10/10/2011

Teen being charged as adult in alleged pot robbery in backyard

 Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00

When a Campbell man cornered a marijuana plant thief in the backyard of his family's home in August, he quickly found himself staring down the barrel of an AK-47. When the intruder said "Back off ... or I'll shoot you," he turned and ran away.


Police say a 17-year-old boy was holding the assault rifle on Aug. 25 during the robbery of a family's medical marijuana plants. The teen suspect, Stanford Hauser, has been charged as an adult by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and is facing a minimum sentence of 12 years in state prison if convicted.
So far this year, the District Attorney's Office has charged 11 minors as adults in criminal cases. Last year, the District Attorney's Office charged 26 minors as adults; in 2009, 15 juveniles were charged as adults.
The decision to charge juveniles as adults in Santa Clara County is made by a team of senior prosecutors in the District Attorney's Office, said Lance Daugherty, a supervising deputy district attorney. Prosecutors weigh several factors, including the minor's age, juvenile history, availability of services to the specific minor in juvenile court and seriousness of the offense.
"Everybody talks about those various issues and makes a determination whether it's appropriate to be prosecuted as a juvenile or adult," Daugherty said.
Hauser, Jules Duc, 21, and Breanna Pucine, 22, are accused of breaking into the backyard of a Campbell home and taking 25 branches from

the family's medical marijuana plants, according to police reports and charging documents. Police arrested Hauser, Duc and Pucine after stopping them in a car on Winchester Boulevard, about two blocks from the Campbell home, and finding the branches and an unloaded AK-47 assault rifle in the back seat, according to the police report.
Hauser was charged with second-degree robbery with a gun enhancement, an allegation that could add up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Hauser is also charged with threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury with a gun enhancement and one count of possession of an assault weapon.
Hauser's attorney, Al Lopez, said the District Attorney's Office has overcharged his teen client.
"With the multiple counts and tacking the enhancement on twice, that's getting to the point of ridiculous," said Lopez, a public defender.
But Prosecutor Michel Amaral said he believes otherwise.
"A robbery that is committed with an AK-47 is a case that to me has a high gravity of harm and is typical of the type of crime committed by an adult," Amaral said.
In the Hauser case, it was just after midnight when one of the adults in the home saw two male intruders in the backyard grow area holding marijuana plants. (Three adults from the Campbell family provided police with a doctor's recommendation that allows them to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.) The woman called her brother, who was in a game room detached from the house, and then dialed 911.
The brother, who had suspected for two weeks that people had been trying to steal the plants, grabbed a can of mace and went outside. Although one of the suspects hopped over a gate and ran, the brother cornered the second and sprayed him with mace. That's when the suspect pointed the assault rifle and threatened to shoot, police reports indicate.
When police arrested Hauser, Duc and Pucine, they found the branches and weapon next to Pucine's 10-month-old daughter, who was strapped in a car seat. Officers reported that Duc "reeked of marijuana" and that he had marijuana leaves stuck on his clothing. Duc and Pucine have been charged with second-degree robbery and threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury. Duc's attorney, Dan Jensen, declined to comment.
Pucine also has been charged with endangering or injuring the health of a child. Police say Pucine drove the car on the night of the robbery and had her 10-month-old daughter in the car during the alleged crime.
Pucine cooperated with police and said she had no idea she was driving her friends to a robbery.
Pucine later wrote an apology letter, saying, "My biggest and most important priority should've been the safety of my child. I deeply, deeply regret ever partaking in the events of this evening."
Pucine claims that her boyfriend Duc and his friend Hauser were at her house when they asked for a ride somewhere to pick something up, according to her statement to police.
She told them to make it quick because she had her daughter.
She parked near the Campbell Community Center track and the men got out with a large black bag.
"I think the facts will come out to show she was an unwitting participant," said her attorney, Ross McMahon of the Public Defender's Office.
After 10 minutes, Pucine said she got out of the car to open the rear door and comfort her daughter, who was crying. At that point, she saw Duc and Hauser running away from a house with "branches of marijuana."

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