Evidence Thrown Out
I contested a motion to suppress physical evidence in the case of State v. Xiomara Gonzales from January through May of 2011. After the trial court denied my motion, an appeal was taken. On April 6, 2015, the appellate division reversed the trial court’s decision. The result was that Ms. Gonzales’ conviction was thrown out and the first degree quantity of heroin seized from her car (enough to support a twenty year prison sentence) was suppressed. In relevant part, the Appellate Division held: READ MORE
Legal arguments were submitted on behalf of a client who was charged with being the Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network. This first degree charge carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.
After a thorough and painstaking review of tens of thousands of pages of case documents and hundreds of hours of wiretapped phone calls, Mr. Sisto was able to expose the lead detective’s false statements, along with other illegal methods used by the State during their investigation. As a result, the charge carrying the mandatory life sentence was dismissed and the client was sentenced to “time served” and released from jail.
Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of the law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.
– Peter Keane, former San Francisco Police commissioner
In this case, the evidence at issue was a long-barreled rifle and an allegedly stolen license plate.
Mr. Sisto’s client was facing more than 10 years in prison with a mandatory 5 year period of parole ineligibility.
After the hearing, one of the client’s charges was dismissed and the other was downgraded. He received a term of probation.
Cross-examination – the rarest, the most useful, and the most difficult to be accrued of all of the accomplishments of the advocate. . . . It has always been deemed the surest test of truth and a better security than the oath.
– Cox, prefix, The Art of Cross-Examination, 4th Ed.
Below, is an an excerpt from a motion to suppress physical evidence. It contains Mr. Sisto’s complete cross-examination of two police officers.
Read courtroom transcript here
The following is a legal brief submitted on behalf of a client who was rejected from Drug Court participation.
Mr. Sisto’s client was facing more than 50 years in prison. The court overturned the prosecutor’s rejection as a result of the appeal. The client avoided jail and received a term of probation.
Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
– Thomas Jefferson