MR. STEERING IS A POLICE MISCONDUCT ATTORNEY WHO DEFENDS BOGUS CRIMINAL ACTIONS.
Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, serving, among other places, Riverside County and the Riverside County cities shown below, as well as Orange County, Kern County, Imperial County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County. He has been suing police officers, and defending bogus criminal cases of crimes against police officers since 1984.
The majority of our firm’s law practice, is defending bogus criminal cases and suing police officers and other government officials for beating and falsely arresting and maliciously prosecuting innocents; basic fourth amendment “search and seizure” (of persons, places and things) and other “Constitutional Torts.” False arrests by police officers are almost always the product of either sheer incompetence (i.e. the police arrest another for conduct that isn’t criminal), or of the police officer attempting to justify his unlawful conduct, by arresting and then framing their victim (i.e. false police reports, perjurous court testimony, false convictions) of his federal criminal (18 U.S.C. § 242), and otherwise tortious misconduct (i.e. if the police use unreasonable / unlawful force on a civilian, the use of force is almost always followed by a false arrest.)
Mr. Steering pecializes in defending innocents in “resistance offenses”, such as resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer (words that mean everything and mean nothing; Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), Cal. Penal Code § 69 (the “turbo version” of Section 148(a)(1); interfering with duties of public officer via violence or threat thereof a felony), assault and battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code §§ 240/241(c) & 242/243(b)), and even assault on a peace officer with a gun (Cal. Penal Code §§ 245(c) & 245(d).)
Most of Mr. Steering’s criminal and civil cases involve core Bill of Rights type issues; the difference between living in a free society of a police state. Most of these federal civil rights cases involve police violation of person(s) fourth amendment rights (i.e unreasonable searches of persons and their places and effects, and unreasonable seizures of person (false arrest and unreasonable force, procuring bogus and malicious criminal prosecutions) and first amendment violations (retaliation for protected speech and to petition for redress and various other “Constitutional Torts” , including police whistleblowing cases (Cal. Labor Code Section 1102.5.)
POLICE BRUTALITY, FALSE ARRESTS AND MALICIOUS CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS ARE BROUGHT TO PRECLUDE THE VICTIMS OF POLICE OUTRAGES FROM OBTAINING REDRESS FOR THOSE OUTRAGES.
Wrongful police beatings, accompanied by their sister “false arrests”, are a common and every day occurrence. These beating / arrests are no longer limited to persons of color. Soccer Moms, airline pilots and school teachers, beware: because of the great (and ever expanding) powers being given to police officers by the Supreme Court, described below, in a very real way, you no longer have the right to question, protest or challenge police actions, since to do so usually results in your being physically abused and falsely arrested on trumped of charges of essentially, “Contempt Of Cop”; (i.e. maybe not getting on the ground fast enough, or failing to walk-over to the officer fast enough; some type of failing the attitude test.) These beatings of innocent by police officers is rampant and condoned and defended by the command structure of most, if not all, modern police agencies.
Moreover, these resistance offense prosecutions are done to preclude the victims of police abuse from being able to sue the police for their outrages. It’s important for the government that the police convict you for a “resistance offense”, because under the doctrine of issue preclusion (“collateral estoppel“) or “claim preclusion” (“res judicata“), if an issue of fact or law has been determined against you in a prior judicial proceeding, you can’t re-litigate that fact or law determination in a subsequent judicial proceeding. It’s kind of like the Rodney King civil case in federal court in Los Angeles. LAPD Officers Sgt. Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell were criminally convicted in federal court of violating Rodney King’s right to be free from the use of unreasonable force upon him under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, when it came time for Rodney King’s civil case against the LAPD Officers for money, the issue of whether LAPD Officers Koon and Powell had violated Rodney King’s right to be free from the use of unreasonable force was already “res judicata”; a thing decided. The only issue left for the civil jury to decide was how much money to give Rodney King.
Therefore, in your situation, if you’re convicted of a resistance crime (a crime that for one to be guilty of, the police had to have been acting lawfully, like not using excessive force, not unlawfully arresting or detaining one, not retaliating against persons for exercising their First Amendment rights), the issue of the lawfulness of the officer’s conduct has already been decided against you, so invariably, save very few exceptions, you cannot successfully sue the police; you’re precluded from doing so because of your conviction. That’s why the cop who violates your constitutional rights will almost always will try to frame you for a resistance offense. This is standard operating procedure for the police, and that’s not a joke.
Moreover, under the cloak of the unnecessary and morally opprobrious immunity afforded police officers under the “Heck Doctrine” (Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)), if you’re convicted of any crime, you usually cannot sue the cops at all; at least for false arrest. California adopted the Heck rule to bar civil rights claims in Yount v. City of Sacramento, 43 Cal. 4th 885 (2008.) So, under either federal or California law, if you plead guilty or even now no contest to anything, you can’t sue for your false arrest, even though the arresting officer may not have had sufficient probable cause to have arrested you when he did so.
These are policy decisions by the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court, to limit many persons’ right to sue police for real violations of their constitutional rights, for no legitimate reason. These policy decisions are made by those same Justices who profess that they believe that the courts shouldn’t be “super legislatures”, that make any such policy decisions and that such decisions should be left to Congress and state legislatures.
Thus, because of these “policy decisions” by the United States Supreme Court, in the real world, the cops can beat you, falsely arrest you, and falsely and maliciously procure your bogus criminal prosecution; all while you’re the victim of abuse by the police, and all, in the real world, with very little chance of anything happening to themselves. How many people are willing to spend ten’s of thousands of dollars to defend themselves on bogus misdemeanor “resistance offense” charges, when they can avoid spending all of the time and money that it takes to prove your innocence, by pleading to a de minimis misdemeanor, or an infraction, like disturbing the peace? How many innocent souls have pleaded themselves out court on good, righteous and provable civil rights actions against the police, because they either pleaded-out or stay in jail awaiting trial?
This is normal. This is reality. This what probably happened to you if you’re looking for us. This is why the police do what they do. Because they usually can. Because if they literally provoke you into expressing verbal remonstrance that results in the cops beating the stuffing out of you and falsely arresting you; without any substantial chance of any real vocational or civil liability problems, they often do so. Internal Affairs Investigations do not take the word of civilians over than of an officer, and even when there’s some sort of audio or video recording of the incident that proves that the cop’s lying, the employing agency will almost always back their officer and find creative ways to justify it.
Let’s face it. Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) can mean almost anything, so young upstart Deputy District Attorneys who want to make a name for themselves by protecting the police and stomping their victims into submission (i.e. (a) overcharging innocents to keep them in jail on high bail, that often results guilty pleas to ”resistance offenses” to just get out of jail, that precludes the defendant-innocent from successfully suing the police; (b) abusing the ambiguity of “resistance offenses” such as Cal. Penal Code Sections 148(a)(1) (resisting / delaying / obstructing officer) or Section 69 (using or threatening violence to prevent or deter officer from performing their duties) to pursue groundless criminal proceedings against the innocent victims of police abuse, until they run out of money and capitulate by pleading to a crime that they are innocent of.)
If you get criminally prosecuted for a crime when you’re the real victim, the officers who violated your Constitutional rights get “two bites at the apple”. It’s like a Three Stooges coin toss; “Heads I win, tails you lose.”
POLICE MISCONDUCT IN JURUPA VALLEY – THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT’S “SATURATION / ZERO TOLERANCE OPERATIONS” IN JURUPA VALLEY.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Jurupa Valley station is almost indistinguishable from a criminal street gang. They really don’t try to hid this.
These men have taken it upon themselves to administer beatings and false arrests for just about anyone who they see doing anything that the law proscribes; literally anything to justify a street encounter. These deputies flood an area of Jurupa Valley with deputies just itching to beat the stuffing out of someone. It is almost impossible for most normal law abiding civilians to really believe that this really happens. Well, it really does. These deputies really are out and about looking to beat, pepper-spray, tase and falsely arrest some civilian.
One example of the use of these “saturation / zero tolerance operations” is the case of James Holley.
