FIGHTING THE SOUTH LAKE TAHOE COPS FOR DUE PROCESS RIGHTS

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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.

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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