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“Aggravated Assault” and “Possession of a Knife during the Commission of a
In November, 2010, I was the third attorney hired to represent K.L. on an “aggravated assault” and “possession of a knife during the commission of a felony” crime in Gwinnett County. The incident occurred in June of 2010. Prior to the client retaining my law firm, K.L. was denied bond; as a result, I filed a speedy trial demand and the case was set for trial within two months. It is the Gwinnett County District Attorney Office’s policy to seek the maximum prison sentence when a Defendant files a speedy trial demand; accordingly, the State sought a sentence of 25 years in jail (which the client would have had to serve 90% of - or 22 ½ years - before being eligible for release).
What separated this case apart from many, was that the entire incident was caught on digital video (from multiple angles) and clearly showed my client pull out a knife and stabbed the alleged victim (but also the aggressor) two times. As a result of the alleged victim’s initial aggression, we attempted to demonstrate to the jury that K.L. acted in self-defense.
The State brought the alleged victim, doctor, EMS, police, and other witnesses to Court to testify. The State showed the jury the video approximately forty (40) times. The State also showed graphic pictures of alleged victim’s stab wounds, as well as the knife used in the incident. Our firm spent hundreds of hours locating witnesses, which was vital to our defense, as the video had no audio. With the assistance of our exceptional Investigator, Kevin Lewis, we successfully located of the witnesses and spoke with them.
Once the jury heard that the alleged victim was making “terroristic-type threats,” telling K.L. that he was going to kill him when he was not looking, K.L., the jury decided that K.L. had no choice but to defend himself from a bigger, stronger, more threatening person. The jury found K.L. not guilty on all counts in about one-hour.
After the trial, eight jurors asked for my business card, and one juror is now a client of this firm. When the viewer first looks at the video of the incident, it would be easy for him/her to say that “this case needs to be negotiated and not taken to trial.” However, after our firm put in the time and effort to analyze the entire situation, it became clear that the video was only a small part of the case as a whole. Without spending hours investigating and preparing for trial, and learning the truth, the innocent client would almost certainly be spending the next 20 years in prison. Instead, he went home to his family a mere few hours after the jury said “not guilty.”
Gwinnett County Case Number 10-B-04097-5
“Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute”
Client T.H. was arrested outside of his vehicle after police observed his passenger in a verbal exchange with another individual, investigated the scene, and found a large amount of marijuana on the passenger’s person. Both my client and his passenger/co-defendant were arrested with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. My client denied any involvement in anything pertaining to drugs or any drug deal. My client only knew that his friend needed to give a backpack to a “friend” in a parking lot where they were going to eat lunch. However, the aforementioned parking lot that was under surveillance (for a totally unrelated matter) by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). After discussing the case at great lengths with a strong-minded, exceptional and fair prosecutor, we were able to demonstrate that my client had no knowledge of the incident and was merely an innocent bystander. Accordingly, the State dismissed the case.
Gwinnett County Case Number: 10-B-05750-8
Homicide by Vehicle
My young (approximately 18-years-old) client was driving home from school with his friend. Originally the police thought that my client ran a stop sign, which caused a very serious accident - sadly taking the life of his close friend, who was riding in the front-passenger seat. The tragic accident took the life of a young, intelligent, caring man, which devastated my client.
On the scene of the accident, the severely injured passenger was rushed to the hospital and my client, who speaks some English as a second language, tried to explain what had happened. The other car/driver involved in the accident gave her version of the case to the officers. At that time, my client received a ticket for “failure to stop at a stop sign.” However, shortly thereafter, the passenger passed away at the hospital, and the police arrested my client for “homicide by vehicle.” After the client told me the facts of the incident and reviewing the police report, I concluded that the officers made a mistake at the hectic scene of the accident.
I then went to the scene of the accident to investigate more thoroughly. After reviewing the skid marks, broken glass, and other evidence, I was confident that my client was not guilty, and that it had in fact been the other driver who was responsible for the accident.
I spoke with the prosecutor regarding my findings and after thoughtful deliberation, it was determined that my version of the accident was correct. Therefore, the case against my client was dismissed and the appropriate charges were filed against the other driver. Through hard work and determination, we were able to bring the truth to light.
The Clayton County Case Number has been withheld due to the sensitive nature of this matter, and because of the client’s age.
Wrongful Death Case
Our firm represented the estate of a deceased driver in 2009. The deceased was found to be at-fault by both the police officers who investigated the scene of the accident and by accident reconstruction experts; specifically, it was concluded by these individuals that the deceased was speeding, had insufficient tires, and failed to properly maintain lane. As a result of the foregoing, the deceased’s car left the roadway, and flipped over.
Not one police officer or accident reconstruction expert found the other driver at-fault. Our firm contended, however, that the other driver entered the lane of the deceased, forcing him to swerve erratically. In the midst of preparing for litigation, our firm settled the case/claim for a large sum of money – the exact number cannot be stated, as such was a condition of the settlement’s confidentiality agreement - despite the fact that the so-called “experts” concluded that the deceased was the cause of the accident.
