Category: San Bernardino County

Victorville – Apple Valley Police Brutality Attorney

Jerry L. Steering arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in police shooting case, Pasadena, California

Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, who defends criminal cases, and sues police officers for, among other things, the use of excessive force upon civilians (otherwise known as police brutality.) His law practice involves serving, among other places, San Bernardino County, and the San Bernardino County cities shown below; especially Victorville and Apple Valley; the two “hot spots” for outrageous police misconduct. Although the Victor Valley is not nearly as heavily populated as other areas in Southern California, the “crime rate” of crimes and Constitutional Torts committed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is astounding. It seems that the Victor Valley is the hotbed for “cops gone wild.” These deputies in the High Desert are simply out of control, and nobody is going to do anything about; at least anybody from the Sheriff’s Department, or the Judges of the Victorville Court. These deputies “up the hill” have even been caught by a News Helicopter, beating-up a man who tried to elude them on horseback. The deputies knew that there was a Sheriff’s Department helicopter above, them, and knew that those pilots and crew would never “rat them out”. So, the beat the man who was trying to surrender to them after he had been tased. See, “Sheriff Orders Immediate Internal Investigation Into Arrest Seen on “Disturbing” Video”.

Mr. Steering also represents persons in both civil and criminal case in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and Orange County. He is an expert in brutality / excessive force and false arrest cases; both civil and criminal. Mr. Steering has successfully sued San Bernardino County police agencies successfully, for many years now. Here are a few examples of cases that Mr. Steering has won against the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department; an agency that has literally gone off of the deep end in the High Desert / Victor Valley area:

Morgan v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (1996), $714,000.00 settlement following jury verdict for excessive force and false arrest during search warrant execution in Apple Valley, California;

Austin v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, $500,000.00 jury verdict for false arrest and excessive force;

Lopez v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2002), $50,000.00 settlement for racially motivated battery;

Miller v. City of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2003), $35,000.00 settlement for unlawful detention;

Calderon v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2003), $115,000.00 settlement for false arrest and illegal search;

Arroyo v. City of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2004), $125,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person;

Ford v. County of San Bernardino, (2007), $80,000.00 settlement for excessive force;

In re Jane Doe v. County of San Bernardino, et al., (2008), $290,000.00 settlement (prior to filing lawsuit) for sexually motivated mistreatment of arrestee; and

Aubry v. County of San Bernardino, et. al, U.S. Dist. Court (LA) 2012, $325,000.00 settlement for the use of unreasonable force and for false arrest.

Penny Trent v. County of San Bernardino, et al.,U.S. Dist. Court (LA) 2012, $600,000.00 settlement for  unreasonable force, false arrest and unlawful search of residence.

LEGAL EDUCATION AND PUBLICATIONS.

University of Georgia School of Law (founded 1859)

Having attended the University of Georgia School of Law (J.D. 1984), and having taken and passed the February 1984 Georgia Bar Exam in his last semester of Law School (while Clerking at a law firm full time and attending law school full time), in June of 1984 Mr. Steering began defending criminal cases for the law firm of Scott & Quarterman, of Athens, Georgia; the same law firm that he clerked for, full-time, for.

Since 1984 (in California since 1986) he has tried and litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, towing industry related auto-theft / extortion cases (i.e. drop fees), drug possession / drug manufacturing cases, vehicular homicide cases, white-collar investor fraud cases, sex-offender or drug addict registration cases, violations of court order cases, domestic violence cases, towing industry cases, and the entire spectrum of various criminal violations.

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 scrutiny of “accomplice accusations” (i.e. typically deemed “reliable” enough to obtain search warrant or arrest warrant), and Sixth Amendment scrutiny of the very same statement (i.e. accomplice accusation generally held inherently unreliable for “Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause” purposes. In fact, these statements have been held to be so inherently unreliable that Congress could not even have meant to have included them with the ambit of the Declaration Against Penal Interest exception to the hearsay rule [804(b)(3)].) See, “The Application Of Sixth Amendment Tests For The Reliability Of Hearsay Evidence To Probable Cause Determinations, Steering and Ponsoldt, 16 Rutgers Law Journal 869 (1985).

NOTABLE CRIMINAL CASES IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, THAT MR. STEERING TURNED AROUND INTO CIVIL CASES.

Penny Trent

Penny Trent v. County of San Bernardino, et al.

On June 3, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriffs Carolyn Chadwell and Kirsten Mitchell answered a call for service of a husband beating his wife at their home at 12486 Kiowa, Apple Valley, California [1]. The deputies received no response to their knocking on the Penny and Wayne Trent’s door, so they entered the house and found Penny Trent and her husband partially undressed in the bathroom [2].  Rather than leave the residence once the welfare of the residents was confirmed, Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell interrogated them about the call for service (i.e. the domestic violence call.) After discussing the incident with Penny and Wayne Trent, the Deputies decided to arrest Mr. Trent for felony corporal injury on a spouse (Penal Code Section 273.5), handcuffed him and put him in their patrol car.

When the deputies took Mr. Trent out to the patrol car to go to jail, they told Penny Trent to have a seat in the living wait in the living room, and they’d be right back. Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell placed Mr. Trent into the patrol car, and Deputy Chadwell returned to the residence with a Marsy’s Victim’s Card [3]; the brochure that is given to Domestic Violence victims [4] by police officers.

When Deputy Chadwell returned to the door of the home with the Marsy’s Card for Mrs. Trent, she saw

SBSD Deputy Sheriff     Carolyn Chadwell

Penny Trent sitting on her living room couch. The couch appears at an angle to the front door area (See below, photo of view of couch from front door.) Deputy Chadwell apparently could not see one of Penny Trent’s lower arms when she saw her and stated to her: “Penny; where’s your other arm.” In literally less than one second after asking that question, Deputy Chadwell shot Penny Trent twice in her left leg. Although the bullets grazed her leg, Penny Trent was horrified from being shot, and at a complete loss as to why Deputy Chadwell would shoot her. This is all audio recorded [5]; a copy of the audio shown below.

Deputy Chadwell claimed that she shot Penny Trent because when she reentered the Trent residence, she saw Penny Trent with a blank stare on her face and said that Mrs. Trent’s hand was under a couch pillow. Mrs. Trent’s hand was just resting on the pillow on the couch, but from the front doorway area, Deputy Chadwell could only see her right hand. Deputy Chadwell didn’t give Mrs. Trent a chance to respond to her question, or to show her left arm. She just shot her within one second of asking her where her left arm was. Neighbor witnesses told the Sheriff’s Department that Deputy Chadwell then broke-down and cried about having shot Mrs. Trent.

Immediately after Deputy Chadwell shot Mrs. Trent, Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell ordered Penny Trent to exit her residence, and when she did, the deputies threw her to the ground on the rock front lawn, handcuffed her and placed her into their patrol car; imprisoning her there.

Audio recording by Deputy Chadwell of the June 3, 2012 shooting incident (the shooting takes place at 17 min. 02 sec. of the audio recording.)

Click here to view entire SBSD Officer-Involved-Shooting Investigation Report of Penny Trent Shooting

Thereafter, several Sheriff’s Department supervisors and other officers came to the Trent residence and decided what to do with Mrs. Trent [6]. After discussing the shooting of Mrs. Trent with each other, the Sheriff’s Department then conspired to take Penny Trent to the Apple Valley Station, so they could interrogate her in a coercive manner [7]; to try to get her to say something to try to justify their shooting of her [8] (she never did.) It’s a federal crime and federal constitutional violation to take a person to the police station for questioning, without probable cause to arrest them (Hayes v. Florida, 470 U.S. 811 (1985)). That’s just what they did to Penny Trent, and it’s shown on the recording shown below.

Notwithstanding Mrs. Trent’s repeated requests to leave the station, the Sheriff’s Department investigators kept Penny Trent at the station. They even created police reports showing that a crime had occurred (i.e. Cal. Penal Code § 245; assault with a deadly weapon), that Penny Trent was the “suspect” of the shooting, and that Deputy Chadwell was the “victim”. The geniuses at the Sheriff’s Department did a gunshot residue test on Penny Trent, even though she was the one shot. Even worse, the investigators at the Apple Valley station made Penny Trent undress down to her underwear, to take photos of any marks or bruises on her; supposedly for the criminal case against Mr. Trent.

Moreover, to add insult to injury, the Sheriff’s Department (Investigator Robert Thacker) unlawfully obtained a search warrant for the search of Penny Trent’s house, and used the bogus pretense of a criminal investigation, to perform their civil liability investigation. This was the Sheriff’s Department’s only chance to inspect the premises, as police officials cannot obtain a search warrant to do civil liability investigation; only to investigate crimes. Therefore, the Sheriff’s Department had to misrepresent the purpose of their application for a search warrant to Judge Stanford Reichert; claiming that their search would reveal evidence of a crime (the only crime really being Chadwell’s shooting of Penny Trent.)

Eventually, in the early morning hours of June 3, 2012, the Sheriff’s Department drove Mrs. Trent home after they were done with their illegal search of her residence.

Although ever since O.J. Simpson decapitated his wife “Domestic Violence” seems to be the worst crime that one can commit, because the Sheriff’s Department shot the domestic violence victim (Penny Trent), when they took Mr. Trent to the hospital that same evening, they posted no guard in / at his hospital room, and actually let him “escape.” To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Mr. Trent, because the Sheriff’s Department can’t prosecute Mr. Trent without publically implicating themselves in shooting the very victim of that crime.

None of this is surprising, save the actual shooting itself. Police agencies typically arrest the victims of their outrages, and in the coercive atmosphere of custodial interrogation, attempt, and often succeed, in getting their victims to make statements against their interest; statements that “spin” the facts or otherwise somehow shift all or part of the blame to the citizen – victim. This is normal, notwithstanding it being obvious to any peace officer that it’s unlawful to take someone to the police station for questioning in the absence of probable cause for their arrest. See, Hayes v. Florida, 470 U.S. 811 (1985.) The ends that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will go to, to protect themselves from civil liability is incredible.

Moreover, although the Sheriff’s Department just couldn’t keep themselves from illegally taking Penny Trent to the police station in handcuffs (i.e. false arrest, kidnapping civil rights criminal violations), because they screwed up and shot the victim that they were there to save, they need to get a coerced and skewed statement of what happened. They need to get Penny Trent to the station there and now, even though they had no right to have done so, because the coercive environment of police interrogation, allows the cops to shape the story, and to get you to agree with statements that are not true and that are against your interest, because after that moment in time, you are going to not be so vulnerable, and will likely have a lawyer.

Notwithstanding all of that, the Sheriff’s Department didn’t get an actual formal statement from Deputy Chadwell, until five days after her attempt to kill Penny Trent; an audio copy of her interview being below and playable. Case Result: $600,000.00.

