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Recent Case Results

The following is a small sample of some of our recent successes.

Attempted Murder

Our client Brandon R. was charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder. In addition, the District Attorney’s office had alleged numerous special gang and firearm enhancements. If convicted, Brandon was facing 35 years to life in prison.

At trial, the defense called fingerprint and DNA experts establishing the lack of physical evidence tying our client to the shootings. Defense experts were able to exclude Brandon as being the donor of DNA left on crucial items of evidence recovered from the scene; despite the State’s evidence being inconclusive on the issue. Defense also called an eyewitness identification expert discrediting the State’s contention that the ID of our client by eye-witnesses was reliable and credible.

After two days of deliberation, the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all charges. In addition to defense’s comprehensive case-in-chief, the jury credited Mr. Sterling’s cross-examination of the State’s gang expert and lead detective as the primary reason for disbelieving the State’s theory and motive behind the shootings.

Felony Domestic Violence/Assault With A Deadly Weapon

Our client Cohen M. was charged with multiple counts of felony domestic violence and assault with a shotgun. After extensive investigation and pretrial settlement talks, the District Attorney’s office offered our client a non-jail plea bargain in exchange for community service and domestic violence counseling. Our client was facing 9 years in state prison of convicted.

However because defense investigation revealed serious credibility issues and a motive to lie on behalf of the complaining witness, our client (despite a very reasonable and safe plea offer) elected to go to trial. After a week-long trial, the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts. The jury credited Mr. Sterling’s aggressive cross-examination of the government’s witnesses as the reason for disbelieving the victim’s accusations.

Federal Bank Fraud

Our client Michael V. was under investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for conspiracy to commit fraud, among many other federal charges. After an 8 month inquiry, our aggressive advocacy and cooperation resulted in the case being dropped by authorities.

Residential Burglary

Our client Leticia M. was charged with multiple counts of residential burglary and felony evading arsing from a crime spree that spanned many months and included numerous victims. The District Attorney’s office had also alleged that the homeowners were present during the commission of all of the burglaries which served as a special allegation, increasing our client’s potential state prison sentence.

After presenting to the District Attorney’s office, the many factors in mitigation, including depression, duress, and addiction, we successfully obtained probation and no jail for our client. Leticia, who was set to enroll in UCLA prior to being arrested, was facing 10 years in state prison if convicted.

Felony Possession of Drugs – A Finding of Factual Innocence

Justin B. was charged with felony possession of cocaine. The case arose from a set of unusual circumstances when police believed that Justin was the victim of a crime. After conducting a welfare check at his home, police discovered cocaine in Justin’s dining room.

After cross-examination of the investigating officer at the preliminary hearing, Mr. Sterling persuaded the court to dismiss all charges based on insufficient evidence.

Mr. Sterling subsequently filed a motion for a finding of factual innocence on Justin’s behalf. In a second hearing on the issue of actual innocence the court issued a written opinion finding Justin factually innocent. The court then ordered for the sealing and destruction of the arrest record in our client’s case.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

Oscar G. was charged with sexual battery of a co-worker. The incident was alleged to have occurred within the workplace.

After a 6-day trial, the jury returned hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict. A poll of the jury revealed a 7-5 split in favor of an acquittal for Oscar. The court subsequently denied the DA’s request to re-try the matter and granted our motion for dismissal.

Conviction of the sex offense would have resulted in jail-time and lifetime registration as a sex offender for our client.

DUI with Refusal Allegation

Stephanie J. was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a chemical test as is required under California law. The entire incident was captured on audio. The defense was able to demonstrate to the jury that certain statements made by the investigating officers were exaggerated. Aggressive cross-examination of the Government’s witnesses also revealed sloppy police work.

The jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of a not guilty verdict. The case was dismissed against our client. A DUI conviction would have jeopardized Stephanie’s medical license.

Domestic Violence With Great Bodily Injury

Our office took on dual representation of husband and wife accused of aggravated battery torward one another. Both were booked on felony domestic violence charges. Prior to the couple’s arraignment in court, Mr. Sterling persuaded the DA’s office to drop all charges for both clients.

