Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brag Board: 12/1/15

I know, my blog can be a downer.  Most days, this is a place for sad stories about people who have made big mistakes. Sometimes, I like to sprinkle in a few helpful tips about appearing in court, or maybe some sage advice about medical marijuana or something.

Periodically, though, I like to update this blog with some good news.  These are the success stories, and they're the reason that I love my job.

I'll be honest -- criminal defense practice can be soul-crushing sometimes.  Nobody comes into my office because they're having a great day.  Clients always tell me, "It's nice to meet you", and I respond, "No, it's not".  It's these success stories, though, that remind me of why I do what I do. A little fulfillment at the end of the day makes all the hard work worth it.

-People v. R.A. (San Bernardino):  My client's parents called the police because he was acting erratically.  Police determined that he was under the influence of drugs and arrested him.  No blood sample was taken and the police reports were completely deficient.  There wasn't much hard evidence, just vague descriptions of some bizarre behavior.  Case dismissed.

-People v. D.R. (Riverside):  My client was accused of contempt because he had allegedly tried to call an ex-girlfriend in violation of a restraining order.  We were able to show that the accuser had a rich history of making false accusations against my client.  She had lied to obtain the restraining order in the first place, and  she had sent nude photos of herself to my client after she got a restraining order against him.  Case dismissed.

-People v. C.Y. (Newport Beach - Orange County):  My client learned that he had an outstanding warrant for driving on a suspended license.  He was surprised at this news because he had never been cited or arrested.  We were able to prove that my client had been the victim of identity theft. Someone else (a family member) had falsely identified himself to police using my client's name and birthday.  Case dismissed.

In each of these cases, prosecutors chose to file criminal charges without thoroughly reviewing the evidence or taking the time to fully understand the context of each situation.  People were arrested, spent time in jail, missed work, and forked out serious money to defend themselves against charges that never should have been filed.  Luckily, my clients had the resources to take a stand, defend their rights, and protect their reputations.

Many people who appear in court every day aren't so lucky.  Maybe they're intimidated by the justice system, so they accept bad deals.  Maybe they don't understand their options, or maybe their attorneys aren't willing to invest the time and effort that it takes to achieve a fair result.

I like to take credit for each of the dismissals described above.  I wish I could claim that I brilliantly outmaneuvered the DA or that I tricked their star witness into a dramatic courtroom confession, a la Perry Mason.  The truth is that I simply did what I always do -- I devoted the appropriate attention to each of my clients.  I took the time to understand the facts, and I communicated those facts to the DA.  Once prosecutors understood the cases like I understood them, they ethically and professionally dismissed the matters.

Here's the disclaimer: do not attempt this at home.  If you've been arrested or if you're under investigation for a crime, you should NEVER speak to police or the District Attorney on your own. They understand the law and the rules of evidence.  They are not your friends.  Their job is to put you in jail.  Anything you say will be twisted, misquoted and used against you.  They are highly-paid professionals.  You need a professional on your side.

If you or a loved one is accused of a crime in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles or San Bernardino, call our office for a free consultation.  (714) 505-2468.  Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.