A Griffin Law Office client was re-entering the country at the U.S./Mexico border when he was pulled into the secondary search checkpoint. Unknown to the client, there was a felony warrant for his arrest. The case involved a string of burglaries that had occurred at various San Diego stores.
The client was arrested for allegedly violating:
- Penal Code § 487(a) – Grand theft of personal property in excess of $950 (Felony)
- Penal Code § 459 – Burglary (Felony)
- Penal Code § 459.5 – Shoplifting (Misdemeanor)
The client came to the Griffin Law Office and immediately expressed his innocence. The client was distraught, confused and had no idea why law enforcement suspected him. On the dates charged, he was at work 3 hours away from the burglaries and had time sheets to prove it. The client had no prior criminal history.
The client went on to explain that after being arrested and bailing out, he received a Facebook message from one of the co-defendant’s girlfriends. Our client was one of four co-defendants in this case. Our client’s only connection to the offense was that he went to high school (10+ years ago) with one of the co-defendants and the two were friends on Facebook. The co-defendant’s girlfriend knew our client wasn’t involved and was willing to help us prove his innocence.
Law enforcement identified our client by comparing his Facebook profile photos with a fuzzy surveillance video. At the first court appearance, our office immediately informed the prosecutor of our client’s innocence and encouraged them to take a closer look at the evidence, specifically the surveillance video. The prosecutor was not convinced and informed us that they were certain our client was guilty.
Our office began our investigation with a thorough timeline of the client’s work history at or near the time of the alleged offense dates. We sent out subpoenas for our client’s time records from every employer for that year. Based on conversations with our client, we knew these time records would support his alibi.
After this, we interviewed witnesses. First, we conducted an interview of the co-defendant’s girlfriend who originally contacted our client via Facebook. She informed us that her boyfriend recently got out of custody from this case. She helped put us in contact with him. Next, we interviewed her boyfriend, our client’s co-defendant, who told us that he had no idea how law enforcement got our clients name. He suspected it was a different co-defendant who committed the string of burglaries and was currently awaiting sentencing.
The co-defendant told us it was only three men who participated in the thefts; there was never a fourth (our client was the alleged fourth suspect). The co-defendant said he hadn’t had any contact with our client since high school and he felt terrible that he was implicated in this case.
The co-defendant and his girlfriend provided us with statements explaining their involvement in the thefts and that our client was never present. Our office turned over the statements to the prosecution. This led the prosecution to further investigate and re-interview several witnesses present on the day of the thefts. Upon re-interviewing, all witnesses said that they never saw our client during the alleged incidences. Finally, at the preliminary hearing once all the evidence was brought to light the case was dismissed.