Our client, age 24, took approximately $248 in merchandise (a sweater, two dresses, two necklaces, earrings and a t-shirt) from JCPenney at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. She took the items into the dressing room and once hidden there, used scissors to remove the price tags and then put the items in her large purse.
She was stopped just steps outside the door by loss prevention personnel who had been watching her closely on close-circuit television from above. They never saw her place the items in her purse, but they could compare what they saw the client entering the dressing room with and what she came out holding. They knew that our client had probably dropped each item in another shopping bag or her purse that she was carrying.
About This Summary Briefly: Client steals $248 in items from JCPenney at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. She was in the United States on an F1 Visa. Case resolved for diversion, ultimately leading to dismissal of the case.
The client was in the United States from India on an F1 Visa that would be renewed in fourteen months. She was extremely concerned that a conviction for shoplifting would result in her Visa being unrenewable. When loss prevention asked her about the taking, she was so nervous and anxious that she refused to speak.
Her husband picked her up from the Torrance Police Department hours later.
The family was jarred and apprehensive of what might happen. The police had told her varying things – from prison to jail to “nothing will happen.” She was confused and her husband was concerned that she would be deported while he had to remain in the United States for work.
The couple called Greg Hill & Associates and met with Greg the day after the arrest. Greg listened to the wife explain what had happened.
Greg explained that the wife most likely would be eligible for judicial diversion under Assembly Bill (AB) 2124, which was codified at Penal Code § 1001.94 to § 1001.98, but explained as well that the judge’s discretion is still available to deny such a program. Greg explained that the seven items, the total value of the items and the wife’s silence in response to loss prevention questioning might be argued by the prosecution as things that merit denial of such a request for diversion.
Greg then recommended that the client enroll in and finish an online shoplifting prevention course ASAP. The client did this and provided our office with her certificate of completion.
Greg then appeared in court at the arraignment and received the police report. He also looked over the client’s criminal history and discussed the case briefly with the Torrance City Prosecutor handling the case. Greg wanted to first make sure that the police report matched basically what the client had told him – and it did.
Greg then prepared a Motion for Imposition of Judicial Diversion under AB2124 (Penal Code §§ 1001.94 to 1001.98). He included, as an exhibit, the client’s completion certificate from the online shoplifting prevention course, as well as a photocopy of the client’s F1 Visa.
He filed the motion with the court for the judge to read and served it to the Torrance City Prosecutor’s office.
About a month later, there was hearing on the motion for diversion. The Torrance judge was reluctant to grant the motion, describing how he was troubled by the number of items taken and the value of the items. He said it was a “close call,” but that he would grant the motion.
The terms of judicial diversion (not probation) were that our client was required to perform forty hours of court-approved community service, pay the City of Torrance booking fee of $434 and stay away from the Del Amo Fashion Center for one year.
After one year, if she stayed away from the mall, completed the community service and paid the booking fee – and kept out of any trouble – she would be entitled to dismissal of the case.
The client and her husband were very happy with this resolution, as it avoided a conviction on her record, which would certainly have adverse immigration consequences, as well as being on probation.
For more information about shoplifting and AB2124, click on the following articles:
- What Is Shoplifting and Its Defense?
- What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
- AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only
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