Successful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case from Nordstrom at LAX Courthouse

A South Asian woman in a store looking suspicious, holding sunglasses.

Case Overview

We recently represented a female client and got her a Successful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case involved in a Penal Code 484 shoplifting incident at Nordstrom on Santa Monica Blvd. This ultimately ended up at the LAX Courthouse. In February 2023, she was caught with a pair of sunglasses and several clothing items. The legal question centered on whether her actions aligned with Penal Code 484, the standard code for shoplifting.

Client Background

Our client, a South Asian woman in her mid-20s, is a college student battling anxiety and depression. These mental health issues contributed to her shoplifting. Despite having the means to purchase the items, she acted on an irresistible impulse, unable to explain her actions. Understanding her psychological state was pivotal in this unique shoplifting case to get a a Successful Diversion Motion.

Defense Strategy for a Successful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case

We leveraged our client’s clean criminal record and ongoing therapy as central elements of our defense to get a Successful Diversion Motion. Rejecting the District Attorney’s offer of conviction and probation, we argued that such a record would unfairly tarnish her reputation and future job prospects. Instead, we pursued a diversion strategy, emphasizing her commitment to rehabilitation, including community service, and aiming for a case dismissal.

Negotiation and Diversion Process for a Successful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case

This approach involved negotiating a judicial diversion during the pretrial stages. We prepared a memo detailing the case facts and our client’s clean criminal background. Despite initial resistance from the prosecutor, we successfully convinced the judge to consider a diversion, allowing our client a chance for rehabilitation without a conviction.

Current Status and Future Implications of a Successful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case

Our client continues to receive necessary therapy. If she fulfills her end of the agreement, her case at the LAX Courthouse will be dismissed. This outcome ensures that she won’t have a criminal conviction on her record, preserving her clean slate and future opportunities.

Lessons Learned

This case illustrates the importance of exploring alternatives to prosecution’s initial offers, especially for clients with clean records and potential for rehabilitation. Our firm’s intervention was crucial in steering the case towards a diversion, focusing not only on legal aspects but also on the client’s mental health and long-term wellbeing. This holistic approach aims to prevent future offenses and secure a positive outcome for our clients.

What specific items did the client shoplift from Nordstrom, and what was their total value?

The specific items that this person stole from the Nordstrom on Santa Monica Blvd. are several pieces of clothing and Chanel sunglasses. The total value of everything came out to about $450. To understand the severity of this, most items taken in shoplifting cases are usually valued between $80 to $190. The items that were taken here were a bit more expensive, likely due to being incredibly marked up.

How did the client’s mental health issues specifically contribute to her shoplifting behavior?

The client’s mental health issues specifically contributed to her shoplifting behavior because they led her to steal. On the surface, she had every means to buy the items she stole. She did not lack the money; in fact, she came from a well-off background. She stole due to an irresistible impulse, which her therapist later revealed to be related to anxiety and depression. This is common among my female clients; many of my shoplifting and California Penal Code 484 clients tend to shoplift at expensive department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora, seeking what they perceive as ‘black market therapy.

What were the key arguments used to demonstrate that the client’s actions were a result of an irresistible impulse?

During the pretrial process, we emphasized the areas troubling her life, such as anxiety and depression. We obtained a letter from her therapist for the court. Coupled with a written motion for diversion, we initially faced the prosecutor’s reluctance to waive notice, which delayed the process by 30 days. However, this did not hinder our progress, as we eventually got the motion on the calendar. Despite the prosecutor’s opposition, the judge agreed to the diversion, on the condition that she continued seeing her therapist for her troubles.

What were the alternative offers from the District Attorney, and why were they rejected?

The alternative offers from the District Attorney were a conviction, one-year probation, a stay-away order from the Nordstrom at Santa Monica, and additional fines and restitution. We rejected this offer because accepting it would have resulted in a criminal record for our client, who had a clean record prior. By opting for the diversion motion, we aimed to keep her record clean and avoid any type of conviction.

How did the defense successfully persuade the judge to consider a asuccessful Diversion Motion in a Shoplifting Case, despite the prosecutor’s resistance?

We had our client start therapy before running the diversion motion. Presenting this to the judge made it more appealing and easier for them to approve the diversion. The judge found it simpler to continue what was already in progress rather than reject it. Additionally, we highlighted the rehabilitative aspects of the criminal justice system, strengthening our position and securing the judge’s approval for giving our client a second chance.

What are the specific terms of the agreement, and what does the client need to do to ensure her case is dismissed?

Under the terms of the diversion, our client had to stay away from the Nordstrom on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles and continue her therapy sessions. She is required to provide proof of therapy at the next hearing and stay out of trouble for the next year. Upon completing these terms, she will send us proof of her therapy sessions, leading to case dismissal.

What are the long-term implications for the client if she completes her end of the diversion agreement successfully?

If the client successfully completes the diversion agreement, her case will be dismissed. This means there will be no conviction on her criminal record. In fact, with diversion, there may not even be an arrest record. She can continue her life and career without the charge affecting her job applications.

How does the firm plan to monitor or assist the client in her ongoing therapy and rehabilitation process?

Our firm will utilize Penal Code 977A to monitor her progress. We will attend court on her behalf for progress reviews, informing the court of her ongoing therapy and that she is staying out of trouble. After a few progress reviews and a year’s time, we will make a motion to dismiss pursuant to the agreement.

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