SLTPD citizen complaint forms to file “internal affairs” complaints against corrupt SLTPD officers



Code Enforcement complaint form

SLTPD corrupt officer complaint form



SLTPD citizen review board.png


On the first day of trial, the prosecutor learned the South Lake Tahoe Police
Department had placed Officer Spaeth on administrative leave. Officer Spaeth informed the prosecutor his department had issued a notice to terminate him based on alleged misconduct. The prosecutor filed a Brady /Pitchess motion seeking disclosure of information from Officer Spaeth ’s personnel file concerning incidents of dishonesty and conduct demonstrating moral turpitude relevant to the officer’s credibility as a witness. On March 12, 3013, the trial court met in chambers with counsel for the City of South Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler.


SLTPD-investigationssouth lake tahoe police misconduct.png




By  Posted January 28, 2016 In Blog

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So. Lake Tahoe lawyer Adam Spicer

It is no secret that the cops think they are above the law.  However, when the Chief of Police is blatantly wrong about the law and completely rude and disrespectful to the community he is supposed to serve, something must be done.  Last week, I had the chance stand up and do something and I did.  Here is what happened…. 

First, a little background on the situation.  A defendant in a criminal case has the right to call witnesses in their own defense. 

The Bill of Rights is actually quite clear on that.  Further, the defendant can use the subpoena power of the court to compel witnesses to attend court.  Of course, if a defendant had to pay witnesses to come to court, then it wouldn’t really be a clear right to call witnesses.  That would not be an issue in civil cases where the Bill of Rights is not at stake, but the right is clear in criminal cases.

Some time ago, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department (SLTPD) decided they wanted to test this right.  It would be quite easy to incarcerate more people if the police couldn’t be forced to testify when called by a defendant.  Some time last year, I served a subpoena on the police department.  I was told the subpoena wouldn’t be accepted without payment for testimony.  Kindly, I said “no thank you” to the request for payment and informed the SLTPD that they had been served.  The case ended up resolving with a plea bargain so the issue was never tested.

Fast forward to January 2016 when I served subpoenas for two officers at SLTPD on behalf of a client.  Once again, I was asked to pay the fee for testimony.  I informed the front desk staff that I was serving subpoenas in a criminal case and no fee was required.  I was once again asked to pay and once again I kindly replied “no thank you.”  I was told that the subpoenas would not be accepted and I refused to take them back.

As I was packing my belongings and walking out, the front desk staff began yelling at me and telling me that “you had better not report to the Court that I have been served.”  While being yelled at, I calmly informed the staff that they are represented by the city attorney and could raise a motion to quash the subpoenas.

Brian Uhler

Local’s are calling for the ouster of disgraced SLTPD Chief Brian Uhler

After leaving the police department, I contacted the city attorney as a courtesy to warn them about the problem brewing on their hands.

informed the city attorney that they may want to file a motion to quash my validly served subpoenas and that I would be happy to get this issue before the court so the Judge could give us a ruling on this matter.  I was told the city attorney would look into the matter and get back to me.

After a few days go by without hearing anything, I received a letter from the Chief of Police Brian Uhler.  This is by far my favorite part of the story.

Not only does the letter incorrectly cite the law to support the Chief’s incorrect legal position, he goes on to insult me.  The Chief accuses me of wildly flinging papers at his front desk staff and yelling at them.  He called my behavior “rude and unprofessional.”  I am sure those who are familiar with my reputation and the reputation of SLTPD and specifically Chief Uhler are rolling on the floor laughing right now.

Once you are done laughing at the Chief’s outrageous claims, there is more to the story.  Chief Uhler writes in his letter that he is holding the subpoenas and will not deliver them to the subpoenaed officers without the payment his department is demanding.  I took this as a gift.  He actually gave me proof, in writing with his signature, that he is actively interfering with a lawful subpoena (court order).  We have a legal term for the Chief’s actions and that is ‘contempt’.

I replied to Chief’s Uhler’s accusatory and factually incorrect letter to let him know that he is misinformed about the law and his staff is lying to him about the facts of our interchange.  I even cited the law for the Chief to read himself and I let him know that he has an attorney who can file a motion to quash the subpoena on his behalf.  I also informed him that if the Officers are not present in court, I will ask the Judge to enforce the validly served subpoenas and I will ask for contempt sanctions against him personally.  I felt the fair sanction would be for Chief Uhler to pay my hourly rate for all the time I spent on this issue.  And, once again, as a courtesy I sent copies of the Chief’s letter and my reply to the city attorney.

Within hours, I received word form the city attorney that I was 100% correct on the legal issue and the city would not be challenging the subpoenas.  I was further told that the subpoenaed officers would be present in court and the city attorney will hold a training for SLTPD staff to teach them how to read and deal with subpoenas.  I am so happy that the police may actually learn something.  I am very glad to be responsible for the SLTPD staff to have to attend a training.  Although you would think being able to read “civil” vs. “criminal” would be a prerequisite to obtaining a job at SLTPD, that doesn’t seem to be the case and hopefully the training will cover these simple points.

As a champion for due process rights in South Lake Tahoe, any victory no matter how large or small is great for the citizens here and great for the Constitution in general.  Even though this issue was only in one case for one client, the outcome of this issue affects everyone in South Lake Tahoe.  I am happy that I could go to the mat for the people of South Lake Tahoe and the Constitution.  I would do it again in a minute for any of my clients.  My commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights requires no less.

If you have questions regarding your Constitutional rights or you are facing criminal charges in California or Nevada, contact The Law Office of Adam T. Spicer today for a FREE CONSULTATION (530) 539-4130.

So. Lake Tahoe needs to implement a Citizen review board for So. Tahoe police internal affairs complaints.

sltpd complaint

Greetings So. Lake Tahoe City Council:
I am requesting an “agenda item” to be placed on the next city council meeting to address citizen complaints against the police. The city needs to implement a Citizen review board for So. Tahoe police internal affairs complaints. Complaints against SLTPD officers known as “internal affairs” complaints appear to be covered-up by the corrupt SLTPD.
Many cities in California have implemented citizen review boards and South Lake Tahoe is a major tourist destination. The locals also deserve accountability. My experience is that the SLTPD covers-up citizen complaints against their personnel.
This cover-up and white-washing must stop and there must be accountability and transparency in the SLTPD especially with the false arrests, police shootings, excessive force and neglect of SLTPD officers to follow State laws and withholding police reports from crime victims.
“In many communities in the United States, residents participate to some degree in overseeing their local law enforcement agencies. The degree varies. The most active citizen oversight boards investigate allegations of police misconduct and recommend actions to the chief or sheriff. Other citizen boards review the findings of internal police investigations and recommend that the chief or sheriff approve or reject the findings. In still others, an auditor investigates the process by which the police or sheriff’s department accept or investigate complaints and reports to the department and the public on the thoroughness and fairness of the process. Citizen oversight systems, originally designed to temper police discretion in the 1950s, have steadily grown in number through the 1990s. But determining the proper role has a troubled history. This publication is intended to help citizens, law enforcement officers and executives, union leaders, and public interest groups understand the advantages and disadvantages of various oversight systems and components. In describing the operation of nine very different approaches to citizen oversight, the authors do not extol or disparage citizen oversight but rather try to help jurisdictions interested in creating a new or enhancing an existing oversight system by: • Describing the types of citizen oversight. • Presenting programmatic information from various jurisdictions with existing citizen oversight systems. • Examining the social and monetary benefits and costs of different systems. The report also addresses staffing; examines ways to resolve potential conflicts between oversight bodies and police; and explores monitoring, evaluation, and funding concerns. No one system works best for everyone. Communities must take responsibility for fashioning a system that fits their local situation and unique needs. Ultimately, the author notes, the talent, fairness, dedication, and flexibility of the key participants are more important to the procedure’s success than is the system’s structure.”
Thank You,
-Ty Robben

Pressure mounts to remove So. Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler

Brian Uhler

SLTPD Chief Brain Uhler may be forced out

SLTPD Chief Brain Uhler faces mounting criticism for covering up wrongdoing in the department by not allowing citizens and visitors to file complaints or “internal affairs” investigations against SLTPD officers. The complaints against officers including Sgt. Shannon Laney are used in Pitchess motions and the So. Tahoe Police are failing to include these by not filing or allowing people to file complaints. If a complaint never gets filed, it does not exist.

The Mayor and city counsel are being informed of the problem and residents are demanding a change in leadership.

A Pitchess motion is a request made by the defense in a California criminal case, such as a DUI case or a resisting arrest case, to access a law enforcement officer’s personnel information when the defendant alleges in an affidavit that the officer used excessive force or lied about the events

Stay tuned as this story develops.

Recall petitions against both Joe Harn and Vern Pierson to start at the same time




Auditor Controller Joe Harn Petition for Recall: harn-petition-for-recall-letter
District Attorney Vern Pierson Petition for Recall: pierson-petition-for-recall-letter
joe harn breaks law will DA vern pierson prosecute
Auditor Joe Harn breaks the law, Will DA Vern Pierson prosecute?


Every person we elect to public office works for “the people” – us. We pay their lavish salaries and expect them to work hard on our behalf. Unfortunately, some elected officials turn out badly and need to be fired. Here are just a few of the reasons some of us think Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson should be fired:

joe harn
Joe Harn

Auditor-Controller Joe Harn & His Corrupt Practices

Failure to make authorized payments for reasons of personal and political motivation in violation of California State Penal Code Sections 424 and 425.
  • Participating in an immoral scheme whereby some County Elected Officials receive non-performance bonuses increasing the amount of both their six figure base salaries and retirement pensions for reasons such as simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office. Failure to protect the fiscal integrity of the County by willfully refusing to prepare a complete Cost Allocation Plan.
  • Failure to produce and submit required County bill payment disclosure reports to the Board of Supervisors in violation of County Ordinance Code Sections 3.16.130 and 3.16.140.
  • Engaging in inappropriate conduct including: harassment, bullying, and disrespectful conduct towards County employees, vendors, and staff of other agencies.


vern pierson
Vern Pierson

District Attorney Vern Pierson & His Corrupt Practices –

Abusing the power and resources of office to pursue criminal prosecutions and civil litigation against innocent persons and businesses for personal and political reasons, such as, generating career building publicity and punishing political enemies.

  • Participating in an immoral scheme whereby some County Elected Officials receive non-performance bonuses increasing the amount of both their six figure base salaries and retirement pensions for reasons such as simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office.
  • Participating in an immoral scheme whereby the District Attorney receives extra pay ($104.00 per hour) as “County Chief Technology Officer”, thereby gaining access to all e-mail messages moving through the County internet system including the Public Defender’s Office.
  • Abusing court rules to discredit Judges for personal and political reasons.
  • Failing to impanel a Criminal Grand Jury to investigate his political ally Auditor-Controller Joe Harn for official misconduct to determine if Harn should be removed from office as recommended by the 2014-15 Civil Grand Jury in their report “Putting Political Gain Over What’s Right For The County”.

If you agree that we as citizens should fire Joe Harn and Vern Pierson for their corrupt practices and bad behavior, then please help us get the 10,626 signatures we need to exercise our civil rights by placing their recall election on the ballot by signing and circulating both official recall petitions with your friends and neighbors!

Some of our local community leaders who have experience successfully qualifying ballot measures in our County are joining forces with another community group and are starting a recall of all 5 EDC supervisors now.  I don’t not have much detail yet.

These leaders contacted me this weekend because they are also tired of the corruption and want to circulate recall petitions against both Joe Harn and Vern Pierson at the same time and asked me if I would help with the Pierson & Harn recall effort only.  So I am writing to you to see if you are interested in working on the Pierson & Harn portion of this recall, not the others at this time.  Things are moving very quickly!!!

Please follow these directions carefully:

Step 1: Who can sign a Petition?

Any registered voter can sign a Recall Petition for the countywide positions of District Attorney and Auditor.  If you need assistance with determining whether or not you are a registered voter, you may call the Elections Department during normal business hours: (530) 621-7480

Step 2: Click and Print the Petitions
Auditor Controller Joe Harn Petition for Recall: harn-petition-for-recall-letter
District Attorney Vern Pierson Petition for Recall: pierson-petition-for-recall-letter
Step 3: Complete the numbered signature blocks
  • Print your name and residence address, as you are registered to vote.
  • Sign your signature underneath your printed name, and print the name of the city in which you live and your zip code.
  • Do not use “ditto marks” anywhere on the Petition.
  • You do not have to fill in all of the signature blocks for the petition to be valid. You may submit your petition with as few as one completed signature block.
Step 4: Mail to: Neighbors Against Corruption, P.O. Box 268, Shingle Springs, CA 95682

Petition Instruction Block
Click image to enlarge

DA Vern PiersonHi Everyone – A Very Interesting Developing is taking place! 

Here are the petitions – we just need 20 signatures:



Some of our local community leaders who have experience successfully qualifying ballot measures in our County are joining forces with another community group and are starting a recall of all 5 EDC supervisors now.  I don’t not have much detail yet.

These leaders contacted me this weekend because they are also tired of the corruption and want to circulate recall petitions against both Joe Harn and Vern Pierson at the same time and asked me if I would help with the Pierson & Harn recall effort only.  So I am writing to you to see if you are interested in working on the Pierson & Harn portion of this recall, not the others at this time.  Things are moving very quickly!!!


Please follow these directions carefully:

Step 1: Who can sign a Petition?

Any registered voter can sign a Recall Petition for the countywide positions of District Attorney and Auditor.  If you need assistance with determining whether or not you are a registered voter, you may call the Elections Department during normal business hours: (530) 621-7480

Step 2: Click and Print the Petitions

Step 3: Complete the numbered signature blocks
  • Print your name and residence address, as you are registered to vote.
  • Sign your signature underneath your printed name, and print the name of the city in which you live and your zip code.
  • Do not use “ditto marks” anywhere on the Petition.
  • You do not have to fill in all of the signature blocks for the petition to be valid. You may submit your petition with as few as one completed signature block.
Step 4: Complete the “Declaration” of Person Circulating
  • One person MUST completely fill out the section entitled “DECLARATION OF PERSON CIRCULATING SECTION OF RECALL PETITION” at the bottom of the recall petition form.
  • The person that fills out the Declaration can be different than the signers in the Signature Blocks. This means that you can print a Petition, ask your neighbors to sign it, and then you can fill out the Declaration.
Step 5: Mail to: Neighbors Against Corruption, P.O. Box 268, Shingle Springs, CA 95682

Petition Instruction Block
Click image to enlarge

South Lake Tahoe Police Officers Laney and Wilson caught up in filing false affidavits

Police Chief Brian Uhler pictured. South Lake Tahoe residents and tourists were shocked last year when former South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Johnny Poland was sentenced to 18 months in prison for similar fabrication, falsification and corruption committed by Officers Laney and Wilson.

See El Dorado County News Story here: Protest Expected Against Tahoe Police And County DA

 Chris, Thanks for posting the story about the shenanigans on this new trumped-up charge on me by the SLTPD. The DMV had to “reserve” me the notice my license would be suspended because of the “improper service” …Let’s just call it perjury since the form itself say “signed under the penalty of perjury” and Sgt. Shannon Laney committed perjury by signing a false statement there and on the reports along with Cody Willson.