DUI and Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

Heather C. was charged with DUI and being under the influence of Demerol. Extensive motion work related to the legal merits of the DUI ultimately resulted in the DA dismissing the DUI charge. Defense proceeded to trial on the under the influence charge wherein we obtained a complete dismissal of the case.

3rd Strike Armed Robbery

Morrison T. was accused of robbing a man at knifepoint. He professed his innocence at all stages of litigation. The defense prepared for trial, rejecting all offers from the District Attorney’s Office, the last of which was 7 years in state prison. If convicted, Morrison T. was facing 25 years to life in prison under California’s Three Strikes law.

Prior to jury selection, Mr. Sterling obtained a dismissal for his client. Morrison T. was released the same day.

3rd Strike Armed Robbery and Assault

Trumell D. was accused of robbing a young adult at knifepoint. During the altercation the alleged victim sustained numerous stab wounds as a result of the robbery.

Through cross-examination, the defense was able to establish that the alleged victim’s identification of Trumell D. was impressionable and unreliable. The defense also exposed the fact that the police neglected to investigate other suspects, one of which matched the initial description given by the victim.

The jury acquitted Trumell D. of the stabbing and voted 9 to 3 in favor of not guilty on the robbery. Trumell D. was facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

DUI with Refusal Allegation

Jeanette D. was pulled over by the CHP as she exited a tricky portion of the 101 freeway in the San Fernando Valley. Despite performing well on all FST’s Jeanette was arrested for DUI. It was also alleged that she refused to submit to a chemical test, as is required under California law.

At trial, it became apparent that the arresting officers had exaggerated Jeanette’s performance on the FST’s. The defense was also able to show that officers deliberately lied about Jeanette refusing to submit to a chemical test.

The jury acquitted Jeanette D. of all charges.

Grand Theft

George L. was a self-employed contractor who ran a very successful business in the San Fernando Valley. George L. was accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a Los Angeles hardware store. George had a prior conviction for theft that was over twenty years old. In that case, George had stolen a bottle of liquor when he was a juvenile.

At trial, the defense established that the store security officers lied for professional gain. Specifically, the defense showed that store security officers received promotional incentives based on the number of arrests they made for the store. If convicted, George’s contractor’s license would have been permanently revoked.

The jury acquitted George L. of all charges.


Sergio G. was accused of robbery. It was alleged that he took a woman’s purse, jewelry, and money by force and threats of physical violence. Sergio G. was facing over 10 years in state prison if convicted.

The defense presented psychiatric evidence suggesting that Sergio did not have the requisite mental state for the crime charged. The defense also introduced mitigating evidence establishing Sergio’s long-standing history of mental illness. The crime occurred within hours of Sergio being prematurely released from a psychiatric hospital.

Sergio was sentenced to a one year live-in program where he will receive treatment for his mental illness and drug addiction. Mr. Sterling was also able to reach a disposition that did not involve Sergio being convicted of a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes law.

Drug Sales

Christopher C. was accused of selling cocaine out of his car. The fact that Chris was being charged under the “sales” statute made him ineligible for treatment alternatives.

Defense investigation revealed that officers had completely ignored extenuating circumstances which demonstrated Chris was a severe addict. Mr. Sterling presented this information to the District Attorney who then agreed to charge Chris under the “personal use” statute.

Mr. Sterling secured program placement for Chris. Successful completion of the program will result in the dismissal of Chris’ case.

290 Violations – Registered Sex Offender

Henry U. was accused of violating the terms of his 290 registration requirements. Mr. U was a convicted sex offender, yet led a law abiding life since his conviction, which was almost 20 years old. If convicted, Mr. U. was facing over 7 years in prison.

Defense investigation revealed that officers had grossly misrepresented certain conduct. Defense also submitted evidence which inferred that law enforcement investigators summarily lied about certain allegations.

Mr. Sterling obtained a dismissal of all charges prior to jury selection.

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