-- April 16, 2011, Statement by New York City Police Officer Michael Daragjati, boasting of his false arrest of another African-American male.
Top News Story!
Posted: 06/08/2012 02:53:15 PM PDT - Updated: 06/09/2012 07:01:34 PM PDT
Lying & Stealing!
San Jose, CA -- Two San Jose police officers have sued the city in federal court this week claiming they suffered retaliation from supervisors in the department for reporting alleged timecard fraud by a colleague. Officers Luis Hernandez, 54, and Cindy Calderon, 49, filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the city, Lt. James Werkema and Capt. Ernie Alcantar, seeking unspecified damages and an order barring further retaliation. Hernandez and Calderon are work partners and personal friends.
The dispute arose in 2007 when Hernandez was assigned to patrol Mineta San Jose International Airport and to coordinate airport overtime assignments for other officers and sergeants.
The complaint alleges Jaime Zarate, a sergeant at the time who has since retired, asked Hernandez to schedule him for overtime airport shifts that "he had no intention of working, but would nonetheless submit a timecard for." The complaint further alleges that "Officer Hernandez has been subjected to retaliation in the workplace for reporting illegal activities by co-workers and superiors." Calderon, it said, also suffered retaliation "because of her close relationship to Officer Hernandez." "He said he didn't want any part of it," said his attorney, "and he's a marked man."
The suit further claims Zarate, who coordinated extra-pay work for officers in the San Jose Unified School District, offered Hernandez similar favors in return, telling him: "You know how it is: You take care of me, I'll take care of you." But Hernandez responded that he "didn't want to be involved in any of Sgt. Zarate's schemes." Hernandez complained to Werkema, his supervisor, but "it was clear to him that Lt. Werkema was trying to intimidate him for questioning Sgt. Zarate's conduct," the suit says, adding that Hernandez was later reassigned, placed under Zarate's command and given lower performance evaluations as a result. The complaint further contends that internal investigations of Zarate for timecard fraud were a "whitewash," in part because Zarate coordinated the extra school jobs for the investigators. Prosecutors charged Zarate with felony timecard fraud in 2008 but the case was dismissed a year later.
A recent city audit, however, assailed the Police Department's handling of pay jobs that allow officers to earn extra cash working security details at schools and for private organizations. The audit criticized sloppy record-keeping that made it difficult to guard against billing fraud and a system that allowed officers who coordinate the lucrative jobs undue power within the department. The audit led to misdemeanor timecard charges against another retired officer. The audit noted that the new police chief, Chris Moore, has taken steps to correct problems with the outside-pay jobs.
When reached Friday afternoon, City Attorney Rick Doyle said he could not comment because he had not seen the lawsuit.
Posted: March 5, 2012 | 6:19 pm PST
San Jose, CA -- Two former police officers from San Jose, California might be facing a jail conviction after they pleaded guilty on Friday of stealing over $100,000 from their own Latino scholarship fund. Manuel Villagrana and Marco Ybarra, both former members of the Latino Police Officers Association of Santa Clara County, were charged in October with one count of felony grand theft from the San Jose chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA), according to a News Release by the Office of the District Attorney. Their hearing is scheduled for the end of April.
In October of 2011 a criminal complaint was filled against Villagrana and Ybarra following a nine-month investigation by the San Jose Police Department. The police officers allegedly stole from the fund separately and on different occasions.
From 2005 to 2006 Ybarra, who was the treasurer of the San Jose NLPOA chapter, supposedly withdrew a total of $19,900 in cash from the NLPOA's credit union account. He also issued himself two $10,000 checks from the funds and deposited it into his personal account. As for Villagrana, he allegedly withdrew $83,900 in cash for his personal benefit from 2007 to 2009, while he held the position as President of the San Jose Chapter.
"We were embarrassed because of the shame it brought on law enforcement in general and Latino peace officers in particular," said Noe Longoria, a retired San Jose officer and founding member of the association. "But the ones who were hurt the most were the kids who needed scholarships."
Founded in 1974, the NLPOA is a national non-profit organization which seeks "to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the criminal justice system; particularly Law Enforcement, reduce community juvenile delinquency and lessen citizen tension in predominantly Latino communities." With local chapters throughout the country, National Latino Peace Officers Association is the largest Latino Law Enforcement Organizations in the U.S.
NLPOA works with many charitable endeavors. One of their main projects is awarding scholarships to minority students. The NLPOA chapters raise money by soliciting donations from individuals and corporations, hosting fundraising events, and collecting annual dues from its members.
February 25, 2012 | 6:19 pm PST
Los Angeles, CA -- A high-ranking supervisor with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles has been convicted of defrauding the government by keeping his stay-at-home wife on the federal payroll for more than five years. In all, Frank Johnston and his wife cheated taxpayers out of more than half a million dollars over the years, federal prosecutors alleged in a three-week trial that ended Thursday. "Ladies and gentlemen, you may become disappointed in your government," Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Akrotirianakis told jurors at the beginning of trial in downtown Los Angeles. After about half a day of deliberations, the federal jury also convicted Johnston's wife, Taryn, of lying to federal authorities. After the verdicts, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero remarked on what he said appeared to have been a "systemic failure" in the office during the time of the Johnstons' scheme, according to attorneys involved in the case.