On August 21, 2011, the boys from the Jurupa Valley Station were performing what they call a “saturation / zero tolerance operation”. The “saturation operation” included making “proactive arrests” for anything that the law proscribes; anything; even the most arguable or trivial infraction. Deputy Bryce Holmes orchestrated, supervised and participated this particular “Saturation Patrol”. He and his pals at the Jurupa Valley station actually enjoy beating people. They just can’t get enough. Who knows; if they beat up and falsely arrest enough innocents they might make Deputy of the Year. That is no joke.
It’s those kind of active deputies who beat up many and make a lot of arrests who make Deputy of the Year. They usually are the best at lying under oath. You could hook these “pro-active policing” types (i.e. the cops commit the crimes) up to a polygraph and that line will stay straight. They can look a jury straight in the eyes and lie without any of the usual signs of lying (i.e. swallowing, red eyes, choked-up speech, excessive blinking, looking up and to the side, etc.) and deliver the goods; frame their victims for some bogus resistance offense.
Well, James Holley was standing in front of his parent’s home, holding a can beer and drinking the same, as were his brothers. They were not drunk or causing any problems. The deputies approached the Holley’s, claiming that they suspected the Holleys of being in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(f); public intoxication. It is not a crime in California to be drunk in public. It is only a violation of that section if one is basically so drunk / drugged that one is lying in a puddle of their own vomit on the sidewalk.
When the James Holley objected to the officers wanting to search him, they simple tased and jumped him, and false arrested he and his father, who came out and saw the deputies beating his son. James Holley was not criminally prosecuted. Neither were the men who should have been, the deputies.
GENERAL CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS PRACTICE.
Jerry L. Steering has been practicing criminal law since 1984 (in California since 1986.) He has tried and otherwise litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, drug possession and drug manufacturing cases, DUI cases, vehicular homicide cases, white-collar investor fraud cases, mail fraud cases, sex-offender or drug offender registration cases, domestic violence cases, theft and embezzlement cases, towing industry cases, and the general spectrum of criminal violations. However, the overwhelming majority of Mr. Steering’s criminal law practice involves the defense of bogus criminal prosecutions for “resistance offenses” (i.e. resisting / delaying peace officer, battery on peace officer.) Unlike other areas of criminal law practice, almost every one of Mr. Steering’s resistance offense criminal case clients were factually and actually innocent.
Mr. Steering is an expert in defending your bogus criminal action, in a way to best protect, and to enhance, your ability to ultimately obtain some justice; reasonable compensation and redress, for your police beating, for your false arrest, for your unlawful search and seizure, and for your malicious criminal prosecution.
We have enough diligence and experience to nail the cops down on their stories in these criminal actions, that simply cannot be done in a regular civil action. When they’re on the stand in a criminal case, the cops don’t have their experienced civil lawyers to take them out in the hallway and tell them what to say, like they do in civil cases. Moreover, the Deputy District Attorneys who prosecute these bogus “Contempt of Cop” cases, don’t know enough, and often don’t care enough, about the intricacies of the Constitutional, legal and evidentiary issues, that are being somehow dealt with in the criminal case, that will have a marked effect on your prospects for redress for your being framed; a substantial monetary recovery; the only “redress” presently available to victims of Constitutional Torts.
In other words, we use the bogus criminal case, to shape the evidence and the primary “swing issues” in that case, to not only win your bogus criminal case, but to also dramatically improve the odds of your ultimately prevailing on your civil First Amendment retaliation claims, and Fourth Amendment unreasonable force, false arrest and malicious prosecution claims.
Mr. Steering is also a published legal scholar, and has a published Law Review Article about a logical quandary of federal evidentiary law: the disparity in the use of “accomplice accusations” between Fourth Amendment (accomplice accusations sufficiently reliable to establish probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant), and Sixth Amendmentanalysis (accomplice accusations are so inherently unreliable, that Congress could not have meant to have included them with the ambit of the Declaration Against Penal Interest exception to the hearsay rule.) See, “The Application Of Sixth Amendment Tests For The Reliability Of Hearsay Evidence To Probable Cause Determinations, 16 Rutgers Law Journal 869 (1985.)
