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How are Sex Crimes Handled in Downtown Los Angeles?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jan 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you don't know the Los Angeles downtown court at 210 West Temple, it is the main courthouse where most sex crimes are prosecuted.  The reason for this is directly across the street is the main hub of the District Attorney's office that handles sex crime cases at the Hall of Records.  All of the DA's are housed there.

There's a huge building there that's been refurbished so that's pretty much their power hub as far as where most of the prosecutors are. 

In today's society with sex crimes and sexual harassment being so much in the public view and targeted by the prosecutors, there's thousands of cases being prosecuted in the District Attorney's office and even the City Attorney's office who will prosecute misdemeanor cases in the same building.

Special Prosecutor Assigned in Sex Crime Cases

These cases are being prosecuted in a political manner, meaning the prosecutors are very harsh depending on exactly what happened.  A lot of times they're really looking at what the damage is to the victims.

How Sex Crimes are Handled in Downtown Los Angeles

So, the District Attorney's office, instead of just letting a sex crime offense go through the normal channels in the courthouse, they will assign a special prosecutor to each sex crime offense that involve a victim. There are some sex crime offenses that do not involve victims. 

For example, if it's a prostitution activity where an undercover police officer catches somebody trying to solicit them to have sex with them or catches somebody who they determine is a pimp, who is procuring women, those cases will just normally be prosecuted in the general course.

Whereas, if there's a specific victim who's been raped for example or touched in an inappropriate manner, like a sexual battery situation, then the prosecutor on the case will have the case from the beginning to the end.

In fact they're so rigorous about this, that even if you're just going in there to continue a case because you need more time to investigate it, they will not let you do it unless the particular prosecutor assigned to the case is there in the courtroom to make sure it's good with their schedule.

These people are tracking cases all the way through the system.  I just had a case where my client was out on bail from the downtown courthouse for a serious sex-crime offense. 

He picked up a new offense in a different jurisdiction in Los Angeles county.  The investigating officer on that offense was able to figure out who the prosecutor was and called her and let her know of the new offense.

She in turn called me, indicating that she was going to try and seek to revoke his bail in the open case based on him committing new sex crime-related offenses while he was out on bail.

Retaining an Experienced Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

The point is, they're very coordinated when it comes to sex crimes in downtown Los Angeles.  You're going to need an attorney who knows the ropes and who has handled these cases before.

I've seen a lot of times where attorneys get involved with these sex crimes and they have no idea what they've got themselves into and they're just a complete mess and their client suffers for it.

Then I end up getting on the case because I'm hired and I see that these attorneys did not know what they were doing and didn't know how to properly investigate the case, didn't know who to talk to about trying to resolve the case, didn't know what litigating factors to be used to try to get a better resolution in the case for their client.

So, be careful when you choose your attorney.  You have to make sure you get somebody who knows what they're doing.  Most of these cases are very serious cases if they're in the sex crime-related category and the deck is stacked against you already.

Don't further stack the deck against yourself by getting an attorney who doesn't know what they're doing and who is not familiar with how to litigate sex crime cases to get the best results for their client.

So, to me there's a whole strategy in defending a sex crime case in the downtown courthouse because just to give you an idea of how things work, if you or a loved one has a serious sex crime case in downtown Los Angeles and is being prosecuted at 210 West Temple, or even in the other courthouses, but that courthouse in particular has a whole pecking order and structure on how they deal with their cases.

Preparing a Mitigation Package

If you want to try to resolve the case, then typically the number two in command will be the one that you negotiate with prior to the preliminary hearing.  So, what I would typically do is put together a litigation package for her and set an appointment to meet with her face to face and obviously send the mitigation package in beforehand.

So, she can see all the good things about my client — character letters and various other things that are applicable to the client's case, and then go and meet face to face.

Then you're really just having a good discussion about some of the issues in the case, what the defense believes is a fair resolution of the case, and of course the prosecutors are going to look at what they feel they must have in order to protect society and punish the defendant for a particular case.

If you try to negotiate the case after the preliminary hearing, usually they will make the offers worse.  However, if you bring some good stuff to light in the preliminary hearing, you might be able to use that to get a better resolution for your client, but at that point, the head DA will take over and she will be the one that you negotiate with post-preliminary hearing.

So, this is just the type of the iceberg as far as the nuances that surround sex crime cases in downtown Los Angeles, and the sex crime category has broadened over the last 25 years that I've been practicing — to include the internet — child pornography is a big thing that is prosecuted, especially those individuals who are going on the internet.

There's a bunch of different investigative tools that law enforcement can use that are very effective, like a SAR exam which is a sexual assault exam, DNA testing, fingerprint testing.  There's all sorts of different things depending on the particular facts of the case.

So, if you have a sex crime downtown Los Angeles, you've come to the right place.  You've taken the first step.  Take the next step.  Pick up the phone.  Set up a meeting with me so we can discuss your matter.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.


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