Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Paparian Successfully Defends Client's Innocence

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The long legal battle between Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Paparian and the Los Angeles Police Department over his client's innocence recently came to an end with a Not Guilty verdict in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles Case Number BA363640.

The eighteen-month long legal battle between the Los Angeles Police Department and Carl Hazarian’s attorney Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Paparian finally came to an end recently. California Superior Court Judge George Lomeli carefully weighed the closing remarks by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper and Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Paparian. Judge Lomeli meticulously evaluated the merits of the closing arguments, the counter-arguments and the evidence presented by both sides during the trial. Then he proceeded to issue his final verdict declaring Paparian's client Carl Hazarian Not Guilty.

In issuing his verdict, Judge Lomeli stated: “Reflecting upon the evidence presented during this trial the Court rules the following: Both firearms in question were registered and seemingly cleared by the (California) Department of Justice. … Thus arguably what it indicates in this trial that … even if he had an initial knowledge of the nature of the device in question that he could have assumed their legality upon the certification and registration by the Department of Justice. Additionally the Court notes the following … the grenade launcher did not operate. .. And I took note that the District Attorney’s own Chief of the Investigation Bureau Chief (Dominick) Rivetti opined that the Defendant herein always complied with and respected the law. And that went a long way to tell me in terms of the credibility of the Defendant. Therefore it is this Court’s verdict that the charges have not been established beyond a reasonable doubt. And therefore the verdict is ‘Not Guilty!’”

Deputy District Attorney Cooper stated that “the elements are very straight-forward. This person knew that he was in possession of destructive device(s). So actually there are three elements: 1) He knew its presence; 2) He knew the nature of the destructive device(s). That acknowledgment is very important here. But before going into that – just for a recap — Detective Vandersall said that they had what is obviously ominous information that Mr. Hazarian may be selling or providing weapons to individuals who should not have them out on the street. And armed with that information, they got a search warrant. We know that that never panned out.” Then he presented two photographs of what appeared to be weapons. He added: “People’s 4 and 5 are two photographs recovered from a photo album in Defendant’s house. And the photograph shows a rifle … that he is a gun collector of a rather large collection which in and itself shows that he knew exactly what he had.”

In his closing remarks, Hazarian’s attorney Bill Paparian lambasted the LAPD. Taking a jive at LAPD, he ridiculed the Los Angeles municipal law enforcement agency: “Firearms in this state are regulated by the State of California, not local municipalities. The State Legislature has declared its intention to occupy the whole field of regulation of the registration and licensing of firearms by provisions of the Penal Code exclusive of all local regulations. Government Code section 53071. Despite State preemption of firearm regulation, in this case the LAPD has alleged that two assault weapons, properly registered with the California Department of Justice, defined as assault weapons by their generic characteristics which include a ‘grenade launcher’ under Penal Code section 12276.1(A), are unlawful destructive devices making their owner a felon. Maybe in some legal twilight zone of the LAPD’s own creation, a never-never land where the LAPD manipulates reality, but not in the real world and not in this courtroom.”

Paparian continued: “Carl Hazarian was in lawful possession of both assault weapons. He was in lawful possession of those two assault weapons not because I say so or because our expert witness Marc Halcon says so but rather because the State of California through the California Department of Justice says so. Both had been properly registered. Both had grenade launchers attached at the time of their registration. One had a dual-purpose flash suppressor/muzzle break. There are thousands of similar assault weapons properly registered and lawfully owned in California. The other assault weapon had been deactivated and rendered inoperable. It had a cosmetic attachment grenade launcher at the time of registration. Even though it had been rendered inoperable and was therefore no longer functional as a firearm, nevertheless, out of an overabundance of caution Carl Hazarian registered it with the California Department of Justice.”

Paparian concluded: “The prosecution has not proven to you beyond a reasonable doubt that these two lawfully owned assault weapons, defined as such by virtue of one of their generic characteristics a ‘grenade launcher’ were destructive devices nor can the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the owner of these two assault weapons, defined as such by one of their generic characteristics a ‘grenade launcher’, who had properly registered both assault weapons with the California Department of Justice, knew that what he possessed were destructive devices. But even if the prosecution could prove that these assault weapons were indeed destructive devices and Carl Hazarian knew that they were his good faith mistaken belief that he did lawfully possess them is a defense to these charges. You have had a brief glimpse into the character of Carl Hazarian through the testimony of Dominick Rivetti. Carl Hazarian is a honorable man, a law-abiding citizen whom the LAPD has attempted to transform into a felon. The allegations in this case are a theft, the theft of Carl Hazarian’s good name. … Your honor, find Carl Hazarian not guilty and restore his good name to him.”

The trial was covered by newspaper editor Appo Jabarian who was present in court with special permission to record the proceedings.

(Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles Case Number BA363640)

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