People of Calif. vs. C.J. (DTLA Criminal Courts Building)

The Facts:

LAPD and the DA’s Office alleged that our client, “Mr. J.”, along with an alleged fellow-gang member, set up an ambush-style shooting of the accuser as he was exiting the parking lot of an apartment complex located across the street from the co-defendant’s residence.

The primary evidence against them was video footage from the parking lot’s security camera, which did in fact appear to show both defendants approaching the accuser’s vehicle, then moving to different sides of his car as he drove out, then apparently fire at him from both directions with handguns.

To make matters worse, Mr. J. made incriminating statements when interviewed by police.

The Charges:

Deliberate and Premeditated Attempted Murder (“First-Degree Attempted Murder”) (California Penal Code sections 664 & 187(a)); Strike Offense (Penal Code sections 667(a)&(b) and 1192.7) (for prior conviction for First-Degree Residential Burglary – Pen. Code section 460(a)); Personal Discharge of a Firearm During the Commission of a Serious Felony (Pen. Code § 12022.53(c)); and Gang Enhancement (P.C. § 186.22).

The Process: 

Ninaz spent an entire month working on an extensive “995 Motion” to dismiss based on insufficient evidence, and successfully argued to the court that:

(1) The video was of such poor quality, that it was impossible to see what, if anything, was in Mr. J’s hand;

(2) The accuser was speeding out of the parking lot after backing up and smashing into another vehicle, forcing the defendants to jump out of his way to avoid being run over;

(3) The video only showed muzzle flashes coming from the co-defendant and not from Mr. J;

(4) Bullet fragments were only retrieved from the side of the car where co-defendant had fired and none from Mr. J’s side; and

(5) The search of the defendants’ homes ony produced a firearm and ammo from co-defendant’s.

The Result: 

All the foregoing charges were dismissed.