Case Conclusion Date:July 13, 2011
Practice Area:Criminal Defense
Outcome:Case Dismissed and Client Found Factually Innocent
Description:Client gets off work about 2:00 a.m. and parks his truck in front of his place. He walks across the street to his brother-in-law's truck to get some work gloves that he had left in there. Unbeknownst to him, there had just been a string of auto break-ins on that very block. As he approaches his brother-in-lawâ€™s truck he notices a strange man in the front passenger seat rummaging through the glove box. He yells at the guy and asks him what heâ€™s doing and then pulls out his cell phone to call 911. Just then the police (who had been called earlier by a neighbor) arrive on scene. Client feels relieved to see the police and expects the police to question him about what he saw. Unfortunately, the neighbor who called the police reported that there were two Hispanic men breaking into cars and stated that they were now by a truck. Client was immediately treated like a suspect instead of a victim and was eventually arrested despite having the keys to his brother-in-lawâ€™s truck in his pocket. His pleas of innocence fell on deaf ears as the arresting officer instead told him repeatedly to â€œshut upâ€. Client was booked into county jail and was arraigned, along with his â€œco-defendant,â€ after a couple of days, on felony auto burglary charges. The charges were reduced by the Court to misdemeanors and both client and co-defendant are released on their own recognizance. The co-defendant who is a US Citizen is released. Client who is not a US Citizen is not released because he has an Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) hold. After five days in county jail, client is transferred to ICE custody where he is released on a $5,000 bail. The case was dismissed as to Client at the next calling of the case. The Deputy District Attorney acknowledged that the â€œwrong guyâ€ was arrested, but refused to stipulate to factual innocence at the time of dismissal. Thereafter a petition for Finding of Factual Innocence was brought pursuant to California Penal Code, section 851.8 along with six supporting declarations including that of Client himself. The petition was granted and the Court ordered that the records of arrest and charges be sealed for a period of three years and destroyed thereafter.