Represented and Defended Gentlemen’s Club Against Several Lawsuits and Criminal Charges Brought Forth by the DeKalb County Vice Squad
At my previous law firm, I was the head of the criminal defense and litigation departments of the firm. One of the firm’s clients was a gentlemen’s club located in Decatur, Georgia (hereinafter referred to as P.U.). I represented the club for nearly seven (7) years.
I defended the club against several individuals who were allegedly shot, stabbed, or hit with some object (e.g., a beer bottle) on the property. In each case, I was successful in either getting the lawsuit dismissed, or resolving the case via settlement to management’s satisfaction (a confidentiality agreement prevents me from disclosing any details of the settlements). One case, however, went to trial. Said case involved a plaintiff who had been shot in the head on the club’s premises (and survived). The plaintiff sued the club for ten-million-dollars ($10,000,000.00). After trial, the parties resolved the matter for a mere fraction of what the plaintiff sought.
Additionally, I oversaw the defense of no less than eighteen (18) criminal cases/arrests brought forth by the DeKalb County Vice Squad. Said arrests involved the club’s management, employees, and independent contractors. As a whole, these cases involved matters ranging from alleged county ordinance violations to felony-drug charges. Of all the cases initiated by the Vice Squad, all but two (2) were not dismissed outright. For example, one case was dismissed because I successfully argued that the evidence obtained against the club stemmed from an invalid search warrant. Once the warrant was deemed unlawful, any and all evidence obtained from said warrant was suppressed. The other two (2) cases were resolved via negotiated pleas – the mere payment of a modest fine.
Gwinnett County v. Vijay & Govino
In a recent case, the Palazzola Law Firm represented the first men charged
with the state offense of human trafficking. Christopher J. Palazzola is the
first attorney in Georgia at the state level to have these charges
"We are very, very thankful to you for your kind support for standing by us in our bad times. Without you, it would be impossible to get justice for us. We are very happy, as we are once again united with our families. We would never forget whatever you have done for us." - Vijay Banerjee and Govino Vishwa
Acquittal of Criminal Charges
In a Clayton County criminal case, the prosecutor wanted our client Mr. H. Nguyen to serve five years on charges of aggravated assault, cruelty to children in the first degree, and terroristic threats. If convicted, the judge could have sentenced him to more than 30 years in prison. But after a four-day trial, the jury acquitted Mr. Nguyen on all charges. Mr. Nguyen hugged Christopher Palazzola and said, "You were great, you did a great job. You saved my life!"
Jury verdict awards damages 23 times more than medical bills
In a DeKalb County civil trial that occurred in February 2009, our client Vernon "Timothy" Mitchell was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Tim had $7,000 in chiropractic bills and the jury returned a verdict after a three-day trial of $158,000—nearly 23 times his damages. Tim was extremely pleased with the Palazzola Law Firm and will gladly refer us to his friends and family.
Facing possible 26 years in prison - Found not guilty on all counts!
“I was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats and simple assault Gwinnett County. I could have received a potential 26 years in prison. I had a public defender who wanted me to plead guilty to the charges and serve 2 years in jail followed by many years of probation. As I did not commit any crime, I would not plead guilty and was referred to and hired Chris Palazzola. He worked very hard for me, and I felt very confident of his abilities from the very beginning. Mr. Palazzola spent several weekends with me prior to the jury trial preparing- sometimes as long as 13 hours on a Sunday. We went to trial in October, 2009. After a three day trial, the jury came back in less than one hour with Not Guilty on all counts! I would refer any friend or relative to Mr. Palazzola for anything he handles. He literally saved my life." - P.J.
Hard Work Pays Off - 1 Year Jail Time Reduced to Probation
“I was charged with two felonies in Gwinnett County. The prosecutors originally wanted me to serve at least one in prison followed by 5 years probation. For over a year Mr. Palazzola and I went to court on numerous occasions and when the prosecutors would not budge off of prison time Mr. Palazzola began to prepare for trial. In doing so he met with me after I got off work, sometimes as late as nine o’clock on a Friday night. Ultimately the District Attorney offered just probation. Chris Palazzola did a great job, and fought for me to the end. Because Mr. Palazzola was able to work out probation, it saved my job and my relationship. I would highly recommend Chris Palazzola to anyone, including my family and friends if they ever needed an attorney.” - C. Jones
6 Counts Dismissed in the Pretrial Hearings
This photo was taken just after I had Sherrod’s 6 count accusation dismissed in pretrial hearings, just before striking a jury for trial. The client was extremely pleased and most grateful with my representation.
Impressive representation—thanks from the Hispanic community
"Mr. Palazzola is an outstanding attorney. We have worked together for over a year and we have seen impressive representation with effective legal services. We strongly recommend him and his firm. He has handled numerous legal matters for our business, and his Spanish interpreter helps greatly, as many members in our business primarily speak Spanish." - Luis A.
"Señor Palazzola es un abogado excepcional. Hemos trabajado juntos por sobre un año y hemos visto la representación impresionante con servicios legales efectivos. Recomendamos fuertemente él y su firma. Él ha manejado los asuntos legales numerosos para nuestro negocio, y su intérprete Español ayuda grandemente, tantos miembros en nuestro negocio hablan sobre todo Español." - Luis A.