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Los Angeles Criminal Attorney

Notable Cases - Sherman & Sherman

Los Angeles County Superior Court – October, 2012
Defendant was charged with felony possession for sale of a controlled substance (cocaine) and sale/transportation/offer to sell a controlled substance (cocaine), which was allegedly obtained through a routine traffic stop. Mr. Sherman filed a motion to obtain discovery regarding sheriff department data on racial patterns of vehicle stops and searches on the I-5. The District Attorney was ordered to turnover sensitive data and, as a result, engaged in a very favorable disposition of the case. The defendant was ordered to serve 1-½ years in jail.

Los Angeles County Superior Court – May, 2012
A Defendant who was the wife of a co-defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance for sale. Victor Sherman moved to set aside the Information pursuant to Penal Code section 995, arguing that unlawful possession of a controlled substance for sale requires proof that the defendant possessed the contraband with the intent of selling it and with knowledge of its presence and illegal character. The case against defendant was dismissed.

Los Angeles County Superior Court – March 2013
Defendant was charged with drug trafficking, transportation and possession for sale of cocaine and drug proceeds. Defendant was looking at 25 years in prison due to the quantity (24 kilograms of cocaine) and amount of money that was seized. The defendant will now only serve three years, due to a mitigation pre-sentence report prepared by counsel and a sentencing expert.

Orange County Superior Court – January 2013
Defendant was arrested and charged with Unlawful Taking of Vehicle, a felony, Receiving Stolen Property, a felony, Possession of Ecstasy, a felony, driving under the influence a misdemeanor, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more with one prior, and driving on a suspended/revoked licenses (Vehicle Code § 14601.1(a)). The attorneys at Sherman & Sherman Law were able to have all the charges dropped, except the DUI and the defendant was only sentenced to house arrest for three months, instead of imprisonment.

Obtained Downward Adjustment in Mortgage Fraud Case, 2012
Sherman and Sherman obtained a reduced sentence for a defendant in a mortgage fraud case based on the defendant’s family circumstances.

Downward Variance in Sentencing, 2011
Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery of a drug stash house.  Sherman and Sherman were able to obtain a sentence of two years below the guidelines for the defendant, arguing the defendant’s social history and family circumstances.

RICO Charges Dropped on Motion to Dismiss, 2010
Leading defendant was charged with multi-count RICO conspiracy involving a charge of murder and drug distribution. Pre-trial motions to dismiss the RICO allegations were made based on the argument that the alleged murder and drug conspiracies were not gang activity and therefore did not qualify under RICO. Court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the RICO counts.

Reduced Sentence for Drug Distribution, 2010
Defendants were charged with distribution of hundreds of kilos of methamphetamine and cocaine. Sherman and Sherman were able to get reduced sentences for defendants of less than 5 years.

US District Court Forfeiture Case, 2011
Sherman and Sherman were able to save the home of a family whose livelihood was threatened when the father was convicted of growing marijuana in their home.

Obtained Reduced Sentence and Avoided Deportation in Visa Fraud Case, 2010
Defendant was convicted of visa fraud. Sherman and Sherman were able to get defendant a sentence of home detention and no jail time, thereby avoiding deportation of defendant – a 30 year resident of the United States.

Return of Money in Forfeiture Case, 2010
Sherman and Sherman successfully settled a forfeiture case for return of half a million dollars based on the illegal stop of claimant’s vehicle.

Safety Value Reduction Received, 2009
Defendant qualified for a safety value reduction after the state court in the prior case terminated probation early.

Victor Sherman - Notable Trial Court Matters:


Jant ShermanDefense of Defendant in RICO Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2009

Defendant was acquitted in Federal Court of serious RICO charges, including murder. After a month long trial, Federal District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal on all charges based on the government's failure to produce sufficient evidence for submission of the case to the jury. Defendant was the brother of the owner of several grocery stores. The government had been investigating the family for more than 20 years and had spent almost two years conducting a wiretap investigation. The Sherman firm prepared numerous pretrial motions, many of which were granted and were instrumental in the successful defense of the case. This was one of the most important and extensive RICO investigations conducted in the Los Angeles area in many years.

Defense of Defendant in Large Scale Cocaine Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2008

Case involved 65 kilos of cocaine and a six-month wiretap investigation. Defendant was overheard on the wiretap on approximately 25 occasions, and was recorded while in jail admitting to a nickname that tied him to the conversations. Despite this, after a two-week jury trial, he was acquitted in less than an hour. The jury was convinced by the closing argument that the defendant was involved in a separate, uncharged conspiracy, and therefore, whether or not he was a drug dealer, he was not guilty of the crime charged.