Taryn Johnston, who was on paper as an intelligence specialist for ICE, stopped showing up for work sometime in late 2001, prosecutors alleged during the trial. Her husband, a top official in the office, transferred her to a small satellite office with only one other agent and began signing off on her time sheets himself, according to prosecutors. During hours when she purportedly was working, collecting overtime, holiday pay and bonuses on top of her $90,000 salary, she was, in fact, volunteering at her son's school, raising show puppies and even working a second job, prosecutors alleged.
Several ICE officials, in their testimony, indicated that they were aware of the Johnstons' situation long before the scheme came to light through an anonymous tip. The judge had to interrupt the testimony of multiple agents to advise them about their right to remain silent because of incriminating statements they were making, attorneys said.
Frank Johnston's attorney said government witnesses who admitted to illegal conduct themselves should have raised enough reasonable doubt for jurors. "It should have sent up some red flags," he said. An attorney for Taryn Johnston argued during the trial that it was unfair to blame the employee when her supervisors had dropped the ball on overseeing her work. "There was a lot of misconduct at ICE that unfortunately funneled onto the Johnstons," the attorney said Friday.
Frank Johnston also was separately convicted in December of obstruction of justice and lying to federal authorities for trying to get a favorable sentencing arrangement for a convicted felon in an alleged quid-pro-quo deal.
Posted: August 27, 2011; Updated September 1, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CA — Prosecutors say a Los Angeles school police officer made up a story about being shot by a car burglary suspect to look like a hero. In opening statements Friday, prosecutors said 31-year-old Jeff Stenroos accidentally shot himself while patrolling a high school, but lied about it, saying he’d been shot while wearing a bulletproof vest.
Stenroos is facing a non-jury trial on charges of preparing a false police report, planting false evidence and other counts stemming from his Jan. 19 report. Some 9,000 students were held in their schools for hours while hundreds of police officers searched for a gunman.
Defense attorneys declined to offer an opening statement. Stenroos could be sentenced to more than five years in prison if convicted.
August 5, 2011
Just Kidding! Police Shooting Hoax!
Janaury 29, 2011
As it turns out, Jeff Stenroos (pictured above, center) became a suspect almost as quickly as he became a hero. While investigators scrambled to find out who shot the Los Angeles school police officer earlier this month in Woodland Hills, Stenroos told his tale haltingly, even grudgingly, officials said Friday, and, from the start, with unmistakable inconsistency. Quietly, though, detectives assigned to the case were considerably less convinced about the whole series of events. They were having trouble confirming even a single piece of Stenroos' account. Law enforcement officials noted that the details Stenroos had provided to a police sketch artist were remarkably similar to a photograph of a parolee that had been circulated among law enforcement officials in the area — and may have come across the desk of Stenroos himself.
There had been a single gunshot, Stenroos told investigators from his hospital bed. No — several shots. That's odd, he was told; just one shell casing was found at the scene. Oh — well, maybe it was just the one shot after all. He had been alerted to a suspicious-looking man peering into cars, he claimed, by a woman walking her dog. That's who shot him, Stenroos said — white guy, ponytail, bomber jacket. He was asked: What happened to the woman with the dog? No idea. Actually, scratch that — he had been asked to respond through the in-house radio system at El Camino Real High School. Who made the radio call? No idea. Are there recordings? No. In the end, disheartened officials said Friday, it appears that Stenroos concocted the entire event — an event that prompted a massive dragnet that locked 9,000 students in their schools, left parents fretting and fuming and inconvenienced tens of thousands of residents in the San Fernando Valley.
"The entire city was led down a path of misinformation," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said a day after investigators arrested Stenroos, 30, and booked him on a felony charge of filing a false police report. Stenroos was released from custody Friday after posting $20,000 bail; he could not be reached for comment.
Immediately after the Jan. 19 shooting, when Stenroos came home from the hospital, the mood was celebratory on the tidy, quiet cul-de-sac in Santa Clarita where he lives with his wife and daughter in a two-story, brown and slate-blue home. In the neighborhood, Stenroos was known as a family man, helpful to his neighbors. Greg Leland, 27, has lived next door for four years and recently borrowed Stenroos' jack to fix the fender of his brother's car. "He was the first person to offer to lend you something," Leland said. There was great relief that Stenroos had survived the shooting. "He said he was just really happy to be home," Leland said, "and that it was the best day of his life."
Police and residents, it's now clear, had engaged in a sort of symbiosis of panic and alarm. More than 350 officers had cordoned off seven square miles and told those trying to get out that they might not be able to return to their homes for some time. Some resorted to locking themselves inside businesses. Some schoolchildren were kept without necessities for so long they resorted to using trash cans as toilets. When Stenroos provided a description of the suspect, sightings popped up across the west end of the Valley. One caller reported that he had vaulted over her backyard fence. SWAT officers swarmed another home after a woman reported that she had found the door to her trailer unlocked. The suspect, she was certain, was inside. He was not.
