The Worthington Law Centre building

Brian M. Worthington

Notable Cases:

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALLEGATION DISMISSED

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Attorney Brian Worthington recently handled the case of a woman in Santa Cruz County who was alleged to have battered her husband. When his client came to The Worthington Law Centre she explained to Mr. Worthington that it was her husband who had been battering her for years and that on the night of the arrest she was merely defending herself. Mr. Worthington investigated the case in an attempt to show that it was his client who was really the victim and that her self-defense was justified. Mr. Worthington interviewed her medical doctor, a therapist, a domestic violence victim advocate, and family friends; he also reviewed medical records, photographs, text messages, and emails spanning years. Mr. Worthington was able to show that his client was the victim of ongoing, systematic, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband. He obtained supportive witness statements to corroborate that history, and found medical records showing his client had previously suffered the exact same injury that she said her husband had given her on the night of her arrest. This packet of information was provided to the District Attorney, along with a lengthy plea for the District Attorney to consider the signs and symptoms of an ongoing abusive relationship that is often present in a domestic violence case. Mr. Worthington urged the District Attorney not to ignore the signs and symptoms just because the person disclosing these signs and symptoms happened to be the defendant in this case. The District Attorney reviewed all the information provided by Mr. Worthington and ultimately agreed that his client was the victim of ongoing domestic violence. The District Attorney dismissed the case in the interests of justice.

MONTEREY COUNTY POSSESSION OF ASSAULT WEAPON CASE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR; NO JAIL TIME IMPOSED.

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Attorney Brian Worthington recently represented a Carmel man accused of three felony counts of possession of assault weapons. The three firearms (an AR15 and two Ruger Mini-14s) were taken from his client’s home during the service of a search warrant. The police found no other illegal items in his client’s home, but decided to charge him with a felony anyway.

Mr. Worthington’s client was arrested in February of 2015 and was represented by numerous attorneys prior to hiring Mr. Worthington. Those attorneys handled the case for approximately 16 months and were not successful in negotiating any reduction in the charges. The client then came to Mr. Worthington hoping he would succeed where these others had not.

What many people know is that California currently has an assault weapons ban; what many may not know is the ban has undergone numerous revisions and has many exceptions. Mr. Worthington found the receipts and bills of sale for each firearm, and was able to use the purchase date of every firearm to show that the firearms were, absolutely, 100% legal for the client to own and possess on the date the firearms were purchased. What Mr. Worthington was also able to show was that his client would have been able to continue owning those items in perpetuity had he just filled out a registration form. Mr. Worthington investigated and traced the history of these firearms and presented the findings to the District Attorney’s Office. He argued that his client had done nothing other than fail to maintain proper paperwork, and that failure could never justify a felony conviction. After reviewing Mr. Worthington’s findings, the District Attorney agreed, and reduced all felonies to misdemeanors. The client will not serve even a single day in jail.

Mr. Worthington completed his investigation, convinced the District Attorney, and had the case resolved in only two months and three court appearance.

PROBATION, HOME CONFINEMENT AND NO SEX-OFFENDER REGISTRATION FOR MAN ACCUSED OF USING CRAIG'S LIST TO CONTACT MINOR FOR SEX

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington recently represented a mid-20s Watsonville man who was charged with using Craig’s List to contact a minor (or at least someone who represented herself as a minor) for sex. The man was arrested as part of a Monterey County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) sweep of the “Casual Encounters” section of Craig’s List. As part of the sweep, MCSO deputies would pose as attractive females and post advertisements for casual sex. The ad our client responded to made absolutely no reference to the female being a minor, and that section of Craig’s List contains a disclaimer that posters must be over 18. Our client responded to the ad and began a sequence of email correspondence with the “woman,” during which the “woman” eventually revealed she was a minor. Our client then indicated he should not meet her due to her age. The “woman” responded to his hesitance by writing sexually explicit emails, offering to have sex with our client and another person and finally sending a claimed “selfie” of an attractive Hispanic female who did not appear to be a minor. It was only after this extensive pursuit and cajoling by the “woman” that our client agreed to meet “her.” When he went to their meeting location, he was met by MCSO deputies and arrested. He was charged with a variety of offenses that carried up to 6 years in state prison and mandatory sex offender registration.

