Doug Maner Criminal Law in Brief

news and updates

Breaking News

Starting January 1, 2019, there will be several very important changes in the law that will affect many people and their families who get caught up in the criminal justice system. Click here to read more.


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December, 2017

Doug Maner Honored As One of America's Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys


December, 2017

New California Law: Miranda Rights for Youth


November, 2017

Doug Maner Provides Expert Commentary on A&E Documentary


November, 2016

Judge Says Bail Punishes Poor for Being Poor


September 14, 2016

Bite-Mark Analysis "Junk Science"


July 22, 2016

Gov, Brown signs AB-2655 Protecting Defendants from Unjust Practice of Havi  ng to Post Bail Twice


March 30, 2016

Bail, the Next Frontier of Criminal Justice Reform


February 14, 2016

More People Exonerated in 2015 Than Any Other Year


January 16, 2016

Death Penalty Endgame


December 14, 2015

Stanislaus County Announces Veteran's Court Beginning in 2016






As part of Doug's Continuing Criminal Defense Education, he will be attending the California Public Defenders' Association (CPDA) Seminar in Berkeley, Ca this September. Addressing some very important aspects in the defense of homicide cases, the seminar will focus on Learning about Gang Homicide, Homicide Law, Autopsy Issues, Jury Selection, Life Sentence.

Doug Maner is a Capital Crimes certified Criminal Defense Attorney.


Jerry Brown Signs Bill Eliminating Money Bail in California


Governor Brown just signed into law a statute eliminating cash bail in California, starting in October of next year. California will replace bail with “risk assessments” of individuals and non-monetary conditions of release. Counties will establish local agencies to evaluate any individual arrested on felony charges for their likelihood of returning for court hearings and their chances of rearrest.

As always, you are best served with an experienced advocate who knows the laws and how to use them to your advantage in court. With the elimination of money bail, it is even more important that you be represented by the best possible lawyer, as soon as possible, so that you can stay out of jail while fighting your case.…/capitol-alert/article217461380.html



December 31, 2017 – Announcing the selection of Doug Maner among America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys® for 2018.  Selection to America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional White-Collar and General Criminal Defense Attorneys in throughout the nation.


Candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.


Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys®.  With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.



Each year, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) and the California Public Defenders' Association (CPDA) present this cutting edge Capital Case Defense Seminar, a must-attend event for attorneys involved in capital cases and death penalty defense.

The three-day seminar covers topics that are specific to crafting effective defense, latest information on the newest laws impacting capital cases as well as personal development seminars in both highly relevant as well as some unexpected topics such as mindfulness training.

The CACJ/CPDA Capital Case Defense Seminar is the largest of its kind in the nation. It is unique in that participants not only can attend lectures and seminars in relevant topics, but they have a chance to network and brainstorm with top defense attorneys from all over the country.

This year's keynote address will be presented by Christina Swarns, Litigation Director of the NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, Inc. Ms. Swarns oversees all aspects of the organizations litigation in four key areas: economic justice, education, political anticipation and criminal justice.

Over the course of the three days, participants will be immersed in the very latest topics relevant to capital case defense from DNA to Emerging Issues in Neuropsychology to Challenges in Telling the Client's Story and so much more. They will also have the opportunity for consultation and brainstorming on real world cases and stories.

The Capital Case Defense Seminar takes place in Monterey, CA and is held annually.


December 31, 2017

In National News: Doug Maner comments on Modesto Murder Case to People Magazine. Link to full article:




When facing questioning by the police, youth who are 15 years old and younger now have special protections under California law. A new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018:


Prior to a custodial interrogation, and before the waiver of any Miranda rights, a youth 15 years
of age or younger shall consult with legal counsel in person, by telephone, or by video-conference.
The consultation may not be waived. WIC 625.6(a).



This means that if a young person age 15 or younger is:

→ In police custody,


→ The police want to interrogate them about a crime,


→ The youth must talk with an attorney before giving up his or her rights. “Custody” means a

person is not free to leave if he or she wants to. Custody doesn’t only mean a person is handcuffed

or locked in a room; a person could be standing on a sidewalk talking to the police, and the officer

says they can’t leave.


“Interrogation” means a police officer, through words or actions, intends to get a young person to say things that show he or she committed a crime. Background questions such as “What’s your name?”, “Where do you go to school?” or “Do you live with your parents?” are not necessarily interrogation.


When there is both custody + possible interrogation, the U.S. Constitution requires Miranda warnings be read to the person, and that he or she understands and gives up those rights before questioning about involvement in a crime begins. This new law requires children age 15 and under talk with an attorney to make sure they understand these rights before giving them up.



Research shows that children age 15 and younger do not understand complex legal ideas like the Miranda warnings that police must read to suspects. And, they also do not understand what it means to waive those rights. This new law will make sure young people understand their rights before deciding whether to give them up.


HOW the New Law will Wor

When an officer takes a person who is age 15 or younger into custody and wants to ask questions about involvement in a crime, the officer will have to first make sure that the young person consults with an attorney. That consultation can take place over the phone, via videoconference, or in person.

Police departments will need to work with local public defenders or county authorities to make sure they have a good phone number to call and reach an attorney who can come and talk with the child or consult over the phone. Only after the consultation has taken place can a young person decide whether to give up these rights. If he or she does waive these rights, the police can begin questioning.

WHO the New Law Applies To


The new law applies to police officers investigating a crime.

It does NOT apply to:

▪ School principals

▪ School staff

▪ Caseworkers or therapists in group home settings

▪ Probation officers performing their “normal” duties


WHEN the Law is Not Required


Under some special circumstances, police are allowed to question someone who is in custody, and they don’t need to read Miranda warnings or get a waiver before beginning questioning. This is called the Public Safety Exception: when an officer believes the questioning is necessary to protect life or property from an imminent threat, questioning can begin right away, without having a youth talk with an attorney first.


For MORE INFORMATION, please contact the

Pacific Juvenile Defender Center at


This article is a reprint of PJDC Bulletin

November, 2017

Doug Maner serves as Expert Commentator on A&E Documentary  “The Murder of Laci Peterson.”


Doug Maner was among the legal experts interviewed in A&E TV’s recent documentary series, “The Murder of Laci Peterson. Doug, a highly regarded Death Penalty Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Modesto, was a Stanislaus County Prosecutor at the time of the trial and an expert observer of the trial of Scott Peterson.


Doug commented on many aspects of the case, including the influence of the media frenzy in the case saying, ”The policeman’s dream is to have their suspect confess. The police try to manipulate or use the media.... The plan was to place a lot of pressure on Scott from as many different directions as they could to force him to snap.” And, “I think their hope was that he’d say, ‘Yeah, I killed her, and here’s where the body is, here’s how I did it, but that didn’t happen.”


The Murder of Laci Peterson is available for streaming on A&E TV It is also available online on many other streaming services.


Plea Deal for Defendant in Turlock Sikh Temple Fight

My client and his wife are devoted members  of their temple and leaders of their religious community.  .  Unfortunately, they  were arrested after a rival faction who unsuccessfully tried to take over their temple staged a riot during services. They were charged with several serious felonies and were facing significant jail time and ominous immigration consequences.  The law office of Douglas Maner was able to keep them out of jail while they fought their case, and ultimately got the court to dismiss all of the charges against one spouse, and most of the charges against the other spouse, whose case will ultimately be dismissed as part of a negotiated disposition.

In it's report on the passage of Prop 57, Pacific Juvenile Defense Center noted, "In enacting Proposition 57, the voters clearly expressed a desire for increased rehabilitation of juvenile and adults involved in the criminal justice system.  The transfer provisions assure that any decision to transfer a young person to adult court will be made with a full understanding of the young person’s background and an assessment of his or her capacity for change."

They were also an organization that was actively involved in crafting this proposition, drafting the initial initiative and putting it before the Governor's office and fighting the DA's office when it sued to stop the initiative, and working to get out the vote.

For more information see

DECEMBER 6, 2016

California Lawmakers Want to Reform a Bail System they say 'Punishes the Poor for Being Poor'

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy prepares to unlock a security door to a cell block at L.A. County Men's Central Jail in 2011. Some legal experts say certain municipality policies have turned jails into modern-day debtors prisons. (Los Angeles Times)

The state of California is overdue for a major reform of its bail system, which improperly incarcerated almost half of those accused of a crime.

Until that reform occurs, be sure to work with a lawyer with extensive expertise in navigating the bail system to make sure that you're loved one can fight his or her case from home instead of a jail cell.

