November 24, 2013

MARY PREVOST'S BLOG: SEEKING WITNESSES OF FALSE ARREST/ABUSE BY SANTA MONICA POLICE OFFICER KOBY ARNOLD

If you have been falsely arrested or abused by Santa Monica Diego Police Officer Koby Arnold, please call Attorney Mary Prevost at (888) 384-1384.

Koby Arnold, pictured HERE, is the rogue officer who falsely arrested Sennett Devermont, also known as MrCheckPoint, for "Drunk Driving" even though he had not had a single drink. Koby Arnold then falsified his police reports to suggest Sennett was driving impaired by drugs. Again, not at all. Blood test? Clean for alcohol and clean for controlled substances. Oops. I mean, Koby Arnold KNEW Sennett Devermont wasn't drunk, but hauled him into court solely because he stood on his right not to talk to the cop, or do his field coordination tests. Arnold got animal control to come and take Sennett's terrified dogs to the pound, and threatened to have them adopted. What a gem.

And so Koby Arnold engaged in an attitude arrest, and he thought he could get away with it.

Now, had we been back in the 90's, Koby Arnold could walk free from the allegations Sennett has levied against him - specifically false arrest and excessive force. But, we are in the era of technology. Sennett recorded the transaction, and we have caught Officer Arnold admitting that he would falsely arrested Sennett because he had "nothing" when Sennett exercised his right not to talk to the bad copper. Want to hear the audio? Click on HERE.

And it's not the first time that Koby Arnold has gone rogue on the Santa Monica Police Department. Oh no. Click HERE for the LA article on the $99,000 settlement City of Santa Monica had to pay out to another man Arnold jumped from behind and beat up.

And, yet, the City Attorney of Santa Monica is again protecting the rogue cop.

July 28, 2013

SAN DIEGO SEXUAL POLITICS: IF FILNER GOES, SEND JAN GOLDSMITH AND THE CITY COUNCIL WITH HIM

It's utterly fascinating - and somewhat frightening - that most members of the City Council are calling for Bob Filner's resignation because of sexual harassment allegations. There's fire and brimstone coming from every corner. Every politician is jumping over the next trying to get a front row seat on the "Get Rid of Filner" train. You'd think they were REALLY upset by sexual harassment. But they're not. Each one of them is just as guilty of sexual harassment as Filner.

If Filner goes, so should the highly misogynistic Jan Goldsmith, AND the city council members who recently voted to hand Goldsmith $500,000 to hire two big law firms to defend lawsuits by victims of sexual predator, Anthony Arevalos. Let's be consistent folks. (Click HERE for an article on the first $250,000 authorization by the City Council.)

That's right. These very City Council members authorized $500,000 in retainers on two high profile law firms to DEFEND the city and the sexual predator cop against lawsuits brought by the sick cop's last 2 victims. Now the city attorneys and their high powered firms can further harass, bury, paper and destroy two women's lives who were already sexually assaulted by a cop the City knew was out there doing it. The cop is in state prison, his supervisors knew what was happening for years, the Chief gave the cop's supervisors promotions, and City Attorneys are taking depositions of victims, prying into their sex lives, trying to find old boyfriends, trying to scare them. Thanks San Diego City Council for protecting innocent women. All of you Filner haters who voted to continue the emotional harassment of two innocent victims of rogue cop Anthony Arevalos by handing misogynist Jan Goldsmith a blank check are simply two-faced.

So, if the defenders of women's virtue - the San Diego City Council - want Filner to go, I say "You go with them." And so should Jan Goldsmith, because he's complicit with ‎San Diego‬ City Council members who are allowing the continued sexual assault of two innocent victims.

Continue reading "SAN DIEGO SEXUAL POLITICS: IF FILNER GOES, SEND JAN GOLDSMITH AND THE CITY COUNCIL WITH HIM" »

June 28, 2013

SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE: LA Sheriff's Broke Law During Public Housing Patrol, Says Justice Department

From the LA Times:

Los Angeles Times | June 28, 2013 | 12:48 PM

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department engaged in "stops, searches, and seizures and excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law" in its patrolling of public housing in the Antelope Valley, the U.S. Justice Department said today in announcing the conclusion of a two-year civil rights investigation into the department.

Residents have complained of surprise inspections of government-subsidized housing intended to ensure residents are meeting the terms of their assistance. The checks often involved armed sheriff's deputies, they said.

The Justice Department also found a "pattern or practice of discrimination against African Americans in its enforcement of the Housing Choice Voucher Program in violation of the Fair Housing Act," according to a statement released today.

April 11, 2012

CIVIL RIGHTS: NY PRISON "LOSES" VIDEO OF PRISONER'S BEATING

When Kadeem John, an 18-year-old inmate at Rikers Island, was beaten severely by another prisoner in 2010, the attack was captured by a digital surveillance camera, correction officials have said.
But when Mr. John’s lawyers sued New York City and sought to review evidence in the case, they were unable to view the recording, they say, because it had been destroyed.

The city’s failure to preserve the recording has sparked an intense legal dispute, with a federal judge in Manhattan, Robert P. Patterson Jr., agreeing recently to impose sanctions on the city that could complicate its ability to defend against the lawsuit.

Surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly common in New York’s jails — correction officials said they planned to have 2,800 by the end of 2013 — and the recordings may emerge as critical evidence in lawsuits.

In court last month, for example, lawyers for the city told Judge Patterson that the actual recording was unnecessary because a supervisor who had viewed it could testify about what it showed.

Mr. John’s lawyer, Adam R. Pulver, disagreed. “A videotape is unique,” he said. “It’s irreplaceable. It’s neutral. A jury should be entitled to see what the video showed.”

The city, which is contesting liability in the case, has said in filings that the recording “was destroyed in accordance” with a “record retention schedule” because officials did not expect litigation.

“There is no evidence, as we understand it, of staff complicity in the inmate fight involving Mr. John,” said Sharman Stein, a correction spokeswoman.

But Mr. John’s lawyers contend that he was beaten by other inmates who effectively ran his unit for teenagers at the Robert N. Davoren Complex on Rikers Island. They say the assault fit a pattern cited by law enforcement authorities in which favored prisoners receive tacit approval to keep order by beating and threatening other inmates.

Mr. Pulver said the lawsuit alleged that officers “stood by and allowed” the beating to happen. “We cannot say for sure whether the video would support that or not,” he added in court, “but that’s because we’ve not seen the video.”

Mr. John was jailed in June 2010. The suit says he learned about an “inmate enforcer” on his unit who led a team of prisoners and controlled access to telephones, seating arrangements in a dayroom and the distribution of cigarettes. The inmate’s “domination was blatant and apparent” to the staff, the suit charges.

On June 26, Mr. John, who had earlier refused an order made by the inmate, was punched in the head from behind, and then in his face and lower back, the suit says, while being escorted with other prisoners, and no officer intervened.

He was moved into a dayroom “where he remained, in plain view of corrections officers, bleeding internally and slipping in and out of consciousness, for a significant period of time,” the suit adds.

He suffered kidney damage and bleeding in the brain, Mr. Pulver said.

The next month, the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Mr. John along with the law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, wrote to a correction official requesting an investigation. She responded that one would be undertaken, filings show.

A year later, in July 2011, Jonathan Chasan, a Legal Aid lawyer, asked whether any video existed of the incident. The official replied that no recordings had been preserved. In February, the lawyers received documents from the city that described the recording and how it was used, and stated that it no longer existed.

The documents showed that three days after the assault, a supervisor viewed the recording, identified the assailant and prepared a report of the incident.

Another report shows that officials did not fully investigate until more than a year after the attack. By then, the recording was gone. There was no request to preserve it, the report says, and the surveillance system stored recordings for only 60 days.

Judge Patterson granted the plaintiff’s requests that the city be barred from offering testimony about what was on the recording, and that it be made clear to the jury that a recording had existed and would have supported the plaintiff’s version of events.

In the hearing, a lawyer for the city, Diep Nguyen, argued that a sanction was inappropriate.

“Even though you destroyed the tape after notice of the assault?” the judge asked.

“Unfortunately, the order to preserve the tape did not trickle down,” Ms. Nguyen said
.

by a digital surveillance camera, correction officials have said.

But when Mr. John’s lawyers sued New York City and sought to review evidence in the case, they were unable to view the recording, they say, because it had been destroyed.

The city’s failure to preserve the recording has sparked an intense legal dispute, with a federal judge in Manhattan, Robert P. Patterson Jr., agreeing recently to impose sanctions on the city that could complicate its ability to defend against the lawsuit.

Surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly common in New York’s jails — correction officials said they planned to have 2,800 by the end of 2013 — and the recordings may emerge as critical evidence in lawsuits.

In court last month, for example, lawyers for the city told Judge Patterson that the actual recording was unnecessary because a supervisor who had viewed it could testify about what it showed.

Mr. John’s lawyer, Adam R. Pulver, disagreed. “A videotape is unique,” he said. “It’s irreplaceable. It’s neutral. A jury should be entitled to see what the video showed.”

The city, which is contesting liability in the case, has said in filings that the recording “was destroyed in accordance” with a “record retention schedule” because officials did not expect litigation.

“There is no evidence, as we understand it, of staff complicity in the inmate fight involving Mr. John,” said Sharman Stein, a correction spokeswoman.

But Mr. John’s lawyers contend that he was beaten by other inmates who effectively ran his unit for teenagers at the Robert N. Davoren Complex on Rikers Island. They say the assault fit a pattern cited by law enforcement authorities in which favored prisoners receive tacit approval to keep order by beating and threatening other inmates.

Mr. Pulver said the lawsuit alleged that officers “stood by and allowed” the beating to happen. “We cannot say for sure whether the video would support that or not,” he added in court, “but that’s because we’ve not seen the video.”

Mr. John was jailed in June 2010. The suit says he learned about an “inmate enforcer” on his unit who led a team of prisoners and controlled access to telephones, seating arrangements in a dayroom and the distribution of cigarettes. The inmate’s “domination was blatant and apparent” to the staff, the suit charges.

On June 26, Mr. John, who had earlier refused an order made by the inmate, was punched in the head from behind, and then in his face and lower back, the suit says, while being escorted with other prisoners, and no officer intervened.

He was moved into a dayroom “where he remained, in plain view of corrections officers, bleeding internally and slipping in and out of consciousness, for a significant period of time,” the suit adds.

