January 16, 2003


Attorney Ronald Richards, who has won more MDMA cases than any attorney in the United States, once again, has obtained a dismissal of a five count information pursuant to Penal Code section 995 for violations of Penal Code section 866 at the defendants’ preliminary hearing.

On July 14, 2002, eight Israeli’s were arrested in a coordinated Custom’s-Torrance Police Department joint operation. Mr. Richards’s client along with Michael McDonnell’s were arrested after retrieving 400,000 hits of MDMA from a motel in Long Beach. After the two were entrapped by a government informant to deliver the MDMA to Van Nuys, Mr. Richards’s client was robbed at gunpoint by a rival Israeli-Armenian group.

Richards and McDonnell, both having 40 years experience between them, filed a series of motions both at the preliminary and in the higher court attacking the discovery, the enhancements, and the underlying fairness at the preliminary hearing.

Richards and McDonnell asserted an entrapment defense both at the preliminary hearing and in the higher court. During the eight day preliminary hearing, it became apparent that the state police had creatively used a Federal informant to assist their arrests. The District Attorney’s Office then craftily applied a state informant statute to prevent the defendants’ from obtaining the name of the participating percipient witnesses to this drug transaction for which all four defendants were charged.

Attorneys Alex Kessel, Tony Brooklier, and Peter Knecht, all participated in the defense of the remaining two defendants and did an excellent job. Each of these attorneys joined in the motions prepared by Richards.

There were six motions on calendar today but only one mattered, that being, the one upon which the court premised its order of dismissal of the criminal charges. The court considered that motion first and dismissed the information in its entirety against all four defendants.

The defendants’ were facing a minimum of 18 years and spent 5 months in custody. They will be released today to rejoin their supportive family members and our community. The firm would like to thank George Franco for investigation and Negatu for the delivering and filing of all the motions to the court.

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