Representative Case Studies

A complex conspiracy case described in the international media as “a massive” money-laundering conspiracy involving “tens of millions” of dollars attributed to international drug trafficking.  Our client was the alleged “leader” of the “organization.” At the end of substantial, complicate work by us, our client was sentenced to a fair and just sentence because of his lack of prior record and otherwise good character. He was able to return to his family and to recapture his life to pursue a law-abiding path.

A case of a mother without any prior evidence of criminality convicted at trial for possession for distribution of 19 kilograms of methamphetamine. We took over the case after our client was convicted and was facing a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Our steadfast and very difficult post-trial investigation yielded compelling evidence proving that her trial lawyer had suffered a conflict of interest and that he was incompetent before and during trial. In this lost-cause type of a case, our motion for a new trial, unopposed by the prosecution, was granted by the court.

A complex RICO, multi-defendant case, involving allegations of a variety of serious and violent state and federal crimes. Our client had already suffered a prior aggravated felony conviction and been given a five-year prison sentence. We negotiated a non-RICO conviction and, because our client had compelling proof of rehabilitation and vast community support, we successfully argued for the extremely rare sentence of probation. Our client did not provide any cooperation to the Government.

  • A post-conviction case involving a middle-aged Mexican citizen who had lived lawfully in the U.S. for 40 years. After a jury convicted the client of importing methamphetamine and cocaine, the client successfully appealed the district judge’s erroneous evidentiary finding and was remanded for a new trial. After the client rejected a time-served felony plea, we took over the client’s case for the second trial. We successfully negotiated a dismissal of the criminal case, and the client was released to his home in the U.S., with no conviction on his record.

A significant First Amendment case involving alleged Internet chat room threats in violation of 18 USC Section 879 against then presidential candidate Barack Obama. After conviction, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed our client’s conviction when the Court departed from precedent by determining that the First Amendment indeed protected our client’s crude expressions because they simply were not true threats under Section 879. This unusual First Amendment Internet chat room victory marked a significant change in true threat precedent which previously required only that a statement be threatening in the view of a reasonable person; the Ninth Circuit now requires that the government prove beyond a reasonable doubt the speaker’s subjective intent to threaten.

A prominent reproductive rights attorney was accused of participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a case involving a “baby selling ring,” involving surrogate mothers being paid substantial sums of money to travel overseas for artificial insemination before any potential adoptive parents were identified. The surrogates were never charged for their involvement and later tried to get restitution; the hospital delivering the babies also sought over $600,000 restitution. The Government identified over $40 million in proceeds to our client in a single year, and we successfully argued for a jail sentence of only 5 months, and only $78,000 in restitution.

A post-conviction habeas corpus petition in a case where our client was sentenced pursuant to California’s “Three Strikes” law to four consecutive terms of 40 years-to-life after a jury convicted him at trial for the alleged robbery of a bank. After years of investigation, litigation and an evidentiary hearing, the district court granted his habeas and ordered a new trial based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to diligently and effectively investigate the client’s alibi defense.

A complex case involving 2,000 kilograms of cocaine on a speedboat seized off the cost of Colombia by U.S. authorities. After a very long jury trial, which involved difficult and complex jurisdictional and other legal issues, the client was convicted. On appeal, the 9th Circuit reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. After a favorable plea agreement, our client, a simple fisherman, was released and returned to his home in Colombia.

A complex case involving an alleged multi-million dollar investment fraud. After a lengthy and difficult jury trial, simultaneously fighting against four federal prosecutors and several federal agents representing the Government, our client was acquitted of all the investment fraud charges and went on to become a highly successful real-estate developer and engineer.

A difficult, media-prominent, legally complex RICO appeal case. This case  involved a rare federal RICO prosecution against three long-time San Diego Superior Court judges and a successful prominent civil litigator. The federal Government accused them of conspiracy to violate federal RICO, mail fraud and bribery statutes. All were convicted in a high profile trial. We took over the case after our client, one of the Superior Court judges, was convicted represented by different counsel. Though we inherited a serious RICO conviction,  on appeal, the 9th Circuit reversed our client’s RICO conspiracy conviction.

An undercover sting operation involving a medical doctor selling methamphetamine to an undercover DEA agent. With a different lawyer representing our client at his first trial, he had a hung jury. On retrial, represented by us, we presented an entrapment defense and our client was acquitted – without having to testify.

A multi-defendant wiretap investigation that led to our client being charged with a conspiracy to import and distribute methamphetamine and heroin. Our client had a recent prior conviction for importation of methamphetamine, for which the client was still on supervised release. Facing a guideline sentence of at least 108 months in custody, we established substantial mitigation based on our client’s history of being battered by an ex-spouse/co-defendant. The client did not cooperate with the Government, and was sentenced to 48 months in custody.

A complex RICO conspiracy alleging attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and distribution of methamphetamine. Our client was a documented gang member with a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for violent and drug-related crimes that made him a Career Offender. Facing a sentencing range of 151-188 months in prison, we successfully negotiated a favorable plea to a single count of money laundering. The client was sentenced to 60 months in custody, without providing any cooperation to the federal Government.