How to Look Up the Location of a California State Prison Inmate

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 at 7:52 am    

You can find just about any type of information online these days, and even public records are available for viewing if you’ve got an electronic device and an internet connection. It’s possible to find out where a California state prison inmate is held with just a few clicks and a promise to not use the details for an unlawful purpose. You start by conducting a search via the Inmate Locator website run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

However, the location may not be up-to-date if the individual was recently incarcerated or is being transferred between institutions. Because of the complicated intake process in California, which ultimately determines location, the internet won’t help you in this situation. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. can explain the process of locating an inmate in more detail, so contact our office at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free consultation.

Reception into the California State Prison Inmate System

The first step after an inmate is ordered for incarceration is reception, which involves multiple stages.

Inmate Placement

During this phase, the state’s Unit Classification Committee (UCC) reviews details of the inmate’s case history and other relevant factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Type of crime
  • Whether the offense involved violence
  • Prior criminal history
  • Gang involvement

An inmate accumulates points for every factor that applies to them, and others for the circumstances surrounding the crime. The UCC tallies the points to come up with a placement score.

How Placement Scores Affect the Location of a California State Prison Inmate

The goal of assigning points is to provide an Inmate Placement Security Level, which will determine the type of facility and accommodation arrangements that are necessary under the circumstances.

A Level I security level means an inmate will be placed in a facility that features low security and a mostly open, dormitory-style living arrangement. Individuals with scores ranging from 0-18 may qualify for this security level. When an inmate scores between 19-35 points, Level II applies. The institution is also mostly open, but there is armed coverage in certain areas. Level III describes a facility with a highly secure perimeter, protected by armed guards. Inmate cells are adjacent to exterior walls. The scoring range for this level is 36-59. Top security arrangements fall under Level IV, which applies to inmates that score at 60 points and above. The institution’s perimeter is extremely secure, and there are armed guards at the interior and exterior. Because it’s the highest security level, there is an interior gap between inmate cells and the exterior.

From start to finish, the reception process can take up to 120 days. Once completed, the inmate is transferred to an appropriate institution that can provide accommodations and suitable programs. The information is entered into the Inmate Locator website, which you can search to find their location.

Determining Location After Initial Placement

Every year, the UCC also conducts a review on every California State Prison inmate to determine whether there’s any reason to adjust the placement score. It’s possible to reduce the score for good behavior and avoiding any trouble while incarcerated. Of course, an inmate can also increase their score through misconduct and disciplinary actions.

Depending on how officials rule on placement scores, the location of an inmate may change. An inmate may be transferred within the prison system to the appropriate security Levels I through IV.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer to Learn More

Regardless of your reasons for looking up a California state prison inmate, it’s important to understand the factors that determine where they end up, and where they could be going. If you’d like more information on inmate location and how the state prison system works, call Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816, or reach out via our online form to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.


Can I Appeal a DUI Conviction?

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 at 7:47 am    

Things may seem hopeless if you’ve been convicted of a DUI in California, but a guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean that your case is over. You may be able to appeal the ruling, which is a request to have a higher court review the trial proceedings and correct certain types of mistakes. There are strict rules established for appeals, especially as they relate to how and why you can appeal a DUI conviction.

At Spolin Law P.C., our Los Angeles appeals attorneys are well-versed on the grounds for taking a DUI conviction to an appellate court. Our team has in-depth knowledge of the appeals process, which involves drafting briefs and presenting arguments to appeals judges. To learn about how we fight for the rights of clients who were wrongfully convicted of DUI, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.

Grounds for Appealing a DUI in California

There’s a common misconception that an appeal is similar to a second trial, where the court reconsiders the facts and circumstances of a conviction. However, appellate courts can only hear cases in which a legal error occurred during trial proceedings. Some of the familiar elements of a trial are noticeably missing, such as:

Witnesses

Neither your attorney or the prosecutor can bring in witnesses to testify before the appellate court. You cannot have someone testify again, nor can you introduce a new witness that was not available for your trial.

Evidence

No evidence will be presented during an appeal, so you cannot present any information or documents that weren’t introduced during your trial.

Both of these components relate to the facts of the case, and it’s not the job of the appellate court to assess any factual issues. The only item the judges will review on appeal is the record of the trial proceedings, which is a document describing everything that happened during your trial.

Factors an Appeals Court Will Consider

Since appellate courts focus on legal errors, the judges will review the trial record to assess issues raised by your appeals lawyer. Examples include:

  • Misconduct by your defense lawyer or the prosecutor
  • Illegally-obtained evidence was allowed in violation of your civil rights
  • Members of the jury disregarded the instructions of the judge
  • Evidence in your favor was erroneously suppressed
  • Other circumstances involving a legal mistake, as opposed to a factual error

What an Appellate Court Decision Means for Your DUI Case

The appeals process doesn’t result in your DUI conviction automatically being reversed. Even after you convince a judge that there was a legal error, you still need to show that the mistake was instrumental in the outcome in your case. For instance:

Example #1

You discovered that the prosecutor is close friends with the police officer that arrested you and testified at your DUI trial. The prosecution often gives the officer extravagant gifts under circumstances that suggest payment for the officer’s testimony. However, the jury also heard evidence that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit, according to an official breathalyzer test and a blood test. Though there may have been prosecutorial misconduct, there was still enough evidence to convict you on DUI charges.

Example #2

At trial, the prosecution introduced BAC test results showing that you were over the legal limit. Your criminal defense attorney objected on the grounds that the breathalyzer test was administered by an individual who had no training, so the results weren’t accurate. The judge allowed the false BAC test, which was the only evidence presented by the prosecutor.

Contact a Los Angeles Appeals Lawyer for Help

Though this overview of DUI appeals in California may be helpful, it’s no substitute for the assistance an experienced lawyer can provide. For more information on your appeals options, call Spolin Law P.C. right away to schedule a free case consultation. You can reach our firm by calling at (310) 424-5816, or via our website.


Attorney & Practice Magazine Ranks Spolin Law P.C. Among Top 10 Criminal Law Firms

Posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 at 8:15 am    

Spolin Law P.C. is pleased to announce that Attorney and Practice Magazine has ranked Spolin Law among the top 10 criminal law firms in California.

The following are excerpts from the magazine’s selection letter:

Attorney and Practice Magazine is a quarterly publication “addressing law firm management, attorney well-being, work/life balance, and the ever changing technology that impacts your practice. When making our 2019 Top 10 Attorney list, we considered degree and/or advance degrees, years practicing criminal law, awards received, online reputation, professional associations and activities in those associations, publications, and/or speaking engagements. Our Top 10 list recognizes dynamic attorneys who have achieved and continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence. Our list recognizes the significant achievements of those attorneys whose practice elevates the standards of their State’s Bar as well as provide a benchmark for other practitioners. Our goal is to exhibit and promote excellence in attorney practice and management as well as recognize criminal defense practitioners who likewise also demonstrate these qualifies and ideals…. Because of our stringent standards, less than 1% of attorneys nationwide will receive this invitation.”

Attorney and Practice Magazine ranked Spolin Law P.C. among the top 10 criminal law firms in California.