R. Addison Steele II, Attorney at Law - Criminal defense attorney in Santa Barbara
Residential Burglary
Addison Steele has:
Two residential burglary trials where the client was acquitted of all charges
(Penal Code § 459 first degree) 
(Howard Robertson who was facing fifty-four years to life in prison and Edward Pereira who was charged with attempted residential burglary).
     Residential burglary cases can be difficult to defend because so many people in the jury pool have experienced a residential burglary. The consequences of a robbery conviction are almost always a prison term (a judge has to make a finding that the client's case has unusual circumstances in order to grant probation), so a quality defense is critical. If there's an allegation that a gun was used, ten, twenty, or even twenty-five years to life can be added to the sentence.  If you need to hire a lawyer for a residential burglary case, you need a lawyer that has experience with residential burglary trials and that has won residential burglary trials that have gone before a jury.  I have done four residential burglary trials, I have had full acquittals on all the residential burglary counts in two of the four residential burglary trials that I've done.
     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 trial wins in all cases far surpasses that, as it does in residential burglary cases.
     My residential burglary trial successes include:
Howard Robertson
  • Howard Robertson
  • Charges: Robbery (Penal Code § 211) and residential burglary (Penal Code § 459) with four prison term priors (Penal Code § 667.5(b)), five serious crime priors (Penal Code § 667(a)) and five strike priors (Penal Code § 667(c)&(e)(2)(A)/1170.12(c)(2)).
  • Exposure: Howard was looking at fifty-four years to life in prison.
  • Outcome: Howard was acquitted of all charged and released from jail. He moved Tennessee to live with his brother, made a living as a painter and trained defense lawyers on prison gangs and even testified as a gang expert at a trial. He unfortunately was the victim of a river drowning accident. His family said that he died doing what he loved: Enjoying being free in the outdoors.
Howard, Addison and the investigator on the case after the verdicts.
Howard was featured in an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal that was done about my winning so many trials. I've been told, but have not been able to confirm, that the Los Angeles Daily Journal has never done an article like this about any other criminal defense attorney.
     "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.
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.
Howard was also featured in a newspaper article when I was named Riverside County Public Defenders Office Attorney of the Year.
  • 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.
. . .
     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."
The newspaper article covering when I was named the Riverside County Public Defenders Office Attorney of the Year.
This is the Verdict Form where Howard was found NOT GUILTY of robbery.
Edward Pereira
  • Edward Pereira
  • Charges: Attempted robbery (Penal Code § 664/211) and residential burglary (Penal Code § 459), with a strike prior (Penal Code § 667(c)&(e)(2)(A)/1170.12(c)(2)), prison term prior (Penal Code § 667.5(b)) and serious crime prior (Penal Code § 667(a)).
  • Exposure: Edward was looking at sixteen years in prison
  • Outcome: He was found not guilty of all felonies, he was only convicted of the conceded misdemeanors of trespassing and vandalism. He was sentenced to credit for time served and immediately released from jail.

The Verdict Form and Minute Order where Edward was saved from nineteen years in prison because he was acquitted of all felony charges and sentenced to credit for time served for the misdemeanor convictions and was released from jail and went home.
     Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for a residential burglary case:
  • Have you done a residential burglary trial before?
  • This question is important because a residential burglary trial typically involves complex issues such as eye witness evidence and gang allegations. Somewhat like a murder trial, it requires specialized knowledge and experience.
  • I have done four residential burglary trials.
  • What were the results of your residential burglary trials?
  • This question is important because in a residential burglary trial there are so many ways to fight hard and beat the types of things that are typically part of a residential burglary trial such as eye witness identifications and gun allegations.  If an attorney has won residential burglary trials, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in a residential burglary trial.
  • I have had full acquittals in all the residential burglary counts in two residentail burglary trials, one of which was a three strikes case where the client was looking at a life in prison sentence, that client also had a face that was covered in prison tattoos including a 666 tattooed across his forehead.  I have beaten all of the contested residential burglary counts in half of the residential burglary trials I've done.  If you find another attorney that has done the number of residential burglary trials that I have done and has had more successful outcomes than I have and that has had more clients go home free after a residential burglary trial 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 residential burglary 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 residential burglary trials.
  • How long were the residential burglary 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 residential burglary 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 seventy court days in residential burglary trials. I have success rate in residential burglary trials that is really unparalleled.
     If you need to talk to me about a residential burglary case, you can send me an e-mail at rasteele@steeledefender.com or call me at (805) 770-1188.
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