Thursday, July 19, 2007

People v. Muhammad (Cal. Ct. App. - July 16, 2007)

This appears to be your run-of-the-mill criminal stalking case. And it is. Malik Muhammad dates Ivory Hart for six or seven months, the relationship terminates, Muhammad starts leaving hart threatening telephone messages, and Muhammad is convicted of stalking (and making terrorist threats) and sentenced to San Quentin.

When he's paroled, as a condition, Muhammad is ordered (over his objection) not to contact Hart or her employer (Citibank), but he apparently places massive numbers of hang-up calls to her and initiates a campaign of harassment against Hart by contacting her employer. Which, among other things, constitutes stalking (again), and he's convicted (again) and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He appeals, and gets a limited remand under Cunningham, but -- notwithstanding some pretty aggressive pro-prosecution comments by the trial court (Judge John S. Graham up in Marin County) -- ultimately he'll still have to spend the better part of a decade in prison.

All of which describes your typical stalker. The only things worth additional, tangential, mention are these: (1) Muhammad is a former Oakland police officer, (2) Muhammad is a graduate of the U.C. Hastings College of Law, (3) Muhammad is a former deputy district attorney, and -- thankfully -- (4) after a history of discipline, in 2001, Muhammad was disbarred.

Proving that attorneys, police officers, and deputy district attorneys -- and sometimes all three in one -- can sometimes go very much off the deep end.