Category Archives: Los Angeles District Attorney

What’s a LOHAN supposed to do???

 

The Lindsay Lohan saga in criminal court just got even more LINSANE. Really- nobody could make this up. Lohan or a lawyer on her behalf was supposed to appear in Los Angeles court today. But, neither appeared. Well, a “lawyer’ named Mark Heller did. Mark Heller- the formerly disbarred NY lawyer appeared for Ms. Lohan. But, as previously written and talked about, Heller is not a California lawyer and California criminal law and jails are much different than New York’s.

Judge Jim Dabney admonished Heller for not having local co-council and went as far as to state that Lohan must hire local lawyers or appear and state that she understands she has an “incompetent” lawyer and is willing to take that risk. So, what is Lohan going to do? The answer is as complicated as the many issues Lohan has going on.

Lohan faces charges of lying to police and a probation violation. In fact, she faces multiple jail terms and jurisdictions. This is not just a simple misdemeanor case. Lohan also faces allegations of IRS problems and a large UNPAID bill for an amount due to her previous lawyer Shawn Holley. Holley was sadly fired by Lohan after years of helping her escape jail and turn her life around. Many of us who believe in alternative sentences have seen the Lohan case demonstrate what creative options are possible for those who want to work hard to change their lives.

So, again what CAN Lohan do now? The lawyer who takes her on will have to put in many hours and be able to be creative. A global solution involving all of the criminal cases should be sought. But the problem will be who is going to pay the bill, and who is smart enough to structure such a deal. This deal will need to involve rehab, psychiatric help, probation expertise and the respect of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. A LOT of work. This legal coach suggests that Lohan get real, get busy and get a solid team together yet again. And Lindsay, I said TEAM. And that will involve a sponsorship by a quality rehab and all of us to believe. Well, it is Hollywood the land of make-believe!

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Lindsay Lohan, Los Angeles District Attorney, Prison Consulting, prison preparation

How our system failed actor Johnny Lewis and his victim…

 

Actor Johnny Lewis, who was on the TV show Sons of Anarchy has died in what is a most tragic and yet predictable ending. Not only did Johnny die, he sadly took the life of an 81 year old woman as well. First let me say that I knew and worked with Johnny. In fact, I stopped working with him when it became obvious that I could not help him He needed very strict MENTAL HEALTH care.

The tale of Johnny Lewis should be a lesson to everybody in our criminal justice system and to those who profess to work in rehab and treatment. The past year was not a good one for Lewis and his family. He was in a custody battle, he was not working and most telling, he was arrested several times. These arrests, and his subsequent jail time were all indications that things were very out of balance in his life. What is very misunderstood is that this was NOT a simple rehab/addiction matter.

Despite being sentenced to “treatment”, Johnny received anything but. This is where I hope his death, and the death he caused can be used as example of how the system failed. I often write that judges need to sentence people to Community Service along with a jail, probation or treatment model. I also write that rehab is NOT the solution to everything that ails us. The Johnny Lewis I knew was not addicted to drugs nor does being addicted to drugs mean that one will act in such a violent way.

The simple truth is that Johnny Lewis had been held on the 7th floor  of Los Angels County jail for a period of time. Any of us who works in alternative sentencing knows that only those with a severe psychiatric disorder are held there. The judge should have known that. But, Johnny was ordered to a “treatment” facility and program. This is often the case and yet these “programs” are one size fits all and there simply is no such thing.

Mental Illness is not the same thing as addiction. A 12-step program will not work and often gives false hope to the participant and society. In this case a lack of understanding has led to the death of two people. How tragic and senseless. It is time for our courts and judges to practice what they preach and take responsibility for their actions and look towards solutions.

For now RIP Johnny Lewis and his victim. Let’s not allow this to happen again.

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under addiction, alternatvive sentencing, Johnny Lewis, Los Angeles District Attorney, prison consultant

Conrad Murray needs to start preparing for prison…


Hello D.E.A. where are you???

The tapes once again say it all. Sad but true for Michael Jackson and soon to be ex-doctor Conrad Murray. The tapes that Murray made of his loaded patient Jackson are tragic and damning. Why would Murray have taped his patient while he was in a clear state of intoxication? The answer is simple. Murray must have believed that he would need this “evidence” one day in case somethinghappened to Jackson. Yet, they only confirm what we already knew, Michael Jackson was addicted to downers. But, the tapes tell a story about Murray and the myopic way he views things. Yep- it’s all about Conrad. Hello EGO. Further evidence of this is on the police interrogation tapes of Murray. It is here that we see Murray trying to manipulate the story while leaving out key elements to the police just as he did with the doctors at the hospital and the 911 responders.

Criminal justice experts understand that there are patterns in criminal thinking and in fact are 8 criminal thinking errors. Three of these spell CONRAD MURRAY- entitlement, grandiosity and mollification. In simple terms, Murray was and is oblivious to where his crimes began and where they will end. To support this I would ask people to think about how Murray may still be charged with Federal Crimes like prescription fraud and obstruction of justice. Where is the DEA???

An ironic part of this case is that Murray is facing so little actual prison time. In the Federal System there are mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. New York State used to have something called the Rockefeller Drug Laws.”This term is used to denote the statutes dealing with the sale of narcotics like heroin and other illegal street drugs. These laws carried heavy mandatory minimums ranging from 15 years to life for selling as little as 56 grams. In 2009, these laws were revised to remove the mandatory minimum and was made retroactive leading to the release of more than 1000 inmates. Of course, most people convicted under the Rockefeller laws were low-income minorities just like the primary defendants in the Federal system where there are also very heavymandatory minimum sentences. These sentences however are  for “illegal” drugs. Murray was pushing and trafficking in prescription drugs and is being tried in California State court and not facing any minimums. As a person who has worked with many people convicted to long sentences on drug crimes and as an advocate for Equal Justice, I can tell you that our prisons are packed with low-level drug dealers who also have addiction problems. These people usually do not have the options and advantages of Conrad Murray.