The Law office of Douglas Maner has an excellent track record of reducing or eliminating bail for his clients, saving thousands of dollars in bail fees and returning them to their homes and jobs.

Read the full article here:

November 14, 2016



In the November 8 Election, California voters voted nearly 2 to 1 for the passage of Prop 57, The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act.


Because of this Act, Direct Filing by prosecutors of cases involving Juveniles in Adult Court will be eliminated. Only a Judge will be able to decide whether a juvenile will be transfered to adult court . This decision will be based on five criteria and will include consideration of factors such as the youngster‘s maturity, ability to assess risks and consequences, influence of family or peer pressure, the impact of community environment, trauma, and the youth‘s capacity to grow and mature.

Nonviolent Offenders also stand to benefit by Prop 57 which provides for the possibility of earlier parole for those serving sentences for nonviolent crimes, and allows the prison system to offer time credits to those who have improved themselves through education and rehabilitation programs.

In it's report on the passage of Prop 57, Pacific Juvenile Defense Center noted, "In enacting Proposition 57, the voters clearly expressed a desire for increased rehabilitation of juvenile and adults involved in the criminal justice system.  The transfer provisions assure that any decision to transfer a young person to adult court will be made with a full understanding of the young person’s background and an assessment of his or her capacity for change."

They were also an organization that was actively involved in crafting this proposition, drafting the initial initiative and putting it before the Governor's office and fighting the DA's office when it sued to stop the initiative, and working to get out the vote.

For more information see


”Even when the odds are a trillion to one there are still ways to mount an effective defense in a DNA Match Case.“  This was one of Doug Maner’s takeaways from the recent DNA BOOTCAMP 2016 he attended last week.

On Nov 3 and 4, the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Northern District of California, and the Contra Costa County Public Defender sponsored an intensive workshop on DNA Analysis and Interpretation for Defense Attorneys.

The Bootcamp was designed for attorneys who have or will work with DNA cases.

Topics covered over two days were fundamentals of DNA testing (including how to read a case file, laboratory procedures, and discovery) and basic statistics (focusing on the various methods used to estimate the significance of a DNA "match"). The second day focused on current issues in DNA analysis (mixtures, transfer, probabilistic genotyping software) and litigating DNA cases (including admissibility challenges and trial strategies).

At the end of each day, participants were given the opportunity to put their learning into practice by applying what they learned that day to a real-life case.

Over the two days, experts in DNA research presented the following topics:

  • DNA Basics. Presented by Chris McKee
  • Deconstructing a Case File & Looking for Errors. Presented by   Laura Schile
  • DNA Discovery: Simon Ford
  • Statistics: Andrea Roth
  • Probabilistic Genotyping Software: Dan Krane
  • Cognitive Bias: Erin Morris
  • Transfer & Contamination: Simon Ford
  • Serology: Laura Schile
  • Database Cases: Bicka Barlow/Jennifer Friedman
  • Admissibility Challenges: Jennifer Friedman
  • Trial Strategies: Chris McKee



November 7, 2016


September 14, 2016



from The Interecept, Sept 7, 2016

by Jordan Smith

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has concluded that forensic bite-mark evidence is not scientifically valid and is unlikely ever to be validated, according to a draft report obtained by The Intercept. The report, titled “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods,” is marked as a “predecisional” draft created August 26 that is not to be quoted or distributed, though the title page suggests the report will be made public sometime this month.

The report reviews a handful of common forensic practices, so called feature-comparison disciplines, or pattern-matching practices — bite-mark analysis, fingerprint and firearm analysis, shoe tread analysis, and DNA mixture analysis — each of which involves an “expert” looking at a piece of evidence and eyeballing whether it matches a particular image, person, or object. The report discusses whether each practice has been scientifically validated, what it would take to do so, and how each practice should be used in the courtroom — if at all..



July 22, 2016


Back in March, we wrote about the unfair cost of bail to poor defendants accused of crimes in California. Today, Govenor Brown signed AB-2655 protecting defendants from having to post bail twice and giving them the opportunity to extend bail for up to 90 days if the District Attorney's office fails to file charges.

