5 arrested after robbery at house party


Five men were in custody Monday on suspicion of robbing several people outside a San Marcos house party, authorities said.

Party guests told police that five men robbed them at gunpoint outside the house at 505 Honeyglen Dr. at 2:50 a.m. Saturday, according to Sgt. Allan Paez of the San Diego County sheriff’s San Marcos Station. They provided a detailed description of the suspects and their vehicle that was radioed to other units.

“A short time later, deputies in Vista located the suspect vehicle, occupied by five suspects, at 955 Postal Way,” Paez said. “Deputies conducted a high-risk felony vehicle stop and successfully took the suspects into custody.”

A search of the vehicle turned up the property seized in the robbery and the gun used by the robbers, he said. “A curbside lineup was conducted and all of the suspects were positively identified by the victims as the robbers,” Paez said.

The five suspects were booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy, receiving stolen property, use of a firearm in commission of a robbery and committing a felony on behalf of a criminal street gang.

The suspects were identified as Sam Niu, 21, booked on 10 counts, with bail set at $640,000; Gregg Leauanae, 20, seven counts, $490,000 bail; Johnnie Edwards, 18, 10 counts, $620,000 bail; Judd Liulamaga, 18, 10 counts, $565,000 bail; and Mautofu Maiava, 19, 20 counts, for whom no bail was set.

The suspects were scheduled to appear Tuesday in the North County Courthouse in Vista.

Oakland Museum releases photo of the stolen jewel box (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Theft and Burglary Criminal Defense Attorney Sam Spital:

“The Examiner in their digital news on January 17, 2013 reported the Oakland Museum of California released a photo of a priceless gold encrusted jewel box created between around 1870 that was stolen earlier in the month. It was revealed this is the second theft and the police believe the same person may have been involved. Interestingly, the article noted the male suspect was seen on surveillance cameras entering a locked door. The article provides a description of the jewel box, the base and the legs to which it is connected.

The reporter did not provide any further information regarding the police investigation and/or suspect(s), did not report whether DNA was obtained nor whether the surveillance cameras provided a photo of the burglar that would be provided to the media to help identify his name and residence. Since this is the second major theft of historic artifacts, it is likely there is evidence the police may not desire revealing as part of their ongoing investigation.”

–Sam Spital

Twin brothers accused of scamming local sports fans (Sam Spital)


“KFMB Channel 8 CBS online news contains an article written on December 19, 2012 in which two 62 year old brothers were accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The story revealed a similar scam and their conviction in 1990 for group tours that were never provided to high school and middle school students, which resulted in the sentences of 27 to 30 years in state prison and restitution of over one-quarter million dollars. If convicted in the current criminal case, the twins each face up to 20 years in state prison as well as fines of at least $250,000.

Lacking even a scintilla of evidence of remorse, rehabilitation and extenuating facts and circumstances, the reporter went to the home of the two brothers, but no one came to or answered the door. A neighbor reported the brothers were friendly and took care of their elderly mother. The defense will likely assert the defendants did not have sufficient business experience, among other things, to follow elementary principles of accounting and maintain all funds received in a trust account, pay for costs and expenses as incurred or bills were received, and to employ sufficient and experienced employees in order to deliver on their contracts as well as to promise only what they were certain they could achieve.”


4 suspects arrested in Chula Vista home invasion robbery (Sam Spital)

“On December 16, 2012, the online edition of KFMB Channel 8 posted a story regarding a 1:30 a.m. Chula Vista home invasion that resulted in 4 suspects being arrested for robbery, firearms-related charges and conspiracy. The officers were led to the suspects by cell signals and calls made after the alleged crime from an iPhone among other things stolen from the victim.

The reporter did not include any information relating to the background, occupation and/or employment, nor presence or absence of any criminal history of the suspects, only that there were two females and two males, two of whom were 20 and one was 28 while another was age 24. Each of the defendants will be appointed a Public Defender if they do not retain private counsel. Due to a probable conflict of interest, each of the defendants should and, therefore, will have separate attorneys. The role of defense counsel is to investigate the charges, analyze the facts and develop a defense strategy. It is automatic that a criminal defense attorney must safeguard the rights of his client both as to the procedures involved in the case and the elements of the charges. In addition, one should advance a preemptive and offensive attack on the evidence as well as to raise proof of mitigation, and possibly remorse and rehabilitation, if any.”

Thieves lived off jewelry heists, casino robbery (Sam Spital)

COMMENTARY BY San Diego Theft Defense and Criminal Attorney Sam Spital:

“The UT San Diego news reported on December 3, 2012 two leaders of the robbery of multiple high-end jewelry stores and a casino in San Diego were found guilty and now face sentencing. Their crime spree began about a year ago and it was alleged their ‘team’ seized millions of dollars worth of merchandise and cash. Besides Barona Casino, Ben Bridge Jewerlers in Fashion Valley, they targeted expensive jewelry boutiques in malls throughout California, including Santa Clara, Riverside and Orange County.

The article did not include any statements made by the criminal defense counsel, such as either defendant expressing remorse, recognition of wrongdoing, their presentation of closing arguments and/or mitigation. It is likely the sentence will be life in prison. Whether print, broadcast or electronic, the news media in large part fails to provide a balanced account in reporting crimes so that the public is more fully informed.”

–Sam Spital

PEOPLE vs. ISLAS (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Samuel Spital:

‎”On October 18, 2012, the California Court of Appeal in the case of PEOPLE vs. ISLAS, (Case # B233087
https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B233087.PDF), affirmed and in part modified the Decision of the Los Angeles Superior Court, holding there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant on charges of burglary due to entry into a building with the intent to commit a crime and felony false imprisonment due to an express or implied threat of harm. Contrary to the defense argument, the absence of a weapon, lack of any physical contact nor express threat of harm did not vitiate the conviction. The Deputy District Attorney as part of his case in chief presented a gang expert who testified the defendant had visible gang tattoos and this was enough to cause the victims to fear their personal safety [by indelibly marking in their brain terror and do what I say] as ‘I am a gang member.'”



Ratings and Reviews

BBB 10.0Samuel Eugene Spital
Samuel E. SpitalClients’ ChoiceAward 2021 Samuel Eugene SpitalClients’ ChoiceAward 2020
avvo rated 10/10 in Criminal Defense avvo rated 10/10 in Juvenile Law avvo rated 10/10 in Licensing
avvo rated 10/10 in Personal Injury Top ContributorAward 2012Samuel Eugene Spital Samuel Eugene SpitalReviewsout of 207 reviews