Lessem & Newstat, LLP Secure Not Guilty Verdict in Santa Maria Murder Trial

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A jury found a 25-year-old Santa Maria murder suspect “not guilty” of first-degree murder. The defendant was represented by the criminal defense law firm, Lessem & Newstat, LLP.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Lessem & Newstat, LLP

“We are just very pleased,” said Lessem, “We believed in our client from the beginning. … The system did its job.”

On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, a jury from the Santa Maria Division of the Santa Barbara Superior Court found a 25-year-old Lompoc man not guilty of first degree murder(Case #139661). The charges, which stem from two years ago, arose as the result of an early morning altercation at a social gathering. On May 21, 2011, a local Lompoc man was fatally wounded during a shooting that occurred at the Kailani Village Apartments, located in the 200 block of West North Avenue. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office had also charged the defendant with discharge of a firearm and gang affiliation, in addition to murder.

Upon hearing word of his acquittal shortly after 2:00 p.m. yesterday – which came after two full days of jury deliberation – the defendant, his family, and even one of the firm’s attorneys, Mark Lessem, shared a collective and visible moment of vindication after having been so emotionally invested in the case and three and half week trial.

The defendant’s legal team, helmed by Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys Jeremy Lessem and Joshua Newstat, found the verdict to be a true testament to the power of the American criminal justice system and its ability to keep government and law enforcement inconsistencies and errors in check.

“We are just very pleased,” said Lessem, “We believed in our client from the beginning. … The system did its job.”

Attorney Newstat echoed Lessem’s belief that there is justice in the art of law – not to mention in the skill and passion for trial practice that they demonstrated throughout the case. “I knew [the defendant] was innocent from the day we met him. We used every possible resource, including hiring our own gang expert, using top-notch investigation techniques, and collaborating as a team before and during trial to ensure he was not wrongfully convicted.”

According to court proceedings, the prosecution’s case hinged on at least two alleged eye witnesses, as well as an alleged jailhouse confession allegedly made in front of a Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff. These points of interest all added up to what Attorney Newstat referred to as a “classic example of flawed law enforcement investigation.”

Despite this evidence,– the team of attorneys from Lessem & Newstat were able to negate the prosecution’s case by highlighting the fact that witnesses were less than reliable and failed to see the scenario the same way. They also demonstrated that the physical evidence in the case pointed in a number of different directions.

“They [didn’t] prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Lessem in closing argument before the jury. “Not even close.”

The defendant’s family is thrilled to have their son finally released after two years. Attorney Mark Lessem and the firm’s entire legal team were also relieved to hear the verdict, particularly in such a troubling case that they were deeply invested in.

“We couldn’t be happier for Maurice. He has an incredibly supportive family that never lost hope that justice would be done. Having strong support systems that care about your personal and legal well-being goes a long way,” he said.

While thankful for their son’s vindication, the defendant’s family, and each attorney at the firm said their hearts go out to the victim’s family for their loss.

This not guilty verdict is yet another trial victory added to Lessem & Newstat, LLP’s long record of success. A firm that represents the criminally accused throughout Southern California. In addition to representing residents in the Los Angeles area, the firm also represents clients throughout the region from their branch offices in Santa Barbara and Ventura. Click here to learn more about Lessem & Newstat, LLP.

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