Recent Cases

Criminal Jury Trials
Name of CaseCourtDescriptionDates
People v. DiazSanta Clara Superior CourtMr. Diaz was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .20%. The prosecution Court alleged that Mr. Diaz collided into a light’s electrical control box from the parking lot. Mr. Diaz’s defense was called the No Driving Defense. He was not actually driving, but rather attempting to back out from the collision, which was caused by his girlfriend.11/10/11
People v. CamachovargasSanta Clara Superior CourtMs. Camachovargas was charged with auto-theft. The prosecutor alleged that she stole her ex-boyfriend’s car by forcefully driving it away from his house and forging the title documents. Ms. Camachovargas succeeded in her defense called Claim of Right, which means the jury found she had a right to the property, even if that belief was mistaken or unreasonable.10/10/11
People v. XieSanta Clara Superior CourtMrs. Xie was charged with child endangerment. The prosecutor alleged that she hit her daughter on the arm as punishment for not playing the piano well. Mrs. Xie testified in her own defense that she was merely play biting, challenging one of the elements of the offense by showing that she did not have the intent to inflict unjustifiable physical pain on her daughter.9/22/11
People v. VelazquezMarin County Superior CourtMr. Velazquez was charged with two different counts domestic against his spouse. On the day of trial, Mr. Velazquez won a plea agreement in his favor that reduced the charges to battery and prevented Immigration and Customs Enforcement from removing him from the United States to Mexico. This plea agreement allowed Mr. Velazquez to remain with his family and seek treatment.8/08/11
People v. UtterbackStanislaus County Superior CourtMr. Utterback was charged with driving under the influence of drugs. The toxicologist report showed that there was the presence of Carisprodol (Soma), Mebrobamate, and Court, Phenobarbital. Defense counsel succeeded in challenging the officer’s competence to conduct the investigation as he was not a drug recognition expert, which is the standard practice for a drug DUI. Also, there was no quantitative analysis done by the Department of Justice to show the exact amount of drugs in Mr. Utterback’s blood.3/07/11 - 3/11/11
People v. OrtizStanislaus County Superior CourtMs. Ortiz was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Her blood alcohol level was .12/ .11%. Defense counsel succeeded in showing that Ms. Ortiz was not under the influence as she was stopped for faulty brake light, showed no objective signs of intoxication, and performed well on the field sobriety tests. In addition, the jury was instructed that the investigating officer did not follow Title 17 and wait the requisite 15 minutes in between breath samples for the chemical test. This case almost resulted in a mistrial as there was a disruptive juror and the court had to conduct an extensive inquiry into the juror’s alleged misconduct.2/15/11 - 2/18/11
People v. BarreraStanislaus County Superior CourtBarrera was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .12%. Although Mr. Barrera did not have a strong defense in this case, he succeeded in getting his day in court.2/08/11 -2/11/11
People v. KoeutStanislaus County Superior CourtMr. Koeut was charged for driving under influence of alcohol. He had a blood alcohol level of .17 %. Mr. Koeut’s defense in this case was called Necessity, which means that he acted in an emergency to prevent a significant bodily harm or evil to himself. In other words, he had no choice but to drive under the influence because he was at a party where there was a shooting. Defense counsel succeeded in admitting evidence of this defense before the jury over the prosecution’s objection.1/18/11 - 1/21/11
People v. CapassoSan Francisco Superior CourtMr. Capasso was charged with grand theft and giving false information to a peace officer. He was alleged to have stolen $35 in marked city funds from a decoy officer. Mr. Capasso succeeded with his two defenses in this case: (1) Entrapment, which means that the police officer’s actions caused Mr. Capasso to commit the crime; and (2) Voluntary Intoxication, which means that Mr. Capasso was so drunk that he did not specifically intend to steal the money.10/15/10
People v. CyprienSan Francisco Superior CourtMr. Cyprien was charged for grand theft. He was alleged to have stolen $35 in marked city funds from a decoy officer. The defense in this case appealed to the jury’s emotion by depicting a homeless man, as a helpless victim of SFPD’s undercover robbery abatement operation.10/11/10 - 10/15/10
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