People of the State of California v. Jonathan Osborne; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1) (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer.) Jonathan Osborne’s mother had ordered a suicide kit from a lady in San Diego, who the FBI had raided for selling the kits. The FBI found an unfilled order for the kit, so the feds called the Upland (California) Police Department to check on the welfare of the parents at the Osborne home. When the Upland Police Department showed-up at the Osborne home, the only person there was Jonathan Osborne; one of the Osborne’s sons. The police demanded entry into the home and arrested (and beat-up) Jonathan Osborne, for refusing to consent to the police officers’ demand to make a warrantless entry into the Osborne home. Notwithstanding the fact that a 1974 California Supreme Court case (People v. Wetzel, 11 Cal.3d 104 (1974)) held that it is never a crime to stand in one’s doorway and to refuse their consent to a warrantless search of one’s home, the Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office refused to dismiss the case, because they have an express policy of never dismissing cases alleging a police officer victim. Moreover, the Upland Police Department destroyed an exculpatory audio recording of the incident that was recorded by the main Upland Police Department officer. Result: Case settled on appeal by defendants for confidential sum.

People of the State of California v. James Lemoine; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for felony assault on a peace officer and felony interference with public officer’s performance of duties. An Ontario Police Officer located Mr. Lemoine in a neighbor’s home after incident with his girlfriend, resulting in her called police on him. Mr. Lemoine attempted to flea the officer and attempted to jump through window of home to escape. Mr. Lemoine got stuck in the window sill assembly, and was shot in the back by the Ontario Police Department officer while in that position. He posed no threat to the officer, who was exonerated of wrongdoing by Ontario PD (“What’s wrong with shooting an unarmed man, stuck in a window frame, cut-up, with one leg outside and one leg inside?”) The officer claimed that Mr. Lemoine attacked him in an effort to escape; a complete fabrication; something actually quite normal for peace officers. However, the only people who get to sit on juries in police misconduct cases, civil or criminal, have not personally witnessed police misconduct (all that have seem to always tell the court during jury selection, that the event of police misconduct that they witnessed had such a profoundly negative opinion and general distrust of, if not contempt for, peace officers, that they are actually prejudiced against peace officers in these type cases, and are, therefore, excused to sit for cause as a juror.) Therefore, the only people who are asked to judge who is lying; the defendant or the Constable, are people who believe that police don’t do bad things to people who didn’t deserve it; morally, if not legally, because they have only had positive experiences with peace officers. That’s why it’s so difficult to win in these officer vs. civilian swearing contests; notwithstanding the Constable repeatedly lying on the stand. However, it can be done, and it was done here. Hon. Ben T. Kayashima, Judge Presiding:  Jury Verdict: Not Guilty all Counts.

People of the State of California v. Tom Austin; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer. Mr. Austin’s 16 year old son and his classmates were video recording a reenactment of the famous Sacco an Vanzetti armed robbery incident (that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent of, but executed for), for a High School History project. The boys wore black ski masks and carried pellet guns, and had dressed-up the Austin’s garage to resemble a bank teller window counter. Some neighbors saw the youths and (notwithstanding a youth recording the reenactment with a tripod mounted video camera outside of the garage) thought that the youths were home invasion robbers, and called the police.

The youths were detained downstairs in the garage, and when Mr. Austin heard screaming (the police screaming orders to the youths) he walked downstairs to tell the youths to be quiet (to not to disturb the neighbors), and when he reached the bottom of the stairs and turned a blind corner, he saw the barrel of a policeman’s pistol pointing directly at and in front of his face. The officer ordered Mr. Austin to turn around, and when he asked the officer (who was now standing inside of Mr. Austin’s home) what was going on, the officer pepper-sprayed him in his face, handcuffed him and took him to jail. The Ontario Police officers concocted the story that Mr. Austin lunged for the officer’s gun, and that’s why he pepper-sprayed him. Mr. Steering found that a recording of the immediate post pepper-spraying activities, had been altered to conceal the true contents of the discussion between Mr. Austin and the officers. Hon. Gerard S. Brown, Judge Presiding: Result: Jury Verdict: Not Guilty (Mr. Steering later obtained a $500,000.00 jury verdict in favor of Mr. Austin, against the arresting officers, as shown below.)

People of the State of California v. Milt Holland; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer. Mr. Holland leased the old CHP office building in Ontario, to work on prototype bus control computer system. Ontario Code Enforcement wanted to check the building to see if Mr. Holland also was residing in the same. The area was only zoned for commercial occupancy; not residential. Ontario Code Enforcement officers, along with Ontario Police Officers, approached the chained-closed padlocked rear entry entry gate of the premises, and saw Mr. Holland behind the gate; elevated; standing in a construction trailer. The officers ordered Mr. Holland to open the gate, and Mr. Holland simply walked away from the locked gate, and into the building. The officers used the “master key” (i.e. bolt cutters) to enter the yard, and arrested Mr. Holland and took him to jail for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1); resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer in the performance of their duties; the catch-all crime that the police use when they don’t actually have any grounds to arrest a civilian, since Section 148(a)(1) is so nebulous and ambiguous, it could be, and many many times has been, construed as meaning just about anything, and is used to arrest people who “fail the attitude test”) Click on tab, above on “Criminal Attorney – Contempt of Cop Resistance Cases”, for a more developed analysis of police misuse of Section 148(a)(1.)

After Mr. Holland had gone through four criminal defense lawyers, who told him to plead guilty to misdemeanor delaying / obstructing an officer (Section 148(a)(1), for not opening the gate), Mr. Holland retained Mr. Steering, who look one look at the Ontario PD report and immediately knew that even on the face of the Police Report, that there was no crime committed by Mr. Holland. On the day set for trial, Mr. Steering asked Judge Dennis G. Cole to dismiss the case on the ground that if everything that the police were contending in their reports was true, it nonetheless is never a crime to refuse an officer’s demand to search a place, thing or person, in the absence of a search warrant. If reading Mr. Steering legal authorities to support that proposition of law (See v. City of Seattle, 387 U.S. 541 (1967) and Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967) (both holding that the state can’t criminalize a mere refusal to consent to warrantless entry), Judge Cole told the District Attorney’s Office that his “case was in the toilet”. Result: Case Dismissed pursuant to Mr. Steering’s invitation to the Court, to dismiss the case on its own motion, in the interest of justice (Cal. Penal Code § 1385.)

JANE and JOHN DOE v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. [Riverside] (2000); $50,000.00.

Deputy Sheriff Attempts To Frame Husband And Hide Romance Wife, By Hiding The Drugs Found On Her From The DA’s Office:

In this case, Mr. Steering obtained $50,000.00 from the County of San Bernardino, for a criminal defendant’s claim against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, for planting evidence of drug manufacturing, during the deputy’s unlawful search of a probationer’s residence; notwithstanding probation Bravo search terms. While in the process of planting evidence, the deputy sheriff actually discovered even better evidence of the very crime that the deputy sheriff was attempting to frame the defendant for. It’s like framing the guilty. That way, the police don’t need to bother with obtaining evidence against the persons who they believe are engaged in ongoing criminal enterprises (i.e. manufacturing or selling narcotics); they can just provide the evidence themselves, and save us all of the time and money incurred and expended, in investigating and obtaining competent and admissible evidence of criminal conduct that will stand-up in court.

When a San Bernardino County Probation Officer and Sheriff’s Department Investigator did a probation search of JOHN DOE’s residence (the “husband” was on felony drug possession probation), they saw all sorts of pornographic photos, exotic clothing and sex toys in the home, and became immediately infatuated with the beautiful occupant of the residence; JANE DOE; the cohabitant girlfriend. The Sheriff’s Department Investigator arrested JANE DOE for narcotics possession, and took her to jail; stopping on the way to jail to show-off his “catch.” Although her bail was $500,000.00, the Investigator got it reduced to release on her own recognizance (something unheard of in San Bernardino County), to attempt to date her.

The Investigator broke back into the DOE residence after arresting JANE DOE, as he had seen a VHS video at the home earlier marked: “XXXX.” When the Investigator then played that video at the DOE residence, he not only watched JOHN and JANE DOE having all sorts of sex, but also saw a recording of JOHN DOE cooking meth. However, there was no meth manufacturing chemicals or equipment at the house. So, in an effort to frame the guilty, the Investigator planted meth “cooking” equipment in the residence, and he and the Probation officer staked-out the house for several days, until JOHN DOE showed back-up at his home. When JOHN DOE entered the house, he was immediately arrested for meth manufacturing, based on the items planted by the Investigator, who wanted to put JOHN DOE in prison, to free-up JANE DOE for dating.

Mr. Steering was able to obtain $50,000.00 for the defendant from the County for the Investigator’s actions, and Mr. Steering was able to negotiate a 10 year sentence for JOHN DOE, rather than the 25 years to life sentence for a third strike drug manufacturing.

POLICE BRUTALITY, FALSE ARRESTS AND MALICIOUS CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS.

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. See, Orange County Sheriff’s Department police torture videos, and other police beating videos throughout the Country. There is a “Blue Code of Silence” between and among peace officers throughout the nation, and everyone knows this. This is no startling revelation. The County of Los Angeles has itself released a public document, acknowledging the existence of, and actually condemning, the Sheriff’s Department’s own rogue gangs of sadistic jailers at the Los Angeles County Central Men’s Jail. See, The Citizens Commission on Jail Violence September 28, 2012.

IN CALIFORNIA, A POLICE OFFICER CAN BEAT-UP OR MURDER ANYONE THAT THEY WANT TO, ANY TIME THAT THEY WANT TO, WHILE ON-DUTY.

The use of unreasonable and unlawful force in America is so rampant, that in these modern times, at least in California, a police officer can murder anyone that they want to, any time that they want to. Juries are very reluctant to convict police officers for any sort of duty related actions, such as shooting civilians. In 2010, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Shot 15 Unarmed People To Death – “Perception Shootings”. See p. 56 of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 30th Semi-Annual Report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

All that the police officers need to say is the they were afraid for their lives because their shooting victim had his hands in his pockets, or that his hands were under his body and wouldn’t show them to the officer, or that he was reaching for his waistband area. The modern police line is that if an officer either can’t see your hands or if you reach for you waist or pockets, that it’s okay to shoot the person. This is no joke. None of the shootings of the fifteen unarmed people who were shot to death by the LA Sheriff’s Department in 2010 were found by the department to have violated department policy. Moreover, none of those deputies were criminally prosecuted for those shootings; even when witnesses have come forward and disputed the deputies’ claims as to what happened.

These homicides by police officer aren’t just limited to shootings. For example, on January 13, 2014, an Orange County, California, Superior Court jury acquitted two Fullerton Police Department officers of murdering / using unreasonable force on the mentally-ill son of a former Orange County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff; Kelly Thomas. The beating death was audio and video recorded, and no reasonable human being could have believed that the beating death was justified. The video recording shows two sadistic police officers, beat Kelly Thomas to death. However, the defense was able to show the jury two prior incidents that made the jury simply not care that Kelly Thomas was wrongfully beat to death; the testimony about his having previous struck his grandfather, and testimony about his mother obtaining a restraining order against him. Remember, this was a mentally ill young man, who had his moments. They were able to do this, because California Evidence Code Section 1103 permits a criminal defendants to show the character of the alleged victim of their crime, to prove that the victim has a certain character, and that the victim acted in conformity with that character during the incident complained of; the one that the criminal defendant is being prosecuted for.

Accordingly, notwithstanding overwhelming evidence that the Fullerton Police Department literally beat Kelly Thomas to death for what seemed to be actual sadistic gratification (i.e. “See these fists. They are going to fuck you up”), a Fullerton training Corporal gets on the witness stand and testifies that he has seen the video and audio recording of the officers beating Kelly Thomas to death and that the actions of the officers are commensurate with their training. Incredibly, the jury get suckered. The police, the lawyers, the judges and the professional police apologists (the “expert witnesses that really can justify literally anything) all know how outrageous Kelly Thomas’s murder was. They are all, however, bound by our system of justice.

The police get to show the sordid life of their victims because of Cal. Evid. Code § 1103(a) allows the criminal defendant to show various traits of the character of the alleged victim to show that the alleged victim acted in conformity with that traits of character during the incident complained of. By the time that the cops are done dehumanizing the dead victim, no one on the jury cares what the officer did to the decedent.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES HAVE GOTTEN MORE BRUTAL.

In 2012, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain, Bob Olmsted, told the Los Angeles Times, that the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail was, essentially, a torture chamber, run by these rogue jailer gangs of sadistic sociopaths (Minnesota Viking logo tattoos on on their ankles.) Discipline for beatings was not existent, and torturing inmates was actually required for jailer gang initiation. See, “L.A. County sheriff’s official tells of jail brutality”, LA Times, July 7, 2012. See also, “L.A. County jail violence sheriff’s fault, panel says”, LA Times, September 28, 2012. Rival Sheriff’s Department jailer gangs even got into a rumble between the “3000 Boys” (the third floor jailers) and the “2000 Boys” (the second floor jailers) at a Sheriff’s Department Christmas party.

Undersheriff Paul Tanaka

Even as long ago as 1992, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in a published decision that the “Vikings” gang of Deputy Sheriff’s at the Lynwood Sheriff’s Station, that they were a Neo-Nazi white supremacist gang within the LA County Sheriff’s Department. See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 978 F.2d 504 (1992.)

The leader of the sociopath / sadistic torturing faction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, recently retired LA Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, is now running for Sheriff of LA County. Paul Tanaka was a member of the Nazi Sheriff’s Department gang the “Vikings”; who have the Minnesota Vikings logo tattooed on their legs.

Following Captain Bob Olmsted’s revelations to the FBI, the FBI did an undercover investigation at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail. The FBI investigation resulted in the Indictment of 18 Deputy Sheriffs and their Supervisors for torturing inmates and obstructing the FBI’s investigation by hiding prisoners in the county jail population. These 18 Indictments of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel resulted in the resignation of L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, along with a retired LASD Captain, were indicted on May 13, 2015 by a federal Grand Jury for Obstructing and Conspiring to Obstruct a federal Grand Jury investigation of the rampant torturing of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail (See, Paul Tanaka Indictment of May 13, 2015.)

That’s not the end of it. Former LASD Deputy Sheriff Noel Womack pleaded guilty in June of 2015 to federal charges of lying to the FBI about systemic LASD torturing and framing of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jails. In 2014, six LASD Deputy Sheriffs were convicted of obstructing the FBI’s investigation of the torturing of prisoners at the Los Angeles County Jails.Lee Baca resigned from office over the scandal at the LA County Men’s Central Jail involving the Indictment of 18 LASD Deputy Sheriffs and their Supervisors for torturing prisoners and obstructing the FBI’s investigation of the same.

On February 10, 2016, Sheriff Baca was Indicted for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); lying to the FBI regarding his knowledge of a scheme in the Sheriff’s Department to intimidate an FBI agent who was investigating complaints of beatings of inmates by deputies at the Los Angeles County Jail, and to hide an FBI informant – jail inmate from his FBI handlers. Sheriff Baca was tried on that Indictment, but the jury hung.

LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka following his conviction for obstruction of federal investigation

Thereafter, on April 6, 2016, former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted of conspiracy and actual obstruction of an FBI investigation; violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiring to obstruct justice) and 18 U.S.C. § 1503(a) (obstructing justice); for not only obstructing an FBI investigation into years of beatings and torturing of inmates at the L.A. County Jail, but also Tanaka and other high ranking Sheriff’s Department officials threatened one of the FBI agents involved in that investigation with arrest for continuing that investigation. In his trial, Tanaka admitted that he still had the Minnesota Vikings Logo tattoo on his leg; a tattoo that he described as a member in a club; the “Vikings”; a tatoo that the federal courts have held is the gang taoo for a “neo-Nazi white supremacists gang within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, 978 F.2d 504 (1992).

Lee Baca following his conviction

Thereafter, on February 10, 2017, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted of similar charges; lying to the FBI and obstruction of the FBI investigation into the systemic beatings and torture of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail;  violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); lying to the FBI regarding his knowledge of a scheme in the Sheriff’s Department to intimidate an FBI agent who was investigating complaints of beatings of inmates by deputies at the Los Angeles County Jail, and to hide an FBI informant – jail inmate from his FBI handlers.Nonetheless, the body politic tolerates the existence, and the perpetuation of an ongoing unwritten agreement among and between peace officers, to falsely report, and, if necessary, to thereafter conspire with officers who they may not yet even know, to falsely testify, about event(s), if the potential or apparent criminal, administrative and civil liability of a fellow officer is at stake. After all, in the primary category of cases that truly are “false arrests” in the most malevolent sense of the word, “Contempt of Cop cases“, the only reason that there’s an arrest of a civilian at all, is because the police officer has beaten-up / tortured another; usually to self-medicate rather their frail and easily bruise-able egos.

Forner Orange County Sheriff (front) was convicted of obstructing a federal Grand Jury investigation, and his Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo was convicted of theft of honest services and tax evasion.

Orange County, California had a Sheriff’s Department that was run by Sheriff Mike Carona, who was released from federal prison in 2015 for witness tampering (instructing witness to lie to Grand Jury.) Until Sheriff Carona went to prison, Orange County was a fantasy assignment for those truly sadistic peace officers, who “get-off” on beating inmates and arrestees. Carona’s Assistant Sheriffs, George Jaramillo and Don Haidl were both criminally prosecuted.

Mike Carona was the former head Orange County Marshall before the Sheriff’s Department took over Court Services, such as bailiffs in the Court rooms. He was never a line / street cop. When Sheriff Carona ran for Sheriff his campaign and political tactics were influenced to commit unlawful acts by the same two Gentlemen who did the same with the 1998 campaign for District Attorney. Gabriel Nassar and Eugene Abbadessa convinced both newly elected Sheriff Carona and newly elected District Attorney Tony Rackauckas both “sold” bages (Carona; Deputy Sheriff’s badges [Reserve]) and “Commissioner” badges (for the Tony Rackauckas Foundation) for a $5,000.00 “constribution”.

Modern police agencies are afraid of losing their “power” in, and over, a community. That “power” base (i.e. ability to influence the politicians and the public), is based in large part, on the public “supporting the police”. That popular support is based upon a belief by the body politic, that: 1) police officers are well trained and know and respect your Constitutional rights, 2) they’re basically honest, 3) that only a small percentage of them would commit perjury, 4) that the force that the police use on people is almost always justified (if not legally, then morally), and 5) that the police are capable of policing themselves. Although none of these beliefs are accurate, one cannot ignore the belief system of the majority of the white / affluent American populace, in understanding why police officers routinely, and without a second thought, falsely arrest civilians, and commit other outrages against innocents.

Unfortunately, because of institutional pressures (i.e. “ratting out fellow officer not a good career move), and the obvious political and practical consequences of not backing-up the their fellow police officers, the norm in today’s police profession, is for police officers to falsely arrest their “victims”, and to author false police reports to procure the bogus criminal prosecutions (i.e. to literally “frame”) of those persons whose Constitutional rights and basic human dignity have been violated. After all; how would it look if a police officer beat you up, and didn’t arrest you. Because most police officers, including those that step-over Constitutional “line in the sand“ (i.e. beating another, falsely accusing civilians of crimes), are not true sociopaths, when they falsely charge you with a crime, it isn’t usually too serious of one. Most are bogus claims for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1), because the crime of “resisting or obstructing or delaying a peace officer who’s engaged in the performance of his/her duties” is incredibly ambiguous, and can (ingenuously or ignorantly) be applied to almost any conduct by a person (i.e. the defendant yelled at me for restraining [torturing] the “suspect”, so he delayed me from arresting the “suspect” because I had to look his way and take a protective stance in the events that the defendant charged at me.)

Often, Contempt of Cops arrests also often charge violation of Cal. Penal Code §§ 242 / 243(b); “battery on a peace officer”. Battery on a peace officer, is almost always, in reality, battery by a peace officer; otherwise known as “Excessive Force” or “Unreasonable Force”, which the United States Supreme Court has classified since 1989, as an “unreasonable seizure” of a person under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).)Moreover, if the police beat you up badly, they usually charge you with violation of Cal. Penal Code § 69; using or threatening the use of force to prevent or to attempt to prevent, a public officer from performing their duties. They use this section to charge you with for more serious injuries to you by them, because Section 69 is a “wobbler offense”; a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Accordingly, in many cases where the police use “excessive force” (“police brutality”) on civilians, 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) and resisting officer with actual or threat of violence (Cal. Penal Code § 69.) After all, how would it look if the police beat-up a civilian, and just left the scene, as opposed to arrested the person that they just beat-up? Not very good for the police; ergo, the old police motto: “You hook’em, you book’em.”

Pursuant to the routine procedure to persecute their victims, police officers arrest their victims, author bogus reports that accuse their victims of crimes against the officer, preserve evidence favorable to them, and “flush” evidence adverse to their usually fabricated and contrived claims of criminal conduct by their victims; you, the public. His law practice involves serving, among other places, Orange County, and the Orange County cities shown below. Mr. Steering is an expert in dealing with your pending bogus criminal action, in a way that is going to best protect your ability to down the road sue the police, and obtain compensation and redress for your beating, your false arrest, and your malicious criminal prosecution. Mr. Steering also specializes in obtaining evidence and framing issues for adjudication in the initial criminal action against the police misconduct victim (the defendant being criminally prosecuted), and discovering evidence in that criminal case, to seal the police defendants’ fate in the civil action after the criminal case is disposed of in your favor.

LEGALLY, WHAT IS EXCESSIVE / UNREASONABLE FORCE?

Prior to 1989, the federal courts looked to the substantive due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution to “pigeon hole” claims of excessive force by a peace officer against civilians. See, Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d 1028 (2nd Cir. 1973.) That standard was that the conduct of the police officer had to be “shocking to the conscience”; the standard still used for those uses of force by a police officer that don’t involve efforts by police to use force against civilians to seize them, such as arresting or detaining civilians. Johnson v. Glick involved the use of force by prison guards against a convict; not either a free civilian that an officer is trying to “seize” (detain or arrest), or a “pre-trial detainee“; someone who has already been “seized” (i.e. arrested, and in the County Jail; awaiting arraignment, other pre-trial proceedings, or trial.)

However, when it comes to a police officer using force to arrest or detain another, the standard for the use of force is decreed by the Supreme Court, to emanate out of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

Amendment IV.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Thus, the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures is, since 1989, the legal standard by which to judge whether a police officer used excessive force when seizing a civilian.

WHAT IS EXCESSIVE / UNREASONABLE FORCE?

