A Griffin Law Office client was entering her Army base in Washington state when was pulled aside by Military Police and informed that she had a felony arrest warrant out of San Diego. The client had not been contacted by police and was understandably upset and scared that she faced such serious charges. She was not allowed on base and her command notified her that she would likely be discharged from the Army. The client had a 6-month-old child and limited resources. After speaking with the client on the phone Mr. Griffin understood the time sensitive nature and was able to have the judge recall the arrest warrant the next day, without the client even having to appear in court.
The client was charged with felony battery causing great bodily injury. A conviction would have resulted in a strike, prison time, immediate dishonorable discharge from the Army, financial ruin, and a court order keeping her away from her new step son indefinitely.
The client and her fiancé were in San Diego visiting her fiancé’s three year old son. After a day at Sea World and the beach they had to drop her fiancé’s son off at his ex-wife’s house. The ex-wife was very bitter and threatened by the new woman in her son’s life. The client had never met the ex-wife before, and the ex-wife became very aggressive towards the client. The ex-wife shoved the client and a struggle ensued. The ex-wife pulled the hair of the client and during the struggle the client’s engagement ring caused serious gruesome injury to the ex-wife’s eye. The client and her husband were not aware of the extent of the injury and left immediately after the altercation.
The detective assigned to the case filed a sworn arrest warrant affidavit stating that the client had been purposefully been avoiding him when he attempted to get her side of the story. As support he stated in the affidavit that he had left several messages. Unfortunately for the detective he also wrote a police report and sent several emails stating that the client did not have her voicemail set up and he could not leave her a voicemail. The emails and police report directly contradicted the statements in the sworn affidavit. It turned out that the client had no idea the police wanted to speak with her.
Although the ex-wife’s patterns of avoiding the truth were made known to the District Attorney’s office prior to trial, the decision was made to prosecute the case anyway. The ex-wife had a history of aggressive confrontation, and during cross examination at the trial Mr. Griffin was able to present the ex-wife’s vindictive and revengeful motivations for the charges levied against the client.
The jury deliberated for under an hour before returning a not guilty verdict to all charges. The day the not guilty verdict was read was the first birthday of his client’s daughter. As Mr. Griffin stated, “it was difficult to watch such a good person go through such a terrible experience. Her smile and relief when the verdict was read made all the long hours leading up to the trial worth it.”Read More
A Griffin Law Office client had been charged with several counts of felony domestic battery causing great bodily injury. The case was aggressively pursued by the District Attorney because the client had a prior conviction for domestic battery. The client had originally retained another attorney who had urged the client to accept a plea offer of four years in prison. The client did not accept the deal and retained Patrick Griffin for trial.
At the time of the incident the client was dating a woman (“Jane Doe”). The client, and the district attorney, were unaware that Jane had a history of prostitution. When the arrest occurred the client and Jane were at a restaurant where they had stopped to pick up a to-go order. When the client went into the restaurant he left his phone in the car, and while he was inside he had received a text or a phone call from another woman.
Jane stole the client’s phone and ran away. The client returned to his car only to find Jane and his phone gone. He then returned to his home and used his iPad to find his iPhone and discovered the phone’s location at a nearby hotel. When the client arrived at the hotel he saw Jane checking in at the counter. The client walked up to her and said, “give me my ******* phone.” She was holding his phone, and her phone was in the back pocket of her jeans.
When grabbing his phone from Jane she ended up on the ground and the police were called. The client had left the lobby of the hotel prior to the arrival of the police. Jane told the police that the client had stolen her phone, the police asked whose phone was in Jane’s back pocket. Her response was that it was her “other” phone, and the police did not follow up or question her report. The entire contact between Jane and the police was captured on body worn camera.
The investigating officer asked the onlookers who had seen the altercation. The clerk at the counter responded that she didn’t see the entire altercation, but it looked like the client was just trying to grab his phone. The police officer informed the clerk that she may be needed to testify. At that time the hotel manager, not wanting his employee to be removed from work, told the police the clerk was his only employee and would not be able to go to court.
The officer said to the manager, “It looks like a woman was beaten in the hotel and her phone was stolen, is that what happened?” The manager’s response to the leading statement was “yes”, even though the location of the manager’s office was not within view of the hotel lobby. The police report written by the officer was copied verbatim from the complaint statement given to the police by Jane and referred to the manager as an eye witness. The entire contact with the manager was captured on body worn camera.
When Griffin Law Office became involved with the case and attempted a negotiation with the District Attorney’s office they would not budge from the previous plea offer of four years. Mr. Griffin put an investigator on the case and discovered over 20 prior police contacts where Jane was either cited or arrested for prostitution. One arrest stood out to Mr. Griffin, as it involved the filing of a false police report. Mr. Griffin was able to locate the previous complainant involved with the complaint, a former “john” who had agreed to intercourse with Jane in exchange for money.
