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 The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated.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.
"Babulal Bera, father of Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison Thursday for election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee. U. S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley ignored the advice of a probation officer who recommended to spare the 83-year-old prison because of his age and health." Sacramento Bee. Here is an earlier Sacramento Bee piece describing the parties' sentencing positions.
A former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for illegally selling firearms, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
The deputy, Ryan McGowan, 34, of Elk Grove was also fined $7,000 for conspiring to make a false statement on a firearms record, Talbert said in a news release.
McGowan used his position to buy “off-roster” firearms, which are weapons not on the approved list for sale to the public. Off-roster firearms have not been certified by the Department of Justice or passed firing, safety and drop tests. Peace officers can buy off-roster firearms if they are brokered by a federal firearms licensee, but cannot use the private sales for profit.
The former deputy purchased 41 handguns and sold 25 between 2008 and 2011. Mcgowan purchased 33 of the guns from Snellings Firearms, according to the Department of Justice. He returned some of the weapons to Robert Snellings, the company’s owner, allowing Snellings to keep or sell unapproved weapons to the public, the DOJ news release said.
A judge in Sacramento refused Thursday to toss out the evidence in the bizarre March 2015 kidnapping of Denise Huskins in Vallejo, saying police did not overstep their bounds when they used the suspect’s cellphone to track him down in a separate burglary case.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley leaves the case against Matthew Muller, a former attorney and U.S. Marine, intact and on schedule for a jury trial set for Jan. 30.
Documents have been sealed without explanation in a federal criminal case in Sacramento involving distribution of drugs, and the judge refused to consider The Sacramento Bee’s objection to the irregular actions.
U.S. District Court Judge Troy L. Nunley on Thursday said the court’s rules were followed in sealing the documents in the case against Rodney Lynn Braun and Robert Larry Moore for conspiring to distribute Dilaudid and morphine, and would not hear The Bee’s protest that the rules were not followed.
A Sacramento federal judge threw out a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, ruling that Citrus Heights police officers acted within the law when they made a traffic stop on a car rushing to a hospital with a man seriously wounded by a gunshot.
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley found that the officers had lawful reason to stop the vehicle, which was racing down Greenback Lane at speeds up to 80 mph and running through red lights.
Four people from Sacramento were sentenced to prison Thursday in a Sacramento federal court for their part in a mortgage fraud scam. 9
One of the defendants, Peter Kuzmenko, 37, of West Sacramento, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison, of which two years will be served consecutively to a 19-year sentence he received earlier this week for another mortgage fraud scheme case.
Olga Palamarchuk, 45, of Rancho Cordova, was sentenced to nearly six years; Pyotr Bondaruk, 44, of Sacramento, was sentenced to nearly six years; Vera Zhiry, 35, of Sacramento, was sentenced to three years and one month.
A Sacramento federal judge has rejected a bid by Barclays Bank PLC and four of its employees to escape $453 million in fines for allegedly manipulating electricity markets in California and other Western states.
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley ruled Wednesday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which sought to impose the fines on Barclays PLC and its four traders in July 2013, “has alleged both a sufficient factual and legal basis to support its claim of manipulation.”
Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto scored a major legal victory Thursday in his defense of sexual harassment accusations that have plagued him for years.
A Sacramento federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed two years ago by a female correctional officer alleging that Prieto subjected her and other female employees of the Sheriff’s Office to a hostile work environment with unwelcome hugs and kisses.
Victoria Zetwick “did not put forth sufficient facts to support her claim,” U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley ruled in a 16-page order granting a request by the county and the sheriff for summary judgment in their favor.
Nunley ordered the suit dismissed and the case closed.
Zetwick’s attorney, Johnny Griffin III, said, “We have carefully studied Judge Nunley’s opinion. We disagree with its conclusions and will seek review” at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Three Ponzi schemers who robbed and pillaged the savings and lives of dozens of Sacramento-area families were sent away Friday for long stretches in prison. . . .
“This case is one of the most egregious in terms of taking advantage of people who will never, ever get back (financially) to where they were. They don’t have enough years left,” U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley said.
In sentencing Christopher Jackson to 30 years behind bars, Nunley told him, “You’ll go to prison, but that won’t do (the victims) any good.”
Co-defendants Michael Bolden and Victor Alvarado were sentenced to 20 years and 10 years, respectively.
Jackson, 46, of Elk Grove, was already in custody. The judge ordered deputy U.S. marshals to take Bolden, 60, and Alvarado, 53, both residents of Sacramento, into custody immediately after he imposed their sentences.
During a nearly nine-hour hearing Friday, Nunley made formal findings that the net loss to investors, ranging in number between 50 and 250, is in excess of $20 million.
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The 10-year gap between Jackson’s and Bolden’s sentences makes “it look like (Jackson) is being punished for going to trial,” Beevers told the judge. It is a well-worn argument on behalf of those who, in a multi-defendant prosecution, choose to take their chances with a jury and are convicted.
“You gambled and lost,” Nunley shot back. “Bolden was smart. He took advantage of a favorable offer (from prosecutors).”
Blackmon made an impassioned argument that Alvarado got involved due to “ignorance and inexperience,” and failed at first to recognize the true nature of the DMC operation.
“He won’t reoffend.” Blackmon insisted. The defense lawyer noted that his client has no prior criminal record.
To which Nunley observed, “He hit a home run the first time.”