The United States Supreme Court has defined “Excessive Force”as follows:

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the Majority Opinion in Graham v. Connor

“Where, as here, the excessive force claim arises in the context of an arrest or investigatory stop of a free citizen, it is most properly characterized as one invoking the protections of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right “to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable . . . seizures” of the person . . . . . . . Determining whether the force used to effect a particular seizure is “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment requires a careful balancing of ” ‘the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests’ ” against the countervailing governmental interests at stake. Id., at 8, 105 S.Ct., at 1699, quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 703, 103 S.Ct. 2637, 2642, 77 L.Ed.2d 110 (1983). Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has long recognized that the right to make an arrest or investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to effect it. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S., at 22-27, 88 S.Ct., at 1880-1883. Because “the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mecha ical application,” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1884, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), however, its proper application requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. See Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S., at 8-9, 105 S.Ct., at 1699-1700 (the question is “whether the totality of the circumstances justifies a particular sort of . . . seizure”).” (See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989.))

“The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. See Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 20-22, 88 S.Ct., at 1879-1881. The Fourth Amendment is not violated by an arrest based on probable cause, even though the wrong person is arrested, Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797, 91 S.Ct. 1106, 28 L.Ed.2d 484 (1971), nor by the mistaken execution of a valid search warrant on the wrong premises, Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 107 S.Ct. 1013, 94 L.Ed.2d 72 (1987). With respect to a claim of excessive force, the same standard of reasonableness at the moment applies: “Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chambers,” Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d, at 1033, violates the Fourth Amendment. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

As in other Fourth Amendment contexts, however, the “reasonableness” inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. See, Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 128, 137-139, 98 S.Ct. 1717, 1723-1724, 56 L.Ed.2d 168 (1978); See also, Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 21, 88 S.Ct., at 1879 (in analyzing the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure, “it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective standard”). An officer’s evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer’s good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional. See, Scott v. United States, supra, 436 U.S., at 138, 98 S.Ct., at 1723, citing United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973).

In Graham, we held that claims of excessive force in the context of arrests or investigatory stops should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendment‘s objective reasonableness standard, not under substantive due process principles. 490 U.S., at 388, 394. Because police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation, id., at 397, the reasonableness of the officers belief as to the appropriate level of force should be judged from that on-scene perspective. Id., at 396. We set out a test that cautioned against the 20/20 vision of hindsight in favor of deference to the judgment of reasonable officers on the scene. Id., at 393, 396. Graham sets forth a list of factors relevant to the merits of the constitutional excessive force claim, requir[ing] careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Id., at 396. If an officer reasonably, but mistakenly, believed that a suspect was likely to fight back, for instance, the officer would be justified in using more force than in fact was needed (See, Saucierv. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001), Kennedy, J.)

The federal courts have reduced all of this legal gobbledygook to jury instructions, that, supposedly, a person of regular intelligence can understand. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Jury Instruction for excessive force instructs the jury:

“Ninth Circuit Model Civil Jury Instructions

9.22 PARTICULAR RIGHTS—FOURTH AMENDMENT—UNREASONABLE SEIZURE OF PERSON—EXCESSIVE (DEADLY AND NONDEADLY) FORCE

In general, a seizure of a person is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment if a police officer uses excessive force [in making a lawful arrest] [and] [or] [in defending [himself] [herself] [others]. Thus, in order to prove an unreasonable seizure in this case, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the officer[s] used excessive force when [insert factual basis of claim].

Under the Fourth Amendment, a police officer may only use such force as is “objectively reasonable” under all of the circumstances. In other words, you must judge the reasonableness of a particular use of force from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene and not with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

In determining whether the officer[s] used excessive force in this case, consider all of the circumstances known to the officer[s] on the scene, including:

1. The severity of the crime or other circumstances to which the officer[s] [was] [were] responding;

2. Whether the plaintiff posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officer[s] or to others;

3. Whether the plaintiff was actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight;

4. The amount of time and any changing circumstances during which the officer had to determine the type and amount of force that appeared to be necessary;

5. The type and amount of force used;

[6. The availability of alternative methods [to take the plaintiff into custody] [to subdue the plaintiff;]

[7. Other factors particular to the case.]“

THE PROBLEM WITH GRAHAM’S “REASONABLE OFFICER STANDARD” IN THE REAL WORLD – THE WATCHMAN GETS TO MAKE HIS OWN RULES THAT REGULATE HIS OWN CONDUCT.

When asked about a 1974 Papal Encyclical by Pope Paul VI, condemning the use of contraception, former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz stated: He don’t play-a-da game; he don’t make-a-da rules.” In the police profession, they do play that “game”, and now they get to “make-a-da rules.”

The problem with the description of how “excessive force” is defined, is not the Supreme Court’s strong emphasis on the officer’s conduct being based on an “objective” standard; they hypothetical reasonable officer in the abstract. The problem is, that the standards in the police profession for what is “reasonable” or otherwise proper police conduct in a given situation, are generally neither the creature of legislation (i.e. state law requiring the audio recording of custodial police interrogations) nor the product of any judicially created mandate, duty, or prohibition (i.e. Constitutional limits on conduct and judicially created “exclusionary rule”.) The conduct of “the objectively reasonable officer”; that standard that the Supreme Court attempted to describe in Graham v. O’Connor and Saucier v. Katz, is created by the very persons whose conduct the Fourth Amendment is supposed to impose limits on. Thus, in a very real sense, the Supreme Court has set the standard (“objectively reasonable officer”) that the Fourth Amendment requires, but has delegated the details of what’s reasonable or not, to the police.

It’s letting the regulated enact their own regulations. It’s like letting the local power company, set the rate of profit that they should make; set the formula for how the amount of profit is determined; set how much they can spend on public relations (since they’re a monopoly), and how, when, by whom and in what manner, they should be inspected, what they can and can’t do in their industry, and every other aspect of the business. If they want to all use tasers on civilians, then that’s reasonable. If they all want to pepper-spray persons because their hands in their pockets, then that’s reasonable. If they want to prone-out everyone at gun point that they detain, then that’s reasonable. At the end of the day, in the real world police world, if the technique, method, procedure, policy or practice reduces the danger level to the officer, you can bet that, eventually, they will find a way to justify such technique, method, procedure, policy or practice , and make such otherwise unreasonable behavior, “reasonable”, for no other reason than the police would prefer to act that way; Constitutional or not. You see the problem. The police have an old slogan: “It’s better to be judged by 12, then carried by 6.” It’s another way of saying, I’ll act in a way that is in my self interest; not yours, and if I happen to trample your Constitutional rights, so be it. My insuring my safety from any potential threat trumps any annoying Constitutional rights of yours.

THE PROBLEM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY, COMPOUNDS THE PROBLEM CREATED BY GRAHAM.

In a nutshell, the Qualified Immunity is an immunity from a lawsuit (from being sued at all) for violation of a civilian’s Constitutional rights, when those rights were actually violated, but a reasonably well trained police officer could have believed that his conduct did not constitute a Constitutional violation. So, even if the police officer actually violated your Constitutional Rights, he/she may be immune from suit, because the law was not clearly established enough at the time of the violation, to hold a police officer liable for his conduct. This is a doctrine “contrived” by the conservative members of the Supreme Court (since 1981), to ensure that you can’t do anything about (or at least do a whole lot less about) your Constitutional Rights being trampled by the government.

THE PERVERSION, AD NAUSEAM, OF THE QUALIFIED IMMUNITY DOCTRINE, TO PROTECT PEACE OFFICERS FROM CIVIL LIABILITY; “REASONABLY ACTING UNREASONABLY”

So, for example, if the police come-up with a whole new technique to restrain people, such as a with a taser, or pepper-spray, or pepper-balls, or water-balls, or hobbling (police hog tying), or a shock-belting, or stun-gunning, the officer may very well be entitled to qualified immunity from being sued for the misuse of any of the above-mentioned devices; not because its “reasonable”, but because the police just use those devices in such manners; thereby giving the Courts an excused to relieve the police officer from liability for the damage caused by his violation of the Constitutional Rights of civilians:

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (appointed by President Reagan in 1988 and confirmed in 1989)

“Qualified immunity is an entitlement not to stand trial or face the other burdens of litigation. Saucier v. Katz,533U.S. 194, 200 (2001) (quoting Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985)) . . . Accordingly, we must resolve immunity questions at the earliest possible stage in litigation. Pearson, 129, S.Ct.at 815.

An officer will be denied qualified immunity in a 1983 action only if (1) the facts alleged, taken in the light most favorable to the party asserting injury, show that the officers conduct violated a constitutional right, and (2) the right at issue was clearly established at the time of the incident such that a reasonable officer would have understood her conduct to be unlawful in that situation. Saucier, 533 at 201-02; Liberal v. Estrada, 632 F.3d 1064, 1076 (9th Cir. 2011.) To assist the development of constitutional precedent, we exercise our sound discretion to follow Saucier’s conventional two-step procedure and address first whether the Torres Family has alleged the violation of a constitutional right. See, Pearson, 129 S.Ct. at 818.

The qualified immunity analysis involves two separate steps. First, the court determines whether the facts show the officers conduct violated a constitutional right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001.) If the alleged violate a constitutional right, then the defendants are entitled to immunity and the claim must be dismissed. However, if the alleged conduct did violate such a right, then the court must determine whether the right was clearly established at the time of the alleged unlawful action. Id.

A right is clearly established if a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right. Id., at 202. If the right is not clearly established, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. While the order in which these questions are addressed is left to the courts sound discretion, it is often beneficial to perform the analysis in the sequence outlined above. Pearson v. Callahan, 129 S.Ct. 808, 818 (2009.) Of course, where a claim of qualified immunity is to be denied, both questions must be answered.

When determining whether there are any genuine issues of material fact at the summary judgment stage, the court must take all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In the context of qualified immunity, determinations that turn on questions of law, such as whether the officers had probable cause or reasonable suspicion to support their actions, are appropriately decided by the court. Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 873 (9th Cir. 1993.)

However, a trial court should not grant summary judgment when there is a genuine dispute as to the facts and circumstances within an officers knowledge or what the officer and claimant did or failed to do. Id. (Saucier v. Katz, supra.)”

QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IS A SELF-FULFILLING POLICY; THE COURT’S DON’T PROVIDE EITHER REASONABLY DISCERNIBLE GUIDELINES, OR CLEAR BORDER TYPE RULINGS.

The problem with the description of how “excessive force” is defined, is not the Supreme Courts strong emphasis on the officers conduct being based on an objective standard; the hypothetical reasonable officer in the abstract. The problem is, that the standards in the police profession for what is reasonable or otherwise proper police conduct in a given situation, are generally neither the creature of legislation (i.e. state law requiring the audio recording of custodial police interrogations) nor the product of any judicially created mandate, duty, or prohibition (i.e. Constitutional limits on police conduct, such as the judicially created exclusionary rule.) The conduct of the objectively reasonable officer; that standard that the Supreme Court attempted to describe in Graham v. Connor and Saucier v. Katz, is created by the very persons whose conduct the Fourth Amendment is supposed to impose limits on. Thus, in a very real sense, the Supreme Court has set the standard (objectively reasonable officer) that the Fourth Amendment requires, but has delegated the details of what’s reasonable or not, to the police.

