Houman Fakhimi

L.L. Cool J. Burglary Suspect Faces Decades Behind Bars

The man accused of breaking into rapper/actor L.L. Cool J.'s Los Angeles home - and subsequently suffering a beating from the star - potentially faces nearly 40 years in prison, due to the felonies he has been charged with combined with his prior criminal record.

Orange County Trial Attorney Houman Fakhimi knows that it's especially important for those with a criminal history to seek skilled legal counsel, as there is often much at stake.

In this case, the 56-year-old suspect has a history in both Orange County and Los Angeles for a range of crimes, including: theft, disorderly conduct, and burglary. In the 1990s, he served a five-year stint for another burglary, and then served another three years for petty theft back in 2005. He was just released from prison in February after another short stay for theft.

Also, back in 1988, he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Texas.

In this case, police reported that the rapper was sleeping when he heard a noise from downstairs. He went to see what or who it was, and encountered the suspect. The ensuing confrontation resulted in the suspect receiving a broken nose, jaw and ribs. L.L. Cool J. was not injured, but the suspect was hospitalized.

Now generally, burglary, as defined in California Penal Code 459 PC, would in and of itself result in a maximum sentence of six years, even if charged as a felony. In this case, the defendant is being charged with first-degree burglary, which is always a felony, as opposed to second-degree burglary, which could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. The main difference between the two is the type of structure and whether anyone was inhabiting the structure at the time.

Residential burglaries that occur to places where someone lives are prosecuted more harshly than a burglary to a vehicle or commercial property.

Criminal history is factored into a sentence for a newer crime by using a point system. Different types of crimes all have varying points. For example, a prior sexual assault will result in a greater number of points than a theft conviction.

California has one of the strictest penalties for prior convictions in the country with its Three Strikes law. This law says that anyone convicted of three felony offenses should be sentenced to anywhere from 25 years in life in prison. If a person is convicted of two felonies, he or she may be sentenced to double what the penalty would be on the charges they are facing.

A person who has two strikes can potentially earn credit for good behavior while in custody, but he or she will still have to serve at least 80 percent of his or her sentence. Someone with three strikes, however, will not have this option and must serve 100 percent of his or her sentence.

Out-of-state convictions, such as the one this suspect has, can also be counted in determining the number of points accrued as well as whether he will face prosecution under the Three Strikes law.

Other factors that a judge may consider when imposing a sentence are:

  • Whether the person involved was the principal actor in the crime, or whether he or she was simply an accessory;
  • The mental state of the defendant;
  • Whether anyone was hurt in the commission of the crime.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime in Orange County.