I want to file a complaint and criminal charges against Sgt. Laney and Officer Wilson and the SLTPD tells me I need to go to their main office in So. Lake Tahoe – in person to file the “Internal Affairs” form… First of all, I live 3 hours away and I don’t have my license because of the fraud committed by Laney and Wilso. Secondly, I DO NOT want to be around the SLTPD or their corrupt cops so they can harass me more and tase me and jail me on another trumped-up charge. If I go, I am bringing the “worlds largest CRIME SCENE tape” and protesting the SLTPD and demanding Laney and Wilson are FIRED!!!!!! Happy New Year


Lake Tahoe cop watchers

South Lake Tahoe Police Officers Laney and Wilson caught up in filing false affidavits and fabricating false DUI arrests.

south lake tahoe police department

South Lake Tahoe Officer Shannon Laney rides his corruption mobile and writing false affidavits “under the penalty of perjury”

Stay tuned as this story develops and as we await comments from South Lake Tahoe Chief Brian Uhler and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson to see if criminal charges will be filed against the perpetrators Officers Laney and Wilson.

South Lake Tahoe residents and tourists were shocked last year when former South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Johnny Poland was sentenced to 18 months in prison for similar conduct.

In 2013 the South Lake Tahoe and the El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson were the subject of a protest and a series of negative news reports.

Residents protest South Lake Tahoe police

scandalCorrupt law enforcement in South Lake Tahoe?

That’s what some people believe. And they took to the streets Monday to make their feelings known. Ty Robben organized the Jan. 28 demonstration along Al Tahoe Boulevard. Robben’s issues started last fall when bounty hunters busted down his door. He’s been waiting for the South Lake Tahoe cops to finish the report. He even went to the City Council meeting last week to plead the electeds to intervene to speed up the process.

El Dorado County District Attorney

In 2013 the South Lake Tahoe and the El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson were the subject of a protest and a series of negative news reports of rampant malicious & vexatious prosecutions against political “enemies” of DA Vern Pierson. Other complaints of “cover-ups” and “selective prosecution” prompted more protests. The protests continue going into 2015 with El Dorado County residents preparing for a RECALL of their corrupt and scandalous DA Vern Pierson.


 A similar situation occurred in Southern California:


October 3, 2012 6:23 AM

First of five parts

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That’s how Charles Dickens opened his epic novel of turmoil in England and France on the brink of revolution. In 1775 those two crime-ridden capitals couldn’t have been more different and yet more alike.

Today two cities exist in the state of California only 90 miles apart. Both are governed by identical drunken driving laws and yet their treatment of police officers suspected of committing the identical crimes of perjury and filing false statements couldn’t be more different.


In each case, investigations were commenced when drivers, suspected by the police of driving under the influence were pulled over, subjected to field sobriety tests and then arrested. In each case, the charges were dropped as a result of police conduct. And in each case the arresting officer who filed the police report was a decorated DUI cop having won awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The difference is that in Los Angeles, LAPD officers Craig Allen and Phillip Walters are facing charges punishable by up to four years and eight months in state prison, while in Santa Barbara, as far as the public knows, Officer Kasi Beutel has never been suspended, cited or subjected to any misconduct proceedings.

She remains on the job and in uniform – and on Jan. 28, she was promoted to beat coordinator.

// //

Further, she has received nothing but praise or support from the police chief and multiple officials including the District Attorney’s Office, three Superior Court judges, and the city attorney.
Continue reading

A suspicious device found Wednesday morning in front of the El Dorado County Courthouse in South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KCRA) —A suspicious device found Wednesday morning in front of the El Dorado County Courthouse in South Lake Tahoe has been deemed “non-explosive,” the South Lake Tahoe police department said.

A groundskeeper working at the El Dorado County Courthouse at 1354 Johnson Blvd. noticed the device in front of the courthouse about 6:35 a.m, police said.

An explosive ordinance team was brought to the scene and deployed a robot to asses the device.

The police dispatch center was evacuated, and all emergency and nonemergency calls were being forwarded to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. All normal business activity has resumed.

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department is investigating the incident.

Officer hanging up her shield after 29 years with SLTPD

Donna Kingman the day before her last shift at SLTPD689431-south-tahoe-now-donna-kingman.jpg
What does a police officer do after they retire?

Hunt for Bigfoot, of course.

That is what South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Donna Kingman said she’ll be doing after hanging up her shield after 29 years of working in the community. Her official last day is April 30, but Thursday was her last shift working in uniform.

Of course, she won’t be hunting for Bigfoot in cold, shaded areas as she’ll be seeking sun and a life of being “footloose and fancy free.”

The South Tahoe High graduate (she was a member of the class of 1984) has lived most of her life on the South Shore, leaving only to earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice at Sacramento State University.

After a life of service to the local community, Kingman and her husband will be doing a lot of traveling. When asked what she’ll be doing on her first day of retirement, she answered without hesitation, “sleeping in!” Of course, with someone who normally wakes up just before 4:00 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. shift, sleeping in could be mean rising before most of us wake up.


Who should determine whether a corrupt South Lake Tahoe Police officer faces criminal charges after the use of deadly force — a corrupt DA like Vern Pierson or a grand jury — is at the heart of a legal argument surrounding the June death of Kris Jackson in South Lake Tahoe.


With this killing of an unarmed man and other corruption in the SLTPD (Johnny Poland, Sgt. Shannon Laney and Cory Wilson history of perjury and fabricating evidence, editing dash cam video, etc) there can be no doubt we need a “CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD” to monitor the South Tahoe Police and citizen complaints made against the bad cops within the SLTPD. The El Dorado DA under Vern Pierson will do anything to avoid prosecuting a SLTPD officer for things like perjury in the courts let alone murder. These people cover-up for each other every single day – it’s called the “thin blue line” that protects these gang-bangers from the laws the rest of us have to live by. They consider themselves “above the law”.

kris jackson

Kris Jackson MURDERED by SLTPD

Who should determine whether a police officer faces criminal charges after the use of deadly force — a district attorney or a grand jury — is at the heart of a legal argument surrounding the June death of Kris Jackson in South Lake Tahoe.

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office has sought to convene a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges are warranted against officer Joshua Klinge, who shot and killed the 22-year-old Sacramento resident during an incident June 15. The DA’s effort to assemble the grand jury in the matter follows a Jan. 1 change in California law prohibiting grand juries from reviewing officer-involved shootings.

The district attorney’s office filed documents with California’s Third District Court of Appeals in March as part of its effort to use a grand jury to determine if criminal charges against Klinge are warranted. Prosecutors took the matter to appeals after El Dorado County Superior Court discharged a grand jury proceeding over the shooting in February.300-Increase-in-Cops-Charged-with-Murder-in-2015-Still-a-Long-Way-to-Go

The case has attracted attention from the California District Attorneys Association, which has applied with the appeals court to file a letter supporting the El Dorado DA’s effort, according to court documents. The association opposed the passage of California Senate Bill 227, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in August. The law took effect Jan. 1 and prohibits the use of a grand jury to determine whether charges will be brought against officers who use deadly force. Supporters of the law argued the grand jury process provides little transparency and allows prosecutors to sidestep responsibility for determining whether to prosecute police officers. Prior to passage of the bill, the DAs association argued California’s grand jury system is more fair than federal and other states’ systems and argued for a more moderate approach to reform than removing all incidents of deadly force from the possibility of grand jury review.

A California District Attorneys Association representative declined to comment for this story. El Dorado County District Attorney Office spokesman Dave Stevenson also declined to comment on the possible prosecution of Klinge, citing the ongoing legal argument.


Police responded to the Tahoe Hacienda Inn in the early morning hours of June 15 following a report of a woman screaming. Klinge shot Jackson around 2:40 a.m. as Jackson was attempting to flee out of a window at the inn. Klinge said he perceived a deadly threat from Jackson prior to the shooting, according to a previous statement from the city. Jackson was unarmed at the time. Klinge was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting.

A federal wrongful death suit filed against the city and members of its police force by Jackson’s parents, Angela Ainely and Patrick Jackson, is likely to be delayed as the legal issues surrounding potential criminal charges are resolved. Attorneys on both sides of the wrongful death suit have suggested a pause in the civil case until a determination regarding possible criminal charges against Klinge is made.

“As noted by Plaintiffs, the El Dorado District Attorney has refused to render a decision with respect to any criminal disposition of the officer’s use of force, but has instead attempted to convene a Grand Jury to consider the officer’s conduct,” wrote Bruce Praet, the attorney representing the city in the wrongful death suit, in an April 14 filing in federal court in Sacramento. “However, as of January 1, 2016, California Penal Code § 917(b) now expressly prohibits Grand Jury consideration of an officer’s use of deadly force. … Unfortunately, the Third District has now determined that the Writ Petition should be considered on the merits, but no briefing schedule has been set.”

Attorney Alan Laskin, who is representing Jackson’s parents in the civil suit, agreed that a stay in the case is necessary.

“Plaintiffs are not prepared to proceed with discovery in this case because of a pending action in state court on which the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is attempting to overturn law regarding the use of a grand jury to indict a police officer for acts similar to those claimed in this case,” Laskin wrote.

A trial date of spring 2018 for the civil case is suggested in the filing, although the date is subject to extension.


Body cameras on every Placerville officer (SLTPD Next?) they need this

south tahoe police camThis past week, the Placerville Police Department joined the short list of law enforcement agencies in the nation to go from testing body-worn cameras to outfitting every officer on the street with the technology.

The city’s police force is the first agency in the foothills to go to full deployment of body-worn cameras and joins the small but growing list of California agencies equipping their entire police force with body-worn cameras.

The police department began testing and evaluation of body-worn camera technology in early 2015 following then Mayor Patty Borelli and the City Council’s acceptance of a grant from the Northern California Cities Self Insurance Fund. The community and City Council were updated on the project in July 2015, advising of the lessons learned and the growing preference for the Taser Axon Flex cameras coupled with Samsung handheld devices.
In January of this year, Mayor Trisha Wilkins and the City Council continued support for the project authorizing the chief of police to enter into a purchase and service agreement with Taser International Inc. to equip the entire police force with Taser Axon Flex Body-Worn Cameras. The approximate $28,000 cost for the equipment and software with three years of support was mostly offset by an approximately $18,500 grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

“The City Council and I have supported this project from the onset,” said Wilkins. “The ongoing modernization of our police force provides our community the very best service they deserve.”

The Placerville Police Department decided on utilizing this technology for various reasons which include: to enhance agency transparency, to improve digital evidence collection, to strengthen officer performance and accountability, to document encounters between police and the public and to investigate and resolve complaints and officer involved critical incidents.

“We are excited to equip all of our officers with this essential tool,” said Police Chief Scott Heller. “This tool helps increase transparency and accountability within the ranks and within the community; it puts everyone, officers and citizens alike, on their best behaviors.”

The Taser Axon Flex camera issued by the Placerville Police Department is a collar-mount camera that captures video closely within the line of sight of the officer. The police department took public input on the body-worn camera project at its public strategic plan meeting in March of 2015, during City Council meeting updates and continues to invite public input.
After consultation with the Placerville Police Officers Association, the U.S. Department of Justice, Police Executive Research Forum, International Association of Chiefs of Police, California Police Chief’s Association and various other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the department has established a comprehensive policy aiming to strike a balance between the need to capture video evidence and privacy concerns. With this in mind, the police department will move forward with this technology in a way that aims to preserve and enhance the informal and unique relationships between police officers and citizens.

Training all the officers on these policies and the practices for the body-worn camera will help the success of the program.

“We did not rush to implement this in response to current events or trends, without careful consideration and planning,” Heller explained. “We have been slow and methodical with this process including over a year of testing and evaluation to ensure that the public and our officers have a clear understanding of the benefits of the body-worn cameras.”

The issuance of the equipment to 20 police officers began on Tuesday, April 12. All police officers went through standardized training from a representative of Taser International Inc. Many questions about the technical aspects of the cameras and evidence storage were answered.

Because Placerville Police Department is the first in the county to utilize this technology, representatives from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office partnered with the police department during the training to gain insight into the digital evidence management system. As the technology becomes commonplace the expectation is reduced time in court and increased successful prosecutions.

43 California judges were reprimanded for misconduct last year

Sex in chambers and delegating decisions are just some of the errant behaviors by California judges in 2014

Two judges had sex with women in their chambers, one with his former law students, the other with his court clerk.

A traffic court judge delegated his job to his clerk. While the judge was in chambers, the clerk heard pleas and imposed sentences.

A family law court judge excoriated two parents who appeared before him as “rotten” and the mother a “train wreck” and a “liar.”

The judges, among 43 disciplined last year by California’s Commission on Judicial Performance, received rebukes ranging from public censure or admonishment to a confidential “advisory” letter. The state watchdog agency documented the transgressions in an annual report that provides a behind-the-scenes look at errant behavior on the bench and how it is addressed.

Sexual transgressions are likely to be viewed with gravity, as are repeated remarks from the bench that belittle and humiliate lawyers and litigants, the new report suggested. The vast majority of complaints against judges result in no discipline, and most misconduct is resolved by sending judges private letters.

UC Berkeley law professor Christopher Kutz said a judge’s conduct must be extreme before the system metes out discipline. The state has about 1,800 judges, and generally fewer than 50 each year receive some form of reprimand.

“Certainly,” Kutz said, judges disparage lawyers and litigants “much more often than the number of disciplinary cases would suggest. There is a lot of latitude for judicial misbehavior.”

Judicial misconduct may be underreported because few people know there is even a mechanism for filing complaints, said Victoria B. Henley, director and chief counsel for the watchdog agency.

Judges elected by voters to the trial bench are more likely to get in trouble than jurists appointed by governors, and female judges and those with the most seniority tend to have less misconduct, records show.

“It does vary from year to year,” Henley said. “Here it is only past March and we already have three cases with formal charges” against judges.

Among the five most serious offenders last year were Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner, a former prosecutor elected to the bench, and Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward, appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Steiner had sex in his chambers with two former students and tried to get one of them a job in the county prosecutor’s office, the commission said. Woodward had sex with his court clerk in chambers and passed her salacious notes during proceedings, according to the report.

“Engaging in sexual intercourse in the courthouse is the height of irresponsible and improper behavior by a judge,” the commission said.

Woodward’s misconduct could have led to his removal from the bench, the report said, but being contrite, fully cooperating with investigators and earning reviews that he was hard-working, intelligent and conscientious spared him.

Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian, appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian in 1988, received a public admonishment for treating attorneys in a “sarcastic and belittling manner.” Sohigian told a lawyer who objected to a ruling that he would explain it to him “sometime when you pay tuition.”

The commission said Sohigian was a repeat offender — he had been privately disciplined twice before — and it rejected his defense that he was trying in one case to curb a lawyer’s disrespectful attitude.

“Even when dealing with difficult litigants and counsel,” the commission said, ‘”judges are required to comport themselves in accordance with the Code of Judicial Ethics.” The rules say judges must be dignified and courteous.

Solano County Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Healy, cited for denigrating family law litigants, called parents “rotten,” told others they were “stupid and thuggish” and “a total human disaster.”

In one case, he told parents that if their child were like them, they “might as well have her start walking the street as a hooker.” In another, Healy told a father that his plans to get a job represented “pie in the sky” because he was “morbidly obese and at risk of dying any time.”

Healy, elected to the bench in 2010, explained that he had to be blunt to send a message.

The fifth case of public punishment was fairly clear cut. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Scott, appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, received a public admonishment for driving under the influence.

Nearly 90% of the complaints came from litigants or their relatives. Attorneys filed complaints in 3% of the cases and judges and court staff in 2%.

The report showed that the number of complaints has been generally rising since 2005, and the percentage of those disciplined has been relatively flat. The commission has recommended yanking judges from the bench only six times since 2005, a sanction reserved for persistent and pervasive misconduct.

