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April 2015 Archives

Options for voluntary manslaughter defenses

Defenses used in voluntary manslaughter cases have the potential to help defendants in California to go free or obtain lesser charges. Defenses and sentencing vary from state to state, but involuntary manslaughter usually comes with less severe penalties and sentences. In court cases, manslaughter is considered any act where an individual has an intent to kill another person, either in a moment of passion or at a specific time and place. Involuntary manslaughter is usually applied when a person's negligent or reckless actions, such as driving while intoxicated, result in another person's death.

The length of a prison sentence depends on many factors

In California, as in many jurisdictions, the penalty for second-degree murder is governed by a statute that dictates a minimum and maximum prison sentence. Under the statute, the minimum sentence for second-degree murder is 15 years with a maximum term of life. However, the minimum sentence can increase or decrease in the presence of other factors.

California rival gang members sentenced for robbery

Two 19-year-old Santa Rosa men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in the 2014 robbery of a drug store. Prosecutors indicate that one man was a member of the Crips gang, while the other man was a member of the Norteños gang. According to prosecutors, the two gangs are normally rivals, but the men allegedly cooperated with each other to commit the store robbery together.

Plea bargains have become common in criminal cases

Residents in California may be interested to know that plea bargains have become a common way to settle criminal cases. Negotiated pleas can benefit judges, defendants and prosecutors in terms of time and money. Around 90 percent of criminal cases are decided by negotiated plea bargains between judges, prosecutors, defendants and their lawyers.

Learn more about enhanced sentences in California

In the state of California, anyone who willingly participates in a street gang could be sentenced to up to a year in county jail or up to three years in state prison. In the event that an individual commits a felony either at the direction of or for the benefit of a street gang, that person could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

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