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Category Archives: 117 Property Crime Pre-Charge Victories

Federal Felony Arson Not Charged – State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 12949) (U.S. Forest Service Investigated):  On May 27, 2012 the Bagley wildfire had started and burned a large area of the U.S. forest land.  An investigation was begun and it was claimed that a lighter was found near a campfire site where Mr. W had been.  The forest service had claimed that area was accessed from Saguaro Lake by way of a boat. There was a grill that was used, and food was cooked.  It was claimed that the fire had accidently gotten out of control and burned one and a half acres.  It caused the evacuation of 40 campers in the area.

We were able to contact the investigator for the U.S. Forest Service and present evidence that showed he was only in the area of the fire, along with the other 40 campers, and that there was no evidence that Mr. W was involved in the fire itself.  Ultimately, the Assistant United States Attorney declined the charge of felony arson due to a lack of criminal intent.

FELONY BURGLARY NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 13852) (Mesa Police Department DR No. 2013-12800119): Mr. G was a 21-year-old male who was accused of committing Burglary of a Retail Establishment in Mesa, Arizona per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1507 . The alleged Burglary occurred around midnight. There were two eyewitnesses who were working in the area who heard a loud crash and saw a small red pickup truck backed up to the retail establishment. They saw an individual coming out loading product into the small red pickup truck and then driving away. He also saw another individual assisting with the crime. The estimated value of the product stolen was approximately $3500. While the scene was being processed, the two eyewitnesses returned to the scene and advised Officers that they had located what they believed to be the same small red pickup a short distance away in a parking lot. The police immediately went to the location and conducted a search of the small red pickup. In the small red pickup they found the stolen items from the retail establishment.

Police officers then located eyewitnesses in the area who indicated that shortly after the time of the Burglary, they saw a white male with a red pickup truck. The white male asked for assistance pushing the pickup truck into the parking lot as it had run out of gas. They assisted the white male and indicated they could identify him again. Police investigated the vehicle and found that the vehicle was associated with a recent former employee of the retail establishment.

Police immediately went to the residence of the former employee (Mr. G). They questioned the former employee who indicated that he was the only one who had keys to the vehicle and he and that he had not loaned vehicle to anyone else. Under repeated questioning that story changed multiple times. The former employee was taken into custody and a one on one identification was conducted, the witness was not able to positively identify the former employee.

Another complicating factor was that according to the staff of the retail establishment, the Theft of  the  items included the  use  of  a  key  to unlock the  items inside  the  establishment. According to the staff, only employees of the establishment would know where to locate the keys. Investigators also located a large rock that had been used to break a plate glass window to get into the establishment. Numerous latent fingerprints were collected including one print from the rock. Mr. G was released but was requested to come in for additional questioning by Detectives.

At that point in time Mr. G retained our services.  We immediately instructed the client on how to invoke his Right to Counsel and Right to Remain Silent. We immediately made contact with the investigating Detective and advised our client would not be making a further statement at this time. We then obtained a copy of the police report as soon as it was available. We also immediately sent written notification to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that our client wished to be present and testify to the grand jury should they request that, pursuant to Trebus v. Davis.

Once we obtained the initial draft of the police report, we reviewed it and identified specific issues for the police. We then wrote a letter to the investigating Detective pointing out specific issues and weaknesses with their case in a letter drafted pursuant to Trebus, Bashir, and their progeny.

We continued to maintain contact with the investigating Detective over the next several months. As part of the ongoing investigation the Detective obtained a court order for our client’s fingerprints. We accompanied the client to provide a full set of fingerprints to the officer. The subsequent analysis of the fingerprints was very beneficial as the prints did not match Mr. G. The last 2 entries of the narrative in the police report from the investigating Detective specifically reference our contact with the Detective and includes the statement that the Detective was “inactivating the case.”

FELONY CRIMINAL DAMAGE NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. F (DMC No. 13692) (Buckeye Police Department DR No. 15-0505077): At the time of this case, Mr. F was a 36-year old male married to a wife with 2 children. At home one evening, Mr. F unfortunately was confronted with the fact that his wife was having an affair. Mr. F became very distraught and began breaking items around the house including a television, a mirror and numerous other items. At one point Mr. F handed the phone to his wife and instructed her to call her co-adulterer’s spouse saying that he would then advise that man’s wife of what was going on. Instead, Mr. F’s wife called 911. After calling 911 she hung up. She apparently then called again and hung up. Finally the 911 dispatch called and spoke with her briefly. As a result of that, Buckeye Police were dispatched to the residence.

When Buckeye Police arrived at the scene they met with Mr. F’s wife who was very emotional and was crying. They also noticed a house in and which there was substantial damage. There was broken glass all of the floor and there were numerous items that   were   broken including a table, a clock, a large mirror, some dishes, other furniture and a large television. Mrs. F tearfully advised the police that her husband caught her cheating and became very emotional and lost control. Mrs. F indicated she was very afraid for herself and her 2 small children. By the time the police arrived Mr. F had removed himself from the house, driving away in a car. While the police were at the scene photographing the damage and talking with Mrs. F, Mr. F returned to the scene. The police then interviewed Mr. F in which he allegedly admitted to breaking the numerous items. Mr. F was arrested and taken to jail to be booked for Criminal Damage, a Domestic Violence offense, per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602.

