While a man who was beaten and left unconscious on the street remains in the hospital, the four young people involved could face a variety of charges, according to a member of a high-powered defense team that's handled similar cases throughout the Bay Area.
David Lamont, 51, was attacked on Sept. 21 after he went outside his Middleton Court home to complain to people in a car parked on the cul-de-sac about the noise they were making. Lamont was left comatose in the attack. He had surgery earlier this week, and was listed as stable but still in a coma, a source close to the family said.
While no arrests have been made, Pleasanton Police detectives have the identities of three teens who were present during the attack. Police also have the identity of an 18-year-old "person of interest" from outside the area.
For now, police are not releasing the names of the three in the car, described by police as cooperative. Police Sgt. Maria Munayer said the three are "witnesses only at this time."
"We do not intend to make an immediate arrest or disclose the identities of the involved subjects as the investigation is currently ongoing," she said. "We have no reason to believe there were any additional people present or involved in the incident."
But criminal defense attorney Rabin Nabizadeh said it's unlikely the three will remain "witnesses only."
"The police are describing them as witnesses until something else happens," said Nabizadeh, an attorney with Summit Defense, which has offices in Pleasanton. "That doesn't preclude them from being charged with anything."
All four in the car are likely to be charged, Nabizadeh said.
"In a case this like this, I would anticipate that they (prosecutors) would throw everything at them," he said. "They would charge them in different ways. They would charge assault with a deadly weapon, they could charge with great bodily injury, they could charge with attempted murder."
Nabizadeh said the District Attorney's Office also could charge the four with felony battery or mayhem, which carries a potential life sentence.
"If the D.A. feels that these guys or at least one of them did this, I would assume there would be adult charges," he said. "The D.A. can charge certain minors as adults even at the tender age of 14 depending on the charges."
He said he's handled such cases and that, depending on the circumstances, the three witnesses could be charged with the crime itself or as accessories after the fact.
"If you were passed out in the back seat, that's one thing. If you conspired to keep it a secret, that's another thing," Nabizadeh said. "You could be charged with accessory after the fact in some things, but not the others. There's a lot of ways to charge an offense. The D.A. could have a theory, depending on what the kids were doing there, if they were acting in concert ... so that they would all be accessories."
"It's sympathetic enough that I see the D.A. as seeing this as an important case," Nabizadeh added. "I think most D.A.s would say this is a case they'd want to fight for. (But) their hands are tied if there's no evidence."
Police have sad they're hoping Lamont wakes up, and Nabizadeh said a statement from the victim could make all the difference.
"A case like this is kind of tricky, because if none of them cooperate it would be hard to say who did what," he said. "They and Mr. Lamont would be the only ones who saw what happened."
Nabizadeh added that there can be a difference between the law and justice.
"What they're charged with is one thing. What they're actually convicted of is another thing.," he said. "Technically, the D.A. has to have a belief that it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt."