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Theseus
12-28-2008, 2:48 PM
I don't have a scanner at home, but I will use a fellows to post.

I, today, received a letter from the LA District Attorney saying that I have had a complaint filed against me in their office for violation of 626.9(B) POSSESSION OF A FIREARM NEAR A SCHOOL.

It tells me a time and date to appear to the clerk at the Alhambra Superior Court or a warrant will be issued for my arrest.

It gives no case number or other information for which I am to go by.

I am considering getting a lawyer, but at this time I can't think what for unless they can dig the information up and prevent me from being arrested.

aplinker
12-28-2008, 3:00 PM
Did it include a date/time? Was there an arrest made? Do you know what they're referring to?

What a strange thing.

compulsivegunbuyer
12-28-2008, 3:02 PM
Someone filed a complaint? Seems to me that unless the cops caught you with it near a school, there's nothing they can do.

sac550
12-28-2008, 3:16 PM
Don't worry about getting an attorney until you go for your first court date. Don't waste your money until you see what the case is. Make a formal request on the record for a discovery package. Read it over and see what the evidence is. Then decide if you want/need an attorney.

Vacaville
12-28-2008, 3:16 PM
Methinks you might want to talk to an attorney on this one. Very strange.

USN CHIEF
12-28-2008, 3:18 PM
Wow, very interesting. WTF is going on with our legal system? For a second I taught we were in the year 1943 and we were being run by Adolph Hitler. What kind of bull**** is this? How in the **** can you you get a notice to appear before a court because according to them you someone saw you with a firearm in school property if no LE Contact was made? WTF is going on here?

Wildhawk66
12-28-2008, 3:19 PM
I'm with compulsivegunbuyer. Unless you were arrested by an officer (this would include cited and released), or arrested by a private party (citizens arrest) who then turned you over to an officer or judge at the time of the offense, this doesn't make sense to me.

Even if someone filed a complaint with your local PD that you were violating this section, the most I would expect is that you might be subjected to a knock and talk.

nick
12-28-2008, 3:26 PM
Well, gun-related "offenses" do get special treatment. It's for the betterment of humanity and all, after all.

Shotgun Man
12-28-2008, 3:27 PM
Can you link us to your blog entry that describes the incident that gave rise to this complaint? Is it the 10/6/08 incident at the laundrymat?

pullnshoot25
12-28-2008, 3:32 PM
That is such a load of SHAT! I am definitely interested in that...

eta34
12-28-2008, 3:42 PM
The merits of the case may be bogus, but the DA has filed charges. Definitely appear on the date/time mentioned. You can try to contact the DA's office prior to see if you can gather any information.

Matt C
12-28-2008, 3:48 PM
You need a lawyer. I'll tell you what is going to happen 90% probability: You need at least $5k cash (or credit) now (beg, borrow, whatever), and plan to be broke for awhile. That is the sucky part. The good news is you will probably beat this eventually. But it's going to cost you a lot of $$$. Hopefully the community can step in and help you out, but right now you have to handle this right. This is what being a part of the Fight means.

You should know the names of the top lawyers in socal, if not, PM me. If you pick TMLLP I can get you a small discount. If you want to talk PM me also, but don't talk to anyone else but a lawyer at this point, as they can be forced to testify against you... GOOD LUCK!

capo
12-28-2008, 4:09 PM
Don't fool around, retain a lawyer immediately. Why would you even give yourself a chance of getting screwed on this one? You obviously are vocal about what you are doing, you blog about it, and frankly you are inviting trouble, so make sure that you have all of your resources in place when trouble finds you, as it looks like it has.

live2offroad
12-28-2008, 4:14 PM
I'm only going to reinforce what the last two posters said.. I spent 4 years managing a Law Office, and all I can say is NEVER go to court without representation. The system is not simple, nor is it in your favor, and a simple slip of the tongue can hang you.. Get a lawyer, go to court..

Good luck..

-Peter

rayra
12-28-2008, 4:23 PM
Not going to play 20questions trying to drag the tale out of you, but where did this complaint originate, and o what evidence?

$10 says it's a ****ing ignorant DA that thinks the 1000' exclusion pertains to AnY gun anywhere, and doesn't grasp that it does NOT preclude legal ownership of guns in or on your property, or the lawful transport of same to and from.

You really ought to contact the DA well before the court date and inquire about the nature and origin of the complaint, the actual charge, the punishment sought, so you can make informed decisions about your response. Find out what prompted the complaint, if you don't already know. Crappy neighbor? Some fear-driven liberal cretin from the school see you putting a weapon in your vehicle? Or on your property with one? (all legal, in general, btw).