He suffered kidney damage and bleeding in the brain, Mr. Pulver said.

The next month, the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Mr. John along with the law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, wrote to a correction official requesting an investigation. She responded that one would be undertaken, filings show.

A year later, in July 2011, Jonathan Chasan, a Legal Aid lawyer, asked whether any video existed of the incident. The official replied that no recordings had been preserved. In February, the lawyers received documents from the city that described the recording and how it was used, and stated that it no longer existed.

The documents showed that three days after the assault, a supervisor viewed the recording, identified the assailant and prepared a report of the incident.

Another report shows that officials did not fully investigate until more than a year after the attack. By then, the recording was gone. There was no request to preserve it, the report says, and the surveillance system stored recordings for only 60 days.

Judge Patterson granted the plaintiff’s requests that the city be barred from offering testimony about what was on the recording, and that it be made clear to the jury that a recording had existed and would have supported the plaintiff’s version of events.

In the hearing, a lawyer for the city, Diep Nguyen, argued that a sanction was inappropriate.

“Even though you destroyed the tape after notice of the assault?” the judge asked.

“Unfortunately, the order to preserve the tape did not trickle down,” Ms. Nguyen said
.

/nyregion/destroyed-surveillance-video-called-key-to-inmates-lawsuit.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

When Kadeem John, an 18-year-old inmate at Rikers Island, was beaten severely by another prisoner in 2010, the attack was captured by a digital surveillance camera, correction officials have said.
But when Mr. John’s lawyers sued New York City and sought to review evidence in the case, they were unable to view the recording, they say, because it had been destroyed.

The city’s failure to preserve the recording has sparked an intense legal dispute, with a federal judge in Manhattan, Robert P. Patterson Jr., agreeing recently to impose sanctions on the city that could complicate its ability to defend against the lawsuit.

Surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly common in New York’s jails — correction officials said they planned to have 2,800 by the end of 2013 — and the recordings may emerge as critical evidence in lawsuits.

In court last month, for example, lawyers for the city told Judge Patterson that the actual recording was unnecessary because a supervisor who had viewed it could testify about what it showed.

Mr. John’s lawyer, Adam R. Pulver, disagreed. “A videotape is unique,” he said. “It’s irreplaceable. It’s neutral. A jury should be entitled to see what the video showed.”

The city, which is contesting liability in the case, has said in filings that the recording “was destroyed in accordance” with a “record retention schedule” because officials did not expect litigation.

“There is no evidence, as we understand it, of staff complicity in the inmate fight involving Mr. John,” said Sharman Stein, a correction spokeswoman.

But Mr. John’s lawyers contend that he was beaten by other inmates who effectively ran his unit for teenagers at the Robert N. Davoren Complex on Rikers Island. They say the assault fit a pattern cited by law enforcement authorities in which favored prisoners receive tacit approval to keep order by beating and threatening other inmates.

Mr. Pulver said the lawsuit alleged that officers “stood by and allowed” the beating to happen. “We cannot say for sure whether the video would support that or not,” he added in court, “but that’s because we’ve not seen the video.”

Mr. John was jailed in June 2010. The suit says he learned about an “inmate enforcer” on his unit who led a team of prisoners and controlled access to telephones, seating arrangements in a dayroom and the distribution of cigarettes. The inmate’s “domination was blatant and apparent” to the staff, the suit charges.

On June 26, Mr. John, who had earlier refused an order made by the inmate, was punched in the head from behind, and then in his face and lower back, the suit says, while being escorted with other prisoners, and no officer intervened.

He was moved into a dayroom “where he remained, in plain view of corrections officers, bleeding internally and slipping in and out of consciousness, for a significant period of time,” the suit adds.

He suffered kidney damage and bleeding in the brain, Mr. Pulver said.

The next month, the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Mr. John along with the law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, wrote to a correction official requesting an investigation. She responded that one would be undertaken, filings show.

A year later, in July 2011, Jonathan Chasan, a Legal Aid lawyer, asked whether any video existed of the incident. The official replied that no recordings had been preserved. In February, the lawyers received documents from the city that described the recording and how it was used, and stated that it no longer existed.

The documents showed that three days after the assault, a supervisor viewed the recording, identified the assailant and prepared a report of the incident.

Another report shows that officials did not fully investigate until more than a year after the attack. By then, the recording was gone. There was no request to preserve it, the report says, and the surveillance system stored recordings for only 60 days.

Judge Patterson granted the plaintiff’s requests that the city be barred from offering testimony about what was on the recording, and that it be made clear to the jury that a recording had existed and would have supported the plaintiff’s version of events.

In the hearing, a lawyer for the city, Diep Nguyen, argued that a sanction was inappropriate.

“Even though you destroyed the tape after notice of the assault?” the judge asked.

“Unfortunately, the order to preserve the tape did not trickle down,” Ms. Nguyen said
.

March 26, 2012

LAPD FINDS DEPUTY ENGAGED IN PROFILING-ITS ABOUT TIME

The LAPD, for the first time in its history, had admitted that a cop engaged in racial profiling. While some may laud this finding, I think it is sad that the year 2012 is the first year in the history of the department that they admit racial profiling occurred. Before, they just lied and denied.

