Great Results for Criminal Defense Clinic Clients

Please join me in congratulating the students, faculty and staff of the Criminal Defense Clinic (“CDC”). The CDC students have been involved in terrific work this quarter and have achieved wonderful results for clients. Below are a few highlights.

Katherine Hubbard (’14) and Camden Vilkin (’14) achieved dismissal of all charges brought against a 30-year-old San Jose resident.  The case arose out of an incident wherein their client had the misfortune of being present in a parking lot when police responded to a call regarding theft of alcohol from a nearby convenience store.  In spite of the fact that he bore no resemblance to the teenaged suspects, police focused their attention on him.  When he denied any involvement and began walking toward his bicycle, an officer pepper-sprayed him from behind and then arrested him for obstructing an officer.   Camden and Katherine filed a motion to suppress arguing that the officer’s actions transformed a detention into an arrest lacking in probable cause.  After the prosecutor reviewed their detailed reply brief, two days before the evidentiary hearing, she informed them that she was dismissing the charges, “in the interest of justice.”

Sam Jacobson (’14) and Shayla Silver-Balbus (’13) garnered dismissal of the most serious charges in their case then dismissal of the remaining charge.  Their client, an East Palo Alto resident, was stopped by a police officer for allegedly driving a vehicle with a missing front license plate.  The detaining officer checked their client’s record and concluded that his driver’s license was suspended.  The officer then ordered their client out of his car and searched him, finding an iPod.  The officer induced their client to provide the serial number to the iPod, whereupon he determined that it had been reported stolen long ago. The officer arrested their client.  At the jail, their client expressed his frustration over his arrest and likely loss of employment to another inmate. The officer interpreted his vague language as a threat against the officer and additional charges ensued.  Shayla and Sam filed a motion to suppress.  When they called the prosecutor—two days after her opposition memorandum was due but not filed—she announced that she was conceding the case.  She agreed to drop charges of threatening an officer and receiving stolen property.  She then agreed to dismiss the remaining charge of driving on a suspended license, after Sam and Shayla demonstrated the failure of proof on that count.

The Criminal Defense Clinic is directed by Professor Ron Tyler.  Galia Philips and Suzanne Luban serve as staff attorneys and assistance is provided by Lynda Johnston and Monique Cadena.