Case Results

POSSESSION OF A LOADED FIREARM

EVIDENCE SUPPRESSED

Recently we had a case where one of our clients was charged with possession of a loaded firearm by an ex-felon, possession of ammunition by an ex-felon, possession of a firearm by a gang member, gang participation, and gang enhancements. He was facing up to fifteen years in prison.

This was somewhat of an unusual case in that the officers did get a search warrant before searching our client’s residence. However, the officers initially went into his home without a warrant and the subsequent warrant relied, at least in part, on evidence the officers observed during the first entry into the residence.

We filed a motion to suppress evidence and a motion to quash the warrant. We argued that the initial entry into the residence constituted an illegal search, and that without the “fruit” of this illegal search, there was no probable cause to support the search warrant.

Both motions were granted, all the evidence was suppressed, and the case was dismissed.

One of the key issues in this case was whether running from the police is grounds to make an arrest. We were able to find California cases that discussed this exact issue, and which held that a person has the same right to avoid police officers as any other individual. Thus, without independent evidence of criminal behavior, simply running from the police does not give the officers the right to enter a residence in order to chase a fleeing suspect.

ROBBERY CHARGES

DISMISSED

A Campbell Whitten client with a previously clean record will be able to move on after being falsely accused of robbery.

Our client, a young college student whose only mistake was his choice of friends, was charged with robbery after two of his acquaintances deprived another student of a computer and telephone at gunpoint. The gun was fake, but the trouble was real in a classic case of guilt-by-association. After grappling with multiple prosecutors, Campbell Whitten criminal defense attorney Clayton D. Campbell convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the charges. As charged, our client faced up to five years in prison. “Being present when a crime is committed does not make you guilty of that crime,” said Campbell, “at least not in the eyes of the law. In the eyes of the police and prosecutors, which view everything with a presumption of guilt, it’s plenty. Fortunately for my client in this case the prosecutor did the right thing and dismissed the charges”.

2 COUNTS OF ATTEMPTED MURDER

DISMISSED

Our client was charged with two counts of attempted murder with gang enhancements as well as a gang member in possession of a firearm, and was facing multiple life sentences. He admitted to possessing the gun, but denied any involvement in the shootings that were the basis for the attempted murder charges. Through investigation, talking to additional witnesses, and negotiation, we were able to get both counts of attempted dismissed, and our client will only do one year in custody on the gun charge.

RAPE, ASSAULT WITH A FIREARM, TERRORIST THREATS, AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

DISMISSED

A Campbell Whitten client accused of rape, assault with a firearm, and domestic battery is a free man after a thorough defense investigation revealed serious doubts about the credibility of his accuser.

The alleged victim, an ex-girlfriend of our client, had suffered a minor cut to her forehead. Our client maintained that the cut was the result of her head-butting him during an argument over his interest in ending their relationship and moving on.

She had admitted the injury was the result of an accident, but later accused the defendant of pointing a gun at her to convince her to do so. The rape accusation was added almost as an afterthought – and was based on an event she claimed to have occurred more than six months prior to their breakup.

Utilizing the services of private investigator Joe Serrano, Campbell Whitten attorneys were able to uncover substantial evidence that the alleged victim had fabricated the charges in order to achieve legal resident status under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law permits undocumented persons illegally present in the United States to legitimize their status if they are the victim of domestic violence.

The frightening thing about this case is that if a person claims domestic violence, some prosecutors are willing to believe the accusations no matter what the other evidence is. The case had to be taken to the brink of trial before it could be settled.

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE AND CHILD ENDANGERMENT

DISMISSED

Client avoids DUI conviction, jail time, alcohol classes, steep fines, and license suspension after our firm attacked legality of law enforcement action and the reliability of the chemical breath test that was administered.

Our client was charged with a DUI and child endangerment based on the presence of a baby in the car our client was driving while allegedly intoxicated. A chemical breath test indicated our client’s BAC was over .20, nearly three times the legal limit. After our firm acquired a copy of the dash-cam video from the arresting officer’s patrol car, however, it was determined that the officer’s legal justification for pulling our client over was highly questionable. Ultimately, attorney Van Eerden obtained a dismissal of all charges in exchange for a plea to reckless driving that involved probation and no jail.

In addition to the criminal charges filed by the Kern County District Attorney, our client also faced potential penalties from the DMV (including a mandatory 1-month driver’s license suspension) due to the DUI allegations. After a hearing on the evidence, during which we attacked the reliability of the chemical test and argued it was improperly administered, the DMV hearing officer agreed to set aside the pending suspension. These efforts ensured that our client avoided a conviction for DUI and was able to keep her license without interruption.

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS

REDUCED TO NO JAIL AND NO LICENSE SUSPENSION

Eyewitness testimony alleged that our client crashed her car into a car driven by someone else and that our client then fled the scene.

She was followed to her home where officers eventually made contact with her and arrested her for driving under the influence. She had no alcohol in her system, but tested positive for prescription medication. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs mostly mirror those of driving under the influence of alcohol with a major exception: a first time conviction for driving under the influence of drugs carries a much longer driver license suspension - one year. In this case, after getting a comprehensive toxicology panel and attacking the prosecutor's evidence of the drug content and levels Van Eerden was able to obtain a reduction of the case to a "dry reckless" which carries a significantly reduced fine, no jail, and no license suspension.

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