Drug possession and sales cases are one of the most common cases handled by Sean Hennessey. Sean has handled 100’s of narcotic cases including:
- methamphetamine manufacturing;
- possessions of multiple pounds of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana;
- manufacturing and distribution of designer drugs such as “ecstasy”;
- distribution of prescription medications such as opiate pain medications, Xanax, valium and other prescription medications;
- cultivation of marijuana;
- possession of virtually all controlled substances.
It is in the area of the “war on drugs” where the most abuses of an individuals Constitutional rights are violated. Illegal searches, detentions, interrogations and reliance upon drug addicted informants permeate every aspect of the “war on drugs. Sean Hennessey is an expert is ferreting out the legalities of police contacts with those involved with drugs or in the drug trade.
Sean has represented 100’s of people charged with a wide spectrum of drug related crimes. Sean has successfully had many drug cases dismissed because of illegal police conduct. Sean has also had many cases dismissed as a result of his clients successfully completing drug counseling.
Sean is also knowledgeable about the current laws concerning California Proposition 215 that deals with medical marijuana. Sean has consulted with marijuana dispensaries in order for them to fully comply with the requirements of the laws in order to run a legal marijuana co-op or dispensary.
When you, your family or a loved one becomes the focus of a drug related investigation or arrest you need to retain Sean Hennessey IMMEDIATELY.
A prosecutor may charge a person with murder which in California is more commonly referred to as homicide. Homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being and the act of taking another person’s life can be charged by a prosecutor as either murder or manslaughter. Murder requires proof of “malice aforethought,” which refers to the defendant’s intent or state of mind. In a murder case, California state laws require the prosecutor to prove the defendant exhibited express or implied malice. Express malice means that the defendant deliberately chose to commit murder. Alternatively, the prosecutor may show implied malice in the defendant’s conduct that reflects an “abandoned and malignant heart.” Implied malice may arise if the defendant meant to create the circumstances that resulted in the killing of another person. When a criminal case lacks malice, the prosecutor will likely pursue a charge of manslaughter charges as opposed to murder charges.
In California a charge of murder may be prosecuted as a murder in the first degree and/or as a murder in the second degree. A charge of murder in the first degree is more serious of the two categories of murder. In California there are numerous “special circumstances” that would qualify a homicide as “murder in the first degree”. “Special circumstances” that may qualify a homicide as “murder in the first degree” would be a killing committed during the commission of a felony (whether the killing was intentional or unintentional). The death of a person during the commission of a felony is commonly referred to a the “felony murder rule”.
An example of a “felony murder” crime would be if during the course of a robbery a victim were to suffer a fatal heart attack the person committing the robbery can be charged with “murder in the first degree” because a person died during the commission of a felony i.e. robbery. Other examples of cases that can be charged as “murder in the first” degree would be the death of a person occurring during a kidnapping, sexual assault, residential burglary, a gang crime or a death occurring during any other criminal activity that would fall under the umbrella of a felony crime. “Murder in the first degree” would also include killings done with premeditation and deliberation.
All homicides that do not fit within the definition of “murder in the first degree” can be charged as “murder in the second degree” or charged as manslaughter.
“Murder in the second degree” is typically defined as an intentional killing committed without premeditation. “Murder in the second degree” is often typically utilized as a “catch all” category for killings committed intentional yet without premeditation or killings that occurred during inherently reckless conduct. Inherently reckless conduct or reckless disregard for life would include instances where a person commits an act intended to seriously injuring a person resulting in the person dying. As example of reckless disregard for human life would be a person intending to wound a person by shooting a person in the leg. If the person shot in the leg ultimately bleeds to death the person who shot to “wound” could be charged with “murder in the second degree” because the act of shooting a person even to “wound” is so inherently dangerous that a death can be viewed as reasonably foreseeable.
A homicide can also be charged as either voluntary and/or involuntary manslaughter.
Defenses to Murder/Homicide Charges:
There are numerous available defenses to homicide charges filed as either Murder or Manslaughter. Each case is different and all facts and circumstances must be evaluated to assure all possible defenses are thoroughly explored. A few of the numerous available defenses are”
- Provocation or “heat of passion” that may result in a Murder charge being reduced to a charge of manslaughter;Insanity, diminished capacity or other mental health issues which may affect a person’s ability to form the required mental state to commit an act of Murder or Manslaughter;
- Self defense. California is a “stand your ground state” and there are numerous instances that would give rise to the defense of self defense to a charge of Murder or Manslaughter;
- Defending another person from serious bodily injury. Coming to the aid of a person being seriously assaulted or attacked resulting in the death of the person who initiated the serious attack can be a defense to a charge or Murder or Manslaughter.
Penalties and Sentences
California state laws sets the sentence for “murder in the first degree” at 25 years to life in prison. California state laws sets the sentence for “murder in the second degree” at 15 years to life in prison. These prison terms can be increased dramatically (including the death penalty) if the killing was committed with a firearm, if the person killed was a peace officer or a child. Further, there are numerous other factors that can increase the prison terms set forth above including the person’s criminal record i.e. having “strike” priors or if the person charged is proved to be a gang member or the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang.