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 The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated.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.
Yesterday, in the Crisp & Cole mortgage fraud case, a Fresno jury found defendant Julie Farmer guilty of five counts, but acquitted her of one count each of mail fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to launder money. TurnTo 23; Bakersfield Californian.
After the defendant and other defense witnesses testified, the defense rested yesterday in the FarmerCrisp & Cole mortgage fraud case.The government had no rebuttal. Jury instructions and closing arguments are scheduled for today. Bakersfield Californian, 4/17/14
The only trial to come out of Bakersfield's $30 million Crisp & Cole Real Estate mortgage fraud case is expected to focus on whether the woman who prosecutors say was the firm's No. 3 person understood what she was doing there was illegal.
Julie Dianne Farmer denies preparing the fraudulent mortgage applications at the heart of the case, saying she had a limited role in a very busy office. She maintains her biggest fault was putting too much trust in her bosses.
"Julie Farmer acted in good faith in all her actions while employed at Crisp and Cole," her Fresno defense attorney, Tony Capozzi, said in a written statement.
"She was not aware of any fraudulent activity or of any conspiracy during her employment. Crisp and Cole was the first real estate company that Ms. Farmer ever worked for. She was taught by people with far more knowledge and experience in the real estate industry."
Farmer is the only one of 15 defendants in the case without a plea deal.
Fresno police Sgt. Michael Manfredi and former Fresno police officers Paul Van Dalen, Chris Coleman, and Sean Plymale were found not guilty today by a Fresno federal jury on charges of excessive force and obstruction of justice. This was their second trial; the first hung. Fresno Bee
In this unpublished decision, United States v. Guido, No. 12-10030, a tough panel of the Ninth Circuit (O'Scannlain, Graber, and Nguyen) reversed the defendant's convictions for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, holding the evidence insufficient to sustain the verdict. Congratulations to Assistant Federal Defenders Peggy Sasso and Jeremy Kroger who represented Mr. Guido at trial and on appeal.
According to Fresno Bee reporter Pablo Lopez (twitter @beecourts), Fresno Police Sgt. Michael Manfredi took the stand today as the retrial against him and three former Fresno police officers winds down. Closings expected later this week.