This is quite problematic, as the Bill of Rights was created for the Courts to protect us from the police / government, so when the police define “what’s reasonable force”, in a very real way, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, one of those rights in the Bill of Rights, is defined by the police, rather than the Courts. There are cases where the Courts will step-in and ban a particular police practice, but those cases are far and few between, and when the Courts do so, they often create more of legal mess than existed before such judicial intervention.

Circuit Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote Majority Opinion in Bryan v. McPherson

See, for example, the trilogy of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals taser cases. In the first case, Bryan v. McPherson (9th Circuit 12/28/09), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that using a taser on a man in his underwear who was 20 feet away and merely verbally going-off on the police officers, was so obviously unlawful, that no reasonably well trained police officer could have believed that it was constitutional to tase the man.

Two weeks later, in Mattos v. Argarano (9th Cir. 1/12/10), another three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the police tasing of a domestic violence victim did not constitute unreasonable force, since the police were trying to grab the her husband, and she happened to just be between the man and the police.

Judge Richard A. Paez wrote Majority Opinion in Mattos v. Agarano

The Mattos court held that their decision didn’t conflict with the Bryan v. McPherson (9th Circuit 12/28/09), because the use of the taser in that case was so obviously unreasonable, that the defendant police officers would not be entitled to qualified immunity from suit.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall wrote Majority Opinion in Brooks v. City of Seattle

Thereafter, two and one-half months later in Brooks v. City of Seattle (9th Cir. March 26, 2010), the Ninth Circuit held that it didn’t constitute the use of unreasonable force for a police officer to tase a pregnant woman three times in her neck to get her out of her car.

Having now painted themselves into a corner, the Ninth Circuit decided to grant “en banc review” of all three 2010 taser cases; one en banc panel of judges decided the rehearings of the Mattos v. Argarano and Brooks v. City of Seattle cases, and one en banc panel reheard the Bryan case. The results were almost as confounding, as were the original wrongly decided decisions. In the Mattos and Brooks cases, the Ninth Circuit held that although the defendant police officers did violate the plaintiffs’ Constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force upon their persons (i.e. the tasers), that the officers were nonetheless entitled to qualified immunity from suit, because the law on the use of tasers was not clearly established at the time of the Constitutional violations:

We now hold that, although Plaintiffs in both cases have alleged constitutional violations, the officer Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiffs 1983 claims because the law was not clearly established at the time of the incidents.

In the rehearing on the Bryan v. McPherson case, the Ninth Circuit reversed themselves, and awarded qualified immunity to the defendant officers; also because the law regarding the use of tasers was not clearly established at the time of the Constitutional violations:

“Officer MacPherson appeals the denial of his motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. We affirm the district court in part because, viewing the circumstances in the light most favorable to Bryan, Officer MacPhersons use of the taser was unconstitutionally excessive. However, we reverse in part because the violation of Bryans constitutional rights was not clearly established at the time that Officer MacPherson fired his taser at Bryan on July 24, 2005.”

WHY THE POLICE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE THEIR VICTIMS.

Unfortunately, because of institutional pressures (i.e. “ratting out fellow officer not a good career move), and the obvious political and practical consequences of not backing-up the their fellow officers, 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. 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).)

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.

Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.

Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.

The Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering   •   4063 Birch Street   •   Suite 100   •   Newport Beach, CA 92660  map   •   © 1984-2017
Phone: (949) 474-1849   •   Fax: (949) 474-1883   •   Email: jerrysteering@yahoo.com   •   Web: www.SteeringLaw.com

San Bernardino County Excessive Force Attorney

Jerry L. Steering arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in police shooting case, Pasadena, California

Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, who sues police officers for, among other things, the use of excessive force upon civilians. His law practice involves serving, among other places, San Bernardino County, and the San Bernardino County cities shown below. Mr. Steering also represents persons in both civil and criminal case in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and Orange County. He is an expert in brutality / excessive force and false arrest cases; both civil and criminal. Mr. Steering has successfully sued San Bernardino County police agencies successfully, for many years now. Here are a few examples:

Morgan v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside), (1996), $714,000.00 jury verdict (included compromised attorney’s fees) for excessive force and false arrest during search warrant execution in Apple Valley, California;

Austin v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, $500,000.00 jury verdict for false arrest and excessive force;

Lopez v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2002), $50,000.00 settlement for racially motivated battery;

Miller v. City of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2003), $35,000.00 settlement for unlawful detention;

Calderon v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2003), $115,000.00 settlement for false arrest and illegal search;

Arroyo v. City of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2004), $125,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person;

Ford v. County of San Bernardino, (2007), $80,000.00 settlement for excessive force;

In re Jane Doe v. County of San Bernardino, et al., (2008), $290,000.00 settlement (prior to filing lawsuit) for sexually motivated mistreatment of arrestee; and

Aubry v. County of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court (LA) 2012, $325,000.00 settlement for the use of unreasonable force and for false arrest.

EXCESSIVE FORCE, FALSE ARREST AND MALICIOUS PROSECUTION CASES

Mr. Steering has been suing police officers, and defending bogus criminal cases of crimes against police officers, for over 28 years. The majority of our firm’s law practice, is suing police officers and other government officials, for claims such as false arrest, police brutality / excessive force, malicious prosecution, and other “Constitutional Torts“, and defending bogus criminal cases against the victims of such abuse by the police.

The United States Supreme Court has defined “Excessive Force” as follows:

“Where, as here, the excessive force claim arises in the context of an arrest or investigatory stop

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the Majority Opinion in Graham v. Connor

of a free citizen, it is most properly characterized as one invoking the protections of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right “to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable . . . seizures” of the person . . . . . . . Determining whether the force used to effect a particular seizure is “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment requires a careful balancing of ” ‘the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests’ ” against the countervailing governmental interests at stake. Id., at 8, 105 S.Ct., at 1699, quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 703, 103 S.Ct. 2637, 2642, 77 L.Ed.2d 110 (1983). Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has long recognized that the right to make an arrest or investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to effect it. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S., at 22-27, 88 S.Ct., at 1880-1883. Because “the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mecha ical application,” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1884, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), however, its proper application requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. See Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S., at 8-9, 105 S.Ct., at 1699-1700 (the question is “whether the totality of the circumstances justifies a particular sort of . . . seizure”).” (See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989.)

“The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. See Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 20-22, 88 S.Ct., at 1879-1881. The Fourth Amendment is not violated by an arrest based on probable cause, even though the wrong person is arrested, Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797, 91 S.Ct. 1106, 28 L.Ed.2d 484 (1971), nor by the mistaken execution of a valid search warrant on the wrong premises, Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 107 S.Ct. 1013, 94 L.Ed.2d 72 (1987). With respect to a claim of excessive force, the same standard of reasonableness at the moment applies: “Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chambers,” Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d, at 1033, violates the Fourth Amendment. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

As in other Fourth Amendment contexts, however, the “reasonableness” inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. See Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 128, 137-139, 98 S.Ct. 1717, 1723-1724, 56 L.Ed.2d 168 (1978); see also Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 21, 88 S.Ct., at 1879 (in analyzing the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure, “it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective standard”). An officer’s evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer’s good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional. See, Scott v. United States, supra, 436 U.S., at 138, 98 S.Ct., at 1723, citing United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973).”

In Graham, we held that claims of excessive force in the context of arrests or investigatory stops should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendments objective reasonableness standard, not under substantive due process principles. 490 U.S., at 388, 394. Because police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation, id., at 397, the reasonableness of the officers belief as to the appropriate level of force should be judged from that on-scene perspective. Id., at 396. We set out a test that cautioned against the 20/20 vision of hindsight in favor of deference to the judgment of reasonable officers on the scene. Id., at 393, 396. Graham sets forth a list of factors relevant to the merits of the constitutional excessive force claim, requir[ing] careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Id., at 396. If an officer reasonably, but mistakenly, believed that a suspect was likely to fight back, for instance, the officer would be justified in using more force than in fact was needed. (See, Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001); Kenney, J.)

THE PROBLEM WITH GRAHAM’S “REASONABLE OFFICER STANDARD” IN THE REAL WORLD – THE WATCHMAN GETS TO MAKE HIS OWN RULES THAT REGULATE HIS OWN CONDUCT

The problem with the description of how “excessive force” is defined, is not the Supreme Court’s strong emphasis on the officer’s conduct being based on an “objective” standard; they hypothetical reasonable officer in the abstract. The problem is, that the standards in the police profession for what is “reasonable” or otherwise proper police conduct in a given situation, are generally neither the creature of legislation (i.e. state law requiring the audio recording of custodial police interrogations) nor the product of any judicially created mandate, duty, or prohibition (i.e. Constitutional limits on conduct and judicially created “exclusionary rule“.) The conduct of “the objectively reasonable officer”; that standard that the Supreme Court attempted to describe in Graham v. O’Connor and Saucier v. Katz, is created by the very persons whose conduct the Fourth Amendment is supposed to impose limits on. Thus, in a very real sense, the Supreme Court has set the standard (“objectively reasonable officer”) that the Fourth Amendment requires, but has delegated the details of what’s reasonable or not, to the police.

It’s letting the regulated enact their own regulations. It’s like letting the local power company, set the rate of profit that they should make; set the formula for how the amount of profit is determined; set how much they can spend on public relations (since they’re a monopoly), and how, when, by whom and in what manner, they should be inspected, what they can and can’t do in their industry, and every other aspect of the business. If they want to all use tasers on civilians, then that’s reasonable. If they all want to pepper-spray persons because their hands in their pockets, then that’s reasonable. If they want to prone-out everyone at gun point that they detain, then that’s reasonable.

At the end of the day, in the real world police world, if the technique, method, procedure, policy or practice reduces the danger level to the officer, you can bet that, eventually, they will find a way to justify such technique, method, procedure, policy or practice , and make such otherwise unreasonable behavior, “reasonable”, for no other reason than the police would prefer to act that way; Constitutional or not. You see the problem. The police have an old slogan: “It’s better to be judged by 12, then carried by 6.” It’s another way of saying, I’ll act in a way that is in my self interest; not yours, and if I happen to trample your Constitutional rights, so be it.

THE PROBLEM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY, COMPOUNDS THE PROBLEM CREATED BY GRAHAM

In a nutshell, the Qualified Immunity is an immunity from a lawsuit for violation of a civilian’s Constitutional rights, when those rights were actually violated, but a reasonably well trained police officer could have believed that his conduct did not constitute such Constitutional violation. So, even if the police officer actually violated your Constitutional Rights, he may be immune from suit, because the law was not clearly established enough at the time of the violation, to hold a police officer liable for his conduct. This is a doctrine “contrived” by the conservative members of the Supreme Court (since 1981), to ensure that you can’t do anything about (or at least do a whole lot less about) your Constitutional Rights being trampled by the government.

So, for example, if the police come-up with a whole new technique to restrain people, such as a with a taser, or pepper-spray, or pepper-balls, or water-balls, or hobbling (police hog tying), or a shock-belting, or stun-gunning, the officer may very well be entitled to qualified immunity from being sued for the misuse of any of the above-mentioned devices; not because its “reasonable”, but because the police just use those devices in such manners; thereby giving the Courts an excused to relieve the police officer from liability for the damage caused by his violation of the Constitutional Rights of civilians:

William Rehnquist
Associate Justice 1971 – 1986, Chief Justice 1986 – 2005

“Qualified immunity is an entitlement not to stand trial or face the other burdens of litigation. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 200 (2001) (quoting Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985)) . . . Accordingly, we must resolve immunity questions at the earliest possible stage in litigation. Pearson, 129, S.Ct. at 815.

An officer will be denied qualified immunity in a 1983 action only if (1) the facts alleged, taken in the light most favorable to the party asserting injury, show that the officers conduct violated a constitutional right, and (2) the right at issue was clearly established at the time of the incident such that a reasonable officer would have understood her conduct to be unlawful in that situation. Saucier, 533 at 201-02; Liberal v. Estrada, 632 F.3d 1064, 1076 (9th Cir. 2011.) To assist the development of constitutional precedent, we exercise our sound discretion to follow Saucier’s conventional two-step procedure and address first whether the Torres Family has alleged the violation of a constitutional right. See, Pearson, 129 S.Ct. at 818.

The qualified immunity analysis involves two separate steps. First, the court determines whether the facts show the officers conduct violated a constitutional right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001.) If the alleged violate a constitutional right, then the defendants are entitled to immunity and the claim must be dismissed. However, if the alleged conduct did violate such a right, then the court must determine whether the right was clearly established at the time of the alleged unlawful action. Id.

A right is clearly established if a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right. Id., at 202. If the right is not clearly established, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. While the order in which these questions are addressed is left to the courts sound discretion, it is often beneficial to perform the analysis in the sequence outlined above. Pearson v. Callahan, 129 S.Ct. 808, 818 (2009.) Of course, where a claim of qualified immunity is to be denied, both questions must be answered.

When determining whether there are any genuine issues of material fact at the summary judgment stage, the court must take all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In the context of qualified immunity, determinations that turn on questions of law, such as whether the officers had probable cause or reasonable suspicion to support their actions, are appropriately decided by the court. Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 873 (9th Cir. 1993.)

However, a trial court should not grant summary judgment when there is a genuine dispute as to the facts and circumstances within an officers knowledge or what the officer and claimant did or failed to do. Id.” (Saucier v. Katz, supra.)

WHY THE POLICE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE THEIR VICTIMS.

Unfortunately, because of institutional pressures (i.e. “ratting out fellow officer not a good career move), and the obvious political and practical consequences of not backing-up the their fellow officers, the norm in today’s 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. 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).)

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.

Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.

Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.

Serving the San Bernardino County cities and neighborhoods shown below:

San Bernardino County Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places

Incorporated Places have an asterisk (*).

Adelanto* Apple Valley* Baker Ballou Barstow* Big Bear City Big Bear Lake* Big River Bloomington Bluewater Bryn Mawr Chino* Chino Hills* Colton* Crestline Del Rosa Fontana* Fort Irwin Grand Terrace* Hesperia* Highland* Joshua Tree Lake Arrowhead Lenwood Loma Linda* Los Serranos Lucerne Valley Lytle Creek Mentone Montclair* Morongo Valley Mountain View Acres Muscoy Needles* Oak Glen Oak Hills Ontario* Phelan Pinon Hills Rancho Cucamonga* Redlands* Redlands Heights Rialto* Running Springs San Antonio Heights San Bernardino* Searles Valley Silver Lakes South Fontana Spring Valley Lake Twentynine Palms* Upland* Victorville* Wrightwood Yucaipa* Yucca Valley*

Other Populated Places in San Bernardino County (Neighborhoods, Subdivisions & Settlements)

Afton Agua Fria Alray Alta Loma Amber Hills Amboy Angelus Oaks Apollo Apple Valley Highlands Archer Argos Argus Arrowbear Lake Arrowhead Arrowhead Equestrian Estates Arrowhead Farms Arrowhead Highlands Arrowhead Junction Arrowhead Springs Ash Hill Atolia Bagdad Balch Baldwin Lake Baldy Mesa Bannock Barnwell Barstow Heights Basin Beacon Station Bell Mountain Bellevue Heights Bethune Black Meadow Landing Blue Jay Borosolvay Boulder Bay Boys Republic Brant Broadwell Bryman Bunker Hill Bush Cadiz Cajon Cajon Junction Calada Calico Calzona Cedar Glen Cedarpines Park Chambless Champagne Chase Chubbuck Cima College Heights Copper City Cosy Dell Cotners Corner Cottage Gardens Crafton Creekside Crest Park Crestmore Cronese Valley Cross Roads Crown Jewel Crucero Cushenbury Daggett Danby Declez Declezville Deer Haven Desert Heights Desert Knolls Desert Knolls Manor Desert View Housing Area Devil Canyon Devore Devore Heights Doble Duncan Corners Dunlap Acres Dunn Eagle Ranch Earp East Colton Heights East Highlands Echo El Mirage Elora Eniwetok Housing Area Essex Etiwanda Fawnskin Fenner Fishel Fizzben Heights Flamingo Heights Flynn Forest Falls Freda Fredalba Fremont Frost Gale Garden Park Glasgow Glen Martin Goffs Golden Mesa Golden Valley Acres Goldstone Grandview Grapeland Green Valley Lake Greensport Greentree East Guasti Halloran Springs Harlem Springs Harmony Acres Hart Harvard Havasu Lake Havasu Palms Hayden Heart Bar Campground Hector Helendale Hidden River High Country Hinkley Hodge Homer Houze Place Hutt Ibis Irwin Estates Ivanpah Java Jimgrey Johnstons Corner Joshua Juan Kaiser Keenbrook Kelso Kenton Mill Kerens Klinefelter Klondike Kramer Kramer Hills Kramer Junction La Cuesta Fontana La Delta Landers Lanfair Lavic Leon Little Morongo Heights Lockhart Lone Wolf Colony Los Olivos Ludlow Lugo Lugonia Homes Manix Mariana Ranchos Marigold Mars Meadowbrook Woods Midway Milligan Minnelusa Minneola Mojave Base Mojave Heights Molino Moonridge Moore Mount Baldy Mountain Home Village Mountain Pass Mountain Top Junction Mountain View Narod Nealeys Corner Nebo Nevada New Dunn Newberry Springs Nipton North Barstow North Bench North Cucamonga North Fontana North Loma Linda North Norton North Ontario North Shore North Star Ranch Old Dale Oro Grande Palm Wells Panorama Heights Parker Dam Parker Junction Patton Pinezanita Pinon Hills Estates Pioneer Point Pioneertown Pisgah Plymouth Village Racimo Ragtown Rainbow Wells Rana Ranchos del Oro Red Mountain Renoville Rice Rimforest Rimrock Rochester Sablon Saltus Sands Scotland Serrano Village Seven Oaks Siberia Sierra Heights Skyforest Skyland Skyline North Skytop Sleepy Hollow Smiley Heights Smiley Park Smoke Tree South Adelanto South Trona Southridge Village Spangler Sperry Stedman Sugarloaf Summit Terrace Sunfair Sunfair Heights Sunkist Sunset Hills Sunset Ridge Sunsweet The Mesa The Plaza The Village Thomas Place Thorn Thunderbird Ranches Toomey Trona Twin Peaks University Heights University Village Valencia Valjean Valley Gardens Valley High North Valley of Enchantment Valley View Park Valley Wells Station Vanderbilt Venus Verdemont Victoria Vidal Vidal Junction Walnut Ridge Warm Springs Warm Springs Warner West Colton West End West Highlands Westend Wheaton Springs Wild Crossing Wildhorse Canyon Woodlands Yermo Yucca Grove Yucca Inn Zzyzx

Victorville – Apple Valley False Arrest Attorney

Victorville – Apple Valley False Arrest Attorney

Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, who defends criminal cases, and sues police officers for, among other things, false arrests, the use of excessive force upon civilians (otherwise known as police brutality), and malicious criminal prosecutions. His law practice involves serving, among other places, San Bernardino County, and the San Bernardino County cities shown below; especially Victorville and Apple Valley; the two “hot spots” for outrageous police misconduct.

 

Although the Victor Valley is not nearly as heavily populated as other areas in Southern California, the “crime rate” of crimes by police and Constitutional Torts committed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, is astounding. It seems that the Victor Valley is the hotbed for “cops gone wild.” These deputies in the High Desert, especially in, believe it or not, Apple Valley, are simply out of control, and nobody is going to do anything about it; at least anybody from the Sheriff’s Department, or the Judges of the Victorville Court.

Mr. Steering also represents persons in both civil and criminal cases throughout San Bernardino County, as well as in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and Orange County, and other places throughout California and the United States. He has also represented clients in Georgia and is a Member of the State Bar of Georgia. Mr. Steering has also represented client pro hac vice, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He is an expert in brutality / excessive force and false arrest cases; both civil and criminal.Mr. Steering has successfully sued San Bernardino County police agencies successfully, for many years now.

Having attended the University of Georgia School of Law, and having taken and passed the February 1984 Georgia Bar Exam in his last semester of Law School (while Clerking at a law firm full time and attending law school full time), in June of 1984 Mr. Steering began defending criminal cases for the law firm of Scott & Quarterman, of Athens, Georgia; the same law firm that he clerked for, full-time, for over two years. Since 1984 (in California since 1986) he has tried and litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, drug possession / drug manufacturing cases, DUI cases, vehicular homicide cases, white-collar investor fraud cases, sex-offender or drug addict registration cases, violations of court order cases, domestic violence cases, towing industry cases, and the entire spectrum of various criminal violations.

NOTABLE CRIMINAL CASES IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

People of the State of California v. James Lemoine; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for felony assault on a peace officer and felony interference with public officer’s performance of duties. An Ontario Police Officer located Mr. Lemoine in a neighbor’s home after incident with his girlfriend, resulting in her called police on him. Mr. Lemoine attempted to flea the officer and attempted to jump through window of home to escape. Mr. Lemoine got stuck in the window sill assembly, and was shot in the back by the Ontario Police Department officer while in that position. He posed no threat to the officer, who was exonerated of wrongdoing by Ontario PD (“What’s wrong with shooting an unarmed man, stuck in a window frame, cut-up, with one leg outside and one leg inside?”) The officer claimed that Mr. Lemoine attacked him in an effort to escape; a complete fabrication; something actually quite normal for peace officers. However, the only people who get to sit on juries in police misconduct cases, civil or criminal, have not personally witnessed police misconduct (all that have seem to always tell the court during jury selection, that the event of police misconduct that they witnessed had such a profoundly negative opinion and general distrust of, if not contempt for, peace officers, that they are actually prejudiced against peace officers in these type cases, and are, therefore, excused to sit for cause as a juror.) Therefore, the only people who are asked to judge who is lying; the defendant or the Constable, are people who believe that police don’t do bad things to people who didn’t deserve it; morally, if not legally, because they have only had positive experiences with peace officers. That’s why it’s so difficult to win in these officer vs. civilian swearing contests; notwithstanding the Constable repeatedly lying on the stand. However, it can be done, and it was done here. Hon. Ben T. Kayashima, Judge Presiding: Jury Verdict: Not Guilty all Counts.

