Spitzer Law Blog

Spitzer Law Blog

News & Views on Victims' RIghts

Prominent Marsy's Law Attorney Teaches at CA District Attorney Victim Witness Training

Marsy's Law Attorney, Todd Spitzer, addresses Victim Witness advocates at California DA's Association training.  Spitzer was the invited keynote luncheon speaker.

 

I was the keynote lunch speaker for the California District Attorney's Association Victim Witness Training at Chapman University School of Law on Monday. Victim Witness specialists from across California attended the CDAA training to lea rn about how to best support crime victims. I lectured on the role of the Attorney Victim Advocate and our new role as lawyers in criminal cases representing crime victims. I am pleased, as the Legal Affairs Director for Marsy's Law for All, to answer any questions Victim Witness coordinators might have.
 
I am encouraging every Victim Witness Coordinator in California to file a formal declaration at the commencement of every criminal proceeding the assertion of the Victim's Marsy's Rights.  I am working with the Orange County Community Services Program (CSP) and its Victim Witness specialists to utilize this important tool.  At the talk on Monday, only one represented County at the conference indicated that its office was presently filing the Marsy's Rights with the Court.
 
Working together, we can make sure Victims' Rights are being enforced!
 

Spitzer Law Office Clients Win Significant Parole Denial in the Murder of their Mother, Debbie Moreau

Kelly and Shawn Moreau secure thousands of signatures urging Governor Brown to reverse the Board of Parole Hearings.  The won!

By Todd Spitzer, Attorney at Law and Marsy's Law Attorney

On September 6, 2012, I represented Shawn and Kelly Moreau to fight the release of their mother's murdered, Michael Garrett, at the Avenal State Prison.

At a hearing a year earlier, Garrett was given a release date by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH).  I was retained by the Moreau's and was able to convince Governor Brown to reverse the earlier decision of the BPH.  You can read my letter here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/17059664/Moreau/Garrett.J-95746.VictimsMoreaus.GovBrown.pdf

At the hearing to consider his release in September, Kelly and Shawn convinced the BPH to deny Debbie's murderer another parole hearing under Marsy's Law for three years, a significant win.

The lesson: the participation of the victims at the BPH is critical.  It is also important to have the assistance of legal counsel to ensure that the victims arguments to the BPH meet the legal standards that build the best case of a denial of parole.

Kelly and Shawn's participation became a reality throught he financial assistance of Crime Survivors, Inc. and CEO Patricia Wenskunas: http://www.crimesurvivors.org

If you have any questions about the BPH process or need help making your case before the BPH, please contact www.spitzerlawoffice.com

 

 

Spitzer Law Office Clients Win Significant Parole Denial in the Berlyn Cosman Prom Night Murder Case After a Prior Grant of Parole

 

 

 

I prepare my clients, Morgan Cosman Kelly and her mother, Susan Cosman, at the Deuel State Prison in Tracy moments before they confront Berlyn Cosman's murderer after 20 years.

By Todd Spitzer, Attorney at Law and Marsy's Law Attorney

On September 19, 2012, after waiting nearly 20 years to confront Paul Crowder who murdered Berlyn Cosman, Morgan Cosman Kelly and Susan Cosman travelled to Deuel State Prison in Tracy, CA to participate in his parole consideration hearing under Marsy's Law.  They received a five year denial.

I was retained by the Cosman Family after Morgan read in a Glendale, CA newspaper that her sister's murderer, Paul Crowder, had been given a parole date by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH).  Morgan was always led to believe the Crowder was given a no parole sentence.  Unbeknowst to Morgan (who was just a child at the time of her sister's death), her father had been receiving notice of the parole hearings, but did not share it with Morgan, trying to protect her.

I was able to convince Governor Brown to reverse the BPH which he did.  So on September 19, after two decades, sister and mom confronted Crowder and convinced the BPH that Crowder was still a danger to the community and should not be let out.  They won!

The lesson: crime victims must participate in these hearings with the assistance of an experienced lawyer to make the arguments to the BPH which will meet the legal standard that is required for a denial.

Susan Cosman was so traumatized by this experience that she suffered "transient amnesia" and had to be hospitalized.  She has now made a full recovery, but has no recollection of testifying or personally confronting Paul Crowder.

Read the full article here:

http://www.ocregister.com/news/parole-372191-cosman-crowder.html

This was why in writing Marsy's Law we added 15,10 and 5 year denials as an option for the BPH.  Why should a victim have to go through this stress time and time again?

If you have any questions about BPH hearings please contact me through www.spitzerlawoffice.com

Orange County Superior Court Appellate Division Grants Spitzer Client New Restitution Hearing After Prosecutor Violated Her Marsy's Law Rights

By Todd Spitzer, Attorney at Law and Victim's Advocate

On October 3, 2012, the Three Judge Panel of the Appellate Division of the Orange County Superior Court agreed to issue a Writ of Mandate ordering the Orange County Superior Court Trial Division to give Spitzer Client, Lori Galvin, a de novo restitution hearing after the Deputy District Attorney and the Public Defender unlawfully stipulated to a restitution amount without consulting the Victim.

Never forget that the Prosecutor does not represent the Victim unless, under Marsy's Law, the Victim elects to have the Prosecutor represent her.  In this case, Lori Galvin was ready to testify at the Restitution Hearing and remained isolated in the Victim Witness Office waiting for the Deputy DA to call her to Court for the hearing.  Instead, the DDA went behind Galvin's back and settled the restitution amount WITHOUT letting Galvin know.  He agreed to a little more than $1,000 when she was owed more than $10,000 because the DDA did not undestand the law.

The Court of Appeal backed Spitzer's client and wrote:

"Nonetheless, Mr. Spitzer's declaration that the prosecutor and defense counsel entered into an "unlawful stipulation" "in violation of Marsy's Law," combined with the court's own recollection of its ruling that the victim could seek restitution on the dimissed count, could have provided the court with sufficient information from which  to determine that the amount stipulated to by the prosecutor and defense counsel appeared insufficient to compensate the victim's injuries....Based on the record, the amount awarded in this case does not appear to have constituted "full restitution"."  The People's stipulation did not and could not deprive the victim of her right to full restitution; the right to victim restitution is mandatory and "cannot be bargained away by the People."

The entire opinion is below:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/17059664/Banning%20J.%20Knudsen%20Case/Knudsen.Appeal.Denial.SuperiorCourt.pdf

If you would like my trial court brief or have any questions, please contact me at www.spitzerlawoffice.com

Spitzer on Bill Carroll Show KFI AM640

Last week I was a guest on the Bill Carroll Show (KFI AM640) to talk about a killer who will not go free thanks to our efforts to support Victims Rights. Listen to my interview using this link:

http://www.kfiam640.com/player/?mid=21873451

 

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