Brian Worthington began representing the man at an early stage of the case. He argued that the man’s action was not predatory and there was no indication the man was a pedophile or actively sought minors. Rather, it was our client who had been pursued and he was simply acting on opportunity. Mr. Worthington hired a well-known local psychologist to evaluate our client. She used a variety of actuarial instruments, her clinical interview and relied on her nearly 40 years of experience working with accused sex offenders to evaluate our client. She concluded that our client was not a pedophile nor did he suffer from any pedophilia. She found there was no evidence of any predatory behavior and that he was not likely to re-offend in the future. She found him to be a suitable candidate for probation and that sex-offender registration was not appropriate.

Mr. Worthington argued that the man’s offense should not be “mandatory” sex-offender registration, but rather “discretionary.” Mr. Worthington relied upon a 2006 Supreme Court of California case called People v. Hofsheier (a case he has been researching and arguing since he was a second-year law school student) . That case held that it was a violation of the constitutional guarantee of Equal Protection for some offenses involving voluntary sexual conduct between adults and minors to have “mandatory” sex-offender registration when others had only “discretionary.” Mr. Worthington attempted to plea-bargain for the same charge as the Hofsheier case. When the District Attorney refused that plea bargain, Mr. Worthington negotiated a plea to another offense for which courts had not yet decided whether Hofsheier applied. Mr. Worthington and the District Attorney then submitted research memos to the assigned judge. The judge reviewed the research and conducted his own further research. He eventually agreed with Mr. Worthington—Hofsheier applied and our client should be subject only to “discretionary” sex-offender registration. The case was then continued for about a month for the judge to decide how to exercise his discretion. Mr. Worthington submitted the previous psychiatric evaluation for the Court’s review, and our client was interviewed and evaluated by the Probation Department.

At sentencing, the judge agreed with Mr. Worthington. He found that there was no predatory behavior by our client and that sex offender registration was not appropriate. He did not order registration. Ultimately, our client was sentenced to probation and home confinement. He served only 5 actual days in jail.

From a possible 6 years in prison and lifetime sex-offender registration to no registration and 5 days in jail. A job extremely well done by Brian Worthington.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES DISMISSED IN MONTEREY COUNTY

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington recently represented a man who had two prior convictions for domestic violence in Santa Clara County. He was charged with another domestic violence in Monterey County and was facing a year in county jail. The man’s wife alleged that after a night of drinking he had punched and kicked her door, causing damage, and pushed her. The man admitted punching and kicking the door, and engaging in an argument with his wife while drinking, but adamantly denied placing his hands on his wife.

Mr. Worthington worked with his client and his wife to try to determine what had actually occurred that evening—which turned out to be much different from what she told the police in the heat of the moment while intoxicated. Mr. Worthington also arranged legal representation for the wife, so that she could assert her rights regarding the potential outcome of the case. Using her position, her rights, and her newfound reputation, Mr. Worthington was able to convince the District Attorney to dismiss all domestic violence charges, despite his client’s prior record. His client entered a plea to vandalism and will serve no jail time.

RAPE CHARGES DISMISSED IN SAN BENITO COUNTY

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington recently represented a Hollister man who was accused of domestic violence and rape. The woman involved, our client’s estranged girlfriend, said that after an evening of drinking, the two engaged in an argument that turned physical and resulted in the man forcing himself upon her. Our client acknowledged a night of drinking, and acknowledged the mutual physical altercation between the two, but denied forcing himself upon her. The various charges and enhancements could have resulted in the man serving over a decade in state prison and being registered for life as a sex offender.

