Results tagged “Judge Charles Campbell” from The Court Reporter

Woman Who Pleaded Guilty to Insurance Fraud Could Go To Jail

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By Raul Hernandez

A judge today postponed a decision on whether a Camarillo woman who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud should get jail time along with probation because he has to determine how much in restitution she owes to the insurance company.

Mona Alberti, 52, claimed she suffered a back  injury in 1997 after she bent down and picked up a pencil during a training session for her job with an insurance company , said prosecutor Gilbert Romero.

Romero told Ventura County Superior Court  Judge Charles Campbell that Alberti should pay $356,000 for more than a decade of insurance payments for such things as doctors, limousine service and medication.

In April, Alberti pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and is facing up to a year in jail after she is examined to find out the extent of her disability.

The judge said he will determine how much jail time, if any, Alberti should get based amount of fraud she committed.  Meanwhile, the judge put Alberti on probation.

Alberti is scheduled to return to court in March.

State workers compensation workers have filed a civil lawsuit to collect some of the payments made to Alberti,  a case that is pending, according to Romero.

Alberti's lawyer Brett Greenfield of Encino told the judge that his client is penniless.

"This is a woman who is broke," he said, adding that she has three children who attend college and a husband with three jobs.

Greenfield said Alberti has had surgery and  takes  "medication beyond belief that you can almost drug an elephant with."

Romero said in an interview that the insurance company paid for limousine service so Alberti could go to the doctors because she said she couldn't drive. He said Alberti went to doctor's appointment using a walker and later that day, she is caught on video shopping at the mall, holding bags and driving away.

Outside the courtroom,  Greenfield said his client still has a 48 percent disability rating and that was lowered from 100 percent after the video recording.

Greenfield called the state's workers compensation "flawed," saying that there are a lot of people who are disabled like his client who has "multi-faceted" impairments.

"In her case,  very frustrated by seeing 50 to 60 to 70 doctors over a period of 13 years," said Greenfield. "These doctors flagged physical and psychological issues."

He said he explained the secret video recording as an attempt to "embellish" her injury and a cry for help to get a doctor to pinpoint her disability.

"In her mind, she was trying to cry out because she didn't feel anybody was recognizing what was wrong,"  said Greenfield. "You can explain it to a jury but it is the same result that we have here today. Ms. Alberti is not backing away from the fact that she embellished."

 

 

Closing Arguments in Murder Trial Begin Wednesday Morning

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Closing arguments in the murder trial of Alex Compian begin Wednesday morning in Courtroom 35 at Ventura County Superior Court.

Judge Charles Campbell, who is presiding in the trial, ordered the jury Tuesday to return to court at 9 a.,m. 

The judge will first read the jury instructions, which take about half an hour. Afterwards, attorneys will make closing arguments.

Prosecutor Rameen Minoui finished putting on evidence and testimony Tuesday morning. Compian's lawyer Willard Wiksell told the judge that he didn't have any witnesses to put on the stand.

During opening statements in the trial, Wiksell told jurors that Compian would testify. But the defense changed  its mind and decided to keep him off the stand.

Compian, 24, is on trial for the murder of his neighbor, Mario Cisneros, 50, who was found shot and lying near the side of his home in the 200 block of Alpine Street in Oxnard about 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2009, according to court testimony.

 

 

Judge Tosses Out Some Autopsy Photos of Murder Victim

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After jurors had gone home for the day, defense attorney Willard Wiksell told the judge that he was objecting to six autopsy photographs that were going to be used by the prosecutor in the murder trial of Alex Compian, saying that they were "extraordinary gruesome"

Wiksell said the District Attorney's Office has a right to present its case. However, he said these photographs would be "unduly prejudicial" if jurors saw them.

Judge Charles Campbell agreed.

But not before prosecutor Rameen Minoui argued that the district attorney has a right to present its case. Minoui said he wanted to show jurors the path of the bullet and where the killer was standing when the shots were fired to corroborate witnesses' testimony.

He argued that this was most "persuasive evidence" to underscore key points in the prosecution's case. Minoui made his arguments as he stood near the bench and while holding up the large photographs so the judge could look at them.

"This is a heinous crime. The crime of murder by way of gunshot,"   Minoui told the judge.

The victim Mario Cisneros, 50, was found shot and lying near the side of his home in the 200 block of Alpine Street in Oxnard about 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2009, Oxnard police said.

Wiksell said there is no fact in dispute that the victim was killed, and there is no need to have these photographs to prove this point. He said the photographs are "unduly prejudicial"   

Basically, autopsy photographs are used when they are necessary to give details to the jury about how a person was killed, and just because they are enlarged and in color doesn't mean they'll get tossed out of a trial.

The rule of thumb is whether the photographs are more inflammatory than what is needed to show how a killing happened.

A defendant's conviction can be overturn because he was denied  his constitutional right to a fair trial if a judge allows some very gruesome photographs with no probative value to be admitted as evidence.

Although Minoui was told by the judge that he couldn't use these specific six autopsy photographs, he still can use other autopsy photographs during the trial.

 Outside the courtroom, Wiksell said he didn't know the specific number of autopsy photographs that prosecutors have to use in this trial.

"Plenty ," he said.

Restating his basic argument to Judge Campbell as he walked down the hallway: "There is no question. He got shot. He died."

 Compian maintains that he wasn't the gunman.

The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at rhernandez@vcstar.com.