One of the complicating factors was that Mrs. F indicated to the police that total value of the damage was approximately $5000. This allegation carried the possibility of Felony charges for Mr. F.

After being released from custody, Mr. F retained our firm to assist him on this case. Our Pre-Charge team reviewed the case and developed immediate strategy to head off Felony charges. We were able to obtain immediate documentation of the allegations in the form of the Probable Cause Statement. Information in that Probable Cause Statement allowed us to advise Mr. F of the allegations against him, including the allegations that could result in Felony charges. We worked with Mr. F and obtained information to provide to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to show that the value of the items damaged was in fact not $5000, but less than $1000. The $1000 range is crucial as anything below $1000 can only result in Misdemeanor charges. We then put together a letter pursuant to the Trebus/Bashir line of cases in which we provided the County Attorney’s Office with specific exculpatory information, including the value of the items damaged. Within approximately one week of our letter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Charging Bureau, the case was “turned down.”

SEXUAL ABUSE, ASSAULT and TRESPASSING NOT CHARGED– State v. Mr. L (DMC No. 8342) (Chandler Police Department DR 08-07-1156): Mr. L was a 67 year old maintenance man for 179 room apartment complex. He was asked by a supervisor to check the fire extinguishers in each of the rooms. He had knocked on one of the apartments, received no answer and then entered the apartment to check the fire extinguisher. A 79 year old female resident became startled and he informed her of what he was doing. She became more upset, and he placed his hand on her shoulder and told her it was okay and he left. She then made a complaint that Mr. L had fondled her buttocks while he was in the apartment. When we became involved, we were able to show the Detectives that the 79 year old woman had a history of Dementia. We also showed corroboration that he was instructed to go into these apartments to check all fire extinguishers. No charges were brought against Mr. L.

FELONY CRIMINAL DAMAGE DISMISSED- State v. Ms. K (DMC No. 8682) (Maricopa County Superior Court PF2006-173203; Mesa Police Department DR No. 2006-3330478): Ms. K had lived with her boyfriend for approximately 9 years when she began to be suspicious that he had cheated on her. She went down to his business, a collectable store, and began yelling at him. When he called Police so that they would come and “Trespass” Ms. K, she picked up a golf club and damaged paintings worth $4,200. She was subsequently arrested and booked in for Felony Criminal Damage.

Ms. K’s boyfriend secured our services because he did not wish to see his girlfriend prosecuted. We contacted the Prosecutors and they indicated that the State was pressing charges and not Ms. K’s boyfriend. When it became apparent that they would have a problem securing any corroborating witnesses, they Dismissed charges at the Preliminary Hearing level.

ARSON NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. Z (DMC No. 9614) (Chandler Police Department Investigated):  Mr. Z was a 13 year old Junior High student who befriended an older high school girl. They broke into an abandoned foreclosed home, and started a fire inside the house. After the house had filled with smoke, they heard a knock at the door and they ran out the back. They were followed by a man in a pickup truck, and Chandler PD was called in. Chandler Police Department interviewed Mr. Z, on two separate occasions, and he admitted to being with the girl who started the fire. We became involved and were able to present evidence that Mr. Z had various psychological issues and was on medication. In addition to that, his youthful age also helped convince the Police Department to not file criminal charges against Mr. Z. This was a matter that his parents could handle.

NOT CHARGED | FELONY CRIMINAL DAMAGE – State v. Ms. M. (DMC No. 11833) (Phoenix Police Department DR2011-00124531): Ms. M. had been to a party with her boyfriend and some of his friends when an argument ensued.  She had left the party, and then her boyfriend and his friends found damage to their vehicles.  They assumed she damaged the cars so police were called.  We were able to negotiate a civil compromise in which the damage was paid for.  The victims’ no longer desired to prosecution, however the Detectives still routed the case to the County Attorney’s Office for potential charging.  We were able to convince the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to not file charges.

NOT CHARGED | BURGLARY – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 6766) (Pinal County Juvenile Court 0012061149): Mr. B. was 13 years old and was accused of going onto construction sites of houses under construction and breaking windows and pouring out grout.  Initially, the claimed damage was over $12,000.  We were able to demonstrate that the damages were not that high, and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office agreed to allow Mr. B. to enter into a diversion dismissal program.  No charges were ever brought against him.

 

NOT CHARGED | CRIMINAL DAMAGE – State v. Mr. K. (DMC No. 7083) (Gilbert Police Department): Mr. K. was a carpet salesman who was denied a sale and treated badly by some potential clients. He was accused of becoming upset and “keying” their car. He was also accused of putting paint remover on somebody’s car. We were able to show that Mr. K. was going through some emotional issues as he had recently given up a good job as a pilot to pursue an internet business selling carpet. We were able to make restitution to all victims involved, and it was agreed that no charges would be filed against Mr. K.

NOT CHARGED | AGGRAVATED ASSAULT / BURGLARY – Mr. P. was a security guard at a local apartment complex and was called to respond to a complaint of loud noise. When he arrived, one of the people at the party pointed a BB gun at Mr. P. A fight then ensued, and police officers arrived. While breaking up the fight, one of the officers was struck by Mr. P. We were able to convince the prosecutor not to file charges against Mr. P.

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