Misconduct that led to removals in the past included ticket-fixing, accepting expensive gifts from lawyers and litigants whose cases the judges decided, lying to the commission and submitting false reports for court expenses, Henley said. Three judges in San Diego County who were removed on the commission’s recommendation later went to federal prison for using the U.S. mail to transmit false information to the commission, Henley said.

The bulk of disciplinary cases result in confidential letters advising judges of their errant ways or rebuking them. The governor and the president can see these so-called stinger letters if the judges are under consideration for promotion.

Most discipline last year and in the past involved judges who mistreated litigants and lawyers. In 2014, people without lawyers appeared to suffer disproportionally from judicial wrath. One unidentified judge not only berated a criminal defendant representing himself but “sometimes appeared to assume a prosecutorial role in questioning the defendant,” the commission said.

Several judges received advisory letters for failing to disclose potential conflicts of interest or showing favoritism. One judge got in trouble for comments on social media that smacked of impropriety and partiality. Another was dinged for waiting more than nine months to sign a proposed judgment in a civil case.

Henley said most of the dismissed complaints involve judges’ rulings. The commission, made up of lawyers, judges and members of the public, does not discipline jurists for legal errors. Some complaints cite behavior that is not misconduct, such as asking a litigant questions during a small-claims hearing.

The point of making public the circumstances behind confidential rebukes, the report said, was to educate the public and “assist judges in avoiding inappropriate conduct.”

Twitter: @mauradolan

CA: AG Harris Drops Appeal in Wake of Judge’s Suggestion Prosecutor be Tried for Perjury

In the wake of an extraordinary oral argument in front of a 9th Circuit panel during which Judge Alex Kozinski suggested a prosecutor be tried for perjury and threatened to name state officials in an opinion that would “not be pretty,” the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed a motion dropping the state’s opposition to a habeas petition in a 1995 double-murder case.

Sidney Powell at the Observer picked up on the video of the argument in Baca v. Adams, a case “infected with false testimony–including by a prosecutor himself–over benefits given to a ‘cooperator’ or a jailhouse ‘snitch,’” and with good reason.  In remarkably withering questioning of Supervising Deputy Attorney General Kevin Vienna, Judges Kozinski, Wardlaw, and Fletcher turned a routine appeal from a denial of a habeas petition into an excoriation of the behavior not only of two Riverside County prosecutors, but the State Attorney General’s failure to discipline or try them for apparently suborning perjury and lying in open court.

Responding to the Epidemic

This all comes against the backdrop of Judge Kozinski’s now widely commented on dissentback in late 2013, where he declared there was “an epidemic” of prosecutorial misconduct “abroad in the land,” and that, “Only judges can put a stop to it.”  In the oral argument in Baca, he has now taken this effort one step further, suggesting a possible cure for the disease he has identified: prosecute the prosecutors who break the law, as we would any other citizen.

The government’s theory of the case in Baca was that the adopted son of a gay man in Riverside County (named in court papers only as “Tom”) conspired with his friend Johnny Baca to kill his adoptive father and his partner in a murder-for-hire scheme; “Tom” and Baca allegedly planned to share the proceeds of the former’s inheritance.

In a familiar pattern, one of the lead witnesses for the prosecution was a jailhouse informant who told the jury he had received no deal for leniency from the prosecutor in return for his testimony against Baca.  In a more unusual circumstance, the prosecutor at Baca’s first trial, then Deputy District Attorney Robert Spira, took the stand at Baca’s second trial to verify and confirm that the witness had indeed received no deal.

In their decision on Baca’s appeal from his conviction in the second trial, a California appellate court wrote, “[Prosecutor Robert Spira’s] claim that the informant never requested leniency for testifying against defendant is sheer fantasy for the simple reason that he actually got just that…Unfortunately, the testimony from the second trial bears only a superficial resemblance to reality.”  Though the opinion never used the word, the undeniable implication was that Spira had lied on the stand, and that his perjury had been suborned by the prosecutor at the second trial, Deputy District Attorney Paul Vinegrad.

Alas, in another familiar pattern, the same court concluded that despite the prosecutorial malfeasance no prejudice had resulted, and it affirmed Baca’s conviction.  Thus, Baca filed his habeas petition in federal court, setting up the eventual oral argument.

An Opinion Would “Not be Pretty”

Among the issues that the panel, with Kozinski in the lead, hammered the State’s lawyer, Kevin Vienna, with are:

  • DDA Spira putting on the false testimony that the informant didn’t receive a deal during Baca’s first Riverside County trial.
  • Spira himself lying on the stand when confronted on this question in Baca’s second Riverside County trial.
  • DDA Vinegrad soliciting Spira’s false testimony
  • The California Attorney General’s Office vehement attempts to keep the transcript of the informant’s subsequent sentencing, which made the existence of the actual deal clear, secret and out of the hands of the State Court of Appeals
  • The California Attorney General’s Office complete failure to investigate, discipline, or bring charges against either Spira or Vinegrad for their conduct.

The fireworks begin at around eighteen minutes into the argument.  At nineteen minutes, when the State’s lawyer tries to fend off the question of whether Spira knowingly lied on the stand, Judge Kozinski leans forward and asks, “Has he been prosecuted for perjury?”  Not a question one hears everyday from a Federal Judge about a prosecutor.

In the series of colloquies that follow, Kozinski repeatedly demands to know if the California Attorney General has made any effort to investigate, reprimand, or bring criminal charges against Spira or Vinegrad.  The frequently dumbfounded lawyer can only keep stammering, “Not to my knowledge.”

Judge Wardlaw asks, incredulously, how is it that “Tom”, the supposed instigator of the murder-for-hire scheme was himself never prosecuted?  The most the lawyer can offer is that “Tom” did indeed inherit the money in question but “isn’t currently reachable.” Was “Tom” in fact a cooperating informant against Baca, who avoided his own culpability by testifying against him?  Or was the entire murder-for-hire theory cooked up by the informant?  Again, the lawyer for the State can offer no explanation.

Judge Fletcher, the third panelist, expresses deep skepticism about the Attorney General’s own culpability in the aftermath of the case by pointing out how vociferously the State resisted letting the Court of Appeals even see the sentencing transcript that revealed the prosecutors had lied.

But it is when the argument begins to reaches its conclusion that things get roughest for the State’s lawyer.  At 30:11 Kozinski flatly tells the lawyer, “You will provide this information [about the prosecutorial misconduct] to the Attorney General in the next forty-eight hours,” and soon after tells Vienna to ask her, Kamala Harris, “if she really wants to stick by a prosecution that was obtained by lying prosecutors.”  By thirty-six minutes in, he is telling Vienna that any opinion by the panel would “not be pretty” for the State, that such an opinion would “names names” of state officials, and goes so far as to announce from the bench that the case will not be considered submitted, until the State reports back on whether it has reconsidered the conviction itself.

Tellingly, Judge Kozinski seems well aware of the 9th Circuit’s new practice of video-taping its oral arguments, and the effect that might have in broadcasting his message, as indeed it has.  At one point he tells Vienna, “There is not only a transcript of this hearing, there is a video, you can play the video for your boss and the Attorney General.”

A Politician Reverses Course

Clearly, Vienna did play Kamala Harris the video.  It shouldn’t escape anyone’s attention in all this that Harris has recently announced her intention to run for Senate to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer.  Judge Kozinski is no doubt aware of this.

By calling her office out, and nudging anyone who was listening to take advantage of the power of video and the internet to spread the news that he was calling her out, Kozinski was giving one example of what the judiciary’s role in fighting the “epidemic” of prosecutorial misconduct might be: to act as a megaphone for the daily cries of defense counsel faced with what, in Baca, Kozinski called “the perfidy of the prosecutors.”

Some in the blogisphere have questioned whether giving California the opportunity to avoid an ugly opinion by instructing it to reconsider Baca’s conviction before submitting the case is letting them off the hook too easily.  As we commented in a post last week, courts all too often avoid actually making new law about prosecutorial misconduct, preferring to declaim against it in dicta, or in this case from the bench.

The point is fair one.  This oral argument lays bare with unusual clarity the morass of lying, jailhouse informant deals, and subsequent attempts to cover-up misconduct that are all part of the epidemic Kosinski has condemned. But it is neither a holding, nor does it make any new law about standards for prosecutorial misconduct.

But in the age of the internet, it has done something few written opinions can do.  It has garnered widespread attention not only to a particular case, but to a seeming impunity for lying for California prosecutors, that would otherwise have been the subject of a few paragraphs in a decision that few would have read.  Indeed, it has done more than garner attention.  It has embarrassed a politician, and without even ordering it, effectively granted Johnny Baca a new trial.

South Lake Tahoe police asking for public’s help in locating CHO-MO

Rafael Corea.jpgSouth Lake Tahoe police are asking for the public’s help in locating a convicted sex offender who has allegedly failed to register his residence with police.

Rafael Corea was convicted for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor aged 14 or 15 in 1995, according to a press release from the City of South Lake Tahoe.

“This conviction requires him to register as a sexual offender for the remainder of his life,” according to the release. “In the fall of 2015 Corea failed to register with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department as a sexual offender. Failure to register as required by law amounts to a felony violation of the California Penal Code. Detectives discovered Corea has moved out of his former residence in South Lake Tahoe, Ca and his current whereabouts are unknown.”

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department holds a felony arrest warrant for Corea for failure to register.

Information on registered sex offenders can be found at

Police ask anyone who may have information about this case to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 530-542-6100 or, to remain anonymous, Lake Tahoe Secret Witness at 530-541-6800.

Salaries for South Lake Tahoe employees and overpaid corrupt cops


2011–2014 salaries for South Lake Tahoe
1,240 employee records found – Page 1 of 25

Download records | View cost per resident, median pay and more | View all agencies

Search within these records:


Name Job title Regular pay Overtime pay Other pay Total
Total pay &
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$101,840.90 $0.00 $82,039.15 $76,428.16 $260,308.21
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$91,555.14 $47,652.28 $32,325.72 $81,900.41 $253,433.55
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$169,998.40 $0.00 $13,992.28 $59,453.01 $243,443.69
HEWLETT, MARTIN D Police Captain
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$134,269.78 $0.00 $13,226.26 $87,821.42 $235,317.46
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$163,333.40 $0.00 $6,000.02 $64,190.28 $233,523.70
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$107,957.20 $0.00 $32,052.21 $89,388.67 $229,398.08
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$91,555.14 $34,911.70 $26,290.08 $74,748.80 $227,505.72
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$143,608.50 $0.00 $19,762.24 $61,462.46 $224,833.20
REAGAN, JEFFREY S Police Sergeant
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$91,141.56 $41,141.98 $22,144.88 $69,947.17 $224,375.59
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$142,512.27 $0.00 $21,503.25 $60,102.41 $224,117.93
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$69,546.70 $22,507.08 $104,173.80 $24,423.91 $220,651.49
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$112,297.99 $0.00 $18,641.07 $86,184.18 $217,123.24
UHLER, BRIAN Chief of Police
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$142,512.26 $0.00 $14,302.62 $60,227.83 $217,042.71
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$91,141.59 $16,433.31 $33,136.39 $75,300.98 $216,012.27
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$91,555.18 $22,145.88 $26,481.28 $75,738.32 $215,920.66
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$112,297.99 $0.00 $19,735.41 $81,501.77 $213,535.17
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$151,071.68 $0.00 $9,244.24 $51,739.85 $212,055.77
Phillip B Williams POLICE SERGEANT
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$91,555.17 $11,441.89 $29,105.14 $79,525.99 $211,628.19
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$107,062.42 $0.00 $23,528.41 $80,063.02 $210,653.85
ZACHAU, RAYMOND E Division Chief
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$115,600.50 $0.00 $9,691.72 $84,030.50 $209,322.72
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$171,175.34 $0.00 $4,608.30 $33,124.68 $208,908.32
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$88,017.83 $18,138.83 $25,562.11 $74,829.95 $206,548.72
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$78,021.06 $33,943.44 $22,423.96 $71,550.22 $205,938.68
STEVENSON, DAVID O Police Lieutenant
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$111,789.78 $0.00 $13,082.87 $78,113.74 $202,986.39
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$88,017.83 $16,345.99 $22,793.90 $74,002.64 $201,160.36
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$88,017.83 $14,760.15 $23,839.29 $70,486.07 $197,103.34
WILLIAMS, BRIAN K Police Lieutenant
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$95,823.85 $2,006.00 $25,448.83 $72,416.06 $195,694.74
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$150,501.09 $0.00 $9,127.89 $32,900.34 $192,529.32
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$78,330.46 $29,837.05 $14,581.88 $69,229.22 $191,978.61
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$131,499.60 $0.00 $3,258.28 $56,283.62 $191,041.50
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$86,394.38 $18,624.37 $13,350.47 $72,470.90 $190,840.12
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$78,895.00 $20,560.30 $22,350.81 $68,848.00 $190,654.11
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$88,017.82 $13,027.86 $19,908.51 $68,759.61 $189,713.80
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$83,314.46 $25,477.38 $14,323.50 $64,927.63 $188,042.97
Shannon N Norrgard POLICE SERGEANT
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$88,017.83 $6,866.95 $20,341.00 $72,813.97 $188,039.75
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$91,141.59 $7,718.55 $18,852.30 $70,059.32 $187,771.76
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$86,394.38 $21,116.50 $6,348.96 $71,229.40 $185,089.24
VULETICH, CHRISTINE M Director of Finance
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$126,730.72 $0.00 $2,116.58 $54,639.86 $183,487.16
Jeffery Roberson POLICE OFFICER
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$76,558.22 $20,279.94 $20,563.22 $66,042.64 $183,444.02
LANEY, SHANNON J Police Sergeant
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$87,621.44 $14,352.74 $14,422.95 $65,089.79 $181,486.92
South Lake Tahoe, 2013
$79,656.85 $11,024.73 $18,334.26 $70,767.20 $179,783.04
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$85,142.02 $0.00 $24,303.23 $70,193.13 $179,638.38
ANDERSON, JON L Fire Captain
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$74,355.14 $12,632.24 $23,779.46 $68,646.06 $179,412.90
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$78,820.89 $11,008.48 $17,334.73 $70,583.90 $177,748.00
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$142,394.07 $0.00 $6,266.65 $29,084.47 $177,745.19
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$111,653.75 $0.00 $34,497.25 $31,586.44 $177,737.44
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$76,836.46 $12,241.03 $21,563.39 $66,857.67 $177,498.55
South Lake Tahoe, 2012
$128,473.41 $0.00 $1,927.12 $47,042.38 $177,442.91
South Lake Tahoe, 2014
$58,363.48 $7,912.97 $83,783.35 $27,132.65 $177,192.45
ADLER, JOSHUA H Police Sergeant
South Lake Tahoe, 2011
$87,621.42 $7,296.35 $16,252.09 $65,711.69 $176,881.55


So. Tahoe “PIG” Department

south lake tahoe pig department.jpg

“COP,” “FUZZ,” and “PIG” Explained

Since the terms, especially “PIG,” have been the subject of discussion here, it is often helpful to understand the etymology (origins) of the words:

From your friendly, neighborhood English major/writer:

(Remember, etymology is NOT an exact science.)

