The Law Office of John D. Forsyth - A Criminal Defense Practice
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PAST CLIENT CASES

Please click on a link below to learn more about a specific type of case.

> Sexual Assault/Child Molest /Internet Stings

> Sex Crimes/Registration

> Medical Marijuana

> Prostitution/Pandering

> Attempted Homicide

> DUI/Vehicular Homicide

> DUI/Child Endangerment

> Three Strikes

> Domestic Violence

> Assault on a Police Officer

> Drug Offenses

> Federal Weapons Charges

> Identity Theft/Fraud

> Probation/Parole Violations

> Civil Matters

> Homicide/Kidnapping

> Weapons Charges

> Assault

 

SEXUAL ASSAULT/CHILD MOLEST/INTERNET STINGS

Alameda County Superior Court
Client was arrested and charged with 2 counts of misdemeanor child molest. Client was facing sex registration for life. The incident occurred on a Southwest Airlines jet awaiting take off at the Oakland Airport. The client allegedly touched 2 children who were unaccompanied on the jet. The flight attendant pulled his hand away from one of the children and told him not to touch the children. An argument ensued and she called the Alameda County Sheriff at the airport. The sheriffs escorted him and the children from the jet and interviewed them. The sheriffs then called the children's father back to the airport and had him execute an illegal citizen's arrest. The defense moved to dismiss the case due the illegal citizen's arrest. California law empowers a citizen and a peace office to make arrests for misdemeanors that occur only in their presence. The motion was denied and the case proceeded to trial on a time not waived basis. The facts revealed that the defendant's acts consisted of merely patting the girl on the leg and tickling the boy under his chin. There was no evidence of a sexual motive or intent as required by law. On the first day of trial the district attorney settled the case for a misdemeanor battery, no jail time and probation. SEX CHARGES DISMISSED. NO SEX REGISTRATION. NO JAIL.

 

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client was charged with 2 counts of indecent exposure and one count of child endangerment after he was arrested near a high school while urinating in public. Client had a prior arrest and conviction involving indecent exposure 10 years before. The district attorney planned to introduce that evidence at trial. The client faced jail time and lifetime sex registration if convicted of indecent exposure. The defense focused on the 15 year old girl who called 911 and the investigation by the police of the incident. The district attorney refused to turn over training records from the officers regarding their training and experience interviewing child witnesses. The court ordered the production of the records and granted a defense motion for sanctions for failure to produce the records. The case proceeded to trial on a time not waived basis. On the first day of trial the district attorney dropped all sex charges against the client. The client pleaded to a misdemeanor with probation and no jail. SEX CHARGES DISMISSED. NO LIFETIME SEX REGISTRATION.

 

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client owned and operated a local day spa. Three separate women claimed they were touched inappropriately on their breasts and genitalia during massages by the client. He was charged with three felony counts of sexual battery. After the arrest more women came forward claiming similar assaults. Client faced multiple sex charges, the possibility of consecutive state prison terms and sex registration for life. The trial strategy involved expert witnesses who could demonstrate that the techniques used by the client were appropriate and acceptable within the industry. Long time women clients were prepared to testify he had never touched them inappropriately during massages. All offers by the district attorney were rejected and the case proceeded to trial. On the second day of trial the case settled for a single misdemeanor charge of battery and probation. NO FELONY SEX CHARGE CONVICTION. NO SEX REGISTRATION. NO JAIL.

 

Sacramento County Superior Court
Client was charged with felony sexual battery and digital penetration by his estranged wife. Facing jail time and lifetime sex registration. Investigation revealed that wife was bi-polar and had falsely accused client of child molest in the past. Defense investigators discovered that wife had admitted she made up the accusation of sexual assault in an effort to retain custody of the 4 children. At preliminary exam the defense called client’s stepdaughter to the stand who testified that her mother admitted the false accusation to her. One felony was reduced to a misdemeanor at preliminary exam and case was set for trial. All settlement offers by the district attorney were rejected and the case moved forward. CASE DISMISSED. Client’s other misdemeanor charges for domestic violence were also dismissed in Alameda County.