As it turned out, the john’s wife was dying from cancer and during the sexual encounter Jane had stolen the man’s camera. Jane seized upon the opportunity and decided to black mail the john, telling him that he had to give her $500 or she would tell his dying wife that they had sex for money. The extorted john did not pay Jane, so she filed a false police report stating the man stole her camera, and she also followed through on her threats and called the man’s wife.
Upon presentation of the accuser’s prior history as well as prior falsification of police reports to the District Attorney, they were still unwilling to dismiss the case. The position of the District Attorney’s office was that they felt the case was still strong because of the “eye witness.” Mr. Griffin sent his investigator to get the true story from the hotel manager. During the interview the manager stated he was sitting at his desk at the time of the incident between the client and Jane. Photos of the location proved conclusively that the manager would have been unable to view the incident from his office location. A statement was received from the hotel clerk which matched the body worn cameras from the police officer. The clerk’s original statement to police was conveniently left out of the police reports.
On the days leading up to the start of trial, after Mr. Griffin presented an overwhelming amount of evidence about actual events to the prosecutor. Finally, on the day of trial the District Attorney agreed they could not get a conviction and agreed to dismiss the charges.
The client was within minutes of accepting a four-year prison sentence, or 8 to 10 years had he been convicted at trial. The diligence, legal experience, and investigation resources of Griffin Law Office made the difference between freedom and incarceration for the client.Read More
Griffin Law Office was contacted by an individual who was debating whether to take a plea deal on a serious felony drug sales and firearm case. The client had previously retained a very well-known San Diego criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience. This attorney suggested he take a plea deal of three years in prison. The client decided to terminate his prior attorney and retained Mr. Griffin for trial.
The case started when the client was arrested at his house after the police were called for a domestic dispute. The client had suffered a prior felony drug conviction that was dismissed after he completed a drug diversion program (Prop. 36). While the police were investigating the reported domestic dispute, they had placed the client in a patrol car. Once the police searched the client they found a large baggie of drugs in his pocket. After the drugs were located the police searched the house and discovered a loaded gun in a closet. He was arrested for drug sales and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Mr. Griffin investigated and came up with an alternative theory and a defense for trial. The most difficult fact was the drugs being found in the client’s pocket. To combat the sales charge Mr. Griffin retained an expert on drug sales vs. personal possession. Mr. Griffin and the expert were able to determine that the drugs were not packaged in a way that indicates sales and that no scales were found in the house.
The second issue was the firearm. Mr. Griffin learned that the client’s roommate had received the gun (which turned out to be stolen) from a friend which she had obtained for protection. The roommate’s story checked out because Mr. Griffin was able to get a court file from Washington State were the roommate was listed as the key witness in a triple murder case. The roommate had moved to San Diego to escape the dangers that case presented in Washington State and upon moving to San Diego obtained the stolen gun for protection.
As the trial date grew closer Mr. Griffin filed several motions, including a Penal Code § 995 motion (motion to dismiss). The purpose of these motions was to limit what the prosecutor could argue at trial. The client faced several firearm enhancements, that greatly increased his exposure. Mr. Griffin was able to successfully argue that these enhancements required that the defendant be “personally armed.” Because the gun was found in a closet Mr. Griffin was able to argue that these enhancements must be dismissed.
In addition to filing several motions, Mr. Griffin sent the District Attorney near daily emails with the results of his investigation surrounding the gun’s true owner. Finally, on the day of trial the District Attorney agreed to dismiss all the felony charges. All the client was required to complete was a drug diversion class and his entire case would be dismissed.Read More
Griffin Law Office was retained by the parents of a 19-year old charged with federal drug trafficking. The client was arrested at the San Ysidro border crossing.
The client grew up in Tijuana, his father was from Orange County and his mother from Mexico. After high school the young man began “running” with a group of people in Tijuana that his parents did not approve of and they cut off any support to him. The client borrowed some money from an acquaintance, who was later discovered to be connected to a Mexican drug cartel. Within criminal organizations a small debt turns into a life-time of repayment of the favor.
The client, in possession of a border crossing card, was told that he was to drive vehicles across the border to establish their legitimate border crossing in a practice known as “burning plates”. If a vehicle crosses many times successfully they face less scrutiny. The client attempted to back out of the “job” but was threatened with bodily harm. The client was also assured he would be only “burning plates”.
When the client showed up for his border crossing he was given a green Jaguar, the most conspicuous looking car to guarantee a stop. The plates on the car did not match the registration, of which the client was unaware. Prior to making the trip the client was not given a destination or a cell phone, and his border crossing card was confiscated by the cartel members. The client was told he didn’t need the card and to tell the border police that he had lost it.
The client was immediately pulled into secondary at the US border crossing and the border police discovered 25kilos of what appeared to be methamphetamine. The package was placed in the trunk of the Jaguar and was poorly hidden. The client was unaware of his payload. The client was booked into federal custody and faced charges that could carry ten years in prison.
