In August 2012, a heated, violent argument between a Long Beach man and his father climaxed with a tragic shooting. Days later, the young man, only 21 at the time, was charged with first degree murder of his father, a charge that would irrevocably change the rest of his and his family's lives. It wouldn't be until October 2014 that he would stand trial and a verdict would be rendered by a California jury.
As the defendant's lawyer, Attorney Leonard Matsuk knew that in this case, like many other homicide cases, his main focus would be to pursue lesser charges. As the young man had already admitted to the crime, receiving a "not guilty" verdict was no longer in the picture. However, whether the act was a premeditated act of violence was still debatable in court. A first degree murder charge would have likely sent the young man to prison for the rest of his life.
Instead of vying for an acquittal, Attorney Matsuk knew that fighting the aggressive charge of first degree murder was a priority. He listened to his client's story, looked at his history of mental anguish, considered his family's state of impending divorce and upheaval, and even put a psychologist on the stand to speak about his state of mind at the time of the incident. In the end, Attorney Matsuk's campaign to accurately illustrate his client not as a cold-blooded criminal, but as a troubled young man grappling with a violent altercation with his father was convincing: the jury came back with a second degree murder ruling.
When Securing Lesser Charges is Key
This case is indicative of so many criminal trials where the victory isn't in dispelling guilt, but accurately and emphatically recreating the circumstances of a crime to reduce overzealous charges set forth by the prosecution. The man admitted to his crime, but with the vigilant and tenacious representation of Attorney Matsuk, his potential life sentence is now far less unlikely when sentencing occurs. For those found guilty of crimes, this kind of sentence reduction can make all the difference.
If you have been charged with a serious crime and you neeed the resources and representation of a knowledgeable Long Beach criminal defense lawyer, the Law Office of Leonard Matsuk is ready to hear from you. Call the firm today.