 

Lake County Superior Court
Client was charged with forcible rape and facing 8 years of state prison and sex registration for life. The first trial was handled by a local attorney and resulted in a hung jury. 11 of the jurors voting for conviction. The client hired the Law Office of John D. Forsyth for the new trial. The trial team consisted of medical experts and investigators. The new trial strategy focused on the lack of medical evidence of rape and the alleged victim’s propensity for vindictiveness. On the first day of trial the prosecution reduced the charge to false imprisonment and client was granted probation. No state prison. No sex registration.

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San Francisco Superior Court
Client charged with assault with intent to commit rape and assault with intent to commit oral copulation. Client was exposed to 22 years of state prison; strike convictions and sex registration for life. Investigation revealed that the alleged victim was the client’s mistress and had exaggerated the events to the police and to her new lover. Prosecution reduced the charges to simple assault and client was granted probation. No state prison. No strike convictions. No sex registration.

 

Alameda County Superior Court
Client was arrested for kidnapping, false imprisonment, forcible rape, forcible sodomy and domestic violence with weapons enhancements based on accusations from his wife. Client admitted to police the sexual contact and not allowing the wife to leave the house. Client was facing strike offenses, state prison and sex registration for life. Investigation immediately revealed that the wife was having an affair with a co-worker and that her claims of kidnapping, forcible rape and sodomy were false. The district attorney took over 8 months to file charges. The prosecution later dropped all sex charges and the client enters a plea to domestic violence and false imprisonment. Client was granted probation and avoided prison; strike convictions and sex registration for life.

 

Lake County Superior Court
Client confessed to molest of his teenaged daughter years before. At issue was the age of the daughter at the time of the alleged molest. Molest of a child under 14 years of age or younger is more serious than a child 15 years or older. Investigator was able to interview daughter and use receipts from a computer that was purchased for her 15th birthday to corroborate that she was 15 years of age at the time of the alleged molest. Prosecution reduced the charge to a “wobbler” offense. Psychological evaluation of the client revealed that he was not a danger to the community. Client was granted probation and credit for time served. “Wobbler” offenses can be reduced to a misdemeanor after completion of probation. No state prison. No strike convictions.

 

Contra Costa County Superior Court
Client confessed to fondling a teenaged girl. Negotiations with the district attorney and a psychological evaluation reduced the charge to a misdemeanor with a grant of probation and a short term of home arrest. No felony conviction. No jail.

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United States District Court, Northern District of California
A high profile child molest/Internet sting case involving the CEO of a local high tech company. The client was prosecuted by both the federal government and the State of California. Federal prosecution involved an Internet sting by the F.B.I. and child molest charges. Client was exposed to 30 years to life in federal prison due the substantial sexual contact with a minor charges. The US Attorney attempted to get a court order preventing the defense investigator from interviewing the alleged victim who had also claimed to have been raped by her uncle and had consensual sex with several adult men she met on the Internet. US Attorney also refused to turn over any discovery items regarding the alleged victim’s statements to her school counselor. Eventually, the sex with a minor charges were dropped and the client entered a plea to the Internet sting case. The US Attorney unsuccessfully attempted to require the client to make restitution to the alleged victim. The court ruled against the government at sentencing due to the fact that they refused to turn over any discovery regarding the alleged victim. Client was sentenced to 34 months of federal prison.

 

Santa Clara County Superior Court                                     
The state charges against the client exposed him to 16 years of state prison for forcibly molesting a child. The prosecutor made an initial offer of 16 years and threatened to amend the charges in such a way that the client would be exposed to a life term if the defense took the case to a preliminary exam. This required several motions for discovery of confidential school records and records from the juvenile dependency court in an effort to obtain evidence that the alleged victim was not forcibly molested. The court ruled in favor of the release of the school records, which revealed that the sex was consensual. The district attorney reduced the offer to 10 years and agreed to allow the remainder of the federal sentence to run concurrent with the state sentence. This particular client was exposed to a life sentence at the state level as well as a federal life sentence.


Alameda County Superior Court
Internet sting case where cop used a chat room and pretended to be a 15-year-old girl. Client was charged under the new California Penal Code section 288.2 and faced prison time and sex registration for life. Defense motions challenged the constitutionality of the new law. CASE DISMIISED.

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Contra Costa County Superior Court
Took up where the Alameda County case left off. Because the client lived in another county where he used his computer, that county asserted jurisdiction. Once again the California statute was challenged constitutionally. Once again CASE DISMISSED by the Superior Court Appellate Division.

