Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My client is innocent of the armed robbery and the government finally agreed.

The prosecutor's only eyewitness/the victim, Jose Medrano, was unreliable. The man had waited until the day after the crime to report it -maybe because he'd gone liquor-store hopping with his buddies before he was attacked. A good night's sleep failed to deliver clarity, but he did call the police. For over three months, he was unable to describe the trio who he said robbed him.

Understandably, in the panic-filled, nerve-wracking moment when a person is under attack, that person may focus only on escape or on the danger of a weapon. Often, surprise interferes with the practical task of noting details about the crime and the attacker's face. False identifications happen all of the time.

In my client's case, maybe Mr. Medrano investigated some on his own. He wanted to hold someone responsible. The summer turned into fall and Mr. Medrano claimed that the passage of time improved his memory. Suddenly, he was able to id my guy in a photographic line-up. My client was placed under arrest.

My investigator and I figured out who robbed Mr. Medrano. A teenager in the neighborhood with the same last name as my client. The teenager's own mother was willing to testify that her son had confessed to the crime in the middle of a backyard barbecue with probably five other people there. Plus, the teenager admitted to my investigator that he saw Mr. Medrano get punched. He also agreed that my client wasn't there. So, Mr. Medrano heard the talk around the neighborhood and may have heard a name being thrown around. Then, if he sought out a person by that last name, he settled on the wrong person. Maybe that's how he ended up picking out the picture of my client.

A man saw the whole thing that night as he stood in his yard smoking a cigarette. This man told me that Mr. Medrano was sloppily drunk. This resident smoker identified by name the people who assaulted Mr. Medrano and insisted that my client was not there. We found out about the guilty teenager originally through this man.

My client did have an alibi. He insisted from the beginning that he was babysitting his cousin's babies that night.

Up until the last minute, the prosecutor was acting like he was ready for trial. He gave us a final plea offer: misdemeanor assault. I talked to my client who insisted on his innocence and refused to accept anything but a dismissal. The prosecutor walked away to the bathroom. I officially rejected the offer on behalf of my client. We walked into the courtroom. The case was called... I presented our side and theory of the case. The prosecutor dismissed the case. Justice was done.

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