Below is a wide-ranging sample of some of the many Assault and Battery cases Ninaz Saffari has fought against since 2005:
Pre-File: Tech Exec Facing Career Loss, Jail & Lawsuit for Allegedly Knowingly Giving Girlfriend Herpes; Result: No Case – Criminal or Civil – Filed, Career Saved
Investigation of B.S. (LA County -- 02/22):
Client was a multi-millionaire whose former domestic partner accused him of giving her herpes simplex, an uncurable sexually-transmitted disease (“STD”). See: cdc.gov.
When client hired Ninaz Saffari, the complainant was about to go to the police to press charges for the following felony:
Intentionally Transmitting STD (CA Health & Safety Code § 120290(g)(1)).
At least client was fortunate in the sense that had he been prosecuted for this offense less than five years earlier, he would have been charged with a felony that could have resulted in a state prison term.
However, even though he would now only be charged with a misdemeanor, he would still face up to six mos. in the county jail. Even worse, even if he pled to a misdemeanor with no jail time, any conviction would still render him extremely vulnerable to a million-dollar personal injury suit from the complainant. Perhaps worst of all, he would be fired by his company and effectively blackballed from his tech industry.
Otherwise, the Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case has the discretion to charge client with any of these crimes for the same incident:
Simple Battery (CA Pen. Code section 242);
Battery Causing Injury to Specified Victim Not a Peace Officer (CA Pen. Code section 243(b)-(c)(1)); and
Domestic Battery (CA Pen. Code section 243(e)(1)).
Client retained Ninaz Saffari, who once again worked her magic.
Result: No criminal charges or civil lawsuit were filed against client.
Almost-5-Year Prison Sentence Looming Over Client for ADW; Result: Charge Dismissed
People v. E.V.S. (Compton Ct. -- 02/22)
Client admittedly engaged in an extremely violent altercation with the owner/mechanic of a automobile repair shop near South Los Angeles. When client arrived to pick up his vehicle, the owner tried to egregiously rip him off and refusing to release the car unless he was paid. This was after he had kept the vehicle in his shop for the last four weeks.
Unbelievably, when client tried to start his engine, it wouldn’t start. He therefore refused to pay. He also refused to pay for numerous services and parts that he had not authorized (or even been told about until now).
Things appeared to improve when they finally agreed upon a much lower amount, which client paid. But when the owner couldn’t get the car started, they both started yelling at each other. At some point, client inadvertently let the key to the car he borrowed, and which he had driven to the repair shop, fall to the ground, the owner grabbed it and refused to return it, thereby effectively holding client hostage.
The owner quickly escalated the situation by pushing client to the ground. (For this act, client theoretically could have pressed charges against him for misdemeanor Simple Battery (Pen. Code section 242).
Client then walked to his borrowed vehicle and took therefrom a mallet, which he brandished at the owner while demanding he give back the dropped key. That’s when the owner grabbed a big metal wrench and smashed client in the head. (For this, client could technically have prosecuted him for Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) (CA Pen. Code section 245(a)(1)).
A serious gladiator battle ensued, which each of them bloodying the other. Unfortunately for client (though fortunately for his defense), he got the far worst of the exchange. However, it was client who was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after the owner falsely accused him of instigating the violence. He foolishly denied striking client at all, much less to the point where he split his forehead open. Since client was Black, the deputies believed the owner’s version of events and arrested the former. Therefore, he was charged with ADW.
Worst-case scenario: 4.5 yrs. in a state penitentiary (excluding any enhancements).
The process: Ninaz pushed the case along as quickly as she could. This included defending client at the prelim, which included her cross-examining the arresting deputy. He admitted to the following facts, which all clearly undermined the owner’s story:
- The owner never turned over his shop’s CCTV footage, which obviously would have depicted what really occurred during the incident;
- The owner had been extremely cagey when initially interviewed, constantly trying to avoid having to directly answer the deputy’s questions;
- Client’s injuries were far worse than the owner’s; and
- Now, having been informed (by Ninaz) for the first time that the owner had grabbed client’s friend’s key off the ground and not, as the deputy had assumed, client’s own key, the deputy believed that client had been the victim and not the other way around.
Result: The judge dismissed the ADW felony charge at the culmination of the prelim.