People of the State of California v. Tom Austin; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer. Mr. Austin’s 16 year old son and his classmates were video recording a reenactment of the famous Sacco and Vanzetti armed robbery incident (that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent of, but executed for), for a High School History project. The boys wore black ski masks and carried pellet guns, and had dressed-up the Austin’s garage to resemble a bank teller window counter. Some neighbors saw the youths and (notwithstanding a youth recording the reenactment with a tripod mounted video camera outside of the garage) thought that the youths were home invasion robbers, and called the police. The youths were detained downstairs in the garage, and when Mr. Austin heard screaming (the police screaming orders to the youths) he walked downstairs to tell the youths to be quiet (to not to disturb the neighbors), and when he reached the bottom of the stairs and turned a blind corner, he saw the barrel of a policeman’s pistol pointing directly at and in front of his face. The officer ordered Mr. Austin to turn around, and when he asked the officer (who was now standing inside of Mr. Austin’s home) what was going on, the officer pepper-sprayed him in his face, handcuffed him and took him to jail. The Ontario Police officers concocted the story that Mr. Austin lunged for the officer’s gun, and that’s why he pepper-sprayed him. Mr. Steering found that a recording of the immediate post pepper-spraying activities, had been altered to conceal the true contents of the discussion between Mr. Austin and the officers. Hon. Gerard S. Brown, Judge Presiding: Jury Verdict: Not Guilty all counts (Mr. Steering later obtained a $500,000.00 jury verdict in favor of Mr. Austin, against the arresting officers, as shown below.)

People of the State of California v. Milt Holland; Rancho-Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Court criminal action for resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer. Mr. Holland leased the old CHP office building in Ontario, to work on prototype bus control computer system. Ontario Code Enforcement wanted to check the building to see if Mr. Holland also was residing in the same. The area was only zoned for commercial occupancy; not residential. Ontario Code Enforcement officers, along with Ontario Police Officers, approached the chained-closed padlocked rear entry entry gate of the premises, and saw Mr. Holland behind the gate; elevated; standing in a construction trailer. The officers ordered Mr. Holland to open the gate, and Mr. Holland simply walked away from the locked gate, and into the building. The officers used the “master key” (i.e. bolt cutters) to enter the yard, and arrested Mr. Holland and took him to jail for violation of Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1); resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer in the performance of their duties; the catch-all crime that the police use when they don’t actually have any grounds to arrest a civilian, since Section 148(a)(1) is so nebulous and ambiguous, it could be, and many many times has been, construed as meaning just about anything, and is used to arrest people who “fail the attitude test”) Click on tab, above on “Criminal Attorney – Contempt of Cop Resistance Cases”, for a more developed analysis of police misuse of Section 148(a)(1.)

After Mr. Holland had gone through four criminal defense lawyers, who told him to plead guilty to misdemeanor delaying / obstructing an officer (Section 148(a)(1), for not opening the gate), Mr. Holland retained Mr. Steering, who look one look at the Ontario PD report and immediately knew that even on the face of the Police Report, that there was no crime committed by Mr. Holland. On the day set for trial, Mr. Steering asked Judge Dennis G. Cole to dismiss the case on the ground that if everything that the police were contending in their reports was true, it nonetheless is never a crime to refuse an officer’s demand to search a place, thing or person, in the absence of a search warrant. If reading Mr. Steering legal authorities to support that proposition of law (See v. City of Seattle, 387 U.S. 541 (1967) and Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967) (both holding that the government can’t criminalize a mere refusal to consent to warrantless entry), Judge Cole told the District Attorney’s Office that his “case was in the toilet”. Disposition. Case Dismissed pursuant to Mr. Steering’s invitation to the Court, to dismiss the case on its own motion, in the interest of justice (Cal. Penal Code § 1385.)

Mr. Steering has also litigated San Bernardino County police misconduct civil actions, such as:

Penny Trent v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2013), $600,000.00 obtained for false arrest and unreasonable force against Domestic Violence victim.

Dan Morgan v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside), (1996), $714,000.00 settlement following jury verdict for excessive force and false arrest during search warrant execution in Apple Valley, California;

Tom Austin v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, $500,000.00 jury verdict for false arrest and excessive force;

Lopez v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2002), $50,000.00 settlement for racially motivated battery;

Miller v. City of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2003), $35,000.00 settlement for unlawful detention;

Calderon v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2003), $115,000.00 settlement for false arrest and illegal search;

Arroyo v. City of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2004), $125,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person;

Ford v. County of San Bernardino, (2007), $80,000.00 settlement for excessive force;

In re Jane Doe v. County of San Bernardino, et al., (2008), $290,000.00 settlement (prior to filing lawsuit) for sexually motivated mistreatment of arrestee; and

Aubry v. County of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court (LA) (2012), $325,000.00 settlement for the use of unreasonable force and for false arrest.

Deputy Sheriff Attempts To Frame Husband And Hide Romance Wife, By Hiding The Drugs Found On Her From The DA’s Office:

JANE and JOHN DOE v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. [Riverside] (2000); $50,000.00

In this case, Mr. Steering obtained $50,000.00 from the County of San Bernardino, for a criminal defendant’s claim against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, for planting evidence of drug manufacturing, during the deputy’s unlawful search of a probationer’s residence; notwithstanding probation Bravo search terms. While in the process of planting evidence, the deputy sheriff actually discovered even better evidence of the very crime that the deputy sheriff was attempting to frame the defendant for. It’s like framing the guilty. That way, the police don’t need to bother with obtaining evidence against the persons who they believe are engaged in ongoing criminal enterprises (i.e. manufacturing or selling narcotics); they can just provide the evidence themselves, and save us all of the time and money incurred and expended, in investigating and obtaining competent and admissible evidence of criminal conduct that will stand-up in court.

When a San Bernardino County Probation Officer and Sheriff’s Department Investigator did a probation search of JOHN DOE’s residence (the “husband” was on felony drug possession probation), they saw all sorts of pornographic photos, exotic clothing and sex toys in the home, and became immediately infatuated with the beautiful occupant of the residence; JANE DOE; the cohabitant girlfriend. The Sheriff’s Department Investigator arrested JANE DOE for narcotics possession, and took her to jail; stopping on the way to jail to show-off his “catch.” Although her bail was $500,000.00, the Investigator got it reduced to release on her own recognizance (something unheard of in San Bernardino County), to attempt to date her.

The Investigator broke back into the DOE residence after arresting JANE DOE, as he had seen a VHS video at the home earlier marked: “XXXX.” When the Investigator then played that video at the DOE residence, he not only watched JOHN and JANE DOE having all sorts of sex, but also saw a recording of JOHN DOE cooking meth. However, there was no meth manufacturing chemicals or equipment at the house. So, in an effort to frame the guilty, the Investigator planted meth “cooking” equipment in the residence, and he and the Probation officer staked-out the house for several days, until JOHN DOE showed back-up at his home. When JOHN DOE entered the house, he was immediately arrested for meth manufacturing, based on the items planted by the Investigator, who wanted to put JOHN DOE in prison, to free-up JANE DOE for dating.

Mr. Steering was able to obtain $50,000.00 for the defendant from the County for the Investigator’s actions, and Mr. Steering was able to negotiate a 10 year sentence for JOHN DOE, rather than the 25 years to life sentence for a third strike drug manufacturing.

MOST FALSE ARRESTS ARE EFFORTS BY POLICE OFFICERS. ALONG WITH THEIR GUARDIANS AT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY, FOR WRONGFUL ACTS COMMITTED BY THEM.

Police Misconduct is rampant and condoned and defended by the command structure of most, if not all, modern police agencies. There is a “Blue Code of Silence” between and among peace officers throughout the nation, and everyone knows this. This is no startling revelation. The County of Los Angeles has itself released a public document, acknowledging the existence of, and actually condemning, the Sheriff’s Department’s own rogue gangs of sadistic jailers at the Los Angeles County Central Men’s Jail. See, The Citizens Commission on Jail Violence September 28, 2012. A retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain recenlty told the Los Angeles Times, that the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail was, essentially, a torture chamber, run by these jailer gangs (tattoos of their gang symbols on their ankles and all) of sadistic sociopaths. Discipline for beatings was not existent, and torturing inmates was actually required for jailer gang initiation. See, “L.A. County sheriff’s official tells of jail brutality”, LA Times, July 7, 2012. See also, “L.A. County jail violence sheriff’s fault, panel says”, LA Times, September 28, 2012. Rival Sheriff’s Department jailer gangs even got into a rumble between the “3000 Boys” (the third floor jailers) and the “2000 Boys” (the second floor jailers)at a Sheriff’s Department Christmas party. Even as long ago as 1992, the federal court have held that one of these Sheriff’s Department “gangs”, “The Vikings”, was (and is) a White supremacist Neo-Nazi organization with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, 978 F.2d 504 (9th Cir. 1992.)

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, along with a retired LASD Captain, were indicted on May 13, 2015 by a federal Grand Jury for Obstructing and Conspiring to Obstruct a federal Grand Jury investigation of the rampant torturing of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail (See, Paul Tanaka Indictment of May 13, 2015.) That’s not the end of it. Former LASD Deputy Sheriff Noel Womack pleaded guilty in June of 2015 to federal charges of lying to the FBI about systemic LASD torturing and framing of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jails. In 2014, six LASD Deputy Sheriffs were convicted of obstructing the FBI’s investigation of the torturing of prisoners at the Los Angeles County Jails.

Lee Baca resigned from office over the scandal at the LA County Men’s Central Jail involving the Indictment of 18 LASD Deputy Sheriffs and their Supervisors for torturing prisoners and obstructing the FBI’s investigation of the same. On February 10, 2016, Sheriff Baca was Indicted for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); lying to the FBI regarding his knowledge of a scheme in the Sheriff’s Department to intimidate an FBI agent who was investigating complaints of beatings of inmates by deputies at the Los Angeles County Jail, and to hide an FBI informant – jail inmate from his FBI handlers. Sheriff Baca was tried on that Indictment, but the jury hung.

Thereafter, on April 6, 2016, former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted of conspiracy and actual obstruction of an FBI investigation; violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiring to obstruct justice) and 18 U.S.C. § 1503(a) (obstructing justice); for not only obstructing an FBI investigation into years of beatings and torturing of inmates at the L.A. County Jail, but also Tanaka and other high ranking Sheriff’s Department officials threatened one of the FBI agents involved in that investigation with arrest for continuing that investigation. In his trial, Tanaka admitted that he still had the Minnesota Vikings Logo tattoo on his leg; a tattoo that he described as a member in a club; the “Vikings”; a tatoo that the federal courts have held is the gang taoo for a “neo-Nazi white supremacists gang within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, 978 F.2d 504 (1992).

Thereafter, on February 10, 2017, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted of similar charges; lying to the FBI and obstruction of the FBI investigation into the systemic beatings and torture of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail;  violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); lying to the FBI regarding his knowledge of a scheme in the Sheriff’s Department to intimidate an FBI agent who was investigating complaints of beatings of inmates by deputies at the Los Angeles County Jail, and to hide an FBI informant – jail inmate from his FBI handlers.

