Saturday, October 24, 2015

Injuries at a Hollywood Nightclub Could Lead to a Lawsuit

The Los Angeles Times and other local media have reported a homicide at Cashmere nightclub in Hollywood. The victim was DJ Steeze, who may have been involved in a brawl that occurred in the dance club. Police and city officials are concerned with the 21% increase of violent crimes, which can be attributed to drunk patrons pouring out into the streets.

Violence occurring in drinking establishments is nothing new. One can watch a classic Western to conclude that. However, the uptick of people visiting Hollywood clubs increases the risk of harm to visitors. Since 2000, Hollywood residency increased threefold. There is a greater chance of conflict.

A person injured, or even killed, at a nightclub could have legal recourse. Indeed, there are many different legal theories that could be advanced should there be facts that support it. 

Most injury cases against nightclubs are brought under the umbrella of negligence. That is, the plaintiff is able to prove that a duty was owed to them, there was a breach of that duty by the nightclub, and as a result of that breach, injury occurred to the plaintiff.

Negligence could be framed in different arguments. For example, some cases involve security personnel, or bouncers. When escorting patrons out, the bouncers get too aggressive or assault the patrons without cause. Those bouncers may lack the required licensing or training to be employed. The club potentially could be held liable for employing individuals who are not qualified to hold a position that could result in injury to guests.

There are other examples. Municipal ordinances require that businesses comply with safety regulations. Sometimes a club may not have the required lighting. Other times a club may exceed the maximum occupancy of a building, which makes things too crowded and dangerous for invitees. An exhaustive investigation should be done after an incident because oftentimes protocol was not properly followed. 

If someone is injured at a nightclub, it is important that he or she seek the medical attention that he or she needs. Proper treatment should be a priority. Then, the injured person should contact an attorney for a consultation. It is possible that medical bills could be recovered, in addition to pain and suffering, lost earnings, and future lost earnings and/or medical treatment.

Given the news, a person should always be careful when going to a nightclub. One should always remain vigilant and aware of his or her surroundings. With that, be safe and thank you for reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Recent Data Shows California's Realignment Doesn't Harm Public Safety

A few years ago, California passed a number of bills related to criminal justice reform. Due to prison overcrowding, and constitutional concerns, Governor Brown led the charge to reduce the bloated prison population. Propositions 36 and 47, which dealt with the punitive three-strikes law and over-sentencing of non-violent theft/drug crimes respectively, were passed with overwhelming majorities.

An older law, passed in 2011, also helped reverse the rapid increase of state inmates. "Realignment" put non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders in county jail rather than state prisons. Instead of being put into the care of parole, these non-violent inmates were placed into the custody of county-based probation programs. This helped the overloaded parole board. Also, violations resulted in county jail terms, rather than prison terms.

The opposition to Realignment had rational arguments, but so far their fears and concerns have been proven wrong. Despite their claims that crime would surge, citizens of California knew that the status quo was hurting their state and took the purported risk. It was worth it.

Now, the San Diego Tribune is reporting that Realignment does not harm safety. Since Realignment, crime has remained relatively low. Both in 2013 and 2014, crime rates dropped. Property and violent crimes are now at historic lows. Some experts believe that it is too early to make judgments, but overall, the data shows a trend downwards in violent crimes.

Reduction in crime rates is not exclusive to Los Angeles or California. Throughout the United States, crime has been down. The FBI data shows crime rates at 1960 levels. All of this is good news for those who advocate for criminal justice reform. Reducing prison populations will save money, combat recidivism, and put convicts in a position where they can re-assimilate.

Communities have been damaged enough from aggressive policies of over-incarceration. Let's hope that the data continues to reflect the benefits of changing how we, as a state, handle crime.