Charges Dismissed in Trespassing Case after Court Denies Charge Amendment and Witness Recall

By Danielle Silva

A man charged with “trespassing on a gambling establishment while being on a list” has had his count dismissed on the second day of his jury trial.

On January 8, 2016, the defendant Amanullah Yusufi had been told to leave Cache Creek Casino after allegedly engaging in an argument with a casino host. He had left the building before signing “exclusion from property” forms, which he was able to do upon returning on March 9, 2016. Three years later, on Jan. 8, 2019, the defendant was found at Cache Creek Casino once more, as he believed he was free to return but was arrested. Mr. Yusufi was charged with trespassing on a gambling establishment while being on a list of excluded persons.

According to the discussion between the court and attorneys, the prosecution lacked the appropriate evidence for the count he charged against the defendant. The charge concerning Business and Professions Code § 19940 focused on the law in regards to a list for which the specifications weren’t elaborated. The defendant did sign exclusion forms in March 2016; however, the prosecution did not question his previous two witnesses – security guards from Cache Creek Casino – about the placement on the list, but only the defendant’s behavior.

The previous two witnesses, half of the witnesses provided by the prosecution, talked about interacting with the defendant. The first witness had spoken with the defendant on Jan. 8, 2016, and attempted to get him to sign exclusion paperwork; however, the defendant left after being argumentative and requesting a lawyer. On March 9, 2016, the second witness talked about having the defendant sign exclusion paperwork and told of a 90-day reinstatement period.

In both testimonies, the witnesses did not talk about a list.

The prosecution, outside of the presence of the jury, requested that the charge be amended to Penal Code § 602 (k): “Entering any lands, whether unenclosed or enclosed by fence, for the purpose of injuring any property or property rights or with the intention of interfering with, obstructing, or injuring any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner of the land, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession.”

This charge would be more in line with the previous witnesses’ testimonies on the defendant’s behavior and its alleged disruption of business.

The defense argued that an amendment this late in the case would be prejudicial, as the defense spent months preparing for the charge of trespassing on a gambling establishment while on a list. Additionally, the theory of the prosecution would be changed entirely. The court denied the amendment.

The prosecution then requested that witnesses be recalled to address the matters of the list. The court expressed that the witnesses may not be able to provide more information about the list, as the one law they could find on how the list had to be constructed related to the California Gambling Control Commission’s statewide list. In the California Gambling Control Commission’s statutes, an excluded person must be submitted to a commission for the consideration of a statewide list. The defendant’s name was not submitted to that commission and the court found no other law elaborating to the requirements for a list.

After a brief recess, the prosecution requested to dismiss charges. The court dismissed the jury and the charges.

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