 

Alameda County Superior Court
Client was charged with felony molest after he developed a sexual relationship with a 15 year old boy over the Internet. Client faced state prison and sex registration for life. Investigation revealed that the boy represented he was over 18 and was frequenting gay bars, gay chat rooms and night clubs in San Francisco developing relationships with older men. The prosecution reduced the charge to misdemeanor attempted child endangerment. Client was granted probation, avoided a felony conviction for child molest and lifetime sex registration.

 

Alameda County Superior Court
Client was a mentally retarded 18-year-old man who was accused of orally copulating his 3-year-old cousin. Client was held and interrogated by police for over 8 hours before being arrested. He did not confess despite intimidation and unconscionable tactics at the hands of police. An aggressive defense posture forced the prosecution to relent and reduce the charge to child endangerment. Client was granted probation and served no jail time. No felony strike conviction. No lifetime sex registration.

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Lake County Superior Court
Client was a 27-year-old mentally retarded man who was sexually involved with a 15-year-old girl. When her father found out about the relationship she claimed rape. Investigation revealed that the girl was reluctant to testify that she had been raped and was pushed into making the exaggerated allegations by her father. Further, review of the DNA evidence, done by the forensic lab for the California Department of Justice, was suspect in that the criminalist had been unethical in her testing and analysis. Defense analysis of California law regarding mentally retarded defendants compelled the court to postpone prosecution while client went through evaluation and counseling at the local regional center. CASE DISMISSED.

 

SEX CRIMES/REGISTRATION

Contra Costa County Superior Court
Client is a 22 year old high school volleyball coach. He became romantically involved with a 17 year old young woman from another high school. After a year of dating with the knowledge of both parents, the relationship was reported to school officials who contacted the police. A female officer from the City of Lafayette Police Department interviewed the 17 year old for over 1 1/2 hours. During that interview the 17 year old initially would not state she had sex with the client during the relationship. After undue coercion by the officer (who called her a liar 31 times and threatened her with arrest and jail for lying to the police and perjury), the young woman admitted that she and the client had performed mutual masturbation with each other. The young woman was re-interviewed after the client's arrest by the same officer who ridiculed and berated her for not remembering exactly where and when the sexual contact had taken place. The District Attorney initially declined to file charges and had the young woman re-interviewed at a forensic interview center. Two months later the client was charged with 10 felony counts of sexual penetration of a person under 18 years of age. He faced jail time and sex registration for life. The defense focused on the investigating officer's coercive interviews of the young woman. The defense demanded discovery of the officer's training in regard to interviewing minor victims of sexual assault and the policies and procedures used by her agency regarding such interviews. The defense also demanded any records from the officer's personnel file for citizen complaints regarding coercive interrogations and interviews. On the day of the court hearing on the defense motions the case was settled for a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and 100 hours of community service. NO FELONY SEX CRIME CONVICTION. NO SEX REGISTRATION. NO JAIL.

 

Alameda County Superior Court
Client had suffered a conviction for felony sexual battery 5 years prior. The judge at sentencing had erroneously imposed sex registration for the period of probation only. After client had his charge reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged, he was informed he was still required to register as a sex offender for life. Our office moved to withdraw the previous guilty plea due to the error in sentencing regarding sex registration. The court withdrew the plea and client entered a plea to misdemeanor statutory rape with no requirement of sex registration. Client’s record was expunged that very day. Client was removed from the sex offender database in Sacramento.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA

San Francisco Superior Court
Client was arrested after traffic stop with 7 lbs of marijuana. Both he and his girlfriend were in possession of current medicinal cannabis cards. However, the law limits the amount of medicinal marijuana a person can possess or grow. The client was also part of a collective of designated caregivers and qualified patients. That allowed the client to transport and/or possess more marijuana as it was for purposes of use by the entire collective. This evidence was presented to the district attorney immediately. The district attorney declined to file any criminal charges. CHARGES NOT FILED. CASE DISMISSED.

 

San Francisco Superior Court
Client was arrested after a traffic stop with 1 lb. of marijuana. He did not have a current medicinal cannabis card. Client was a designated caregiver to an AIDs patient who did have a current card. The law now requires that designated caregivers have a greater role in the qualified patient's life beyond just supplying medicinal marijuana. Evidence of the relationship between the client and the patient was immediately presented to the district attorney. CHARGES WITHDRAWN. CASE DISMISSED. The Office of John D. Forsyth is assisting the client in the development of a medicinal marijuana collective that will be in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act.

