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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trial Imminent for Steve Vender, PI Charged with Witness Tampering

Posted By on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge Steve Vender, in a 2007 SF Weekly photo
  • Steve Vender, in a 2007 SF Weekly photo

The closely watched case of a San Francisco private investigator charged with dissuading a witness from testifying is scheduled to go to trial next month.

We've reported in the past on the murky circumstances surrounding the District Attorney's prosecution of Steve Vender, a well-regarded PI who frequently works on behalf of defense lawyers in felony cases. For those looking for an update on the case in advance of the upcoming trial, The Recorder has published a thorough look at how Vender's indictment has been received among the ranks of local defense lawyers and investigators.

The Recorder reports that much of this circle is supporting Vender, and that his legal representation is being provided for free by the high-caliber law firm Arguedas, Cassman & Headley. Defense lawyer Kenneth Quigley is quoted saying that the DA's office is pursuing a vendetta against Vender, an observation that seems to be shared by other members of the defense bar.

"I'm afraid for Steve, because they can crush you," Quigley told the newspaper. "It's a trophy to get a defense lawyer or defense investigator."

If convicted, Vender could spend up to three years in prison.

The DA's office asserts that Vender left a phone message with shooting victim and alleged gang member Ladarius Greer urging him not to testify against gunman Phil Pitney. Greer skipped out on Pitney's trial (the prosecution secured a conviction anyway) after Vender left him a phone message saying, "It's a good time to visit the Fresno Riviera and stay well."

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Peter Jamison

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