COP: Cop the noun is almost certainly a shortening of copper, which in turn derives from cop the verb. Copper as slang for policeman is first found in print in 1846, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The most likely explanation is that it comes from the verb “to cop” meaning to seize, capture, or snatch, dating from just over a century earlier (1704). As with many words, there are several stories floating around positing various origins, almost certainly false. The notion that cop is an acronym for “Constable On Patrol” is nonsense. Similarly, the word did not arise because police uniforms in New York (or London or wherever) had copper buttons, copper badges, or anything of the sort.

FUZZ: The origin of “fuzz” is uncertain. The expression arose in America in the late 1920s and early 1930s, probably in the criminal underworld. It never quite replaced cop. There are several theories about the origin of “fuzz”:

— American Tramp and Underworld Slang, published in 1931, suggests that “fuzz” was derived from “fuss,” meaning that the cops were “fussy” over trifles.
— A mispronunciation or mishearing of the warning “Feds!” (Federal agents). This seems unlikely.
— Etymologist Eric Partridge wonders if “fuzz” might have come from the beards of early police officers. This also seems improbable.
— Evan Morris suggests the word “arose as a term of contempt for police based on the use of ‘fuzz’ or ‘fuzzy’ in other items of derogatory criminal slang of the period. To be ‘fuzzy’ was to be unmanly, incompetent and soft. How better to insult the police, after all, than to mock them as ineffectual?” That explanation seems as good as any, and better than most.
— This slang term may be in reference to the sound of the field radios that police commonly use. It surfaced in Britain in the 1960s.

PIG: If you thought the term pig arose in the 1960s, you’re in for a surprise. The Oxford English Dictionary cites an 1811 reference to a “pig” as a Bow Street Runner–the early police force, named after the location of their headquarters, before Sir Robert Peel and the Metropolitan Police Force. Before that, the term “pig” had been used as early as the mid-1500s to refer to a person who is heartily disliked. The usage was probably confined to the criminal classes until the 1960s, when it was taken up by protestors. False explanations for the term involve the gas masks worn by the riot police in that era, or the pigs in charge of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

I know — not an “Ask a Cop” question, but maybe it will help answer someone else’s.

Filing A Complaint against corrupt El Dorado county judges

bad judge

How Do I File a Complaint?

Complaints must be in writing. You may use the commission’s Complaint Form or write a letter to the commission. Electronic filing of complaints is not available; complaints must be submitted to the commission office:

455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400
San Francisco, California 94102

If your complaint is about a subordinate judicial officer (an attorney employed by the court to serve as a court commissioner or referee), your complaint must first be directed to the court in which the subordinate judicial officer sits.

See Overview of Commission Proceedings and Commission Proceedings Chart for further information.

Can the Commission Handle a Complaint About Any Judge?

No. The commission’s jurisdiction includes all judges of California’s superior courts and the justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.  The commission also has jurisdiction over former judges for conduct prior to retirement or resignation.  Additionally, the commission shares authority with the superior courts for the oversight of court commissioners and referees. The Director-Chief Counsel of the commission is designated as the Supreme Court’s investigator for complaints involving the judges of the State Bar Court. However, the commission does not have authority over federal judges, workers’ compensation judges, judges pro tem or private judges.  See Questions 10 through 14 on the FAQ’s page for further responses to this question.

What Should Be in My Complaint?

  • The name of the judge, court commissioner or referee.
  • The court in which the judicial officer sits.
  • A detailed description of the action or behavior that you believe is misconduct.*
  • The names and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the events described.
  • The date or dates on which the conduct occurred.
  • The type of court case involved and your relationship to the case.
  • If your complaint is about a court commissioner or referee, provide copies of your
    correspondence to and from the local court.
  • * A complaint should not simply state conclusions, such as “the judge was rude” or “the judge was biased.” Instead, the complaint should fully describe what the judicial officer did and said. If a court document or an audio or video tape evidences the misconduct, you may submit a copy (do not send original documents) or mention it in your complaint.

    What Types of Conduct Does the Commission Investigate?

    Some examples of judicial misconduct are improper demeanor, failure to disqualify when the law requires, receipt of information about a case outside the presence of one party, abuse of contempt or sanctions, and delay in decision-making.  Conduct for which discipline has been imposed has been categorized by Types of Misconduct.

    What if I Think the Judge’s Ruling Was Wrong?

    An error in a judge’s decision or ruling, by itself, is not misconduct. Appeal may be the only remedy for such an error, or there may be no remedy. The commission is not an appellate court. The commission’s authority is limited by law to investigating the complaint and, if appropriate, imposing discipline. The commission does not have the authority to change a judge’s decision or ruling or to issue orders in any case, including ordering anyone to be released from jail, granting a new trial, disqualifying a judge from hearing a case, assigning a new judge to a case, or granting or changing custody, visitation or child support orders. Neither the commission nor its staff is authorized to give legal advice or respond to requests for assistance with individual legal matters.

    What Happens After I File My Complaint?

    Each complaint is acknowledged by letter when it is received at the commission office. The commission considers each complaint and determines whether sufficient facts exist to warrant an investigation or whether the complaint is unfounded and should not be pursued. Until the commission has authorized an investigation, staff does not contact the judge or court personnel; however, to assist the commission in its initial review of a complaint, the commission’s legal staff will research any legal issues and may obtain additional relevant information from the complainant.  The commission’s procedures are explained in Overview of Commission Proceedings.

    How Long Will It Take the Commission to Reach a Decision on My Complaint?

    It is difficult to predict how long it will take for the commission to reach a final decision regarding a particular complaint. Some complaints can be handled quickly; others are more complex and take more time.

    Will I Be Told What Action the Commission Has Taken on My Complaint?

    Each person who submits a complaint is notified in writing after the commission has reached a final decision regarding the complaint. Unless public discipline has been issued, the complainant will be advised either that the commission has closed the matter or that appropriate corrective action has been taken, the nature of which is not disclosed. When public discipline is issued, the notice of such discipline is provided to the complainant.

    Are Complaints Treated Confidentially?

    The California Constitution and the rules governing the commission provide for confidentiality of complaints and investigations. During the investigation process, considerable effort is made to protect complainants’ and witnesses’ identities. If the matter is sufficiently serious to warrant the filing of formal charges, the case becomes public and the charges and all subsequently filed documents are made available to the public, and any hearings in the matter are open to the public. A complainant may be called to testify at the hearing.



    When a corrupt DA is “Blown Away” everyone wins


    Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest

    “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”

    “An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction, and one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. lf the arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the killing will be no more than an involuntary manslaughter.” Housh v. People, 75 111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7 Conn. 452; State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43 Ohio 349; State v Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34 Minn. 3621.

    “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

    “These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

    “An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery.” (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).

    “Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense.” (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

    “One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

    “Story affirmed the right of self-defense by persons held illegally. In his own writings, he had admitted that ‘a situation could arise in which the checks-and-balances principle ceased to work and the various branches of government concurred in a gross usurpation.’ There would be no usual remedy by changing the law or passing an amendment to the Constitution, should the oppressed party be a minority. Story concluded, ‘If there be any remedy at all … it is a remedy never provided for by human institutions.’ That was the ‘ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice.’” (From Mutiny on the Amistad by Howard Jones, Oxford University Press, 1987, an account of the reading of the decision in the case by Justice Joseph Story of the Supreme Court.

    As for grounds for arrest: “The carrying of arms in a quiet, peaceable, and orderly manner, concealed on or about the person, is not a breach of the peace. Nor does such an act of itself, lead to a breach of the peace.” (Wharton’s Criminal and Civil Procedure, 12th Ed., Vol.2: Judy v. Lashley, 5 W. Va. 628, 41 S.E. 197).

    You are also within your rights not to answer any questions without a lawyer present, and if possible, to demand a video recording be made of the entire encounter that you or your lawyer keep as evidence, so that federal prosecutors can’t get away with charging you with making false statements to a government investigator and testilying about what you said. See this article.

    As a practical matter one should try to avoid relying on the above in an actual confrontation with law enforcement agents, who are likely not to know or care about any of it. Some recent courts have refused to follow these principles, and grand juries, controlled by prosecutors, have refused to indict officers who killed innocent people claiming the subject “resisted” or “looked like he might have a gun”. Once dedicated to “protect and serve”, far too many law enforcement officers have become brutal, lawless occupying military forces.


    When Should You Shoot A Cop

    That question, even without an answer, makes most “law-abiding taxpayers” go into knee-jerk conniptions. The indoctrinated masses all race to see who can be first, and loudest, to proclaim that it is NEVER okay to forcibly resist “law enforcement.” In doing so, they also inadvertently demonstrate why so much of human history has been plagued by tyranny and oppression.

    In an ideal world, cops would do nothing except protect people from thieves and attackers, in which case shooting a cop would never be justified. In the real world, however, far more injustice, violence, torture, theft, and outright murder has been committed IN THE NAME of “law enforcement,” than has been committed in spite of it. To get a little perspective, try watching a documentary or two about some of the atrocities committed by the regimes of Stalin, or Lenin, or Chairman Mao, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or any number of other tyrants in history. Pause the film when the jackboots are about to herd innocent people into cattle cars, or gun them down as they stand on the edge of a ditch, and THEN ask yourself the question, “When should you shoot a cop?” Keep in mind, the evils of those regimes were committed in the name of “law enforcement.” And as much as the statement may make people cringe, the history of the human race would have been a lot LESS gruesome if there had been a lot MORE “cop-killers” around to deal with the state mercenaries of those regimes.

    People don’t mind when you point out the tyranny that has happened in other countries, but most have a hard time viewing their OWN “country,” their OWN “government,” and their OWN “law enforcers,” in any sort of objective way. Having been trained to feel a blind loyalty to the ruling class of the particular piece of dirt they live on (a.k.a. “patriotism”), and having been trained to believe that obedience is a virtue, the idea of forcibly resisting “law enforcement” is simply unthinkable to many. Literally, they can’t even THINK about it. And humanity has suffered horribly because of it. It is a testament to the effectiveness of authoritarian indoctrination that literally billions of people throughout history have begged and screamed and cried in the face of authoritarian injustice and oppression, but only a tiny fraction have ever lifted a finger to actually try to STOP it.

    Even when people can recognize tyranny and oppression, they still usually talk about “working within the system”–the same system that is responsible for the tyranny and oppression. People want to believe that “the system” will, sooner or later, provide justice. The last thing they want to consider is that they should “illegally” resist–that if they want to achieve justice, they must become “criminals” and “terrorists,” which is what anyone who resists “legal” injustice is automatically labelled. But history shows all too well that those who fight for freedom and justice almost always do so “illegally”–i.e., without the permission of the ruling class.

    If politicians think that they have the right to impose any “law” they want, and cops have the attitude that, as long as it’s called “law,” they will enforce it, what is there to prevent complete tyranny? Not the consciences of the “law-makers” or their hired thugs, obviously. And not any election or petition to the politicians. When tyrants define what counts as “law,” then by definition it is up to the “law-breakers” to combat tyranny.

    Pick any example of abuse of power, whether it is the fascist “war on drugs,” the police thuggery that has become so common, the random stops and searches now routinely carried out in the name of “security” (e.g., at airports, “border checkpoints” that aren’t even at the border, “sobriety checkpoints,” and so on), or anything else. Now ask yourself the uncomfortable question: If it’s wrong for cops to do these things, doesn’t that imply that the people have a right to RESIST such actions? Of course, state mercenaries don’t take kindly to being resisted, even non-violently. If you question their right to detain you, interrogate you, search you, invade your home, and so on, you are very likely to be tasered, physically assaulted, kidnapped, put in a cage, or shot. If a cop decides to treat you like livestock, whether he does it “legally” or not, you will usually have only two options: submit, or kill the cop. You can’t resist a cop “just a little” and get away with it. He will always call in more of his fellow gang members, until you are subdued or dead.

    Basic logic dictates that you either have an obligation to LET “law enforcers” have their way with you, or you have the right to STOP them from doing so, which will almost always require killing them. (Politely asking fascists to not be fascists has a very poor track record.) Consider the recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling, which declared that if a cop tries to ILLEGALLY enter your home, it’s against the law for you to do anything to stop him. Aside from the patent absurdity of it, since it amounts to giving thugs with badges PERMISSION to “break the law,” and makes it a CRIME for you to defend yourself against a CRIMINAL (if he has a badge), consider the logical ramifications of that attitude.

    There were once some words written on a piece of parchment (with those words now known as the Fourth Amendment), that said that you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures at the hands of “government” agents. In Indiana today, what could that possibly mean? The message from the ruling class is quite clear, and utterly insane. It amounts to this: “We don’t have the right to invade your home without probable cause … but if we DO, you have no right to stop us, and we have the right to arrest you if you try.”

    Why not apply that to the rest of the Bill of Rights, while we’re at it? “You have the right to say what you want, but if we use violence to shut you up, you have to let us.” (I can personally attest to the fact that that is the attitude of the U.S. “Department of Justice.”) “You have the right to have guns, but if we try to forcibly and illegally disarm you, and you resist, we have the right to kill you.” (Ask Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians about that one.) “You have the right to not testify against yourself, but when we coerce you into confessing (and call it a ‘plea agreement’), you can’t do a thing about it.” What good is a “right”–what does the term “right” even mean–if you have an obligation to allow jackboots to violate your so-called “rights”? It makes the term absolutely meaningless.

    To be blunt, if you have the right to do “A,” it means that if someone tries to STOP you from doing “A”–even if he has a badge and a politician’s scribble (“law”) on his side–you have the right to use whatever amount of force is necessary to resist that person. That’s what it means to have an unalienable right. If you have the unalienable right to speak your mind (a la the First Amendment), then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to shut you up. If you have the unalienable right to be armed, then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to disarm you. If you have the right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to inflict those on you.

    Those who are proud to be “law-abiding” don’t like to hear this, and don’t like to think about this, but what’s the alternative? If you do NOT have the right to forcibly resist injustice–even if the injustice is called “law”–that logically implies that you have an obligation to allow “government” agents to do absolutely anything they want to you, your home, your family, and so on. Really, there are only two choices: you are a slave, the property of the politicians, without any rights at all, or you have the right to violently resist “government” attempts to oppress you. There can be no other option.

    Of course, on a practical level, openly resisting the gang called “government” is usually very hazardous to one’s health. But there is a big difference between obeying for the sake of self-preservation, which is often necessary and rational, and feeling a moral obligation to go along with whatever the ruling class wants to do to you, which is pathetic and insane. Most of the incomprehensible atrocities that have occurred throughout history were due in large part to the fact that most people answer “never” to the question of “When should you shoot a cop?” The correct answer is: When evil is “legal,” become a criminal. When oppression is enacted as “law,” become a “law-breaker.” When those violently victimizing the innocent have badges, become a cop-killer.

    The next time you hear of a police officer being killed “in the line of duty,” take a moment to consider the very real possibility that maybe in that case, the “law enforcer” was the bad guy and the “cop killer” was the good guy. As it happens, that has been the case more often than not throughout human history.



    Larken Rose narrated the text he wrote, and the video below was edited by Pete Eyre, and published in November, 2012.

    Related post:


    kill corrupt cops

    How do we fix the police ‘testilying’ problem? Kill the fuckers.

    By Radley Balko April 16, 2014
    Back in 1967, former U.S. attorney and New York criminal judge Irving Younger warned that the criminal justice system was providing cops with heavy incentives to lie in court. (Note: The transcription of the article below contains some punctuation errors.)

    On March 20, in McCray v. Illinois, the Supreme [Court] held that when, on being questioned as to whether there was probable cause to arrest a defendant, a policeman testifies ‘that a “reliable informant” told him that the defendant was committing a crime the policeman need not name the informant[.] Justice Stewart, for himself: and four other members of the Court, said that “nothing in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state court judge in every such hearing to assume the arresting officers are committing perjury.”