Possible 25-Year Prison Term for Armed Robbery of Marijuana Business; Result: Suspended Sentence, No Prison if Successful Rehab & Probation
People v. L.W. (Downtown C.C.B. Courthouse – 10/21)
Client’s family hired Ninaz after he was arrested for robbing a cannabis retail business with a semi-auto handgun. Unfortunately, the evidence against him was overwhelming, and largely consisted of the following:
- CCTV footage from the interior of the business, which clearly showed client sticking what clearly appears to be a nine-millimeter handgun in two employees’ faces, thereafter followed by client physically assaulting one of them;
- The video showed client placing an ungloved hand on the counter;
- That handprint was matched to client; and
- The business’s outside CCTV footage captured client’s getaway vehicle’s license plate, which was connected to a rental vehicle that client rented in his own name. And that’s exactly how LAPD was able to catch up with him – DMV records.
2nd-Degree Robbery (CA Pen. Code § 212.5(c));
Robbery in Concert (CA Pen. Code § 213(a)(1)(A)) (the interior and exterior CCTV footage showed that client robbed the business with another man, and showed a woman serving as the getaway driver in the rental car);
Assault with a Firearm (CA Pen. Code § 245(a)(2));
Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony (CA Pen. Code § 220);
Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) Pen. Code § 245(a)(1));
Making a Criminal Threat (CA Pen. Code § 422) (Client’s threat to kill the employees during the robbery);
Special Allegation for Personal Use of a Firearm During a Felony (CA Pen. Code § 12022.5).
Worst-case scenario: Approximately a quarter-century in a medium or maximum security state penal facility. A Strike conviction would ensure he served at least 66.6% even with good behavior credits. See, for example, Punishments for Robbery (CA Pen. Code § 213).
The process: After over a year of scorched-earth representation, Ninaz’s blitzkrieg strategy of forcing the Deputy DA to counter-punch only paid off in spades. In fact, the prosecutor’s offer was so unique and unprecedented, that even the judge remarked that he had never seen one like it in similar circumstances (i.e., armed robbery, indisputable evidence, potential 25-year sentence, etc.).
Result: Client pled down to one count of Robbery (CA Pen. Code § 211) with an almost ten-year suspended term, which meant that if he complied with the following conditions, he wouldn’t have to serve even a single day in prison:
- 12 months in a residential treatment facility (because Ninaz had convinced the DDA that client was high on meth at the time and only robbed the business to pay for his severe drug habit); and
- Forty-eight months of probation.
Client Facing Life for Attempted Murder; Result: Reduced Plea to Assault w/ Firearm, No Jail, Two Years’ Formal Probation
People v. J.C. (C.S. Foltz Criminal Justice Ctr. – 02/21)
Special Allegation -- Personal Discharge of Firearm During Commission of Felony (California Penal Code section 12022.53(c)).
Worst-case scenario: Life with potential early release.
The process: This was an inordinately challenging defense because the evidence was strong (including CCTV footage from an apartment building that appeared to show client aiming a firearm at the complainant), and the egregious nature of the crime itself. As a result, Ninaz had to work extra hard, such as preparing and arguing numerous evidentiary motions such as a Motion to Suppress (California Penal Code section 1538.5).
With each motion, and even at each hearing, the Deputy DA’s initial resolve to try the case before a jury weakened. Specifically, Ninaz was able to point out all the glaring weaknesses in the case, such as:
- The fact that the video did not actually show a gun in client’s hand (Ninaz successfully argued that he had only been pretending to have a gun in his hand when he extended his arm at the complainant in order to frighten him;
- The complainant had almost ran over client with his large sedan, forcing him to jump out of the way (which is why he pretended to have a gun);
- The video showed no muzzle flash or any other indication that he had actually fired a gun;
- The lack of bullet holes or fragments in the rear of the complainant’s sedan, which is where client was alleged to have fired at; and
- The lack of eyewitnesses (even the complainant admitted he had not actually witnessed client shooting at him.
Result: After the judge indicated he was inclined to grant Ninaz’s 995 Motion, the DDA offered a lesser plea for felony Assault with a Firearm (California Penal Code section 245(a)(1)) with zero further incarceration (client had remained in custody while awaiting trial). This meant client went home the next day to begin his 24-month probationary period. (Client did not want to risk the DA’s Office re-filing charges against him even with the 995 being granted.)
Client was Initially Facing Four Years in Prison for Hitting Cyclist with Car; Result: Plead to Misdemeanor, No Jail -- Only Probation & Community Service
People v. Ryan X. (Compton Courthouse – 10/20):
Client was prosecuted for Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) (P.C. § 245(a)(1) with a maximum possible prison term of forty-eight months.
Pertinent facts: Client, while in his SUV, got into a shouting match with an irate cyclist at a Hollywood intersection (near the Magic Castle on Franklin Dr.) stemming from the fact that client had inadvertently almost struck him while in traffic.
The situation quickly escalated after the cyclist banged his fist on client’s hood. This prompted client to intentionally clip the cyclist, sending him sprawling onto the concrete sidewalk. Fortunately, he only sustained minor agencies.
