Best Defender Bytes:

January 17, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:46 pm

SANTA ANA - A man will be arraigned today for killing a pedestrian by crashing into the victim with his car and then fleeing the scene. Victor Manuel Arredondo Anaya, 27, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of hit and run causing death and one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving on a suspended license. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. Anaya is being held on $50,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. on January 10, 2013, Anaya is accused of driving southbound on Orange Avenue approaching Stanford Street in Santa Ana in a BMW. The defendant is accused of hitting 75-year-old Miguel Ceja, who was lawfully crossing in an unmarked crosswalk on Orange Avenue. Anaya is accused of striking the victim’s left side with his car, causing Ceja to crash onto the hood of the car and hit his head on the windshield. Ceja then struck the left side mirror before being thrown from the vehicle and tumbling into the driver’s door of a parked car. Anaya is accused of failing to stop to assist the victim and fleeing. Ceja was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded and investigated this case. Information regarding the crime and the make and model of the defendant’s car was provided to the media and public. On Jan. 12, 2013, SAPD dispatch received a call from a civilian witness, who was driving at the intersection of Grand Avenue and First Street in Santa Ana and believed he was following the vehicle that may have been involved in the fatal crash.

Anaya is accused of driving the vehicle nearby when contacted by officers. He is accused of having damage to his vehicle consistent with the crime and evidence collected at the collision scene.

At the time of the crime, Anaya is accused of driving on a suspended license stemming from a 2011 conviction for driving under the influence.

January 14, 2013

Man Sent to Prison for Father’s Death, Brother’s Injury in Family Dispute

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:37 pm

LOS ANGELES – A 27-year-old Sylmar man who pleaded to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the death of his father and injury of his brother in 2011 was sentenced to state prison today.

Deputy District Attorney June Chung said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford L. Klein sentenced Martin Casares Martinez to 11 years and six months in state prison in exchange for the defendant’s no contest pleas last month.

On June 7, 2011, Martinez argued with two of his brothers at the family home in Sylmar. He later drove a vehicle at one of his brothers, hitting him and their father. The father, Francisco, was killed. The brother, Luis, suffered fractures to both legs.

The defendant was arrested by Los Angeles police the next day and a case was filed against him on June 10, 2011, by the District Attorney’s Family Violence Division. He has remained in custody since that time.

Early last month, Martinez pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and attempted voluntary manslaughter with great bodily injury and use of a deadly weapon – the car.

December 26, 2012

Truck driver with failed brakes appeals conviction in two deaths

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:03 pm

Marcos CostaThe truck driver convicted of manslaughter after a fatal 2009 collision on Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada Flintridge is taking his case to an appeals court.

Marcos Costa, 46, was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison after his 2011 conviction in the deaths of Palmdale resident Angel Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina. His case will be heard by California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Jan. 29.

Angel Posca was driving through the intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard on July 1, 2009, when Costa’s truck, which had lost its brakes, barreled down Angeles Crest and slammed into the car before striking a building.

At trial, prosecutors provided evidence that Costa had failed to check his brakes or take into account a warning about the difficulties of driving a big rig on Angeles Crest Highway.


July 30, 2012

La Mirada Man Pleads to Hit and Run Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 8:34 pm

NORWALK – A La Mirada man pleaded no contest today to vehicular manslaughter in a fatal hit-and-run last September that killed a 72-year-old man, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Geoffrey Matthew Rocha, 27, also admitted an allegation that he fled the scene of the Sept. 20, 2011 accident that killed Raul Quintanilla, said Deputy District Attorney Marlon Powers.

Rocha is facing seven years in state prison when he returns Aug. 22 for sentencing before Commissioner Michael Schuur in Norwalk Superior Court.

Rocha pleaded no contest to striking Quintanilla, who was out for his daily walk, at the intersection of Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Lawnhill Drive in La Mirada.

Authorities said the victim’s arm was severed at the shoulder with the force of the impact and carried away by the fleeing car. The limb was discovered about a mile from where the victim was struck.

