The Worthington Law Centre building

Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

Notable Cases:

MOLEST VICTIM CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER OF HIS ASSAILANT RECEIVES PROBATION

Attorneys: Thomas S. Worthington and Carolyn "Charlie" Keeley

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After years of being molested and being introduced to marijuana by a state prison parolee who had moved into his neighborhood, an 18 year old young man who had never been in any kind of trouble in his life confronts his molester in the same garage where the molestations had occurred. Seemingly unprovoked at the time, the young man punched and knocked the man down and then began to kick him. The man suffered a brain injury and was in a coma for 45 days.

After the assault the young man, himself, called 911 and waited for the authorities. He was arrested on attempted murder charges.

Previously unable to tell anyone of the trauma he had suffered at the hands of his molester, the young man was finally able to tell his story of how he had been repeatedly taunted and molested in that dimly lit garage.

Mr. Worthington and his co-counsel, Mrs. Keeley, along with experts in the field of “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome” (http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/child-sexual-abuse-accommodation-syndrome-csaas) and “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder” (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/) mounted a defense and presented to the District Attorney convincing evidence that the young man had no intent to kill and had acted irrationally and out of character as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The District Attorney’s Office and the Court agreed to accept a plea to assault and the Court granted probation with no time in jail.

In an update to this case: After serving his entire probationary term, during which he asked for no special treatment by the court or the probation department, Mrs. Keeley filed a Petition to Dismiss all Charges under Penal Code Section 1203.4. Both the Monterey County Probation Department and the Monterey County District Attorney’s office completely supported the motion. The Motion was granted by Honorable Terrance Duncan.

COACH FROM ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON SCHOOL CHARGED WITH MURDER OF HIS DAUGHTER'S BOYFRIEND CONVICTED OF LESSER OFFENSE OF VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

Attorneys: Thomas S Worthington and Carolyn Keeley

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A well known and respected coach at Robert Louis Stevenson School was charged with the murder of his daughter’s boyfriend. . The man’s daughter and boyfriend had a tumultuous relationship. They had been living together off and on for two years. They had an infant son together. On many occasions the daughter called her father for assistance in resolving arguments or to help her in move out of the residence she shared with her boyfriend. The man always came to her aid. At the same time, because the boyfriend was the father of his grandchild, the man repeatedly set aside his ill feelings and tried to give guidance to the young man. But there were also angry confrontations, including on the day of the homicide.

After receiving a disturbing call from his daughter asking him to come pick up the baby, he arrived at the apartment his daughter and the young man shared. He believe his daughter was in distress and wanted to help. He left his wife, and two grandchildren in the truck while he went to the apartment in an attempt to talk to the boyfriend and to see what was happening. The daughter followed him. When he got into the apartment, the boyfriend charged the man with a baseball bat. In fear of his life and the life of his daughter and grandchildren, the man went to his pickup and got a gun. The young man continued to come at him with the bat. The man fired the gun several times and hit the young man in the forehead with one bullet. Paramedics were called to the scene, but it was too late, the young man was already dead. The police were called and the man was arrested on charges of first degree murder, a charge that carried a potential sentence of life in prison for this man who had never been in trouble with the law.

Mr. Thomas Worthington and his associate, Mrs. Carolyn Keeley, waived jury trial and went to a court trial in front of Honorable Terrance Duncan. The defense made many pretrial motions which would ultimately affect the results of the case, one of which was researched and written by Brian Worthington: A motion to oppose the District Attorney’s theory that the man could be charged with “second degree felony murder.” Brian Worthington wrote a motion arguing that there was no such charge, specifically not on the facts of this case.

After a three day court trial during which the defense maintained that the shooting had been in defense of the man and his daughter–that he had acted in protection of his daughter as any father would–the judge reached a verdict of the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter. The man was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

LOCAL RETIRED DENTIST CHARGED WITH FELONY CHILD ENDNAGERMENT FACING A SIX YEAR PRISON TERM RECEIVES MISDMEANOR TREATMENT WITH PROBATION AND NO JAIL TIME

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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Highly respected retired Salinas dentist helping to raise his teenaged twin granddaughters was charged with child endangerment under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury resulting from an altercation between him and one of the twins. The maximum penalty for this charge is SIX years in a California State Prison. The dentist admitted he had held his hand over the girl’s mouth to quiet her down, but said he never had any intent to harm her. He admitted he was wrong and expressed great remorse. Mrs. Keeley was able to reach an agreement with the Monterey County District Attorney to reduce the charges to one misdemeanor and Monterey County Superior Court Judge Russell Scott granted probation. The dentist was able to stay in his home and is once again helping his daughter to raise the twins.

