R. Addison Steele II, Attorney at Law - Criminal defense attorney in Santa Barbara
Addison Steele has been featured in several press articles. 
Below is a selection of some of the articles.
● Deputy public defender earns honors, Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise, Local C6, April 17, 2009.
     "A Riverside County deputy public defender who has won several cases by putting on an aggressive defense that often includes putting the accused on the witness stand will receive a state organization's top honor today.
     R. Addison Steele II was named the Defender of the Year for 2009 by the California Public Defenders Association.
. . .
     He earned it for 'solid legal work and an uncompromising concern for clients,' the organization said.
. . .
     'The way I look at the case is, I only keep my client off the stand if I have to.  That is very different,' he said in a telephone interview.  He teaches other attorneys his methods.
. . .
     Steele's 'ability to enable the community--the jury--to see the client as a human being, to see the client through his eyes, is amazing,' said Assistant Public Defender Robert Willey." 
Riverside Public Defender Piles Up Victories: Three Full and Three Partial Acquittals in Nine Trials Win Him Special Recognition, Jason W. Armstrong, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Volume 121, Number 32, February 20, 2008.
     "The stakes were high, and, on the surface, the case looked tough to defend.
     Howard Robertson faced a charge of snatching a woman's purse, a crime that could send the ex-convict back to prison for life as a three-striker.
     Prosecutors told jurors about Robertson's previous prison time for robbing a string of banks in the 1980s.  And the defendant looked menacing, sporting prison tattoos, including a satanic insignia on his forehead and a swastika on his hand.
     But the defendant's lawyer, Riverside County Deputy Public Defender R. Addison Steele II, persuaded jurors to vote for acquittal.
The Robertson case last year was part of an amazing winning streak by Steele.  The high number of wins makes him one of the most victorious lawyers in his office and perhaps the state.  In the past year, he won acquittals for one man facing a murder charge and three others on trial for attempted murder, all of whom were eligible for life sentences.
. . .
     'That's certainly very impressive,' said Kathleen B. Cannon, San Diego County deputy public defender and president of the California Public Defenders Association.
     For his work, Steele's office recently gave him its highest honor. The Public Defender Award.
     Assistant Public Defender Robert Willey said Steele is one of the top deputies in the 149-attorney office.
     'Addison has a skill of really helping the jury see [a defendant] as a person and not just a label and a background,' Willey said.
. . .
     In another of Steele's high-profile wins, the defender secured a murder acquittal in October for Robbie Catchings, a Moreno Valley resident prosecutors said shot and killed a man at a Perris apartment complex in 2002. Steele also persuaded a judge to reduce to a misdemeanor a felony assault charge against Catchings in a separate case that could have exposed the defendant to a life sentence under the three-strikes law.
     Catchings walked free as a result.
. . .
     Jenny Reis, a Corona woman who served on the jury that acquitted Catchings, said Steele's 'down-to-earth' evidence presentation helped his credibility with the jury.
. . .
     She also said she could tell Steele 'thoroughly believed' in his client's innocence.
     'He was so passionate,' Reis said. 'He reminded me of a parent defending [his or her] child.'"
  • Addison has had such an impressive streak of trial wins that he was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, a newspaper that is highly respected in the legal community.  It appears that no other criminal defense attorney has been featured in such article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
The headline. The story about Addison's success defending clients was featured right below the masthead on the front page.
The first half of the article.
The second half of the article.
Public defender's office honors staff, Sonja Bjelland, The Press-Enterprise, Local B7, December 9, 2007.
     "The Riverside County public defender's office presented awards Friday night to a staff committed to providing opportunity and hope.
     Deputy Public Defender Addison Steele won the top award for his embodiment of what it means to fill that role, said Robert Willey, assistant public defender, Steele spent 115 days in trial in 2007 and thanked the entire office for helping him win the case of Robbie Catchings, who was charged with murder and acquitted by jury.
     'As you can see I didn't win a murder trial, we won a murder trial,' Steele wrote in an e-mail to staff, Willey said.
     Another client, Howard Robertson, was acquitted and with the help of Steele made it to his sister's home in Mississippi where he has started a new life, Willey said."

● Split verdict in Santa Maria murder trial, Nora Wallace, Santa Barbara News-Press, A1, March 28, 2014.

          "The jury acquitted Mr. Brewer's co-defendant, 27 year-old Rudy Ramos, of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter."

     "On Thursday the panel reached verdicts on Jaray Christy, 26, and on Tuesday returned their votes on co-defendant Jerron Henderson, 21, both charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Marshawn Burns, 29, of Moreno Valley.
     Jurors acquitted both men in the death of Burns, and also found them not guilty on counts of robbery and attempted robbery unrelated to the liquor store holdup.
     They also found not true the enhancement allegations of gang activity in a violent felony.
. . . 
     The second key moment came when a prosecution witness, whom [co-defendant's attorney Darryl] Exum said was a gang member, was identified by a woman under examination by Christy's defense attorney Steele as the man who had robbed her--for a charge in which Christy had been named.
     It was one of the robbery charges separate from the Alessandro Liquor holdup.
     'That kind of lost the case for the prosecution as a whole,' Exum said." 
. . . 
     'We ate up two months of a civil courtroom, where regular people from Riverside should have been having their injuries resolved and their contracts disputes resolved,' Steele said.
     He estimated his client originally faced 71 years to life, and now faces perhaps a possible maximum of six years, four months."
The newspaper article covering Jaray and Addison's victory.

     "'The average person looking into it from the outside will look at it and say, 'It's just not fair,' Steele said. 'it was a jail fight. A single punch thing. They are charging it up like it's the crime of the century.
He should not have been in jail in the first place, and now they're trying to keep him in prison because they could not convict him of murder,' Steele said.
. . .
     A jury on Oct. 17 acquitted Catchings of murder and attempted murder in connection with a June 2002 fatal shooting at a Perris apartment complex. It was the second trial for Catchings, who had been in custody since shortly after the shooting. In the previous trial, a mistrial was declared in December 2005 when jurors were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal.
     The defense argued that the shooting was in self-defense and that Catchings fired after two others, including the man who died, George Bender, began firing at him. Catchings testified that he used a gun he had retrieved from someone who had been shot at by the two gunmen."
. . .
     Catchings was described in court records as a member of Los Angeles street gang who has a history of criminal activity dating back to the 1980s. He was arrested twice as a juvenile for assault with a deadly weapon, according to court records, and in July 1992 was sentenced to 12 years in state prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder that involved the use of a gun.
. . .
     Steele acknowledged Catchings has an extended criminal record, but pointed out that his client was acquitted of murder by a jury that was told about his criminal history.
. . .
     Both sides will be in court Nov. 27, when Steele will ask the judge to dismiss the assault case. If the judge denies the motion, Catchings will face another trial."
An interesting side note about this article is that Jorge Estrada, whoever he is, had absolutely nothing to do with the case, his picture in the article is a copy editor's mistake.
Moreno Valley Man Wins Rare Double Pass for Freedom, Jason W. Armstrong, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Volume 121, Number 16, January 28, 2008.
     "A few months ago, Robbie Catchings was looking at a potential life sentence in two separate cases.
     The 38-year-old Moreno Valley man, who joined a street gang in middle school, was charged with murdering a man at a Perris apartment complex.  Prosecutors also charged him with a third 'strike' for allegedly assaulting a fellow inmate while awaiting trial in jail on the murder charge.
     But in a rare turn-of-events, Catchings caught a break in both cases, enabling him to walk free.
     A Riverside County jury acquitted him of the murder in October after his public defender argued Catchings fired the fatal shot in self-defense.  And earlier this month, a judge reduced his felony assault count to a misdemeanor.  No longer facing a third strike on his record, Catchings pleaded guilty.
     He got credit for time already served, and walked out of Riverside's Hall of Justice on Jan. 17 a free man.
. . .
     Steele filed several motions asking the court to dismiss the [assault] charge, drop Catchings prior strikes or cut the felony assault to a misdemeanor.
     In his motions, Steele argued that Catchings had made efforts to shed his criminal past.  And he contended the alleged assault victim suffered only a small facial cut that didn't rise to the level of serious injury required for the felony.
. . .
     [Catchings] said he's excited about his future and plans to stay crime free.
. . .
     He said his wife is pregnant with his first child.  If it's a boy, he said he plans to name him after Steele."
This is the article that was in the Los Angeles Daily Journal that covered Robbie and Addison beating the district attorney's second try to give Robbie a life in prison sentence.
     "Riverside County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Couzens ruled the half-inch cut suffered by the inmate victim during the November 2003 fight at the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley did not amount to great bodily injury and that the assault, if true, did not constitute a felony.
. . .
     'I can't believe it is finally over,' Catchings said outside the courtroom, "I can go on with my life.'
     A jury acquitted Catchings on Oct. 17 of murder and attempted murder in connection with a June 2002 fatal shooting at a Perris apartment complex.
. . .
     Steele suggested that filing of the assault case was inappropriate and that prosecutors were unfairly trying to punish Catchings because of the jury's acquittal in the murder case.
     Steele said Thursday in court that he was perplexed that the government was not offering an apology to Catchings."

     After Robbie was acquitted of all charges in his murder case, he bailed out of jail on a "trailing" jail fight case.  The first thing the district attorney tried to do was raise Robbie's bail to try to put him back in jail, even though he had sat in jail for years fighting the murder charge through two trials.  Addison fought off the district attorney's tactics with a motion opposing the raising of Robbie's bail.  Robbie and Addison won that motion and Robbie spent his first Christmas at home in years while Addison worked on the motions to finally end the ordeal.  Addison saved Robbie's life a second time by filing three separate motions in the jail fight case.  He filed a Penal Code § 995 motion attacking the sufficiency of the evidence in the jail fight case, a Romero motion asking that the strike priors be stricken, and a Penal Code § 17(b) motion asking that the jail fight case be reduced to a misdemeanor.  The judge granted the motion to reduce the case to a misdemeanor which made the other two motions moot because they only applied to felony cases.

● 5 of 6 Guilty: Sixth defendant [Addison Steele's client Anthony Solis] pleads to kidnapping after mistrial declared [all five of the other co-defendants were convicted of of first degree murder], Kyle Harding, Santa Maria Times, Front Page, April 8, 2015. 

     "All but Solis were convicted of murder.  A mistrial was declared against him."

     "Solis will serve at least 85 percent of a nine-year sentence, two years of which he has already served in the Santa Barbara County Jail while awaiting trial, meaning he will serve a little more than five and a half years in state prison."

     "'It's difficult for somebody to not settle for nine years when they're looking at life without parole,' Steele said."

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

     "'It's difficult for somebody to not settle a case . . . when they're looking at life without parole,' Mr. Steele said."

     "Mr. Solis will be sentenced to nine years in prison but will receive two years off for time served and is only required to serve 85 percent of his sentence.  He could be free in fewer than six years."

Man found not guilty of rape:  Court: The suspect testified that what he did was rape, but jurors say the evidence didn't meet the criteria, Sonja Bjelland, The Press-Enterprise, Local C2a, October 21, 2008.
     "A Rialto man imprisoned for a 2002 kidnapping was found not guilty of raping a woman in 2001.
     DNA evidence matched Dennis M. Castro to the rape case, but jurors said what happened didn't meet the legal requirements for a rape conviction.
     Castro's father and sister cried and hugged after the verdict was read Monday afternoon in the Riverside Hall of Justice.
     Castro faced 80 years to life in prison on top of the 13 years and eight months he is serving for the kidnapping, said Deputy Public Defender Addison Steele."

Verdict stuns victim's family:  Suspect convicted of manslaughter in Winchester man's slaying, John Hall, the Californian, Local B1, November 19, 2004.
     "When Edward Tony Aguilar stabbed a Winchester man twice last year--once in the throat--and killed him while he was driving, it wasn't murder.
     After a week of deliberations, a jury at Southwest Justice Center found that Jon Willson was killed during a sudden quarrel and convicted Aguilar of voluntary manslaughter.
     The verdict shocked the prosecutor and friends and family of the victim.
. . .
     Aguilar, 38, of Menifee, showed little emotion as he listened to the verdicts that mean he'll someday be able to go home.
     His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Addison Steele, said Aguilar and his family had hoped he'd be going home Thursday, had the jury agreed with the defense argument that Aguilar killed Willson in self-defense.
     If Aguilar had been found guilty of either first or second-degree murder, he could have spent the rest of his life in prison.  Now, the most time he can serve is 14 years in prison, his attorney said.
. . .
     'I would have been happier if he had been able to go home today, but I'm still happy with this verdict,' Steele said outside the courtroom.
     Willson was stabbed twice--first in the right side and then in the throat--while driving his pickup with Aguilar as the lone passenger April 10, 2003.  Willson's body was found slumped in his pickup hidden in an orange grove in the Woodcrest area of south Riverside.  Aguilar left it there and fled to an uncle's nearby home before he burned the clothes he worn during the slaying.
. . .
     Steele said jurors told him that when they first began deliberating last week, they were split evenly in four ways:  Three thought Aguilar was guilty of first degree murder, three second degree murder, three believed it to be voluntary manslaughter and three more felt he was not guilty because it was self-defense.
     'They said they worked through every bit of evidence in there,' Steele said, 'I think they just came to the conclusion that Edward was afraid of Jon.'
     Jurors also told him that Aguilar made the right decision to testify: 'They said they realize he contradicted himself several times, but they still came away thinking he was afraid.'"

Dismissals Soar In Riverside Under DA: Tough-.on-Crime Stance Leads to Missed Deadlines, Jason W. Armstrong, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Volume 122, Number 40, March 3, 2009.
     "'It's like [District Attorney Rod Pacheco] [feels] the taxpayers don't care . . . If he takes cases to trial that aren't winning,' said Addison Steele, a Riverside County deputy public defender.  Of [Steele's] last 11 trials in which the defendant faced life in prison, including rape, murder and attempted murder, Pacheco's office secured the maximum penalty in only two of them, Steele said."
Addison is often contacted by the press for comments on issues in the legal community.  This is one of those articles:
Addison is quoted toward the bottom of this section of the article.
Only read the left side column right now and continue to the next part of the article, the right side column is the end of the article.
Now read the right side column.
The Los Angeles Daily Journal article where the press when to Addison for commentary on the district attorney's charging and settlement policies.

Trials become an attractive option, Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise, front page A1, October 13, 2007.
     "Albert L. Cobb, 66, of Riverside, was acquitted in March on all counts, including attempted murder.  Prosecutors said he tried to suffocate his mother, who was in her 80s.
. . .
     The incident stemmed from a confrontation in an assisted living home, said Steele, who represented Cobb.  Jurors heard medical testimony that the mother's bruises were age-related, that she had cognitive impairment, and that she could be combative with her own son.
. . .
     Cobb was one of five of Steele's clients who have been acquitted on all charges in Riverside County since 2003."

In the John Weinhart case Addison's client was charged with more than fifty counts of animal neglect and one count of child endangerment.  The animals John was accused of neglecting were tigers.  A tactic that prosecution used was calling a celebrity witness.  Actress Tippi Hedren, who stared in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Marnie. Under Addison's cross examination she admitted her bias against John.
Actress cites squalor at animal compound: Tiger Rescue: Tippi Hedren says her 1998 visit was like "walking through a trash dump." Sandra Stokley, The Press-Enterprise, February 16, 2005.
     "Under questioning by Addison Steele, Weinhart's attorney, Hedren said that she knew that at one point Weinhart had performed in a circus act with some of his animals--something she disapproved of.
     'And you're not going to say anything nice about someone like that?' Steele asked.
     'Probably not,' Hedren replied.
     Hedren also acknowledged that she already harbored a bias against Weinhart before testifying on Tuesday."

This is the photo of John and Addison that was in the Los Angeles Times from when they were waiting for the verdicts.
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