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Eleanor Miller’s Answers

75 total

  • I was arrested and fingerprinted for a summary offense retail theft under $150. Do I need to go to court?

    The amount of theft was about $120. I was arrested and finger printed. I want to know if I will need to go to court for this. I have not received anything in the mail yet because this was recent. Is there any way I can avoid going to court if I pl...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    I do not practice in Pennsylvania, so I can only give you some general advice. If this theft is considered a criminal matter, and I suspect it is, then it is not like a civil traffic ticket where you can just send in the fine and dispose of the matter. You probably will have to go to court, at least once.

    You should receive something (a summons) by mail or delivery ordering you to attend a court date. Do not miss that date, or a warrant might issue for your arrest. Also, you should check the paperwork you received from the police when you were arrested, to see if there might be a court date on those.

    Finally, and most importantly, go consult with a competent Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer. They will be able to give you much more and probably better information than this.

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  • Me and a friend messed around with this girl, now she is accusing me of rape when it was clearly consentual. police came and did

    a rape kit on the girl and took dna from my mouth and my friend...what are the steps I need to take to prove my innocence

    Eleanor’s Answer

    Find the best attorney you can by going to your state bar and finding out whether it "certifies" people as criminal law "specialists." If so, pick out some names and visit with 2 or 3 or more, until you find one with whom you are comfortable.

    If there are no certified criminal law specialists, obtain names of attorneys from friends or relatives who have been in criminal trouble and who were satisfied with their attorney's performance.

    Your attorney may have to hire an investigator, so plan on that added expense.

    But the simple answer is: get an attorney asap,

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  • Do I have to serve jail time for class 6 felony??

    I am scheduled to see a public defender but I freaking out. Is there mandatory jail time if a C6F is reduced to a Class 1 Misdeamor. I acidently shot a firearm I thought was unloaded in my house.

    Eleanor’s Answer

    Given the nature of the offense, even a misdemeanor conviction might affect your ability to remain a nurse, at least in AZ. Please see a competent criminal defense attorney immediately, and make certain that he/she is either (1) versed in the state regulations for the nursing board or (2) will become versed in those regulations. If you are to keep your license, you must be very careful about either going to trial or pleading to a lesser offense.

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  • Criminal Defense (Juvenile charged BM11) Knapp counsel

    Hi. We have something called Knapp counsel in Arizona. Can we use some assistance like that here in Oregon to help with our son's matter. He is innocent, but we have limited funds, and would like to keep our public defender they are going t...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    As you noted, "Knapp counsel" is based upon a case in AZ which says that if the defendant is indigent, and his family or friends want to hire a private practice attorney to assist the public defender appointed to your son's case, they can do so. Our state legislature attempted to "erase" this decision by passing legislation allowing the PD's office to withdraw whenever a private attorney comes on board. The PDs file the motion, but it is normally denied because of the language in the Knapp case. You should find a good, competent criminal defense attorney willing to take on this challenge. Neither the state nor the legislature should be deciding the attorney representing an accused. And if his family wants to help out, then it should be able to.

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  • What ways can a criminal case be charged?

    Explain how each works.

    Eleanor’s Answer

    In state court in Arizona, a felony may be initiated by a complaint and information or by a grand jury indictment. A misdemeanor is usually charged by way of complaint, although a grand jury can add a misdemeanor charge in an indictment which also charges felonies.

    A complaint states the allegations under oath and is filed with the court. It is sent out by a summons or a warrant may issue. When there is a complaint, the defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing, and will have an attorney present to cross examine the state's witness or witnesses. This is a "probable cause hearing" meaning is there probable cause to believe a crime was committed and probable cause to believe the accused committed it.

    A grand jury indictment occurs when a group of 9 or more people on the grand jury decide that an indictment should issue because there is probable cause to believe a crime (or crimes) have been committed and the accused committed them. This is done behind closed doors and the neither the accused nor his attorney is present. In Arizona, however, after arraignment, the accused is entitled to obtain the transcript of what was presented to the grand jury and, if appropriate, challenge the indictment as faulty in certain ways. This is done under rule 12.9 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.

