John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in clinical trial advocacy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Please email EDCA items of interest to Balazslaw@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
"A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a 10-count indictment Thursday charging a transient with hoax mailings, threatening communications and failing to register as a sex offender after crossing state lines." Sac Bee, 4/30/10
That's what's speculated in today's LA Times article: "Though the indictment doesn't name Salyer's co-conspirators, it could signal a push by the U.S. Justice Department to broaden its ongoing investigation into California's tomato processing industry." And here's Denny's story of yesterday's indictment in today's Sacramento Bee.
A federal grand jury has added five more felony charges to the price-fixing case against the former owner of a California food company.The new counts allege that Frederick Scott Salyer violated antitrust laws by fixing prices or rigging bids for the sale of tomato products to McCain Foods USA Inc., Conagra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.
The Sacramento Bee reports that a Superseding Indictment with criminal anti-trust and unfair competition charges is expected to be filed when the grand jury meets Thursday, and that two attorneys from the Department of Justice's Anti-Trust Division are expected to join AUSAs Sean Flynn and Matt Segal on the prosecution team in time for the status conference on Tuesday. Sacramento Bee, 4/28/10. Given the DOJ's track record in past prosecutions in this district, the defense may welcome the addition of the new Washington D.C. prosecutors.
At this morning's status conference, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Flynn advised Judge Karlton that attorneys from the Department of Justice's Anti-Trust section would be coming to Sacramento next week and suggested that a superseding indictment would be filed with additional charges against SK Foods owner Frederick Salyer. I don't remember ever seeing criminal antitrust charges in this district. Otherwise, the status conference was uneventful with Judge Karlton largely granting the defense's proposed motion schedule. Sacramento Bee, 4/27/10
Two men have been convicted in a marijuana growing case that involved a gun battle last year between suspects and law enforcement officers in which one suspect was killed and two Lassen County sheriff's officers were wounded.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced Friday that a federal jury convicted Jose Alfredo Zepeda, 20, of East Palo Alto, and Clemente Ferrias Arroyo, 63, of Morgan Hill, of conspiring to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.
The charges stem from an investigation of a large outdoor marijuana garden on federal land in northern Lassen County by two Bureau of Land Management rangers, two Lassen County sheriff's officers and a Susanville police officer.
On June 16, 2009, the officers encountered three suspected marijuana growers. Suspect Juan Carlos Herrera-Chavez engaged the officers in a gun battle using an AK-47 rifle, a Department of Justice news release states. The two sheriff's deputies were wounded, and Herrera-Chavez was killed when officers returned fire, officials said. Both Lassen County sheriff's officers survived.
Seven Sacramento-area residents were arrested this week as a result of two indoor marijuana growing investigations by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Elk Grove Police Department.
The two-day enforcement operation resulted in seizure of six indoor operations, more than 4,300 plants, approximately $82,600 in U.S. Currency and one vehicle, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration news release.
In November 2009, the Elk Grove Police Department and the DEA's Sacramento District Office identified a suspected marijuana cultivator, Tac Che, 50, of Sacramento. According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers learned of several residences with suspected indoor marijuana grows that were linked to Che. Based on the investigation, officers believed power theft was occurring at many of the grow sites.
Three people have been sentenced in U.S. District Court for their part in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton sentenced Wayne J. Majors, 56, of Phoenix to six months in a halfway house, and six months of home confinement as part of his five years of probation, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
Also sentenced were Majors' two co-defendants. Leah Anderson, 37, of Phoenix, was sentenced to five years probation with 30 days intermittent confinement in jail and five months of home confinement. Sandra Villegas, 58, also of Phoenix, was sentenced to 30 days in jail followed by five months of home confinement. The defendants pleaded guilty Aug. 28, 2009.
According to plea agreements, from 1999 through 2002, Majors and his wife, Leah Anderson, and his sister, Sandra Villegas, set up and managed a Sacramento law firm, the American Law Center, specializing in bankruptcy. The three operated the business side and hired lawyers for the legal work.