So, why does Murray need an Incarcervention? Simply put, he is out of control and reckless without showing signs of remorse or any acceptance of responsibility. Look, he’s on trial in the death of his patient and yet he is seen out and about in Los Angeles as if he doesn’t have a care in the world getting pedicures and going to Disneyland. This from a man who should have learned his lesson years ago as he ran out on children, wives and debts. An Incarcervention may have helped sobered him up with a reality check years ago and maybe even resulted in the loss of his license. If so, would Michael Jackson be alive? Maybe or maybe he would have utilized one of his other doctor feel good’s. But, we must remember that Jackson and the Jackson family are not on trial here- Conrad Murray is.

Conrad you need to start preparing for prison. I gave you loads of advice in a previous blog and have made it very clear that your attitude needed to change. But, Conrad you are simply is going to have to learn the hard way that there are consequences for all actions. I would rather spend my time working with somebody who wants to make that change. But, CONRAD MURRAY here is some advice for you- “Look at the man in the mirror.” Like I always say, change is possible but it takes lots of work. And, when you decide you are ready call a good prison coach 1-866-229-8264.

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Filed under Conrad Murray, jail, Los Angeles District Attorney, Michael Jackson, prison consultant

Lindsay Lohan and why she has the system by the balls…

Today Lindsay Lohan had the strangest of moments in a Los Angeles courtroom. Lohan appeared before Judge Stephanie Sautner for what was to be a regular probation review. It was anything but! As we all knew, Lohan had not been showing up for her community service or therapy sessions. But, the probation office put forth a report that Lohan WAS in compliance and yet the DA sought that the probation be revoked and Lohan go to jail.

Needless to say this is all not the way it usually works. To complicate matters, the Judge was furious and indeed sided with the DA and has revoked Loan’s probation. As most people in criminal justice know, it is highly unusual for a judge to be at odds with the probation department. After all, judges look to the reporting of the probation department to be accurate. It seems that judge Sautner doubts some aspects of the report as well as disagrees with others. For example, Lohan apparently “phoned” in some therapy sessions and yet her probation officer approved that. The Judge also stated that probation was wrong to allow Lohan to transfer her community service to the Red Cross. The transfer was made because Lohan was kicked out of the program at the women’s shelter after failing to appear for the mandated time. Believe it or not, I have several people I coach through community service because they do not see it as important. But, once they become immersed and see the benefits for them, they thrive.

Further, Judge Sautner was furious with the poor attitude that Lohan has shown, especially where Lohan has stated that her community service at a woman’s shelter was “unfulfilling.” Yikes! The judge has now ordered Lohan to perform 16 hours of community service at the Los Angeles Morgue! In addition Sautner also stated that the probation-approved travel to Europe was supposed to be a work related matter and yet there are numerous pictures of Lohan partying the night away. At this point Judge Sautner has revoked the probation and ordered Lohan to jail. Don’t worry, Lohan will be bailed out quickly and she will then face a full probation violation hearing November 2.

So, what’s a judge to do? Well, community service is supposed to be rehabilitative not solely punitive. But, in this case there are few options. She could order Lohan to jail for 18 months but as the judge pointed out in court, California is overcrowded and going through a realignment process that would lead to a very short actual jail time for Lohan. The bottom line is how to get Lohan and others the message that there are consequences to actions.

This case is one big frustration for the judge and one big bill for the taxpayers. My advice is to have Lohan serve two types of community service, one that is punitive and one where she can actually begin to give back! What a concept right? Lindsay, you might actual enjoy giving back and helping people. It is never too late to start practicing Restorative Justice. And, while you are at it, get some quality therapy.

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Filed under jail, Lindsay Lohan, Los Angeles District Attorney, prison consultant, Restoratice Justice

Hey kids, the circus is coming to town…Calling Dr. Murray…

The Casey Anthony case is winding down, so what better way to celebrate than a new “trial of the century.” And, this is sure to be much more salacious than Anthony ever could imagine. Who cares about wet T-shirts and tattoos, when we will soon have the old Michael Jackson cast and so much more. That’s right. The long awaited trial of Dr. Conrad Murray is set to hit Los Angeles in September.

The truth is that the cases are similar in so many ways. Both have victims who have ended up dead and both have very unsympathetic defendants. But, soon we will have a very different trial. That is because in the Murray case there are actually real defense lawyers like Ed Chernoff and Michael Flannigan. Gone are Bozo Baez and Perry Mason.

The Murray trial will also be star studded. This may even include a cast of Hollywood celebs who also received drugs from Murray and of course Dr. Arnold Klein. Klein is not charged in this case, but is sure to be a hot topic. Don’t worry. Klein will have his own criminal legal case soon enough. In fact, he has gotten the ball rolling with a Federal Bankruptcy filing.

Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He is not charged with prescribing to an addict or other obvious charges. Is that a fair a charge? More on that later…

Gear up for this TV event. HLN never had it so good. Murray’s lawyers even asked for the jury to be sequestered so that there would be no “Nancy Grace Effect.” Really??? Too bad for the cable networks that this case will not be during the summer slow TV season, but during the much anticipated launch of the network fall schedule debut.

STAY TUNED

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Filed under casey anthony. jose baez, cindy anthony, Criminal Justice, jail, Los Angeles District Attorney, Michael Jackson, prescription drugs, prison consultant