THE CONTEMPT OF COP GAME; THE PROSECUTION OF INNOCENTS BY THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has upheld its long tradition of prosecuting the victims of police abuse, very often simply to protect the police from civil liability and obloquy. It does not take much to convince young ambitious Deputy District Attorney’s to file some “resistance offense” criminal case against the victims of police abuse. They want to get in with the police agencies, for their own standing with their respective prosecutorial agencies, and for chits in any future run for Judge; something not uncommon for Deputy District Attorneys.
This author has been playing this game since 1984 and things have only gotten worse for the innocent civilian in the real world of what the police can do to you and your home and property. The American public basically has no idea what their basic rights and freedoms are, and how they have been shrinking since 1968. No one except the police, the lawyers and the judges care about these shrinking constitutional protections until some police outrage is perpetrated against them or a loved one.
Moreover, most law abiding innocent types who didn’t grow up in the ghetto do not believe that police officers do bad things to people who don’t deserve it. When we hear about a claim in the media that the police perpetrated some outrage against a civilian, the first thing that comes to our mind is what did the civilian do to make the police do what they did to him. Culturally, we tend to shift the blame for the use of force or other serious intrusion on the liberty of another, to the person upon whom the force was used.
What suing police officers and defending bogus “resistance offense” criminal cases since 1984 has taught this author, is that the civilian usually is the one completely in the right, and the constable usually is the one in the wrong. This is the Contempt of Cop Game, and it is a game in a very real sense.
The first rule of this game is that police perjury is rampant and sanctioned by public prosecutors. In this world there really is no crime of perjury; at least one that is enforced.I n the real world, there is no such thing as perjury. Perjury takes place in virtually every trial in some form. Ask any trial lawyer, judge, court reporter, clerk and bailiff. If the court staff had a nickel for every canard or prevarication or outright lie told by a peace officer in a California state or federal courtroom, they would be richer than Bill Gates. There are two sides testifying in every civil trial. Someone is lying; one or the other. Same thing in criminal cases, except because of one’s right not to be called a a witness against oneself at trial (U.S. Const. Amend. 5), “There ain’t no lying when there’s no testifying”.
Moreover, in California, perjury requires either two witnesses or one witness whose testimony can be corroborated: In California the prosecution need to show more than the testimony of a single witness to convict another of perjury:
(a) Every person who, having taken an oath that he or she will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any of the cases in which the oath may by law of the State of California be administered, willfully and contrary to the oath, states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, and every person who testifies, declares, deposes, or certifies under penalty of perjury in any of the cases in which the testimony, declarations, depositions, or certification is permitted by law of the State of California under penalty of perjury and willfully states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, is guilty of perjury.
This subdivision is applicable whether the statement, or the testimony, declaration, deposition, or certification is made or subscribed within or without the State of California.
(b) No person shall be convicted of perjury where proof of falsity rests solely upon contradiction by testimony of a single person other than the defendant. Proof of falsity may be established by direct or indirect evidence.
No one gets prosecuted for perjury save a few politicians and entitlement recipients. The police all know this.
The judges all know this. The lawyers all know this. The bailiffs all know this. The courtroom clerks all know this. The court reporters all know this. So, not to worry about lying police reports. If they are put on the stand by the prosecution and they get caught lying for the prosecution, there is zero chance that the prosecutor is then going to prosecute them for perjury.
The idea is a pretty simple one. Your “criminal conduct” (i.e. not proning yourself on the ground fast enough, questioning or challenging police authority, or the worst, telling the police that you know your rights). They really don’t like wiseguys who tell the police that they need a warrant or tell them that the police are violating your rights. They will show you what rights you have; the right to get you butt kicked and to get taken to jail and get prosecuted for some “resistance offense”.
The norm in todays police profession, is for peace officers to falsely arrest their “victims”, and to author false police reports to procure the bogus criminal prosecutions (i.e. to literally “frame” others) of those civilians whose Constitutional rights and basic human dignity have been violated; to justify what they did, and to act in conformity with that justification.