Charge: One felony count of ADW, plus First Strike charge (P.C. § 667(a)&(b)); P.C. § 667.5(c); P.C. § 1192.7(c).
Thus, if he was convicted and sentenced to the max of 48 months, he would still have to serve almost 41 months, even with good behavior, because of the Strike enhancement.
The process: After an exhausting battle with the Deputy D.A., he finally agreed to dismiss the ADW/Strike in consideration for client pleading nolo contendere to misdemeanor Simple Battery (P.C. § 242).
Worst-case scenario with misdemeanor Battery: six months in jail.
Result: Ninaz convinced the judge to sentence him to zero days’ jail; to give him summary instead of formal probation; and some volunteer work. Better yet, halfway through his probationary period, assuming he stayed out of trouble, client would be eligible to have his misdemeanor conviction Expunged (California Penal Code section 1203.4).
Client Facing Almost 30 Years for Using a Semi-Auto; Result: Jurors All Voted Not Guilty
People v. G.S. (C.S.F. Criminal Justice Center, DT Los Angeles – 04/14):
Client allegedly used in a violent manner a semi-auto. firearm, though he credibly insisted that he was totally innocent.
Charges: Two felonies, each for Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) (California Penal Code section 245(a)(1)); and Strike enhancement (California Penal Code section 667(a)&(b)).
Worst-case scenario: almost three decades in a penitentiary.
The process: Client refused to even entertain the notion of taking any deal, regardless of how favorable. Therefore, he and Ninaz agreed to try the case ASAP before 12 jurors and two alternates. And that’s exactly what happened.
At trial, Ninaz destroyed all the prosecution’s witnesses so the jury rejected everything they said on the stand. Then Ninaz put on her own witnesses who testified about client’s innocence. This included several expert witnesses who effectively nullified the prosecution’s forensic evidence.
Result: Acquittal all across the board.
Client was an Alleged Outlaw Biker Now Facing 27 Yrs. for Brandishing Assault Rifle; Result: Pled Nolo Contendere to Assault w/ Firearm; Out in 36 Months
People v. S.B. (Long Beach Ct. – 01/10)
Client was allegedly a white-supremacist prison-gang member and motorcyclist with ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs. He had also previously been sent to prison at least once, where he was allegedly found to have been involved in a racial incident.
In this latest episode, he was alleged to have threatened an African-American man with an assault rifle, as well as his words (“terrorist threat”). Then, when the SWAT team invaded his home, they found numerous illegal firearms therein. (As a convicted felon, client was prohibited from having anything to do with guns.)
Assault w/ Deadly Weapon (Calif. Pen. Code § 245(a)(1));
Brandishing Firearm/Deadly Weapon: Felony (Calif. Pen. Code § 417(b));
Criminal Threat (Calif. Pen. Code § 422);
Felon Possessing Firearm (Calif. Pen. Code § 29800);
Felon Possessing Ammo (Calif. Pen. Code § 29800);
Strike (Calif. Pen. Code §§ 667(a)&(b), 667.5(c) & 1192.7(c);
Gang Enhancement (Calif. Pen. Code § 186.22) (because he was allegedly a member or associate of a white supremacist prison gang – a charge which Ninaz Saffari was quickly able to debunk and get dismissed); and
Hate Crime (Calif. Pen. Code § 422.55).
Worst-case scenario: More than 25 years in a max-security penitentiary.
The process: Ninaz went to significant lengths to prove to the prosecutor that client was not, in fact, a prison gang or OMG member, but merely a financially successful customizer of Harley Davidsons. She even worked hard to try to disprove the allegation that he was a racist.
Result: Ninaz was thrilled to deliver two pieces of good news to client, who had been incarcerated since his arrest while awaiting trial – one, that his wife had just given birth to their daughter, and two, that the DA’s Office had made an incredible offer, which client immediately agreed to accept: a single count of felony Assault w/ Firearm (Calif. Pen. Code § 245(a)(2)) with as little as three years in prison (with good behavior). Also, the conviction would not count as a Strike.
The Los Angeles Defense Attorney Law Firm (LADALF)
When LADALF’s Ninaz Saffari first started working as a Deputy Public Defender for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in 2005 (her first full-time position after graduating from law school), her mentor-trainer gave her advice that she has followed every single day for the last 17 years – push every case as fast and as hard as you can to trial.
She particularly does this in Assault and Battery cases where felony punishments can be severe, but where prosecutors often have significant leeway in offering deals too enticing for her clients to refuse. So if the prosecutor refuses to give her such a deal, she simply takes the case to trial. The fact that no prosecutor has ever fought her at trial a second time speaks volumes about her success therein.