People v. Tieu

The client was one of 16 alleged Vietnamese gang members charged with special circumstances murder for the benefit of a gang. Special circumstances is an enhancement that if proven at trial, calls for the death penalty or a sentence of Life without Parole [LWOP]. My client was charged with helping lure rival gang members form a pool hall so they could be followed and attacked. The plan worked and the rival gang left the pool hall and were followed by 6 carloads of the client’s fellow gang members. Another passenger in the car my client was riding in shot two people in the other car, killing one and injuring another. My client was arrested at his home the next day. He was coercively questioned there in his room by the infamous Dect. Vi of GGPD. He was taken to GGPD for further questioning, where he made further admissions. He was arrested and charged with 187 and murder for the benefit of his alleged gang. Several other participants were tried separately and convicted of those charges. We went to trial and the jury hung 11-1 for guilty, thus requiring a retrial. The jury that voted not guilty said afterward, that the sole reason she voted that way is due to my cross-examination of Vi and the resulting exposure of Vi’s bias against my client.  Her singular vote spared my client a life sentence at that time. Eventually, SB 1437 was passed which drastically changed the law of 187. As a result, my client’s case was adjudicated, and he was released on this case and no longer facing a life sentence. That is a victory saving his life.

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