Cases

Gang-related Assault Dismissed after Preliminary Examination C1110660

Steve Nakano has successfully defended a client charged with Gang Related Assault by proving at Preliminary Examination that the Defendant was acting in Self Defense and that the alleged victims had actually assaulted his client.
I represented a client accused of assaulting two young men with his vehicle, when in actuality, it was the two men who were attacking my client. My client had been “partying” with some friends. The friends left the party and got into an argument and engaged in a fight with Norteno gang members. The Norteno gang got “back up” and were looking for the group that had beaten them up. My client was driving his vehicle when his car was hit by a brick. My client stopped his vehicle and was immediately assaulted by several members of the Norteno gang, who opened both of his car doors and beat him and threw rocks at him and at his vehicle. My client had the good sense to put his vehicle in reverse and used the open car doors to knock his attackers out of his car. Then he put the car into drive and escaped uncertain harm.
Police were called to the scene and the slightly injured boys gave a description of the vehicle and partial vehicle license plate. The police found my client several miles away. My investigator canvased the neighborhood (near to the San Jose DMV Office) and located several witnesses to the assault. One witness said that his neighbors were always causing trouble. They were throwing bricks at passing cars. So, he went and moved his vehicle from where it was parked around the corner to another street. That is when he witnessed his neighbors throw a brick and hit my client’s vehicle. He thought that his neighbors were going to kill the driver of the vehicle, when he saw the car drive in reverse and knock the assailants to the ground. Then the driver managed to drive off. The police had questioned several of the neighbors, including him. But, he did NOT want to anger his neighbors. There were other witnesses located who confirmed this witness’ account. But, they would not come forward.
I asked my investigator to bring the witness to court and sit with him while the young gang member witnesses testified. At some point the DA came out and asked my witness why he was here. He told her that he was there to testify against the young men who had testified before him, whom he recognized as his neighbors. The DA (who shall remain nameless) told him that she did NOT NEED him and that he could go home. It was a good thing that my investigator was sitting there with him and told the DA that he was NOT her witness and that I had subpoenaed him to the preliminary examination. The witness was really offended by the DA not wanting to hear the truth about the case. I called him to testify at the preliminary examination. I have never had a better witness testify in a case. He was very articulate. He was also angry with the DA for telling him to go home when she thought that his testimony would not help her case. And, he said so. It should be known that very few attorney’s call witnesses at preliminary examination. They do NOT want the DA to know what their testimony will be at jury trial. However, I believe that only guarantees that the case go to jury trial before the truth is known. That creates a very expensive and stressful situation for my client.
After the truth became known the DA submitted the case and the judge dismissed the charges against my client, who later graduated from San Jose State University and whom I later hired as my office manager until he was hired by the State of California.