Torrance, Client Shoplifts $195 in Items From Walmart

Our client, age 39, wanted an I-phone and an I-phone case, but the expense was more than he could afford.  He consequently decided to take both without paying for the items, but was worried about being caught, especially because he was not a U.S. citizen.  He was on a work visa from India.
Without All the Details, What Happened?:  Client Shoplifted About $195 Worth of Merchandise from Walmart in Torrance; Greg Hill Files Motion for Diversion under AB 2124; Judge Grants Motion; Case Dismissed After One Year.
He developed the plan to go to the Torrance Walmart and take both items out of their packaging and walk out with the items.  He thought that by removing the packaging, he would remove the electronic sensor that would otherwise be detected and alert Walmart to his theft.  In other words, he would “outsmart” the store.

Unfortunately, loss prevention officers at Walmart observed him removing the packaging from the I-phone and stopped him.  He quickly admitted to the theft, but this did not cause loss prevention to release him as he hoped.  The Torrance Police Department was called to the store and our client was taken to the police station, where he was booked and released.

Once released, he called Greg Hill & Associates.  He was ashamed and concerned about being sent to jail, which would certainly mean he’d lose his job.  He also worried about how to afford private counsel, but Greg Hill & Associates arranged a payment plan that the client could afford.
 
Greg discussed the new pilot program that Los Angeles County would be implementing on January 1, 2015.  The program, called AB (Assembly Bill) 2124, was put into the Penal Code at Penal Code § 1001.94 to § 1001.98.  It was proposed by State Senator Bonnie Lowenthal of Long Beach, the mom of Long Beach judge Daniel Lowenthal.

AB 2124 provides that for certain low level misdemeanors, a judge can order diversion for a defendant as long at the individual is not disqualified.  The disqualifying factors include anyone who has a prior conviction within the last ten years for a misdemeanor, a felony conviction or a conviction for a crime of violence, a duty to register as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290, a history of being referred to diversion in the past, as well many other situations.  The program is also not available for DUI cases, domestic violence cases, a case where the victim is a minor or the case involves violence against a police officer.  None of these criteria applied to disqualify our client.

At the arraignment, Greg Hill appeared in the Torrance Superior Court and confirmed that the charges were for a violation of Penal Code § 484(a), which made our client eligible for diversion under AB 2124.

Greg then prepared, filed and served the motion for imposition of diversion.  The judge in Torrance Superior Court did grant the motion, setting rather strict conditions of diversion for our client to fulfill prior to dismissal in one year. 

They included completion of an online shoplifting prevention program, payment of restitution to Walmart for the damaged products and packaging, payment of court costs (about $150), performance of 40 hours of community service and an order to stay away from the Torrance Walmart.

Our client was extremely happy to have this chance to “earn a dismissal” and accepted the terms of diversion.
 
For more information about some of the issues raised in this case, click on the following articles:
  1. AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only.
  2. What is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
  3. I Got Caught for Shoplifting and Now the Store Threatens to Sue Me for $400 – What Should I Do?
 To watch a video about theft offenses, click here.
 
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