R. Addison Steele II, Attorney at Law - Criminal defense attorney in Santa Barbara
Resisting Arrest
Addison Steele has:
Three resisting arrest acquittals
(Penal Code § 69)
(Whiston Kaleimamahu, Adreian Jamison
and Larry Ford).
Two resisting arrest convictions that were immediately reduced to misdemeanors after trial by the judge  
(Penal Code § 69)
(Derek Holbert and Richard Secretan).
     Resisting arrest cases can be difficult to defend because a lot of jurors have a predisposition to favoring cops.  Another problem is that a lot of defense attorneys are afraid to aggressively attack cops for fear of alienating jurors.  I have approached these cases with the mentality that the jurors expect me to do my job and my job is to vigorously defend my client even if it hurts a cop's feelings.  One of my proudest moments is when I was a young attorney doing one of these trials and the cop testified that a scratch (it really was a scratch, like a person gets when playing with a kitten) was an injury.  My question for him on cross examination was, "Would categorize that 'injury' as more of a 'boo boo' or an 'owie.'"  The jury laughed, the district attorney's objection was sustained, but at that moment I threw out the "jurors don't like it if you're tough on the cop on the witness stand" mentality, not that I ever had that mentality.   
     The reality in almost all resisting arrest cases, especially the felony Penal Code § 69 cases, is that the cops beat someone up and now they're charging that person with resisting arrest in order to cover for themselves.  If you need to hire a lawyer for a resisting arrest case, you need a lawyer that has experience with resisting arrest trials and that has won resisting arrest trials that have gone before a jury.  I have not only done many resisting arrest trials, I have had a successful outcomes in them.  I have done seven resisting arrest trials and won (and by "won" I mean either an acquittal or an immediate reduction to a misdemeanor after trial) five 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 five out of seven trial wins in resisting arrest trials far surpasses that.
My assault trial successes include:
Whiston Kaleimamahu
  • Whiston Kaleimamahu
  • Charges:  Resisting arrest with force (Penal Code § 69) and assault on a police officer (Penal Code § 243(c)(2).
  • Exposure:  Whiston was facing three years, eight months in prison.
  • Outcome:  Whiston was acquitted of all felony charges and was sentenced to misdemeanor probation without any actual jail time.  He was playing football at the community college level, if he had been convicted of a felony it would have severely impacted his prospects of getting a football scholarship to a four year university.  He went on to play at South Dakota State.
The verdict forms where the jury acquitted Whiston of all felony charges.
Adreian Jamison
  • Adreian Jamison
  • Charges: Possession of crack cocaine for sales (Health and Safety Code § 11351.5), transportation of rock cocaine (Health and Safety Code § 11352(a)), possession of a weapon (a billy club) (Penal Code § 12020(a)(1), resisting arrest with force (Penal Code § 69), battery on a police officer (Penal Code § 243(b)) and destroying evidence (Penal Code § 135), special allegations of two prison term priors (Penal Code § 667.5(b) and two dope sales priors (Health and Safety Code § 11370.2(a)).
  • Exposure: Adreian was facing fourteen years, four months in prison.
  • Outcome: Adreian was acquitted of possession for sales, he was convicted of the conceded lesser included offense of simple possession for personal use, convicted of transportation of crack cocaine, he was acquitted of possession of a billy club, he was acquitted of resisting arrest with force and only convicted of the misdemeanor lesser included offense of resisting arrest and misdemeanor destroying evidence. He was sentenced to ten years in prison at half time (can get out in five years with good behavior).
Larry Ford
  • Larry Ford
  • Charges:  Attempted carjacking (Penal Code § 664/215(a)) and resisting arrest with force (Penal Code § 69), with seven prison term priors (Penal Code § 667.5(b)) and two strike priors (Penal Code § 667(c)&(e)(2)(A)/1170.12(c)(2)(A)) .
  • Exposure:  Larry was facing fifty-seven years to life in prison.
  • Outcome:  In the middle of trial Larry was acquitted of resisting with force by the judge.  Unfortunately he was convicted of attempted carjacking.  Because we won the resisting arrest count, his maximum sentence was thirty-two years to life instead of fifty-seven years to life.  Larry now has a chance of actually living long enough to see a parole hearing date, whereas if we had also lost the resisting arrest charge there would have been no hope of ever getting out and going home.
Derek Holbert
  • Derek Holbert
  • Charges:  Resisting arrest with force (Penal Code § 69), trespassing (Penal Code § 602.1(a)), and battery on a police officer (Penal Code § 243(b)).
  • Exposure:  Derek was facing three years in prison.
  • Outcome:  Derek was acquitted of battery on a police officer.  He was convicted of trespassing and he was convicted of resisting arrest with force, but the judge reduced the conviction to a misdemeanor after trial, he was sentenced to misdemeanor probation and could not be sent to prison even if he violated his probation because he was only convicted of misdemeanors.
Richard Secretan 
  • Richard Secretan
  • Charges: Assault on a police officer (Penal Code § 243(c)(2)), resisting arrest (Penal Code § 69), domestic violence (Penal Code § 273.5(a) and failure to appear in court (Penal Code § 1320.5).
  • Exposure: Richard was facing five years, four months in prison.
  • Outcome: Despite his girlfriend testifying that Richard had hit her, a highway patrolman testifying that Richard had hit him, and testimony that court records showed that he had not appeared in court, Richard was found not guilty of assault on a police officer and all the included offenses with that charge, not guilty of domestic violence and the lesser included offense, and not guilty of failure to appear in court.  He was found guilty of resisting arrest, but the judge immediately reduced that charge to a misdemeanor.  He was sentenced to misdemeanor probation and could not be sent to prison even if he violated his probation because he was only convicted of a misdemeanor.
This is Richard's Verdict Form from when he was found NOT GUILTY of battery on a police officer.
     Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for an assault case:
  • Have you done a resisting arrest trial before?
  • This question is important because a resisting arrest trial typically involves the testimony of the complaining cop witness (alleged cop victim) against what really happened.  It requires an experienced attorney that is skilled in questioning a cop complaining witness.
  • I have done seven resisting arrest trials.
  • What were the results of your resisting arrest trials?
  • This question is important because in a resisting arrest trial there are so many ways to fight hard and win and the attorney has to be willing to stand up and fight, even if it's against a cop witness.  If an attorney has won several resisting arrest trials, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in a resisting arrest trial.
  • I have won (and by won I mean either an acquittal or reduction to misdemeanor) five of the seven resisting arrest trials I've done.  If you find another attorney that has done the number of resisting arrest 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 winning your case, you should contact me.
  • Do you train others lawyers in your techniques for winning resisting arrest 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 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 resisting arrest trials.
  • How long were the resisting arrest 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 resisting arrest 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 57 court days in resisting arrest trials.  I have a success rate in resisting arrest trials that is really unparalleled.
     If you need to talk to me about a resisting arrest case, you can send me an e-mail at rasteele@steeledefender.com or call me at (805) 770-1188.
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