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Santa Ana Police Make Seventh Arrest in Connection With Crime Spree

September 20, 2011
By The Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera, Jr. on September 20, 2011 4:33 PM |

Police recently arrested a seventh person they suspect is a gang member and have charged him with attempted murder as part of a slew of criminal activity in Orange County, The Orange County Register reports.

The 21-year-old now faces charges of suspicion of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, carjacking and evading police. Six other people -- ages 17 to 23 -- face identical charges. Police suspect the seven are involved in a recent carjacking at a gas station as well as a street shooting the day before.
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Gang activity in Orange County is always a hot-button topic and police and prosecutors know that if they can prove a person is involved in a gang, s defendant can face much tougher penalties if convicted.

Often, theft crimes -- such as grand theft in Anaheim, burglary and robbery charges -- are committed in groups, but that doesn't mean they are a gang. An experienced and dedicated Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney knows how to make sure the police don't confuse non-gang activity with a gang activity and try to increase the penalties.

According to authorities, the first incident involved two men driving up to two bikers and opening fire, hitting each in the legs. Each biker is a suspected gang member as well, the newspaper reports.

In the second incident, four men approached a man pumping gas when one pulled out a gun and demanded the gas pumper step away from the vehicle. The four suspects took the vehicle.

Police say that victim was not a gang member and that they apprehended three of the four from the carjacking incident. Those suspects led them to the three people involved in the first incident. The six-minute car pursuit ended with the driver of the truck crashing into two other vehicles.

In cases with multiple defendants, their testimony must be questioned by an experienced Anaheim criminal defense lawyer. First off, co-defendants who take a deal from the state have more than enough motivation to say what the prosecutor wants to hear.

If they provide "facts" that help the state go after the most culpable defendants, they are highly valuable to the state. And if those facts vary from a pre-arranged plea agreement, sometimes the state can pull the plug on the plea deal and go after them for violating the agreement.

Every co-defendant is always looking out for himself once they get arrested. Few truly dedicated co-conspirators will actually go down with the ship and keep quiet as not to implicate their buddies. Once the case gets into the criminal justice system, all bets are off. And because of this reality, the words of these state witnesses must be especially scrutinized in light of their questionable merit.

If you are facing DUI charges or other felony charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your options. Through three decades of experienced, Attorney LaBarbera has argued over 200 criminal trials and appeals. Call (714) 541-9668 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

UC-Irvine Bike Thefts Lead to Five Arrests: August 17, 2011

Additional Resources:

Seventh arrested in Santa Ana crime spree, by Ian Hamilton and Scott Martindale, The Orange County Register