Melissa is an experienced trial attorney and for nearly 20 years has successfully defended a wide range of criminal matters for individuals and businesses. She practices in both state and federal court and handles cases at all stages of the proceedings – investigatory and grand jury, pre-trial, trial, and post-conviction. Melissa is skilled at managing complex white collar matters which are often paper-intensive, and she is able to synthesize and communicate complicated facts in a clear way. Since 2014, Melissa has been on the Central District of California’s Criminal Justice Act Panel where she takes a select number of serious felony cases on behalf of indigent clients.
In every case, Melissa seeks to understand what is most important to her client so that she can provide thoughtful advice and well-researched information to guide her client through the criminal process. Below are some representative cases Melissa has worked on.
- Client had strike priors and was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as possessing illegal narcotics. The District Attorney offered a 6 year state prison deal. Melissa wrote and argued a motion to suppress, which resulted in all the evidence being suppressed and the case dismissed.
- Client was charged with resisting arrest and Melissa handled the jury trial. After the government rested, Melissa made a motion to acquit before the judge. The motion was granted and the client was found not guilty.
- Former Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner was charged with conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud in a multi-count, multi-defendant case. Melissa wrote a motion for severance which was granted. She then successfully negotiated a federal diversion (also called a Brooklyn Plan) which resulted in all charges being dismissed.
- Physician was charged with federal misbranding offenses. After Melissa wrote motions to suppress and dismiss, including a motion to dismiss based on prosecutorial misconduct before the grand jury, the case was resolved with a federal diversion which resulted in all charges being dismissed.
- Successful businessman was accused of domestic violence after an altercation with his wife. Melissa thoroughly investigated the case and then wrote a detailed letter to the District Attorney which convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the charges.
- Alleged head of international crime family was extradited to the United States and charged with RICO conspiracies and drug trafficking. Melissa wrote a motion arguing that the doctrines of dual criminality and specialty had been violated, resulting in multiple overt acts being stricken from the Indictment.
- Businessman was charged with money laundering in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Melissa wrote a motion to transfer venue to the Central District of California which was granted. After the case was transferred, Melissa wrote a motion arguing that the law in the new jurisdiction precluded prosecution. The case was settled with a misdemeanor.