Mr. Worthington worked closely with his client, and a well-known local investigator, and a forensic nurse with multiple decades of experience examining alleged victims of sexual assaults. Mr. Worthington presented an argument to the judge and District Attorney that the inconsistency in the woman’s statements, her level of intoxication at the time she made the rape allegation, and the lack of any physical evidence of a rape, would make it impossible for a jury to find the man guilty of rape. Mr. Worthington also used his client’s own good background and willingness to admit to his wrongful conduct—placing his hands on the woman—to argue that his version of the events was more believable.

The case was negotiated for several months and included reports by a sexual assault nurse working in a bay area hospital, the sexual assault nurse working for Mr. Worthington, and a supervisory review of the reports from the bay area hospital.

After many rounds of negotiations, the District Attorney finally agreed that they could not prove guilt of the rape beyond a reasonable doubt. The District Attorney dismissed that charge and Mr. Worthington’s client plead only to placing his hands on the woman. He was granted felony probation and not ordered to register as a sex offender. He served only 3 ½ months in County Jail.

SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES DISMISSED IN MONTEREY COUNTY

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington recently represented a Salinas man accused of domestic violence and forcible oral cop of his girlfriend. These offenses could have resulted in a prison sentence of 15 years and mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender. The woman alleged that after a night of drinking, the two engaged in a physical altercation that resulted in the man biting her vagina against her will. The man had little memory of the event given his level of intoxication.

Mr. Worthington worked closely with his client to try and recreate the events on the nights the man was arrested. Mr. Worthington found that there were inconsistencies in the woman’s story, namely that she had initially reported only a physical assault and no sexual assault. It was not until sometime later that the woman reported a sexual assault—after being taken to the hospital and administered very strong medications which placed her into a state of intoxication. Mr. Worthington used the woman’s state of intoxication during her report to the police—so strong that the police noted it in their report—as an argument for the unreliability of her claim. He also argued that the woman’s refusal to submit to a full physical examination left the District Attorney without proof of the sexual assault. Mr. Worthington also pointed to the findings in the incomplete report as inconsistent with any sexual assaults. Finally, Mr. Worthington used his client’s good background and lack of any prior record as an argument in support of this being a false report. The District Attorney ultimately dismissed the sexual assault charge. The client entered a plea only to a domestic violence charge which can be reduced to a misdemeanor within one year. At the time of sentencing, the judge noted that, as Mr. Worthington had argued, it appeared the woman was exaggerating what occurred that evening. The man was not ordered to serve any jail time nor to register as a sex offender.

WITNESS DISSUASION CASE WITH GANG ENHANCEMENT CARRYING POTENTIAL LIFE SENTENCE REDUCED TO DISTURBING THE PEACE; DEFENDANT RELEASED AFTER 50 DAYS IN CUSTODY

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington recently handled the case of a mid-20s Salinas man who was charged with witness dissuasion, criminal threats, and gang enhancements. The charges and enhancements carried a potential life sentence. Our client had no prior record and no gang affiliation. Law enforcement claimed that our client attended a trial where a friend of his was convicted of murder. On the way out of court, our client approached an off duty peace officer, clenched his fists in a fighting manner, and threatened him, according to law enforcement. Law enforcement also claimed our client and his companions entered a vehicle and stalked the off duty officer, requiring law enforcement to detain our client and his companion at gunpoint.

Our client and his companions all waived their right to silence and gave consistent statements: as they left the court room, the off duty officer was staring at them in an aggressive way. They were concerned for their friend and consoling his mother. Our client reacted to the staring by swearing in a non-threatening way, and the group moved on. They stated they were simply taking our client to his vehicle when the off duty officer pulled a gun out of his car and ordered them out.

Mr. Worthington argued that the case was over-charged and law enforcement had overreacted to an innocuous situation where words were exchanged in the heat of the moment, but no malicious intent existed. He pointed out that the statements of all law enforcement officers involved were materially inconsistent, that the off duty officer didn’t tell other officers he had been threatened until after he pulled out his gun and detained our client, and that no weapons were found on our client, his companion, or their vehicles.

