People v. Johnson (San Mateo County)
The defendant was charged with 12 counts of residential home invasion robbery in a Three Strikes case. If convicted, he faced 120 years to life in prison. The defendant’s girlfriend rented the U-haul used in the robbery. A high speed chase between the police and the U-haul lasted from San Mateo to the Oakland border where the two robbers ran from the U-haul. The U-haul key was still in the ignition with the defendant’s car key attached to the U-haul key ring. The defendant’s cell phone was left inside the U-haul and the last call made from the phone was to the robbery victim’s house. The defendant’s fingerprint was recovered from inside the U-haul. The defendant was also on parole at the time of the offense. There were two jury trials. The first trial resulted in a hung jury with jurors voting 9 to 3 for guilt. In the second trial, the defendant was acquitted of all charges. The victims were not sure – despite all the evidence – if the defendant participated in the robbery. Since the robbery victims had a doubt, the jurors had a reasonable doubt.
People v. Owens (Alameda County)
This defendant was originally represented by a court appointed attorney and was convicted of murder and sentenced to 32 years to life. The conviction was successfully reversed on appeal on the grounds that his trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, and he was granted a new trial. Mr. Fletcher represented the defendant in the new trial and the defendant was acquitted of all charges after serving 6 years in prison.
People v. Wright (Sacramento County)
The defendant was charged with armed robbery and was positively identified by the victim of the robbery at the preliminary hearing and at trial. Although the defendant possessed property similar to what was stolen from the victim, the prosecution made the strategic (fraudulent) mistake of arguing that the defendant’s similar property actually belonged to the victim. The jury acquitted the defendant within 1 hour of deliberations.
People v. Taylor (Alameda County)
The defendant was charged with armed bank robbery of Bank of America. The prosecution claimed that the robber wore a disguise and left a fingerprint at the window of the teller’s who was robbed. The police recovered a toy pistol and a wig from the defendant’s house, who lived with his mother. The prosecution presented an eyewitness who was shown in a photograph pointing to the fingerprint where he saw the robber touch the glass. The fingerprint matched the defendant’s fingerprint, but the defendant testified that it must have been placed there when he made a bank deposit at that teller’s window for his job. A janitor for the bank testified that the glass had been cleaned several times after the date of the defendant’s deposit. The defendant was acquitted.
People v. Reems (Madera County)
The defendant was charged in two separate cases. One case was a felony assault on an inmate that was prosecuted as a Three Strikes case. The second case was simultaneously prosecuted as a Violent Sexual Predator, which allows for the defendant to be charged with being too dangerous to be released from prison every two years for the rest of his life. While only being retained on the Three Strikes case, both cases were negotiated together, causing the Violent Sexual Predator case to be dismissed and the Three Strikes case being reduced to a misdemeanor. The defendant was set free with credit for time served.
People v. Williams (Sacramento County)
The defendant was charged and convicted of murder. At trial, the defense objected to the systematic discriminatory removal of African American jurors, but the trial court overruled the objection. The defendant’s appellate attorneys continued to appeal the issue to the California Supreme Court, which refused to rule for the defendant. The defendant continued to appeal to the Federal Courts and obtained victory in the Federal Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit, where the court found error by the Sacramento trial court, the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court and the Federal District Court. If there was no fight made at trial, there would be no basis to appeal to a higher court.
United States v. McDaniel (Federal Eastern District)
The defendant was charged with fraudulently obtaining FEMA disaster relief related to the Katrina Hurricane disaster in Louisiana. After pleading guilty, this defendant was the only defendant charged in the Sacramento region with fraudulently obtaining FEMA disaster relief money relating to the Katrina hurricane who was not sentenced to prison.
People v. Moody (Alameda County)
The defendant charged with domestic violence after admitting that he destroyed the furniture in the house, including a glass coffee table and a china closet. The prosecution presented as evidence photographs showing the destroyed furniture and a photograph showing a bloody lip of the victim, who was the defendant’s live in girlfriend of 15 years. The defendant testified that he did not cause the fight to occur, he never hit her, and he directed his anger to the furniture by destroying it since he knew that the relationship was over. The jury of 11 women and 1 man acquitted the defendant.
People v. Muhammad (Alameda County)
The defendant was charged with attempted murder by shooting a neighbor while driving in traffic. The victim did not appear in court and his statement identifying the defendant as the shooter was improperly mentioned during trial. Also, an eyewitness to the shooting identified the defendant in court as the shooter, and many of the victim’s associates testified about an ongoing dispute between the defendant and the victim. The defendant was acquitted of all charges. The jury was not allowed to use the improperly referred to statement of the victim identifying the defendant as the shooter, and the jury did not believe the eyewitness’ in court identification.
People v. Wythe (Alameda County)
The defendant was charged with possession of a loaded firearm in a public place. A police officer testified that during a traffic stop, the defendant attempted to pull out a loaded gun on the officer instead of his wallet. The officer testified that he wrestled the gun from the defendant and then arrested him. Although the defendant did possess a pistol in his vehicle legally, the jury did not believe that the defendant carried the pistol in his pocket, and the jury acquitted the defendant of all charges.