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Case Evidence
Case Documents and Resources

Comment on Zuniga Denial of Habeas Petition October 2011

The Chilling Effect of the Gag Order

Reasonable Doubt and Other Suspects

The Politics of Fear and Demonizing Scott Dyleski

Daniel Horowitz's Bizarre Claims and Untruths

Scott Dyleski is a young man unjustly imprisoned in California for the murder of Pamela Vitale. Pamela Vitale was brutally murdered in her home in Lafayette, California on October 15, 2005. Scott was 16 at the time and lived in a planned community about a mile away in the same Hunsaker Canyon area of Lafayette.

Scott was sentenced to Life Without Parole in September of 2006. He was transferred to San Quentin Prison on his 18th birthday, becoming the youngest inmate in the California prison system at that time. Scott was later moved to Kern Valley State Prison.

Scott was convicted based on very flimsy evidence and lack of an adequate defense. He was assigned a relatively inexperienced Public Defender with limited resources who had to go up against an aggressive, experienced prosecutor with virtually unlimited resources in a case that received prejudicial coverage. However, his defense attorney did not even take advantage of the resources at her disposal nor question and follow-up testimony where she could have. At the least, both Scott Dyleski and Pamela Vitale deserve the justice of an intense investigation and a fair trial.

Mudslinging marks death penalty murder case

April 03, 2002

By Glenn Chapman

OAKLAND -- Trash television-caliber vitriol was slung about an Oakland courtroom Tuesday as Willie Green's defense lawyer took the stand and dueled with the prosecutor in the death penalty murder case.

During a courtroom exchange spiced with expletives, Daniel Horowitz bad-mouthed Deputy District Attorney Michael Nieto, questioned the good sense of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Philip Sarkisian, and referred to Green as having the IQ of "a retard."

Green's grim countenance slackened to a befuddled look as Horowitz assured jurors of the convicted killer's lack of intelligence.

"I don't know if he is or is not a retard," Horowitz said of Green. "He has a low IQ."

Horowitz insisted on testifying after Nieto asked another witness, Green's sister, what she thought of Green's menacing courtroom outburst the day after jurors convicted him March 12.

The jury had found Green guilty of murdering 27-year-old Charles Hass and trying to murder Aaron Merritt after the pair stepped out of a Peralta Street liquor store Jan. 27, 2001. Green stabbed Hass in the heart and knifed Merritt in the lung during a failed attempt to rob Hass, according to evidence presented in court.

At a March 13 hearing, Green jerked at his shackles, cursed at the judge and threatened Nieto. The hearing was conducted without the jury present.

Before leading Green into the courtroom that day, a bailiff noticed he had wriggled out of the waist chain to which his wrists were linked. Green had reportedly slipped off the belt part of his restraints on two previous occasions.

While lashing out at Nieto, Horowitz said the prosecutor knew Green was simmering with anger that day and grinned to provoke Green into boiling over. Nieto asked Horowitz whether he recalled saying he agreed with the insults Green unleashed on Nieto.

"I don't recall calling you a (expletive)," Horowitz responded, prompting Judge Sarkisian to bury his face in both palms for a moment, then roll his eyes toward the ceiling. "I do think you are...ambitious and don't really understand where you are right now, standing there looking at me."

Horowitz accused Nieto of threatening him by implying the defense attorney might face repercussions for his behavior during the trial. Horowitz also claimed that Nieto had blacks excluded from the jury in a case where the victims are white and Green is African American.

Sarkisian ruled early in the trial that the accusation was unfounded and denied a motion by Horowitz regarding the charge.

"I disagree with the way the judge handled that," Horowitz said. "You still did know it, and I know it."

Nieto, who is of Puerto Rican ancestry, asked Horowitz to explain why he told jurors that Nieto might use a pinata as a prop and why he compared Nieto to "a matador."

"I referred to you as a matador with a bull, teasing it so you could finally kill it," Horowitz replied. "It's not like I had it out for you, I just think you go too far."

Horowitz added that he mistook a Russian nesting doll on the prosecutor's table for a pinata. Horowitz met Nieto's yes-or-no questions with lengthy diatribes. An attempt by Nieto to rein in the answers was rebuffed with "Don't interrupt me sir, I'm not an 18-year-old girl."

Horowitz's witness stand orations came as the defense began presenting evidence intended to convince jurors to spare Green, a 45-year-old career criminal and prison gang member, from the death penalty.

"I hated doing that," Horowitz said of testifying.

Members of Green's family took the stand Tuesday to describe Green as a sensitive, religious father-figure who was a guardian angel to those close to him.

"It's terrible out there," Green's 18-year-old surrogate niece, Charlie Barry, said of her Brookfield Village neighborhood. "Some of my friends got killed because they didn't have people like him looking out for them."

Barry referred to Green as a "bodyguard" and said her mother had a drug problem until Green warned drug dealers not to sell to the woman.

"They never approached her again and she got in a program," Barry said.

Barry testified she knew nothing of Green's criminal history, which includes robbery and shooting a woman dead with an assault rifle.

"I love everything about him," Barry said. "He's like a father to me."

Green's sister, Ruthie Bennett, described Green as an "emotional guy" who has helped care for children.

