What Are You Facing if Charged with Murder in Los Angeles?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingMay 17, 2023

Right now, remarkable things are happening for those people who are charged with California Penal Code 187 PC murder because the higher-up in the district attorney's office in Los Angeles County is so weak and has such poor command of his office, prosecutors are doing what they want with the cases, and it seems to center around what the alleged victim's family wants.

Suppose you or your loved one is charged with murder, and you're trying to negotiate with the prosecutors. In that case, they're taking the position that, well, if the family doesn't want us to make you an offer, then we're not going to make you an offer, which is inappropriate. 

Indeed, the family has the right to give their position, but the district attorney’s discretion decides these cases.  So, you want to get an attorney who can fight for you or a loved one because many of these cases are going to trial. 

The prosecutors are simply not offering anything to settle a murder case. If they offer something, it's so astronomical, like 25 to life or more, that many people do not want to pay their case, and they want to take it to trial whether they have a good case.

Assessment of a Murder Cases

That's one of the first things that you want to assess in a murder case, such as the following:

  • Is there strength in the case?
  • Can you defend yourself?
  • Can you be found not guilty?
  • Is it a case where you shouldn't be charged with murder?
  • Should you be charged with something less?
  • Is it a case where you have a self-defense argument?
  • Is it a who-done-it case where they can't figure out who has committed the murder, but somehow they think you or your loved one is involved, so they're going to charge you with the crime?

You have to figure out your road map first, and that's why what I do in these murder cases. We go over everything, or I have their family come in.

We go over everything, and then if the person is in custody, which is usually the case because many of these murder cases are $2 million bail, and many people cannot bail out with that large of a bail. 

Assessment of the Evidence

What I do is I go out and talk to the person.  We go over the case, and I'm most effective when:

  • I can get all of the discovery on the case,
  • Look at any videos,
  • Look at any DNA evidence,
  • Review all of the police reports.

Then, I can talk to the person and figure out the best strategy.

Assessment of What You Are Facing

When we talk about what you're facing, it depends on what they claim you did and the charges.  I'll give you some examples.  For a Penal Code 187 PC second-degree murder charge, you're facing 15 to life. 

Suppose you used a gun and fired the gun and hit somebody with a bullet. In that case, that's an additional 25-year enhancement defined under California Penal Code 12022.53, personally using a firearm during the commission of a serious felony.

The DA's office is mixed on how they're handling that enhancement.  Sometimes, if it happened long before the current district attorney got in office, they use the enhancement against the person.

In contrast, if it happened recently, they're not using the enhancement against the person.  So, you have an equal protection argument that there's just no consistency in the district attorney's office at this point in Los Angeles County.

Fighting the Case or Negotiating with Prosecutor?

Once again, you need somebody that can fight, win, and negotiate.  Whatever the situation is in your case, that's what the attorney will have to do.

Defenses for Penal Code 187 PC Murder

If you're charged with first-degree murder, you're facing a 25-to-life sentence, plus you could potentially have that 25-year gun enhancement which would make it a 50-to-life sentence. If you have strikes on your record, that's another inconsistent thing the district attorney's office in LA County is doing. 

Sometimes they use the strikes; sometimes, they don't. So, as a result, their office is very confused about when they're supposed to use strikes and when they're not, and many times, even if their policy says they're not supposed to use the strikes against people, some prosecutors are doing it anyway.

So, it would be best to have someone who can line the road for a very murky bureaucratic district attorney's office in LA County. If you need the best, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.  Let me put my 30 years of experience to work for you.

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