Officer engaged in racial profiling, LAPD probe finds

By Joel Rubin

March 26, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

A white police officer targeted Latino drivers for traffic stops because of their race, a Los Angeles Police Department investigation concluded -- marking the first time the agency has found one of its officers guilty of racial profiling.

For decades, the question of racial profiling -- "biased policing," in LAPD jargon -- has bedeviled the LAPD. Accusations that the practice was commonplace in minority neighborhoods throughout the 1970s and '80s helped earn the LAPD a reputation for bias and abuse of power.

And, despite dramatic reforms that have boosted the department's image over the last 10 years, the persistence of profiling claims has prevented the agency from shaking its dark past altogether. With hundreds of officers accused of profiling each year, department officials have cleared all of them of wrongdoing, telling exasperated critics that it was all but impossible to determine whether a cop was motivated by racial bias.

The investigation into Patrick Smith, a 15-year veteran who worked alone on a motorcycle assignment in the department's West Traffic Division, found he was stopping Latinos based on their race and deliberately misidentifying some Latinos as white on his reports -- presumably in an effort to conceal the fact that the people he pulled over were overwhelmingly Latino, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case who requested that their names not be used because police personnel issues are confidential.

At a meeting last month, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck reviewed the evidence against Smith and heard from members of his command staff who recommended that the officer be found guilty. Beck signed off on the investigation's findings and ordered Smith sent to a disciplinary hearing, where the department will attempt to have him fired, the sources said. In Los Angeles, the police chief cannot fire an officer unilaterally but instead must let a three-person board hear the case and decide if firing is warranted. Smith had been relieved of duty during the investigation, sources said.

Smith did not respond to an email seeking comment, and the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers, declined to comment.

John Mack, a member of the department's civilian oversight board who has pushed in recent years for reforms in how profiling investigations are conducted, said the case signaled "a giant step forward," when informed of the findings by The Times.

"It represents a confirmation of the seriousness with which the department is now considering the issue," he said. "It means we've come a very long way."

Profiling complaints typically arise from traffic or pedestrian stops, in which the officer is accused of targeting a person solely because of his or her race, ethnicity or other form of outward appearance.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

December 6, 2011

SAN DIEGO CIVIL RIGHTS: JUROR ASSAULTED/ARRESTED BY COURTHOUSE DEPUTY

For John Stephens, the injuries have healed, but the memories have yet to fade.

Click HERE to see the video of the news story.

"I remember thinking, 'What is going on here?'" said Stephens, a retired school bus driver and former Navy sailor.

In July 2010, Stephens was summoned to jury at the downtown courthouse. He walked into the courthouse with his wife, and then placed his watch in the basket as he prepared to go through a security checkpoint.

However, Stephens' implants from knee surgery set off the metal detector, so a deputy took him aside and used a hand-held to inspect him. At that point, Stephens said someone grabbed his belongings.

"I looked over and saw this gentleman with my watch and belt, and I said, 'Hey,'" said Stephens.

Stephens' wife, Elizabeth, said, "He never moved his arms down from that position."

Stephens never finished his sentence because he said a deputy surprised him.

"Next thing I knew I was on the floor and the guy was twisting my arm to the point of breaking it … I felt his knee coming into me … next thing I know I'm on the ground. There were three of them twisting every way they could," Stephens told 10News.

The incident left him upset and in pain.

"One arm was bruised and purple for three to four weeks," said Stephens.

Stephens was also handcuffed and under arrest for obstruction. Charges were never filed, but Stephens filed a civil suit against San Diego County for the abuse inflicted on him by deputies and false arrest.

"He clearly was not a danger to anyone. This is the worst case of abuse by [a] sheriff's deputy at the courthouse," said Stephens' lawyer, Civil Rights Attorney Mary Frances Prevost.

Elizabeth Stephens added, "They could have done irreparable damage. It's not right, it's not right."

Stephens said he thought the right thing was going to jury duty. He's not so sure anymore.

"It was astounding. I came down for this? All I'm trying to do is go to jury duty," Stephens said.

County attorneys declined to comment due to pending litigation.

Stephens' wife tracked down the man who took her husband's watch and other items, and was able to get the items back. The man was not charged with theft.

California Civil Rights Attorney Prevost said she believes there is surveillance tape, but has yet to obtain it.

Continue reading "SAN DIEGO CIVIL RIGHTS: JUROR ASSAULTED/ARRESTED BY COURTHOUSE DEPUTY" »

August 18, 2011

CALIFORNIA POLICE MISCONDUCT: RIGHT TO PITCHESS DISCOVERY OF COMPLAINTS MADE AFTER THE ARREST

YES, WE DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO POLICE MISCONDUCT DISCOVERY OF COMPLAINTS MADE AFTER THE ARREST

The defendant was convicted. He appealed and eventually got federal habeas relief. Back in the trial court, the defendant moved for Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) discovery against the officers.

The trial court granted the motion, but denied any discovery of complaints made against the officers after the date of the defendant's arrest. Why on this earth judges consistently make up rules to protect the police is beyond me. Yes, I know they all run on "Law Enforcement's Choice" tickets for re-election. But a fourth grader would have enough sense to have granted this public defender's request. I mean, C'mon.

The California Court of Appeal says this is wrong. The defense is entitled to discovery of such complaints, on a showing of good cause.

