Airbags & The Injuries That Come With Them

Airbags have probably been the most significant car safety device to be developed since the invention of seat belts, however even though they can provide significant protection against major injury, they can also cause injuries both when they work as intended and when they don’t. Airbags first began appearing in passenger vehicles in the 1970s, with driver airbags becoming common by the early 1990s, and with vehicles of today now often including both driver and front passenger airbags to protect against impacts from the front and side torso and side curtain airbags to protect against collisions from the sides and rollovers.

In order to protect a vehicle occupant from serious injury in a collision, an airbag must react with an equivalent significant force — it does this by exploding a pyrotechnic device that rapidly and forcefully fills the bag with gas. Some systems are smart enough to detect the severity of an impact and “explode” the airbag with just enough force to provide protection, but most systems — especially older ones — simply inflate the bag to its fullest. And in the United States, design standards require a more forceful bag inflation than do international standards.

Car Wreck

Types of Injuries from Airbags

Even when they are functioning as intended, airbags can sometimes cause very severe injuries or even death. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed more than 170 deaths from airbags in the United States during the 1990s, with most of these occuring in children and many of the remainder occurring in small adults. These occupants were the most likely to suffer injury from bag deployment due to their small size. This has since resulted in the development of passenger seat sensors that can detect the weight of a passenger to help judge whether or not to deploy the passenger side airbag. Other vehicles may have manual switches to turn the passenger side airbag on and off depending upon its occupant. Also, product design guidelines and regulations now mandate the placement of children and child safety seats in the rear seats of vehicles.

Severe injuries from airbags have most commonly been head injuries, though side airbags can also cause injury to occupants who may be leaning against a door when its bag deploys. Less severe injuries injuries from airbags have tended to be facial injuries from the impact force of the bag, and hand and wrist injuries to drivers gripping a steering wheel whose bag deploys.

After an airbag is deployed, the vehicle and its occupants may find themselves covered in dust — this is usually composed of talcum powder, chalk, and/or cornstarch which including the airbag to lubricate it during its inflation. Ordinarily, these substances are at most minor irritants to vehicle occupants, however some people with asthma or specific allergies may suffer a severe reaction to them.

Injuries from Airbags Improperly Deploying

More recently in the news, however, have been incidents where injuries from airbags have occurred due to the unintended deployment of airbags. A major international manufacturer of airbags and the numerous auto manufacturers to which it supplies airbag systems has been forced recently to issue recalls affecting millions of vehicles, especially those that have been operated in hot, humid conditions that may have caused the inflator mechanisms to degree and spontaneously trigger. In addition to the types of injuries that could normally result from an airbag inflating, these types of unexpected triggerings can obviously themselves cause serious motor vehicle collisions.

Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC makes sure that the negligent manufacturer and all insurance companies involved are held accountable.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident — including any injuries from airbags — call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

Our New Criminal Defense Website Is Officially Launched

In addition to our current website, we are very proud to present our newly created, easy to use website that is fully dedicated to Criminal Defense only.

We invite you to take some time to look around and let us know what you think.

The website was designed with one goal in mind.. to help act as a resource for individuals who have been arrested and charged with a crime anywhere in the North Bay.

What developed is a legal website with fresh and helpful resources, timely content and simple navigation.

We Plan On Making Regular Blog Postings To Keep You Informed Of Recent Developments In California Criminal Law & Also Provide Useful Legal Information On A Variety Of Criminal Law Subjects.

Please click on the link below to watch a short introduction clip:

The official website address is:

North Bay News of the Day, April 1, 2015

Insurers have a duty of good faith and fair dealing with the people they insure.  That means that they can’t make the types of dismissive decisions that one can normally make in the course of business conduct.  For instance, if an insurer is obligated to pay on a claim by its own insured, , the insurer can not try to hide the fact or make the claimant work to prove that fact without some extreme consequences if they are wrong.  This was illustrated in the case of Akerstrom v. State Farm.  Gary Akerstrom is an engineer who was sued by one of his clients.