Almost all “resistance offense” criminal cases are procured by the same police agency that perpetrated thevery outrage complained of against the innocent civilian. This is done to shift the blame from the police officer to the beating victim (you, the innocent) for necessitating the use of force or other outrage. What the police and the prosecutors do is to charge you with committing some act that they claim is a crime and that somehow justified the police beating that you received. This is no joke. This is how the game works. Accordingly, after the police beat you up and/or falsely arrest you, and the police agency submits a “package” to the District Attorney’s Office, the Deputy District Attorney who reviews the case for potential criminal filing are almost always simply going to accept and rely on what is shown in the initial police reports. This not because these filing Deputy District Attorneys are evil people.
WHY THE POLICE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE THEIR VICTIMS; THE ROOT OF MOST FALSE ARRESTS.
The excessive force victims get criminally prosecuted, for crimes that they didn’t commit; usually for crimes such as “Resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer in the lawful performance of their duties (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), assault on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 240 / 241), “battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 242 / 243(b); which is almost always, in reality, battery by a peace officer; otherwise known as “Excessive Force” or “Unreasonable Force”),and resisting officer with actual or threat of violence (Cal. Penal Code § 69.) Section 69 is a “wobbler” under California law; a crime that the government can charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This charge is usually reserved for cases in which the police use substantial force on the innocent arrestee (the real “victim”), and need to falsely claim more violent / serious conduct by the “victim” to justify their outrages.
So, for example, the crime of “battery on a peace officer” (Cal. Penal Code § 242 / 243(b)), is almost always, in reality, “battery by a peace officer”; otherwise known as “Excessive Force”; an “unreasonable seizure” of a person under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).)
IT IS EASY TO PROCURE A BOGUS CRIMINAL ACTION AGAINST THE VICTIM OF POLICE VIOLENCE AND OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS.
This is because these Deputy District Attorneys simply don’t have the time to extensively review anything other than the initial arrest reports in making their decision to prosecute the subjects of those reports. Most Deputy District Attorneys who make the decisions whether to prosecute you and what for are forced to review between 15 and 30 cases per day. There is simply no time other than to read the initial arrest reports. There is no time to review the audio or video recordings, the use of force reports, any internal investigations (that the DA actually has to move the court to even see) or other items of evidence.
Police officers are trained on how to justify their conduct in court; both when they are attempting to frame you in a criminal case for some “resistance offense” (i.e. the defendant struck my fist with his jaw). Moreover, the laws of search and seizure of persons, places and property are extremely complicated and are ever changing. The police know what police keywords / buzzwords they can accuse you of that will ultimately, in the real world almost always justify their conduct. Accordingly, it is easy for the police to procure your bogus criminal prosecution, to shift the blame for their conduct from them to you, and to preclude you from suing them via your bogus criminal prosecution.
This is normal. This happens all day every day, especially in Riverside County. No joke. This is not lefty propaganda. This is simply a statement of the actual state of affairs of the relationship between the that part of our executive branch of government that actually places the bracelets on you, and you.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is especially disgraceful when it comes to abusing civilians and framing them for crimes that they didn’t commit, to protect their deputy sheriffs from civil, disciplinary and criminal liability.
BECAUSE MR. STEERING SUES POLICE OFFICERS, HE HAS ACCESS TO AND DETAILED KNOWLEDGE OF THE POLICIES, PRACTICES, PROCEDURES, FORMS AND PROTOCOLS OF THE VARIOUS POLICE AGENCIES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
One substantial advantage that Mr. Steering can provide you, is a better chance at obtaining favorable evidence, to either leverage a favorable plea agreement, or flat-out win your criminal case, when you couldn’t otherwise do so.If you don’t sue police officers, you simply don’t know what types of evidence is “out there” (i.e. in the possession of police agencies.) Because pre-trial discovery is extremely limited in California state court criminal prosecutions, most lawyers who only practice criminal law will not have an opportunity to even find out what types of evidence is available. The type of evidence that can exonerate you, and can show that the Constable is not telling the truth.
