December 4, 2009 By Stephen Klarich

A recent California Appeals Court decision in People v. Peyton held that a charge of child molestation that was not in the previous amended complaint had to be overturned when there is no preliminary hearing.

The defendant (Peyton) argued that he had ineffective assistance of counsel after his attorney failed to object to the additional charge. The Appeals Court agreed and overturned the additional conviction.

Penal Code Section 1009 states that an information (the document that the county or city lays out the charges against you) cannot be amended “so as to charge an offense not shown by evidence established during the preliminary hearing. Accordingly, the court found that when there is no preliminary hearing, “the pleading cannot be amended to add additional charges.” Here, after Peyton waived his right to a preliminary hearing, the information was amended to include a Section 288(b)(1) offense (child molestation). This was not previously alleged in the initial information. Thus, defense counsel should have objected and no “satisfactory explanation” existed to explain why this was not done. This error prejudiced Peyton as he was ultimately convicted of this crime. As Peyton’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim was valid, his Section 288(b)(1) conviction was reversed.

In cases like these, it is important to have an experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney to represent you. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling criminal cases. Our attorneys are well aware of the procedural safeguards that are in place to protect our clients from harmful government allegations. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, contact the experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (877) 466-5245 for more information.

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