    Why not? Every lawyer who practices in the criminal courts knows that police perjury is commonplace. The reason is not hard to find. Policemen see [themselves] as fighting a two‑front war — against criminals in the street and against “liberal” rules of law in court. All’s fair in this war, including the use of perjury to subvert “liberal” rules of law that might free those who “ought” to be jailed. And even if his lies are exposed in the courtroom, the policeman is as likely to be indicted for perjury by his co‑worker, the prosecutor, as he is to be struck down by thunderbolts from an avenging heaven.

    It is a peculiarity of our legal, system that the police have unique opportunities (and unique temptations) to give false testimony. …

    The difficulty arises when one stands back from the particular case and looks at a series of cases. It then becomes apparent that policemen are committing perjury at least in some of them. and perhaps in nearly all of them. Narcotics prosecutions in New York City can be so viewed. Before Mapp [v. Ohio] the policeman typically [testified] that [he] had stopped the defendant for little or no reason, searched him, and found narcotics on [his] person. This had the ring of truth. It was an illegal search (not based upon probable cause”), but the evidence was admissible because Mapp had not yet been decided. Since it made no difference, the policeman testified truthfully. After, the decision in Mapp it made a great deal of difference.

    For the first few months, New York policemen continued to tell the truth about the circumstances of their searches, with the result that evidence was suppressed. Then the police made the great discovery that if the defendant drops the narcotics on the ground, after which the police man arrests him, then the search is reasonable and the evidence is admissible. Spend a few hours in the New ‘York City Criminal Court nowadays and you will hear case after case in which a policeman testifies that the defendant dropped the narcotics on the ground whereupon the policeman arrested him.

    Usually the very language of the testimony is identical from one case to another. This is now known among defense lawyers and prosecutors as “dropsy” testimony. The judge has no reason to disbelieve it in any particular case, and of course the judge must decide each case on its own evidence, without regard to the testimony in other cases. Surely, though, not in every case was the defendant unlucky enough to drop his narcotics at the feet of a policeman. It follows that at least in some of these cases the police are lying.

    That was nearly 50 years ago. We still haven’t figured out how to solve the problem.

    One by one, five police officers took the witness stand at the Skokie courthouse late last month for what would typically be a routine hearing on whether evidence in a drug case was properly obtained.

    But in a “Perry Mason” moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom, the inquiry took a surprising turn when the suspect’s lawyer played a police video that contradicted the sworn testimony of the five officers — three from Chicago and two from Glenview, a furious judge found.

    Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest, leading prosecutors to quickly dismiss the felony charges. All five officers were later stripped of their police powers and put on desk duty pending internal investigations. And the state’s attorney’s office is looking into possible criminal violations, according to spokeswoman Sally Daly.

    “Obviously, this is very outrageous conduct,” a transcript of the March 31 hearing quoted the judge, a former county prosecutor, as saying. “All officers lied on the stand today. … All their testimony was a lie. So there’s strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie. … Many, many, many, many times they all lied.”

    All five are veteran officers. Glenview Officer Jim Horn declined to comment Monday, while the other four — Sgt. James Padar and Officers Vince Morgan and William Pruente, all assigned to narcotics for Chicago police, and Glenview Sgt. Theresa Urbanowski — could not be reached for comment.

    As Michelle Alexander pointed out in a New York Times op-ed last year, a Brooklyn judge recently had the same revelation.


    In 2011, hundreds of drug cases were dismissed after several police officers were accused of mishandling evidence. That year, Justice Gustin L. Reichbach of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn condemned a widespread culture of lying and corruption in the department’s drug enforcement units. “I thought I was not naïve,” he said when announcing a guilty verdict involving a police detective who had planted crack cocaine on a pair of suspects. “But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.”

    In fact, Younger’s warning has been repeated ad nauseam over the years by other judges, defense attorneys, conscientious police chiefs, numerous academics and law journal articles, and whistleblowers.

    There are a number of reasons for the “testilying” problem. As Alexander points out, even since Younger’s time, the federal government only worsened the incentives by instituting a number of grants that reward police agencies for raw numbers of stops, arrests and convictions, particularly in drug cases. There are professional and financial incentives for racking up the stats, for police agencies as a whole, for the brass who lead them and for individual police officers. And there’s very little pushback for going too far to achieve those numbers.

    But one unfortunate truth is that police lying has long been encouraged by the Exclusionary Rule, the rule that (usually) prohibits evidence found during an illegal search from being used against a suspect at trial. This is an unfortunate truth because the Exclusionary Rule is also the only real deterrent to illegal searches. Eliminate the Exclusionary Rule, and cops may well stop lying about how they obtain evidence, but there will then be very little to stop them from violating the Fourth Amendment with impunity, based on little more than hunches. Remember, they’re lying to hide the fact that they may have violated someone’s civil rights. Remove the incentive to lie about the violation without removing or at least combating the incentive to commit the violation in the first place, and you’ve only fixed the coverup. You haven’t fixed the underlying crime. And this is one scenario where the crime is actually quite a bit worse than the coverup.

    So what do we do? My fellow Washington Post blogger Randy Barnett has suggested trading the Exclusionary Rule for increased liability for cops who commit constitutional violations in the form of financial awards to victims, whether they’re eventually found guilty or innocent. Barnett suggests that the awards be paid by police departments (and ultimately taxpayers), not individual police officers. This seems like a policy that would be politically difficult to enact into law. Given how pressure from police groups has made it difficult to pass basic reform even on a policy such as civil asset forfeiture — a much more obvious injustice to most people — convincing lawmakers to force agencies to pay awards to convicts because the evidence used to convict them was found in an illegal search seems like a tough sell. It also rests on the assumption that frequent awards for illegal searches will eventually move voters to push for reform. I’m just not convinced that will happen.

    The answer may actually lie in how those Chicago cops got caught. The ubiquity of citizen-shot video, along with the onset of mandatory dashboard camera and lapel camera videos, is making it increasingly difficult for cops to get away with lying. Interestingly, Younger hinted at this 47 years ago.

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    In March 1966, the American Law Institute promulgated a Model Code of Pre‑Arraignment Procedure, which provides that the police must make a tape recording of their questioning of an arrested person in order “to help eliminate factual disputes concerning what was said.” More recently the 20th police precinct in New York City has begun to tape‑record all interviews with suspects.

    But there will be no tape recordings on the streets . . .

    Perhaps not in 1967. But that is more and more the case today. All of those recordings are catching more and more cops in the act of lying. Every time a recording shows a cop to have lied, a number of things happen. First, that particular cop is (hopefully) disciplined. That probably doesn’t happen as often as it should, but judges and prosecutors tend to treat perjury much more seriously than they do an illegal search. Yes, in an ideal world, cops would be disciplined as harshly for the act of violating someone’s civil liberties as they are for lying about doing so to a judge or jury after the fact. But we have to work with what we have.

    Second, it serves as a warning to other cops who are lying or might lie in the future in police reports and courtrooms. The cameras are rolling. Eventually, you’ll be exposed. And third, it begins to undermine the prestige that police testimony holds with judges, prosecutors and political officials. It isn’t that cops are inherently dishonest people. But they are in fact merely people, subject to the same failings, temptations, bad incentives and trappings of power as someone in any other profession. Put another way, the problem isn’t that cops aren’t capable of telling the truth. The problem is that the courts have treated cops as if they’re incapable of lying. Video is changing that.

    Of course, for video to change police behavior, the video needs to exist. So the move toward dashboard cameras and lapel cameras is a good thing — provided there are safeguards to protect the privacy of regular citizens inadvertently recorded by those cameras. We also need the courts, or perhaps state legislatures, to adopt or pass a “Missing Video Presumption” — if there should be audio or video of an incident, and there isn’t, the courts should presume that the audio or video would not have supported the claims of the party that failed to preserve the evidence. (That would seem to be the police in most cases, but it could also be a suspect who destroys incriminating video on his surveillance camera or cellphone.)
    These policies — with a robust Exclusionary Rule and proper sanctions against cops shown by video to have committed perjury — won’t forever end the illegal searches or the practice of “testilying.” But they should begin to tilt the incentives, so that there’s at least as much to lose by skirting the Fourth Amendment (and then lying about it) as there is to gain.
    Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.”

    El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy involved in three-car crash

    Mark Zlendick, 48, was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for stealing more than a pound of methamphetamine and cocaine from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s evidence locker.


    Mark Zlendick

    An officer working for a drug task force was using methamphetamine while on duty and compromised cases, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson said on Monday.

    Mark Zlendick, 48, was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for stealing more than a pound of methamphetamine and cocaine from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s evidence locker.

    Zlendick admitted to trafficking in connection with the case, which was uncovered when Douglas County deputies responded to a domestic dispute between he and his girlfriend in May 2015.

    Zlendick’s attorney David Houston said Zlendick was an addict who took the drugs for his own use.

    “It was never the case where he sought to enrich himself,” Houston said.

    Zlendick said he was addicted to alcohol and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous four times a week, but said the demands of his position caused him to back off to once a month.

    “I was dealt a bad hand in life,” he said. “I lost contact with my higher power.”

    When he was arrested, he said his first thought was to try and leave the country, but decided to accept punishment for the crimes.

    “I stand here and accept my medicine,” he said.

    However, Jackson took issue with statements that Zlendick had only been using for a couple of months and that it was to feed an addiction.

    “He said he’d only been using for three months and on weekends,” Jackson said. “This is not a crime of addiction.”

    While there were only 38 grams of the drugs left when Zlendick was arrested, Jackson said the deputy filled a lunchbox half full with cocaine and methamphetamine slated for disposal. The theft amounted to 10 ounces of each drug, or 567 grams combined. Nevada law considers 28 grams to be the highest level of trafficking.

    Jackson said the negotiations resulted in just one charge being filed, and that because of the plea agreement, Zlendick won’t face California and federal charges.

    Jackson read transcripts of text messages between Zlendick and the woman, that asked if he was going to bring “presents” home from a run to dispose of illegal drugs and guns.

    The texts show both the woman and Zlendick were increasingly concerned about the amount of drugs they were consuming. When deputies arrived at Zlendick’s Centerville home on May 19, 2015, his girlfriend told them they were arguing over the large amount of drugs they were using.

    Jackson said cases Zlendick participated in had to be dismissed because he’d removed evidence.

    He met the girlfriend at Alcoholics Anonymous and texted back and forth about the drugs.

    When the task force learned of Zlendick’s arrest, they searched his workstation and found 3.4 grams of cocaine and empty capsules in his desk.

    Under Nevada law there are only two possible sentences for trafficking, either 10 years to life in prison or 10-25 years in prison.

    District Judge Tom Gregory said that the sentence was justified regardless of the legislation.

    “You abused your power as a police officer,” he said. “You did everything you could to return this poison to the community.”

    Jackson said it will be 10 calendar years before Zlendick is eligible for probation. Zlendick had only been in jail for six days since his arrest, and was taken into custody by the sheriff’s office after his hearing was completed.

    The recent action by the City of South Lake Tahoe’s council, to eliminate televising the public comments before the official agenda is commenced, shows utter disregard for the citizens of South Lake Tahoe.

    UPDATE: The city abruptly reversed this crappy tyrannical decision one week after massive backlash from the citizens and this author. 

    Mayor Wendy David and Councilman Hal Cole both called the temporary suspension of televising the comments a mistake

    Are you aware of the ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court case Times v. Sullivan (1964) which states this, in part:

    As Americans we have a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on Public Issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open.

    And that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.

    South Lake Tahoe City Council to resume televising public comments

    oops-logoSouth Lake Tahoe City Council will resume televising and streaming all public comments at its meetings, even if the comments pertain to issues that aren’t scheduled to be discussed.

    The council briefly suspended televising and streaming what are known as public comments on non-agenda items. The comments take place near the beginning of each meeting and allow anyone to raise issues relevant to the city, even if the topics are not on the meeting’s agenda.

    At its meeting Tuesday, April 19, council voted unanimously to resume televising and streaming comments on non-agenda items. The council also approved extending the time limit for the comments from 3 to 4 minutes for each speaker, while still allowing the mayor discretion in extending the time limit.

    Discussion at the meeting centered around balancing public access to city council meetings through televising the comments with the possibility of someone using the comment period for electioneering or making slanderous comments.

    “Your role here today is balancing those competing interests,” said South Lake Tahoe’s city manager Nancy Kerry.Ultimately, the council decided allowing the comments to be televised is the best policy.

    “I just think it’s good business,” said council member Tom Davis.

    Several people who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting said they supported televising the comments.

    “Common decency is the yardstick you should use, I should use,” said South Lake Tahoe resident and former council member Bill Crawford.

    He said he couldn’t recall a time during his eight years on city council when anyone got out of control during the comments. He added the city has the mechanisms, mainly a gavel and sergeant-at-arms, to regulate comments if someone does.

    “You simply have to use your judgment if someone is not up here to be decent,” Crawford said.

    Mayor Wendy David and Councilman Hal Cole both called the temporary suspension of televising the comments a mistake. Cole apologized to the public for the interruption.

    The city has televised public comments on non-agenda items from 1998 to 2003 and from 2011 until now.

    Under California’s open meeting laws, the council is not allowed to discuss an issue raised during public comments on non-agenda items at length or take action until the issue is placed on an agenda.

    censorshipThe recent action by the City of South Lake Tahoe’s council, to eliminate televising the public comments before the official agenda is commenced, shows utter disregard for the citizens of South Lake Tahoe.

    They spend all kinds of money on the websites, communications, etc., and then they knock out one of the most important tools that citizens have for finding out what is really happening in the city.

    I guess the city management doesn’t want any criticism of their operations and has decided to cut off any citizens who do criticize their actions or lack of actions

    Mayor Windy David is a cunt who wants to censor public comments


    All council people except JoAnn Conner supported this effort. It is getting to feel like we are in some third-rate communist country as these erudite rulers trample over our free speech.

    Not to mention, if anybody logs in late to the council meeting, they will get a blank screen and think the website is not operating because there is no sound or picture of the citizens making their non-agendized statements.

    Jim Morris

    South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

    They are trying to cover-up complaints about the South Lake Tahoe Police being made by citizens calling for the ouster of Chief Brian Uhler. Locals want accountability including a “citizen review board” to review “internal affairs” complaints about wrongful SLTPD conduct like shootings without cause, Stateline sting operations, rampant perjury by police in the courts, editing dash camera videos, etc.

    Letter: City council considered ‘dysfunctional’

    It is amazing to me how everyone in authority runs for cover on an issue as important as the right of the public to be heard and the community to be allowed to witness those comments.

    Remember, it was a previous city council’s decision to relocate the “city hall” and council chambers on the outer boundary of the city, where it is inaccessible to many in the community. To that add our current mayor, who arbitrarily declared that the public’s opinions shall be silenced to the at-home audience. This is an arbitrary change in policy that defies any claim of transparency in our local government. It is obvious she did not concoct this scheme on her own.

    This is just one example of why this city council is considered “dysfunctional” by many citizens in this community.

    The $100 million Loop Road project could be decided by this same inept bunch if we don’t gather enough signatures to qualify the “Let Tahoe Decide Initiative.” It is time for the voters to take back some of the decision-making by putting the Loop Road decision on the November ballot.

