Fresno Domestic Violence Defense Attorney | Drug and Alcohol Issues | Pharmacology and Pharmacokenetics

An article by the Huffington Post has uncovered an unnerving facet of our criminal justice system.  There have been many articles showing a bias within government or government contracted crime labs in the United States.  It is also left a gap of uncertainty in when the crime lab is considered a party of the prosecution team, and required to turn over exculpatory evidence when the prosecution uses them to gain a conviction.  Private laboratories operate for financial gain in our capitalist society.  They have owners, salaries, payroll tax, and every other expense of a private business, which they are.  Even honest lab techs understand their paycheck is based on these government contracts, which mean the government is their paying clients, often times their best paying client for which they are dependent upon for economic survival.  This bias could lead to wrongful convictions of innocent people.

"Funding crime labs through court-asses fees creates another channel for bias to enter crime lab analyses.  In jurisdiction with this practice the crime lab receives a sum of money for each conviction of a given type.  Ray Wikenheiser says, "collection of court costs is the only stable source of funding for the Acadiana crime lab.  $10 is received for each guilty pleas or verdict from each speeding ticket, and $50 from each DWI (Driving While Impaired) and Drug Offense."

In Broward County, Florida, Monies deposited in the Trust Fund are principally court costs assessed upon conviction of driving or Boating under the influence (BUI) ($50 or selling, manufacturing, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance ($1000)."

"Several state statutory schemes require defendants to pay crime laboratory fees upon conviction.  North Carolina General Statutes require, "For the services of the state or local crime lab, that judges in criminal cases asses a $600 fee to be charged upon conviction and remitted to the law enforcement agency containing the lab whenever that lab performed DNA analysis of the defendant for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances, or analysis of any controlled substance possessed by the defendant or the defendant's agent."

"Illinois crime labs receive fees upon convictions for sex offenses, controlled substance offenses, and those involving driving under the influence.  Mississippi crime labs require crime laboratory fees for various conviction types, including arson, aiding suicide, and driving while intoxicated."

"Similar provisions exist in Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia and, until recently, Michigan.  Other states have broadened the scope even further.  Washington statues require a $100 crime lab fee for any conviction that involves lab analysis.  Kansas statutes require offenders "to pay a separate court cost of $400 for every individual offense if forensic science or laboratory services or forensic computer examination services are provided in connection with the investigation."  In addition to those already listed, the following sates also require crime lab fees in connection with various conviction types:  Arizona, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin."

The article also states, "Think about how these fee structures play out in the day-to-day work in these labs." This is very interesting, because the laboratory knows they get paid a certain amount if they find the result that gains a conviction.  Many times the results are presented as careful, honest, unbiased opinions of analysts with nothing to gain from either conclusion.

Herein lies another problem.  Certain molecules like the very small cocaine molecule is present on a large percentage of US Currency.  It spreads easily during sample collection, analysis, and packaging.  Cocaine can be found on many surfaces, and is found as contamination is dirty laboratories on a regular basis.  Now, if a person is suspected of possession of cocaine, and a sample turns up cocaine,  does it mean the same is cocaine or could it be contamination?  An analyst has to provide testimony and results that they found, but many times a jury does not have any understanding or expertise on the subject, and can be easily mislead by a more educated laboratory analyst who desires a certain result, without ever directly lying.

Fresno DUI Attorney | Madera DUI Attorney If you've been cited, you need to know what to do next. Help your attorney help you, contact me as soon as possible

Glass chess

Fresno DUI Lawyer Jonathan Rooker: Fresno area law enforcement agencies have some of the strictest DUI enforcement policies in the Nation. The first decision an officer makes during the DUI enforcement is the decision to stop the vehicle. It may be a driving pattern, maintenance infraction, tinted windows, or other issues the lead the officer to make that decision. The next decision is whether to have the driver exit the vehicle and conduct a DUI investigation. Factors include odor or alcohol, red watery eyes, and slurred speech. Timely stopping, parking, and fumbling with a license or insurance paperwork, all influence the officers decision to continue the investigation. Once outside the vehicle the subject may sway or have trouble following directions. At the conclusion of the third stage, the officer decides if there is probable cause for an arrest. If you are arrested, there are steps you should take on your own behalf. It is important for anyone cited for DUI to contact the DMV within 10 days to preserve their right to an Admin Per Se Hearing in front of a DMV officer. Failure to contact the DMV within 10 days may result in the suspension of your driving privilege. Remember, the officer arrests at probable cause, but it takes proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. If the officer does their job right, a large percentage of the people should be found not guilty.

Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney: Sometimes good people need help during tough times

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Fresno & Madera Criminal Defense Lawyer Jonathan Rooker: Domestic Violence (DV) charges, punishments, and your rights is something you need to understand if you've been accused. DV charges can result in a sentence of probation, jail, and/or prison. DV can be charged under various sections including PC 243(E) or the more serious PC 273.5 Felony (DV) accusation. Many convictions result in being sentenced to a 52-week program, referred to as the Batterers Treatment Program (BTP). The right to own, possess, or use a Firearms, a serious issue for many people who grew up in the rural valley hunting, fishing, and target shooting can be lost forever. While Judges routinely advise those convicted of misdemeanor Domestic Violence that they will be prohibited from owning firearms for 10-years, the Federal Government will preclude gun ownership for the remainder of the persons life if they are convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. It is important that the court knows you are a law abiding, upstanding, and productive member of society. Don't let an accusation turn into a lifetime of being stigmatized as a criminal.

"Criminal defense is about helping good people, that is what I do." Jonathan Rooker

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Experienced Fresno and Madera County Criminal Defense Attorney Jonathan Rooker understands the needs of each client are quite unique to each individual client. Some clients are looking to keep their drivers license, others are looking to avoid long periods of incarceration. Many times pride and principles are cited for the client's motivation to achieve a particular resolution to their case. Many clients just want to put their life, family, and career back together. It is the responsibility of the defense attorney to coordinate and effective defense for the benefit of the client. It is essential that I provide the best defense for the individual person and their specifically tailored needs in life. I will help you by building the best defense that the facts allow. One important aspect of hiring a private attorney is the time they spend listening to your needs, and working to obtain an effective resolution under the circumstances. When these problems arise, it's time to reach out for a helping hand. I handle criminal defense cases on a daily basis, helping people with their issues. Let me help you.