Daily Journal wire reports
Jury awards $7M for wrongful death
A San Mateo County jury has awarded the family of a concrete laborer killed in an accident nearly $7 million, the plaintiff's attorney announced yesterday.
Luis Sanchez, 35, a concrete laborer for Casey Fogli Concrete Contractors, was killed on Sept. 12, 2001 at San Mateo's Bay Meadows Development Project when an outrigger stabilizing a 100,000-pound concrete pumping truck sank into the ground, causing the truck's boom to fall forward and strike Sanchez in the head.
Sanchez was controlling the hose and directing a concrete pour on the main floor of one of the apartment buildings when the boom, a four-piece steel arm, hit Sanchez with 60,000 pounds of force, said attorney Russell Moore of the Boccardo Law Firm, which represented the Sanchez family in the case.
Man convicted of kidnapping, sex crime
A San Mateo County jury convicted a man of kidnapping and sexual assault charges yesterday that could earn him four life prison sentences.
Farooq Abdul Aleem, 31, was convicted on a majority of the 23 charges against him, among them kidnapping to commit a sex crime, false imprisonment, and forcible oral copulation for acts involving two different victims in late 2002 and early 2003.
The jury hung 10-2 in favor of guilt on several charges involving a third alleged victim, and found him not guilty on the charge of intent to commit rape on that victim, said Aleem's defense attorney Charles B. Smith.
Smith had argued mistaken identity in that case and claimed that Aleem had never met the alleged victim.
The other two cases involve a woman Aleem drove to Fairfield and a 17-year-old Daly City girl he picked up at a bus stop and drove to a motel.
Probation for accused stalker
A man who allegedly abused and stalked his girlfriend, attempted to rape another woman and conspired with his sister to intimidate the attempted rape victim received a suspended prison sentence and probation today in connection with the July 2003 incidents.
Francisco Perez, 28, pleaded no contest on Oct. 18 to first-degree burglary and admitted to a prior crime that qualified under the "Three Strikes'' law. The district attorney's office agreed to dismiss the other charges against him, including conspiracy and assault with intent to commit rape.
Perez faced a maximum of eight years in state prison. However, Superior Court Judge James Ellis granted Perez, who has a lengthy criminal record, a final chance to straighten up.
Ellis granted a defense motion to strike the prior strike offense as a sentencing factor. He also gave Perez a six-year prison sentence, suspended on the condition that Perez complete five years of probation and one year in county jail. The jail term is modifiable to Delancey Street, a San Francisco-based residential treatment program for substance abusers.
In court Thursday Perez's attorney William Johnston called Perez "a good man'' and argued that his troubles are a product of substance abuse.
Perez, the oldest of nine children and the only son in the family, helped raise his younger sisters after the family's mother died and their father became an alcoholic, his attorney said.
Since his most recent arrest, Perez has participated in Choices, a treatment program for inmates with substance abuse problems. He told the judge today that he regrets his behavior and admitted he had "caused people a lot of harm.''
Ellis expressed some skepticism over Perez's apparent remorse. "It's awful easy for someone to come in here and say all the right things. That's what a judge wants to hear,'' he said.
Perez responded that he wanted to be a "role model'' for his younger sisters, several of whom were present in the courtroom.
"I have seven sisters left, and they look up to me,'' Perez said.
One of Perez's younger sisters, Irma Perez, 14, died in April of an Ecstasy overdose - her first experience with the drug.
Thursday Perez said he "played a part'' in his sister's death, speculating that if he had not used drugs, perhaps she would not have tried them.
Deputy District Attorney Morris Maya acknowledged that Perez had made "sincere efforts'' to rehabilitate himself.
"I just think it's too little, too late,'' Maya said. "The defendant really has left a path of destruction in his wake.''
Among his previous crimes, Perez participated in a 1993 drive-by shooting in which his accomplice fired into a home where a woman was giving a party for her teenage daughter. Two people were injured. Maya asked that Perez receive the maximum sentence.
Ellis said his decision to suspend the prison sentence and grant probation was "very close.''
"You need to understand, Mr. Perez, that I'm giving you an opportunity,'' Ellis said. He admonished Perez that he must complete the treatment program and that, should he leave for any reason, "You need to understand that, 'I'm walking out this door and I'm walking into San Quentin.'''
For her role in the incident, Perez's sister, Imelda Perez, 26, previously pleaded no contest to attempting to dissuade a witness. She was sentenced to two years of probation.
© 2005 San Mateo Daily Journal