, who came and took our client to the Redondo Beach Police Department.  Once at the police station, he was booked and released to his parents with a promise to appear in the Torrance Superior Court in about two months.

About a month later, the Client’s father contacted Greg Hill & Associates.  He spoke with Greg Hill, who listened to the father explain his son’s arrest and his general situation in life.  He explained that he (the father) had paid Macy’s civil demand already.  Greg explained to him how shoplifting cases are handled in Torrance and how, in particular, the Redondo Beach City Prosecutors handle such cases.  Greg also explained how paying the civil demand did not bar the criminal case from being filed.

Greg then recommended that the client enroll in and complete an online shoplifting prevention course such as those offered by the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, Tom Wilson Counselling or Logan Services.

The client then called Greg and Greg again listened to what happened and explained how the case would be handled and what the client could do to help his chances of being offered judicial diversion on the best possible terms.  He warned that he thought the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor would oppose judicial diversion because the client attempted to flee loss prevention and because the client entered the store with an empty shopping bag.

The client then did the online shoplifting prevention course and gave Greg the proof of completion.

Greg then appeared in the Torrance Superior Court on behalf of the young client (the client stayed in school).  Greg explained to the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor how the client had already paid the civil demand and had done an online shoplifting prevention course.

As predicted, the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor picked up on the client attempting to run away from loss prevention and the client bringing an empty shopping bag into the store.  She looked at Greg and said she thought judicial diversion was not appropriate in this case, as she considered it an aggravated shoplifting case.

The offer from the prosecutor was a plea bargain wherein the client would plea no contest to a violation of Penal Code § 484(a) (“petty theft), as a misdemeanor, thus suffering a conviction for a crime of dishonesty, and then be placed on 36 months of summary probation, pay a $150 fine plus penalties and assessments (total of about $750), pay the $245 booking fee to the City of Redondo Beach and stay away from all Macy’s for three years.

Greg then asked the judge for judicial diversion and the judge asked the prosecutor’s position on this.  She described with remarkable zeal how the case was an aggravated shoplifting and that this case was not meant for judicial diversion.

The judge then asked Greg why he should grant judicial diversion and Greg explained a bit about the client, as well as his online shoplifting prevention course and payment of the civil demand.

The judge then granted judicial diversion with requirements that the client perform 40 hours of community service, pay the $245 booking fee and stay away from the Macy’s in the South Bay Galleria.  If the client performed these tasks, the case would be dismissed in one year.

The client accepted the terms of judicial diversion, happy that the judge had ruled in his favor.


For more information about shoplifting issues, please click on the following articles:
  1. What Is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
  3. AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only
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