Meanwhile, Stenroos, a seven-year veteran of the school district police force, seemed to give no hint to investigators that he had been traumatized or even particularly affected by the shooting, sources close to the case told media sources, even after doctors revealed that he probably would have died had it not been for his protective vest. Publicly, city officials maintained a unified front. At one point, for instance, they held a news conference to praise a good Samaritan who had discovered Stenroos on the ground and asked for help on the officer's radio, and to announce a $100,000 reward for the capture of the assailant.
Retired with Benefits! Guilty with Benefits!
Posted: August 5, 2011; Updated: September 1, 2011
Gerald Blanco, 32 (pictured below, center-right) pleaded guilty to simple battery and domestic abuse battery. Emelda "Toni" Blanco, 51 (pictured below, center-left) pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and simple battery. The mother and son were New Orleans police officers who were off-duty at the time of the fracas. A spokesman for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said the Blancos were required to leave the department as part of a plea agreement. Emelda Blanco, a former Police Department sergeant, retired from the force July 23. A police spokesman said Gerald Blanco, a former 8th District patrolman, resigned from the department Friday.
Each count could carry up to six months in jail. A sentencing date had not been set Friday afternoon, according to court records.
Derrick Blackston, the bouncer, suffered cuts to his head and face after being slugged with closed fists and his handcuffs, which Emelda Blanco yanked from his belt. Blackston said he identified Gerald Blanco as a man he previously turned away from the bar for trying to enter with a handgun tucked in his waistband. Blackston said Blanco left the bar that night but returned early May 22, the morning of the beating. The Blancos were arrested three days after the attack when they surrendered themselves at the Police Department's Public Integrity Bureau's office.
Gerald Blanco also pleaded guilty to a separate domestic abuse battery charge in an unrelated case, Cannizzaro's office said.
July 26, 2011
A New Orleans police sergeant under investigation on suspicion of beating a Treme lounge bouncer with her officer son retired from the department Saturday. Emelda "Toni" Blanco, 51 (pictured above, center-left) was accused of the off-duty beating of Derrick Blackston, a bouncer at Robertson's Vieux Carre Lounge in the 1500 block of Basin Street. She and her son, officer Gerald Blanco, 32 (pictured above, center-right) were placed on desk duty while the Police Department's Public Integrity Bureau reviewed the May 22 fracas. The PIB review of Emelda Blanco's action ended with her retirement, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Gerald Blanco remains on desk duty pending the outcome of his PIB review, a police spokesman said.
The attack stemmed from a simmering grudge, Blackston said. Blackston said he identified Gerald Blanco as a man he turned away from the bar a few months earlier for trying to enter with a handgun tucked in his waistband. Blackston said Blanco left the bar that night but returned early May 22, the morning of the alleged beating. The beating left cuts on Blackston's head and face. The Blancos were arrested three days after the attack when they surrendered themselves at the PIB office.
Prosecutors early last month accepted felony charges against the mother-son cop duo. Emelda Blanco, a former 2nd District sergeant, faces a count of simple battery and one of aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon -- metal handcuffs she allegedly took from Blackston to slug him on the head. Gerald Blanco, of Metairie, faces one count of simple battery in the attack, according to court records.
Lying is the Norm!!
March 5, 2011
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – A 15-year veteran Palm Beach County school district police officer was arrested Monday and charged with filing a false report about the theft of his weapon, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. On Dec. 31, 2010, Leartis Vereen, 53, told deputies his Royal Palm Beach home had been broken into that same day and that his police-issued duty belt was among the items stolen, investigators said. The belt contained a department-issued Glock handgun, handcuffs, a police radio, and [pepper] spray, the theft report stated.
However, a check of stolen firearms records showed the missing Glock model 22 with a serial number FXS360 was recovered during a robbery attempt and held as evidence by West Palm Beach police on Dec. 27, 2010, four days before Vereen reported it stolen, according to investigator Gabriel Carino. Confronted with these facts, Vereen (pictured left) changed his story to say the weapon, belt and other equipment were actually stolen on Dec. 27, 2010 and that he had tried to recover them on his own by putting “word out on the street,” Carino said. With no success, Vereen decided Dec. 31, 2010 to add the missing gun and duty belt to the list of other items stolen from his home, according to the incident report.
“He has been reassigned to a non-school, non-police position within the school [system] Police Department pending the outcome of the criminal case and the just-launched personnel investigation,” school district spokesman Nat Harrington said. “This is standard procedure for this type of allegation.”
Fort Collins PD! Lt. Jim Broderick!
Posted: August 17, 2011; Updated: September 1, 2011
FORT COLLINS, CO — A police detective accused of perjury in the investigation that led to the conviction of Tim Masters was advised of his rights Tuesday in a brief hearing that attracted more reporters than defendants. Larimer County Magistrate Matthew Zehe informed Fort Collins police Lt. Jim Broderick (pictured left) of his rights during a short videotaped presentation. Broderick faces nine charges of first-degree perjury related to his testimony during the probe and trial that resulted in Masters' conviction for the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. Masters was convicted in 1999 for Hettrick's murder and served nearly 10 years in prison. His conviction was overturned in 2008 after a visiting judge ruled new DNA evidence pointed to another suspect. No one has been charged with her death since.
In June 2010, a grand jury indicted Broderick on eight counts of perjury. But that indictment was thrown out May 9, 2011 by Weld County District Court Judge James Hartmann, who ruled the prosecution had not specified when the alleged perjury was discovered. Colorado law states that the statute of limitations for the crime of perjury is three years from the date of the discovery of the crime. In July, Weld County prosecutors presented their case again, asking a new grand jury to review seven of the original charges and two more. They cited a discovery date on or after Oct. 15, 2007, and credited lawyers Maria Liu and David Wymore with uncovering the perjury during their post-conviction representation of Masters. Broderick was reindicted on the perjury charges in late July 2011.
Broderick, who did not enter a plea, was accompanied by his attorney. Neither man said anything as they left the courtroom trailed by several reporters and cameras. Broderick's next court hearing is Sept. 8, 2011.
Masters received a $10 million settlement from Fort Collins and Larimer County. In June, Masters was formally exonerated by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, and police and prosecutors apologized to him.
November 2, 2010
When a TV detective has an inkling a suspect did the crime but there's no evidence, they doggedly stick to their convictions and 45 minutes later they're proven right. In real life what happens is the guy's released after nine years in jail when DNA evidence indicates he didn't do it, and it's discovered the detective -- in this case, Fort Collins, Colorado Lt. Jim Broderick -- suppressed evidence and lied under oath.
Broderick suspected 15-year old Jim Masters in the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick almost from the start, as the body was discovered near Masters' home. Yet there wasn't a shred of forensic evidence. They searched the young horror movie aficionado's room (with his father's permission) and discovered not only a knife collection (many were gifts from relatives) but violent artwork and a suitcase containing pornography. (Just shocking stuff to find in a rebellious teen's room.) Because of the artwork, he had at one point been placed in a Special Ed class. A misunderstood kid or a killer?
Police planted misleading and false information in the local newspapers to trip him up, brought in the FBI Behavioral Science Unit and engaged in an elaborate surveillance operation that attempted to elicit a suspicious reaction out of Masters on the one-year anniversary of Hettrick's death. It yielded nothing. Clearly the kid was a criminal mastermind. Masters was finally convicted in '99 on the basis of those violent teenage drawings and an expert, who had never spoken to Masters, but nonetheless concluded that he fit the profile of a sexual predator (who are apparently known for committing one crime and remaining dormant for years after).
Under oath, Broderick denied having any contact with the case since 1987, conveniently forgetting the failed surveillance operation. Nor did he reveal any of the available contrary information (such as the surveillance failure) to the "expert." Broderick withheld, and later destroyed other evidence that may have connected the crime to a sexual deviant who also lived near the crime scene, and who committed suicide when arrested on other charges. (The suicide case had been a doctor, which would have gone a long way in explaining the surgical precision of the sexual mutilation of Hettrick's body.)
When the DNA of hairs found at the scene (alongside fingerprints on the victim's purse that didn't match Masters) were finally tested in 2008, Masters was cleared and finally freed. (The hairs pointed to one of Hettrick's ex-boyfriends, who was apparently quickly discounted as a suspect, because his date that night vouched for him.) The city and the county paid $10 million to settle civil lawsuits by Masters, and the prosecuting attorneys were censured. But Broderick was not charged or reprimanded. That is, until District Attorney Ken Buck decided in October to run for a U.S. Senate seat. Suddenly, Buck, who had dismissed making charges against Broderick during a 2008 investigation, realized Broderick might have done something wrong. (Never discount the conscientiousness of a would-be politician during election season.) Broderick's now facing an eight-count felony indictment for perjury.
Perhaps it's better late than never, but the whole case just makes you feel dirty. It's hard to find any redeeming message, like be careful who you move in next-to because you might be blamed, though perhaps there's something in the fact that an innocent man was eventually freed. It only took nine years. That's practically fifteen minutes in bureaucratic time.
July 30, 2010
The accuser stood accused Friday as a Colorado detective faced charges he lied in the case that wrongfully sent Tim Masters to prison. Masters, who served nine years of a life sentence after his 1998 arrest in Peggy Hettrick's murder, has said he hopes Fort Collins and Larimer County will finally acknowledge that he was railroaded. The city and county have paid Masters a combined $10 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit related to the conviction, but they painted the payouts as business decisions rather than reparations. "I am anxious to see if the leadership in Fort Collins will finally publicly admit my incarceration was a mistake or if they will continue this charade that their people did nothing wrong," Masters said in a statement provided by his attorneys. Lt. Jim Broderick, one of the lead investigators in the case against Masters, appeared Friday before specially appointed Judge James Hartmann in a hearing that lasted about 12 minutes, said Colorado Judicial Branch spokesman Rob McCallum.
Broderick listened to the perjury charges against him but waived his right to hear a formal reading of the indictment. He spoke only when Hartmann asked him questions and did not enter a plea, McCallum said. He is scheduled to be back in court for a status conference September 28, McCallum said. Masters was 15 when Fort Collins police began investigating him in the 1987 murder of Hettrick, whose mutilated body was found in a field near the home Masters shared with his father. Twelve years later, he was convicted, largely on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of an expert witness who said he fit the profile of a sexual predator. Masters was cleared by DNA evidence and released from prison in 2008. The crime remains unsolved.
It's been almost two years since the Colorado Supreme Court censured Judges Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore, then-prosecutors in Masters' 1999 trial, for their handling of the case. No Fort Collins police officers have been disciplined, and a 2008 inquiry into Broderick's actions found no criminal wrongdoing. A new investigation by Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, appointed as special prosecutor in the 2008 inquiry, has now yielded an eight-count felony perjury indictment against Broderick. Read the allegations against Broderick (PDF) If convicted, he could face nearly 50 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. The charges cover events spanning more than a decade and include allegations that Broderick intentionally made false statements in Masters' arrest warrant application, at his preliminary hearing and at his trial.
Chief Dennis Harrison, in the past, has staunchly backed his patrol lieutenant's work on the case, but this week he sounded markedly more reserved in his defense of Broderick. He said he would not "blindly" support anyone without seeing what new evidence prompted a grand jury to hand up the indictment last month. The Fort Collins Police Department also has reopened its internal investigation into Broderick, who is on paid administrative leave. "With questions raised criminally about his veracity, there's no way we could keep him working right now," Harrison said. He noted, however, that multiple outside investigations have previously unearthed no evidence that Broderick committed any crimes. Buck was among those investigators. In 2008, Buck concluded that mistakes were made in the Masters (pictured left, at age 15) investigation but that none of those mistakes was criminal.
In October, six months after announcing his candidacy for one of Colorado's U.S. Senate seats, Buck requested that neighboring Larimer County allow him to reopen the investigation. Broderick's Denver-based attorney said he is waiting to see the transcripts of testimony to the grand jury, documents that will come out during the discovery process. "We adamantly deny any wrongdoing," and Broderick looks forward having his case heard in court, he said. Read what Masters said about Broderick after his first day of freedom. Broderick's attorney said this week that he would not speculate on Buck's motives or timing. "I want to try this case in the courtroom," he said. But shortly after the indictment, Broderick's attorney told The Denver Post, "As far as I can tell, the only thing that's changed since July of 2008 when Mr. Buck issued his report is he is now running for office." Harrison said he has heard "delicately put" insinuations that Buck's motivation is political, but he, too, wants to refrain from speculation. "It's a tight Senate race. Some people want to say that. I'm waiting to see what the evidence is," Harrison said. Buck declined repeated requests for an interview. An administrator in his office said that despite granting several interviews after the indictment, Buck would make no more statements to the media. She e-mailed CNN a news release saying Buck requested to reopen the case after "information previously not available" was uncovered in Masters' civil proceedings. Among the charges in the indictment are that Broderick intentionally lied about an FBI profile used to support Masters' arrest, shoeprints found at the crime scene, a fellow investigator's crime scene observations and his own degree of participation in the case.
An attorney, part of the legal team that secured Masters' freedom in post-conviction hearings, said it probably took Buck considerable effort to "actually understand all the material and how it interplays." She speaks from experience, as it took Masters' post-conviction team more than four years to unravel the evidence. The eight counts against Broderick merely scratch the surface of his alleged efforts to obscure or bury evidence at Masters' trial, the attorney said. She claimed Broderick withheld "binders of material" that would have been crucial to Masters' defense. The attorney, who now considers Masters a friend, would like to see Broderick imprisoned because "he completely ruined Tim's life." Not only is Masters a victim, she said, but so is Fort Collins, a college town of about 137,000 tucked into the Rocky Mountain foothills.
"I want to see [Broderick] prosecuted just like anyone else who's committed a crime," she said. "He has loaded the criminal justice system for Tim Masters and God knows how many other people. He completely eroded Tim's opportunity for a fair trial." Broderick spoke with CNN in late 2007, before the discovery of the DNA evidence that cleared Masters in Hettrick's murder. Broderick declined to address allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct but said he stood by his investigation.
He welcomed any new evidence in the case, he said, because "the last thing in the world I want is someone convicted of a crime they didn't do." Friday's hearing marked Broderick's first court appearance as a defendant in this long-running legal drama. McCallum said several demonstrators gathered peaceably in front of the courthouse Friday, some protesting Judges Blair and Gilmore -- whose retention voters will decide in November -- and others protesting Broderick. Bail is often decided at first appearances, but Buck has told Colorado media that Broderick is not a flight risk and will be released on his own recognizance. Each felony perjury count carries a sentence of up to six years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Said Masters in his statement, "I am pleased to see a glimmer of hope that the man most directly responsible for my wrongful incarceration might be held accountable for his actions to some extent."
