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Top News in Criminal Law – August 2018 Recap

Criminal LawAs experienced criminal defense lawyers, we pride ourselves in our up-to-date knowledge of federal crimes and criminal law standards. These standards are determined by cases that move through our court system, each making a lasting imprint on the way our legal system functions.

Over the past month, we’ve kept the following stories on our radar:

Charges Dropped Against Ex-Officer in Statutory Rape Case

On July 11, prosecutors dropped charges against former California police officer Marco Becerra. Becerra was accused of statutory rape after admitting he had sex with a 17-year-old girl enrolled in the training program at San Leandro Police Department.

Becerra insisted the relationship was consensual and resigned shortly after news of the investigation broke. The charges were dismissed after the alleged victim refused to move forward with the case.

Trial Date Set for Man Charged on Suspicion of Assault

William Planer, a Nazi sympathizer charged in the clash between white supremacists and protesters in 2016, will begin trial in September. 

Planer remains in Sacramento County custody on a $600,000 bail. He is suspected of assault connected to the riots. A number of protestors also face assault charges, including Yvonne Felarca, Porfirio Paz, and Michael Williams. All three protestors have been released on bail.

A total of 5 people were stabbed in the riot, which erupted at a joint rally of the Traditionalist Worker Party and Golden State Skinheads. Attorneys for the protestors argue that local and state law enforcement did nothing to protect them. Prosecutors claim Felarca, Paz, and Williams did not file police reports or cooperate with law enforcement.

Sheriff Deputy Accused of Placing Loaded Weapon in Child’s Backpack

On July 12, Manuel Murillo, a 37-year-old Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, pled not guilty to misdemeanor charges of child endangerment, second-degree criminal storage of a firearm, and third-degree criminal storage of a firearm.

Prosecutors allege Murillo placed his loaded firearm into an 8-year-old relative’s backpack while off-duty. The child was dropped off with a caretaker, who was made aware of the firearm after nearly half an hour.

Murillo has been with the department for over a decade and maintains his innocence, claiming the firearm was placed in the backpack by accident.

Criminal Abuse Charges Against Former Vungle CEO Dropped

In October of 2017, Zain Jaffer – the founder and former CEO of mobile ad firm Vungle – was placed on leave and later fired. He faced a number of serious charges, including battery against a police officer and felony assault. The industry was shocked by the developing case, though Jaffer has maintained his innocence from the beginning.

“Being wrongfully accused of these crimes has been a terrible experience, which has had a deep and lasting impact on my family and the employees of my business,” said Jaffer in a recent statement. “Those closest to me knew I was innocent and were confident that all of the charges against me would eventually be dismissed.”

Indeed, in early July, a San Mateo judge dismissed the charges.

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