Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Victim Advocate Alma Arenas honored by the International Footprint Association for her commitment to victims of crime ‬

Alma Arenas is a Victim Advocate at the Victorville District Attorney’s Office. She is mainly assigned to assist the victims and families of Homicides, Gang cases, High Profile cases, and Cold Cases. In assisting these victims and families, Alma keeps them updated after each court date and patiently explains the criminal prosecution process. She also provides support to these victims and families when they attend the proceedings.

Recently, Alma assisted on a particularly challenging High-Profile Homicide case, the People vs. Christopher Lee. During the course of the of the case, Alma kept the family of the victim, Erin Corwin, updated after each court date and explained the process. And when time came for the trial, Alma traveled daily to San Bernardino, where the trial was held. Not only did she provide support to the family on an incredibly emotional case, but she also skillfully helped the grieving family avoid the probing questions of the media that consistently flooded the courtroom & court hallways. This was also a particularly lengthy trial; testimony lasted for about a month.

During that month, Alma also managed to continue to keep the families on her other cases updated as well. This meant daily running back to the Central DA’s Office during the lunch recess’ to make as many quick phone calls as possible. Her dedication was admirable.

Not only does Alma serve the victims and families she works with well, she is also a major asset to her fellow Advocates in the Victorville Victim Services Unit. It doesn’t matter if they need her to cover one of their cases, help brainstorm ideas on solving challenging situations, or cover the Victim Services reception desk. Alma is always there with a good attitude and willingness to help.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Charges filed against Ontario egg ranch

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office charged Hohberg's Poultry Ranches in Ontario today with 39 counts of violating the state’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.

In 2008, California voters passed the act, also known as Proposition 2, with 63.5 percent support which requires that an egg-laying hen must be able to fully spread her wings without touching another animal or side of the enclosure.

In addition to the Proposition 2 violations, Hohberg's Poultry Ranches was charged with 16 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty under Penal Code 597(b).

According to Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus, who oversees the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, the animal cruelty charges stem from a Jan. 2016 report to Inland Valley Humane Society that chickens at the location were being kept in “inhumane” and “deplorable” conditions.

As a result of an investigation conducted by Inland Valley Humane Society and Ontario Police Department a warrant was served and executed at Hohberg's Poultry Ranches on Feb. 20, 2016.

During the execution of the search warrant, investigators from the District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, Ontario Police Department, The Humane Society of the United States, and Inland Valley Humane Society found birds in overcrowded cages in which the birds were not able to fully spread their wings.

“Upon serving the search warrant, we found approximately 28,800 hens in unsanitary conditions that clearly violated the Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” said Ploghaus. “In some instances, we found dead hens decaying in the same cages beside living hens laying eggs for human consumption.”

Robert Hohberg, the 70-year-old owner of Hohberg's Poultry Ranches, is scheduled to appear in court March 7, 2017. If convicted as charged, he faces up to a maximum of 180 days in County Jail for each cage size violation and a year for each animal cruelty count.

“While we are obviously concerned about the health of our citizens, at the end of the day, we also have a lawful obligation to ensure that animals in our county are being treated humanely,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “The overcrowded conditions these animals were forced to live in were cruel. It was a horrible existence.”