Based on Mr. Worthington’s presentation, the District Attorney agreed to reduce the case to disturbing the peace, with a gang enhancement. The charge carried a maximum of 3 years in state prison and a minimum of 180 days in county jail. At sentencing, Mr. Worthington argued that the case was so unusual the judge should depart from the mandatory minimum. The District Attorney agreed with Mr. Worthington’s position and the judge imposed credit for time served. Our client was placed on probation and released after serving only 50 actual days in custody, despite originally facing a life sentence.

NOT GUILTY VERDICT IN MONTEREY COUNTY ARMED ROBBERY CASE

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington handled the case of a Salinas man charged with armed robbery. The complaining witness was a tow truck driver in Salinas, who claimed Mr. Worthington’s client assaulted him with another, armed assailant, and stole a digital camera containing photos of a recently towed car that belonged to our client’s family member.

A co-defendant was also arrested and accepted a plea to armed robbery for felony probation. However, Mr. Worthington’s client maintained his innocence and proceeded to trial. He faced up to 6 years in prison if convicted.

At trial, the client testified that he was on scene when the camera was stolen and asked the tow truck driver about the photos. However, he was not with the person who committed the armed robbery—he approached the man before the armed robber was on the scene. The client testified he was a target, not a participant in the robbery.

At closing argument, Mr. Worthington argued that the testimony of the tow truck driver was implausible and unbelievable. He further argued that the client’s good background created reasonable doubt that he would involve himself in an armed robbery just to obtain photographs.

The jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes before returning a unanimous not guilty verdict.

CRIMINAL THREATS AND WITNESS INTIMIDATION CHARGES DISMISSED IN SAN BENITO COUNTY

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Mr. Worthington represented a multi-time felon who was charged with intimidating a witness with a firearm. He was alleged to have approached a woman on the street, brandished a firearm, and told her if she did not stop “snitching” he would “handle it.” He was facing 6 years and 8 months in prison.

Prior to preliminary hearing, Mr. Worthington presented witness statement and cell phone evidence to the District Attorney. The evidence showed that the client had ongoing contact with the woman and her story of a chance encounter on the street was not believable. The District Attorney considered the evidence and agreed to dismiss all witness intimidation and firearm charges. The man ultimately pled no contest to possession of a methamphetamine pipe that was found in his car at arrest. By that time, he had served 72 days in custody. The Judge imposed credit for time served.

DRUGS SALES CASE REDUCED TO SIMPLE POSSESSION, 40 DAYS OF WORK ALTERNATIVE IMPOSED

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington handled the case of a young man charged with possession of marijuana and concentrated cannabis with intent to sell. The young man was found with nearly 3 ounces of marijuana and concentrated cannabis (also known as hashish) stored in small increments, small denominations of cash, a digital scale, and incriminating texts messages. He faced 3 years and 8 months in prison.

Mr. Worthington presented evidence of his client’s medical marijuana recommendation and qualifying medical condition. He argued that the scale and individualized packages was no different from a user of any other prescription measuring dosage. The charges were ultimately reduced to simple possession. The client was sentenced to felony probation and ordered to complete 40 days of work alternative.

PROBATION AND SHORT JAIL SENTENCE IMPOSED FOR SALINAS MAN CONVICTED OF DRUG SALES, FIREARM POSSESSION, AND SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A MINOR

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington represented a Salinas man with 4 open cases including drug sales, firearms, and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

The client was originally arrested when his 16 year old girlfriend became pregnant from their sexual acts. He was arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, and released on his own recognizance. He was then arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, possession of a firearm in connection with a narcotics felony, and child endangerment. He was charged with a felony and posted bail. After posting bail, he failed to appear in court. He was later charged with possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia. That search found additional evidence of drug sales. He was charged with a misdemeanor for the paraphernalia and a felony for failure to appear. In total, the charges in all four cases added up to a total possible sentence of over 12 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Mr. Worthington was able to negotiate with the District Attorney for a maximum sentence of 5 years, with the Judge retaining discretion or impose probation at the time of sentencing. The District Attorney agreed to the plea, but did not agree to stipulate to probation. He reserved the right to argue for prison at the sentencing hearing.