You REALLY out to do all the preparation BEFORE the date of your mandated appearance (presumably your arraignment?) - you will have an opportunity at the time of that arraignment to receive a Public Defender. You should be prepared to fully educate that Public Defender on the ins and outs of 626.9, specifically what IS legal to do DESPITE that bull**** piece of dreck.
And you must press like hell for a dismissal of the charges at the earliest moment. The DA will almost certainly attempt the get you to plea to a lesser charge or surrender your arms. And depending how much of an anti-gun ideoloogue they are they might even attempt to have your judicially disarmed during the case.
You'll likely get 30-60 days between your arraignment appearance and your plea hearing. During this time you must do your utmost to defeat the case and push for the dismissal. The Public Defender likely won't do anything until they HAVE to, which is entirely to late for you.

I've written elsewhere here of my own / different case and my disgust and disappointment with and victory over our injustice system and what I consider to be the predatory pricing of the 'help' from supposed RKBA-friendly attorneys.
My short writeup can be found here -
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=106009&page=3

By all means, get the best help you can afford or are willing to pay for or accept. But YOU should do everything in your power to gather the information, evidence, reports and education in the specific laws pertaining, and do it NOW. It is the only way you can effectively defend yourself, instead of being a toll-paying passenger in your own case.

Good luck. And if you DO find out that this was some ignorant or malicious vendetta that drove this complaint, I strongly urge you to fight like hell to see that the person(s) filing or acting on these false charges bear the full brunt of legal punishment for doing so. Hoist them on their own petard.

Matt C
12-28-2008, 4:29 PM
Don't gamble with your freedom, you are not a lawyer and you could very well get screwed by the system if not adequately represented. Yes it's 5-10K, but I'd call that money well spent if it buys your freedom (and ours, indirectly). Rayra got LUCKY. His crime was a misdemeanor (correct me if I'm wrong), 626.9 is a FELONY. Not even a wobbler. You can't defend yourself from behind bars if they decide to remand you, it's impossible, get a lawyer NOW. They know how the system works, how to play all the little games, how to make this go away. Being right is not a get out of jail free card.

rayra
12-28-2008, 4:35 PM
ah, a partial nevermind. I missed the connotations about your being an Open Carry martr / practitioner. You seem to be woefully behind the curve considering what you've chosen to do. Here's hoping you can get your *** in high gear now that you've fallen into a legal trap.

Start making your Open Carry argument, in a hurry, based on all the legal writings and PD findings / circulars on what is legal and what is not about Open Carry.

The law itself seems to spell out your defense, if this is over Open Carry -

626.9. (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the
Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.
(b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person
knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, as defined in
paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), unless it is with the written
permission of the school district superintendent, his or her
designee, or equivalent school authority, shall be punished as
specified in subdivision (f).
(c) Subdivision (b) shall not apply to the possession of a firearm
under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Within a place of residence or place of business or on private
property, if the place of residence, place of business, or private
property is not part of the school grounds and the possession of the
firearm is otherwise lawful.
(2) The firearm is an unloaded pistol, revolver, or other firearm
capable of being concealed on the person and is in a locked container
or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle.
This section shall not prohibit or limit the otherwise lawful
transportation of any other firearm, other than a pistol, revolver,
or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person, in
accordance with state law. ...

section j alludes to a potential out as it implicitly infers that this law relates to loaded firearms. If you were practicing Unloaded Open Carry, especialyl as you've got a clear history of it and other jurisdictions have found it to be legal, you might (and should) be able to squeeze out of this with an outright dismissal by a reasonable judge as under those favorable interpretations the DA will have failed to make their basic case / charge. Your PubDef or retain lawyer ought to be primed to make this motion to dismiss on those grouns at the earliest possible opportunity.
And your counsel, if the information if laid out in a straightforward and comprehensive manner, should be able to coerce the DA into dropping a loswer case before it even gets in front of the Judge. Really depends how cocky, stupid or ideologically driven the DA or the assigned ADA actually is (AND THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM - IT'S SUBJECTIVE, NOT OBJECTIVE)

nobody33
12-28-2008, 4:43 PM
You don't have to be arrested on the spot to be charged by the DA. During one of your contacts (or by reading his blog) the DA has evidence somewhere that you had a gun 1000' from a school. One of the police departments that detained you probably did some research after the incident and filed a complaint after the fact. They are going to charge you formally on the court appearance.