Acquittal in Case Involving Grand Theft and Perjury
Superior Court, Riverside County, 2008

Defendant was acquitted by the jury in less than one hour after a two-week jury trial where defendant was charged in a six-count information with, among other offenses, grand theft and perjury.

Health Care Fraud, Tax, and Money Laundering Prosecution
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2005

Defendant acquitted of all fraud and money laundering counts by court after jury conviction in case involving alleged $6 million dollar Medicare fraud.

Defense of Pharmacist
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2004

Defendant pharmacist charged with involvement in illegal drug conspiracy with doctor based on filling of facially valid prescriptions for oxycontin and other narcotics. Court granted motion to suppress evidence for lack of probable cause despite fact that probable cause affidavit was 92 pages in length and contained the affiant’s expert opinion.

Misconduct by Riverside Police Department
Superior Court for the County of Riverside, 2004

In defending this drug case, counsel uncovered unlawful practice by Riverside Police Department of illegally hiding information from trial counsel as a matter of policy. As a result of this case, the chief police investigator was removed and Riverside changed its policy regarding the handling of informants.

Defense of Private Investigator
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2003

Defendant, a well-known private investigator, charged with possession of unregistered firearms, unlawful storage of explosive material and unlawful possession of plastic explosives.

Acquittal in Customs Fraud Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1998

Defendant acquitted by jury of Customs fraud with respect to importation of track suits from China without proper visa.

Defense of Alleged Conspirator in Kidnapping Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2002

Russian citizen living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, kidnapped by U.S. government and brought to Los Angeles for trial in case involving kidnapping and murder of former Russian nationals living in Los Angeles. Defendant’s bank account was used for deposit of ransom monies paid by victims’ families. Counsel convinced government that defendant was innocent; defendant gave deposition to be used at trial of other defendants and was released to return home to Dubai.

Accused Charged with Fraud on Wealthy and Famous Individuals
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York; I-2403A, Suffolk County Superior Court, State of New York; BA164648, Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles (1999, 2000, 2001)

Defendant charged in three separate jurisdictions with having committed various acts of fraud on wealthy and famous individuals, including the charge of impersonating a member of the Rockefeller family. Defendant received a concurrent sentence in all three jurisdictions and has published a book about his experiences. Defendant now resides in France while preparing a movie about his life.

Civil Rights Case Against L.A.P.D.
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2000

Civil rights case against L.A.P.D. tried with noted civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman on behalf of children of one of the most infamous bank robbers in California history. Robbers were stopped outside the bank dressed in full body armor and carrying automatic weapons; they engaged police officers in a 45 minute gun battle outside the bank that left both of them dead.

Defense of Accused Money Launderer
U. S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1999

This case was, at the time, the largest money laundering prosecution in the history of the United States, involving over $103 million dollars.

Large Sale Cocaine Case
Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, 1999

Defendant received probation although he was caught with more than 402 kilos of cocaine in his hands, after two hung juries.

Structuring of Monetary Transactions
U. S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1995

Trial on stipulated facts re structuring monetary transactions; conviction reversed based on Ratzlaf.

Hazardous Waste Prosecution
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1991

Defendant charged in one of the first federal prosecutions in the Central District of California involving hazardous waste disposal in Los Angeles and Tijuana.

Defense of Watergate Attorney
U.S. District Court, Washington D.C

Attorney involved in covert, deceitful activity on behalf of re-election of the President of the United States pled guilty to misdemeanor charges and received sentence of six months.

Defense of State Bar Action
Supreme Court of California

Attorney involved in covert, deceitful activities on behalf of re-election of the President of the United States charged in disbarment proceedings in the Supreme Court of California. Defendant was not disbarred; however, court imposed requirement of an ethics exam for defendant to maintain bar license. This ethics exam became standard procedure throughout the United States for all attorneys.

Congressional Testimony by Watergate Attorney
Attorney involved in covert, deceitful activities on behalf of re-election of the President of the United States testified before Congress in connection with the Watergate investigation. Counsel represented attorney before national audience on network T.V.

Sentencing and Parole
Court reduced defendant's sentence from ten years to probation on Rule 35 motion; original sentence of ten years was thereafter reimposed as motion to reduce was filed one day late. Court recommended that parole board give consideration to early parole and ordered that defendant could remain on bond pending board's decision. Parole board claimed defendant had to report to penitentiary and await his turn to be considered. After parole board denied relief, district court permitted defendant to withdraw his plea and enter a new and different plea, thereby giving the Court jurisdiction to sentence him to probation.