There are hundreds of different types of evidence that lawyers who only practice criminal law, usually do not know the existence of. For example, if you’re presently being represented by a criminal lawyer, make sure, they get the minimal types of “discovery”, that is available from various police agencies; most of which is “available”, only for a certain amount of time.
If you have been the victim of Excessive Force by a police officer, please check our Section, above, entitled: “What To Do If You Have Been Beaten-Up Or False Arrested By The Police“. Also, please click on “Home“, above, or the other pages shown, for the information or assistance that we can provide for you. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your particular legal situation, please call the Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering for a free telephone consultation.
HEADS THEY WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE; POLICE PROSECUTION OF POLICE MISCONDUCT VICITMS GIVES THE POLICE TWO BITES AT THE APPLE.
The police are not technically a “party” to your bogus criminal proceeding; “The State” or “The People of the State” is the other party. Because “issue preclusion” or “claim preclusion” generally requires a person sought to be bound by a prior judicial determination to have been a party to the prior proceeding and had the opportunity to fully and fairly litigate that issue, even if you somehow avoid being framed and are acquitted, that the finding of your innocence (“not guilty verdict”) is not binding on the police in a subsequent civil rights action against the same officers who tried to frame you.
However, if you had been convicted, since you were a party to the prior judicial action (the defendants), the issue of your guilt and all of the legal consequence flowing therefrom (i.e. basically can’t sue any more) have already and permanently been determined against you. So, for example, if a police officer unlawfully “seized” you cannot sue for your false arrest; not because your conviction adjudicated those issues of fact that go into the formulation of whether your arrest was lawful (i.e. whether the police had either a warrant or probable/reasonable cause to believe that you committed a crime); only because the Conservative Wing of the Supreme Court took it upon themselves to make-up a rule, a “policy decision”, that prohibits guilty people from being able to obtain damages for their truly false arrest. See, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
If the prosecution is able to convict you for a “resistance offense” (i.e. resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer, battery on a peace officer, preventing public officer from performing a duty of his/her office), there has been a similar judicial determination that the police necessarily were acting lawfully. Accordingly, as one of the elements of these resistance offenses is that the peace officer was engaged in the lawful performance of his/her duties, and the jury must have found that to be so, generally you are also now precluded from suing for the use of unreasonable force upon you, or even that the police unlawfully searched you or your property; via the Heck bar (i.e. that you were convicted, and, therefore, can’t now successfully sue the police) and via the Doctrine of “Collateral Estoppel”. In other words, since there has now been a judicial determination that the officer was in the right, and that you were not, you lose in any subsequent lawsuit against the police. All police officers know this.
If somehow you don’t get convicted (of crime that you didn’t commit), the agency still backs them all of the way. It doesn’t matter whether the police agency knows that the officer violated the law and your rights. All that they’re concerned with is protecting the officer and the police agency; that’s it; even if (and especially) if their officer severely injured or actually murdered an innocent.
IF YOU’RE THE VICTIM; YOU’RE THE ENEMY.
Moreover, the system, and the “players” and “politicians” in that system, now recognize you as their enemy. As a matter of political and institutional reality, you, the victim of constitutional violations by peace officers acting under the color of authority, are someone who poses a real threat to them. After all, the cops put you in the hospital, and you’re now being prosecuted for resisting or delaying or obstructing them handcuffing you while you were trying to cover your face from the blows (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1); resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer; the most vague, nebulous and the most misused and abused section in the California Penal Code.)
If they beat you up too badly, the D.A. will throw in a Count of battery on a peace officer (Penal Code Section 243(b)) or felony preventing public officer from performing duty by use or threat of force (Penal Code Section 69). In the real world, 99% of the time, battery on a peace officer is really battery by a peace officer. If this offends your personal belief system, I’m sorry to pop your cherry. This is the modern world of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence (i.e. the right of the police to search and seize you and you home and property). The law isn’t what’s in a book or on the internet. The law is what happens to real people in the real world. The law isn’t what it says; only what it does.
Yesterday you believed that police officers were basically honest, with a few deviants here and there. Yesterday, you didn’t feel threatened if a police officer was driving behind you, because you believed that since you don’t break the law (and or since you look like white and respectable type), that the police are not going to do anything bad to you. Yesterday is now gone. You still can’t believe that this really happened to you. You really didn’t do anything wrong, but you’ve been beaten-up and falsely arrested, and to boot, you are now being accused of a crime by the District Attorney’s Office; really to beat you down to protect the police from liability. That’s reality. Today is a new day in your life. You would not have believed what really happened to you if it had happened to another. That all being said, since the police beat you up, you either deserved it or you didn’t. So, how are the politicians going to handle your situation?
Just imagine a Chief of Police or a County Sheriff announcing at a Press Conference, that his agency took the word of independent civilian witnesses over that of a group of police officers and is firing the officer or deputy for either using unreasonable force upon or falsely arresting a civilian. What would the politicians say? We know that that will never happen.
Although we elect politicians and insist on them being totally honest with the public, we actually expect them to act in a dishonest and disingenuous way with the public. We expect the City Attorney to guard the City coffers, by denying that the police unlawfully committed a duty related activity (i.e. using force on an innocent arrestee, or simply falsely arresting an innocent), even if they know otherwise; even if the evidence is so overwhelming and moving that no reasonable person would deny (with a straight face) that the police acted wrongfully. So, on the civil side, the City or County is going to claim that you’re to blame; that it’s your fault.
Then, the D.A.’s office jumps in the fray, and attempts to get you to plead to any crime; a plea that will almost assuredly preclude you from obtaining redress for the wrongs perpetrated upon you. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld release – dismissal agreements; an agreement where the D.A.’s offices promises to drop the bogus criminal case against you and let you out of jail, in exchange for a promise not to sue. Newton v. Rumery, 480 U.S. 386 (1987.) Creepy, huh? Extortion? Sounds like it. MacDonald v. Musick, 425 F. 2d 373 (9th Cir. 1970)(conditioning dismissal of criminal DUI charge in exchange of promise not to sue police is felonious extortion under California law.) But so long the government is the extorting party, no crime, since no one is going to prosecute a Deputy District Attorney for making such a dismissal offer.
Even when it’s obvious that a public entity is going to have to most likely pay money to a victim of their officer, the agency will never admit fault. So, since they didn’t do anything wrong, you must have. Therefore, you’re the enemy, because you’re a potential threat to them; to their paycheck; to them being imprisoned (however remote that really is); to them being promoted in the future; to them being disciplined (i.e. reprimanded, suspended, demoted or terminated) and to them being exposed to obloquy and disgrace.
Most of our law firm’s Police Misconduct clients, were factually and actually innocent of anything; yet most of them where at the wrong spot at the wrong time, or had the audacity to question police authority.
When many of our clients questioned or challenged police orders to them, the officers routinely have claimed that they have now “resisted” them or have “delayed” the officer’s investigation of them, or of another (real or imaginary; the most common claim by officers in bogus “Contempt of Cop” cases), by asking the officer for further identification, or by asking why there was a red laser targeting spot on their chest, or by asking why the officer wanted them to get prone-out on the ground when they had no clue why the police were even engaging them at all. These actions by our clients, true innocents, have typically resulted in them getting “gooned” by the cops, and half of them getting criminally prosecuted for non-existent crimes, to protect the officers and the agency from civil liability and disgrace. In all of these situations, the cops were going to show our client’s who’s in charge, and it’s not the client. These are truly ego crimes; “Contempt of Cop” crimes.
WHY THE COPS TRY TO DESTROY YOU; TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.