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San Francisco County Superior Court
Client was a Yurok tribal member from Humboldt County. He and two friends were arrested in San Francisco in possession of 6 pounds of marijuana. The client admitted that 3 pounds of the marijuana were his. He was charged with felony possession for sale and felony transportation of marijuana. Client is a legitimate medical marijuana user. Our office filed a motion challenging the recent changes to the medical marijuana law that only allows possession of ½ pound (8 oz) of marijuana by medical users. The basis for the motion is that the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215) was put into law by the voters of California. Our state constitution does not allow the legislature to make changes to laws that are enacted by popular vote unless the law specifically allows for such. The case proceeded to preliminary exam where the court would have to rule on our motion. The district attorney reduced the charges to misdemeanor possession and a $100.00 fine. No restrictions were placed on the client's ability to continue to use medical marijuana. FELONY CHARGES REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR. NO JAIL. Special thanks to the office of William Panzer for his gracious help and support in this case.

Note: Exactly one week after this case was settled the California Court of Appeals ruled that the legislative changes to the Compassionate Use Act that limited medical marijuana users to only possessing 8 oz. of marijuana were unconstitutional.

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PROSTITUTION/PANDERING

Alameda County Superior Court
Client and her co-defendant were charged with soliciting prostitution and pimping/pandering after the massage studio was raided by state and federal law enforcement. This was a classic case of entrapment and withholding of crucial evidence by law enforcement. The local police and Office of Homeland Defense were looking for human trafficking of Asian women and came up short. Defense discovery demands were ignored by the prosecution and the court. Defense exercised right to a speedy trial. On eve of trial the prosecution reduced charge to disturbing the peace and a fine. Client avoided a conviction that had serious consequences to her immigration status. It was later revealed that the prosecution held back over 20 audiotapes from the defense.

 

ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE

San Francisco Superior Court
Client was arrested after a police informant made statements that he was solicited by the client to assist in the murder of another tenant in client’s building. Investigation and preliminary exam testimony revealed that the informant had numerous drug convictions and was facing state prison due to a recent arrest. Further, the evidence at the preliminary exam was insufficient to hold client for a felony charge. CASE DISMISSED after a motion by the defense.

 

Solano County Superior Court
Client was charged in 2006 with attempted 1st degree murder and faced a sentence of 25 years to life. Client had attended a party with 3 other young men. The client and his companions were forcibly ejected from the party by two adults. One of the adults was shot at point blank range with a handgun. Initially neither the victim nor his family cooperated with police. The client was not identified during any of the photo line ups shown to witnesses in the weeks following the shooting although one of his companions was. The young woman who threw the party and her friends conducted an investigation on their own and later made identifications of the client almost 2 months after the shooting. The victim identified client at the preliminary exam as the one who shot him. In June of 2008 the Law Office of John D. Forsyth took over the case. The time waiver was withdrawn and the case was set for trial within 60 days. The investigation revealed that one of the two uncles involved with ejecting the client and his friends from the party knew that the client was not the shooter and had said as much to other witnesses. The uncle refused to cooperate with the police and the defense investigation. It was revealed that the young woman who threw the party lied to police about knowing one of the client’s companions that night. The defense theorized that this other young man was the actual shooter and both the victim and his family knew it. They had falsely accused the client in an effort to force him to give up his friend as the shooter because they feared retaliation. All offers from the court and district attorney were rejected and the case proceeded to trial. The victim and his family were subpoenaed by the defense. On the eve of trial the victim stated he was unsure who the actual shooter was. CASE DISMISSED

 

DUI/VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

Alameda County Superior Court
Client was charged with grossly negligent vehicular homicide while DUI. Client was exposed to 22 years of state prison and two strikes, as there were two separate victims. The details of the accident were quite grisly as two people died in a fiery crash. By assembling a team consisting of an accident reconstructionist and 2 investigators, the defense was able to get the charges reduced to vehicular manslaughter while DUI and the client was granted probation and served a short county jail sentence. Further, the DMV did not suspend the client’s driver’s license after an administrative hearing where one of the investigating officers made misrepresentations regarding what he observed the night of the incident. No state prison. No DMV license suspension.

