A Record Of Success In Trials And Appeals
You want an experienced attorney representing you who knows the law. At Babich Sarcone Attorneys at Law, our dedication to providing the best defense for our clients has led to many favorable outcomes and positive impacts on their lives. Our attorney Nick Sarcone, has more than 15 years of experience as a criminal defense litigation attorney. Here, you can read about some of the notable outcomes that he has achieved in state, federal and appellate courts throughout Iowa.
State Of Iowa V. Ramirez Gonzalez
The client was charged with three counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, Class “B” felonies, one count of indecent contact with a child and one count of child endangerment, both aggravated misdemeanors. Mr. Ramirez-Gonzalez was facing up to 79 years in prison.
The accusations were brought against him by his stepdaughter, who had recently visited her real father for the first time in years. By the time she was ready to come back home, she supposedly reported these allegations against my client.
Our defense centered around her biological father, regarding his constant battle with the girl’s mother over custody and child support, and his motivations to get his daughter to make such allegations. We had no affirmative proof of this, but that was not essential to the narrative of the case. Moreover, the child herself had some reason to go along with the ruse because she wanted to stay with her real father, and we were able to present that side of the story as well. Finally, at trial, we highlighted the lack of investigation by law enforcement.
Mr. Ramirez-Gonzalez was looking at essentially spending the rest of his life behind bars, but he maintained his innocence to the end. At the end, the jury hung 11-1 for acquittal with only one juror who voted for conviction. After the trial, the state dismissed all the charges against Mr. Ramirez-Gonzalez.
During this trial, attorney Nick Sarcone employed many of the techniques he learned at the prestigious Trial Lawyers College. In his opening statement, he took on the role of the girl’s mother and told the entire story of the case from her mother’s point of view. This created a powerful narrative at the outset of the case, from which the prosecution could never recover.
Trial work has as much to do with effective storytelling as the law. Facts are important but emotions motivate human beings to act. Telling a story that connects with a jury is the primary way to get them to act in your favor.
In Re: Property Seized From Pardee
This case involved a traffic stop on Interstate 80 by a member of the Iowa State Patrol Drug Interdiction Team. This team of troopers’ sole mission was to stop out-of-state plated motorists and find a way to search their vehicles for cash and drugs. In Mr. Pardee’s case, the trooper found a significant amount of cash and one joint. The trooper then seized the cash and the state brought a criminal charge and a forfeiture case against Mr. Pardee.
Attorney Nick Sarcone filed motions in both the criminal and forfeiture cases alleging that the trooper unlawfully detained, searched and seized our client’s property. The district court disagreed in both cases and both cases proceeded to trial.
In the criminal trial, Mr. Pardee was found not guilty. However, in the civil forfeiture matter, the court found the cash was the proceeds of drug activity and ordered the money forfeited to the state of Iowa. We appealed this ruling, and Nick Sarcone argued the case before the Iowa Supreme Court.
On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court held that the trooper, who testified that he only stopped Mr. Pardee to write him a traffic citation, detained Mr. Pardee longer than was necessary to write a traffic citation for the purpose of conducting a warrantless criminal investigation to look for drugs and cash. This was a violation of Mr. Pardee’s fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This decision, while explained in summary form here, was an incredibly important victory for constitutional rights in Iowa. It resulted in the collapse and disbandment of the Iowa State Patrol Drug Interdiction Teams, and it has crippled the unconstitutional practice of drug interdiction in the state of Iowa.
United States V. F. Rodriguez
The United State alleged that our client, Fernando Rodriguez, was part of a major multidefendant drug conspiracy spanning multiple states. They charged him with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Mr. Rodriguez was looking at roughly 10-15 years in prison. Out of 19 co-defendants, Mr. Rodriguez was the only one to proceed to trial.
At trial, several of the co-defendants testified against our client. The government sent federal agents out to “interview” our witnesses a few days before trial and flipped them to government witnesses. The government had multiple attorneys, support staff and an FBI agent at the counsel table. Mr. Rodriguez had only us.
Our defense centered around Mr. Rodriguez’s relationship with the main players in the drug organization and his own familial circumstances which led to his association with the bad actors. We argued that after wiretaps, video surveillance, human surveillance and mountains of business and other records, the most the government could prove was that Mr. Rodriguez was friends with these drug dealers.
After a five-day trial, the jury hung, and Mr. Rodriguez accepted a plea deal to five years, a third of what he could have gotten if he had pleaded guilty.
State V. G. Goodwin
Our client, Mr. Goodwin, was charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI/DUI). Mr. Goodwin refused to take a breath test explaining that he had been previously told by attorneys that such tests are unreliable. Law enforcement was undeterred however because they believe they smelled alcohol on Mr. Goodwin’s breath. So, they administered what are known as field sobriety tests which they claimed Mr. Goodwin failed.
At trial, we hired an expert to testify to the unreliability of field sobriety testing. We explained to the jury that such tests are not scientifically validated and that most people cannot perform the test while sober in a controlled environment, let alone on the side of the roadway.
After a two-day trial, the jury acquitted Mr. Goodwin of all charges.
Get Counsel From An Experienced Trial Attorney
Having graduated from the Trial Lawyer’s College, our attorney Nick Sarcone has extensive training in litigation. When you need representation for a case that might go to trial, we am ready to defend you. Call our Des Moines office toll-free at 515-817-1870 or send us an email to discuss setting up a consultation.