The defendant, who fled the scene of the 4:30 a.m. accident, later surrendered to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department authorities in Norwalk.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors will ask that the remaining two counts — leaving the scene of an accident and driving when privilege suspended — be dismissed at sentencing.

June 14, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:26 am

SANTA ANA - A Marine has been charged with killing three friends and fellow Marines by crashing into a tree while driving under the influence of alcohol. Jared Ray Hale, 25, is charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence with sentencing enhancements and allegations for driving with a blood alcohol level over.15 percent and causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison. The People will be requesting $100,000 bail for Hale, who is currently in a medical rehabilitation facility. His arraignment date is to be determined.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2012, Hale is accused of arriving at Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point with three friends. The defendant and his friends were all Marines stationed at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton. The friends included Christopher Arzola, 21, of Massachusetts, Jeremiah Callahan, 23, of Nebraska, and Jason Chleborad, 22, of South Dakota.

At approximately 1:50 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2012, the defendant is accused of driving away from the bar in his Dodge sedan with his three friends as passengers.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. Hale is accused of driving northbound on Golden Lantern in Dana Point. As he approached a curve in the road at the intersection at Terra Vista, the defendant is accused of losing control of his vehicle, running over the landscaped center median, and crashing into a tree on the passenger’s side of the car. The car spun around the tree and came to rest against the tree on the median.


March 16, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:04 am

WESTMINSTER - A distracted driver was convicted today of killing an 8-year-old boy by crashing into the victim as he was riding his bike to school. Anita Sue Cherry, 49, Westminster, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of reckless driving and was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 300 hours of community service.

At approximately 8:00 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2011, Cherry was driving southbound on Shawnee Road in Westminster in a Ford sport utility vehicle. The defendant briefly looked down as she drove through the intersection at Iroquois Road and crashed into 8-year-old Andrew James Brumback, also known as AJ, who was wearing a helmet and riding his bike to school.

Brumback was thrown from his bike. Cherry remained at the scene and waited for police to arrive. When officers from the Westminster Police Department (WPD) arrived, Brumback’s bike was still underneath the front of Cherry’s vehicle. The defendant was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

Brumback was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to multiple blunt traumatic injuries.

At the sentencing today, Brumback’s mother and brother gave victim impact statements to the court. His mother Debbie said, in part, “The loss of AJ has severely wounded our family and deeply injured a community of adults and children who knew him as a friend. I have had a year to put this letter together and am still at a loss for words. How do I continue to move each day without my little boy? My daughter Anna still will not open up and talk about the incident. She was blaming herself for a long time and is longing for her brother and best friend. My son Aaron won’t admit to new friends that he even had a brother because he would have to explain what happened. My husband Bill misses his ‘little buddy’ that used to watch all sports events with him. At school, AJ’s friends tell me how much they miss him. His best friend, Ryan, has been in therapy and hurts to find a friend to play with and share his secrets with. He misses the love of his friend. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my little AJ.”

The victim’s brother Aaron said of Cherry, in part, “I would like you to know that you are forgiven. I pray and hope that you have learned to forgive yourself. Despite whatever pain I have, and continually will, experience, I deeply and truly desire for your happiness, good will, and peace of heart.”

January 6, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:12 am

WESTMINSTER - A driver was convicted and sentenced today for hitting and killing a man on a bicycle and then fleeing the scene. Adam Carl Garrett, 19, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of hit-and-run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 200 hours of community service, $14,000 in restitution to the victim’s family, and three years of formal probation. The People objected to the sentence based on the nature of the crime and the lack of regard for human life displayed by the defendant.

Shortly before 3:00 a.m. on May 15, 2011, Garrett was driving northbound in his Toyota Camry on Interstate 405 in Fountain Valley. The defendant exited the freeway at Warner Avenue and traveled westbound toward Huntington Beach. He crashed into the back of a bicycle, throwing 25-year-old bicyclist Hung Khac Do off his bike. Do landed in the far right lane of Warner Avenue. Garret caused damage to his car consistent with colliding with a person riding a bicycle.