    Federal courts may initiate felonies and misdemeanors in the same ways. However, in federal court it is a difficult process to obtain a copy of what was presented to the grand jury, and it may never occur.

    I'm not sure if that answers all of the question, but it's a start.

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  • 6 year old warrant in Maryland... I just found out in different state

    I just ran my name through MD case search not expecting to see anything, and there are 4 different warrants. the last 1 being Oct 2003 for a bad check, the others being identity theft in 2001. We file taxes every year, are home owners and have ne...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    I agree completely with the first answer. Get a competent criminal defense lawyer.

    However, there are circumstances when, after the state has filed a complaint or indictment against you, when the state must exercise "due diligence" in locating you and returning you for trial. The state cannot just sit on a warrant and hope that someday you'll be pulled over for a traffic infraction, and then extradite you.

    A good defense lawyer will be able to tell you whether this is one of those situations. There are many considerations, such as whether you have been living under your own name, if you have a driver's license in your own name, if you own a car in your own name, if your address pops up on a Google or other search, etc. Only an attorney can advise you if you fit into the "due diligence" category. Find one.

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  • What steps should you take when the Assistant Cheif Probation Office, is rude. Always says NO no matter what the case might be?

    I am on probation, been on probation for 6 months a full time student. Never had any voilation. The job market is bad. I have a great opportunity to work with this R&B group on there Security Team. While I finish up my single to get out in the mu...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    I suspect that there is more to this story. However, if a supervising probation officer is being unreasonable about allowing you to do certain things, you can always go back to the judge who placed you on probation and ask him/her to allow you to do them.

    My guess in this case, however, is that not allowing you to work with an R & B group is not unreasonable and judges are very hesitant to "overrule" a probation officer's decisions, unless there is a very, very good reason.

    I would look for other work.

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  • If there is serious doubt about the innocencenc should the person still be put to death?

    The people have now said that he did not do it, one man even said that he know's who done it. So what should be done now? Please help.

    Eleanor’s Answer

    I agree with the other answers, that is, a lot more information is required. However, considering you are asking whether a person should be put to death, I am guessing that the person you are talking about has been convicted and sentenced to death. If he/she cannot afford an attorney, he/she is entitled to one on appeal. If the appeal has already been lost, there may be a "post conviction relief" statute or rule in your state that can be utilized. (I am not licensed in VA.) Following that, there is the federal habeas procedures. However, if you are saying that the person is on death row, has exhausted all other remedies, and there is now evidence of "actual innocence," there are several "actual innocence" projects around the country which you should contact. The Southern Poverty Law Project is one; your state may have its own (as does Arizona). Good luck.

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  • I have completed probation a year and a half early.i was charged with undesgnated felony 6

    I have a question,i got off probation early i was told that it would be droped to a misdemeanor.i completed probation a year and a half early paid all fines in was never droped to a misdemeanor.all i knew was it was a year later ...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    Yes, unless the judge is willing to designate the offense as a misdemeanor nunc pro tunc -- meaning postdating the misdemeanor designation to before your possession of the gun.

    I'd suggest you see a competent criminal defense lawyer about this situation. It can be tricky.

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  • Is it legal for the Poway Sheriff to take the pants and shoes of my 19 your old son for evidence without charging him with a

    Last night my son was taking into our local Poway Sheriff Station. He’s 19 and they removed his pants and shoes to keep for evidence without charging him with what they say they’re investigating a burglary. They took him to San diego County jail f...

    Eleanor’s Answer

    I think the answer to this question is a little bit more complicated. First of all, did they have a warrant to arrest your son? While he was at the station, did they read him his rights (indicating that he is a suspect) and question him? Is your son of average intelligence, or has he any mental disabilities that the police might have taken advantage of while questioning him? Why did they take him to the station, when they could have taken the items from him at the house? And were there any warrants whatsoever?

    Seizure of anything without a warrant is per se illegal. There are a lot of underlying legal questions in a situation like this. You should get your son to a competent criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

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