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Contra Costa County Superior Court
Client was an 80 year old man who was involved in a traffic accident that ended in the death of his wife, the death of another driver and severe injuries to a third driver. Client was charged with two counts of misdemeanor vehicular homicide. Witness statements revealed that the client’s car drifted across into oncoming traffic. The defense contended that this was evidence that he had been unconscious. The case proceeded to trial on a “no time waiver” basis. On the first day of trial the CASE WAS DISMISSED by the district attorney.

 

DUI/CHILD ENDANGERMENT

Contra Costa County Superior
Client was charged with DUI and 3 counts of child endangerment as his 3 young children were in the car. Client faced a minimum of 30 days jail and, more importantly, loss of custody rights of his children and the possible loss of his license to practice dentistry. The investigation revealed that the person who reported the client as drunk and driving was a friend of his estranged wife. Other witnesses from the same party were located and painted a different picture. Additional information indicated that the wife and the arresting officers may have withheld evidence. On the eve of the motion to suppress evidence, the prosecution reduced the charges to reckless driving and a fine. Additionally the DMV did not suspend the client’s license after an administrative hearing. No jail. No conviction that jeopardized child custody or professional license. No DMV driver’s license suspension.

 

THREE STRIKES

San Mateo County Superior Court
Client charged with illegal possession of a firearm and had a previous juvenile strike conviction of armed robbery with use of a gun enhancement. Recent case law prevents juvenile strike convictions from being used on adults. However, the district attorney treated this as a strike prior in that they refused to make any pre-trial offer. Client was exposed to state prison. The defense filed a motion to dismiss for violation of the client’s right to a speedy trial. Defense team had interviewed witnesses who stated the police officer had made them guess when shown a photo line-up could not identify the client now as it had been almost 2 years since the incident. CASE DISMISSED.

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San Francisco Superior
18 y/o client was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats, false imprisonment and domestic violence. Client was exposed to 6 years of state prison and 2 strike convictions. Investigation and preliminary exam testimony revealed that no weapon was ever found. The alleged victim’s testimony indicated that she was very inconsistent with her story about the use of a knife. Charges were reduced to simple assault and client was granted probation. No strike convictions. No state prison.

 

Marin County Superior
3 strike case. Client facing 25 to life as the result of two prior sexual assault convictions and the new charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Client was at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and drew his sword in a fight with two drunken men. Investigation revealed that the witnesses did not witness any assault, but rather a brandishing of the weapon. At preliminary exam the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and the client was grated probation with community service. No jail. No felony 3 strike conviction.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client was arrested for felony domestic violence causing bodily injury which is a strike. Client was also charged with felony domestic violence from a similar incident that had occurred the year before with the same woman. The previous incident had been charged the year before as misdemeanors and dropped by the district attorney when the woman refused to cooperate. California law allows domestic violence charges to be re-filed within 6 months of dismissal. The district attorney illegally re-filed the former charges as felonies because the 6 month time limit for dismissed charges had run as had the one year statute of limitations for misdemeanors. The case proceeded to preliminary exam where the charges from the previous incident were dismissed. Cross examination of the victim revealed that she had drank 6 shots of whiskey in a 45 minute period before starting a fight with the defendant. The victim also testified that the client had threatened to kill her while he strangled her. This was a fact she did not report on the night of the incident. Further cross examination revealed that the victim had filed for a civil restraining order and had stated under perjury that she had suffered injury and bruising to her neck that required medical attention for days after the incident. The victim had posted photos of herself on Facebook at a party days after the event. The photo showed her drink in hand with a low cut dress that revealed no bruising to her neck. Investigation of the victim revealed she had two prior DUI convictions and the night of the incident she went straight to a bar with the defendant after attending her drinker driver class. Investigation also uncovered the fact that the victim had provided false information to her attorney regarding her alcohol consumption for one of her DUI arrests. All of this information was made available to the district attorney prior to trial. As a result, the district attorney dropped all felony charges and settled the case for a single misdemeanor with no jail. FELONY STRIKES DISMISSED. NO JAIL.

