Guilty Until Proven Innocent: David Dadon
San Diego criminal defense attorneys Russell Babcock is pleased to represent David Dadon in charges that he allegedly evaded income taxes and defrauded several students from the wages they allegedly earned while working at a college area restaurant. While the charges against Mr. Dadon are serious, this law firm is truly perplexed why the District Attorney's Office has targeted Mr. Dadon in an extensive media campaign for non-violent theft related charges.
After Mr. Dadon became aware of the warrant for his arrest, he immediately retained the services of this criminal defense law firm, which emphasizes complex fraud cases in both state and federal court. Despite Mr. Dadon scheduling a court hearing and self-surrender date, the law enforcement agents chose to track him by his cell phone and arrest him before he had the chance to put in order the documents that could aid him in his defense. This arrest was not necessary. Ironically, Mr. Dadon was arraigned on these charges in custody on the same date and time he had scheduled for his own court appearance.
Second, and even, more troubling, the District Attorney's Office has gone to great lengths to run a media campaign to convince the public, and even potential jurors, of Mr. Dadon's guilt. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis issued an extensive press release stating that David Dadon and his son victimized more than 20 servers and cooks for over a two-year period at State Street Grill in the College area. The defendants allegedly refused to pay the workers after a week of work or offer them a wage that amounted to less than $5 per hour.
Ms. Dumanis continued: ”The defendants in this case repeatedly took advantage of victims who were in desperate need of income and who accepted an offer to work during a `trainee period,”' Dumanissaid. “The estimated loss in this case exceeds $350,000. “The victims described working in excess of 40 hours per week and were never paid, Dumanis said, noting in addition, the Dadons took some of the tips the workers earned.
The Press Release by the SanDiego District Attorney's Office violates the American Bar Association's Standards:
Standard 3- 1.2 The Function of the Prosecutor reads:
(a) The office of prosecutor is charged with responsibility for prosecutions in its jurisdiction.
(b) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions.
(c) The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
The American Bar Association specifically advises prosecutors not to release statements such as the statement released regarding David Dadon:
Standard 3-1.4 Public Statements
(a) A prosecutor should not make or authorize the making of an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the prosecutor knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of prejudicing a criminal proceeding.
The problem with Ms. Dumanis's press release is that in this country everyone is presumed to be innocent. There is nothing wrong with issuing an unbiased press release describing the arrest of Mr. Dadon and the charges against. And once a defendant HAS PLED OR BEEN FOUND GUILTY by a jury, it is appropriate for a District Attorney's Office to make a detailed statement regarding its opinion of a defendant's guilt.
Slow down Bonnie! Mr. Dadon was just arrested , has not been found guility and is presumed to be innocent. When I was a Deputy District Attorney in Alaska, press releases such as that issued by Ms. Dumanis were strictly prohibited because they “poison the well” and influence the public and potential jury pools. And as a former prosecutor I had the social conscience to know that such press releases would be unfair and only serve to undermine justice.
The government has a legitimate interest in locating potential crime victims and informing the public of arrests. But likewise, a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to a fair trial . The conduct of the District Attorney's Office eviscerates that right.
Regardless of whether Mr. Dadon is found guilty or not guilty, the San Diego District Attorney has engaged in improper conduct by pre-judging Mr. Dadon and also influencing the public to do so.
Shame on the San Diego District Attorney's for not following the well-recognized standards of the American Bar Association!