LaVar Ball has never been shy when it comes to bragging about his talented sons. Ball has parlayed his outspoken behavior and the basketball skills of his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo into a huge business empire that includes his own brand of basketball shoes and a reality TV show. But lately, Ball has been unusually quiet. His middle son LiAngelo along with UCLA basketball teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on shoplifting charges at a Louis Vuitton store in China during the team’s stay in the country. UCLA is scheduled to open its season in Shanghai against Georgia Tech. Due to the unusual justice system in China, they could face severe penalties and may need the assistance of an international criminal defense attorney.
Depending on the value of stolen merchandise, shoplifting can be either a misdemeanor or a felony in the United States. Those accused of a theft crime are entitled to challenge those charges in a court of law, where defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the justice system in China is far different. The conviction rate for those accused of crimes in the world’s most populous country is nearly 90 percent. The level of punishment is also much more severe. For now, all three players are required to remain in the country until a decision is made by Chinese authorities on how to proceed. Word of the arrests quickly traveled to the U.S. consul general in Shanghai.
The basketball players could all face severe punishment. According to an employee at the Louis Vuitton store, sunglasses can be priced as high as $740. The penalty for theft crimes in China can range from probation to several years in prison. The country’s criminal court system is considered dramatically different from the United States. Because China is a communist country, the justice system is highly politicized and lacks judicial independence found in the American court system. All three players are now under house arrest at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the tourist town of Hangzhou, located in the southeastern section of the country. Coincidently, the arrests occurred just prior to President Trump’s visit to China.
The American legal system is already complicated. But what happens when you are arrested in a foreign country? Most Americans often take for granted the justice system in our nation. It is important to have a team of experienced and knowledgeable international criminal defense attorneys that understand international law and have an extensive track record of protecting the rights of each client. Although most American attorneys are unable to practice law in China, an experienced international attorney can properly advise clients and help provide effective legal representation options in those countries.
When a person is arrested in a foreign country, they have plenty to lose. The international criminal defense attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter understand the seriousness of those who face criminal charges overseas. Their legal team utilizes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to protect the rights of each client and to ensure they are placed in the best position to succeed. To learn more, contact their Los Angeles law office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.