San Fernando Valley Criminal Defense Attorney

Valleys Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney

San Fernando Valley Murder Defense Attorney


Early in my criminal defense career I decided that I wanted to try some of the most serious cases in Los Angeles so that I could be as much experience as possible and be the be criminal defense attorney around. This was almost 25 years ago and I tried a lot of murder cases both from a trial stand point and a negotiation point of view. What I noticed is that one the prosecutors in Los Angeles file a murder charge against someone, they usually will not back off the charge and I ended up trying many murder cases to a jury. This gave me the experience I was looking for and has honed me into the trial attorney I am today.

In my opinion, murder cases are the ones that require the best defense attorneys who are ready to pull out all of the stops for their clients. The prosecutors will usually assign their best attorneys to these cases and will spare no expense in there prosecution. This also means they play to win and a defense attorney who wants to challenge them better be up to the task or them and their client will end up getting steam rolled over.

I am a firm believer in getting right to the point in these cases and not mixing words when it comes to the defense of my clients. You will find that juries appreciate it when you lead with your best argument and do ask a bunch of questions, just to ask questions and look like you are doing something. I only challenge the witnesses that actually have something important to do with the case. If the witness is a meaningless witness that does not damage my client's position, then I rarely will waste the juries attention on the witness just so I can ask a bunch of meaningless questions. When it comes my turn to ask questions, I want the jury to say, "Oh here we go, some action that we can really pay attention to." By the end of the trial they will know that I am serious about representing my client, will get right to the point and am not messing around.


Many times I see murder cases over filed and tell the prosecutors that they should not have charged my client with murder under the circumstances of the particular case. Sometimes I will show them the issues with their case, other times I will not, if I believe they are never going to get rid of the murder charge and will just use the information I give them to try and fix their case. Believe it or not this happens all of the time. I show them that a witness has lied or embellished their story and instead consider it to resolve the case, they talk to the witness and try and help them fix their story. It has taken me many years to perfect when to talk to them, what to say and when to simply keep my mouth show and destroy their witness and case.

Murder is the most serious crime and most people convicted of murder will never be released from prison. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that you hire an attorney that has extensive experience dealing with murder charges.

We not only have a combined 75 years of experience but also have the skill, knowledge, and tactic that far exceed other criminal defense attorneys in the San Fernando Valley.

Murder cases are difficult to defend because the system treats them with a high level of resources by assigning the best detectives and the best prosecutors. Because a life has been lost in a murder case, public policy demands that the prosecutors do everything they can to convict the person facing the murder charges.

They have plenty of resources available to them to get the job done and there are very few defense attorneys that can match them...that is where our San Fernando Valley Criminal Attorneys at the Hedding Law Firm come in.

First degree murder is when an intentional death results due to malice aforethought, premeditation, and deliberation and can result in:

•Life imprisonment or the death penalty

•No possibility of parole

Second degree murder is a homicide that is intentional, without malice, premeditation, or deliberation and takes place in the heat of passion and can result in:

•Life imprisonment

•Possibility of parole after 15 years served

If you are being charged with murder in any degree, the fact of the matter is that retaining an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial to the outcome of your case.

We have not only handled murder cases but have gotten cases reduced and even dismissed due to our persuasive and aggressive defense strategy.

Your constitutional rights are very important to us! We will do everything we possibly can to get you the most favorable results.

Contact our Murder Attorneys in Van Nuys and set up a free consultation.

***One of Ronald Hedding's Case Results***

Our client was charged with first degree murder and a number of other serious crimes. He admitted to the police that he fired the weapon (that was recovered and test fired...and determined by an expert to be the weapon that was used in the killing). After an approximately week long trial, the jury found our client not guilty of murder and all other charges. Before the trial, because of the overwhelming evidence, the defense offered to plead guilty to second degree murder which would have carried a sentence of 15 years to life, and the head prosecutor refused. This case is an example of what a skilled defense attorney can do to an unprepared / out matched prosecutor's case.

Penal Code 187 - Murder
The charge of Murder is defined in California as “The unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought” (CA Penal Code 187). Malice aforethought means that the one committing the act intended to kill, their actions naturally would lead to the death of another, and they acted with conscious disregard for human life. In California, we have adopted 3 different degrees of murder which affect the sentencing of anyone found guilty.

A person can be convicted of 1st degree murder if they perform any of the following three acts:
1. Committed murder while using poison, explosives, armor piercing ammunition, torture or by waiting for a person.
2. Murdering willfully, pre-meditated, and deliberately.
3. Murdering while in the commission of felony arson, robbery, burglary, carjacking, train wrecking, kidnapping, mayhem, torture, rape, sodomy, forcible penetration, OR lewd acts with a minor.

A person can be found for second degree murder for any murder that is not deliberate or premeditated. This degree can be applied through the commission of a felony where someone died as a result. However, it only covers felonies that cannot be committed without creating substantial risk of death or harm to another.

Capital Murder is a form of a first degree murder that is performed any of the following enhancments:
1. Murdering a Police officer, Firefighter, Juror, Judge, Prosecutor, or elected official
2. Murder by a drive by
3. Multiple murder
4. Murder for race, color, religion, etc.
5. Murder for financial gain.

Capital murder is punished more heavily than standard first degree murder. Those found for this charge will be sentenced either to death or state prison for life without possibility of parole.

The Hedding Law Firm
Phone: (818) 986-2092
Encino-San Fernando Valley Address:
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436
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Los Angeles-Downtown Address:
445 South Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071