Addison Steele has:
Twenty gang special allegations not reached because of acquittals on the charged crimes
(Penal Code § 186.22(b)).
Four gang special allegations found not true
(Penal Code § 186.22(b)).
Four use of a gun for a gang crime allegations not reached because acquittals on the charged crimes (Penal Code § 12022.53(e).
Acquittal on a gang activity charge
(Penal Code § 186.22(a)).
Two hung juries on a gang special allegations
(Penal Code § 186.22(b)).
Hung jury on a gang activity charge
(Penal Code § 186.22(a)).
Hung jury on a gang homicide case with a gang special circumstance alleged
(Penal Code §§ 190.2(a)(22) and 186.2(a)).
A non-filing after preliminary hearing of a three count terrorist threats all with gang allegations case
(Penal Code § 186.22(a)
Gang cases are among the most difficult defense attorneys face. The gang statute is extremely complex. It is modeled after the federal RICO statute, but is far more convoluted. It is also so poorly written that there is a litany of case law interpreting it. What that all means is that the law on gangs is complex. Most district attorneys offices have deputy district attorneys that specialize in gang cases. Because of all of those reasons, it is critical to have an attorney that is experienced in handling gang cases, knows the gang statutes well and knows the gang case law well. It of course helps to have an attorney that has experience beating gang charges and gang special allegations.
If you need to hire a lawyer for a gang case, you need a lawyer that has experience with gang trials and that has won gang trials that have gone before a jury. I have not only done many gang trials, I have had full acquittals on all the charges and special allegations in three gang trials, including two that were alleged gang homicides. I have done seven gang trials and the prosecution has only been able to secure convictions against me on the gang charges or allegation in two of them. I also wrote a motion in a capital gang case attacking the gang special circumstance that allowed the case to be a death penalty case. The motion was denied, but that denial was overturned by the appellate court, which eliminated gang allegations being a part of that trial. My record of trial wins and attacking gang allegations through solid motion work is unparalleled.
My gang trial successes include:
- Jaray Christy
- Charges: Murder (Penal Code § 187(a)) with a gang allegation (Penal Code § 186.22(b)) personal use of a gun (Penal Code § 12022.53(b) and gun use in a gang crime (Penal Code § 12022.53(e)), two counts of attempted robbery (Penal Code § 664/211) with gang allegations (Penal Code § 186.22(b)), gun use in a gang crime (Penal Code § 12022.53(e) and personal use of a gun (Penal Code § 12022.53(b)), two counts of felon in possession of a firearm (Penal Code § 12021(a)(1)), five counts of robbery (Penal Code § 211) with gang allegations (Penal Code § 186.22(b) and gun allegations (Penal Code § 12022(a)(1)).
- Exposure: Jaray was facing seventy-one years to life in prison.
- Outcome: Jaray was only convicted of a few charges, all of which were conceded to the jury because they were on videotape. He was acquitted of first degree murder and the lesser degree of second degree murder. He was acquitted of all personal use of a firearm charges and was acquitted of all possession of firearms charges. He was acquitted of all gang charges and allegations. He was sentenced to four years, eight months in prison. He has served that time and went home. He is now going to school and writing screen plays.
Jaray, Addison and the investigator on the case after the verdicts.
The newspaper article covering Jaray and Addison's victory.
- Rudy Ramos
- Charges: Murder (Penal Code § 187(a)) with a gang allegation (Penal Code § 186.22(b)) and three allegations of having served prior prison terms (Penal Code § 667.5(b)).
- Exposure: Rudy was facing twenty-eight years to life in prison.
- Outcome: Rudy was acquitted of first degree murder, the lesser degree of second degree murder and the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. The gang enhancements on the murder charge, the lesser degree and and the included offense were not reached because of the not guilty verdicts, nor were the allegations of the prior prison terms.
Below is the newspaper article on Rudy's acquittal.
- Anthony Solis
- Charges: Murder (Penal Code § 187(a)), with an allegation that the murder was committed at the direction of, for the benefit of, or in association with a criminal street gang (Penal Code § 186.22(b)(1)), with four special circumstances alleged, killing while lying in wait (Penal Code § 190.2(a)(15)), murder during a kidnapping (Penal Code § 190.2(a)(17)), murder with torture (Penal Code § 190.2(a)(18)) and killing while an active participant in a street gang to further the activities of the gang (Penal Code § 190.2(a)(22), if A.J. was convicted of first degree murder and any one of an alleged special circumstances was found true, the judge would have to sentence him to live life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- Exposure: A.J. was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- Outcome: There was a hung jury, the case was then settled for dismissal of the first degree murder charge in exchange for a no contest plea to kidnapping with a gang allegation with nine years prison, the punishment for the ten additional years for the gang enhancement was stricken.