    John N. Cefalu

    South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

    No more “Happy Endings” South Lake Tahoe police and city attorney Tom Watson will craft new regulations surrounding massage businesses in the city

    happy endingSouth Lake Tahoe police and city attorney Tom Watson will craft new regulations surrounding massage businesses in South Lake Tahoe in coming weeks.

    The South Lake Tahoe City Council directed Police Chief Brian Uhler and Watson to draft a new ordinance after hearing a presentation by detective Jeff Roberson and receiving public comment from several people in the massage industry at council’s Tuesday meeting. The proposed rules will come before the South Lake Tahoe City Council for possible approval at a future meeting.

    Tahoe’s South Shore has seen a rise in the number of massage businesses in the past several years. Shifting state rules, as well as fluctuating law enforcement funding, have made for inconsistent policing surrounding massage businesses across California, Roberson said. He acknowledged the many legitimate massage practitioners in the state and said his presentation is focused on businesses using massage as a front to conduct illegal activity in California, rather than legitimate massage therapy businesses.

    Human trafficking for labor and sex are among the main concerns for law enforcement when it comes to massage businesses, Roberson said.

    “The elephant in the room is prostitution — let’s just say it,” Roberson told the council.

    The city’s existing code in regard to massage businesses is “totally weak” and doesn’t provide necessary enforcement mechanisms, Roberson said. He called for city council to approve “light-to-moderate” regulations surrounding massage businesses, saying he understood that heavy-handed regulation can kill business.

    Several massage therapists in South Lake Tahoe said they were concerned with the recent proliferation of massage businesses in South Lake Tahoe and encouraged the council to adopt more stringent regulations when it comes to the industry.

    “I am concerned about the reputation of our community and the massage industry in South Lake Tahoe and the state of California,” Teresa Bertrand, the owner of BioSpirit Day Spa, told the council.

    Many of the massage businesses to open most recently in South Lake Tahoe bill themselves as offering Asian massage. In a January letter to the council, the owners of several of the businesses urged the city to consider changing its policies regarding the issuing of new storefront massage business licenses. The letter cites concerns about the increased number of massage businesses impacting existing outlets and the possibility of illegal activity.

    “We, who have legitimate Asian massage businesses in the city, are concerned that allowing a higher number of Asian massage businesses in South Lake Tahoe could cause non-professional illegal services to be performed in the additional new businesses trying to get started, by allowing masseuses who do not have enough customers to receive much higher tips for additional illegal services,” according to the letter. “This clearly would rapidly affect indirectly, but in a very negative way, our business image and our ability to continue to attract legitimate customers.”

    When the new regulations will be back before the city council for consideration is unknown.

    El Dorado County Political Update – Recall of Vern Pierson and Joe Harn Continues

    News Updates:

    Blogger’s Note – hope this thing succeeds. Reality says 90% of recall attempts fail to qualify.



    Placerville, CA – Local clean government advocates recently launched a new website dedicated to exposing and ending corrupt practices in El Dorado County government. Hosted by Neighbors Against Corruption, identifies criminal and office abusing actions of local elected officials, exposes corrupt practices occurring in County government, and builds a compelling case for recalling scandal plagued Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and abusive District Attorney Vern Pierson.

    Visitors to can learn more about the serious problem of El Dorado County corruption by downloading and reading published news stories, eyewitness accounts, and citizen testimony before the County Board of Supervisors concerning the inexcusable actions of some elected officials.  Topics featured on include: the 2014-15 El Dorado County Civil Grand Jury Report – “Putting Political Gain Over What’s Right For The County”,  the City of Bell like “El Dorado County Bonus Scandal”, the County’s “Bullying and Harassment Scandal”, unpunished felony conduct, and abuse of office by elected officials.

    Neighbors Against Corruption was formed in late 2015 by local residents horrified by the corrupt practices and actions of certain County elected officials to help clean-up El Dorado County government.

    Currently, the clean government group is gathering signatures from registered voters to place the recall of the County’s two most corrupt elected officials on the ballot. To succeed in their important first project, local clean government advocates need to finish collecting 10,626 signatures from registered El Dorado County voters by mid-May. State law prohibits public disclosure of voters who signed recall petitions or inspection of such petitions by anyone other than election department employees. Recall petitions can be downloaded from along with instructions on how to complete the petitions and where to send them.  For further information contact Dan Dellinger @ (530) 644-5663.

    DA also on recall list

    El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson

    El Dorado DA Vern Pierson on recall list


    Efforts to recall El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson are under way.The county Elections Department received and verified  20 signatures supporting the recall. The notice of intent to circulate a recall petition and affidavit of service was given to Elections officials on Nov. 24.


    Joe Harn recall, El Dorado County, California (2016)

    Joe Harn recall, El Dorado County, California
    Recall status
    Table of contents
    Recall supporters
    Recall opponents
    Path to the ballot

    An effort in El Dorado County, California, to recall Joe Harn from his position as county auditor-controller was officially launched on November 24, 2015.[1]The recall papers served to Harn by former county Information Technologies acting and interim director Kelly Webb accused Harn of incompetence and corruption.[1]

    Recall supporters

    The recall papers against Harn said that proponents are “seeking relief from the tyranny of our elected officials who have engaged in malfeasant acts and corrupt practices.”[1]

    Proponents cited five allegations against Harn:

    • Failure “to make authorized payments for reasons of personal or political motivation”
    • Failure to produce and submit required county bill payment disclosure reports to the Board of Supervisors in violation of County Ordinance Code …”
    • Involvement in an “immoral scheme” in which some officials received more pay and pension benefits for “simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office” (The Village Life says this refers to Harn’s Certified Public Accountant license)
    • Failure to “to protect the fiscal integrity of the county by willfully refusing to prepare a complete Cost Allocation Plan”
    • Engagement in “inappropriate conduct” including “harassment of employees, vendors and staff of other agencies”[1]

    Recall opponents

    Response from Joe Harn

    In an email to Village Life, Harn said, “Being county auditor-controller is a lot like being an umpire. I do my best to call the balls and strikes fairly. I don’t vote on the budget. I don’t write county policies. I don’t write state law regarding county spending. I do have a duty to point out cases where the county attempts to spend money in violation of our policies or state law. Occasionally people get mad at the umpire. I am not surprised that there are 20 people who want me out of office.”[1]

    Although the recall proponents alleged that Harn failed to prepare the Cost Allocation Plan, Harn said that the problems with the CAP stemmed from Webb’s from Webb’s failure to keep the correct billing records and timesheets.[1]


    Kelly Webb, who served Harn the recall papers, was formerly the county Information Technologies acting and interim director. Webb filed a lawsuit against the county in 2015 for discrimination, with Harn named in the suit along with El Dorado County’s District Attorney Vern Pierson and Human Resources Director Pamela Knorr. Webb said that the three of them worked together to remove her from her IT position and demote her back to CAO analyst. Pierson was later appointed to head the IT department.[1][2]

    Path to the ballot

    See also: Laws governing recall in California

    Those seeking the recall needed at least 20 signatures from resident voters in order to file a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition. Proponents served that notice to Harn on November 24, 2015. Harn had seven days to file a response with the Elections Department, which he did on December 1, 2015. After the Elections Department validates the Notice of Intention of Circulate Recall Petition, recall proponents have 120 days to collect 10,625 valid signatures from resident voters of the county. State law dictates that signatures from 10 percent of registered voters within the county be collected to qualify a recall for an election. This is the provision according to which the 10,625 siganture requirement was calculated. The elections department would then need to validate and certify the recall petition between 88 and 125 days before the election in June 2016.[1]

    Recent news

    This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms Joe Harn recall.

    Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google’s news search engine.

    See also

    External links



    End time nears for El Dorado County recall against supervisors, DA and auditor

    On October 27, 2015, Sue Novasel, the County Supervisor representing South Lake Tahoe, Meyers, Tahoma and Pollock Pines was served a “notice of intent to circulate a recall petition” by a group of citizens who said they are “tired of the corruption and cronyism that has plagued our county for years.” It wasn’t only Novasel, but all five of the County Supervisors, Shiva Frentzen, Ron Mikulaco, Michael Ranalli and Brian Veerkamp.

    Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson are also the subject of a recall initiated by a group, Neighbors Against Corruption out of Shingle Springs.

    El Dorado County Total Recall, the group organized by Dan Kelly of Placerville and four others to recall the five supervisors, has a few weeks left to gather the needed signatures.

    “We won’t know how many signatures we have until its all done,” said Kelly. “It is going as planned at this time, its just a matter of getting the people out gathering signatures to turn them in.”

    According to Justin Canning, Elections Technician for the County, 20 percent of the voters registered need to sign the petition to recall. In District 5, which includes South Lake Tahoe and Meyers, 3,530 people(as of today) would have to sign the recall paperwork to have Supervisor Novasel put on a recall ballot late this summer, or in early fall.

    Canning said that it is 20 percent of the voters in a district registered on the day the signatures are turned in, and in Novasel’s case that is March 29, 2015. People may sign the voter registration cards when signing the petition, as long as they are turned in by the March deadline he said.

    The signatures for the recall Veerkamp are also due on March 29, with those for Mikulaco and Frentzen on March 31, and Ranalli on April 12.

    Those seeking to recall Horn and Pierson, since they serve the whole county, must have 20 percent of the county’s registered voters sign their paperwork by May 22.

    Besides the general lack in trust of all elected officials serving in Placerville, the recall group has taken issue with the fact that Novasel’s Form 700 filed prior to the November 2014 election was different than the one she filed post-election in February of 2015.

    Every elected official and public employee who makes or influences governmental decisions is required to submit a Statement of Economic Interest, also known as a Form 700, to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

    “I don’t want to appear as a disgruntled candidate,” said Kenny Curtzwiler, who opposed Novasel in the November 2014 election. “I brought all of these Form 700 issues up prior to the election.”

    The recall committee said Novasel’s husband Robert owns property in Meyers, and his company has loaned money to people who may want to do business with the county. This would be a conflict of interest they say, and will make Novasel recuse herself from votes about Meyers and in issues where these clients are concerned.

    “I haven’t had to recuse myself from any votes so far,” said Sue Novasel. “I didn’t vote on the Vail Master Plan submitted to TRPA because I didn’t want to cause any public outburst of worries, but I didn’t have to do that. I don’t see anything coming up that I will have to recuse because of my husband’s lending company.” Novasel’s daughter worked for Vail Resort at the time of the vote.

    An initial FPPC investigation of Novasel’s Form 700 was conducted in June of 2015 which cleared Novasel of any wrong doing, but it lead County Counsel to remove Novasel from working on the Meyers Area Plan. The Board of Supervisors appointed Brian Veerkamp of District 3 to represent Novasel’s District 5 in those matters. At the time, Novasel said she was disappointed because a plan for Meyers had been something she’d been involved in for over 20 years.

    A second FPPC investigation stemming from a complaint filed on August 17 by Sue Taylor of Pollock Pines was still in active status according the California FPPC on January 27, 2016.

    A complaint those behind the recall had was her lack of availability to talk about issues.

    Novasel said she has an office located locally at 924B Emerald Bay Road and said she meets with constituents there as often as possible. She said anyone can call 530-573-7918 to set up an appointment with her assistant Judy, as Sue is in Placerville or at meetings with the nine agencies she was assigned as part of her supervisorial commitments. She also said she plans on a town hall meeting this spring and is at the monthly Tahoe Paradise Park Board meetings held in Meyers.

    Twenty-one people signed the notice to recall Novasel, one from Pollock Pines, the others from Meyers.

    Should the recall groups get the needed signatures to have a new election, the next steps will happen rather quickly. If the signatures are turned in on the final date for Horn and Pierson, their election could be held on the same ballot as the November primaries since one has to be held between 88 and 125 days from the day the Board of Supervisors receives the Election department’s certification of signatures. A special election would have to be called for any of the supervisors if the recall effort is successful.

    The cost of a special election would be about $80,000 for the first recall, according to Canning. Subsequent district elections would be approximately $20,000 each. He said they are using the estimates from the 2014 special election held to replace Ray Nutting, the ousted four-term supervisor from District 2.

    “All we’re doing in this recall is asking for a new election,” said Kelly. “The incumbent can still run, its not like we’re taking them out of office, we just think there are people who can do better.”

    “We want supervisors to be more representative of the public, not of special interests, Kelly continued. “We’re giving the electorate an opportunity to voice their opinion. The County wastes more money in five minutes than this recall will cost.”

    The recall groups are a mixture of Democrats, Republicans, Jeffersons and Independents according to Kelly.

    “I am thrilled to see that people are paying attention to whats going on and being active,” said Kelly. “If the recall succeeds or not, its good people are getting involved in the process. They are asking questions, reading and paying attention and I hope this has a lasting effect.”

    For more information on the recall, the issues and individual complaints against all five of the supervisors being recalled, visit


    El Dorado County DA, auditor face recall



    Vern Pierson and Joe Harn face recall

    By Kathryn Reed

    A group of residents is trying to recall El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson and Auditor-Controller Joe Harn.

    The county elections department on Dec. 14 expects to give the petitioners approval to move forward with the process.

    To start the process 20 valid signatures from registered voters had to be obtained for each elected official. Some of the signees have a history with Pierson and Harn, like Cris Alarcon who was prosecuted by Pierson and Kelly Webb who Harn questioned if she were suitable for the IT job at the county that she no longer has.

    Pierson and Harn easily won re-election in November 2014.

    Now the groups have 160 days to obtain approximately 10,625 valid signatures. If those are secured, then an election – at the taxpayers’ expense – will be called.

    These recalls are in addition the five Board of Supervisors who are being recalled. Signatures are being sought for them.

    On the petition against Pierson it says in part:

    “We the voters are seeking relief from the tyranny of our elected officials who have engaged in malfeasant acts and corrupt practices, including, but not limited to: Abusing the power and resources of office to pursue criminal prosecutions and civil litigation against innocent persons and businesses for personal and political reasons, such as, generating career building publicity and punishing political enemies.”

    Harn’s petition says in part: “We the voters are seeking relief from the tyranny of our elected officials who have engaged in malfeasant acts and corrupt practices, including, but not limited to: Failure to make authorized payments for reasons of personal and political motivation in violation of California State Penal Code Sections 424 and 425.”

    Pierson told Lake Tahoe News, “This group of imbeciles is costing the taxpayers money for something that has no real likelihood of success. If it is successful, it will cost the taxpayers a fortune.”

    Pierson and Harn had the opportunity to write a 200-word response to the petition. Those words have to be circulated with the full petition when seeking the 10,625 signatures.

    The DA used most of his allotment to go after Alarcon: “After serving as chair of the county Charter Review Committee, Cris Alarcon was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. Alarcon gave the deputy an Arizona license and claimed to be an Arizona resident. The plate tag on his car was stolen from his elderly neighbor. His wife admitted he did it to avoid license and registration. My office convicted him of multiple charges, including receiving stolen property, driving on a revoked license and false registration. Last year I was re-elected by a margin of 3 to 1. My opponent, a Placer County resident, claimed to live with Alarcon. Now this vengeful criminal seeks to waste thousands of your tax dollars on this bogus recall campaign. Don’t be conned by this criminal!”

    Harn told Lake Tahoe News, “Being county auditor-controller is a lot like being an umpire. I do my best to call the balls and strikes fairly. I don’t vote on the budget. I don’t write county policies. I don’t write state law regarding county spending. I do have a duty to point out cases where the county attempts to spend money in violation of our policies or state law. Occasionally people get mad at the umpire. I am not surprised that there are 20 people who want me out of office.”

