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Raphael M. Goldman

Partner Raphael (“Raphe”) Goldman earned the 2017 California Lawyer of the Year award for “extraordinary achievement in white collar criminal defense,” and is recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Raphe has a diverse practice in both the federal and California state courts, and has defended clients against some of the Bay Area’s highest-profile prosecutions. He is a seasoned litigator, with experience defending cases involving alleged bribery, insider trading, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, political corruption, antitrust violations, drug distribution, homicide, sexual misconduct, obstruction of justice, robbery, arson, assault, and more. Raphe is also experienced in representing witnesses from whom testimony is sought in criminal and civil investigations, and in conducting internal investigations of businesses facing allegations of potential wrongdoing by executives or employees.

One of Raphe’s focuses is legal advocacy—he specializes in writing and arguing successful legal motions. Those motions have earned outright dismissals of cases at every level, including drug conspiracy, political corruption, obstruction of justice, medical marijuana, and sexual assault cases. Often, Raphe’s legal arguments serve to narrow or reduce the prosecution’s case against ACHG’s clients, thereby encouraging favorable settlements or improving the prospects for a good result at trial or sentencing. Cris Arguedas knows that “Raphe’s intelligence and analytical ability have been crucial to many of our biggest wins.”

Raphe also has an active and successful appellate practice; he litigates direct appeals and collateral challenges to convictions (such as petitions for a writ of habeas corpus) in all levels of the federal and state court systems. While clerking for United States District Court Judge William W Schwarzer—who sat on panels of federal appellate courts around the country—Raphe learned by experience the types of arguments judges find convincing, and he puts that knowledge to use in advocating on behalf of his clients.

Raphe graduated in 2003 from the University of Michigan with both a J.D. and a Masters of Public Policy, having received an Order of the Coif and served as an Associate Editor on the Michigan Law Review. After law school, Raphe clerked for Judge Schwarzer and then worked for the law firm of Topel & Goodman in San Francisco. Raphe served for a number of years as the co-editor for the Forum, the quarterly periodical of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the nation’s largest statewide organization of criminal defense lawyers and allied professionals.  He is one of the authors of CACJ’s Flash, a weekly circular that updates defense attorneys on important developments in the criminal law.

Representative Cases

  • Raphe was co-lead counsel in ACHG’s five-year representation of FedEx Corporation and two of its subsidiaries in United States v. FedEx Corp. et al, No. 14-cr-380 (CRB) (N.D. Cal.). Raphe crafted a motion that resulted in the pretrial dismissal of many of the charges against two of the defendants. He developed the defense theories, led witness investigations and preparations, and co-authored the lengthy opening statement that resulted in the United States Attorney’s Office dismissing the entire eighteen-count indictment after a week of trial. At the conclusion of the case, the trial judge expressly found that, based upon the evidence adduced at trial, FedEx was “factually innocent” of the charged crimes.
  • In People v. McDaniel, Raphe represented on appeal a defendant who had been convicted of nine commercial robberies and sentenced to serve 150 years to life in prison. Raphe convinced the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District to overturn Mr. McDaniel’s conviction.  See People v. McDaniel, No. F075749, __ Cal. App. 5th __, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 763 (Aug. 19, 2019) [also available at https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F075749.PDF].
  • Raphe represented a public defender accused of witness tampering in the Solano County Superior Court. After litigating the case through the preliminary examination, Raphe filed a motion that persuaded the trial court to dismiss all of the charges.
  • After a senior-living facility in Vallejo suffered a tragic and deadly fire, Raphe and ACHG defended the owner of the facility against charges of manslaughter and elder abuse. After almost two years of litigation, the prosecution dropped all charges against the owner.
  • Raphe crafted a motion that resulted in the dismissal of corruption charges against a California city’s mayor and his co-defendants.
  • In a case that arose soon after California’s medical marijuana laws were first enacted, Raphe achieved a dismissal of felony charges against marijuana growers.
  • In a federal prosecution of a Silicon Valley executive potentially facing more than ten years imprisonment, Raphe persuaded the judge—over the objection of the prosecution—to issue a sentence of just twelve months and one day in prison.
  • Raphe has represented numerous companies, entities and individuals in connection with federal and state criminal investigations that resulted in the ultimate success: no charges were filed and the investigations remain non-public.
  • Raphe has represented witnesses in numerous high-profile criminal and civil investigations, including the recent investigations of Theranos, Inc., Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.
  • Raphe is experienced in conducting internal investigations of businesses facing allegations of potential wrongdoing by executives or employees.
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