San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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It’s a Bad Time for Police Officer Defendants

If you are a police officer in California, it seems as if it is a bad time for you to commit crime. In two separate trials in as many months two different police officers were recently convicted of murder in Los Angeles County. In what is dubbed a “cold case” murder, former Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus was convicted of beating and shooting the wife of a man for whom she had a love interest. Her defense contended that crime scene evidence was tainted, however, this did not stop the jury from quickly reaching a verdict of guilt.

In the other murder conviction, former California Highway Patrol Officer Tomiekia Johnson was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for killing her husband, Marcus Lemons. Johnson had claimed at trial that she was the victim of domestic violence perpetrated by her late husband, however, the jury did not accept that as a defense and found her guilty of first degree murder.

Both of these cases were prosecuted by members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s elite Judicial System Integrity Division or JSID. This unit was started by District Attorney Steve Cooley and is staffed by veteran prosecutors who were hand picked by Mr. Cooley and the head of JSID.

Sentencing for Stephanie Lazarus will not likely occur for at least a month. A conviction for first degree murder requires a minimum sentence of 25 years to life in the state prison. Defendants in felony cases also have the right to appeal their convictions. They must file a notice of appeal within 60 days of their sentences. If I were either of these two defendants I would call a competent appellate lawyer immediately.

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