Los Angeles, CA — In most cases, a defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, but there are other options. The one most familiar to the general public is no contest or nolo contendere which means that although the defendant will not fight the charges against them, they do not make any admission of guilt. Although this often results in the same punishment that would be handed down for a guilty plea, it can be advantageous if civil litigation is also pending.
Dustin James Kinnear, 27, the man accused of stabbing a woman in an altercation in Hollywood in 2013 pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday, according to a statement by prosecutors. The victim, Christine Calderon, 23, died in the hospital after she and her friend, Robert Harden, were involved in fight with Kinnear, Brian Joseph Widdows, 35, and Jason Joel Winstone, 34.
The fight began when Widdows allegedly demanded cash from Calderon and Harden after they took a picture of a sign that he was holding. Kinnear, who is mentally ill, and Winstone became involved and Winstone reportedly held Calderon in a headlock. Prosecutors say that this is when Kinnear stabbed Calderon. After the fight ended, Calderon discovered the wound and was taken to a hospital where she died.
Both Widdows and Winstone pleaded no contest to separate charges and each was sentenced to two years in prison. Kinnear is due to be sentenced on Oct 10 and is likely to receive a sentence of 12 years in prison.
There are a number of different charges that can be filed in a homicide case. This allows a skilled criminal defense attorney to negotiate a plea deal if that’s what their client wants. While a murder conviction means that the defendant acted with intent to kill, manslaughter generally involves cases in which the defendant may have intended to harm another person, but did not mean to kill them and usually carry lighter sentences than murder charges.
When you’ve been charged with a serious violent crime, you need a criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and experience to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our team of award-winning legal professionals have been winning cases for clients across Southern California for over 16 years. We’ve built up strong working relationships with local judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies that allow us to better defend our clients against felony and misdemeanor charges in state and federal court. Our dedicated legal professionals can advise you on every step of the process when you’re on trial or under investigation.
It’s scary to face criminal charges. A conviction doesn’t just mean jail time or fines, it can put a permanent stain on your reputation and make you a less attractive prospect to employers and lenders. That’s why we make it a priority to help our clients maintain their peace of mind during a difficult time. Our staff is available to answer your questions 24/7 at our offices in Garden Grove and Irvine. We’re dedicated to serving the diverse communities of Los Angeles and Orange County by offering foreign language service to our clients who need it. Nobody wants to need an attorney, but we’ll do our best to defend your interests and make the process of fighting criminal charges as easy possible.
So if your or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Southern California, call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 707-2797 for a free consultation with one of our highly qualified criminal defense attorneys.