Major Bank Burglary
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1972

Trial of largest bank burglary in the history of the United States. Several movies have been made about this crime, which involved pilfering from safety deposit boxes in a wealthy community over the course of a weekend. Case involved approximately $13 million dollars.

Large Scale Heroin Acquittal
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles

Defendant acquitted in large scale drug conspiracy case involving more than 50 kilos of heroin seized in Austria.

Notable Appeals:

United States v. $8,850.00 in U.S. Currency, 461 U.S. 555 (1983)
United States Supreme Court

Government did not have five years from date of seizure within which to file civil forfeiture action; Barker v. Wingo balancing test applicable to speedy trial claims provided relevant framework for determining reasonableness of delay in filing forfeiture action.

United States v. Carrion, 457 F.2d 200 (9th Cir. 1972)
Defendant was convicted of smuggling marijuana. Court of Appeals held that fact that aircraft which landed at Los Angeles area airport with 404 pounds of marijuana, had used enough fuel and had enough time to make a trip to Mexico, that marijuana was found in boxes with Spanish writing and that one defendant had a map of Mexico and matchbook bearing advertisement for a Mexican motel, and that one defendant had a slip of paper in his wallet with a few Spanish words on it, did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had smuggled marijuana from Mexico; conviction reversed.

Notable Forfeiture Cases:


In re Application of Thomas Tao and Pan Pacific Textile Group for Return of Property,
CV 00-15-DT
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2000

Customs seized funds from bank accounts and track suits imported from China without visa or payment of duty. Customs failed to timely file judicial forfeiture proceedings. Customs returned funds, and Court ordered return of track suits. Attorney's fees were awarded pursuant to Equal Access to Justice Act.

United States v. $277,000.00 in U.S. Currency, 69 F.3d 1491 (9th Cir. 1995)
Government ordered to return seized currency to claimant, plus interest from date of seizure.

United States v. Real Property Located at 20832 Big Rock Drive, 51 F.3d 1402 (9th Cir. 1995)
Special verdict form and jury instructions re proportionality and innocent owner defense were defective.
United States v. Dickerson, 873 F.2d 1181 (9th Cir. 1988)

Government did not establish probable cause to forfeit airplane allegedly used to transport controlled substances. Government failed to establish that it took adequate precautions to secure airplane between time it was seized and time it was searched. Nor did government prove that airplane was outfitted for smuggling.

United States v. One 1970 Ford Pickup, 564 F.2d 864 (9th Cir. 1977)
Government sought forfeiture of pickup truck allegedly used to transport counterfeit currency. Delay of 11 months in filing complaint for forfeiture was unreasonable; decision of district court denying forfeiture affirmed.

United States v. One 1971 Opel G.T., 360 F.Supp. 638 (C.D. Cal. 1973)
Government filed forfeiture complaints against claimant's automobile allegedly used by her son to import marijuana. On claimant's motion for summary judgment, Court held that claimant was entitled to immediate return of her vehicle since the government had waited 13 1/2 months before filing the case, the automobile was greatly diminished in value over this time, and the government was guilty of laches.

Janet Sherman - Notable Trial Court Matters:


Defense of Pharmacist
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2004

Defendant pharmacist charged with involvement in illegal drug conspiracy with doctor based on filling of facially valid prescriptions for oxycontin and other narcotics. Court granted motion to suppress evidence for lack of probable cause despite fact that probable cause affidavit was 92 pages in length and contained the affiant's "expert" opinion.

Acquittal in Customs Fraud Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1998

Defendant acquitted by jury of Customs fraud with respect to importation of track suits from China without proper visa.

Hung Jury in Postal Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1997

Hung jury in trial of defendant charged with employee theft from U.S. Postal Service.

Defense of INS Agent
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1997

INS agent charged with committing perjury at trial of defendant in case where he was investigating officer.

Structuring of Monetary Transactions
U.S, District Court, Los Angeles, 1995

Trial on stipulated facts re structuring of monetary transactions; conviction reversed based on Ratzlaf.

Defense of Spouse in Tax Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1995

Defendant's first wife entitled to raise defenses to government's allegation of tax due by her to IRS based on husband's tax debt from sales of heroin.

Acquittal in Drug Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1991

In drug conspiracy and distribution case, defendant acquitted by district court pursuant to Rule 29(c), Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, after jury verdict

Hazardous Waste Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1991

Defendant charged in one of the first federal prosecution in the Central District of California involving hazardous waste disposal in Los Angeles and Tijuana.