Blumberg v. Superior Court
; 2011 DJ DAR 11477; DJ, 8/1/11; C/A 2nd,
Div. 5

Continue reading "CALIFORNIA POLICE MISCONDUCT: RIGHT TO PITCHESS DISCOVERY OF COMPLAINTS MADE AFTER THE ARREST" »

July 28, 2011

CALIFORNIA EVIDENCE: DOG SNIFF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR SEARCHING

During a traffic stop, the police had a "narcotics detection dog" sniff the exterior of the defendant's pickup truck. The dog alerted to a backpack, leading to a search, leading to lots of evidence. First, the California Court of Appeal says that a dog sniff of an exterior of a vehicle is NOT a search at all. The Court of Appeal says that the dog was well trained, and that alone established reasonable cause to search the backpack.

People v. Stillwell; 2011 DJ DAR 11132; DJ, 7/26/11; C/A 3rd

July 20, 2011

LAW OFFICES OF MARY PREVOST: TOP NAVY SURGEON SUES CHULA VISTA POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR POLICE BRUTALITY

In 2008 I won a $400,000 settlement for a teenager who was beaten to the ground in his own driveway until he was unconscious. The assailant was a Chula Vista Police Officer. See, http://www.californiacriminallawyerblog.com/cgi-bin/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=8472&blog_id=76.

Last year, CVPD lost a $2 million lawsuit. Why? It's officers attacked a federal agent.

Now, another Chula Vista Police officer is on the hot spot. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jul/20/top-navy-surgeon-files-lawsuit-against-chula-vista/

See, also http://www.10news.com/news/28554452/detail.html

July 5, 2011

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL EVIDENCE: WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE BREATH TESTING

A series of cases being handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court and California Court of appeals are being heralded by prosecutors as "new law." Once such case is the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bullcoming. Another is Vangelder, discussed below.

What is frightening about this prosecutorial harkening, however, is that none of this really is new law at all. It's always been the law. It's just that prosecutors and rogue judges' deviate from it. The "norm" has been: Violate Due Process and the evidence code in order to assist the prosecution in obtaining convictions.

But the U.S. Supremes recently, and now the California Court of Appeal, are pinning their ears back. And they better listen.

COURT OF APPEAL SAYS WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE BREATH TESTING DEVICES

The California Supreme Court has held that we can't challenge the partition ratio used to prove that a defendant was driving at or above .08. Note that we can challenge it on the DUI charge itself, though only if we can show a problem with this specific defendant, not just general problems with partition ratio. (McNeal, 46 C4th 1183.)

Here, the trial judge entirely barred the defense expert from testifying that breath testing devices (PAS and breath testing machines) are unreliable because of problems getting pure data about blood alcohol from the intake of air. The expert would testify to problems affecting the amount of alcohol found in the alveolar air supposedly being tested. The California Court of Appeal says that the exclusion of the expert's testimony was error, with respect to both the .08 and the DUI charges. The California Court of Appeal says that this differs from partition ratios. Big defense win; Chuck Sevilla, San Diego PC, was successful appellate counsel.

People v. Vangelder; 2011 DJ DAR 9949; DJ, 7/5/11; C/A 4th, Div. 1

March 12, 2011

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE: FEDS TAKE OVER SAN FRANCISO POLICE SCANDAL

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said Friday that his office has pulled out of the investigation into whether San Francisco police officers conducted illegal raids and is handing over the case to the U.S. Justice Department.

Click HERE for original story.

The former police chief, who was named district attorney in January, said he had received unspecified new information Friday that meant his office was "not equipped" to investigate whether plainclothes officers at Southern Station had conducted improper searches and lied about them in police reports.

Four videotapes taken in residential hotels have recently surfaced that contradicted officers' descriptions in their reports on drug raids. The FBI is already investigating the matter, and until Friday, prosecutors had an independent probe under way.

"We do not have the resources that are necessary to do this right," Gascón said. "We believe the case will be better served if given to the U.S. Justice Department."

Gascón said he will let Justice Department officials decide whether federal charges should be filed against officers. He would not dismiss the possibility that the district attorney's office would file state charges if federal prosecutors do not pursue a case.

Earlier this week, Gascón announced that his office had scuttled a total of 57 prosecutions connected to the involved officers.
The Police Department says it has ordered refresher training for about 100 undercover officers posted at the city's district stations.

At a hastily arranged news conference Friday, Gascón repeatedly denied that his office was pulling out of the probe because of any concerns about conflict of interest.

"This has nothing to do with a conflict in any way or shape," said Gascón, who was police chief when some of the raids took place. "This has to do with the complexity of the case."

Interim Police Chief Jeff Godown said the Police Department was continuing criminal and internal probes into the case.

Continue reading "CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE: FEDS TAKE OVER SAN FRANCISO POLICE SCANDAL" »

March 8, 2011

CALIFORNIA POLICE MISCONDUCT: SUPPLYING THE SEALED PITCHESS MATERIAL TO THE COURT OF APPEAL

SUPPLYING THE SEALED PITCHESS MATERIAL TO THE COURT OF APPEAL

This case exists because the California Court of Appeal was annoyed at appellate counsel. Criminal defense lawyers want the Court of Appeal to review the Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) ruling in the trial court. But do we make sure that the appellate court HAS the sealed Pitchess proceedings? No.