 

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client is a prominent Bay Area physician and was arrested for felony domestic violence and felony child endangerment. A conviction for any of these charges jeopardized his license to practice medicine. Client and his former girlfriend have a 5 y/o child that they share informal custody and care of. The girlfriend picked up the Client and the child from the Oakland Airport smelling of alcohol. When the Client insisted that he drive the car an argument ensued. The girlfriend struck the Client in the face. The Client did not report this to the police. 5 days later the boyfriend of the child's mother told police that the Client had physically abused the child and her mother. The mother confirmed this false allegation. The police arrested the Client and served him with a protective order that prevented him having contact with his child. The Office of John D. Forsyth immediately got to work and advised the district attorney of several facts including that the incident occurred in Alameda County and that the woman actually committed physical violence. The district attorney contacted the woman and confirmed this. The district attorney declined to file criminal charges as a result. CASE DISMISSED.

 

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client is a single mother of a 3 year old child. She was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment after she assaulted the father of the child. The criminal court issued a "stay away" order which prevented the client from contacting her child. The case proceeded on a time not waived basis directly to trial. The facts revealed that the father of the child had instigated an argument with the client. She refused and called 911 ordering him from her apartment. He then used a key he had to her apartment and entered. He took the 3 year old child from the apartment without permission. She assaulted him in her efforts to stop him. The father of the child told the police 3 different stories claiming the child ran out of the apartment into his arms. The defense investigation revealed he had assaulted the client on a previous occasion when she refused to argue with him. His statements to the police avoided all responsibility for his actions and blamed the client for her bad parenting skills. The 911 recording revealed she had ordered him from the apartment and demanded her key back. On the day of trial the district attorney dismissed the case. CASE DISMISSED. The client picked up her son that very day.

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San Francisco Superior Court
Client was charged with felony domestic violence, assault with force likely to cause injury with an enhancement alleging serious bodily injury. The client had a prior conviction for domestic violence. Client was facing a felony strike conviction and a likely jail sentence. The complaining witness, his wife, went to a local hospital and was treated for a broken arm that she reported to the emergency physician had been caused when the client struck her with a suitcase. Client was interviewed by the police and admitted that he had a fight with his wife and was forced to defend himself after she scratched his face. He admitted to grabbing her arms in that effort. He also admitted that the wife had engaged in a tug of war with him with a suitcase. He told the police his mother-in-law had treated him for the cuts to his face caused by the wife. The wife prevented the police from speaking with the mother-in-law and recanted her story. As the case proceeded to preliminary exam, the prosecution relented and settled the matter for a misdemeanor and no jail. NO FELONY STRIKE CONVICTION. NO JAIL.

 

Santa Clara County Superior Court
Client was in the process of divorce when he was charged with domestic violence and criminal threats after his wife and in-laws accused him of threatening them with a knife. Client was a Chinese national seeking U.S. citizenship. Defense investigators discovered that wife had secretly married another man in the United States in an effort to gain citizenship. Wife had provided a fraudulent divorce decree from China. Wife had tried to bribe witnesses to keep them from testifying in divorce case. Defense was able to bring all this to the district attorney who dropped the charges. CASE DISMISSED.

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Alameda County Superior Court
Client charged with multiple counts of violating a court order preventing contact with his estranged wife. CASE DISMISSED after motion by defense asserting speedy trial rights.

 

Contra Costa County Superior Court
Client suffered from bi-polar disorder and was charged with violating a court order not to harass his ex-wife. Client was resistant to treatment and medication, which caused him to be even more unpredictable. After his second arrest for violating the court order, the court refused to grant bail citing his escalating behavior and possible danger to the community. Defense moved court to allow client to be released into the custody of psychological treatment facility. After a short time the client stabilized and the court granted a release on his own recognizance. Client continued out patient services and medication. CASE DISMISSED. Our office arranged for a conservatorship for the client and his substantial assets allowing his siblings to take control of his estate until he is capable of doing so once again.