Prior to sentencing, Mr. Worthington gathered evidence of his client’s drug addiction and his active role in the life of the child born to the 16 year old girlfriend. Based on the support of his family and the wishes of the child’s mother, both the Judge and District Attorney agreed that probation was appropriate. The client was not required to register as a sex offender and was released to a drug treatment program after only 117 days in custody.

NOT GUILTY VERDICTS FOR CARMEL VALLEY MAN FALSELY ACCUSED OF RAPE

Attorneys: Thomas S. Worthington and Brian M. Worthington

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After a six day trial, a Salinas jury brings back not guilty verdicts on all charges against a Carmel Valley contractor falsely accused of rape.

What began as many other Friday nights for this 30 year old single man from Carmel Valley–a night out with some friends–turned out to be a nightmare. After meeting some friends for drinks in Carmel Valley, the accused and his friends went to a bar in Carmel where they met three women–one of whom had been a schoolmate of one of the accused’s friends. The men partied and danced with the three women until the bar closed and they were invited back to one of the women’s apartment.

At the apartment, one of the women engaged in a strip tease dance and invited all three men to have sex with her. When all the others had either gone home or gone to bed, our client and the woman engaged in sexual activities. But the next morning when they woke up, she immediately started screaming at him pretending not to know who he was and accused him of raping her. She began chasing him around the apartment with two knives that she got from the kitchen. All the while the others in the apartment were telling her who the man was, that they had spent the evening together, and that she did know him. He was asked to leave. He left and within minutes, the cab he was in was stopped by the police and he was arrested for rape.

He was charged by the Monterey County District Attorney with rape and sexual battery of an unconscious woman. The young man steadfastly maintained his innocence. Tom and Brian Worthington along with their defense team, including another Worthington Law Centre associate, Carolyn Keeley, and the firm’s investigator, Richard Lee, were able to prove to the jury that the woman was lying on more than one relevant point: Although four people, testified to the contrary, including her good friend, the woman denied ever having an interest in any of the men at the apartment; denied having stripped down to her bra and panties and performing for the men; denied inviting them to have sex with her. She lied to the jury about what she had told two police officers; she lied to the jury about what she was wearing to bed that evening.

In the three months it took to bring this case to trial, the woman was interviewed by two investigating officers, an examiner at the hospital, an investigator with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, and a deputy District Attorney. But it was not until she took the stand, under oath, that she told a story of how she was too intoxicated to consent or know what had happened to her. But this testimony was inconsistent with laboratory testing of her blood drawn just hours after the events that showed she had 0% alcohol in her system. After some suggestion that she may have taken Ecstasy, the defense presented additional laboratory tests showing that same blood sample was negative for all common “sex” drugs.

In her two day testimony, the defense completely discredited this witness. The defense argued to the jury that this woman had come to town for a “girls’ weekend,” leaving her fiancé behind. She engaged in activities that she certainly did not want her fiancé to find out about. And that when waking the next morning in her friend’s apartment with a man other than fiancé, she lied to protect her relationship.

After 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury came back with verdicts of not guilty on all counts.

To read more about this case, please see the story published in The Carmel Pine Cone.

46 YEAR OLD HOLLISTER MAN FACING LIFE IN PRISON FOR ALLEGED CHILD MOLESTATION FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES

Attorneys: Thomas S. Worthington and Brian M. Worthington

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In December, 2009, a Hollister man with no prior record was accused of having molested his niece when she was between the ages of three and eight. The niece is now 14 years old and was claiming she had seizures caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/), as a result of repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse (http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/). For at least six weeks she discussed with her mother and neighbor dreams she was having that she had been abused as a young child. After six weeks of these conversations she determined these were not dreams, but memories of true events. She claimed her uncle was the perpetrator.

Despite a report being made to law enforcement in January, 2010, no criminal charges were filed until summer, 2010.