18-YEAR-OLD YOUNG MAN FACING SIX YEARS IN STATE PRISON AND TWO STRIKES RECEIVES PROBATION AND ONLY ONE STRIKE

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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A young man who had just turned 18 got in a fight with a fellow student at his high school during which he and three of his friends beat up the younger student. He was represented at trial by another law firm. A jury convicted the young man of three felonies: assault with force, likely to produce great bodily injury and making terrorist threats.  With these convictions, this young man faced six years in state prison. But, worse, two of the charges were “strikes” under California’s Three Strikes Law. Thus, if he were to be convicted of any felony, no matter how minor, at any time for the rest of his life, he could be sent to state prison for 25 years to life.

The young man’s family was extremely unhappy with the attorney who had represented him during the jury trial, so they retained The Worthington Law Centre for the sentencing hearing. The case was assigned to Carolyn Keeley. The family’s hope was that enough positive information could be presented to the trial judge to convince him to give this 18 year old a more lenient sentence.

Mrs. Keeley knew that it would be difficult to persuade the judge to give her client a break because the nature of the assault was quite terrifying for the victim. Luckily, the physical injuries were minor. However, the young man had never been in trouble before at school, while driving, at work, or with his friends. He was extremely remorseful for his actions and ashamed that he had caused so much trauma for the victim, the victim’s family, and his own family. Also, as a result of his actions, he had been expelled from his high school shortly before graduation and thus lost his opportunity to attend college the next fall. The goal was twofold to limit the amount of jail time for him—in particular to keep him out of state prison—and to convince the judge to reduce one or two of the charges to misdemeanors.

Mrs. Keeley prepared a sentencing memorandum that contained:  an analysis of the applicable law outlining for the judge his legal authority to reduce the charges; letters from the client’s high school teachers, counselor and coaches; academic transcripts from the high school; letter of acceptance from the college as well as SAT scores; letters from client’s employers; letters from family friends, and a letter from client in which he expressed his feelings of regret and humiliation for his crime.  Also he told the court of his future plans to further his education and career plans after his release from custody.

At the sentencing hearing, the District Attorney adamantly opposed any reduction in sentence, dramatically stating that the young man should be punished to the full extent of the law.  The judge stated on the record that after hearing the victim tearfully testify during the trial, he had been prepared to send client to state prison. However, he was so impressed with the materials presented on this young man’s behalf that he had completely changed his opinion of him.

The judge reduced one of the charges to a misdemeanor, thus taking away one of the “strike” offenses from client’s record. He then sentenced him to 180 days jail, with credit for 150 days already served.

28 YEAR OLD SALINAS MAN FACING 13 YEARS IN STATE PRISON FOR WEAPONS CHARGES WITH GANG ENHANCEMTNS RECEIVES PROBATION

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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Our client was a 28 year old man raised in Salinas, who had friends and relatives several of whom were members of the Norteno gang.  He was arrested during a Gang Task Force raid in a Salinas bar; the officers found a concealed firearm in his waistband. He was charged with various weapons offenses with gang enhancements; a conviction of all offenses would subject him to 13 years three months in state prison.

The young man had a juvenile record, but since turning 18, he had attended community college, and had an excellent full-time job–which he had had for the prior seven years.  He lived with his family and helped support his mother and siblings. His main concern was keeping his job and continuing financial support of his family.

After conducting extensive pretrial and sentencing hearings, Mrs. Keeley persuaded the court that the gang enhancement should be reduced to a misdemeanor and the defendant should be granted probation.  The court also agreed to impose no further actual jail time but instead allowed the young man to participate in the work alternative program, allowing him to keep his valued job and continue to be a productive citizen.

PAROLEE WITH PRIOR CERTIFICATION AS A MEMBER OF THE NORTENO STREET GANG FACING 25 YEARS TO LIFE RECEIVES WORK ALTERNATIVE

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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Our client was a 35-year-old parolee with an extensive prior record which included a term in state prison for robbery and attempted carjacking.  He was also certified as a member of the Norteno street gang.

After release from prison, he resolved to turn around his life. He obtained degrees from Monterey Peninsula College and Hartnell Community College and secured a good job, allowing him to financially support his two children.

He and his wife separated after his release on parole, and each dated other people. Nevertheless, his wife became enraged after secretly reading text messages on his cell phone. In an effort to have his parole revoked and send him back to prison, she told the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department that her husband had struck her and threatened to kill her. Our client immediately told the police that his wife was lying, but because of his record, no one believed him.

He was arrested and charged with seven felony counts–including felony domestic violence, false imprisonment, making terrorist threats, and attempting to dissuade a witness with allegations of three prior strikes and a prior prison term. Conviction of only one of these charges could have resulted in a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Carolyn Keeley and Investigator Richard Lee conducted an extensive investigation, reviewing court custody records, parole revocation hearing transcripts, cell phone records, jail telephone recordings, documents from the Family Support Office, interviews with witnesses, as well as reviewing records of our client’s employment and academic achievements since leaving state prison. A detailed analysis of all the available evidence was presented to the District Attorney’s Office. Ultimately Mrs. Keeley was able to convince the District Attorney that the wife’s primary goal was to retaliate against her husband for not reconciling their relationship.

Our client pled no contest to only one misdemeanor charge, and received work alternative with no further time in custody. All felony charges, the 3 strike allegations and the prior prison term allegations were dismissed.

24 YEAR OLD SALINAS MAN FACING 7 YEARS IN STATE PRISON FOR BANK ROBBERY RECEIVES PROBATION.

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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Product of a mother with severe psychological problems and a father in prison for rape—our client had been physically and emotionally abused throughout his childhood. He had been through the mental health and court system since the age of 12 and was sent to the California Youth Authority for assaulting a classmate.

Since turning 18, he had attended Hartnell College and obtained employment. He had never abused drugs or alcohol, and he had no gang involvement. He had a wonderful and supportive girlfriend and resumed a close relationship with his relatives. He had transferred to a four year college, and was financially supported by his family.

Just prior to the offense, he found out that several years prior, he had fathered a child from a one-night stand and that he now owed the state thousands of dollars for the child’s support. He became despondent—worried about how he could continue to be a drain on his family’s finances, how he could pay child support and still stay in college. Completely losing his ability to think through the situation rationally, he impulsively decided if he robbed a bank, his problems would be solved.

He got a ski mask and toy gun, and barged into a major Salinas bank demanding money. The robbery was remarkably inept; after getting the money, he ran out the bank door and took off the ski mask, allowing several people to identify him. He dropped his backpack which contained personal information leading to his residence.

The young man was charged with robbery and two counts of concealed weapons, which could have resulted in a state prison sentence of seven years. With the severity of the offenses and the client’s prior record, a commitment to prison seemed almost inevitable.

Mrs. Keeley’s goal was to convince the court and District Attorney that the young man should be given another opportunity to prove he could succeed on probation, given the enormous obstacles that he already overcome after turning 18. He was examined by forensic psychologist Elaine Finnberg Ph.D., who reviewed his entire juvenile court and mental health file, probation reports, CYA reports, police reports and character letters by members of the community. She also conducted psychological testing. She concluded that our client was an excellent candidate for probation given the proper counseling.

The court and District Attorney’s Office agreed that based on the extensive background information provided by Mrs. Keeley, and analysis of the factors leading to this incident, the young man should NOT be sent to state prison for the robbery. Instead, he received felony probation, and was released from jail the day of the sentencing. The weapons charges were dismissed.

SLEEP TECHNICIAN ACCUSED OF TOUCHING PATIENTS IN A SEXUAL MANNER RECEIVES NOT GUILTY VERDICTS ON ALL CHARGES EXCEPT ONE RESULTING IN A HUNG JURY

Attorney: Carolyn Ingalls Keeley

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Our client worked at a Monterey County hospital as a sleep lab technician conducting overnight testing on patients for symptoms of sleep apnea. During a six month period, five separate men accused him of touching them in a sexually inappropriate manner while they were undergoing treatment for sleep apnea. Our client was charged with one felony count of sexual battery by fraud and four counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. He faced a four year term in state prison, and mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Our client adamantly denied the charges–he was a highly rated employee of the hospital for the prior six years and had won medals of distinction while serving in the US military for eight years.

During the jury trial, Mrs. Keeley presented an expert in sleep apnea who reviewed the overnight test results of each of the complaining witnesses. The expert pointed out discrepancies between their claims and the electronic test results. The expert also explained the nature of sleep apnea and how it can change one’s perception of events that are taking place.

Mrs. Keeley subpoenaed employees of the hospital who were present during the alleged sexual assaults and showed detailed photographic exhibits of the sleep center which supported our client’s statement of the events. She also presented to the jury the patients’ hospital records containing medical backgrounds, test results and their statements before and after the test, all of which undercut their claims of sexual abuse.

Further, Mrs. Keeley called witnesses who attested to our client’s exemplary work ethic, professionalism, and spotless record during his tenure at the hospital.

The jury found our client not guilty on the felony charge and not guilty on all of the misdemeanor sexual battery charges. They were unable to reach a verdict on one count of simple assault. Ultimately, our client pled “no contest” to a misdemeanor charge of battery. He received only a fine, and most importantly, was not required to register as a sex offender at any time. All other counts were dismissed.