Monday, December 19, 2005
Leaving the scene of a self-defense shooting.
Monday, December 19, 2005 12:55 A.M. Hollywood.
UPDATED JANUARY 20, 2006...
Officers from the Hollywood Division of the L.A.P.D arrested 51 year-old taxi driver, Alexander Terminassian for Attempted Murder in connection with the shooting of a, 28 year-old would-be passenger outside the Frolic Room nightclub.
According to police the cab driver was attacked by the unnamed man, who spat at, chased and began striking the cab driver who fled for his safety to the back seat of yet another taxi. The cab driver was then dragged out of the taxi and that's when he drew a handgun in an attempt to stop the attack. Despite the presence of the gun the thug continued striking Terminassian who fired his gun wounding the man.
The wounded assailant was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment of an upper body gunshot wound. Terminassian fled the scene fearing for his safety and later arrested at his home by police.
Police further said that the taxi driver refused the wounded man service after he became too afraid to take him to his destination.
The only real question for me is about the disparity of size and ability to use force between the five foot, seven inch tall, 175-pound cab driver and the wounded goon who was nearly half the cabby’s age.
There was apparently no dispute that the attack was both furious and unrelenting. The question for the authorities and perhaps later for a jury is whether or not use of the gun constituted excessive force. Other issues will be raised later such as the pending examination of the blood drawn from the wounded man for alcohol and drugs.
Okay, I’ve taken sides here and suggest the thug fully deserved his fate. If the cab driver was incapable of resisting the attack and reasonably believed he’d suffer death, disfigurement or other serious injury his shooting was JUSTIFIED.
The cab driver possessed a firearm, which is his right in America, provided he’s not a felon, or otherwise prohibited firearm possessor.
Cab drivers and convenience store clerks are inarguably the first and second most often murdered and assaulted workers in America. Being a cop or fireman are much safer occupations by comparison. I would submit that Terminassian should not face prosecution for any simple gun possession charges because of the NECESSITY DEFENSE. This defense is what excuses a person who commits an offense because he reasonably believes it was necessary to save his own life.
Now lets talk about leaving the scene of a justifiable shooting. When we’re involved in an auto accident we must stop, render aid and exchange information about identity and perhaps insurance. I’ve always had problems with those laws because they violate the text and spirit of the right against self-incrimination.
When it comes to a self-defense shooting there are no laws that require calling or waiting for a police investigation. On the contrary there is a rock solid Constitutional protection that makes it clear you don’t have to talk to the police when you’re under investigation.
Can the cab driver leave the scene? I say fleeing may save his life because of potential retaliation from any of the thug’s friends that come to the scene, or the wounded man may launch yet another attack. Getting to safety should be your primary concern under these circumstances.
When the police come, and they probably will, what’s next? This is the easy part. You recite four simple words, “I want a lawyer.” Does that ever happen? Very rarely, because the average person starts chirping away to police like a magpie. Too often it’s laced with some exaggeration or outright lies. That will guarantee you're going to be sleeping away from home for a while as a guest of your local Sheriff.
Silence is golden especially if you’ve not tampered with physical evidence. No jury can ever be told you did not cooperate with police by refusal to tell them what happened. If you do talk to police there’s nothing you can ever say that will make them let you go once you’re in their custody. Cops don’t win Brownie Points for letting people go where there’s a chance that a jury will get to decide the case.
The common police practice of cleaning up the losers and arresting the winners is what can be expected. That’s the reality of what happens on the street.
The only sound choice to make along with shutting up it to jump into the lap of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If the case can stay out of court the legal fees are really small by comparison to a trial.
January 10, 2006, an update:
The thug was released from the hospital and is recovering. At this point, the charges against the cabby remain at one count ofattempted murder and one count of assault with a firearm. The Los Angeles DA asked for and got bail set at $1.53 million dollars against the cab driver. A bail hearing is set for January 11, 2006 in Superior Court, Division 30 located at 210 Temple Street in Los Angeles.
January 12, 2006, an update:
In the case of People v Alexander Terminassian (BA295118), bail has been lowered to $1 million and a private lawyer, Steven Bash of Beverly Hills is handling the defense. I spoke to Bash who was able to tell me that Treminassian has no criminal record and works as many as three jobs to make ends meet.
The next court date for this matter is the Preliminary Hearing now set for January 27, 2006 @ 8:30 am, in Division 35 located at 210 Temple Street, in Los Angeles.
Steven Bash & Associates 8383 Wilshire Blvd Ste 634Beverly Hills, CA 90211-2405
Phone Number (323) 782-0101 Fax Number (323) 782-0407
According to LA DA spokeswoman, Sandi Gibbons the allged victim is, Marco Cifuentes.
The LAPD report indicates that the Marco Cifuntes admits to drinking two 24oz bottles of beer and some wine before the altercation. After being shot Cifuntes ran accross the street to another bar.
It seems our thug has a criminal record for similar conduct here's the data provided by the L.A. County Superior Court:
Result of query on Monday, January 16, 2006 7:25:35 PM
Last Name: Cifuentes(Exact Match)
First Name: Marco(Exact Match)
(A Date of Birth was provided for this search)
Filing Date Range: 10/10/1985-01/16/2006
Name: CIFUENTES , MARCO
Case Number LAA4CR02632-01
Filed At Central Arraignment Court
Filing Date 08/13/2004
Count Charge Code Charge Description** Disposition Disposition Date
01 422.6(A) PC THREATEN/FORCE FOR BELIEFS Guilty/Convicted
02 242 PC BATTERY Dismissed or Not Prosecuted
03 594(A) PC VANDALISM Dismissed or Not Prosecuted
04 11357(B) H&S POSS UND 1 OZ MARIJ Dismissed or Not Prosecuted
Update January 20, 2006: We are learning that the thug in this case, Marco Cifuentes goes by other names: Marcos Cuculi, Marco Cocul, Marcos Cuco and Marco Fuentes. At this juncture we don’t know who he really is. We also believe he is using someone else's Social Security number as his own.
Cifuentes has given the police various Los Angeles addresses for himself. None of them were valid:
5455 Barton St. 90029
1157 1/2 N. Western Ave. #1 90029
202 Fountain Ave. #26 90029
300 Bonnie Brae 90026
1570 Gordon St. 90028
1817 Gordon St. 90029
59391 Carlton Way 90028
In 1994, Cifuentes was arrested by LAPD Hollywood Division officers:
Det. J Thacker # 23454
The LAPD police report was filed under, DR # was 04-06-11884.
In March of 2004, Cifuenties was charged with:
01 422.6(A) PC THREATEN/FORCE FOR BELIEFS (This is a HATE crime)
02 242 PC BATTERY
03 594(A) PC VANDALISM
04 11357(B) H&S POSS UND 1 OZ MARIJUANA
The victim in the case is a man by the name of ALY SHALABY ABDELRAHIM, 47 years of age.
Cifuentes was allowed to plead guilty to the single hate crime count and in return the other charges were dropped. He was also ordered to pay $600.00 restitution to the victim and attend a mandatory course at the Museum of Tolerance on March 11, 2005 as part of his probation. Cifuentes was also required to do 400 hours of work with Caltrans as a result of his conviction. He has still not completed that requirement. So far Marco Cifuenties has been hauled back into court for violating the terms of his probation just last week. That violation has nothing to do with the new HATE crime against the taxi driver. Independent witnesses told police that Cifuentes had used racial slurs against the cabbie during the assault prior to being shot.
If anyone knows of other crimes committed by Marco Cifuenties you’re requested to call attorney, Steve Bash or leave an e-mail here with your name and phone number. All calls or e-mails will be kept confidential.