Criminal Case History

State of Arizona vs Mr. Calmus

On December 12, 2014, Mr. Calmus was indicted on assaulting two individuals with the use of fire. Mr. Calmus was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on four counts which is a felony and was looking at five to ten years in prison.

Mr. Andler was retained in behalf of the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He was able to review the entire file provided, examination of artifacts along with questions to the state’s experts and he testified on April 28, 2016 at the trial. Mr. Andler was the only expert witness that testified in behalf of the defense.

After a two and a half hour deliberation by the jury, Mr. Calmus was found not guilty on all count he had been arrested on and was released immediately after the trial.

Mr. Andler was highly praised by the Pima County Public Defender’s office for his work on this case.
State of Arizona vs Robert Gibson

Mr. Gibson stand accused by the Pima County prosecutors of 14 counts of fraud, arson, criminal damage and endangerment. The charges stem from a fire that occurred at his business located in Tucson, Arizona and damage exceeded one million dollars. The Pima County prosecutor stated that it was an arson for profit case and Mr. Gibson would a range of 21 years in prison. If found guilty of all charges, his sentence could be stacked consecutively to total more than 70 years.

Patrick Andler was retained in behalf of Mr. Gibson to conduct a peer review and an origin and cause investigation two years after the fire had occurred. Relying on the Tucson Fire Department reports along with ATF and Mr. Gibson’s insurance company investigation, Mr. Andler came to the conclusion that it was not an arson fire but a fire of undetermined origin likely to have been caused by spontaneous combustion by an employee of Mr. Gibson.

The Pima County Attorney’s office spent over two years investigating in which authorities compiled twenty thousand pages that now fill twelve boxes. Furthermore, 45 witnesses were scheduled to testify in behalf of the prosecutors.

After four years of litigation, Mr. Gibson’s attorneys filed a Daubert motion challenging the reliability of the two state experts under Rule 702. Both Fire Investigator Tinnen of the Tucson Fire Department and ATF Special Agent Hildick testified. Both state experts relied upon NFPA 921 to form their opinion and determined that Mr. Gibson was the responsible party for causing an arson fire at his own business. Patrick Andler testified stating that they failed to comply with NFPA 921 under Rule 702 and overlooked several fire patterns that did not indicate this to have been an arson fire whatsoever.

On July 25, 2013, Judge Tang of the Pima County Superior Court ruled on the defendant’s motion to preclude the expert testimony of Tucson Fire Investigator Tinnen and ATF Special Agent Hildick. In consideration that the state had no expert witness to testify pertaining to the origin and cause of the fire, all criminal charges were dismissed by Deputy Pima County Attorney Malena Acosta. Honorable Judge Tang goes on to state " The court is persuaded that the deficits of the conclusions reached by either expert are significant enough in terms of reliability and crucial enough in terms of relevance to bar their presentation to the jury."

To obtain a copy of the Daubert ruling made by Judge Tang, please contact Pat Andler.
State of Arizona vs Carl Caples

Mr. Caples, a former law enforcement officer was arrested by the Phoenix Fire Department and charged with arson of an occupied structure, a class two felony. Mr. Caples was appointed attorney Diane Sullivan from the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Ms. Sulllivan retained the services of Patrick Andler to conduct an origin and cause investigation approximately 9 months after Mr. Caples was arrested. The fire scene was not available to be inspected and Mr. Andler had to rely upon photographs taken by the insurance company and Phoenix Fire Department investigators.

During the course of this investigation it was determined that Mr. Caples was charged with arson of an occupied structure because of multiple points of origin identified in the area of the carport. Upon conducting the investigation, Patrick Andler determined that it was not arson but an electrical fire that originated up in the attic space in his rental property.

Mr. Andler was later interviewed by the prosecuting attorney and upon completion of the interview, criminal charges were dismissed on Carl Caples after he had spent 14 months in the county jail.

All criminal charges were dismissed and the Phoenix fire investigator was later instructed to take additional fire investigation classes. Mr. Caples was released from the county jail and now resides in Chicago, Illinois.
State of Arizona vs Barbara Sloan

Ms. Sloan was arrested by the Phoenix Fire Department and charged with arson and insurance fraud of an occupied structure. Looking at spending 25 years in prison if convicted, she retained legal counsel to defend and investigate the serious allegations. Patrick Andler and Dave Smith of Andler & Associates were retained to conduct an investigation and were retained by Ms. Sloan.

Approximately 9 months after Ms. Sloan had been arrested, it was determined that the residence was still intact and as a result Andler & Associates were able to conduct a fire scene examination. During the course of the fire scene examination it was determined that Farmers Insurance Company had retained the services of a private fire investigator.

During the course of the investigation conducted by Andler & Associates it was determined there were not multiple points of origin as alleged by the Phoenix fire investigator and the private fire investigator from Farmers Insurance. Fire patterns indicated that the origin of the fire was in a defective Toyota Corolla vehicle that had been parked in the garage.