The US Attorney’s office had turned over numerous pages of discovery (police reports, etc.) and the last page, a drug analysis, stated that the percentage of the purity of the meth was 8.6%. Everyone who looked at the report assumed the purity was 86%, and even that would have been less than ideal for transportation of illegal drugs. Mr. Griffin presented the puzzling situation to the US Attorney’s office and the drugs were re-tested, and the result of the second analysis verified the 8.6% purity.
Mr. Griffin came up with an alternative theory about what took place. Based upon the 8.6% purity, the attention getting vehicle the client was proffered, and the circumstances that the cartel gave the client no destination, Mr. Griffin argued that the bust was an intentional setup to create a diversion for a larger, more pure shipment, coming in right behind the client’s car. The drug runners had obviously sacrificed a 19-year old Mexican kid to what could be years in prison just to create a diversion for a legitimate shipment.
Mr. Griffin presented the theory to the US Attorney’s office and was initially told he was crazy, because the federal agents were fixated on the original weight, 25 kilos; but Mr. Griffin insisted only 8.6% of the 25 kilos was actually meth. The case was in front of a federal judge known to impose the harshest sentences for any border related meth crimes. Because it was indisputable that the client agreed to perform some act for the cartel in furtherance of their criminal operation, he was forced to take a plea.
To establish that the client deserved a light sentence, Mr. Griffin presented his alternative theory of events. At the sentencing hearing the judge’s opening remarks were that Griffin’s requested sentence of just a few months in jail was an insult to the court, citing the 25 kilos and his history of imposing maximum sentences on similarly situated defendants. Following those remarks was a brutal hour long back and forth debate where the judge tested every aspect of the theory.
At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the judge agreed there was just simply no other explanation for the facts of the case. The client was sentenced to the lightest meth trafficking sentence ever imposed by this judge. The judge commented on Mr. Griffin’s performance and said he couldn’t remember the last time that he changed his opinion so drastically.Read More
Griffin Law Office was retained by a 19-year-old San Diego State University Student after she was charged with Domestic Battery, Inflicting a Traumatic Condition on her 27-year-old boyfriend, and Vandalism. The client weighs 110 pounds and there was a history of the boyfriend/ alleged victim being verbally and physically abusive.
The client was from Brazil and she was attending SDSU on a student visa. She had began dating the boyfriend six months prior to the incident. After a night of drinking there was an altercation in the apartment the two shared. The police arrived on scene and immediately took the side of the boyfriend. He had a scratch on his neck and the security guards already on scene informed the police that the client was very angry and screaming at the boyfriend. The police determined that they only needed to get one side of the story before arresting the client. The lead officer spent 10 mins talking to the boyfriend and he did not interview the client or an eye witness.
The Client and her boyfriend had been drinking at their apartment when an argument broke out over the boyfriend smoking a cigarette. The client decided she wanted to leave and began grabbing her belongings. In the process of leaving she threw her computer to the ground and broke the screen. The boyfriend had learned that the client sent a text message to her ex-boyfriend during the argument. The boyfriend grabbed the client’s phone and facetimed her ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend then witnessed via facetime the client being held on the ground struggling to get free. During the struggle a large mirror fell and broke. After the client broke free she requested that the security call 911 because her boyfriend refused to let her leave with her belongings. The ex-boyfriend was so alarmed with what he saw he decided to drive to the apartment complex.
When the police arrived, the ex-boyfriend was already on scene. The police decided to make the arrest before they ever spoke to the ex-boyfriend. The police never asked about whether the 27-year-old boyfriend had ever been abusive on prior occasions or did they check the client for injuries or do any real investigation into what exactly took place. Once the boyfriend learned that the client would be arrested he immediately tried to stop the arrest, but his requests were ignored.
The client was charged in San Diego Superior Court and was giving a plea offer of 90 days in jail, a year long domestic violence class, probation. Any conviction would have meant immediate deportation back to Brazil. Mr. Griffin immediately began investigating the case. This is where he learned of the prior domestic violence committed by the People’s “victim.” Despite the available evidence the prosecutor refused to dismiss the case.
The prosecutor tried every trick in the book to postpone the trial, so he could better prepare for the case. After a lengthy legal battle, four different judges sided with Mr. Griffin and forced the prosecutor to start the trial. Mr. Griffin filed several pretrial motions (“motions in limine”). The first victory came when the trial judge granted Mr. Griffin’s motion to exclude the alleged victim’s statements to police. This motion was based on the case Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), which held that the Sixth Amendment mandates that a defendant have an opportunity to cross examine witnesses. This effectively gutted the prosecution’s case. The prosecutor had intended to use body worn camera footage of the boyfriend/alleged victim to explain what they thought took place.