The Court of Appeal says that all we have to do is make a motion under Rule 8.320 in the trial court to have the sealed stuff sent to the Court of Appeal, and then they get it. So it's super secret stuff but in order to be entitled to relief, we still have to make a
motion to have the super secret sealed stuff sent. But won't the ruling on our Rule
8.320 motion also be sealed? Isn't this crazy?

People v. Rodriguez; 2011 DJ DAR 3515; DJ, 3/8/11; C/A 4th, Div. 1

February 15, 2011

SAN DIEGO'S STREET CZAR, MARIO SERRA, ARRESTED FOR LEWD ACTS

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/feb/14/sd-city-official-arrested-lewd-act-charge/

July 23, 2010

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE: DEFENDANTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRE-PRELIMINARY HEARING PITCHESS DISCOVERY

WE DO GET PITCHESS DISCOVERY PRIOR TO THE PRELIMINARY HEARING

This is the case on whether sefense attorney can get Pitchess discovery (11 CAL.3d 531) prior to the preliminary hearing; and whether defense attorneys can get ANY discovery prior to the prelim.

The California Supreme Courtsay that Pitchess discovery wouldn't have made any difference here, so they uphold the denial in this case. But they expressly say that Pitchess discovery is available prior to the prelim. Their point is that there's no express legislative ban on Pitchess discovery prior to the prelim. The only express ban regarding discovery at prelim is found in PC 866, which only bans USING the prelim itself for discovery.

The reasoning here supports us getting ALL discovery pre-prelim, since nothing expressly bars it.

The court notes that nothing changes the previous practice of pre-prelim Pitchess Besides the fact that Galindo himself lost here, the only bad thing is that we don't have a right to continuances to pursue Pitchess discovery. But if we make a sufficient showing for the need for Pitchess at the prelim stage, the magistrate MUST grant the Pitchess motion, and CAN grant a continuance. Even if the magistrate is going to deny the continuance, we are still entitled to the discovery, so we can at least speed up investigating a case by making a pre-prelim Pitchess motion.

Galindo v. Superior Court; 2010 DJ DAR 11347; DJ, 7/23/10; Cal. Supremes


Continue reading "CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE: DEFENDANTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRE-PRELIMINARY HEARING PITCHESS DISCOVERY" »

July 12, 2010

CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY - JUDGE SAYS: ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPUTIES MAY HAVE USED EXCESSIVE FORCE

by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer

Perhaps the question is not if the county will settle this lawsuit, but when, and for how much…?

It’s not going well when a federal judge writes, “a reasonable jury could conclude that the defendant officers used excessive force against Ms. White …. Ms. White was not under suspicion of having committed any crime. Nor were the officers present to investigate Ms. White. Indeed, the officers were standing on Ms. White’s property without having obtained a warrant ….”

OUCH

We told you recently about the case involving an Old English sheep dog, a woman named Toy (who suffered a nasty black eye), and an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy who was arrested for DUI after two crashes within a half-hour.

Mission Viejo paid $24,000 to make this suit go away – but it is still grinding against former Deputy Allan James Waters’ bosses, the County of Orange and the Sheriff’s Department, racking up legal bills.

(Waters, by the way, is no longer a deputy. And shortly after he turned in his uniform, he was arrested for DUI and on suspicion of being a drug dealer who traded fake drugs and cash in exchange for real prescription drugs. The District Attorney’s Office said he tried to pull a fast one by using a white powder instead of cocaine. Oops.)

The county has settled one other case involving Deputy Waters for $32,000.

DOG GONE

On July 7, 2007, Toy Whitewas home in Mission Viejo with her husband Steve and their three Old English sheep dogs. A woman entered the property without permission, the suit says - and one of the dogs bit her.

That evening, there was a knock at the Whites’ door. They opened it, and there stood four OC sheriff’s deputies and a Mission Viejo animal control officer. They entered the house without the Whites’ consent – and without a warrant - demanding that the dog be surrendered for a 10-day quarantine.

Mission Viejo law allows for in-home quarantine when a bite happens during trespassing on private property. The Whites said they wanted to do that instead.

And here, according to the suit filed in federal court, is where things got dicey. The deputies became threatening and said, “Just give up the dog,” the suit says.

Toy White asked the officers to leave her house; they would continue the discussion outside. As she placed her hand on the door handle, “she was violently grabbed and thrown face first onto the tile floor, without warning or provocation, by (deputies) Macias and Waters,” the suit says. She was then cuffed tightly, arrested, and hauled off to jail.

The dog, meanwhile, was taken into custody as well. The dog was returned the following day, when the city realized its error; but White was arrested for battery on an officer and resisting arrest. The District Attorney’s office did not proceed, however, determining that the officers had no authority to enter the house, and no legal right to remove the dog, the suit says.

Deputies named, along with Waters, are J. Macias, S. Crivelli and T. Jansen, along with animal control officer H. Holmes. They maintain that White was threatening, advanced toward the deputies and resisted arrest.

SAYS THE JUDGE

The suit is in federal court, before Judge David O. Carter. He made the comments we’re quoting in an order granting in part, and denying in part, the county’s motion for summary judgment (a determination made by the court without a full trial).