Below is the newspaper article on A.J.'s outcome.
Here it is zoomed in so it can be read
This is the rest of the article
- Willie Meadows
- Charges: Possession of crack cocaine for sales (Health and Safety Code § 11351.5) with a gang allegation (Penal Code § 186.22(b)) and gang activity (Penal Code § 186.22(a)), with a sales prior (Health and Safety Code § 11370.2(a)) and seven prison term priors (Penal Code § 667.5(b)).
- Exposure: Willie was facing fifteen years, eight months in prison.
- Outcome: Willie was found not guilty of possession for sales and not guilty of gang activity. He was only convicted of the conceded count of simple possession of crack cocaine. Because that was the only charge for which he was convicted, he had to be released from jail, granted probation and given drug treatment pursuant to Proposition 36.
This is the Minute Order where Willie was acquitted of all the charges that weren't conceded included all of the gang special allegations.
- Timothy Barry
- Charges: Robbery (Penal Code § 211) and commercial burglary (Penal Code § 459) both with personal use of a gun allegations (Pen Code § 12022.53(b)), gang allegations (Penal Code § 186.22(b)), gun use in a gang crime allegations (Penal Code § 12022.53(e)), serious felony prior (Penal Code § 667(a)) and two prior strikes (Penal Code § 667(c)&(e)(2)(A)/1170.12(c)(2)).
- Exposure: Tim was facing fifty-five years, eight months to life in prison.
- Outcome: All the gang allegation were hung with the jury deadlocked nine to three in favor of finding the allegations not true. All those gang allegations were later dismissed by the district attorney. Unfortunately Tim lost the robbery and commercial burglary charges and as a three striker was sentenced to thirty years to life in prison. Tim will eventually get a parole hearing date while he's around fifty years old will potentially be able to enjoy his retirement years as a free man. If we had lost the gang charges, he very likely would have been sentenced to fifty-five years to life in prison and therefore would not have his first parole hearing until his late seventies.
- 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 of murder for the benefit of a gang and could not get LWOPP. He was also acquitted of the assault with a knife. The jury hung on second degree murder and hung on the gang crime allegation ten to two in favor of acquittal. A different attorney did his second trial and he was convicted of second degree murder and gang crime.
- Joseph Cordero
- Charges: Three counts of terrorist threats (Penal Code § 422) all of which had a gang special allegation (Penal Code § 186.22(b)).
- Exposure: Joseph was facing ten years, four months in prison.
- Outcome: After the preliminary hearing the district attorney did not file any of the charges.
Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for a gang case:
- Have you done a gang trial before?
- This question is important because a gang trial involves complex issues because the gang law is so complex and there's case law with which the attorney must be very familiar. Gang cases require specialized knowledge and experience and are practically a sub specialization of criminal law.
- I have done eight gang trials.
- What were the results of your gang trials?
- This question is important because in a gang trial there are so many ways to fight hard and beat the charges, and that starts with vigorous motion work to attack and limit what can be presented by the prosecution. If an attorney has won gang trials, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in a gang trial.
- I have had full acquittals on the gang charges and allegations in gang trials, two of which were gang murder cases where the client was looking at a life in prison sentence, I have hung juries in two other gang trials and only had my clients convicted of the gang charges in two trials. If you find another attorney that has done the number of gang trials that I have done and has had more successful outcomes than I have and that has beaten a gang murder cases, hire that person. If you want the best possible chance of not going to prison and potentially going home when facing gang charges, you should contact me.
- Do you train others lawyers in your techniques for winning gang 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 Santa Barbara County Public Defenders Office, Riverside County Public Defenders Office, the Riverside County Barristers, the Santa Clara 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 gang trials. I was one of the coordinators of the of 2012 CPDA gang training seminar.
- How long were the gang 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 gang 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 246 court days in gang trials. I have a success rate in gang trials that is really unparalleled.
If you need to talk to me about a gang case, you can send me an e-mail at rasteelesteeledefender.com or call me at (805) 770-1188.