Our client, age 23, was fond of cocaine, as well as a few other drugs. He and a friend went to an area of Wilmington where they had “scored” cocaine in the past and began talking to a guy who said he could drive the two to a friend’s house where they could make a purchase. It was about 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night.
Our client got in the car. Little did he know that the police were watching the driver, who they knew was a Westside Wilmas gang member. Our client did not know the driver was a gang member. There was also a fourth young man in the car, a friend of the driver. The area where the car was driving was an area that had recently seen violence between the Westside and Eastside Wilmas.
No sooner had our client got in the car of a person he did not know than a Los Angeles Police Department car pulled in behind the car and turned on its flashing blue and pink lights. This was in the area of Blinn Street and Denni Street.
Instead of pulling over, the driver of the car attempted to speed away. The driver turned onto Alameda, heading north toward Anaheim Street. He then turned right (eastbound) on Pacific Coast Highway, then ran two red lights and turned left onto a small side street, crashing into a parked car.
Luckily, all four people in the car were OK. They piled out of the car and began running. Two got away cleanly, but not our client or the driver. Our client ran about a block and then jumped over a fence, while being chased on foot by an officer. As he tried to jump over a second fence, he pants got stuck on a sharp pointed part of the fence and the police arrested him immediately.
Our client allegedly resisted the police in flexing the muscles in his arms to prevent the police from putting on the handcuffs.
Our client was then taken to the Harbor Police Station and booked. Before moving him to a cell for holding and setting bail, according to the police report, as he was being strip-searched, our client “spontaneously said he had cocaine in his pocket.” A police officer pulled out a small baggie that he described as a “white substance resembling cocaine.”
Our client was released the next morning on his own recognizance with just a promise to appear about two months later in Long Beach Superior Court. We think the own recognizance release was quite lucky because he was on probation for a non-alcohol (cocaine, meth, marijuana and Xanax) DUI with a car accident that we had represented him on about six months earlier. Moreover, the booking charge was changed from misdemeanor evading arrest to felony bringing in a controlled substance to a jail (Penal Code § 4573).
The client immediately called Greg Hill & Associates and explained to Greg what had happened. He asked Greg how he thought the case would resolve and Greg explained that he definitely thought our client faced the possibility of some time, i.e. 60 to 90 days, in custody because of the prior DUI just six months earlier, the evading arrest, admitting that he was trying to buy cocaine to the police and having cocaine in a jail.
Greg recommended that the client attend at least ten Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings prior to the arraignment. The client agreed that this would be a good idea and Greg forwarded the client a Narcotics Anonymous sign-in sheet to use for signing-in.
Greg also recommended that the client forward him a pay stub so he could show the prosecutor that the client was working and not involved in any gang.
Greg then appeared at the arraignment in the Long Beach Superior Court and discussed the case with the prosecutor, who was surprisingly sympathetic to our client being in a car that suddenly became involved in a car chase without expecting this.
Greg showed the district attorney that our client had attended ten NA meetings so far and was employed.
Greg also mentioned that the 4573 charge did not really “fit” because our client volunteered that he had cocaine before being put in a holding cell with other inmates. He also did not seem to be hiding it like 4573 is intended to address. Greg said the case really was more about simple possession that smuggling contraband into a jail.
The prosecutor agreed in principal and said he needed to discuss the case with his supervisor before making an offer.
Greg excitedly told the client that he had a hunch that the case may resolve with diversion and that the client should continue attending NA meetings.
At the next hearing, a preliminary hearing setting conference, our client had attended a total of 30 NA classes, 20 more than just one month earlier. The prosecutor took note of this and offered our client dismissal if he attended 50 more NA meetings and stayed out of trouble for six months.
Of course, our client agreed to this resolution, quite happy to avoid a felony conviction.
For more information about bringing a controlled substance into a jail or prison, please click on the following articles: