U.S. District Court, Central District
Judge Dave O. Carter
Case Conclusion Date: May 14, 2010
Practice Area: Federal Crime
Outcome: Acquitted of Rape and Assault; Hung Jury for 2nd time on conspiracy to Murder, Gang Rico and Drug Conspiracy
Description: Jury acquits 2 LA gang members charged with gang rape
May 14, 2010 | KPCC Wire Services | KPCC SANTA ANA — “A jury acquitted two members of a Los Angeles street gang of sex charges today, but one could be retried on racketeering and drug charges after an Orange County jury failed to reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared.”
Lizandro R. and Armando R., who belong to the Florencia 13 gang in South Central and Huntington Park, were found innocent of participating in a gang rape of a 15-year-old runaway during a gang initiation. However, Lizandro R. was found guilty of possession of ammunition by a felon, which resulted in a 6year federal prison sentence, instead of the multiple life sentences he faced pretrial.
Prosecutors said the mostly Latino gang engaged in murder, drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping, and that its members feuded with black gangs and would shoot black people even if they weren’t in a gang. Ferrentino’s client, Lizandro R., was accused of authorizing — along with others — the execution of Florencia 13 gang member Johnny Ibarra because he killed a fellow gang member without permission, according to prosecutors.
Ultimately, prosecutors decided not to try Rincon a third time and dismissed the racketeering, conspiracy and drug charges. The government’s attempt to prosecute him on those same charges last year also led to a mistrial when a jury could not reach a verdict.
“The jury has rendered its verdict and we accept that,” the prosecutor said.
Ferrentino was quoted by the press for praising the jury, which began deliberations Tuesday and had hours of wire-taped phone calls played back for them on Wednesday, but could not reach a verdict on several counts.I think this jury worked hard understanding the law,” Ferrentino said.The defense noted the government’s case relied on “jailhouse snitches” who cut deals with federal prosecutors to avoid lengthy prison sentences.
Prosecutors have had more success in earlier prosecutions of the gang. They charged 105 people in connection with their investigation of Florencia 13, with 94 pleading guilty, three dead and four listed as fugitives, according to court records. Ferrentino’s client was the only defendant out of the 105 who did not plead guilty or was found guilty by jury of the RICO charges.