I had a run in with the Popo and got a felony.
What is a plurbis unum?
While everybody (well, perhaps not everybody) is focused on the November mid-term elections, the Supreme Court has been in session, quietly going about its work as the most influential body in the U.S.A. These nine people have in their hands the ability to fundamentally change your life in a far more vital way than anything the executive branch has within its power.
The Supreme Court is the absolute power in the land, charged with the final determination of legal questions that can have far-reaching consequences in every corner of life.
And, perhaps more than ever before, the Court is a political, rather than impartial judicial, body.
Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. Nobody can force them off the court in anything but the most heinous circumstances. William Rehnquist, Chief Justice prior to the present holder of that office, served on the Court for 34 years. It is of fundamental importance that each and every individual who stands up for democracy understands the importance of the ideological make-up of the Court.
There will be a series of articles posted here that will be intended to give you an insight into this august institution and the justices who serve thereon. They are the people who hold the ultimate power over what you may consider a sacred constitutional right. But did you know that most of the “rights” you most likely believe you will always have as an American may not, in actuality, be found in the original document – and that they may disappear in the flick of a black robe.
I resolved to become a lawyer upon waking one cold winter’s morning in my native Scotland. As I lay there, steeling myself to face the chill, I realized that the one thing that surrounds us all, and informs our lives and actions at all times, is the law. I realized at that moment that I wanted to understand the law from the inside in order to understand its application – and identify its misapplication whenever such occurred.
I was in my mid-2os. Prior to that morning, I had worked in various fields, primarily the music industry, from promotion to managing a record shop! It has allowed me to be connected with one of my great loves but, ultimately, had not fulfilled my thirst for intellectual challenge.
I returned to university, obtaining a place in the law school in Glasgow, an institution that has been teaching the jurisprudential and practical application of legal principles since its founding in 1451. I had previously spent two years at university in Dundee (studying law) and St. Andrews (studying theology and comparative religion) right out of high school before deciding to learn more about life first by traveling and experiencing different cultures and climates! I spent the next several years in various places, mainly London, Paris, Edinburgh and smaller, rural idylls in the Highlands and Hebridean Islands of Scotland, before settling in Glasgow and working in the music business.
At Glasgow, I studied a host of diverse subjects, ranging from Roman Law, through Forensic Medicine and Public International Law, to Criminal Law and Evidence. After my first year, the travel bug brought me to Los Angeles for the first time where I spent the summer once again working with bands. I also met the woman whom I later married and resolved to come back to California to do so.
I returned to Glasgow and crammed two years study into one so I could return permanently to California. I was able to accomplish my goal and graduated with a degree in law, as well as winning the Politics prize that year (unintentionally, as Politics was a course I only took to secure the credits necessary to graduate!).
In the summer of 1981, I thus was able to make my return to Los Angeles, newly married to the woman I had met that first summer, and to whom I remained married for the next fifteen years. Although the marriage ended, the fruits are very much my pride and joy – two daughters, aged 22 and 20.
I am also most fortunate to have the love and affection of Holly, my girlfriend of nine years standing, whose support and interest has sustained me through many intense and lengthy trials.
Once back in California, I had to apply to the State Bar for instruction as to what I needed to do to become qualified as an attorney in California. Over the next few years, I took the “Baby Bar”, completed two years of the “Law Office Study Program” and was finally granted permission to sit the full State Bar. I took and passed the examination in 1986.
Since then, I have been in private practice, for the most part as a sole practitioner. My interest in the law as the single most all-enveloping phenomena that informs our lives, was energized by the presence here of a document of first importance with no parallel in my home country – the United States Constitution and its various Amendments. I believe the rights and protections granted to all by the Constitution are of vital importance to the operation and maintenance of a functioning democracy and that every person is granted a right to representation by its tenets. It is an embodiment of the freedoms we must all work to preserve and I am committed to doing what I can to ensure its continuing vitality.
My law practice has concentrated on the field of individual civil rights. For many years, I specialized in matters involving civil rights violations and police misconduct, winning several large verdicts against such entities as the Los Angeles Police Department (for example, Naranjo v. City of Los Angeles – $1.4 million jury verdict), the County of Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (for example, Bell v. County of Los Angeles – $475,000.00 jury verdict) and other public entities. In 2008 I was able to obtain the largest monetary settlement ever from the County of Los Angeles for a case involving medical negligence and civil rights violations while my client was detained in Los Angeles County Jail.
My primary focus presently is criminal defense, which involves, in the main, courtroom work. I represent clients in a diverse range of matters, from the most serious felonies to routine misdemeanors, choosing my involvement on a case-by-case basis, with special interest in cases involving significant individual rights issues. I have done extensive work in the field of constitutionally invalid convictions, on both a trial court and appellate level, and, to date, have a 100% success record. I have also represented several clients charged with murder, none of whom have been convicted of this primary accusation.
I invite all readers to utilize the interactive features of this site. You may leave questions of a legal nature which I will answer in a timely manner if I feel I possess sufficient expertise to respond to your inquiry. Should your issue involve a field of law in which I do not specialize and which requires the attention of a specialist therein, I will do my best to find you the best attorney for your situation.
Over my 25-year career, I have done my best to ensure I remain informed and qualified to advise and represent individuals in as many aspects of the law as possible. I have represented numerous clients in personal injury cases, and my staff is versed in the procedural aspects of both civil and criminal law.
However, because I am a sole practitioner and because I believe it to be my obligation, it will be myself who would handle all litigation in your case. I believe it to be essential to make myself available to all my clients to meet their legal concerns and needs and you will not be “handed off” to a secretary or other employee. Although my support staff are trained to respond to most general inquiries from clients about the progress of their case, you will always be able to speak to me if you wish me to clarify, update or discuss any facet of your case and, of course, in regard to preparation for all trial or related matters.
And yes, si habla espanol! My staff is multi-lingual (although I have to admit to a limited capacity for languages). Spanish telephonic inquires should be directed to 626-818-6800.
My office is located at 225 South Lake Avenue, Suite 300, Pasadena, California 91101-3oo5, on the block between Cordova and Del Mar in the business district of Pasadena. The general office number is 323-254-5787 and my direct number is 213-324-4206. The latter number is available to you 7.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m., 24 hours in case of emergency. If you are asked to leave a message, you will be contacted as soon as possible. If I do not answer, it is most likely because I am in court. However, I will ensure your phone call is returned at the earliest opportunity.
I also conduct free legal consultations every Tuesday evening from 6.30 p.m. -7.30 p.m. (or as long as there are persons requiring legal assistance) at Antigua Bakery and Coffee. There are two locations:
5703 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California 90042 – I am there the first and third Tuesday of each month;
5581 Huntington Drive North, Los Angeles, California 90032 – the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
No appointment is necessary. It is first come, first served. It does tend to be busy so please feel free to call to arrange a meet time should you wish to avoid the possibility of waiting. I can, however, thoroughly recommend Antigua’s range of coffee drinks and food if you do have to wait!
All consultations at Antigua are free. If your case involves a matter that requires you to retain a lawyer, I will inform you of my representation fees at that time. However you will never have to pay simply to chat with me and I will spend as much time as necessary with you on Tuesday evenings as is required to deal with your inquiry.
My fees for representation in legal matters vary, depending on the matter. Should you wish a quote, please feel free to contact me at the numbers provided, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This site exists to deal with your legal concerns free of charge so you are invited to submit any questions you may have right here. Please bookmark this page for future reference. The address is:
I look forward to assisting you with all your legal matters.