Representative Cases

We have 40 years of experience representing individuals from all segments of society in a large variety of criminal matters. Not only have we taken innumerable cases to trial, we aggressively represent our clients at every stage of their case — including pre-arrest and in the media. Below are some examples of our work:

Possible Death Penalty Case Resulted In Release On Bail And Community Service

Our client, a young African-American man with no prior record, was driving his girlfriend's car through a predominately Irish-American neighborhood in San Francisco. He got into an argument with a white construction worker who was riding a bicycle and broke the mirror of our client's car. The two men argued for several blocks. Our client demanded payment for his girlfriend's damaged mirror. He got out of the car and punched the Irish man, who fell, hit his head on the curb and died. A passenger in our client's car stole the dying man's mountain bike.

Only our client was arrested. The case immediately became racially charged, covered widely in the press. Our client feared for his life, even while in custody since the deceased had many friends in the police department. The prosecution initially raised the possibility of charging him with murder during the commission of a robbery, which could result in the death penalty or life imprisonment. We first succeeded in having our client released on bail so that he could fully participate in the preparation of his defense. He ultimately pled guilty to a much lesser charge after the trial began and served an 8-month prison term, which was served in the minimum security camp "outside the walls" of San Quentin. He is now earning a master's degree in psychology. We remain in contact.

High-Profile Heroin Smuggling Case Dismissed

In May of 1991, a historic load of 1,080 pounds of pure heroin, hidden in pallets of plastic bags, was shipped aboard a container ship from the Golden Triangle of Asia to the Port of Oakland. Customs tracked the shipment, the largest confiscation of heroin in U.S. history, to a warehouse in Hayward, California. Customs agents installed cameras and undertook a month-long surveillance of the warehouse, which was owned by our client, a 36-year-old Taiwanese woman, along with her husband, who also owned a plastics factory back in Taiwan. When Customs seized the heroin and arrested our client, she was swept up in a highly publicized case that was being hailed by the government as a major victory in the war on drugs. Her personal life was scrutinized in local papers. We challenged much of the handling of the case by government officials, winning important pretrial motions concerning the role played by an NBC news crew in cooperation with Customs agents running the surveillance. Our motions led to the exclusion of key prosecution evidence, and a strong rebuke of government conduct by the federal district court judge handling the case. Ultimately, the serious charges against our client were dismissed with no cooperation after years of litigation.

Small Role In Sale Of LSD Leads To Harsh Sentence, Ultimately Reduced

Our client, a young man who loved the Grateful Dead and had no criminal record, was caught on tape telling an undercover agent how he could obtain some LSD. Our 22-year-old client made a mere $400 for introducing the undercover agent to a source of LSD. He was arrested, and under severely written drug laws, was sentenced based on the weight not just of the LSD sold to the source, but the blotter paper that carried it. Federal sentencing guidelines called for a 17-year sentence, which was departed downward by the district court judge to 10 years. We managed to draw favorable publicity to his case and, more important, to win a reduction of his sentence under a safety valve exception to federal mandatory sentencing laws. That exception was passed while we were waiting to be heard on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

San Francisco State University Rape Allegations Result In No Charges Filed

Our client was one of two freshmen accused of date rape by a fellow student at SFSU. The fact that sex had taken place was not in dispute, but the question of consent was. We pointed to deficiencies in evidence proving rape — including the fact that the accuser's memory was spotty due to heavy drinking and that her withdrawal of consent to sex was questionable. The district attorney decided against filing criminal charges against our client.