Brian Worthington and Tom Worthington spent nearly two years investigating the case and developing the defense theory. The investigation and defense involved review of the entire family’s background, family court records, child protective services records, medical records, and school records. The man participated in a polygraph examination administered by a former FBI agent. He passed the examination. Preparation of the defense also involved consultation with a number of expert witnesses in the fields of diagnosis and treatment of sex-offenders, repressed memory, suggestibility of child witnesses, misuse of psychiatric diagnoses in court proceedings, and the motivations that can cause an adolescent girl to intentionally fabricate allegations of sexual abuse against a family member.

The defense investigation uncovered a wealth of medical records—none of which documented any seizure or diagnosis of PTSD. At trial Messrs. Worthington presented evidence and argument that these were fabricated medical issues used as an excuse to get out of school, and that the girl had used her “medical situation” and the child abuse story to convince her mother to be less restrictive with her boyfriends. Moreover, she had been inconsistent in her story when talking to friends and family members–with some, she denied it occurred at all; with others, she claimed another person had abused her at a different time in her life. Finally, it was discovered that the girl and her mother had destroyed documentary evidence that the Court had ordered them to maintain.

As a result of the investigative findings and the favorable polygraph examination, the Worthingtons demanded the case should be dismissed. When the District Attorney initially refused, the defense team produced a pretrial brief, complete with summaries of medical records and declarations from proposed expert witnesses, that was hundreds of pages long and renewed the demand to dismiss. After the District Attorney again refused, the case was set for trial.

The trial began October 31, 2011 and lasted nine days. During this time, the defense presented three expert witnesses and a number of character witnesses. Among the character witnesses were school teachers and a well known pediatrician in San Benito County. Each of the character witnesses testified the defendant was a good, honest man who would never harm a child. It took the jury less than three hours to deliberate before the man was found not guilty of all nine charges.

PRISON GUARD STABS AND KILLS HUSBAND, FACES CHARGES OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER AND A POSSIBLE SENTENCE OF LIFE IN PRISON, RECEIVES 7 YEARS IN PRISON

Attorneys: Thomas S. Worthington and Brian M. Worthington

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As a result of a domestic dispute on New Year’s Day, a 24 year old prison guard stabbed her husband in the chest in front of his two young children. The man later died. The woman faced life in prison. Tom and Brian Worthington teamed up to defend this young woman.

With the assistance of experts in the field of forensic pathology, biomechanics and Intimate Partner Battering (more commonly known as “battered woman syndrome”), Messrs Worthington developed a defense based on Intimate Partner Battering (http://www.rainn.org/get-information/effects-of-sexual-assault/battered-woman-syndrome) and argued to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office that the history of abuse in the relationship caused the woman to arm herself during an argument, in hopes that the presence of a weapon would make her husband stop abusing her. They also argued that the kinetics of the event showed the stabbing could not have been intentional and premeditated, but was instead reflexive and a product of her fear of abuse.

Days before the case was to go to trial, the Monterey County District Attorney agreed to reduce the charge of first degree murder to a charge of voluntary manslaughter. The woman was sentenced to seven years in prison.

20 YEAR OLD SAN JUAN BAUTISTA MALE ALLEGED TO BE INVOLVED IN A GANG RELATED SHOOTING AND FACING SUBSTANTIAL PRISON TIME RECEIVES PROBATION AFTER DISMISSAL OF ALL GANG ALLEGATIONS

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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In May, 2010, a 20-year-old Hispanic male from San Juan Bautista with no prior record was alleged to have been involved in a shooting at a golf course in Monterey County. It was alleged that the shooting was gang motivated and that shots were fired at three to four people in a vehicle. The young man was
facing numerous strikes, registration as a gang member, and substantial prison time. Two codefendants were also represented by well-known local attorneys. After nearly a year of motions and argument made by Mr. Worthington and the two co-counsels specifically directed at the allegations of gang involvement, the young man was offered a plea to only a single felony for probation. All gang charges were dismissed, he was not registered as a gang member–he received a sentence of only 220 days in county jail.