May 19, 2010
(05-18) 17:27 PDT OAKLAND, CA -- A federal appeals court upheld $3.7 million in damages Tuesday against the city of Oakland and two police officers who, according to a jury, planted an assault rifle on a parolee's property. Jurors found in November 2007 that the officers had violated the civil rights of the parolee, Torry Smith, and his then-girlfriend, Patricia Gray, by fabricating a case against Smith to justify his arrest in September 2004. Smith spent 4 1/2 months in jail before being cleared. The officers, John Parkinson and Marcus Midyett, denied wrongdoing. Alex Katz, spokesman for City Attorney John Russo, called the verdict a "travesty" Tuesday and said that "the officers are the victims." John Burris, a lawyer for Smith and Gray, said Oakland should have fired both officers.
Smith and Gray said the officers had entered their East Oakland home while they were in bed and questioned Smith about a drug dealer in whose car Smith's bank card had allegedly been found. They arrested Smith and booked him on a charge of possessing a semiautomatic weapon that they said they found in his yard. Prosecutors dropped the gun charge, but authorities kept Smith in jail as a possible parole violator before clearing him in January 2005. In the couple's lawsuit for false arrest, the officers testified that Smith had told them the rifle belonged to Gray's brother. Both Smith and Gray denied having a rifle, and the jury believed them.
U.S. Magistrate Edward Chen, who presided over the trial, said in a 2008 ruling upholding the verdict that there was much evidence that the officers were lying, including their failure to mention Smith's alleged admission in their police report on the arrest. Chen said jurors were entitled to award substantial damages for the fear and stress Smith suffered, the loss of his home and his job at a retail store and the breakup of his relationship with Gray. He also upheld damages to Gray for emotional distress and $100,000 in punitive damages against each officer. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld Chen's ruling in a 3-0 decision Tuesday. The court said the city's lawyers had done an about-face and were challenging jury instructions on illegal police searches that they had accepted during the trial. Katz said the ruling was based on "a narrow, technical issue" and that the city would consider a further appeal.
September 22, 2009
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After criminal and internal affairs probes of Sgt. Will Manion and fellow officer Patrick D'Arrigo, San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis is moving to fire both officers for allegedly trying to cover up a former officer's drunken driving. Manion and D’Arrigo failed to properly investigate a March 25, 2008, accident in which former officer Sandra Woodall smashed her speeding Cadillac into several cars, injuring a teenager. The officers didn't cite her or test her for alcohol, though she stated she was fresh out of rehab and had been drinking prior to the crash. Woodall eventually pleaded guilty to drunken driving after an investigation by the office of the state attorney general.
Manion, a 19-year veteran, has received a Notice of Intended Discipline, which officially signals the department's intent to fire him, according to sources close to the department. D'Arrigo is also expected to receive his walking papers after 15 years on the force. The officers are being disciplined for "conduct unbecoming of an officer." Neither Chief Davis, nor Assistant Chief Daniel Katz would comment on their move to fire the officers. The city manager's office must sign off on Davis' decision in order to pave the way for the relatively rare termination of veteran officers. Such firings are generally a secretive process. The officers have been on paid administrative leave since last summer. They are expected to fight the chief's move through an appeal, although their lawyer could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
Officers and union officials lamented negatively regarding the severity of the punishment. Both officers were criminally investigated by the department, but a grand jury declined to indict them. Many officers and union officials were upset at a discipline they consider too severe. Manion, 44, is well-known as a proud, aggressive and supremely talented homicide detective who seemed destined for the highest command ranks within the 1,300-officer department.
The decision seems to signal zero tolerance for what some considered a brazen and sloppy attempt by the officers to cover for Woodall, who was an investigator with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office at the time of the accident. She has now left the office. Woodall's husband, Jason Woodall, was a San Jose Police sergeant at the time of the accident/DUI; her father-in-law, Jack Woodall, is a former lieutenant in the S.J. Police Department. He is now also a District Attorney's investigator.
The mother of the teenage girl who was hospitalized after the accident said she was amazed by the decision. "Because the police officers chose not to do their job, chose to falsify their reports, chose to put the public safety at risk by allowing a dangerous person back on the streets, I believe the chief chose the right decision," said the woman who launched the criminal and internal investigations when she brought her suspicions of a cover-up to police officials. She has requested anonymity to protect the identity of her daughter.
On the night of March 25, 2008, Woodall drove her Escalade at almost 20 mph over the speed limit into the back of a car and careened over a median to strike another car at Branham Lane and Pearl Avenue. Police soon arrived, supervised by Manion. However, officers reported that they noted no signs of intoxication and therefore did not test her alcohol level. Medical personnel told investigators they felt Manion had tried to stymie their attempts to determine if she was drunk, court documents show. Later, at the hospital, D'Arrigo reportedly told the girl's upset mother it was too late to test Woodall for alcohol. The mother of the injured teenager brought her complaints to the SJPD, which soon launched an investigation.
However, both officers told a different story. Manion told investigators he had no evidence at the time that Woodall was drunk, and that he was trying to determine whether she could be brought to a hospital against her will. Some officers concluded that the collision could have been caused because Woodall was eating egg rolls from Jack in the Box while she was driving.
A medical worker who arrived at the crash later told investigators that Woodall admitted drinking "a lot," smelled like booze and was so disoriented that she thought it was 2006. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office passed the DUI case against their own employee to the state attorney general. Woodall pleaded guilty to driving under the influence causing injury and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. A week later, Manion and D'Arrigo a grand jury refused to indict the officers on criminal charges. But the internal probe ground on toward the chief's dramatic decision. Both officers are expected to ask for hearings before Katz, the assistant police chief, to have their discipline lifted or lessened. If that fails, the officers may ask to have their cases heard before a civil service commission or an arbitrator. Either could reinstate them to their jobs.
September 11, 2009
ST. LOUIS — Another city police officer is in trouble, this time accused of lying on a report to bolster a drive-by shooting case. Joseph Seper, 29, faces two misdemeanor criminal charges and a Police Board trial, a disciplinary hearing, for allegedly making a false report.In a hearing Thursday, his criminal trial — on one charge each of making a false report and making a false declaration — was scheduled for Dec. 14, 2009. He has been suspended without pay since Feb. 9.
Seper (pictured above left in white shirt) is the fifth current or former St. Louis officer charged in state or federal court since December 2008. Former Officer Stephen Conrad was indicted in March on charges that he lied in a criminal case deposition, falsely accusing a man of trying to hit him with a car. Three others, Bobby Lee Garrett, Vincent Carr and Leo Liston, were indicted in federal court last year on various charges, including stealing money and planting drugs. All have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Two other ex-cops, William Noonan and Shell Sharp, were accused during an Internal Affairs investigation of lying on affidavits they used to obtain search warrants. They allegedly claimed to get tips from confidential informers who were either dead or in jail.
Those charges and accusations have already resulted in the review of hundreds of criminal cases that depended upon their credibility as witnesses, and the dismissal of possibly more than 100 in the past year. Five dismissed state court cases are linked to Seper, including a heroin possession case that was dismissed two weeks ago. That defendant's lawyer said he was never told why the case was dropped. As recently as June 2009, his client had been offered a plea deal for 10 years in prison. Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, asked about the heroin case, confirmed it was dismissed but said she could not comment on a closed case. One federal gun case involving Seper was dismissed July 9, 2009. A count of federal cases that have been or could be affected by the accusations against him was not available this week, prosecutors said. According to criminal court documents:
Seper was on patrol in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood in the department's 7th District shortly before midnight on Oct. 9, 2008, when he saw shots fired from a gray Chevrolet. He chased the car but lost it. Other officers located a car with a similar description and saw people running away. They also found a gun.
A supervisor, Sgt. Kelly McGinnis, balked at charging a man who was arrested at the scene without a witness linking him to the gun. Seper, who had been assigned to write a report of the incident, said he needed to review notes from interviewing other officers and then filed a report saying one of the officers, Detective Robert Niemera, saw the man pull the gun from his waistband and throw it into a bush.
Based on Seper's report and his statements, prosecutors authorized an arrest warrant on a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon. Other officers, however, soon said that Seper had lied in his report. Seper was interviewed by Internal Affairs investigators Oct. 10, 2009. On Feb. 9, 2009, Seper was asked to resign but declined.
Seper's lawyer claimed in an interview that his client did nothing wrong. He said that McGinnis was the one responsible for altering the report and that the word processing file that Seper used to write his report backs Seper's account. The file regarding the man arrested that night was unavailable for review, as it has either been closed or charges never filed. A supplemental police report obtained by the media sources says McGinnis removed the word "believed" from the report when describing what Niemera saw or did. McGinnis also added a description of the car Seper originally spotted.
Seper's attorney said that Seper's original report said that Niemera saw the suspect remove a dark-colored object from his waistband and discard it, and that Niemera believed it to be a gun. He questioned why Seper was given the job of writing the report in the first place, because he wasn't present at the arrest, and why a supervisor who never left the office was altering Seper's report. The lawyer suggested that disciplining lower-ranking officers was easier for the department.
A Police Department spokeswoman, via e-mail, said an Internal Affairs investigation sustained a charge against McGinnis of "failure to properly exercise duties or functions associated with one's rank or position." She declined to say whether the finding was connected to the gun incident. McGinnis could not be reached for comment.
Movie Intermission Wrongly convicted! P.D. Frame-up
September 10, 2009
MILWAUKEE – A man who served 13 years in prison before his homicide conviction was overturned sued the city of Milwaukee and its police department Thursday, the same day authorities filed new charges against a man whose DNA they say was found on the victim. Chaunte D. Ott, (pictured above left) who was convicted in 1995 in the death of Dawn Payne, a 16-year-old runaway. Ott claims in his federal lawsuit that officers coerced two people to give false testimony and failed to intervene when DNA tests after his conviction showed he did not commit the crime. A DNA profile from semen on Payne's body did not match Ott, the lawsuit said. "I'm still kind of stunned they had audacity to proclaim I'm guilty of that crime," Ott, 35, told media officials. "But my attitude is I've never been bitter. I feel like I just have to live each day."
Mission Statement: The mission of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is to promote public peace and safety by just and vigorous prosecution; to seek and to do impartial justice by ensuring that the guilty are punished and the innocent go free; to protect the health and welfare of children who are victims of child abuse and neglect; and to safeguard the rule of law and to promote citizens' participation in law enforcement by treating all persons who come in contact with the criminal justice system with fairness, dignity, and respect.