The Police know that once they’ve crossed-over a clear and well-defined Constitutional boundary, such as your Constitutional right to be free from a sadistic police beating (U.S. Const. Amends. 4 and 14), that they must immediately take steps to shift the blame for their use of force upon you; for it certainly can’t fall upon them, lest they be considered monsters; “Bad Apples”. Their first step being to either immediately arrest you, or to restrain or confine your freedom to leave their presence. This is done as a matter of reflex, rather than a product of reflection, by police authorities. You’re not going anywhere until the police figure-out what to do with you. Hospital, Jail, or otherwise. It’s automatic for you to be taken to jail, even if you’re taken for a humiliating visit to the hospital (bloody and in handcuffs, being escorted by the police), on the way there. It doesn’t matter that you committed no crime. All that does matter at that time, is that they did (i.e. they beat you up; federal and state crimes), and they don’t plan on taking the blame for doing so. They justify their behavior, by accusing you of de minimis and vague criminal offenses; especially of California Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) (Resisting / Obstructing / Delaying a Peace Officer.)
If your sadistic police beating was bad enough to be actually kept in the hospital, or if it’s obvious to the Patrol Sergeant that the patient didn’t deserve what he got (and assuming that your Patrol Sergeant isn’t the truly creepy kind, you may be given a Citation to appear in Court, or you might even get “long formed”. Getting “long formed” is police lingo (in the real world), for not formally arresting you now, but nonetheless concocting a phony story about the event that resulted in you being in the hospital, and based upon the template of the bogus story, create phony reports to support that story, and conceal and destroy evidence that belies the concocted story, such a deleting an audio or video recording of the actual incident complained of, or a materially significant portion of any such recording. Usually, the officers create not all that serious allegations of criminality by you; not enough for you to realistically be exposed to any jail time, but serious enough to justify their conduct, and, most importantly, serious enough to get you criminally prosecuted.
The police really do create false and misleading police reports to shore-up the odds, that some young and ambitious Deputy District Attorney, will want to endear himself to a police agency, by protecting them from civil liability. The young and ambitious Deputy District Attorney files a criminal case against you for violation of California Penal Code Sections 148(a)(1) (Resisting / Obstructing / Delaying a Peace Officer), and Sections 240/241(c) and 242/243(b); Assault and Battery on a Peace Officer. Now what do you do? If you take a plea bargain, you can’t sue for the damages that you suffered from being falsely arrest and falsely prosecuted for a crime, and the mental and financial toll that being falsely arrested and falsely prosecuted takes on one (i.e. job loss, attorney’s fees.)
If, rather than take a plea bargain, and you stand your ground and defend yourself in court, you can pay many thousands of dollars for a lawyer, to defend you on a bogus criminal charge, that is usually a misdemeanor, and usually will result in no jail time, and a de minimis fine. What do you do? Do you spend the money on a lawyer and hope that things work about and that after you prevail on your criminal case, that you can sue and get pay-back and paid back? Mr. Steering has been contemporaneously defending these bogus Police Misconduct criminal actions, and prosecuting civil rights lawsuits for victims of police outrages, since 1984. He will know what to do in your particular case.
SUING THE POLICE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS AND OTHER TORTIOUS CONDUCT, WHEN NO CRIMINAL CASE HAS BEEN FILED AGAINST THE POLICE MISCONDUCT VICTIM.
In many cases, notwithstanding efforts by local police agencies to procure the filing of a bogus criminal case against the victim of their oppression, Deputy DA’s see the same reports from the same cops, that again and again and again, seek the criminal prosecution of persons for “resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace office in the lawful performance of his/her duties”, when the “suspect” always ends-up in the hospital. Therefore, many times, we can proceed to sue the officers in the appropriate court (usually federal court), without having to wait for the conclusion of underlying bogus criminal proceedings, since they will not be any.
If you want to know what do to if you’ve been falsely arrested, retaliated against for exercise of your constitutional rights, beaten-up by the police or maliciously prosecuted, please contact us at (949) 474-1849 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for visiting with us, and best of luck. Even if you have a legal question that’s important to you, and you just need lawyer input, we’ll be glad to answer your questions.
Thank you again for visiting with us.
Jerry L. Steering, Esq.
***The State Bar of California does not recognize a specialty in police misconduct
which is most of Mr. Steering’s law practice.
*In the District of Columbia only.
**In Beverly Hills Office only.
Click on “Home“, above, or the other pages shown, for the information or assistance that we can provide for you. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your particular legal situation, please call the Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering for a free telephone consultation.
Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.