MINOR INITIALLY CHARGED IN ADULT COURT WITH CHILD MOLESTATION AND FACING LIFE IN PRISON RECEIVES JUVENILE PROBATION WITH ONLY 90 DAYS IN CUSTODY AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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In San Benito County a 17-year-old with no prior record was charged with substantial sexual conduct with his eight-year-old cousin. After one hearing in juvenile court, the case was moved to adult court where the charges carried a potential life sentence. Mr. Worthington brought a motion to dismiss because the District Attorney had exceeded its authority to file the case in adult court without such filing being approved by a judge. Mr. Worthington’s motion was granted and the case was returned to juvenile court. The District Attorney then made a second request to transfer the matter to adult court.

Mr. Worthington enlisted the services of a well-known local psychologist to evaluate the minor’s competency to stand trial as an adult. The psychologist found that the minor lacked the emotional maturity and intellectual capacity to be charged as an adult and that his lack of a prior record along with the odd nature of the alleged incident showed he was in need of the rehabilitation that could be done through the juvenile court as opposed to the punishment that is imposed in adult court. The judge agreed and denied the District Attorney’s request to have the case moved back to adult court and dismissed half of the charges.

In juvenile court he was still facing confinement until the age of 25 and lifetime sex offender registration. On the day of jurisdictional hearing, the matter settled for a lower-level offense and the minor received 90 days in custody and was not required to register as a sex offender.

MAN FACING LIFE IN PRISON IN CHILD MOLESTATION CASE GRANTED PROBATION AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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A Salinas man charged with molesting his two minor daughters over a period of years was granted probation and was not required to register under the sex offender registration statute.

Mr. Worthington advised the client that an early acceptance of responsibility with strong denials of any sexual intent was the best possible course for a favorable outcome. Mr. Worthington argued to the judge and the District Attorney that because the defendant had his family’s support (his wife and his daughters, the victims in this case), the Court needed to give the victims’ wishes the same deference as given when victims wish for extended prison sentences.

Mr. Worthington retained the services of a well known local psychologist to evaluate the man’s background, criminal history, psychological disposition and likelihood of reoffending. She opined that the man’s behavior while boorish and inappropriate was the product of a narcissistic need for attention more akin to sexual harassment than sexual molestation.

Relying upon the opinion of the expert witness and the positions asserted by the victims, through their own attorneys, Mr. Worthington argued that a prison sentence was not appropriate in this case nor was there sufficient evidence of sexual compulsion or sexual gratification to warrant sex offender registration. Ultimately, the judge agreed and sentenced the man to felony probation with 180 days in county jail and no sex offender registration.

GANG MEMBER FACING 50 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON RECEIVES 10 YEAR SENTENCE

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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A known gang member with two prior strikes was found in enemy gang territory fleeing from police with a loaded, stolen handgun. Because of his prior record, the defendant faced a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison. While the defendant was awaiting trial at the Monterey County Jail, he was accused and charged with an additional gang related felony, making his possible sentence 50 years to life.

Mr. Worthington prepared a motion to dismiss the prior strike allegations(commonly referred to as a Romero motion) arguing that the defendant should not be subject to the 3 strikes law because his prior crimes had been committed at a young age and at the direction of older, established gang members; that because he was young enough and had enough support from his family rehabilitation in the future was possible; and because the conduct in his current offenses was not egregious enough to warrant a life sentence. Ultimately, one of the prior strikes was dismissed and the case settled for a stipulated prison sentence of 10 years, 8 months.

MAN AVOIDS DEPORTATION ON CHARGES OF OPERATING A CHOP SHOP, VEHICLE THEFT AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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A multi-time felon with previous weapons offenses and a history of substance abuse was arrested for running a chop shop, vehicle theft and cultivation of marijuana. If convicted, the man faced prison time and mandatory deportation. Mr. Worthington argued to the District Attorney that the evidence of cultivation was so tenuous that the charge should be dismissed. The District Attorney ultimately agreed and dismissed which eliminated the possibility of mandatorydeportation. The District Attorney also agreed to dismiss the chop shop allegation in exchange for a plea to the charge of vehicle theft which left open the possibility of deportation were the judge to pass down an aggravated sentence.