Milwaukee police arrested a 49-year-old Walter E. Ellis of Milwaukee in the killings of at least eight women over 21 years. Ellis has been charged in connection with two of the homicides. Police charged other men with Ellis' alleged crimes over the years and the District Attorney convicted these men.
Ott was convicted in 1995. The Wisconsin Innocence Project took up his case in 2002, and tests concluded the DNA in the case didn't match his. Ott was freed in January after a state appeals court ruled that he deserved a new trial. The suit names as defendants the city, two former police chiefs and at least eight present and former detectives. Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said the department felt it had probable cause when it arrested Ott, and noted that a jury had found him guilty. "We recognize that DNA technology evolved long after the trial was over that was sophisticated enough to prove that Ott did not have sex with the victim," she said in a statement. She declined to comment further. The city attorney did not immediately return a telephone message.
District Attorney John Chisholm (pictured left) wouldn't comment on the lawsuit filed by Ott. Prosecutors have reserved the right to refile charges against him. Ott, who said he didn't know Walter E. Ellis (suspected milwaukee serial killer), has maintained his innocence. The Oak Creek man said he could have agreed to a 10-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, but he refused. "I never regretted that decision," Ott said. "I knew the truth was going to come out sooner or later." An attorney for Ott said two men were improperly pressured into implicating Ott. Both men recanted their statements, the Innocence Project said. The attorney also said the DNA profile taken from Payne's body matched profiles generated from at least two more homicides carried out while Ott was behind bars, but authorities didn't tell Ott.
C.J. Note: Jeffrey Dahmer admitted killing 17 men and boys between 1978 and his arrest in 1991 at his Milwaukee apartment where parts of some of his victims were found. One of Dahmer’s victims, badly intoxicated and with holes drilled in his head, managed to stumble out of the killer’s apartment only to have the Milwaukee Police return him! Of course his fate was sealed as he became the 13th of Dahmer’s 17 victims.
A black woman come upon Konerak Sinthasomphone, the Laotian 14-year-old would be victim of Dahmer in an alley. Seeing that he was badly intoxicated she summoned paramedics. Jeffrey Dahmer, returning from work, arrives on the scene as do the police. The racist cops rudely ignored the black woman who cautioned against returning the teenager to Dahmer. The serial killer is then able to convince the police that the kid is his lover and that he just had too much to drink. Believing that Sinthasomphone is an adult and Dahmer’s lover, and not believing the black woman, the Milwaukee police hand him over to his unfortunate fate. Dahmer killed Sinthasomphone shortly there after.
Glenda Cleveland – the black woman tried to tell the police that Sinthasomphone was not 19 years old, but a boy. Had the police done even a routine ID check, Dahmer would have been found to be a convicted sex offender. This blunder not only failed to save the life of the young Laotian victim, but of the four others that followed.
Why wasn't Jeffery Dahmer ever wrongfully convicted of any of these murders?????
June 24th 2009
C.J. Note: Lying is the norm for police officers, prosecutors and many judges in courts of law. An honest cop, prosecutor, or judge is an exception to the norm.
More than 50 NYPD detectives stood in silent solidarity in a Bronx courtroom Wednesday to support a cop who was convicted of lying on the witness stand. Detective Christopher Perino faces up to seven years in prison for testifying that he did not interrogate attempted-murder suspect Erik Crespo. It turned out that the then-17-year-old recorded 70 minutes of Perino's questioning on his MP3 player. Perino, who testified he did not remember the questioning, sighed several times and shook his head after hearing Bronx Supreme Court Justice James Kindler's verdict. The 22-year NYPD veteran looked forlorn as he passed through the lines of his supporters as he left court. Perino's lawyer Murray Richman said he was "very disappointed" with the verdict and plans an appeal.
He argued that cops might fear the consequences every time they interview suspects:
"Are we supposed to remember each and every moment of our existence?" With dozens of detectives around him on the sidewalk of the courthouse, Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said the "strange" verdict was probably a "compromise decision." "This is a very traumatic experience not only for Detective Perino (pictured above left-center) but all cops in the Bronx," Palladino said. "Cops, despite what some people think, are people, too. They forget things at times. "We won't take this lying down. Our fight here is not over."
Perino will be sentenced Aug. 18, 2009 on the first-degree perjury conviction. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said he will recommend prison time for Perino. "We cannot even begin to address the public safety issues in the city if the testimony on which we must rely is perjured," Johnson said in a statement. Police sources and the district attorney's office said Perino will be fired as a result of the conviction. Richman said he plans to ask that Perino, a married father of four, be kept out of prison until the appeal process is completed. Richman noted that Perino faces the same amount of jail time that Crespo got after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
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Movie Intermission! Texas Jurors (2011)
Description: Texas Jurors (2011) This is the video shown in the Central Jury Room of the George Allen Courthouse in Dallas. Shot at George Allen and Frank Crowley Courthouses, the video features a large cast of jurors, lawyers, judge, bailiff and all other central members. Actual jurors provide insights as to the responsibilities and importance of jury service. (Runtime: Clip)