Issue 5, 2015

DA's Office Holds Successful Drug Take-Back Day

Last weekend, the Alameda County DA's Office, in partnership with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, participated in the National Drug Take Back Day. Alameda County residents were encouraged to bring any unused, unwanted and/or expired prescription or over-the-counter medication for free, confidential and safe disposal - no questions asked.

Over 584 pounds of unwanted medications were collected at our four different sites around the county, making our efforts the most successful of the 35 participating Bay Area agencies for the second consecutive year. Clearing homes of unused medications helps prevent prescription drug abuse, misuse, and theft. In addition to the personal and public safety aspect, the safe disposal of these drugs also prevents the harmful environmental impacts caused by disposing of them in landfill, or through the water system. 

DA Nancy E. O'Malley stated, "Safe disposal of these drugs serves a vital public safety and public health need. This is an important step in reducing the alarmingly high rates of prescription drug abuse and addiction in our community."

DA's Office Receives Grant to Eliminate Backlog

Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley (right) with
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr earlier in 2015.
On September 10, 2015, DA Nancy O'Malley announced that her office received $835,000 for the testing of backlogged and untested sexual assault forensic evidence kits (or 'SAKs'). This grant from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., was part of $38 million allocated to 32 jurisdictions in 20 states across the US to eliminate the backlog of untested SAKs. 

The goal of these two-year awards - ranging in amount from approximately $97,000 to $2 million - is to help test an estimated 56,475 SAKs, generating DNA evidence that will help solve cases across the country.

"I am deeply honored and grateful that my office has been selected to receive this monetary award," said DA O'Malley. "I began the process of identifying and testing the backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits in this county and across California in 2009, and my office is a leader in the nation in the effort to eliminate the backlog of untested kits. Today's award enables us to completely eliminate the entirety of the backlog in Alameda County. We owe nothing less to victim/survivors of sexual assault crimes, and to the public to hold sex offenders accountable."

DA O'Malley and the office remain strong advocates for federal funding to local law enforcement to test previously untested SAKs. DA O'Malley worked closely with Congressman Mike Honda, who serves on the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives, to ensure $41 million in federal funds were included in the 2014-15 federal budget.

Alameda County Receives Savvy Silver Circle Award

The County of Alameda and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office were proud to receive the 2015 Savvy Silver Circle Award for the outstanding community outreach component of the DA's Office's HEAT (Human Exploitation And Trafficking) Watch program. The outreach efforts, that included an effective billboard and social media campaign, won the Silver Circle prize in the category for Most Innovative.

"The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is proud to receive this 2015 Savvy Silver Circle Award for work in combating human trafficking in our community and beyond. We are also pleased to share with other communities around the Unites States the best practices for social issue campaigns and the positive lessons learned from our HEAT Watch community outreach," District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said.

Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator, said, "The HEAT Watch program is one of the many ways Alameda County is finding creative new solutions to pressing issues in our community. We are extremely proud of this program and the positive impact it is having in protecting some of our most vulnerable residents.'' Read more...

Law Clerks Successfully Complete Intensive Program

In late May, eight of the state's brightest law students arrived at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse to start our 2015 Summer Law Clerk Program, a 10-week intensive internship. Under the supervision of a senior DA, the certified law clerks tried at least one misdemeanor jury trial, wrote legal briefs, put on preliminary hearings, and argued legal motions.

Coordinator of our Summer Law Clerk Program, Assistant District Attorney Michael Nieto, was very pleased with the results and effort of the law clerks.
"We had a fantastic cohort in the Alameda County DA's Office Summer Law Clerk Program for 2015. Each of the certified law clerks were dedicated, passionate and worked hard to develop their skills as potential prosecutors over the ten week program. They gained invaluable experience and learned a great deal from the many skilled attorneys in our Office. They consistently represented our Office with integrity and to a high ethical standard," said ADA Nieto.

This program is the main hiring vehicle for future employment as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County. Read more about our Summer Law Clerk Program.

DA's Justice Academy Graduates Fourth Cohort

In July, DA O'Malley attended the graduation ceremonies for students who completed the 2015 DA's Justice Academy (DAJA). In all, 75 students successfully completed the six month-long series of seminars and paid work. They gained valuable experience working for elected officials, prosecutors, police departments, non-profit organizations and leagal offices. 

At each graduation ceremony, the students in the three classes (Eden, North County and Tri-Valley) teamed up to present a five minute speech about an issue of social justice they felt passionately about.

In the four years, we have witnessed hundreds of local youth graduate from this program. 100% of graduates from the DAJA program are college bound.

View the photos from each of the graduation ceremonies: Tri-Valley, Eden, and North County.

Applications for 2016:
If you are interested in applying for our 2016 classes, online applications are open now. For further information about DAJA and for a link to the online application, please visit our website.

Felony Verdicts 

Here is a selection of recent verdicts. For more felony verdicts and short summaries, please visit our Felony Verdict page
People v Deandre Dixon and Omouri Forrest-Edwards

On September 24, 2015, Defendants Deandre "Lil' D" Dixon and Omouri "Beastie" Forrest-Edwards were convicted of the March 2010 murder of Mohamed Diop. The jury set the murder degree at first degree for Dixon and second degree for Forrest-Edwards and found various firearms clauses to be true. Read more...

Both Defendant Deandre Dixon and Defendant Omouri Forrest-Edwards are scheduled to be sentenced on November 20, 2015. The case was prosecuted by DDA Melissa Dooher and Inspector Blair Alexander. Additional assistance was provided by the OPD's Gang Unit and specialized arrest teams.

People v Kalonji Sandre Edwards

On September 23, 2015, a jury found Kalonji Sandre Edwards guilty of first degree residential robbery, criminal threats, and for violating a restraining Order. His accomplice, Denzel Green, pled guilty as charged on the final day of the trial. Read more...

Defendant Edwards is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30. Green will also be charged for his involvement in the crimes on that date. The case was prosecuted by DDA Matt Gaidos with assistance from Victim-Witness Advocate Nicole Santos

People v Miguel Angel Torres

On September 10, 2015, a jury found defendant Miguel Angel Torres guilty of one count of forcible rape, five counts of forcible sexual penetration by a foreign object, one count of second degree robbery with an allegation of personal infliction of great bodily injury during the offense, and one count of sexual battery by restraint. The jury also found true Defendant Torres' prior convictions of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a non-confined person by a prisoner. He was also in violation of his parole. Read more...

The case was prosecuted by DDA Carrie Skolnick with assistance from DA Inspectors Simon Rhee and Brian Delahunty and Victim-Witness Advocate Jenifer Mello.

People v Joel Perry

On August 31, 2015, a jury found defendant Joel Perry guilty as charged of first degree murder, attempted murder, two counts of attempted second degree robbery, and three counts of assault with an assault weapon. All counts included gun use and gang enhancements. Read more... 

On September 28, 2015, defendant Joel Perry was sentenced to 84 years to life in state prison. The case was prosecuted by Senior DDA Elgin Lowe, with assistance from DA Inspectors Nicole Elder and Lou Cruz and Victim-Witness Advocate Nicole Santos.

People v Ashon Tryan Olivegoffner

On August 26, 2015, defendant Ashon Tryan Olivegoffner was found guilty of forcible rape, corporal injury to a partner, sexual penetration by foreign object, second degree robbery, and false imprisonment by violence. Read more...  

On September 24, 2015, Defendant Ashon Tryon Olivegoffner was sentenced to 22 years 8 months state prison and will be required to register as as sex offender for the rest of his life. The case was prosecuted by DDA Laura Passaglia, with assistance from DA Inspector Andrea Moreland and Victim-Witness Advocate Kelli Sage.

People v Roy Jones (AKA Stan Jones) 

On July 29, 2015, a jury in Hayward found defendant Roy Jones (also known as Stan Jones) guilty of 16 of 17 charged counts, which included Torture, Kidnapping for Extortion, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, False Imprisonment, and Child Abuse. Read more...  

On August 20, 2015, defendant Jones was sentenced to 31 years 4 months to Life in state prison. The case was prosecuted by DDA Matt Foley, with assistance from DA Inspector Andrea Moreland and Victim-Witness Advocate Kelli Sage.

People v Damari Mathews

On July 27, 2015, a jury found defendant Damari Mathews guilty of second degree robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon with priors and carrying a loaded firearm on one's person within a city. Read more...

On September 24, 2015, Defendant Damari Mathews was sentenced to 13 years in state prison. The case was prosecuted by Chris Cavagnaro with assistance from Victim-Witness Advocate Rhoden Briones.

People v Marchell Ernest Mitchell

On July 21, 2015, a jury convicted Marchell Ernest Mitchell of a felony assault likely to produce great bodily injury, and misdemeanor battery. Read more...

The case was prosecuted by DDA Gemma Daggs with assistance from DA Inspectors Blair Alexander and Timothy Cleary, and Victim-Witness Advocate Yuen Chiang.

People v Christian Birdsall-Hernandez

On July 14, 2015, a jury convicted Christian Birdsall-Hernandez of the first degree murder of 58-year-old Barbara Latiolais and found true special circumstances that Birdsall committed the murder while lying in wait, committing burglary, and committing robbery. The jury additionally convicted Birdsall of arson. Read more...
On September 18, 2015, a judge sentenced defendant Christian Birdsall-Hernandez to life without the possibility of parole. The case was prosecuted by DDA Adam Maldonado with assistance from DA Inspectors Tim Bergquist and Timothy Cleary, and Victim-Witness Advocates Marina Hammergren and Hedy Mitlo.

People v Daniela Guzman 

On June 30, 2015, a jury found defendant Daniela Guzman guilty of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit assault, along with gang enhancements for both charges. Read more...  

On August 28, 2015, she was sentenced to 15 years to Life in State Prison. The case was prosecuted by DDA Elgin Lowe with assistance from DA Inspector Mark Moreno and Victim-Witness Advocate Nadia Bueno.

Do you have a question for the District Attorney?

If you would like to see a particular question answered in our next newsletter, please email us at info@alcoda.org.

Alameda County District Attorney's Office
1225 Fallon Street, Room 900
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 272 - 6222