On April 8, 2003, James Daniels, 19-year old resident of Thousand Oaks, California with a long history of mental illness was observed cutting himself with an “exacto” knife. Deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department were called and responded in an attempt to obtain help for Mr. Daniels. A 10-minute foot pursuit of Mr. Daniels by the deputies ensued. Mr. Daniels never threatened anyone verbally nor brandished the knife towards anyone. Every time he encountered either a bystander or a deputy sheriff, he ran away from them. However, as Mr. Daniels walked up a driveway leading to a Swim School with his back turned towards the deputies, he was fatally shot 8 times. Seven of the 8 shots has a back to front trajectory. Peter Williamson were retained in the this much publicized case to represent the parents of Mr. Daniels.
Before the case went to trial, the deputy who shot Mr. Daniels to death filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Williamson orally argued the case before the Court of Appeals and was successful in defeating the appeal. The case was ordered back to the District Court for trial. Weeks before trial was to begin, Mr. Williamson reached a settlement with the defendants for $500,000 on behalf of James’ mother. The case proceeded to trial on behalf of his father which resulted in a favorable verdict on one claim and a hung jury on a second claim. A mistrial was declared by the court. Subsequently, Williamson and Krauss obtained an additional $200,000 settlement on behalf of James’ father.