Writes Carter: “…it remains a disputed issue of material fact as to whether Ms. White made any contact with the police officers. Even if Ms. White made such contact, the officers would only be entitled to use the force necessary in the circumstances, which was minimal since the officers concede that Ms. White was in the office of closing the front door to Plaintiffs’ residence and thereby imposing a physical barrier between herself and the officers.

“To the extent the officers now claim it was necessary to physically restrain Ms. White in order to effectively combat the harm alleged to have been caused by the Plaintiffs’ dog, the Court is unconvinced. It is for a jury to determine whether Ms. White’s restraint was a reasonable response to the threat that a dog inside Plaintiffs’ home posed a public safety risk. But the mere fact that Ms. White resisted the officers’ attempts to enter her residence without a warrant is far from a legitimate basis for the officers’ actions on July 7, 2007.”

The Whites’ attorney, Mary Frances Prevost, is understandably encouraged. She doesn’t completely understand why the county doesn’t cut its losses here, but postulates that it’s the way the system is set up. Lawyers make more money when cases go to trial, she says. Lawyers make less money when cases settle.

[california civil rights attorney, san diego civil rights attorney, orange county civil rights attorney, riverside civil rights attorney, imperial county civil rights attorney, san francisco civil rights attorney, ventura vicil rights attorney, santa barbara civil rights attorney]

Continue reading "CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY - JUDGE SAYS: ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPUTIES MAY HAVE USED EXCESSIVE FORCE" »

July 12, 2010

WHEN WILL ORANGE COUNTY SETTLE ITS POLICE BRUTALITY CASE AND STOP PAYING ITS LAWYER TO DEFEND THE DIRTY COPS?

I have been posting on this issue for a long time. And it's been too long since the County of Orange decided not to settle this horrible case.

Instead, the County of Orange is protecting a dirty cop who crashed in a DUI accident, beat another person and settled the case, sold "bunk" (fake drugs) to get money, and beat a 5'2" cosmetics representative to the ground in her own home.

Well, when the firm of Sullivan & Ballog, who are defending the rogue cops in this case, tried to get the case kicked out of court, the judge said "No!"

Here's the article:

http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2010/07/12/officers-used-excessive-force-ruling-suggests/60459/

June 10, 2010

SAN DIEGO CIVIL RIGHTS: OC SHERIFF WHO BEAT TINY COSMETICS REP JUST ARRESTED FOR DUI CRASH AND SELLING DRUGS

Orange County Deputy Sheriff Allen Waters has just been arrested for felony DUI and sales of drugs in the OC jail.

http://taxdollars.freedomblogging.com/2010/06/09/deputy-trades-in-sheriffs-green-for-jailhouse-orange/58819/

Waters is well known for being part of a conspiracy with one of his Sheriff buddies who caught him drunk driving. The law enforcement friend stopped Waters for drunk driving and let him go. Shortly after, he slammed into a little old woman, seriously injuring her and causing her to be sent to the hospital in an ambulance.

http://www.californiacriminallawyerblog.com/2010/03/california_dui_defense_orange.html

He is also the deputy that settled a civil rights suit when he burst into a man's home and beat him to the ground.

http://www.californiacriminallawyerblog.com/bad_cop_no_donut/

When will the Orange County taxpayers rise up and demand that their taxpayer dollars be spent on school and human services rather than line the pockets of the big civil firms that are hired by the County at the behest of the police unions to protect the dirty cops? When?

When will Orange County take resposibility for this thug? The County has already spent, what I estimate to be over $100,000 in attorney fees and costs representing this bad apple cop. Why won't they protect Toy White, an innocent taxpayer who was brutalized by this thug cop after he burst into her house along with Crivelli, Macias and Jansen, and dogcatcher Holmes? Why is SHE not protected?

May 17, 2010

WHAT COST TO DEFEND DIRTY COPS? ORANGE COUNTY TAXPAYERS ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF.

On December 27, 2005, Ron Capizzi filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the County of Orange and a bunch of rogue Orange County deputy sheriffs.

After three grueling years of all out litigation, including the taking of every deposition possible at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars in litigations costs, the case finally settled on the eve of trial for $38,000 on December 15, 2008.

Three years of litigation. Tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs. Why didn't this case settle sooner?

The answer is easy. Counties and cities hire outside counsel to represent them in such cases. It is not valuable to a private civil law firm to settle a case early. The interest of the law firm is to bill the county for the largest amount possible. Settling the case early is a conflict. The best interest of the county is generally not the best interest of the law firm.

What happened in the Capizzi case is typical of outside law firms billing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in costs and attorney fees for cases that should be handled quickly and settled immediately. I suspect, and will soon find out, that the Santa Ana law firm of Sullivan & Ballog billed more than 100,000 in costs and fees to the County of Orange over those three years. It's public record.

And what did the county get out of it? A big bill. The county and it's cops got thrown under the bus. After all that time, they finally gave money to the Plaintiff. But they gave much, much more money to the attorney who defended him. The cops didn't win. The County didn't win. The plaintiff and his attorney didn't win. But Santa Ana law firm Sullivan & Ballog won big.

Now, it's happening again. The same Santa Ana lawfirm is billing, billing, billing on the case of Toy White v. County of Orange. (A separate law firm also just settled a different case by a different lawfirm against Deputy Allan Waters, one of the cops in the White case on the even of trial. Click HERE for the story. We'll be getting those costs and fees, too).