The second victory came when the trial judge excluded the defendant’s statements. Mr. Griffin filed a motion to exclude these statements based on the holding in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Mr. Griffin convinced the judge that the statements made to police by the defendant were in a custodial setting and qualified as an “interrogation.” This dealt another blow the prosecutor because he was not allowed to use the defendant’s statements as evidence.
Mr. Griffin was able to successfully cross examine all of the police officers to point out the omissions in their investigation. This included getting the officers to admit that they walked by the only eye witnesses five times and and failed to get his statement. The officers also failed to learn about the prior instances where the alleged victim had abused the client. The entire trial lasted seven days and after all the evidence and closing arguments had been presented, the jury returned NOT GUILTY verdicts to all three charges. The jury only needed to deliberate for fifteen minutes before it came back with the full acquittal.Read More
A Griffin Law Office client was charged by the San Diego City Attorney for Driving Under the Influence and Driving with a BAC of more than .08%. The client had more riding on the outcome of this case than an average person because she was a teacher and her teaching credential was on the line due to some other issues not related to the case. The behavior of the arresting officers was unsettling to say the least.
The client was driving home from a bar with her husband. The client was the designated driver and the bar was located about one mile from the couple’s house. The police had parked outside the bar and were watching for anyone who left and then got in the car to drive. The police followed the car and even though no traffic violation occurred the police decided to pull the car over. Despite no traffic violation having taken place, the officers stated in their reports that the client had run a stop sign.
The police pulled the car over directly in front of the school where the client worked. Once the police were made aware of this they refused to move across the street to conduct the rest of the investigation. The client was forced to do the field sobriety tests (FSTs) on the slanted sidewalk right in front of the school. The officer’s body worn camera captured the investigation and it showed the client was nearly perfect on the FSTs. Despite this the officer wrote down that she failed. The officer then told the client she was under arrest and he demanded a breath or blood sample. The client was then thrown in the back of the police car. The back of the police car was covered with the blood of a prior detainee. The arresting officer had forgotten to inspect his vehicle. When the client got out of the police car she had another person’s blood all over her dress and body. The police did not mention this in the reports.
Once Mr. Griffin was retained, he immediately issued DMV subpoenas to the officers. One reason to force an officer to testify at the DMV is that they do not have a prosecutor protecting them during a DMV hearing, and they generally do not understand the purpose of certain questions. The testimony at the DMV hearing is under oath and it is recorded. This recorded testimony can then be used in trial or at a suppression hearing in court. That is exactly what took place in this case. Mr. Griffin was able to lock the officers into damaging testimony that he would later use in court.
Once the jury trial started the prosecutor was unaware of how many traps Mr. Griffin had already laid and the prosecutor and officers stepped in nearly every one of them. First, the officer testified at trial that he knew nothing about the blood incident; but then Mr. Griffin confronted him with his DMV testimony where he described the blood incident in great detail and remarked that he felt really bad about it. This came off as a clear lie to the jury. Second, the officer was confronted with his testimony and the body worn camera that showed the client passing the FSTs. Mr. Griffin broke down each and every portion of the police report where the officer marked the client off for a mistake. The cross examination showed conclusively that the officer embellished in his report to make the client look guilty. Finally, the officer attempted to testify that the 15-minute observation period was followed. Unfortunately for the officer, Mr. Griffin had already locked him into a very specific timeline at the DMV hearing. Mr. Griffin was then able to show that the officer’s trial testimony was completely different than his testimony at the DMV hearing. The jury was left with one reasonable explanation: The officer did not comply with the 15-minute observation period and attempted to hide that fact from the jury.
Even though the client’s BAC was .10 the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY. The client was able to keep her job and the arresting officer ended up being reprimanded for his action investigating the case and at trial.Read More
Mr. Griffin was retained by a young man after he was arrested and charged with four felonies, including battery causing great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon.
The client had an incredible life story that was nearly derailed. He was a refugee from Somalia who moved to the United States as a teenager with his entire family. They were lucky enough to escape a war-torn area that likely would have cost his family their lives if they remained in Somalia. The client enrolled in high school and became a stand out soccer star.
The client was with some friends at Mission Beach when a random man walked over to his group. The man punched the client’s friend in the face, and then grabbed the chain off his neck. Several members of the group grabbed the man and proceeded to beat him up. The eye witnesses interviewed by police only saw the retaliation, they did not see the man walk up and steal the chain. The “victim” ended up spending several days in the hospital and my client along with two of his friends were arrested and charged with multiple strike felonies that carried up to 7 years in state prison.
The “victim” told a story to the police that didn’t add up, including not being able to explain how the co-defendant’s chain ended up in his pocket. Mr. Griffin was also able to recover video that showed the client did not participate in the fight. After pointing out all the discrepancies in the police reports and the credibility issues of the “victim” the entire case was dismissed.Read More