Acquittal in Heroin Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1989

Defendant acquitted by jury of conspiracy and substantive counts alleging involvement in distribution of heroin

Dismissal in Drug Case
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1990

Case dismissed by prosecution on first day of trial against wife charged with drug conspiracy and manufacture of methamphetamine.

Acquittal of Airline Pilot in Currency Case
U. S. District Court, Los Angeles, 1983

Defendant, a pilot for Avianca Airlines of Columbia, found not guilty by jury of false statement and currency reporting violation based on finding of large amount of cash inside health food container brought by pilot on board aircraft.

Notable Appeals:


United States v. O'Keefe, C.A. No. 04-2157
3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (2005)

Case remanded for resentencing under Booker and non-mandatory guidelines.

United States v. Beeler, C.A. No. 00-50640
9th Circuit Court of Appeals (2001)

Defendant's sentence improperly calculated under sentencing guidelines; case remanded for resentencing.

United States v. Sandoval, C.A. No. 97-50383, 1998 WL 537858
9th Circuit Court of Appeals (1998)

District court failed to make requisite written findings in enhancing defendant's sentence as organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants or was otherwise extensive. Sentence vacated and case remanded for resentencing.

United States v. Taylor, C.A. No. 95-50032, 1996 WL 744353, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (1996)
Defendant's conviction in fraud case reversed based on insufficiency of the evidence.

United States v. Sharon, 630 F.Supp. 1048 (D.Haw. 1986)

At sentencing, district court failed to inform defendant of special parole term, and failed to hold hearing and make findings with respect to accuracy of presentence report.

Nunes v. United States, 812 F.2d 1233 (9th Cir. 1987)
Defendant pled guilty to violation of statute governing transportation of stolen goods based on interstate transportation of copyrighted motion pictures. Court held that interstate transportation of videotape cassette copies of motion pictures, reproduced and sold without consent of copyright owner, was not violation of statute governing transportation of stolen goods. Ten year sentence vacated, plea set aside.

United States v. Saadya, 750 F.2d 1419 (9th Cir. 1985)

Defendant's conviction reversed in that neither written waiver of defendant's right to trial by jury, nor defendant's oral consent to trial without jury, appeared on the record.

United States v. Karp, 764 F.2d 613 (9th Cir. 1985)
Defendant sought relief from prison sentence imposed ten years earlier which, due to government's negligence, he had not yet begun to serve. Court of Appeals held that district court had the power to place defendant on probation rather than ordering him to serve sentence imposed.

Notable Forfeiture Cases:


United States v. $193,680.00 in U.S. Currency, CV 01-9676-CBM; 2004 WL 2370628
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2005

Testimony the government sought to admit was inadmissible hearsay, and the presence of a large sum of cash, standing alone, was insufficient to establish forfeitability. Claimant's motion for summary judgment was granted and attorney's fees awarded.

United States v $215,271.00 in U.S. Currency, CV 01-9812-DDP; C.A. No.: 02-56606; 2004 WL 1238865
U.S. District Court, Los Angeles; 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2004

Government filed complaint for forfeiture one day late in violation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA). While motion for return of property was pending, government gave property to the State for forfeiture purposes. District court found transfer unlawful and granted attorney's fees to claimant. On government=s appeal, appellate court instructed government to obtain return of the property and State complied. Claimants were awarded attorney's fees as the prevailing parties on appeal as well.

In re Application of Thomas Tao and Pan Pacific Textile Group for Return of Property, CV 00-15-DT U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, 2000
Customs seized funds from bank accounts and track suits imported from China without visa or payment of duty. Customs failed to timely file judicial forfeiture proceedings. Customs returned funds, and Court ordered return of track suits. Attorney's fees were awarded pursuant to Equal Access to Justice Act.

United States v. One 1997 Mercedes E420, 175 F.3d 1129 (9th Cir. 1999)
Government's civil forfeiture action against three vehicles allegedly purchased with drug money and involved in money laundering scheme was filed more than 60 days after claim and cost bond had been filed with DEA. Court held that 60 day time period applied to all drug-related offenses, including Title 18 offense of money laundering of drug proceeds.

United States v. Real Property Located at 20832 Big Rock Drive, 51 F.3d 1402 (9th Cir. 1995)
Special verdict form and jury instructions re proportionality and innocent owner defense were defective.

United States v. $277,000.00 in U.S. Currency, 69 F.3d 1491 (9th Cir. 1995)
Government ordered to return seized currency to claimant, plus interest from date of seizure.