Armed and Masked Robbery
A young man was arrested and charged with Armed and Masked Robbery. The allegation was that he entered a Chinese take-out restaurant late one evening. While wearing a ski mask, he approached the counter, displayed a knife and handed the cashier a note that read, “put all the money on the counter or you will get shot or stabbed.” The cashier did not understand English very well, but knew enough to realize a robbery was in progress.
The cashier refused to relinquish any money and threatened to contact police thereby scaring off the robber. The young man fled on foot. Meanwhile, the cashier and other employees from the restaurant notified police. Patrol officers in the area responded to the restaurant and interviewed the witnesses to the robbery. Other officers, armed with a description of robber, located a young man walking several blocks away. He matched the description provided by the restaurant employees.
When police approached the young man, he surrendered to their authority, relinquished the knife and admitted his attempt to rob the Chinese restaurant. Police then arrested the man and charged him with Armed and Masked Robbery.
The young man and his family retained Attorney John L. Calcagni III to represent him in this matter. Attorney Calcagni represented the man on a prior occasion. The man was recently off probation from his prior offense, but had apparently been unsuccessful in kicking his drug habit. The man had attempted to rob the restaurant to obtain money for drugs. Once he was released on bail, Attorney Calcagni worked to get his client into treatment.
The man had a lot of extenuating and mitigating factors in his case. He was a high school graduate, had college potential and a limited criminal history, was gainfully employed and had a young daughter. To realize his future prospects, the man needed to overcome the obstacle of drug addiction. Attorney Calcagni focused his pretrial investigative efforts on getting his client into a long-term residential drug treatment program. After numerous attempts, Attorney Calcagni and the man’s family ultimately succeeded at this task.
Attorney Calcagni also spent considerable time obtaining the alleged victims’ support and sympathy for his client. He utilized the services of one of his private investigators to seek an appointment with the Chinese restaurant owners and employees all of whom were present and witnessed the robbery. Attorney Calcagni interviewed these individuals on multiple occasions.
He also used the services of a Mandarin Chinese interpreter to assist with language barriers that existed with the restaurant people. After building rapport with the restaurant owners and employees, Attorney Calcagni educated them on the young man’s extenuating and mitigating circumstances, as well as his rehabilitative efforts. Attorney Calcagni ultimately persuaded the alleged victims to support dismissal of the case or reduced charges, and most importantly, a non-jail sentence for the young man.
Based on these collective efforts, Attorney Calcagni first persuaded the prosecution to reduce the man’s charge from the felony of robbery to a less severe offense of larceny of a person. This amendment was a major initial victory in resolving this matter and sparing the young man from felony prosecution and a length jail sentence. The young man then pleaded guilty to the amended charge.
The parties fought over an appropriate sentence for the admitted offense. The prosecution pushed hard for a 2.5 year jail sentence. Attorney Calcagni pushed back even harder for a non-jail sentence. In support of this request, he cited his client’s graduation of a 9 month in-patient drug rehabilitation program, his being clean from drugs for more than one year, victim support of a non-jail disposition, the client’s family support, his infant daughter and reemployment with the employer for whom the man worked at the time of his arrest. Based on these circumstances, the man’s actual rehabilitation and potential for so much more, the Court rejected the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation and adopted that suggested by Attorney Calcagni. As a result, the young man was sentenced to 2 years of probation.