 

ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER

San Francisco Superior Court
Client was charged with misdemeanor assault on two police officers and resisting arrest. Client was with a group of people who had chartered a party bus to go to nightclubs in San Francisco as part of a birthday celebration. Outside of a club several drunken men tried to get on the bus and began assaulting two of the women in the party. Client and his friend attempted to help the women and were grabbed from behind by the cops beaten with batons. The police reports stated that the client had attacked and assaulted a police officer in the street and the other officers came in to assist subduing him. The defense investigative team immediately began interviewing witnesses who stated that 4 to 5 police officers beat the defendant so hard with their batons that you could hear the blows to his head from 40 feet away. Witnesses also stated that the client suffered a severe blow to his scalp, which was bleeding so profusely that blood had to be wiped from his eyes and face. Witnesses described how the client was “hog tied” by police and left bleeding on the sidewalk while a police officer rested his knee in the client’s back and smoked a cigarette. All of this was presented to the judge and prosecution. Client was granted diversion with CHARGES DISMISSED. The Law Office of John D. Forsyth, in conjunction with the Law Office of Paul J. Smoot, is currently pursuing a civil lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department and the City of San Francisco.

 

San Francisco County Superior Court
Client was outside a sports bar watching a fight when several police officers came from behind and beat him to the ground. He was charged with assault on a police officer. CASE DISMISSED after the defense filed a motion to open the personnel and discipline records of all the officers involved regarding prior use of excessive force.

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DRUG OFFENSES

San Francisco Superior Court
Client is a 64 year old Viet Namese father and grandfather living in the Bay View District of San Francisco with his family. Police officers were conducting surveillance of a local parolee who was seen leaving the client's home. The parolee was searched and found to be in possession of 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana. The police then forcibly entered the client's home and conducted a warrantless search which turned up over 18 lbs. of marijuana, a shot gun, ammunition, a silencer and $42,000.00 in cash. Police then coerced the client and his 32 year old son to sign a consent form to allow the illegal search. The police took no regard that the neither the client nor his son could read English. While in custody the client falsely confessed to the marijuana being his. He did this in order to save his son from possible deportation from the U.S. The case proceeded on a time not waived basis. The Law Office of John D. Forsyth filed a motion to suppress all evidence and statements by the client due to the illegal warrantless search. On the day of the preliminary hearing, the court demanded the district attorney bring the Narcotics Division supervisor to an in chambers conference. The case was settled for a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana for the client and his son's case was dismissed thereby avoiding an possible immigration consequences. Felony charges dismissed. No jail.

 

San Francisco County Superior Court
Client charged with felony possession for sale of marijuana after police searched her home and found cash, a scale and marijuana. Client admitted that she provided marijuana to her friends. Client was Prop 36 eligible and after drug court counselors reviewed her case the charges were reduced to simple misdemeanor possession of marijuana and a $120.00 fine. No felony conviction. No jail.

 

Alameda County Superior Court
A police raid on the client’s home turned up multiple pounds of marijuana, cash, packaging materials and a mushroom factory. Negotiations with the district attorney resulted in a reduced charge of felony possession of concentrated marijuana and a grant of probation. Client served 30 days in a drug rehabilitation program and had the charge reduced to a misdemeanor after 2 years of successful probation.

 

Contra Costa County Superior Court
A joint task force of state and federal law enforcement served a search warrant on client’s home and seized a safe containing $100,000.00 cash. Investigation and discussions with the district attorney revealed that client had no idea that the safe contained contraband and he had no involvement in drug trafficking. No charges were filed.

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Contra Costa County Superior Court
Client went to a friend’s home as it was being searched by police. Police detained client, searched his vehicle and found an entire lab set-up for methamphetamine production. Client admitted under questioning that he had been involved with another person who was cooking methamphetamine the night before. Client was exposed to 9 years of state prison. Discussions with the chief narcotics prosecutor allowed client to enter a guilty plea to reduced charges that were reduced further to simple possession after completion of probation. Client served 6 months in drug rehabilitation facility. No state prison. Conviction expunged.

 

FEDERAL WEAPONS CHARGES

United States District Court, District of Northern California
Federal prosecution for convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Client had previous felony convictions for cultivation and sales of marijuana 20 years earlier. Client was detained by National Park ranger as he returned from a hunting trip near Redwood National Park. Investigation reveled that this particular Park Ranger was making numerous illegal vehicle stops within the national park. Investigation further revealed that client was a well-known hunting and fishing enthusiast who had assisted in local conservation efforts in the area. Local law enforcement was well aware of the prior convictions and looked the other way realizing that client was not a threat. United States attorney and Adult Probation Department agreed to a term of probation and no jail time. All of client’s firearms were later returned by the ATF.