    Psycho DA Vern Pierson is Getting Recalled Along with Ogre Joe Harn

    Please note: Rumor has it Vern Pierson has endorsed a candidate in the AD06 race. However she has not posted it on her website yet, I wonder why?

    For those of you that don’t read Right on Daily often – you should know that Vern Pierson is one of my favorite losers. He is up there with a certain non-college graduate Assembly-member with a hyped up resume. (Which may explain Pierson’s affinity for another such candidate – but I digress)

    Joe Harn is legendary for his temper and abuse of staff. Vern Pierson is a loser District Attorney who abuses his office to get what he wants and also let a felony domestic abuser walk because it did not suit him to prosecute. Friends of Pierson get hand-slaps. Enemies of Pierson get assaulted with his abuse of the legal system.

    Don’t forget that both Harn and Pierson rake in thousands in “Bonuses” over and above their bloated annual paychecks for abusing the taxpayers. Should you ever meet them, don’t bother shaking their hand – they both seem to have forgotten how to grip a handshake. (an Amazing irony, given they are a couple bullies)

    Please note – the above is called commentary. I think the above of Harn / Pierson and am not alone. Eventually everyone else in El Dorado County will agree with me. Or, they could just resign and the beatings will stop.

    Attached is a Press Release from a group seeking to cut Vern’s Hair a little shorter and to give Joe Harn some anger management counseling:


    Placerville, CA – Clean Government advocates uniting under the newly formed “Neighbors Against Corruption” served embattled Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson with a Notice of Intention to Recall under California Elections Code division 11, Article 2, triggering a recall petition drive.  Under State law, recall proponents must formally serve targeted elected officials with a legal notice that includes legitimate reasons or grounds for removal from office.

    The proponents cited the following grounds for the removal of Harn:

    Failure to make authorized payments for reasons of personal and political motivation in violation of California State Government Code Sections 424 and 425. (Both felonies)

    Participating in an immoral scheme whereby some County Elected Officials receive non-performance bonuses increasing the amount of both their six figure base salaries and retirement pensions for reasons such as simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office.

    Failure to protect the fiscal integrity of the County by willfully refusing to prepare a complete Cost Allocation Plan.

    Failure to produce and submit required County bill payment disclosure reports to the Board of Supervisors in violation of County Ordinance Code Sections 3.16.130 and 3.16.140.

    Engaging in inappropriate conduct including; harassment, bullying, and disrespectful conduct towards County employees, vendors, and staff of other agencies.

    The proponents cited the following grounds for the removal of Pierson:

    Abusing the power and resources of office to pursue criminal prosecutions and civil litigation against innocent persons and businesses for personal and political reasons, such as, generating career building publicity and punishing political enemies.

    Participating in an immoral scheme whereby some County Elected Officials receive non-performance bonuses increasing the amount of both their six figure base salaries and retirement pensions for reasons such as simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office.

    Participating in an immoral scheme whereby the District Attorney receives extra pay as “County Chief Technology Officer”, thereby gaining access to all e-mail messages moving through the County internet system including the Public Defender’s Office.

    Abusing court rules to discredit Judges for personal and political reasons.

    Recall petitions will be available for circulation in the next few weeks.  Approximately 10,500 valid signatures are required to force a recall election of a County-wide elected official. Proponents also believe that Pierson’s continued failure to prosecute his political ally Harn for felony violations of the State Penal Code will prompt County voters to sign the recall petitions.

    Is Vern Pierson a Nazi? Or, is he just a facist? Harn? He is just a garden variety moron. This should be fun.

    Village Life


    Harn gets recall notice

    El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn has received a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition.

    Recall proponents cite five issues from which they are “seeking relief from the tyranny of our elected officials who have engaged in malfeasant acts and corrupt practices.”

    Citing a violation of California State Penal Code, the notice states that Harn failed “to make authorized payments for reasons of personal or political motivation.” A second charge reads: “Failure to produce and submit required county bill payment disclosure reports to the Board of Supervisors in violation of County Ordinance Code …”

    Revisiting an issue controversial two years ago, proponents claim Harn engaged in “an immoral scheme” in which certain elected officials received additional pay and pension benefits for reasons such as “simply being re-elected or possessing the certificates required to hold office.” The latter refers to Harn’s having a Certified Public Accountant license.

    The notice also states that the auditor-controller failed “to protect the fiscal integrity of the county by willfully refusing to prepare a complete Cost Allocation Plan.”

    Finally, proponents charge Harn with “engaging in inappropriate conduct” such as “harassment of employees, vendors and staff of other agencies.”

    In an e-mail to Village Life Harn wrote, “Being county auditor-controller is a lot like being an umpire. I do my best to call the balls and strikes fairly. I don’t vote on the budget. I don’t write county policies. I don’t write state law regarding county spending. I do have a duty to point out cases where the county attempts to spend money in violation of our policies or state law. Occasionally people get mad at the umpire. I am not surprised that there are 20 people who want me out of office.”

    In order to file a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition, proponents must secure at least 20 signatures from resident voters.

    Former county Information Technologies acting and interim director Kelly Webb, the primary proponent of the recall effort, sent the notice to Harn by certified mail Nov. 24.

    The retired county employee is currently suing the county for discrimination, and names Harn in her lawsuit, along with El Dorado County’s District Attorney Vern Pierson and Human Resources Director Pamela Knorr. Webb alleges that the three conspired to remove her from her position in Information Technologies and demote her back to her previous position as a CAO analyst. Pierson was later appointed to oversee Information Technologies.

    As interim IT director, Webb was also directly involved in the Cost Allocation Plan — the topic of a recent El Dorado County Grand Jury report. According to information provided by the Auditor-Controller’s Office, it was Webb’s inexperience keeping the appropriate billing records and time sheets that created problems with the CAP.

    Harn told Village Life Thursday that he filed a response with the Elections Department Dec. 1, and served his document to Webb via certified mail.

    As permitted under state Elections Code regarding recall, the elected official may make a formal response of not more than 200 words within seven days of receiving the notice.

    In information shared with Village Life, Harn focused on several achievements related to “protecting tax dollars and ensuring our county stays debt-free.” He writes that he has “strongly opposed reckless spending and borrowing …” and convinced the Board of Supervisors not to adopt “the most expensive Cadillac retirement plans plaguing nearby government agencies.”

    His response continues, “Without reservation, I’ve insisted that big, out-of-county developers pay their fair share for road improvements and libraries — or go develop elsewhere.”

    He concludes by noting that in 2013 he successfully advised the Board of Supervisors to reduce the county’s share of Department of Motor Vehicle fees thereby reducing residents’ overall DMV fees.

    Once the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition has been validated and certified by the county Elections Department, Elections Code allows proponents 120 days to circulate the countywide petition to acquire signatures from 10,625 resident, registered voters in order to move the petition onto a countywide ballot.

    “However, they will need to collect more than that to turn in since some might be rejected,” Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz wrote in an e-mail to Village Life.

    The larger petition must include greater detail with more specific charges and/or allegations. The Elections Department must validate and then certify the documents within a time frame of 88 to 125 days before the next election — June 2016.

    When discussing the recall petitions served to the five county supervisors in October, Assistant Registrar of Voters Linda Webster told Village Life that her staff would go through the petition “line by line” and check all relevant statements. If corrections are needed, Webster said her office will send it back to the proponents.


    SLTPD watch


    GOVERNMENT ADVOCATES TRIGGER PIERSON, HARN RECALL DRIVE by admin / Dec 07, 2015 / 0 comments Caption: : You can stop corruption By : Dan Dellinger 2015-12-07, 03:27:23 PLACERVILLE CA Clean Government advocates uniting under the newly formed “Neighbors Against Corruption” served embattled Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson with a Notice of Intention… Read more here:

    Downloadable News Stories About Corruption You May Have Missed

    El Dorado County Grand Jury Writes Scathing Indictment of County Auditor Joe Harn for Abuse and Maleficence

    El Dorado County Auditor Sued to Pay Up

    In a Stunning Rebuke of El Dorado County DA Vern Pierson’s Charges, Jury find Dellinger & Alarcon Not Guilty of all charges

    Nurse acquitted of elder abuse – Defense used prosecution’s witnesses

    Supervisor Speaks Out About Pay Bonuses for Electeds

    Ferguson Violence Exposes Flaws in Grand Jury System

    Harn, Pierson Vendetta May Cost County Big Dollars

    Investigation of EDC DA Vern Pierson Requested

    DA’s actions Betrayal of Public Trust – Opinion

    How much did Auditor-Controller Joe Harn Really get paid?

    El Dorado Confidential: Dead Fish Society Starts Revenge Lawsuit With a String of Defeats

    Judgment Day for the Good Ol’ Boys – Opinion

    El Dorado County District Attorney to be Suspended? – Editorial

    Action Alert! County Wastes More taxpayers Money on Nutting Witch Hunt

    DA Vern Pierson and Auditor Joe Harn Subpoenaed! – Editorial

    Nutting Trial, at what cost?

    El Dorado County DA Vern Pierson Loses Bad! Nutting Runs the Not Guilty Table on Him – Political Opinion

    Nutting Found Not Guilty On Felony Charges

    El Dorado supervisor not guilty of felony malfeasance, guilty of misdemeanors

    Supervisors support action plan for respectful workplace policy for ALL


    Nutting trial – violating the public trust

    The Ray Nutting Legal Mess with Auditor Joe Harn and DA Vern Pierson – Exclusive

    Sac Bee Endorses Dylan Sullivan for Judge

    BREAKING: County Employee Blows the Whistle on County Auditor in Bullying Investigation.

    Tahoe man Released after local DA’s office Disqualified — New DA Drops Charges

    El Dorado County DA hit by Watchdog for Campaign Violations

    DA Selectively Prosecutes Supervisors on Form 700 Omissions

    When is a Prosecution Political?

    Opinion: Respectful Workplace – An El Dorado County Oxymoron?

    11 HR Directors in less than 11 years- What’s wrong with El Dorado County?

    Case Against Joe Harn is made by Chris McCaffree (Videos)

    Bullying Fight Heats Up as County Auditor Joe Harn gets Called Out

    New Video goes live for Auditor-Controller Race


    Honest And Fair Auditor-Controller and District Attorney Candidates Sought

    El Dorado County officials earned more than peers thanks to salary add-ons

    Bonus scandal outrage Spreads – local Elected officials get Bonuses for getting reelected!

    Community Watchdog Group asks Local Elected officials to Return unjustifiable Bonuses

    Calif. State Court of Appeals to Investigate DA Vern Pierson’s Conduct

    The Door to Employee Bullying Opens Just a Crack

    26-year veteran County Employee Comments About Today’s Agenda Item (Bullying of Employees)

    Is rampant Bullying in the Country being hidden by Personnel ‘Confidentiality’

    Opinion: Troubles with Expensive County Computer Acquisition

    Bee Editorial – Opposite Of Term Limits – Longevity Pay For Re-Election

    New Anti-Corruption Website for El Dorado County

    Placer CRA Editorial Board: Psycho EDC DA on a Rampage, Victim hosts successful fundraiser

    Ray Nutting accuses Joe Harn & Vern Pierson of Politicizing offices

    Creating a climate of fear and intimidation with County employees

    Arbitrary And Capricious Treatment Of Local Agencies – Abusing The Grand Jury For Publicity

    Placerville DA Vern Pierson’s assistant outed as anonymous shill blogger “Justice Insider”

    County Auditor-Controller Overpaid and with Questionable Bonuses

    Joe Harn’s Pay is a Joke on Taxpayers – Opinion

    Opinion: What is going on with the Superior Court in El Dorado County?

    Who is fooling who about County Mis-Management? [Part 1]

    Budget crisis? What budget crisis? [Part 2]

    Gaming the Budget Process by Joe Harn [Part 3]

    County Civil Grand Jury wants Auditor Joe Harn not to be elected over Abuses

    Former Supervisor Ron Briggs Unloads on County’s Self-Serving Politics

    Is El Dorado County Auditor Joe Harn Going to Jail?

    Editoirial: The opposite of term limits: Pay for Longevity El Dorado County Pols


    Political Opinion: Psycho DA Vern Pierson is Getting Recalled Along with Ogre Joe Harn

    Citizens Academy Find out how your city government and SLTPD works!

    Citizens Academy Logo 3.jpg
    Tracy Franklin
    Public Information Officer

    1901 Airport Road
    South Lake Tahoe, CA  96150

    Ph: (530) 542-6093

    Monday – Friday
    8:00 am – 5:00 pm

    Spring 2016 Citizens Academy
    The next Citizens Academy is April 7, 2016 through May 19, 2016.  Classes will be held every Thursday for seven weeks from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

    Spring 2016 Session Outline
    Applications are due by March 25, 2016.

    About the Program
    The City of South Lake Tahoe Citizens Academy is open to all community members.  This is an exciting opportunity for residents to increase their knowledge about the workings of local government and have a desire to become more involved in the shaping and development of their community.

    Citizens Academy Application

    Citizens Academy Brochure

    While attending the Citizens Academy, participants will:

    • Learn about City government operations and services
    • Participate in dialogues with city leaders, city staff & other civic-minded residents
    • See taxpayers’ investments at work
    • Expand their knowledge and become more informed on current and proposed projects within the City
    • Gain appreciation for the City’s resources and capacity to meet the needs of the community
    • Learn about opportunities to become more involved and help build a sustainable community
    • Receive first-hand information and have the chance to ask questions on any topic at the end of each session

    The South Lake Tahoe Citizens Academy is a free, seven session interactive course designed to provide residents with an in-depth look into municipal government, as well as, information about the services and programs of the City of South Lake Tahoe.

    St. Patrick’s Day DUI checkpoint in South Lake TahoeSt. Patrick’s Day DUI checkpoint in South Lake Tahoe


    St. Patrick’s Day One of Deadliest Days of Year: DUI 

    [By: Paula Peterson, South Tahoe Now] With St. Patrick’s Day being one of the biggest holidays centered around partying, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department will have a DUI Checkpoint as well as extra patrols on the roads to help lower deaths and injuries.The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The location has not been disclosed.

    SLTPD officers will be on overtime, targeting problem areas with high numbers of DUI collisions and DUI arrests. These DUI patrols along with routine nightly patrols will be looking for the tell-tale signs of impaired driving which include weaving and crossing the center line.

    As one of the country’s most popular holidays, St. Patrick’s Day has long celebrated the roots of 34.2 million Americans with Irish ancestry, and many more who just want to partake in the fe…

    Read more HERE

    El Dorado Co. deputy John Broadfoot arrested 3 times for DUI

    John Broadfoot allegedly crashed vehicle twice in El Dorado County


    bad copEL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KCRA) —An El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the third time in three months, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

    Deputy John Anthony Broadfoot was most recently arrested just after 1:30 p.m. Friday after crashing his SUV into a parked vehicle in a Shingle Springs parking lot on South Shingle Springs Road, the CHP said. He was also charged with obstructing an officer in the performance of their duties, officers said.

    Broadfoot was initially arrested for DUI on Dec. 8 in the South Lake Tahoe area. He was placed on paid administrative leave, and his license was suspended, officials said.

    The second arrest happened about 7:25 p.m. on Feb. 25 after Broadfoot’s SUV went off the right side of westbound Highway 50 near Ice House Road and rolled over. He was additionally charged with driving on a suspended license, officers said. Broadfoot was not hurt.El Dorado Sheriff Badge

    In each of the three incidents, Broadfoot’s blood-alcohol content level was above .15, according to the CHP.

