John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in clinical trial advocacy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Please email EDCA items of interest to [email protected] Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
Pennsylvania state court marijuana charges were dismissed after EDCA federal prosecutors indicted the same four defendants on conspiracy to distribute at least 100 kilograms of marijuana and related charges. Observer-Reporter, 10/25/13.
While in the Ninth Circuit courthouse in San Francisco last month to argue an appeal, I bumped into the court's small library exhibit entitled "Locked Out: A Sampling of Books Banned in U.S. Prisons." Its list of books that have been banned in one or more prisons includes James Joyce's "Ulysses," D.H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover," and the Bible. The Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado banned president Obama's "Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams from my Father." The photo below lists the passages the Warden deemed "potentially detrimental to national security." The ban was ultimately rescinded.
Here's the lede from the Sacramento Bee on yesterday's hearing in the Coleman v. Brown case:
The state launched its defense
Tuesday of its handling of mentally ill inmates, with a psychiatrist from the California State Prison at Corcoran testifying that the
use of pepper spray and prolonged restraint of prisoners is sometimes necessary to
save an inmate’s life.
The federal 3-judge panel gave Gov. Jerry Brown another month--until February 24, 2014--to cut California prison's population by about 9,600 inmates to meet its prison overcrowding order. LA Times, 10/21/13.
A federal judge has ordered Sacramento County to pay an attorney $197,505 in fees after a jury awarded the attorney’s two clients $1 each on their claims that they endured excessive force while inmates at the county’s downtown jail.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that JPMorgan Chase has reached a tentative $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice to resolve a variety of civil federal and state investigations over its mortgage practices involving the sale of subprime loans. The article notes, however, that the settlement would not "save JPMorgan from a parallel criminal inquiry from federal prosecutors in California," according to its sources. The settlement requires the bank "to assist prosecutors with an investigation of former employees who helped create the mortgage investments." It has been widely reported, see, e.g., here and here, that this criminal investigation originates from the Sacramento EDCA U.S. Attorney's Office. Hence, the title of this post.
Yesterday, a jury returned a guilty verdict on multiple counts of fraud and one count of money laundering after a 3-day jury trial in a ponzi scheme case before Judge Shubb in United States v. Berghius, No. 10-CR-0377-WBS. Central Valley Business Times, 10/18/13. The defendant was remanded after the verdict.