CACJ -July 22, 2016 -  CACJ's sponsored "bail exoneration bill", AB 2655, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), was signed today by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill amends Penal Code 1305 to prevent the unjust practice of alleged defendants having to post bail twice due to no fault of their own, giving them the option of extending their bail for up to 90 days if the DA fails to file charges. Before People v. Lumberman's Insurance, (2010) 190 Cal. App. 4th, 823, the general court practice was to continue an arraignment and allow a court to retain jurisdiction over a defendant's bond. However, following the Lumberman's case, if a prosecutor does not file a criminal complaint within the statutory 15 days, the court loses jurisdiction over the bond. If the DA files charges after the statutory 15-day limit, the defendant, in some counties, have been forced to post a second bond and pay additional premiums.

May 24, 2016



TUES, MAY 24, was a great day for two clients of our law firm. WE were able to obtain dismissals from the District Attys office on behalf of two of our clients.

First client is a travelling nurse who was working temporarily in Modesto and was the victim of identity fraud. Unfortunately, the police saw it differently and arrested her. The DA had charged her with two felonies and viewed her as the perpetrator of the fraud, not the victim.

She retained us the day of a court hearing where the judge had indicated that he would revoke her bail, and put her in jail. We were able to convince the court that it would be improper to put our client in jail and that justice would be served by enabling her to fight her case while free from jail custody.

After extensive preparation and work on this case, we were able to convince the DA that our client was innocent and that this case should be dismissed. The dismissal of charges against our client was doubly important to her as any conviction would have resulted in a loss of her license to practice nursing and ended her career that she had taken decades to perfect.

Our other client that had a tremendous result was a purported marijuana cultivator. He and his co- defendants had an extensive and very sophisticated marijuana grow out in the country on the outskirts of Stanislaus County. The police seized 850 fully mature marijuana plants and 250 pounds of product. Our client and his associates were charged with several felonies relating to allegedly illegal cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.

Initially the DA wanted felony convictions and extensive jail time. This case involved extensive legal motion work and behind the scenes persuasion with the DA office. Ultimately, rather than fight the motions we had pending, the DA decided to dismiss all charges against our client, and several other alleged marijuana growers who were arrested and prosecuted with him.

March 30, 2016

Bail, the next frontier of criminal justice reform

  • New task force looking at alternatives to relying on bail bonds companies
  • Practice often punishes poor defendants, who end up in debt or stuck in jail
  • Many other ways exist to ensure people show up for court appearances


Read more here:



At the law office of Doug Maner, one of our goals is to get our clients out of jail as quickly as possible. One very effective technique is a own recognizance /bail reduction motion. Just recently we were able to secure an OR release for one of our clients accused of two separate first degree burglaries, normally a $100,000 bail, over the district attorney 's heated objections. If you or a loved one are in jail and charged with a crime, come see us before paying thousands of dollars to a Bail bondsman.

FEB 22, 2016



Over 1.8 million Veterans currently reside in California. Of those, 1.5 million live within a county that has diversion procedures in place for current or former members of the military.  California Department of Veterans' Affairs (CalVet) works to provide support to veterans who are justice involved through coordinated efforts with County Veteran Service Offices (CVSO) and California’s criminal justice system.  Much of the growth surrounding veteran specific diversion can be attributed to the various statutes that have been added to the California Penal Code (PC), and the notable efforts of public defenders, prosecutors, and presiding judges that have selflessly devoted themselves to serving those who served.


Veterans' Treatment Courts have been designed as a response to the growing trend of veterans appearing before the courts to face charges stemming from substance abuse or mental illness. Veteran populations are frequently served by drug and mental health courts. Research has shown that traditional services do not always adequately meet the needs of veterans. Veterans treatment courts helpt present and former members of the military connect with treatment programs and benefits through the Veteran's Administration to which they are entitled.


“According to government reports, there are 23,440,000 veterans in the United States and approximately 1.7 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as one third of the adult homeless population has served in the military and that at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans. This population mirrors the general homeless population in that 45% suffer mental illness and 75% suffer from substance abuse problems. Veterans are not more likely to be arrested than the general population. But there are significant numbers of veterans involved with the criminal justice system, many of whom struggle with mental health and/or substance abuse illnesses. A 2000 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report found that 81% of all justice involved veterans had a substance abuse problem prior to incarceration, 35% were identified as suffering from alcohol dependency, 23% were homeless at some point in the prior year, and 25% were identified as mentally ill.”*


* Source:

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