After hitting the victim, Garrett fled the scene without assisting Do or contacting police and paramedics. He returned to his home in Huntington Beach approximately four miles away.

Soon after the hit-and-run, a limousine driver driving on Warner Avenue saw the victim lying on the road and called his brother, who called 911. Another driver on Warner Avenue stopped to assist Do and a passenger got out to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation until police arrived at the scene. Once an ambulance arrived, Do was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead 40 minutes later. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple blunt force trauma injuries.

At approximately 3:20 a.m., Garrett called 911 and falsely reported his involvement in the incident. Sometime that morning, police contacted Garrett at his home and located his damaged car nearby.

December 1, 2011

7-year Prison Term, More than $3.7 Million Restitution in NBC Executive’s Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:21 am

SAN FERNANDO – A family friend who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the St. Patrick’s shooting of an NBC Universal finance executive was sentenced today to seven years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution to the victim’s widow.

Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Stodel said David Armstrong, 32, of Porter Ranch was sentenced by San Fernando Superior Court Judge Beverly O’Connell. Stodel, in a sentencing memo filed with the court, had requested the seven-year term – three years, which is the mid term for the involuntary manslaughter charge, plus four years, the mid term for Armstrong’s use of a gun. The judge also ordered Armstrong to pay $3,795,000 in restitution to the widow of Brian Kaplon, 32.

Kaplon went to Armstrong’s home in the 20000 block of Vercelli Way on March 18 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Near midnight, Armstrong pulled out his new AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and shot Kaplon once as the two men were in the garage. A second round went into the ceiling of the garage.

Stodel said Armstrong, who had been drinking heavily, gave conflicting accounts of what happened. He originally was charged with murder after his arrest by Los Angeles police. The murder count was dismissed at sentencing.

November 27, 2011


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:36 pm

SANTA ANA - An unlicensed, uninsured teen driver has been charged with killing his friend by crashing into a tree on Ortega Highway while driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Francisco Jesus Ochoa, 18, Lake Elsinore, is charged with one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license, and an infraction for failing to maintain liability insurance. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months in state prison. The defendant is currently being treated at Mission Hospital for a broken leg and his arraignment date is to be determined. The People will be requesting Ochoa be held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment.

Early in the morning on Nov. 18, 2011, Ochoa is accused of driving a Ford pick-up truck without a valid license or insurance westbound on Ortega Highway with friend Margarita Estrella in the front passenger seat. The defendant is accused of swerving and weaving across the two-lane highway for several miles, crossing back and forth onto the wrong side of the road and onto the dirt shoulders on either side.

At approximately 6:45 a.m., Ochoa is accused of veering off the road, failing to slow, and crashing directly into a tree. He is accused of killing Estrella, who was crushed in her seat and pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time of the crash, the defendant is accused of being under the influence of prescription drugs, which impaired his ability to drive. He is also accused of being in possession of six Vicodin pills at the time of the crash, for which he did not have a prescription.

Ochoa was transported to the hospital to be treated for a broken leg.

November 2, 2011

Man Charged in Beverly Hills Murder

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 3:29 am

LOS ANGELES – A 54-year-old man was charged today with murder for allegedly killing his girlfriend with a knife at her Beverly Hills apartment.

James Duane Grzeslo (dob 01/08/57) is charged with one count of murder. The complaint alleges that Grzeslo personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, and that the offense warrants a state prison term.

Grzeslo of Los Angeles is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 1 of Beverly Hills Superior Court. He is charged in case No. SA079092.

Deputy District Attorneys Linda Loftfield and David Zygielbaum will prosecute the case.

Cathy Ann Carrasco-Zanini, 58, was murdered on the morning of Oct. 26. The defendant and the victim were in dating relationship, prosecutors said.

Grzeslo’s bail is recommended at $1.020 million. If convicted as charged, Grzeslo faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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