June 7,2007

Native American Sentencing is Driven by Discrimination

Date:                June 8, 2007

Time:                1:00 p.m.

Location:          San Diego Superior Court, East County Regional Center – Department 6
                        250 East Main Street
                        El Cajon, CA 92020

Issue: Armando Lopez, a twenty-three year old member of the Campo Kumeyaay Nation, is set to be sentenced tomorrow on a serious felony case that was tried in September of last year.  Mr. Lopez is facing a substantial prison sentence, with probation recommending in excess of 39 years, and the district attorney seeking is excess of 68 years.  This sentencing has the potential to have a significant impact on the Campo tribe, as well as all other San Diego based Native Americans, as Mr. Lopez’s counsel seeks to address the systematic discrimination which has been occurring in San Diego County.  Melissa E. Adams, of the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj based in downtown San Diego, plans to argue that not only was there insufficient evidence presented at trial to convict Mr. Lopez, but there are bigger countywide issues which negatively impacted Mr. Lopez’s trial.

To be discussed are issues relating to jury selection in San Diego County, the impact of the pending case of People v. Mark Jeffrey Brown, SCD 174976, discrimination against Native Americans in San Diego County, and an issue of juror misconduct which impacted Mr. Lopez’s trial, and violated his constitutional rights.  Mr. Lopez and his counsel expect strong tribal and community support at tomorrow’s hearing.  The hearing is expected to begin at approximately 1:30PM in front of Honorable Christine K. Goldsmith.

CONTACT:            Melissa E. Adams, Esq.
                              (619) 525-7005

                              Racquel Morrison
                              (619) 478-9046 x227


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