You will remember that Toy White is the 5'1" cosmetics rep who was brutally beaten to the ground when the dogcatcher and a band of four - count 'em FOUR - heavily armed Orange County deputy sheriff's burst into her house to take her dog that had been involved in a minor bite. They didn't have the right. They had no warrant. There was no legal cause to bust into her house and slam her to the floor, other than what they made up in their reports to justifies their actions. See HERE for story in the Orange County Register.

The City of Mission Viejo, who employed the dogcatcher, settled the case. But it's not amazing that the C ounty refuses to take resposibility for it's rogue bunch of brutal cops.

Now, the same firm that ripped off the County of Orange, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the cops in the Capizzi case to the tune of more than $100,000 in litigation costs and attorney fees, is refusing to made any good faith settlement offers in the Toy White case. Is this another Capizzi case? Uh, we think so.

Same lead attorney - Al Ballog. Same law firm - Sullivan & Ballog.

I am preparing a California Public Records Act request to various cities and counties to get the exact costs of litigation and attorney fees on a series of cases, like Capizzi and White.

What you will see - because I've obtained the litigation cost bills and attorney fees billed to public entities in the past - is a pattern and practice of out-of-control billing by outside firms that will make you more ill than when you first heard about the $1,500 toilet seat on Airforce I.


Continue reading "WHAT COST TO DEFEND DIRTY COPS? ORANGE COUNTY TAXPAYERS ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF. " »

May 5, 2010

ORANGE COUNTY SHOULD STOP WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY PROTECTING A ROGUE, DIRTY COP

On July 7, 2007, Laguna Niguel resident Toy White, a beautiful, petite 5'1" blonde was beaten down in her home by a posse of Orange County sheriff deputies. Leading the pack was dogcatcher Harold Holmes. The dirty, ugly facts can be read in depth here. Download file

Today, the City of Mission Viejo settled Mrs. White's claims against City based on the dogcatcher's unlawful actions. Holmes' part in the ruckus was his insistence that Mrs. White relinquish her dog to him for quarantine even though the dog had its rabies shots, and the dog qualified for home quarantine.

Holmes burst into the house to take the dog, and four sheriff deputies burst in behind him, threw Mrs. White to the ground causing her serious injury, handcuffed her, arrested her for resisting arrest and battery on an officer, sent her to jail where she was strip searched, and caused her to be prosecuted.

Once the DA got the full picture, the DA dropped the charges.

But why isn't the County of Orange taking responsibility? Why? It was the cops who beat this tiny cosmetics rep into the ground in her own house. It was the cops who had her wrongfully prosecuted, having trumped up false charges to cover their dirty acts.

And the piece de resistence is that we've all heard about one of the dirty cops. Allan Waters. Ring a bell? Remember the rash of news stories about how a Sheriff's deputy let a raging drunk Waters drive home after a vehicle stop, only to have Walters hit another car head on, sending the elderly occupant to the hospital? Read about it HERE.

Yeah, that's our boy, Allan Waters. In his spare time, when he's not drinking, he's beating up 5'1" blonde cosmetic executives.

Well, he not only beat up little Toy White, he beat up another guy. That guy's name is Robert Isaac. Lo and Behold, Waters busted into Isaacs house, too, causing him injury. And guess what, the County of Orange is defending this cop who is on administrative leave and is pending two really serious civil rights suits.

Attorney Steve Ehrlich from Orange County represents the plaintiff in the Isaac beat down. I represent Mrs. White in the White beat down.

The County of Orange taxpayers are paying two high-priced lawfirms maybe $200 per hour to represent this dirty cop on two separate cases. How many tens of thousands of dollars will the taxpayers be forced to spend on the lawfirm of Sullivan & Ballog, who represents Waters in my case, and the firm of Lawrence, Beach, Allen & Choy in the Isaac beat down case. I guarantee you that by the end of both of these litigations, the County of Orange will have well exceeded $100,000 in attorney fees and litigations costs defending a dirty cop.

It's sickening. The taxayers should stand up and say "We're madder than hell and we're not going to take it any more." They should send the high-priced civil attorneys packing, along with their crummy client. Protect little elderly people from being smashed to smithereens by this drunkard Waters. Protect nice, law abiding cosmetic executives from being attacked in their houses by Waters. Protect whomever from whenever they run into Waters.

March 11, 2010

CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY MARY FRANCES PREVOST SUES UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO/COACH/POLICE ON BEHALF OF USD'S FORMER POINT GUARD ALLEGING RACIAL PROFILING/RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

In 2008, University of San Diego point guard Trumaine Johnson was at the top of his game. He led the USD Torero's basketball team to the NCAA playoffs under new coach Bill Grier.

But Johnson's tenure at USD was marked with significant instances of racial discrimination. On March 9, 2010, Johnson filed suit against USD, Coach Grier, and the San Diego Police Department (and others) for racial profiing/racial discrimination based on two instances where Johnson was wrongfully accused of crimes. After the second instance, in which Johnson was tacked, kneed in the back, pepper sprayed and arrested for a crime he did not commit and a crime the prosecutors declined to prosecute, he was let go from the Toreros.

For the San Diego City Beat articles, click HERE.

For the San Diego Union Tribune article, click HERE: