Judge Sets Aside Plea Deal in Saratoga Hit-and-Run Case

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Lewis Van Blois, Bay Area personal injury attorney representing victims of 2009 accident, says judge was persuaded to toss out deal after reviewing report from Santa Clara County probation department

The judge's mind was likely changed by reviewing the 60-plus-page report from the county probation department that outlined Schiro's history of disregard for the law and his lack of remorse

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Rene Navarro surprised courtroom observers last week when he threw out a plea agreement that was struck with a man charged with felony hit and run in a 2009 accident on State Route 9 in Saratoga, Calif.

The case, People v. Schiro (Case No. C1073538, Santa Clara County Superior Court), stems from an incident that occurred on April 19, 2009, when 24 year-old Ashley Jackson and her fiancé, David Nelson, were riding their bicycles on a clear day and on a dry road surface. Robert P. Schiro, a resident of Los Gatos driving his BMW 750Li in the same direction as Ashley, struck her and knocked her down, and then continued on and struck Nelson. Schiro slowed his car down while still in the designated bicycle lane and then suddenly sped away.

Ashley was left unconscious, lying in the roadway, bleeding with severe injuries. She suffered a severe brain injury, fractured collar bone, permanent eye damage and other serious injuries. Nelson was dazed but managed to take note of enough details regarding the BMW, such as a damaged passenger side rear-view mirror dangling by some wires, to pass on the information to Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Jackson and Nelson retained R. Lewis Van Blois, a Bay Area products liability and personal injury attorney, to find the driver of the BMW. Van Blois' investigation led to the identification of witnesses who were able to connect Schiro to the hit and run, which culminated in his arrest in April 2010.

Schiro attempted to make a deal to stay out of prison by pleading guilty to the hit and run charge and driving on a suspended license, in return for a one year jail sentence in the County jail. On November 2, 2010, however, Judge Navarro announced that he was delaying Schiro's scheduled sentencing hearing because he decided to set aside the plea deal.

"The judge's mind was likely changed by reviewing the 60-plus-page report from the county probation department that outlined Schiro's history of disregard for the law and his lack of remorse," said Van Blois, a highly regarded Oakland attorney and founding partner of Van Blois & Associates. "The department recommended he be sent to prison for two years. The judge also received several letters from community members who thought a year in jail was too lenient."

Van Blois has also filed a civil lawsuit, Jackson and Nelson v. Schiro (Case No. 110 CV 171436), in Santa Clara County Superior Court for damages for personal injuries received by Jackson and Nelson as a result of the incident. The litigation is proceeding forward to an expected trial in 2011.

Van Blois & Associates has the experience and resources to effectively represent plaintiffs on personal injury, auto accident and wrongful death claims in the Bay Area. With more than 40 years of experience exclusively practicing personal injury and wrongful death cases, the firm knows how to get its clients the full compensation to which they are entitled. For more information, please call 510.635.1284 or go to http://www.vanbloislaw.com.

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