R. Addison Steele II, Attorney at Law - Criminal defense attorney in Santa Barbara
Addison Steele has:
Two robbery trials where the client was acquitted of all charges
(Howard Robertson who was facing fifty-four years to life in prison and Joseph Thompson who was facing thirty-one years to life).
Eight robbery acquittals
(Penal Code § 211).
One attempted robbery acquittal.
(Penal Code § 664/211). 
     Robbery cases can be difficult to defend, and often require specialized defenses, such as attacking a mistaken eye witness identification.  The consequences of a robbery conviction are almost always a prison term, 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 robbery case, you need a lawyer that has experience with robbery trials and that has won robbery trials that have gone before a jury.  I have not only done many robbery trials, I have had full acquittals in robbery trials, including charges that alleged use of a gun.  I have done eight robbery trials (one was an attempted robbery trial) and won all the robbery counts in four of those trials and won the most serious robbery count in one other trial. 
     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 robbery cases.
     My robbery 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.
Joseph Thompson
  • Joseph Thompson
  • Charges:  Robbery (Penal Code § 211) 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:  Joe was looking at sixteen years in prison.  His case actually started out as a life in prison exposure case because he was charged with two additional out of state strikes.  I challenged those strikes before the trial began and got them dismissed.
  • Outcome:  Acquitted of all charges.  Joe was immediately released from jail directly from the courtroom.  Joe and I then went and had lunch where I started a tradition of buying a carne asada burrito for the first meal back to freedom for my clients that have been released from jail after an acquittal.
The verdict forms where Joe was found NOT GUILTY of all charges.
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.
Jaray Christy
  • 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.
Use this link to see all Jaray's NOT GUILTY verdict forms, many of which were for all the robbery counts of which he was acquitted.
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.  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.

These are Corey's verdict forms where he was found NOT GUILTY of robbery and assault.
     Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for a robbery case:
  • Have you done a robbery trial before?
  • This question is important because a robbery trial typically involves complex issues such as eye witness identification, which can be attacked using expert testimony. Somewhat like a murder trial, it requires specialized knowledge and experience.
  • I have done eight robbery trials.
  • What were the results of your robbery trials?
  • This question is important because in a robbery trial there are so many ways to fight hard and beat the types of things that are typically part of a robbery trial such as eye witness identifications and gun allegations. If an attorney has won several robbery trials, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in a robbery trial.
  • I have had full acquittals in two robbery 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 robbery counts in half of the robbery trials I've done and beat the more serious robbery charge in another trial.  If you find another attorney that has done the number of robbery 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 robbery 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 robbery 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 robbery trials.
  • How long were the robbery 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 robbery trial that lasts five or so 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 115 court days in robbery trials. I have success rate in robbery trials that is really unparalleled.
     If you need to talk to me about a robbery case, you can send me an e-mail at rasteele@steeledefender.com or call me at (805) 770-1188.
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