 

IDENTITY THEFT/FRAUD

San Francisco Superior Court
Client charged with burglary and grad theft after using fraudulent credit card to purchase electronics. This was quite serious for client as he faced deportation if convicted. Police gathered other evidence linking client to other similar crimes. Arrangements were made with the police department to return all of the stolen property. Client was granted diversion and served 3 days of community service. No felony or misdemeanor conviction. No immigration consequences.

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PROBATION/PAROLE VIOLATIONS

California Department of Corrections v. McLaughlin
Client was on parole for a strike felonies. Client’s former employer fabricated false accusations of embezzlement and grand theft in an effort to prevent the client from testifying in a civil case that was pending against the employer. Client was immediately arrested and sent to San Quentin to await a parole violation hearing. Client was facing a return to state prison for a maximum of 16 months. Client was released from custody after the initial detention hearing. After a heated parole violation hearing took place in San Francisco all pending charges against the Client were DISMISSED.

 

CIVIL MATTERS

Schiffman v. Loeliger Yolo County Superior Court
Client’s estranged wife and daughter falsely accused him of stalking and harassing the daughter by attending her soccer games and petitioned for a criminal restraining order against client. The case went to hearing where audiotapes of the incident showed unequivocally that the mother, stepfather and daughter lied to the court about the incident. Judge refused to issue the restraining order.

 

HOMICIDE/KIDNAPPING

Siskiyou County Superior Court
The People v. Suzanne Dorene Little
 

 

WEAPONS CHARGES

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client was charged with possession for sale of Oxycontin and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Client had 4 prior convictions that resulted in prison terms. Client faced certain time in state prison. The defense focused on the fact that the client had a legitimate prescription for 120 Oxycontin per month as he was confined to a wheelchair after being shot 6 times. The defense also focused on the search warrant that was served on the client's home in Marin County where a firearm, photos of the client using a firearm at a pistol range and over $13,000.00 in cash were seized. At the preliminary exam the investigating police officers contradicted each other in their testimony regarding an alleged "controlled buy" of one pill by an informant from the defendant. One officer testified that the informant was under observation from the time he met with the defendant until he met with the officers. The other officer testified that he could not say if the informant was kept under surveillance the entire time. Both officers again contradicted each other as to how a storage locker in the garage of defendant's home in Marin County was searched during service of the warrant. The defense filed a motion to dismiss the charges based upon a lack of jurisdiction over the firearm as no evidence was produced that linked the firearm with any criminal activity in San Francisco. In addition, a motion to suppress all of the evidence seized at the client's home due to lack of probable cause for the warrant and that the search of the storage locker had exceeded the scope of the warrant was filed. After review of the defense motions the district attorney dismissed all charges. CASE DISMISSED.

 

ASSAULT

Superior Court of San Francisco
Client was charged with felony assault and allegations of causing great bodily injury. This is a strike offense in California. Client is a high profile civil attorney from Chicago who was in San Francisco for vacation with his wife and daughter. After watching the USC/Stanford game at a local sports bar with the USC Alumni Association, the family tried to catch a cab back to their hotel. The client stepped into Shang Hai Kelly's saloon to use the restroom. He was immediately confronted by a drunk patron and his friends who began to verbally abuse and profanely ridicule him. This was all because he was wearing USC regalia. As he was leaving the bar the drunk patron and one of his friends confronted the client again and threatened to "kick his ass." The client grabbed a beer glass and smashed it into the face of one of the drunks and punched the other sending him to the floor. As he tried to leave the area, both he and his family were followed by the drunk and 4 of his friends. They assaulted the client in the street punching and kicking him in the head. The drunk suffered over 100 stitches to his face from the beer glass. The client suffered brain injury and cracked ribs. San Francisco Police reviewed the surveillance video from the bar and determined that the client had delivered the first blow. He was arrested and charged with strike felonies. The drunk retained a civil lawyer who threatened suit. The case proceeded to preliminary exam where an aggressive posture of self-defense was presented. The client's wife and daughter described how he was savagely beaten by 5 men in the street. The drunk patron denied doing any assault to the client and claimed he only said "Boo USC" at the bar. At the close of the preliminary exam the court found that this was a case of mutual combat and that the client had a right to defend himself. CASE DISMISSED.

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