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January 2013 Archives

Man denies charge of raping an autistic girl

A 36-year-old San Francisco man has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex crimes against a 16-year-old autistic girl. The victim lived at a group home located in the Oakland area and wandered away from the facility in late November. The 16-year-old girl, who has the mental capacity of a much younger child, was initially followed for a time by some of the facility staff, but they lost visual contact with her close to the Fruitvale BART metro stop and called the police. From there, the girl was abducted and moved to a residence in the area. She was raped several times over three days. After she escaped, a train operator discovered her and alerted the police. She was able to help police find the man who allegedly attacked her.

California and other crime labs - It's not "Law and Order"

Californians who watch television crime shows might be led to believe that state and federal crime labs are state of the art facilities with forensic scientists who quickly process evidence. The reality is crime labs are generally underfunded with backlogs as long as nine months or more. There are no uniform requirements for forensic lab technicians and many jurisdictions don't require any kind of certification. Defendants who find themselves in conflict with the findings of a crime lab may benefit from a criminal defense attorney. A case in the office of the New York City Medical Examiner shows just how serious these problems can become. Authorities are now reviewing over 800 rape cases because of possible mishandled evidence by a technician. So far, evidence of incompetence has been discovered in 26 cases. This raises the issue of cross-contamination, meaning that DNA from one individual might be matched in error with an innocent party.

Supreme Court reviews search warrant criteria in DUI case

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving whether or not a search warrant should be required to take a blood sample from a DUI suspect. The case dealt with a Missouri man who was pulled over by a state patrolman for speeding who failed a roadside sobriety test and refused the breath test.

String of arrests made in connection to deadly home invasion

Sacramento police arrested the fourth person involved in a violent crime that occurred on Nov. 30 and involved a home invasion and murder of a Monte Sereno man; the crime is still being investigated by area police, who issued a news release speculating that the home invasion and homicide were likely not random acts and that investigators on the case were concentrating on any potential connections that possible suspects could have to the victim's residence. The home invasion left a 66-year-old man dead and his wife with non-life threatening injuries. Connected arrests have since been made: One woman was arrested on Dec. 18 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder; she also received charges for possession of felony narcotics, misdemeanor prostitution and public intoxication. Another man was arrested on Dec. 26 after police interviewed him at the Santa Clara County Jail where he was in custody due to an unrelated matter. The third arrest in the case occurred on Dec. 27 after Oakland police stopped and detained a man who was being transferred to Santa Clara County Jail. Police arrested him after interviewing him.

Holiday DUI patrol yields over 450 arrests in SoCal

A holiday crackdown on individuals who drink and drive in Southern California has resulted in drunk driving arrests for 456 people. The campaign began in mid-December and ran through midnight New Year's Day. The intent of the program was to reduce deaths caused by impaired drivers. Law enforcement agencies participated in efforts to arrest impaired drivers during regular shifts at checkpoints and with the use of DUI patrols. Thus far, the deaths of two pedestrians this season have been blamed on drinking and driving.

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