    Following the third arrest Friday, Broadfoot was booked into the El Dorado County Jail in Placerville in lieu of $250,000 bail, according to the sheriff’s office.

    He was released Monday after posting bail and was fitted with an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, officials said.

    The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incidents, but no additional information has been released.

    El Dorado Superior Court is a total shit-hole of coruption


    If you find yourself in the El Dorado Superior Court, be ware the place is a shit-hole of corruption.

    The courthouse above is really that below.

    Locals disagree over planned county courthouse relocation

    By From page A1 | March 04, 2016

    She has been standing on the street corner at Main Street and Bedford Avenue since 1912, welcoming those seeking justice, but the beautiful old courthouse is no longer able to serve the purpose to which she was dedicated more than a century ago, according to California state officials.

    Like grown children trying to decide what to do with an aging parent, the community has been arguing over the fate of the ornate old building.

    The El Dorado County Courthouse, with its stately and proud presence, apparently is serving its last days as a justice hub, with plans afoot to have a judicial complex in place by 2021 on property near the county jail on Forni Road, within city limits but no longer downtown.

    There are those who say such a move should never happen, that the loss of the courthouse and its ancillary services and businesses such as the District Attorney, Public Defender and private law offices will mean the devastation of the downtown Main Street economy.

    There are others, however, who envision a rebirth of the area, with a revitalization of not only the old courthouse building but the DA’s Office right across Bedford Avenue, a building that historically was Placerville’s post office. The nearby Old City Hall and even the brick county Chamber of Commerce building all could be part of a package deal with a city-county-private partnership that would infuse the funding to make the project into a historical haven that would draw tourists off Highway 50 and onto Main Street, proponents say.


    Committee formed

    A Blue Ribbon Committee was formed last year with the goal of helping to decide just what the old courthouse’s future might be; it met twice, but the last two scheduled meetings were canceled in January and February, due to pending litigation by an organization that states it seeks to preserve historical aspects of the city.

    The Placerville Historic Preservation League filed a lawsuit last summer saying that an environmental impact report regarding having the courthouse operation move is inadequate and in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because it doesn’t address nor offer mitigation of possible damage to the downtown business core. The league’s Kirk Callan Smith has said the EIR did not adequately address issues including the “blight and urban decay” that would result downtown if the courthouse moves to the planned site near the county jail.

    Therefore, the suit alleges, the certification of the EIR is in violation of CEQA and it asks that the Judicial Council of California “vacate and rescind all approvals” for the Forni Road courthouse project, a planned 88,000-square-foot, three-story building with six courtrooms and a basement.

    Smith has told the Mountain Democrat he thinks there is sufficient property in the immediate area of the existing courthouse to build an even bigger courts complex than the one eyed for Forni Road.

    For decades it has been discussed having the current courthouse, built in 1912, “re-purposed” into possible retail, offices and even a museum but the PHPL maintains that the court should remain as is.

    The state, however, since 2002 has taken over the operation and management of all superior courts and has deemed the Placerville situation in need of immediate changes. The state Judicial Council said not only is the main courthouse in downtown no longer workable as a court, it also took into consideration the auxiliary courtroom in Building C at the county Government Center, Dept. 7. But, even together, the facilities were deemed inadequate to fill future needs

    DA Vern Pierson Fails to show Probable Cause so Judge Drops Case against Marijuana Dispensary

    The Pure Life Marijuana Dispensary case ended in a celebration for Kelly Chiusano, CEO of the Pure Life Collective; Summer Bradley, CFO of the Pure Life Collective; Chris Brown, a Pure Life employee and vendor; and Whitney Marshand, a Pure Life employee. Honorable Judge Kenneth B. Melikian ruled in favor of the defendants, dropping all charges on Friday afternoon.

    Judge Melikian addressed the court before he delivered his judgement. “Thank you for your patience in awaiting the court’s ruling. The evidence was voluminous.”

    Department 2 in the Main Street courthouse was packed with family and supporters. Bradley, Chiusano and Marshand (Brown was not present) were emotional and sighed a breath of relief in hearing the judge’s decision.

    “I feel the truth stood for itself. I came in today not knowing, wondering how I was going to shoulder the financial burden if it went to trial. We run a clean business and we are going to reopen,” said Bradley.

    “I am so very grateful he was compassionate,” said Marchand.

    DA Vern PiersonThe catalyst for the court case was the arrest of Chiusano following a November 2014 raid at the Pure Life Collective. Five months after the raid, no charges were filed and Chuisano requested the marijuana taken from the business he operated be recovered so he could re open.

    Attorney Zenia Gilg, on behalf of Chiusano, filed a request to the county to return records and the marijuana, citing the dispensary “needs to operate,” said Gilg.

    The case went through a lengthy preliminary hearing, with both sides bringing forth substantial evidence and interviewing witnesses.

    “I am grateful the judge took this very seriously, really taking his time. It is nice to be recognized,” said Gilg.


    Calif. bill would give access to police misconduct records

    By Vivian Ho, San Francisco Chronicle


    Records detailing police misconduct and serious use of force, long kept confidential, could become public in California if legislation announced Friday is passed into law.

    State Sen. Mark Leno, seeking to tighten accountability amid a national conversation over police shootings and a push for law enforcement reform in San Francisco, introduced a bill that would roll back a 1978 law and subsequent Supreme Court rulings that prompted cities to close police disciplinary cases to the media and the public.

    “We’ve reached a critical point in the public’s perception of how law enforcement is doing its critically important work,” Leno said at a news conference in San Francisco, where he was joined not only by police watchdogs and progressive city supervisors but District Attorney George Gascón, a former city police chief.

    “Officer-involved shootings around the country revealed on video have raised serious concerns,” Leno said. “Now more than ever the public’s trust in its law enforcement agencies is needed.”

    It’s the second time Leno has pushed to restore such access, but stopping the bill will be a top priority for police unions, who argue that accountability can be achieved without violating officers’ privacy.

    Harry Stern, an attorney who represents officers around the Bay Area, slammed the proposal, linking it to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ recent approval of a day of remembrance for Mario Woods, the stabbing suspect whose video-recorded killing by police sparked protests and a federal review of the city force.

    “No one is against accountability,” Stern said. “But when politicos press an agenda that includes declaring a day in honor of a violent felon, one must consider their motives with a jaundiced eye. … In today’s criminal-friendly, antipolice climate, we need fewer baseless public floggings of cops, not more.”

    Public allowed access

    Under the Increasing Law Enforcement Transparency bill, the public would be allowed access to records of serious instances of use of force — those that cause death or serious bodily injury — and records of sustained charges of misconduct, including sexual assault, racial profiling, job dishonesty, violation of rights and illegal search or seizure. That means officials have completed an investigation and found the officer in violation.

    Those who file complaints would be able to obtain more information on the investigation, the findings and any discipline imposed, rather than a current cursory response that informs the person if charges were “sustained” or “unsustained.”

    In cities, including San Francisco, the bill would also allow local officials to decide whether to restore public hearings and public appeals on allegations of misconduct.

    Leno, D-San Francisco, said California should not abide some of the country’s least transparent laws governing law enforcement records. The bill comes at a time of heightened police scrutiny nationwide and is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Conference of California Bar Associations.

    Peter Bibring, who as the director of police practices for the ACLU of California helped draft the legislation, said it sought to strengthen the relationship between California communities and the police.

    Police ‘have to earn’ trust

    “Police departments have been concerned about the lack of trust between communities and police,” Bibring said. “But police can’t just ask for trust. They have to earn it, and in order to earn it, they have to be transparent about what they do.”

    San Francisco Police Officers Association officials will be among those fighting the legislation. Nathan Ballard, an adviser for the union, said that while officers support efforts to bring transparency — including having officers wear body cameras — the union will oppose legislation seeking “to undo the California Supreme Court’s ruling that protects police officers’ privacy interests.”

    “Due process is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution,” Ballard said. “It’s undermined when the public is allowed a ringside seat to an employer’s disciplinary process.”

    San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and Sheriff Vicki Hennessy did not immediately respond to calls for comment, but Leno said he alerted them of his proposal and will be meeting with the police union.

    Several San Francisco officials came out in support Friday — including Police Commission Vice President L. Julius Turman and Supervisors London Breed, Malia Cohen and Aaron Peskin — with many invoking the Dec. 2 police shooting of Woods, which remains under investigation.

    Tense relationship with police

    Gascón, whose relationship with the police force has grown increasingly tense, said his experience as police chief in San Francisco as well as in Mesa, Ariz., where state law granted public access to disciplinary records, proved to him that such laws “do not harm the well-being of police officers.”

    “As a career law enforcement officer who spent 30 years in policing, I can tell you that good police officers do not fear transparency,” Gascón said. “Good police officers welcome transparency because it allows them to work effectively with the communities that they serve.”

    But Alison Berry Wilkinson, an attorney who represented the Berkeley Police Officers Association when the union fought to close police-misconduct proceedings, said a reversal could have damaging side effects, including on public safety.

    “There are a number of documented efforts where highly proactive, very effective officers are targeted (with misconduct complaints) by the bad guys to discourage them from moving forward with enforcing the law,” she said.

    Access restricted since ’70s

    California law regarding law enforcement records has been restrictive since the 1970s, when a state Supreme Court decision led to a police union-led push for confidentiality measures. However, for years, some city police forces, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles, allowed for some disciplinary records and hearings to be open to the public.

    In 2003, the San Diego Union-Tribune filed a lawsuit when reporters were denied access to an appeals hearing for a county sheriff’s deputy who had been fired. A subsequent state Supreme Court decision, Copley vs. Superior Court, held that the public had no right to obtain records of administrative appeals in police disciplinary cases — and ended all local government practices that opened disciplinary hearings.

    Time might be right

    An effort to undo the Copley decision by then-Assemblyman Leno and then-Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, stalled in an Assembly hearing in 2007 after heavy lobbying from the law enforcement community.

    Leno said he is optimistic about the outcome this time, not only because the bill provides safeguards if public access to certain records could jeopardize an officer’s life, but because the timing is right.

    “One thing I have learned is that ideas have their own time,” he said. “Despite my own force of will, some things just don’t happen until that idea seems to have come of age. With all that has gone on around the country, here in San Francisco, the polling that we’ve looked at it, I think this is an idea whose time has come.”

    Vivian Ho is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @VivianHo


    Read the whole story


    fuck-the-police_o_168412An arbitration panel reversed the City of South Lake Tahoe’s decision to terminate Police Officer John Spaeth and awarded back pay and benefits. Officer Spaeth and Mastagni Holstedt, APC, attorney Steven W. Welty disproved allegations of dishonesty, excessive force and false imprisonment, and showed that Spaeth’s actions during a traffic stop did not warrant termination. Spaeth’s exemplary work record and the City’s lack of progressive discipline showed that his termination was unjustified.
    During his years as a police officer for the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Spaeth was recognized for his high performance in DUI enforcement. On June 17, 2012, at around 2 a.m., Spaeth observed a car weaving in and out of its lane. The car crossed the white fog line on the side of the road and was traveling approximately 30 miles per hour in a 40-mile-an-hour zone. The driver also made an unnecessarily wide right turn. Based on the time of night, the erratic driving and the area’s history of problems with drunk drivers, Spaeth suspected the driver was intoxicated and stopped the vehicle.
    Spaeth checked the driver’s license and registration, and attempted to explain to the driver why he had stopped him. The driver insisted that he had not done anything wrong because he was not speeding, and claimed he had not committed any traffic violations. Spaeth determined that the driver was not intoxicated and decided not to issue a citation. However, just as Spaeth handed back the driver’s paperwork, the driver made a comment similar to “Don’t act like you’re some sort of hero.”
    At this point, Spaeth decided to issue a traffic citation for the driver unintention-
    ally leaving a traffic lane. He was not angry with the driver’s comment, but felt that the driver did not understand that he had committed traffic violations. Also, Spaeth wanted to lend more validity
    to the stop.
    Spaeth demanded that the driver give back the documents and reached into the car to retrieve them. The driver refused to release the documents and they both began pulling on the paperwork. The driver then grabbed Spaeth’s forearm. Spaeth grabbed the driver’s arm and placed him in a modified twist lock. He ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle. The driver finally complied, and Spaeth handcuffed him and put him in his patrol vehicle to finish his investigation without further incident. Spaeth determined that the driver’s actions did not rise to the level of battery on a peace officer, and issued a traffic citation. He then released the driver.
    When Spaeth returned to the Department, he verbally notified his supervisor of the incident. The next day, the driver filed a complaint with the Department. Spaeth completed a written report of the incident pursuant to his supervisor’s orders. Internal affairs investigated the incident and upheld 16 findings against Spaeth. Spaeth appealed the findings to Chief Brian Uhler and the City Manager, who upheld violations pertaining to performance, reasonableness of force, reporting use of force, required documentation and false imprisonment.
    The arbitration panel overturned the City’s allegations, finding that termination was unwarranted. The City claimed that Spaeth “submitted false information regarding the stop to justify his actions.” But Spaeth’s description of the events surrounding the incident was consistent at every stage of the proceedings. A retired deputy district attorney and veteran officer reviewed the internal affairs investigation and did not find any credibility issues. The officer testified that if he were in the same position, he would have cited the driver for traffic violations regardless of whether the driver was intoxicated. Even the City Manager admitted that Spaeth had reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop. Spaeth had no motivation to lie about the driver’s erratic driving.
    The City’s allegations of excessive force were also improper. The dashboard video showed a minimal use of force, and Spaeth did not deploy any strikes or takedowns. The panel determined that Spaeth was justified in using a minimum amount of force to obtain the information he officially requested, after it was refused and after the driver used force to prevent him from obtaining the documentation. Moreover, the driver had been angry and confrontational during the entire conversation. The driver was still seated inside the car when he began to resist Spaeth’s efforts to obtain the documentation. The vehicle had not been searched and Spaeth did not know whether the driver or passengers had weapons inside the vehicle. With these factors in mind, the panel found that Spaeth’s use of force
    was justified.
    The City’s allegations of false imprisonment were meritless. The driver was only placed in a police vehicle after demonstrating that he would not cooperate with Spaeth’s investigation. The driver’s refusal to cooperate required Spaeth to remove him to complete the investigation. The panel found that “This does not amount to ‘false imprisonment.’”
    Finally, the panel found that the City’s allegations that Spaeth failed to report the incident did not rise to the level of a terminable offense. Spaeth verbally notified his supervisor of the incident the same night, and completed his written report the next night. He was not aware that the City required a written report every time a suspect is handcuffed, because it is very rare that someone is handcuffed and not subsequently taken to jail. He felt that informing his supervisor was sufficient notification. Furthermore, his supervisor did not order him to write a report until the next night, and the City’s policy does not specify when the written report for detention without arrest is due. The panel found that even if this constituted a violation, it was a minor infraction that did not rise to the level of a terminable offense.
    None of Spaeth’s actions supported the City’s decision to terminate him and strip him of his career. His strong work record and the City’s lack of progressive discipline also persuaded the panel that any alleged mistake in judgment could have been easily corrected in other ways. The panel correctly decided to reverse the City’s excessive discipline by reinstating Spaeth and awarding him back pay and benefits. This exceptional outcome could not have been accomplished without the assistance of the PORAC Legal Defense Fund.

    About the Author
    Steven Welty is a senior associate at Mastagni Holstedt, APC, who focuses his practice on labor and employment law representation, fitness for duty and disability retirement litigation. For over a decade, he has provided outstanding representation of public safety clients in administrative investigations, disciplinary actions and appeals.