Mr. Akerstrom then made a claim against his malpractice insurance policy with State Farm, which included a provision for attorneys fees.  Basically, State Farm was supposed to provde Mr. Akerstrom an attorney to represent him in the law suite by his client, but refused to do so on the grounds the type of work Mr. Akerstrom was doing at the time was not covered by his policy.  Our local judge, Judge Mark Tansil, agreed and dismissed the claim against State Farm.

Mr. Akerstrom appealed the decision and it was reversed on appeal and sent back to our Superior Court for litigation.  However, once the matter came back here to our local courts, State Farm decided not to take the risk of a jury finding in favor for Mr. Akerstrom and settled the matter short of trial.  Why?  Well, because of their duty of good faith and fair dealing they faced triple damages if the jury found that State Farm should have paid for an attorney for Mr. Akerstrom.  That would have been a lot of dough!  It was such a high risk that State Farm settled the matter for an astounding 7.5 million dollars!  (Ukiah engingeering firm gets $7.5 million from State Farm in settlement, 4-1-15, The Press Democrat.) Believe me, you know State Farm believes it did something terribly wrong when they fork out that much money.  It’s good to be reminded that our insurances laws protect us so well.  State Farm will likely think twice before they dismissively deny another claim.


The Petaluma Police have their hands full lately!  Last night, one of their officers observed a black Mercedes speeding and darting through traffic.  When the officer attempted to pull the car over for reckless driving, it fled on a high speed chase, including reaching speeds of 120 mph.  It’s not clear from the Press Democrat article, but it appears the driver of the vehicle crashed and fled on foot and has not been apprehended, yet.  (High-speed chase ends in Petaluma-area crash, search for suspects, 4-1-15, The Press Democrat.)  Not only did this happen, but Petaluma Police believe they have a serial robber on their hands.  Business owners in Petaluma have suffered a series of five robberies all involving a masked man walking into their store, threatening cashiers with an unseen gun, and then quickly running away with undisclosed amounts of cash.  (Fifth armed robbery linked to same suspect in Petaluma, 3-31-15, The Press Democrat.)  You can be sure that Petaluma has put overtime on the case to try and solve it because this type of crime causes so much concern in the community.  The culprit should be concerned about getting caught and perhaps that will convince the person not to commit another crime.  Pursuant to Penal Code section 213, he is facing at least up to 45 years in prison for the five robberies committed already.


Speaking of danger on the roadways, a young man died and his friend survived after a horrific vehicle collision apparently caused by the decedent turning left in front of an oncoming car.  Geeze, the young man who died and his injured passenger friend were only 20 years old.  (Santa Rosa man critically injured in weekend motorcycle crash expecting baby, 3-31-15, The Press Democrat.)  And he is a soon to be father.  A passenger in the other vehicle who was seriously injured is a famous singer songwriter named Norman Greenbaum.  I wish a speedy recovery for the two very seriously injured survivors.  I hope that Nhmia Kahsay will get to hold his baby in his arms.  Please drive safely everybody!


Apparently, Petaluma is not the only town with car chases recently.  After a pickup driver ran stop signs and sped at least 45 MPH in a 25 MPH zone he crashed into a parked car.  (Santa Rosa chase ends in crash, arrest of man in stolen truck, 3-31-15, The Press Democrat.)  Thomas Paine who allegedly was the driver can expect a heavy hand from the district attorney for resisting arrest, reckless driving, and felony evasion of a police officer that put others in danger.  I know the Sonoma County District Attorney enough by now to know that they will be asking for some serious jail time and if Mr. Paine has a criminal record he can expect even worse.  In cases like this we try our best to get low jail time, but it becomes problematical when our client has wantonly and willfully run from police and then caused property damage.  Thankfully for Mr. Paine, nobody was hurt or he’d certainly be facing hard prison time.

Marin County and Sonoma County District Attorneys are by Sex Workers Organization claiming that California’s Prostitution Statute is unconstitutional

In addition to the two above mentioned defendants who were sued over a state penal code criminalizing prostitution, other law enforcement defendants were named including our esteemed Attorney General Kamala Harris who is named as a defendant in the U.S. District Court case which argues in part that the 14th Amendment protects individual liberty over private sexual conduct regardless of whether it is commercial or paid for.


Despite being known as the “oldest profession in the world,” prostitution and solicitation thereof still gets prosecuted very aggressively as a criminal act especially in light of the renewed spotlight on illegal sex trafficking which shouldn’t be confused with  the free choice of sex workers  to engage in the profession. Prostitution is defined in the CA Penal Code as:” to engage in a sexual act in exchange for money or other consideration, i.e., other goods or services.”


Under CA Penal Code 647(a), “An individual who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view is guilty of disorderly conduct,” a misdemeanor.  In the same Penal Code section, under the (b) section, it further states that, “anyone who solicits or agrees to engage in or who acts in any act of prostitution” commits the offense. This allows law enforcement to arrest sex workers and customers such as johns and where appropriate, the middle man who is otherwise known as the pimp.”  The current lawsuit that has been filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco by the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project on behalf of four individual plaintiffs including a Sonoma County resident (a one-time sex worker), who states that she would like to continue her chosen profession, but for the state’s legal prohibition, discrimination and stigma.



The lawsuit on its face is not frivolous because it is reflective of some very recent favorable case law and rulings that severely limit government’s interference in personal decisions involving sex.  This includes the famous landmark 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, in which the United States Supreme Court invalidated and struck down laws prohibiting sex between same sex consenting adults and/or couples.


The plaintiffs’ attorneys who are representing the sex workers have a legitimate claim when citing to dissenting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion in the minority opinion in the Lawrence Sodomy case above.  He stated on the record that the majority ruling “called into question” all laws rationalized by public morality, like those prohibiting prostitution.  Well, here it is twelve years later,  laws against prostitution are being challenged and they have a good chance of being struck down like the State of Texas’ sodomy laws.  The general rule for striking down impermissible personal privacy laws seems to rest upon the meaning of the relationship or set of boundaries, absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution that the law protects.  In other words, there is no compelling or even legitimate rationale for the government to regulate prostitution unless there is a reason to do so, i.e., injury, violence, coercion, and the like. It could hardly be a valid  argument that prostitution destroys the traditional family since divorce rates are its own death knell and just recently Gay Marriage has been sweeping the country despite the argument that its passage would also “destroy the traditional family,” whatever that means!


If you take  Sonoma County District Attorney-Elect Jill Ravitch’s argument, (the county’s top law enforcement official), who is quoted as saying,  through her “collaborative effort with the police”  she “is saving lives and holding those who traffic victims accountable!”  However, if you can prove that sex workers have voluntarily chosen their profession and that there was never a demonstration that the commercial exchange of sex between consenting adults-as distinct from human trafficking-resulted in any harm how can current prostitution laws be upheld.   Based upon the voluntariness of prostitution and the lack of coercion and other abusive factors, the plaintiffs make a valid argument that there is “no compelling or legitimate governmental interest in prostitution’s criminalization” and the criminalization of prostitution is far worse than legalizing it.  The arguments that the plaintiffs’ law suit advance in favor of legalizing prostitution are listed below:


  1. The current criminal law and zealous prosecution creates victims among both those who would make a living in the sex trade/industry (were it not illegal) as well as those for whom sexual intimacy is possible only with a professional sex worker or provider, i.e., one of the four plaintiffs happens to be a disabled man who wants to be able to procure the services of a sex worker and is prohibited from doing so.
  2. The second argument is that all sex workers have been lumped into one category and all have been robbed of the right and ability to earn income from their chosen line of work and face further discrimination in housing, education, child custody, and decisions in other areas of their life if they continue to choose their profession the lawsuit has emphasized.
  3. The continued criminalization of sex workers and prostitution in general exposes the participants to the possibility of arrest and prosecution if they try to report assault or abusive behavior towards themselves or an innocent third party.
  4. Sex workers or prostitutes are never taken seriously as victims; not until now at least with the generalization that all prostitutes are victims which can’t be proven since this lawsuit exposes that hypocrisy.
  5. Sex workers or prostitutes do not feel safe to report criminal behavior they might witness and suffer such as human trafficking or child abuse. Therefore, the criminalization of prostitution and/or their chosen field puts them in a hated and despised class where they are not able to even help law enforcement against the real problem—sex trafficking which is NOT voluntary or chosen.


These arguments above appear to be compelling since the old guard and most members of law enforcement continue to categorize all sex workers and prostitutes all together as victims of sex trafficking thus impermissibly lumping everybody together for the purpose of continuing the sex stings, prostitution stings, and heavy handed counterproductive law enforcement.


Finally, it appears that even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of our United States Supreme Court basically said if you can’t criminalize sodomy (most often only enforced against homosexuals and not heterosexuals) based on morality, how can you criminalize prostitution based on morality?  So, the bottom line is that the plethora of new case law is being worked to get prostitution legalized in California.   Further, the plaintiffs’ attorneys are attempting to correctly distinguish willing providers of sex for money from those real victims who are being forced into service through violence or other means!  The two should never be mixed and by doing so we believe that free choice and free association as well as free choice of one’s profession is being usurped by an overreaching government steeped deeply in morality and hypocrisy.

What Should I do in Case of a Vehicle Collision?

  • You should first attend to the medical needs of anyone involved. Call 911 if necessary- but remember that this number is for emergencies only.
  • If there are no injuries you should move your vehicle out of traffic and to the nearest safe spot.
  • Notify the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the department of the city in which the collision occurred.
  • Exchange information such as: driver license, vehicle registration, and insurance information with the other driver.
  • Do not accept or place any blame. Your insurance company has people trained to determine who is at fault.
  • Make sure to gather information from possible witnesses. If possible, you should use your smart phone to take photographs of the scene and damages or injuries.
  • Write down details of the collision, such as: time of day, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and the events that led up to the collision.
  • caracc

Remember, vehicle collisions are not accidents!

The term “accident” implies that these collisions, deaths, and injures are unavoidable.

  • Alcohol related collisions are predictable and preventable.
  • Drinking and driving is the conscious choice of the driver.
  • Never drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking.

In an emergency, do YOU really want to call 911?

When you call 911 usually the police arrive.  Lately it has become painfully apparent that the police are not good at de-escalating a potentially violent or dangerous situation especially if it involves anyone suffering from mental health issues. Unfortunately the North Bay especially Sonoma  and Napa Counties have been wracked by a number of police brutality lawsuits and internal investigations questioning  why the police needed to use such heavy-handed tactics to subdue and or even kill those inflicted with mental health issues.


Hence, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, referred to as NAMI, has come up with a script for 911 emergency calls-particularly with regard to the new 211 emergency/mental health  hotline for patients and/or family members  who placed a call to help their loved one, not to have them shot or brutally beaten! The officers who are most likely to respond to these calls have had special mental health police training so they should be more sensitive.


It is strongly recommended that the well-meaning caller regardless whether the call is placed to 911 or 211 unambiguously state upfront that there is no weapon and the loved one, or family member, is suffering from mental distress, trauma and or erratic behavior.  Here are some concrete suggestions to tell the dispatcher:


  1. State your name calmly, clearly and slowly and identify your familial relationship with the person.
  2. State the specific location/address and make sure to tell the officer that you may greet the first responder.
  3. Identify your family member or loved one by name and state emphatically and up front that he/she has a mental health condition and was diagnosed with the name of the mental illness.
  4. Make it real clear that you are requesting a mobile support team and requesting a psychology trained officer.
  5. Make it really clear that this person is not a danger to himself or to others if that’s the case.
  6. Make certain to state that this person is not armed and again, is not dangerous to anyone if that’s the case.


It is imperative that you state that this person/individual does not have a weapon and is not threatening others but that there is something definitely wrong because of the specific behaviors that you need to describe.  You might even mention that the person has been on or off medications for a specific time period if that’s the case and/or that the person is struggling with drug and alcohol use since you want to inform the officers that there are multiple layers and self-medication if that is also the case.

The most important advice is for YOU, the caller is to FOLLOW dispatch’s instructions and be as polite and professional as possible even if the dispatch personnel or paramedics are rude and abrupt.

Please note that it is best if you call 911 from home whenever possible.  If you are on a cellphone, then you can call any of the numbers on the Sonoma County emergency list but the two best numbers to call would be  (707) 528-5222 and (707) 565-2121 and, again, the 211 mental health line if applicable. But, if out of habit you decide to call 911 following some if not all of the six (6) tips below may help to save a life.


If any of your family members are injured, or killed as a result of an emergency call that is made on their behalf, you may have a right to compensation through legal action/ wrongful death lawsuit.  Please  feel free to consult with us at any time to discuss your options.  We can be reached 24/7 at 707-571-8600 in Santa Rosa and in San Rafael at 415-492-4507.

The Reality of What It Takes for Drug Court Success

There is a concern that Proposition 47 may be undermining Sonoma County’s Drug Court Program.  See the link to the Press Democrat article from Sunday, March 15, 2015, entitled, ‘Sonoma County Drug Court Facing New Reality.’



The established Drug Court Program is a process authorized by the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000.  In Sonoma County this process involves a collaborative approach by the DA, the court, probation department, and  (Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes), TASC to provide drug treatment for non-violent drug offenders.  As a side note, one category of people who qualify for drug court are third strike offenders who could otherwise face life in prison!  So this program really was designed to provide a chance for people who are committing crimes as a result of  their drug addiction but the Court is designed for the defendant to avoid the standard consequences of their crimes as long as they actively participate in drug treatment.  Personally for me and for the other members of the Firm, it is a heart-warming program. Sure, there are the cold hard facts of the offense, which often  involves offensive or bad behavior or misconduct.   There are numerous examples—individuals passed out unconscious in the street with their pants  pulled down or other defendants trying to swallow their ½ gram of methamphetamine to avoid detection and to get that one last high from their ‘drug of choice’ instead of seeing it seized and placed into evidence.  Can you imagine being that desperate that you would resort to swallowing a ½ gram of meth?  Instead, these people need help and Drug Court can work for them!


Our Law Firm is committed to ‘Alternatives to Jail’ [] and we have represented many individuals facing long jail or prison sentences who have successfully completed and graduated from Drug Court.  It is a good program, but you better be ready for sobriety if you want to successfully participate and graduate!   It is a 12 month program that includes intensive counseling and drug testing and appearances in court for weekly, then monthly, then less often reviews.


I have been present when clients have successfully completed the Program.  It can be really amazing because the judge calls people who have “graduated” Drug Court first when the proceedings begin in the morning.  The court will call the defendant up to the front of the Court and sincerely congratulate and extoll their successes which Probation and Defense Counsel (us) conveyed to the Court.  These acalades will consist of  great progress reports, clean test results, and other positive achievements and even all of the obstacles the defendant had to endure to successfully graduate from Drug Court. The Court will often personalize the experience(s) of the graduate telling a crowded courtroom how the defendant has found suitable living space, is gainfully employed if that is the case, and how the defendant is participating in the community and if applicable, how the defendant has made other positive changes, i.e. found God, become spiritual or now has a meaningful relationship with another person.


It is so rewarding to see experience the entire process in Drug Court especially the final step in the defendant’s process when the court (the sitting Judge) is seen congratulating the defendant clapping and smiling along with the public who are in attendance.  If you have never experienced this it can bring tears to your eyes.  You realize the amount of hardship this person has been through. They have passed a sort of test by the probation department, the court, the district attorney and even their own defense attorney, not to mention their friends and family, and they have proven themselves!


It would be sad if proposition 47 was somehow taking away from that.  The idea is that because Proposition 47 reduced the seriousness of personal drug related offenses, defendants are now less motivated to participate and  then later successfully complete Drug Court because they no longer face or fear being  convicted of a felony.  I have to question that concern.  I think it is fantastic that offenses covering personal drug use, such as possession of a ½ gram of cocaine are now misdemeanors.  For first-time offenders a misdemeanor makes far more sense than charging first-time offenders with ‘straight-up’ felonies having life-long sentences and draconian consequences.  A misdemeanor conviction allows the defendant to expunge his/her conviction and ‘clean’ their record so they may again be employed gainfully and move on with life.  If you are convicted of a felony you are forever prohibited from possessing a firearm and you are forever labeled a felon not able to even vote and precluded from holding many different licenses and jobs.


The concern of the Press Democrat article is understandable, but I believe that it really comes down to the defendant/person; do they really want to change their lives?  That is the question.  If they don’t then those are the people who will not successfully complete Drug Court anyway.  They are the ones who will arrive in court early on a Monday morning and have their names called, stand up, and appear before the court, be told by the court that they tested positive for methamphetamine and be summarily arrested, their handcuffs checked for tightness and double locked.  OUR LAW FIRM and I will fight our hardest for people with addictions and want to change their lives for the better.   Our Law Firm has a proven track record of doing just that.  I think the people who want to change and are ready for positive change will do the things necessary to complete Drug Court; and we are here to help! When addicted defendants hit rock bottom and want to change, for the better, it does not really matter whether Proposition 47 is in existence or not, human nature will prevail and they will make the necessary changes to successfully complete Drug Court.

Why you need MedPay in car insurance


MedPay in car insurance is also known as medical payments coverage.

MedPay can pay for expenses that health insurance won’t cover.

The premium for MedPay coverage is often a minuscule amount.

When searching for ways to lower your car insurance premium, you may be tempted to drop medical payments coverage, aka MedPay, from your policy. After all, it may not be required in your state, and sounds redundant to your health insurance.

But you’d be mistaken to write off MedPay as unnecessary. In fact, the very limitations of most health insurance policies, combined with the glacial pace of insurance settlements and the risks you can offload with this often-misunderstood optional coverage, argue strongly in favor of retaining, if not increasing, your MedPay.

In a nutshell, MedPay makes good on medical bills up to your coverage limit for you, your family and others riding in your vehicle in case of an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. Your medical payments coverage moves with you (walking, riding with a friend or on public transportation, in-state or out), as well as with your insured vehicles, regardless of who’s driving. It carries no deductible or co-pay.


If you’re injured in an accident that another insured driver caused, it can take months for their car insurance company to pay your medical bills. Sure, your health insurance may pay, but increasingly many of us carry high deductibles and co-pays that can stretch our finances to the breaking point before the insurance settlement with the other driver closes.

The beauty of MedPay is it kicks in before the hubcaps stop spinning to pay your medical bills, heath insurance deductible and co-pays. It covers myriad other out-of-pocket costs that your health policy probably won’t touch, including ambulance fees, chiropractic, dental, prosthetics and, in a worst-case scenario, funeral expenses.

In the 12 “no-fault” states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah), MedPay can even pick up the co-pay on the personal injury protection, or PIP, portion of your car insurance or kick in seamlessly with 100 percent coverage after you’ve exhausted your PIP.

The premium for MedPay is so miniscule — often less than $20 per year for up to $10,000 in coverage — that the benefits you’d receive on just one claim could pay for decades of peace of mind.

“For example, if your health insurance has a $1,000 deductible, a 20 percent co-pay and you have a $5,000 medical claim from an accident, with your health insurance you would typically pay $1,800 out of pocket,” says Christy Moulton Perry, director of product management for Great Northwest Insurance Co. “But with your MedPay, you would pay zero out of pocket. That’s a big difference.”

MedPay can be especially important for drivers without health insurance. But forget about using it as a stand-alone substitute. You must carry auto liability coverage in order to purchase MedPay, and you’d have to be injured in an auto-related accident to use it.

Unlike liability coverage, MedPay policy limits do not refer to the total available coverage, but instead to the amount available to each covered injured individual. That means if you, your spouse and your two children were injured in an auto accident, each of you could collect the limit amount on your $5,000 MedPay coverage for a total of $20,000. However, your insurer won’t pay the same bills under both your MedPay and liability coverage.


This author, Mr. Fiumara who has been practicing criminal defense law for almost a quarter of a century, comments on  the candid comments made by the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has taken a giant step toward doing something about prosecutorial misconduct including “naming names” if the California Attorney General  (Kamala Harris) does not ACT within a short period of time.  In an unusual move, the court  strongly recommended that the line prosecutor himself who knowingly provided false testimony from an informant in a murder trial  be prosecuted for perjury.  The entire video of the oral argument is available to view on our law firm’s website and is  also available on our Law Firm’s Facebook or you may click here,


The Baca v. Adams Appeal is illustrative of a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Napue case, where the Court held that prosecutors cannot put on perjured testimony, much less lie themselves.  Judge Alex Kozinski, Chief of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, takes this one step further when he strongly opines that prosecutorial misconduct happens far too often when it should never happen at all!  Further, this outspoken judge is quoted to state that the entire program of “cooperation” (between the Prosecution and Defense Counsel)  is rife with problems.  Prosecutors often put extraordinary pressure on the worst criminals, threatening not only them but their families.  After testifying, the person who knows he will go to prison no matter what (because he really is guilty), the prosecutor then offers life-saving benefits, often secretly, in exchange for testimony against many less culpable “targets” of the government’s investigation.  In other words, the prosecutors will do anything, including committing bribery and perjury, to win a prosecution and secure a guilty verdict.  This does not constitute, “Justice” and this is what is partially responsible for the overwhelming number of innocent victims of the” justice system” who end up spending dozens of years in prison who are not guilty.

The Baca v. Adams case audio and video highlights to what degree the prosecution will go to in order to “win.” YOU may watch the tough questions pelted at the State’s attorney trying to defend the prosecutor’s misconduct and perjury with the link that we provided above you can be the “Judge” of the seriousness of this problem identified by one of the most important high Courts in the land!  This is a very scary proposition for our clients.  If you have any questions or concerns about your case, Brady evidence and/ or, prosecutorial misconduct, please contact our office anytime at:  (707) 571-8600 in Santa Rosa and (415) 492-4507 in San Rafael.

When is Self Defense in a Home Invasion Justified? How can we help?

You may have recently read in the Press Democrat about the recent death of one of three men who attempted a home invasion robbery.(   One of the occupants of the home began shooting and apparently killed one of the robbers.  According to California Law, the shooter was justified if the following conditions were met: (1) it was apparently necessary to shoot based on an honest and reasonable belief of an imminent threat to his life, (2) the force used was reasonable under the circumstances, and (3) the threat to him was unlawful.  To prove that first condition, the defendant must show that he was in fear of his life or serious bodily injury and that the conduct of the robbers was such  that it was reasonable to be in such a state of fear.  (People v. Sonier (1952) 113 Cal.App.2d 277, 278.)  It should be fairly obvious that it is was reasonable to be in fear of his life when armed men tried to break into his house.

Was the force reasonable?  Firing a gun at someone is considered to be the use of deadly force.  Deadly force is justified only when the apparent peril is great and imminent.  (People v. Anderson (1922) 57 Cal.App. 721, 727.)  For instance, it is generally unjustifiable to use deadly force in response to a person trying to punch you.  Deadly force may become justified if the person is beating you to death or the attacker is a known deadly assassin.  Regarding the home invasion robbery, deadly force was certainly justified. The shooter was faced with unknown assailants trying to break in at night and whose motives could only be considered nefarious under the circumstances.

Finally, the last condition is also met since the threat the shooter (occupant)  perceived was “unlawful” because the intruders were trying to rob him.  Likely, the occupant who shot the robber will assert a successful self-defense and the killing will be found justified.  However, that justification does not transfer to the decedent’s cohorts in crime who are being charged with murder pursuant to the felony-murder rule.


That rule states that if a co-conspirator is killed during the commission of the conspiracy, the other members of that conspiracy can be charged with that person’s murder even though killed by someone else in this case by the occupant.  Further, the fact that the occupant of the home was justified in shooting the robber does not absolve him of the crime of unlawful cultivation of marijuana.  Apparently, the robbers were after the shooter’s illegal marijuana grow.  Nor does the justified shooting absolve that person of creating a dangerous environment for the children who lived at the home.  He is now charged with child endangerment.

However, our Law Firm is prepared to defend the occupant of all charges including the lessor included offense of child endangerment or creating a dangerous environment or nuisance.  Please feel free to contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation in either Santa Rosa or San Rafael by calling us at:  (855) 247-3190.