Get a lawyer now. If you don't have the money, go to the public defender tomorrow. The DA wouldn't have filed a criminal complaint if they didn't think they could win a jury trial on your case.

rayra
12-28-2008, 4:49 PM
Don't gamble with your freedom, you are not a lawyer and you could very well get screwed by the system if not adequately represented. Yes it's 5-10K, but I'd call that money well spent if it buys your freedom (and ours, indirectly). Rayra got LUCKY. His crime was a misdemeanor (correct me if I'm wrong), 626.9 is a FELONY. Not even a wobbler. You can't defend yourself from behind bars if they decide to remand you, it's impossible, get a lawyer NOW. They know how the system works, how to play all the little games, how to make this go away. Being right is not a get out of jail free card.

Luck had ****ing nothing to do with it. The CHARGE was a misdemanor, I committed ZERO 'crime', which I was ultimately able to prevail / stand my ground against, despite the initial ADA determination to salvage his batting average by screwing me with a lesser charge offer.
If the OP can firmly establish the narrow box within 626.9 where he would NOT be violating the law by practicing Unloaded Open Carry, dredge up any precedent, AND cram in all the foundational material of the Open Carry campaign - particularly the ground recently gained re recent LEO memorandum re the practice - he can mount an able defense that might convince the DA that their case is a loser and they should cut their losses by bailing out of it.
IF the OP brings ALL of that to his earliest meetings and appearances, he might be able to forestall the much greater cost and injury of a baseless prosecution, and it's stress and potential punishments.
If he instead sits back and lets The System call the shots, and lets a lawyer on retainer call the slow ponderous moves, he could very likely find himself broke / bankrupt, possibly still convicted, punished and looking for an appeal to magically form.
It really depends on the source and motivation of this indictment. If it was in response to a fearful ninny's complaint, and carried forward by a C-grade lawyer in teh DA's office, he stands a good chance of quashing it, nipping it in the bud. This is something anyone screwing around with Unloaded Open Carry ought to be prepared to do before they EVER strap on a firearm in public.
If however the indictment is ideologically or politically motivated, conducted by an authoritarian DA or hungry ADA looking to rack up points, or some posturing fool looking to 'look tough on crime', they just might not let go very easily. And then you are broke anyway.

And ALL of that rests on what the nature is of the presiding judge in your particular court. If the area and court officers are liberal, good luck getting Justice on gun rights. You'd get off easier being a repeat offender with a rap sheet for petty larceny. But if the court officers are fair or reasonable, and the initial charge spawned from a misunderstanding, your odds of early success are much greater.

Do not let FEAR stampede you into turtling up or ponying up every dime you have, just to dance a rigged dance in our f'd up legal system.

Wildhawk66
12-28-2008, 4:49 PM
I just caught that your an open carrier and have had PD contact. Nobody33 is right. One of the officers you had contact with wrote a report that was submitted to the DA. Looks like the DA decided to file charges.

I highly recommend you get a lawyer immediately.

rayra
12-28-2008, 4:50 PM
I've said my piece. Best Wishes to the OP. He's going to have to scramble to do all the work he should have already done, to save his own ***.
Don't be this guy.

Matt C
12-28-2008, 4:52 PM
Just to reiterate: Don't discuss your case anymore (and DEFINITELY don't do it online!).

Get a real lawyer. Personally I would not trust a PD, some of them are very good, and some are VERY bad. Again, don't gamble with your freedom.

You should have the $$$ for a real lawyer since you knew what you were getting into playing this game.

If you are not in custody you will have ample chance to help your lawyer research and save yourself some $$ by doing it. For now, pay the damn retainer and stay out of jail.

Meplat
12-28-2008, 5:10 PM
No, it's for the children!:rolleyes:

Well, gun-related "offenses" do get special treatment. It's for the betterment of humanity and all, after all.

capo
12-28-2008, 5:12 PM
I think right now would be an ideal time to take the blog offline as well.

Beatone
12-28-2008, 5:23 PM
I'm only going to reinforce what the last two posters said.. I spent 4 years managing a Law Office, and all I can say is NEVER go to court without representation. The system is not simple, nor is it in your favor, and a simple slip of the tongue can hang you.. Get a lawyer, go to court..

Good luck..

-Peter

+1 on what he said.

Shotgun Man
12-28-2008, 5:41 PM
You don't have to be arrested on the spot to be charged by the DA. During one of your contacts (or by reading his blog) the DA has evidence somewhere that you had a gun 1000' from a school. One of the police departments that detained you probably did some research after the incident and filed a complaint after the fact. They are going to charge you formally on the court appearance.

Get a lawyer now. If you don't have the money, go to the public defender tomorrow. The DA wouldn't have filed a criminal complaint if they didn't think they could win a jury trial on your case.

LOL. The only act a brand-new DA doesn't need supervisor approval on is filing a complaint.

rayra
12-28-2008, 5:54 PM
ok, I've browsed through the OP's blog and once again I say he's apparently got this Open Carry advocacy in completely the wrong order.
He's gone out seeking confrontation and got it in spades, apparently without first being completely prepared to defend himself against the practicalyl inevitable charges. He's taken steps to document encounters and is prepared in a sort of street-advocate/-preacher sort of way, but apparently didn't / isn't prepared for an arrest or indictment. Foolish IMAO. Especially with a wife and small child in tow. This sort of advocacy / martyrdom is better done by single youts and old men. People with nothing to lose or with vastly more experience and resources.

HowardW56
12-28-2008, 5:58 PM
You better get a lawyer and be prepared to post bail...

You may be booked and released immediately after your appearance if you are prepared to bail out...

The fact that you did appear helps in a request for low or no bail.

GET A LAWYER...

Scotty
12-28-2008, 6:14 PM
Based on the probable location of where he was last stopped, he's cutting the 1000 feet way too close.

Matt C
12-28-2008, 6:39 PM
Based on the probable location of where he was last stopped, he's cutting the 1000 feet way too close.

Let's not have any more of this type of speculation ok? It won't help.

tombinghamthegreat
12-28-2008, 6:43 PM
Get a lawyer and consider editing any personal info. Be sure not to incriminate yourself.

Theseus
12-28-2008, 6:59 PM
:stupid:

Fjold
12-28-2008, 7:12 PM
I know a guy who wanted to build a strip joint in town. By local zoning ordinances he had to be 500' from any school or residence. The best lot that he found on the map was 540' from a school, he thought. It turned out he measured from the center of the school on the map and not from the edge of the school property.

eta34
12-28-2008, 7:13 PM
In LA county (at least in my experience), if the DA files misdemeanor charges against you, they send a letter to you with an appearance date. They don't simply issue an arrest warrant. If you do not appear, then a warrant will be issued for you.

Matt C
12-28-2008, 7:15 PM
In LA county (at least in my experience), if the DA files misdemeanor charges against you, they send a letter to you with an appearance date. They don't simply issue an arrest warrant. If you do not appear, then a warrant will be issued for you.

626.9 is a no ifs ands or buts felony. Pretty weird that they would not just pick him up, actually a good sign I think though. I'd be prepared in case they did anyways, it would certainly not surprise me (though it would be unusual).

ETA: I take that back, it MAY be a wobbler, but with a 3 month min sentence!

Theseus
12-28-2008, 7:16 PM
I AM LEAVING THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST BECAUSE IT IS NOT ABOUT THE CASE, MERELY THE POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT...

In LA county (at least in my experience), if the DA files misdemeanor charges against you, they send a letter to you with an appearance date. They don't simply issue an arrest warrant. If you do not appear, then a warrant will be issued for you.

(f) (1) Is ONLY IN or ON school grounds...That is an automatic felony.
(f) (1) Any person who violates subdivision (b) by possessing a firearm in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years.

(f)(2) is WITHIN 1000 ft.. .
(f) (2) Any person who violates subdivision (b) by possessing a
firearm within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public
or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1
to 12, inclusive, shall be punished as follows:


To be a felony I need to meet any one of the situations in (A)(i,ii,or iii)

(A) By imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five
years, if any of the following circumstances apply:
(i) If the person previously has been convicted of any felony, or
of any crime made punishable by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section
12000) of Title 2 of Part 4.
(ii) If the person is within a class of persons prohibited from
possessing or acquiring a firearm pursuant to Section 12021 or
12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code.
(iii) If the firearm is any pistol, revolver, or other firearm
capable of being concealed upon the person and the offense is
punished as a felony pursuant to Section 12025.


Otherwise (B)...but here is the strange part.

(B) By imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or
by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years,
in all cases other than those specified in subparagraph (A).

gotgunz
12-28-2008, 7:20 PM
Watching with great interest.

Give your wife the username and password so she can post here in case you are unable to.

_Odin_
12-28-2008, 7:25 PM
I didn't realize this was UOC related at first so I was like "WTF??"

Anyway...

