Chibi Cheesecake (amanechan) wrote in little_details,
Chibi Cheesecake

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accessory to murder and tampering with evidence - sentencing

Setting: California, seven years from now
Terms searched: things like "accessory", "obstruction of justice", "perverting the court of justice" on Wikipedia; terms like "tampering with evidence california", "tampering with evidence sentencing", "accessory to murder california", "accessory to murder sentencing" etc on Google, and I've searched the usa: california, usa: law, law (misc) tags here at Little Details.

This question is for a Phoenix Wright fanfic, if you're familiar with the series. I'd just like to figure out how this situation would play out in "real life", and maybe tweak it from there.

Okay, here is the canon situation - Lana believes her sister has just accidentally killed someone. What she doesn't realize is that Corrupt Police Chief is the actual killer. Lana panics and, trying to cover up her sister's "crime", rearranges the crime scene and plants false evidence. CPC uses this as blackmail to make Lana do some of his dirty work. Lana is also the Chief Prosecutor at this point. Canon doesn't tell us exactly how many times she does something illegal or what exactly she does, but it seems to mostly be falsifying evidence in various cases. Two years later, CPC murders someone else, and has Lana remove the knife from the victim's chest (since that knife would lead the police back to CPC) and stab the already-dead man with a different knife.

So. CPC's misdeeds are eventually uncovered and everyone goes home happy. But what happens to Lana afterwards? What's the sentence for the crimes she's committed?

I'm guessing that she'd be found guilty of being an accessory to the second murder (replacing the murder weapon to avoid suspicion of the real killer), and that she'd also be found guilty of multiple counts of tampering with evidence. One source I found said that accessory to murder is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California, but I'm unclear on what would make it one or the other.

As for tampering with evidence, I couldn't find much specifically about California, but I at least gathered that the maximum sentence for tampering with evidence is ten years in prison, and I was getting lots of news articles that seemed to suggest to me that the average sentence is something like 2-5 years in prison...But I could be way off on that.

Also, Lana did all this while acting as Chief Prosecutor - so that would make her tampering with evidence an obstruction of justice, right? (From the knowledge I gleaned from Wiki...) Would that lengthen her sentence? On the other hand, she was being blackmailed into doing all this - would a judge take that into account when deciding on a punishment?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Tags: usa: california, usa: government: law enforcement (misc)

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