It was recommended to the defense attorneys from Patrick Andler that a peer review be performed by a third party. Peer review would consist of reviewing all the investigation conducted by Andler & Associates and investigation conducted by Phoenix Fire Department. A more senior fire investigator with the Phoenix Fire Department did conduct the peer review and determined that there was no evidence of a crime but agreed with Andler & Associates that the fire did start in the garage.

As a result of these findings, all criminal charges were dismissed on Barbara Sloan. Ms. Sloan has spent her entire life savings of over three hundred thousand dollars defending herself in this case.
State of Arizona vs Donald Phillips

Mr. Phillips was charged and arrested for arson of an occupied structure. Mr. Phillips was represented by the Public Defender’s Office and Andler & Associates was retained to represent Mr. Phillips to conduct an origin and cause investigation.

Approximately 12 months since the fire, the house was found to still be intact and as a result Andler & Associates were able to conduct an independent origin and cause investigation. During the course of the investigation, it was determined by the Phoenix Fire Department and an independent fire investigator that there were alleged to have been two points of origin to this fire. First point of origin was the exterior patio area located in front of the house. Second point of origin was the dining room area adjacent to the front patio. Mr. Phillips had been home at the time of the fire and was in the back bedroom when the fire broke out. Mr. Phillips, a known cigarette smoker, had been sitting on the front patio smoking a cigarette when he accidently disposed of its hot embers inside an artificial tree stand. When Mr. Phillips entered the residence to answer the phone, a fire occurred on the front patio. Two witnesses that were in the area had seen the fire occurring on the front patio and also observed what they believed to have been a second fire in the dining room area.

As a result of the witness statements and fire scene examination by the Phoenix Fire Department and the private fire investigator, Mr. Phillips was arrested for arson of an occupied structure.

During the course of the investigation conducted by Andler & Associates it was determined that there was a large mirror hanging on the dining room wall that was adjacent to the front patio. What the witnesses actually saw was the reflection of the fire in the mirror as the fire occurred on the front patio. Both prior fire investigators had not witnessed the large mirror and had overlooked it during the course of their scene examination.

Andler & Associates had collected over 22 items of evidence during the course of their investigation, including the front door of the residence, remains of the mirror, the mirror frame, carpet samples and the rear Arcadia door.

Approximately two weeks prior to the trial to be started, the defense attorney requested that the prosecutor visit Andler & Associates at the fire scene on Mr. Phillips house. The prosecutor did arrive at the residence, spent less than 15 minutes, did not believe that we knew anything about fire investigation, turned to Mr. Andler and said "I will see you in court". Two weeks later, Mr. Andler was testifying in the criminal case and was on the stand for two days.

During this jury trial, Mr. Andler provided a power point presentation identifying the multiple fire patterns along with an animation and testing that done with the artificial tree that was the source of fuel and point of origin to this fire.

Upon completion of the trial, the jury met for approximately two hours and rendered a verdict of not guilty for Mr. Phillilps.

The following day, the judge in this case praised Mr. Andler for a thorough and complete investigation along with his testimony to the jury.
State of California vs Sean Miller

June 13th 2012 shortly after 7:00 A.M. a fire occurred at the Days Inn Hotel in Needles CA. The fire was first discovered and reported by the day shift manager Sean Miller. The San Bernardino county fire department and Sheriff’s office responded. The hotel was successfully evacuated and there were no injuries as the fire was limited to the manager’s office and front lobby area. Fire and law enforcement officials immediately started investigating this as arson and at the close of the day Sean Miller was arrested and charged with arson.

Dave Smith of Andler & Associates was hired by the insurance company for the hotel to conduct an origin and cause investigation of this fire. After utilizing all of our resources including an accelerant detection K-9 and an electrical engineer and a complete and thorough investigation it was concluded exactly where the fire started and why. The fire was the result of a "high resistance fault to ground" at an electrical receptacle inside the manager’s office. This was done utilizing the methods and standards set forth in NFPA 921.

Andler & Associates reported its findings to their client the insurance company and meanwhile had learned that Sean Miller had been arrested and charged with arson. The family for Mr. Miller had retained a criminal defense attorney however was limited by their budget and could not afford to hire an expert to dispute the state’s charge of arson. Andler & Associates Investigator, Dave Smith, traveled to California and worked with Mr. Miller’s attorney pro bono and testified at an all day criminal preliminary hearing in San Bernardino County court. At the conclusion of the hearing the judge ordered Mr. Miller released and cited that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that this fire was arson and further that it was very clear that it was in fact an accidental electrical fire. After 36 days in custody, Sean Miller was released from jail.
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Lead attorney jimmy McBirney, George Souliotes and Pat Andler celebration party in San Francisco ca.