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 The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated.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.
Denny Walsh has a piece in today's Sacramento Bee about the christening of the Sacramento federal courthouse's new Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Library and Learning Center. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, a Sacramento native, attended as well as Greek sculptur Vangelis Moustakas, whose bronze statute of Kennedy cradling a law book was unveiled. According to the article, no federal funds will be used for the center. The statute was a gift from Angelo K. and Sofia Tsakopoulos and the learning center will be funded through private donations.
The Hmong American Ad Hoc Committee's press release on the planned march and rally at the Sacramento federal courthouse for Friday's motion hearing in the Harrison Jack case: Hmong Amer Ad Hoc Comm Press Release. Here's an excerpt:
Originally, the U.S. government accused General Vang Pao of being the key backbone for this case. However, after more than two years of discovery, the U.S. Government changed its mind and dropped all of the charges against him due to lack of evidence. Defense attorney, Mark Reichel, stated: "This is like dismissing charges against George Washington, but the rest of his troops are told they still have to stand trial."
General Vang Pao’s defense attorney, John Keker, called the sting operation “wrongheaded” and said the resulting charges had been “manufactured out of whole cloth.” In the eyes of the Hmong community and supporters, the federal government clearly engaged in outrageous government conduct against not only the Hmong veterans and one U.S. Army Vietnam veteran but the whole community.
On Wednesday, the Court granted the government's request to dismiss the charges against Stephanie Shinn, one of two persons alleged to have placed an incendiary device near the federal courthouse in Sacramento last month. The charges were dismissed against her without prejudice for lack of evidence. With respect to the remaining defendant Matthew Fraticelli, the defense agreed to continue the arraignment/preliminary hearing date until July 17, presumably to try to work out a pre-indictment disposition.
Yesterday, Magistrate Judge Hollows detained a Sacramento couple charged with planting a device outside the federal courthouse, but set a further hearing to determine whether to detain or release the wife for May 27. I refuse to call the make-shift device with the culprit's name written in bold ink on it a "bomb."
A south Sacramento couple accused of planting a bomb outside the federal courthouse were ordered held without bail Wednesday as flight risks and dangers to the community.
Matthew Michael Fraticelli, 30, and Stephanie Ann Shinn, 35, have criminal records, according to an FBI affidavit supporting a complaint filed against them.
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One part of the improvised explosive device was a 5-liter Heineken beer keg containing a gallon of gas and with "Fraticelli" written on it "in bold black ink," the affidavit says.
A pharmaceutical pill bottle was taped to the keg with a fuse protruding from a pyrotechnic device stuck in the bottle, it says.
The bomb was discovered at approximately 4:40 a.m. Sunday by a security guard and rendered safe by the Sacramento Police Department bomb squad. The contraption was designed to cause a fire but failed to ignite. . . .
They were arrested Wednesday morning, a little more than 48 hours after the bomb was discovered.
As one wag observed, "He ain't no Ted Kaczynski," referring to the notorious serial bomber with a genius IQ who eluded capture for 18 years.