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. 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 The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated.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.
Three men pled guilty Monday in Fresno federal court for conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana on a Native American site in Domeland Wilderness area, the office of U.S Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said. Fresno Bee, 4/3/17
Pablo Lopez has two pieces this week in the Fresno Bee on pretrial filings in the Keith Foster drug trafficking case that is scheduled to begin trial in Fresno on May 9. The April 2 article discusses some of the wiretap pleadings and the April 3 piece summarizes the prosecution's trial brief. Here are the first few paragraphs of the second:
Keith Foster blames his family for getting involved in drug dealing and losing his job as deputy chief of the Fresno Police Department, according to a trial brief filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno.
The brief divulges new information about the evidence against Foster, the former No. 2 man for Police Chief Jerry Dyer, and his co-defendants. It also suggests that Foster would have used his connections within the police department to protect one of his nephews who was caught with six pounds of marijuana.
The 15-page brief, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Duce Rice, gives details about what Foster said to an FBI agent after his arrest in March 2015.
A federal indictment charges Foster with participating in three separate conspiracies involving two of his nephews and their friends to distribute heroin, oxycodone pills and marijuana.
So far, four defendants, including Foster’s nephew, Denny Foster, have accepted plea agreements. Keith Foster, his nephew Randy Flowers, and Ricky Reynolds are scheduled to stand trial in federal court on May 9.
Costco reached an agreement in Sacramento federal court Wednesday to settle allegations that the warehouse retailer improperly filled prescriptions for controlled substances such as opiates.
The Washington state-based company will pay $11.75 million to settle the case, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. Under the agreement, Costco acknowledged that certain pharmacies nationwide did not comply with the Controlled Substances Act.
"A Fresno federal jury found Humberto Bucio Delgado, 41, of Mexico, guilty of possession of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute the drug June 8 after a two-day trial." Fresno Bee, 6/10/16 Case No. 1:14-cr-271-LJO.
Read more here: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/crime/article83061022.html#storylink=cpy
Congratulations to Assistant Federal Defenders Matt Bockmon and Sean Riordan and private defense attorney Michael Bigelow for hanging the jury in a marijuana cultivation case before Judge Burrell this afternoon! No. 13-CR-0300-GEB. AUSA Samuel Wong was lead prosecutor. Jury split 9-3 and 11-1 for guilt on the two defendants. No word on whether government will retry.
Also props for attorney Kelly Babineau, who I heard got an acquittal in state court. Client, a doctor, was charged with prescribing pills to patients without any medical necessity. Trial before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Larry Brown, a former EDCA AUSA.
Federal prosecutors are offering plea deals to former Fresno police Deputy Chief Keith Foster and five others indicted on drug-trafficking charges, a document filed in U.S. District Court reveals.
So far, plea offers have been made to defendants Ricky Reynolds, Randy Flowers and Rafael Guzman. Plea offers to Keith Foster, Dennis Foster and Jennifer Donabedian will be finalized by Friday, the document says.
Another defendant in the case, Sarah Ybarra, has already accepted a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and/or possess marijuana and was sentenced to prison.
Keith Foster was the No. 2 official in the Fresno Police Department behind Police Chief Jerry Dyer until his arrest a year ago on charges of participating in three separate conspiracies to distribute oxycodone, marijuana and heroin.
His attorney, Marshall Hodgkins, said Wednesday that he has received the plea offer from prosecutors and it includes prison time for Foster. Hodgkins was reluctant to talk about the offer because he has not discussed it in detail with Foster. But Foster is likely to reject it, Hodgkins said.
After a 5-day trial before Judge England, a Sacramento jury returned a guilty verdict on all 10 drug trafficking counts against Israel "Puck" Washington in EDCA No. 2:13-CR-0206-MCE. Washington faces a second EDCA case in which a jury trial has not yet been set. No. 2:13-CR-0207-MCE.
I try to blog on every EDCA criminal and civil rights trial I hear about regardless of the result. So let me know if I miss any.
A Yuba City police officer was among the men arrested on federal charges Wednesday, accused of getting involved with a cocaine-trafficking scheme, investigators said.
Harminder Phagura, 35, was taken into custody based on a criminal complaint accusing the men of conspiring to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and use of a communication facility in narcotics trafficking activity, according to a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A federal grand jury indicted former Fresno deputy police chief Keith Foster and six others on Thursday, charging them with a variety of drug-trafficking offenses involving marijuana, oxycodone and heroin.
Also Thursday, one of Fresno’s two U.S. district judges [Judge O'Neill] recused himself from the case because of his acquaintance with Foster, including appearances together at crime prevention events.
The indictment charges Foster, a law enforcement veteran of almost 30 years who resigned last week from the Fresno Police Department, with participating in three separate conspiracies to distribute different controlled substances over the course of the past year.
Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster was among four people arrested on federal drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and heroin.
Foster, 51, who oversaw patrol operations for the department’s four police districts, was arrested for conspiracy to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone, heroin and marijuana. He has been put on paid administrative leave, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Also arrested were Rafael Guzman, 41, who is charged with conspiring with Foster to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute heroin; Randy Flowers, 48, conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone; and Jennifer Donebedian, 35, conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. They will appear in federal court on Friday.
Federal agents made one arrest shortly before 2 p.m. at Nielsen and Tielman avenues in front of Pershing Continuation High School. Central Unified School District spokeswoman Melinda Gonsalves said Pershing was locked down from 1:50 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.
Warrants are out for two other suspects, Iran Dennis “Denny” Foster and Sarah Ybarra.