Defense Request for Leniency with Probation in Sherman Oaks Gun Case Rejected

By Ava Schwartzapfel

VENTURA, CA— A defense proposal for adjustments to Joshua Joffred’s probation terms was rejected in Ventura County Superior Court Tuesday—Joffred was originally arrested on suspicion of various firearm violations, but now has asked for a concealed gun permit.

Private Defense Attorney Andrea Keith provided the court with additional history, explaining how the situation was prompted by Joffred applying to the sheriff’s office for a CCW carry permit.

A concealed weapon permit, or CCW, allows citizens to legally carry firearms in public throughout the state of California. Joffred intended to acquire this permit legally to carry his registered, legal rifles.

At the time that this investigation was announced, Joffred’s only prior record was a minor charge relating to a hit and run in 2004, and all 30 firearms in his home were registered.

Keith tells Judge Patricia Murphy how the defendant runs a business from his garage, where he often hosts business meetings with “multimillion dollar” clients. One of the conditions of Joffred’s probation includes that he would need to “report to probation as needed,” giving no specification of the frequency of when these house checks would occur.

Joffred has no opposition to reporting to probation in general, but he feels that the house checks pose a huge risk to his business and prefers that these reports occur about once a month.

Furthermore, the defense shares, a 977 (PC § 997) has previously been rejected for Joffred—which would allow Joffred to not attend all of their court sessions, as each time the defendant has to appear in court he is missing out on further business opportunities.

A second aspect of Joffred’s concern with this condition of probation is the manner in which the police executed their original warrant.

The defense explained that the police burst into the defendant’s house while his girlfriend was still in her underwear. She was specifically told by the police that she could not put on clothes for the time being, as they were afraid that she would obtain or hide a weapon.

Following this incident, Joffred’s girlfriend now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to these reasons, the defense says, it is reasonable for her client to have some hesitation about these terms.

“Although he understands that he has to come into court for every appearance and understands that he would have to report to probation,” Keith shares, “he is asking me to ask this court for a little bit of leeway with probation—so they cannot just search his residence whenever they want since he operated a business.”

The second major concern that Joffred has with his probation conditions is the random drug tests required because Sevoxin was found during the search of Joffred’s house. This narcotic was prescribed to the defendant as “he was coming off of hydrocodone as a result of a back injury,” Keith explained.

This information seems to have been misconstrued to infer that Joffred is an addict, to which the defense confirms that he is not, and never has been. The defense then reminded the court Joffred was a lawful citizen, had little to no prior record, and technically initiated this entire investigation himself.

Before completing her proposal before Judge Murphy, Keith reminded the court that all of Joffred’s firearms and ammunition were removed during the warranted search, and he has not possessed anything since then.

In response to the defense’s proposition, Judge Murphy cited that probation has, on three occasions now, recommended a bail that is not appropriate for any release from custody—therefore, there is no room for negotiation of the terms.

“He is either in custody or posts bail, or out of custody on terms of supervision,” Murphy says, and “he cannot pick and choose. It’s really what it comes down to.”

She continued explaining that she believes that these terms are appropriate; if Joffred does not agree to them, she will set a bail that he can then deal with.

After hearing the judge’s response, Keith said the defense will accept these terms, yet continued to ask for a 977 for Joffred. Previously, another judge had rejected this proposal.

“Is the court willing to allow this?” Keith then queried the current judge, Murphy, who responded, “As you can imagine, when Judge Hirsch made that decision back in September, he had the same concerns that probation has about him being out of custody with these types of changes, so I think it’s a fair resolution to have a period of compliance before the decision is evaluated again.”

Keith accepted these terms.

Following this conversation, the prosecution made a statement for the record explaining their opposition to probation, with or without especially suffocating terms, noting “this position has also been maintained by probation throughout the pretrial risk assessments as late as the motion for today.”

The judge continued to enforce the probation on Joffred, and proceeded to read him the terms. The conditions of Joffred’s probation prohibit him from possessing firearms or ammunition, as well as narcotics or controlled substances.

Joffred then agreed to searches of his property with or without a warrant for that specific circumstance, as well as samples of his bodily fluid for drug testing with or without warrants as well.

Having accepted this offer, Joffred was directed to report to probation this week. The next court date is Dec. 9.

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