R. Addison Steele II, Attorney at Law - Criminal defense attorney in Santa Barbara
Addison Steele has:
Two assault trials where the client was acquitted of all felony charges
(Victor Vazquez who was acquitted of all felony charges and only convicted of an unrelated DUI and Avery Escarzega who was acquitted of all felony charges and only convicted of a misdemeanor lesser offense of simple assault).
Seven assault acquittals
(Penal Code § 245(a)(1) or 245(a)(4))
(Victor Vazquez, Corey Cade,
Robert Martin, Eugene Flock and Avery Escarzega--three counts).
     Assault cases can be difficult to defend because they are often a contest between what the complaining witness (alleged victim) says happened and what in fact happened.  If there's an allegation that a weapon was used or great bodily injury a conviction is a strike. If you need to hire a lawyer for an assault case, you need a lawyer that has experience with assault trials and that has won assault trials that have gone before a jury.  I have not only done many assault trials, I have had a full acquittal all felony counts in an assault trial.  I have done five assault trials and won the assault counts in four of those trials.
     Because the district attorney decides which cases go to trial, and most of the time only cases with strong prosecution evidence go trial, a defense attorney expects to win maybe one in ten trials. My record of four out of five trial wins in assault trials far surpasses that.
     My assault trial successes include:
Avery Escarzega
  • Avery Escarzega
  • Charges:  Assault with a with a knife (Penal Code § 245(a)(1), assault by means or force likely to produce great bodily injury (Penal Code § 245(a)(4)) a separate assault by means or force likely to produce great bodily injury (Penal Code § 245(a)(4)).
  • Exposure:  Avery was facing eleven years in prison.
  • Outcome:  Despite Avery's father's testimony that Avery had stabbed him in the back and a correctional officer's testimony that she saw Avery assaulting another inmate in the jail, the jury acquitted Avery of all felony charges.  He was only convicted of a misdemeanor lesser offense of simple battery.  He was sentenced to credit for time served and released.

This is the Verdict Form from the lead charge in Avery case, he was acquitted of all felonies in the case.

Victor Vazquez
  • Victor Vasquez
  • Charges:  Assault with a car (Penal Code § 245(a)(1), hit and run (Vehicle Code § 20001(a)) and a later driving under the influence (Vehicle Code §§ 23152(a)&(b)).
  • Exposure:  Victor was facing fifty years to life in prison.
  • Outcome:  Despite Victor's girlfriend's testimony that Victor had tried to run her over with his pickup truck, the jury acquitted Victor of all charges except a conceded unrelated driving under the influence charge.  Victor was given credit for time served for the DUI and released from jail. He now runs his own lawn care business.
The Verdict Form and Minute Order where Victor was saved from a life in prison sentence.
Corey Cade
  • Corey Cade
  • Charges:  Robbery (Penal Code § 211) and assault (Penal Code § 245(a)(1)), both with great bodily injury alleged (Penal Code § 12022.7(a)) and a separate unrelated robbery (Penal Code § 211).
  • Exposure:  Corey was facing nine years in prison.
  • Outcome:  Despite my filing a motion to sever the two unrelated robbery charges, the two were tried at the same time.  Corey was acquitted of all charges and lesser included offenses for the more serious of the two allegations, which were assault with great bodily injury alleged and robbery.  Because of the not guilty verdicts, the great bodily injury allegations were not reached and made moot.  He was convicted of the less serious allegation and sentenced to the low term of two years in prison.
This is Corey's Minute Order and verdict forms
Robert Martin
  • Robert Martin
  • Charges:  Murder (Penal Code § 187(a)) with a special circumstance of gang murder (Penal Code § 190.2(a)(22)) with personal use of a weapon (a knife) (Penal Code § 12022(b)(1)), assault with a knife (Penal Code § 245(a)(1)) and gang crime (Penal Code § 186.22(a)).
  • Exposure:  Robert was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOPP).
  • Outcome:  Robert was acquitted of first degree murder, that meant that he could not subjected to the special circumstance and could not get LWOPP.  The jury hung on second degree murder and hung on the gang crime allegation ten to two in favor of acquittal.  He was acquitted by the court of the assault charge in the middle of the trial.  A different attorney did his second trial and he was convicted of second degree murder and gang crime.
Eugene Flock
  • Eugene Flock
  • Charges:  Torture (Penal Code § 206), robbery (Penal Code § 211), residential burglary (Penal Code § 459), auto theft (Vehicle Code § 10851), assault (Penal Code § 245(a)(1)), kidnapping (Penal Code § 207) and false imprisonment (Penal Code § 237(a)).
  • Exposure:  Eugene was facing twenty-six years, eight months to life in prison.
  • Outcome:  Eugene was acquitted of the assault charge, the kidnapping charge and the lesser included offense.  He was convicted of the rest of the charges.  He was sentenced to ten years to life.  He'll have his first parole hearing after serving eight and a half years. 
     Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for an assault case:
  • Have you done an assault trial before?
  • This question is important because an assault trial typically involves the testimony of the complaining witness (alleged victim) against what really happened.  It requires an experienced attorney that is skilled in questioning a complaining witness.
  • I have done five assault trials.
  • What were the results of your assault trials?
  • This question is important because in an assault trial there are so many ways to fight hard and win.  If an attorney has won several assault trials, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in an assault trial.
  • I have won all the assault counts in four of the five assault trials I've done.  If you find another attorney that has done the number of assault trials that I have done and has had more successful outcomes than I have, hire that person.  If you want the best possible chance of not going to prison and potentially going home, you should contact me.
  • Do you train others lawyers in your techniques for winning assault trials?
  • This question is important because typically only the leading lawyers in a field are invited to conduct trainings of other lawyers.
  • I was a speaker at the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA) homicide defense training in 2011 to train on my winning trials by humanizing the client method.  I have also given that same training at the Riverside County Public Defenders Office, the Riverside County Barristers, the Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office, Santa Barbara County Public Defenders Office and the San Francisco County Public Defenders Office.  I was a speaker at the CPDA homicide defense training in 2012 to train on utilizing a neuropsychologist in a homicide case.  All these skills and techniques that I teach are easily utilized in assault trials.
  • How long were the assault trials you've done and how many days of defense did you present?
  • These questions are important because although some cases just call for a short trial, a short trial can also mean that the prosecution was not sufficiently challenged or that no defense was presented.  A assault trial that lasts five or ten court days is reason for concern because it's an indicator that the prosecution is not being thoroughly challenged and a complete defense is not being presented.
  • I have spent 110 court days in assault trials.  I have success rate in assault trials that is really unparalleled.
     If you need to talk to me about an assault case, you can send me an e-mail at rasteele@steeledefender.com or call me on my cell phone at (805) 770-1188.
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