Unless the DA has multipile witnesses (multiple as in "more than one") that are willing to testify that they SAW you UOC'ing near a school, I wouldn't worry too much. Specifically, it would look bad for you if said witnesses are independent of one another (2 staff members from the school saying they saw you isn't as compelling as 2 random households on the st. near said school). Absent an arrest, a single person complaining is tantamount to hearsay and would not hold up for the DA's case.

Your worst case scenario would be a number of different (independent) people w/ a history of complaints (to the PD) about this issue over a several week period - where the PD eventually escalated the issue to the DA.

An interesting question would be - "If these charges are stemming from a complaint - how did the PD find out your address/identification to file said complaint". It leads me to believe that the complaining party knows you personally.

RP1911
12-28-2008, 7:44 PM
Maybe an anti read his blog and figured to mess with him.

BadFish
12-28-2008, 8:19 PM
I will be watching this thread with interest.

Theseus
12-28-2008, 8:23 PM
:stupid:

JeffM
12-28-2008, 8:32 PM
I've said my piece. Best Wishes to the OP. He's going to have to scramble to do all the work he should have already done, to save his own ***.
Don't be this guy.

Big +1 to that.

But good luck.

I'll be following this for more info.

Get a good lawyer; depending on how this goes, you could be doing more harm than good for our rights if you get convicted. You will need all the help you can get.

And for gods sake stop posting here and on your blog. STFU and only talk to your lawyer.

dfletcher
12-28-2008, 8:35 PM
It seems to me that being in unknown or new legal circumstances warrants the presence of legal counsel at your initial interview. My state of mind going into the meeting would be that the DA is going to either try to get me to incriminate myself or catch me in a lie, or both. That this may have resulted from a police report is interesting, one would presume the Officer specified the location of the contact and whether you were within the school zone. If you were not inside at the point of contact, I'd be very careful to not be "reverse engineered" so to speak inside or having gone through the school zone.

Perhaps one of our LE members can post their general observations about what a person in these circumstances can expect during a meeting with the DA's office.

JDay
12-28-2008, 8:38 PM
It seems to me that being in unknown or new legal circumstances warrants the presence of legal counsel at your initial interview. My state of mind going into the meeting would be that the DA is going to either try to get me to incriminate myself or catch me in a lie, or both. That this may have resulted from a police report is interesting, one would presume the Officer specified the location of the contact and whether you were within the school zone. If you were not inside at the point of contact, I'd be very careful to not be "reverse engineered" so to speak inside or having gone through the school zone.

Perhaps one of our LE members can post their general observations about what a person in these circumstances can expect during a meeting with the DA's office.

This is why you invoke your right to counsel right after they read you your rights. And remember that even if they don't read you your rights to keep quiet, nothing you say is going to talk them out of charging you.

Liberty1
12-28-2008, 8:52 PM
Do us a favor, go plead guilty so the appeals can begin. What a pure case for "bear" to be tested in a public total prohibition zone for an openly carried unloaded handgun NOT on school property!

+1000 on the STFU and take down all postings and blogs.

mymonkeyman
12-28-2008, 8:54 PM
STOP POSTING!

You do not argue about the law and speculate about how you could have violated it in a public message board while charges are pending against you. The "complaint" discussed is not a "an expression of discontent" but rather "the first pleading in a legal action." Get a lawyer.

Beatone
12-28-2008, 9:12 PM
I would delete this thread.

BigDogatPlay
12-28-2008, 9:15 PM
If you haven't lawyered up yet, do so before you go anywhere near the courtroom or the DA's office. You don't have any friends who will watch out for you in either place.

Stop posting everywhere on the subject of OC or anything related to it until the case is closed.

tombinghamthegreat
12-28-2008, 9:30 PM
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

Remain silent......

Librarian
12-28-2008, 9:57 PM
As comedian Ron White said
I had the right to remain silent. But I didn't have the ability.
Mysterious missives from law enforcement deserve calm reflection with a skilled professional.

Theseus
12-28-2008, 10:11 PM
It is hard to stay silent. There is so much on the mind.

I would like to keep all informed, because I find it frustrating reading only a small tidbit of information and then nothing for a year and boom! Something happened good or bad.

M. Sage
12-28-2008, 10:20 PM
It is hard to stay silent. There is so much on the mind.

I would like to keep all informed, because I find it frustrating reading only a small tidbit of information and then nothing for a year and boom! Something happened good or bad.

I'll gladly help you exercise restraint... by locking this thread for you. It's a lot easier to keep from talking about it when people aren't asking questions and speculating.

I'm sure the rest of the mods would be happy to help out, too. We're nice like that. :D

BTW: +1 to getting a lawyer. And +1 to clamming up.