Correspondent Monica Sagullo contributed to this report.


Interesting as it appears Daniel Horowitz posted this in regards to the California Juvenile Life Without Parole bill (SB9) just before it was to be considered again:

DanielHorowitz at 8:33 PM February 26, 2012

Again, the SB9 advocates tell fairy tale stories. Usually they use cute "girls" to tell the tale of a poor child at the wrong place at the wrong time.  The real psycho killers torture their victims, masturbate in prison to fantasies of their victims screams and brag to each other about how their victims died.   Those stories never make the LA Times.  SB9 will unleash the gates of hell.  The rape and murder that will follow will not be inflicted by little "girls" who are 16 years old.  They will be 45 year old grizzled men, who have hated their entire lives and will hate and harm until they are again imprisoned.
Daniel Horowitz,0,341642.story

Interesting, given someone posted this response regarding Daniel Horowitz' defense of
San Francisco Mara Salvatrucha gang leader Danilo Velasquez:

"Daniel Horowitz, a lawyer for Velasquez, said prosecutors’ claim of a criminal enterprise was a “fairy tale” and said, “It doesn’t exist in reality” in the cases of Velasquez and Herrera. The two defendants were “low-level guys who put up 20 bucks at a meeting” of the gang, Horowitz said. ”They’re around MS-13, sometimes they play soccer, sometimes they hang out, sometimes they smoke some marijuana,” he said (sfappeal com). "

February 16, 2012

MS-13 Gang Leader in San Francisco Sentenced to Life in Prison: Seventh MS-13 Member to Receive Life Sentence in San Francisco

WASHINGTON –Danilo Velasquez, aka “Triste,” a local leader of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, was sentenced yesterday in federal court in San Francisco by U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup to life in prison, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for the Northern District of California and Director John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   Velasquez was convicted in November 2011 by a federal jury of racketeering-related charges.   At sentencing, Judge Alsup described the defendant as a “vicious murderer.”

Velasquez was part of the violent, transnational gang known as MS-13, which claimed part of the Mission District of San Francisco as its territory and operated in the Bay Area since the 1990s.   Velasquez joined the “20th Street” clique, or local MS-13 chapter, in 2004.   Since its inception, MS-13 members have warred with rival gang members and sought to extort payments from other criminals in its territory.   When the federal government indicted the majority of the 20th Street clique members on Oct. 22, 2008, Velasquez assumed leadership on the streets.  T he evidence presented at trial showed how Velasquez, with others, conspired to commit a variety of crimes to further the goals of the gang, including attacking and killing rival gang members and others who defied or challenged MS-13.

During Velasquez’s trial, the government presented evidence of multiple murders committed by MS-13 members in 2008.  Several of the victims were not involved in gangs or any illegal activity, including a 14-year-old, but were mistaken to be rival gang members by MS-13 members.

The evidence at trial showed that on Feb. 19, 2009, Velasquez and fellow gang members Luis Herrera, aka “Killer” and Jaime Balam, aka “Tweety,” went looking to kill rival gang members in the San Francisco Bay area.   In the Excelsior District of San Francisco, they spotted a car of young Latino professionals – two were college graduates of UC Berkeley, one a law student at UC Hastings, one a bank employee and another a student at City College in San Francisco who was working his way through school at the time.   According to evidence presented at trial, these victims were targeted because some of the men wore baseball caps in colors associated with rival gang members.   None of the victims were gang members themselves.

Herrera, Velasquez and Balam followed the victims’ car into Daly City, Calif., boxed the car in at a red light, whereupon Velasquez and Balam flanked the victims’ car carrying semi-automatic handguns and began shooting.   By the time they finished firing, they had severely wounded two of the passengers and murdered a third passenger, Moises Frias Jr.   Frias, who was 21-years-old, suffered nine gunshot wounds, including several to the head.   He died en route to the hospital. 

Herrera pleaded guilty mid-trial to seven racketeering-related counts, including use of a firearm causing the death of Frias.   As part of his plea, Herrera admitted that he was part of the MS-13 hunting party that followed the victims’ car and murdered Frias.   Herrera was sentenced on Jan. 24, 2012, to 35 years in prison.   Balam remains a fugitive.

Velasquez’s trial was the second of three consecutive federal trials of members of the 20th Street clique of MS-13.   Six of Velasquez’s fellow MS-13 gang members were convicted in August 2011 after a five-month trial that involved more than 150 witnesses.   The six gang members – Marvin Carcamo, aka “Psycho”; Angel Noel Guevara, aka “Peloncito”; Erick Lopez, aka “Spooky”; Moris Flores, aka “Slow Pain”; Jonathan Cruz-Ramirez, aka “Soldado”;   and Luis Herrera’s brother Guillermo Herrera, aka “Sparky” – were each sentenced to life in prison in December 2011. 

Today, a federal jury convicted the sole defendant in the third trial, Manuel Franco, aka “Dreamer,” on one count of violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) conspiracy.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wilson Leung, Wil Frentzen, Derek Owens, Andrew Scoble and David Hall of the Organized Crime Strike Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, and Trial Attorney Theryn G. Gibbons of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.   These cases were investigated by Daly City Police Department, San Francisco Police Department and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

12-230 Criminal Division