Mr. Worthington argued that because of the defendant’s efforts to overcome past substance abuse issues, the many years between prior offenses and the current offense, his family ties to the area (which included a citizen wife and two citizen children), and the more active role in the scheme played by his co-defendant, the man’s sentence should be lenient. The judge agreed and sentenced the man to home confinement.

FILIPINO IMMIGRANT AVOIDS PRISON, DEPORTATION AND SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AFTER CONVICTION OF STATUTORY RAPE

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Defendant, 19 years old at the time of the offense, was arrested for having sexual intercourse with his 14 year old classmate. Although the girl initially said the sex act was consentual, while the case was pending she changed her story and said it was forcible. The case resolved for probation but depending upon the sentence handed down by the judge, there was still a possibility of deportation and sex offender registration. Mr. Worthington argued that the girl’s inconsistent story should not be relied upon for the basis of sex offender registration and further that the defendant’s good background, promising future in the nursing field, and early acceptance of responsibility should qualify him for a reduced sentence. Ultimately the young man was sentenced to fewer than two months of home confinement; he was not deported and was not ordered to register as a sex offender.

MAN CHARGED IN MOLESTATION OF TWO GIRLS AT DAYCARE FACILITY RECEIVES PROBATION

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Shortly after admission to the California State Bar, Mr. Worthington was assigned the case of a Salinas man accused of molesting two girls at a daycare facility. The man faced a potential sentence of 60 years to life in prison and was held in the Monterey County Jail on an extremely high bail. Mr. Worthington reviewed a position paper originally drafted by the Monterey County Defense Bar, updated the case law, and modified the position paper into a motion arguing that Monterey County’s Bail schedule is set so high as to violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive bail. The bail was reduced significantly and the man was able to post bail and return to his family as the case progressed. The case ultimately settled for one felony and one misdemeanor. The man was granted probation and sentenced to less than one year of home confinement.

ELDERLY HOLLISTER MAN THREATENS WIFE WITH SHOTGUN FACING PRISON SENTENCE RECEIVES 4 MONTHS HOME CONFINEMENT

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Mr. Worthington handled the case of an elderly man in Hollister who was accused of threatening to kill his wife, threatening her with a shotgun, resisting arrest, and discharge of a firearm in front of law enforcement officers. The man faced a prison sentence and numerous “strike” offenses. Through months of pretrial work, Mr. Worthington assisted the man in enrolling in Alcoholics Anonymous as well as individual and family counseling. The man and his wife reunited. The case ultimately settled for a single felony which was not a “strike.” The man was sentenced to four months of home confinement.

Young Man with Cognitive Limitations Facing 6 years in State Prison receives 120 Days of Home Confinement.

Attorney: Brian M. Worthington

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Brian Worthington represented a 22 year old Castroville man who was accused of burglarizing a neighborhood home. He was seen prying open the screen of a neighboring residence and fled when one of the residents confronted him. Under California law, this conduct is a completed burglary and, because a person was present, a “violent felony.” Burglary carries a “mandatory” state prison sentence, with up to 6 years in prison. The young man was also on two grants of probation and was arrested on a new misdemeanor offense just days before sentencing.

While representing the young man, Mr. Worthington obtained school and medical records showing the young man was in special education classes from a very young age. He had a “specific learning disability” with his cognitive abilities being “low average to borderline.” The records also showed the young man had suffered led poisoning as a child which could have lowered his IQ anywhere from 10-72 points.

Based on the young man’s cognitive abilities and lack of any violence during the burglary, Mr. Worthington was able to convince the District Attorney not to file a “person present” allegation, so the burglary was not a “violent felony.” Mr. Worthington also convinced both the judge and DA that there were unusual circumstances present that gave the judge discretion to grant probation.

At sentencing, the judge agreed she could grant probation, and did. No “violent felony” was charged, and the misdemeanor for which the young man was arrested days before sentencing was dismissed. All told, the young man received only 120 days of home confinement.