Nonetheless, the body politic tolerates the existence, and the perpetuation of an ongoing unwritten agreement among and between peace officers, to falsely report, and, if necessary, to thereafter conspire with officers who they may not yet even know, to falsely testify, about event(s), if the potential or apparent criminal, administrative and civil liability of a fellow officer is at stake. After all, in the primary category of cases that truly are “false arrests” in the most malevolent sense of the word, “Contempt of Cop cases“, the only reason that there’s an arrest of a civilian at all, is because the police officer has beaten-up / tortured another; usually to self-medicate rather their frail and easily bruise-able egos. If you’re reading this article, the odds are, that either you or a loved one or friend has been beaten-up by the police and are being criminally prosecuted for allegedly battering the officer or somehow “resisting” the officer.

Orange County, California had a Sheriff’s Department that was run by creepy Sheriff Mike Carona, who was released from federal prison in 2015 for witness tampering (instructing witness to lie to Grand Jury.) Until Sheriff Carona went to prison, Orange County was a fantasy assignment for those truly sadistic peace officers, who “get-off” on beating inmates and arrestees.

Nonetheless, the body politic tolerates the existence, and the perpetuation of an ongoing unwritten agreement among and between peace officers, to falsely report, and, if necessary, to thereafter conspire with officers who they may not yet even know, to falsely testify, about event(s), if the potential or apparent criminal, administrative and civil liability of a fellow officer is at stake. After all, in the primary category of cases that truly are “false arrests” in the most malevolent sense of the word, “Contempt of Cop cases”, the only reason that there’s an arrest of a civilian at all, is because the Constable has violated (i.e. beaten-up / torture) another; usually to self-medicate rather frail and easily bruiseable egos.

Modern police agencies are afraid of losing their “power” in, and over, a community. That “power” base (i.e. ability to influence the politicians and the public), is based in large part, on the public “supporting the police”. That popular support is based upon a belief by the body politic, that: 1) police officers are well trained and know and respect your Constitutional rights, 2) they’re basically honest, 3) that only a small percentage of them would commit perjury, 4) that the force that the police use on people is almost always justified (if not legally, then morally), and 5) that the police are capable of policing themselves. Although none of these beliefs are accurate, one cannot ignore the belief system of the majority of the white / affluent American populace, in understanding why police officers routinely, and without a second thought, falsely arrest civilians, and commit other outrages against innocents.

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.)

 

Unfortunately, because of institutional pressures (i.e. “ratting out fellow officer not a good career move) and the obvious political and practical consequences of not backing-up the their fellow officers, the norm in today’s police profession, is for peace officers to falsely arrest civilians, and to author false police reports, to procure the bogus criminal prosecutions (i.e. to literally “frame”) of those civilians whose Constitutional rights and basic human dignity have been violated by them. After all; how would it look if a police officer beat you up, and didn’t arrest you. Because most police officers, including those that step-over Constitutional “line in the sand” (i.e. beating another, falsely accusing civilians of crimes), are not true sociopaths, when they falsely charge you with a crime, it isn’t usually too serious of one. Most are bogus claims for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1), because the crime of “resisting or obstructing or delaying a peace officer who’s engaged in the performance of his/her duties” is incredibly ambiguous, and can (ingenuously or ignorantly) be applied to almost any conduct by a person (i.e. the defendant yelled at me for restraining [torturing] the “suspect”, so he delayed me from arresting the “suspect” because I had to look his way and take a protective stance in the events that the defendant charged at me.)

WHY THE COPS CAN GET USUALLY GET AWAY WITH IT; AMERICANS’ BELIEF SYSTEM ABOUT POLICE OFFICERS

Most Americans have a deeply held belief that police officers don’t beat-up civilians who don’t deserve it. People believe what they want to believe, and they don’t want to believe that the persons entrusted with their safety, routinely beat-up and “frame” innocents; often for fun, or to bolster their frail egos, or to protect their fellow officers. However, in the real world, many police officers do just that. A substantial minority of peace officers actually do beat, torture and falsely arrest those that defy their authority, or somehow bruise their fragile egos. Almost all American police officers will cover for their fellow officers (i.e. writing bogus crime reports and conspiring to write the same, testifying that an innocent committed a crime that he/she didn’t.) Thus, in the real world, 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” or “Unreasonable Force”, and the crime of resisting arrest (resisting or obstructing or delaying a peace officer; (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), is almost always the choice crime to arrest a civilian who committed no crime. The police can fairly easily obtain convictions of their victims for “resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer”, because almost any conduct by a civilian can be characterized as falling within the ambit of that statute; especially conduct that jurors find themselves believing is not the way that they would have handled that situation. Moreover, because the statute is so vague, Deputy District Attorney’s routinely file these type of cases, simply to protect the police. In many of these bogus criminal prosecutions for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1), the Deputy District Attorney will argue pure nonsense as to why you committed a crime, such as: a) by making the officer deal with you (i.e. asking him why he wants you to do something), you delayed his investigation of you, b) by not immediately complying with his orders, you delayed his investigation of others, c) by asking him a question, you interfered with the officers investigation, d) by not getting on the ground fast enough (i.e. immediately, without question or protest) you caused him to have to beat you up, which delayed his investigation, and e) other assorted nonsense.

WHY THE COPS CAN GET USUALLY GET AWAY WITH IT; THE JURORS

To attack the jury system is to attack an institution that has been the primary barrier between oppression and freedom in the English speaking world since 1215 (King John signing the Magna Carta.) This is not an attack on the jury system. It is merely a reflection as to why in false arrest, unreasonable force and malicious prosecution cases, the way that a jury decides these type of cases is as much political, as it is an exercise in fact finding. The persons who ultimately get to sit on juries in these cases, have no real idea as to how police officers actually act, and have no idea how truly institutionally corrupt, police agencies really are when it comes to defending the County / City coffers and their and the politicians’ images. Many of them have an emotional predisposition to believe the police; no matter how many obvious falsehoods they may utter. They consider themselves “Pro-Police”, any often feel that the cops are getting a raw deal in the media, and need their support. With these kind of white / upper-middle class types, if a cop testifies under oath with a straight face, that’s it. You’re goose is cooked. Guilty. You’ve really got to prove that you’re innocent in these type of cases. Try convincing a Newport Beach Superior Court white affluent jury that you didn’t act rudely toward a peace officer, or somehow delay or obstructed the officer’s investigation of you, by exercising your right to not speak with the officer. The harmony of all of this, is that since Section § 148(a)(1) of the Penal Code (resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer in the lawful performance of their duties) doesn’t actually mean anything, and is so vague and amorphous, that a jury can make it fit their enmity for the accused; enmity created by the mere fact that you stand accused at all.

In both civil and criminal cases, the parties have some say in the composition of the jury. The jury pool are supposedly called randomly, and the Court and the lawyers get to ask them questions. That part of a trial, when potential jurors are questioned by the courts and the lawyers, is called voir dire, that in French means, to speak the truth. Each side gets a limited numbers of peremptory challenges, that they can use to strike persons from sitting as jurors. In a federal court civil rights case, each side usually gets four peremptory challenges. So far, sounds fair. Here’s the rub.

Most people who have actually seen police officers beat-up a civilian have a lasting terrible feeling about police misconduct. Almost invariably, when they are asked by the lawyers or the Court about whether their prior experience with police misconduct will cause them to be prejudice against either side, they almost always say “Yes.” Most such people who have seen police beatings and the false prosecutions of their friends, are so deeply affected, that they invariably tell the Court that they are biased against police officers (in this type of case), and that they cant really put-aside that bias and be completely fair and impartial. This is understandable. It’s like asking a juror who witnessed the raping of her friend, at gun point, by members of a particular motorcycle club, would feel biased against the defendant, who happens to be accused of rape, and of being a member of a gang; the same gang / Motorcycle club, that she watched raping her friend. Of course, the person is going to have a bias against the defendant.

Once the prospective juror makes that statement, any such jurors are then routinely excused for cause from sitting on that jury. Thus, the jurors who would more likely be favorable to the civil rights plaintiff (or criminal defendant accused of some crime against a peace officer), is excused for cause from sitting on the jury. The lawyer defending the case for the police doesn’t even had to use one of their jury peremptory challenges to get rid of that juror. All of the others jurors who do get to sit, are people who have never seen police misconduct; leaving a jury that, unfortunately, have no concept of the way that police, and police organizations, actually act.

Therefore, when Miss, Mrs. or Mr. Citizen gets falsely arrested, beaten-up or maliciously prosecuted by police agencies, and gets criminally prosecuted for conduct that often isn’t criminal (i.e. “creative use” of the California criminal statute Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), these “sanitized jurors” will generally not believe that the police really did what Miss, Mrs. or Mr. Citizen claim that they did, unless Miss, Mrs. or Mr. Citizen’s attorney can really prove otherwise; real proof; like a video, audio, or a bus load of highly observant nuns with photographic memories who testified about clearly indefensible police conduct. That’s why the jury system rigged against persons victimized by the police; because the only people who ever get to sit in judgment in these type of cases as jurors, are persons who have never had a bad experience with a police officer, or and who has not seen outrageous police conduct. Their life experience tells them something that’s just not true; that police officer don’t beat people up unless they did something to deserve it. You, therefore, need great proof to dispel that belief by jurors.

WHY THE COPS CAN GET USUALLY GET AWAY WITH IT; THE JUDGES

All Article III federal Judges are appointed for life. It means, that unless a federal judge is impeached by the House of Representatives and removed by the Senate, they sit for life. The idea of lifetime appointment of Judges by the Founding Fathers of the United States is based on the notion that Judges aren’t supposed to be political weather vanes; that is, they’re not supposed to changes direction with the prevailing political winds. This is a good thing. A person should not be deprived of their Constitutional Rights because respecting their rights would be unpopular. However, there are drawbacks to this.

The problem with lifetime appointment of Article III federal judges, is that if you get a bad one appointed, we’re stuck with him for life. That is a bad thing. The problem with a “bad judge” is that one side or another, won’t get a fair trial. A trial based on the law; not on the Judges political leanings. Unfortunately, unfair trials, especially unfair in the Court’s rulings against civil rights plaintiffs, are far too common. Take the case of the late United States District Judge Andrew Hauk. Judge Hauk was so against civil rights plaintiffs, especially police brutality plaintiffs, that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that could not longer preside over police misconduct cases because he wouldn’t give anyone suing the police a fair trial.

As United States District Judge J. Spencer Letts once said, Judges can make a case come out anyway they want to; they just don’t. Well, Judge Letts was right about the first part, but not the second. Ask any experience trial lawyer, and they will tell you that your case has a much better chance of success if a particular Judge presides, and a much worse chance if another particular Judge presides. Why is this? Why would the Judge make a difference? Aren’t the Federal Rules of Evidence supposed be understandable and applied uniformly? We’ll, yes, the Federal Rules of Evidence are understandable, but as persons with undefendable positions often say, “Don’t bring facts into this argument.”

Unfortunately, the Judges appointed by Democrats are, on par, much more sympathetic to civil rights / police misconduct plaintiffs, than those appointed by the Republicans. That is a simple fact. It is not an endorsement of the Democratic Party Platform, or any particular Democrat. There, of course, are many fine Republican Senators. However, over all, just go through the federal judicial roster, and you will find that the Judges (state and federal) appointed by the Democrats are much better for civil rights / police misconduct plaintiffs, than those appointed by the Republicans. This is a fact of life.

If you’re a Republican and are offended by this, we’re sorry. We don’t mean to offend anyone. We just speak the truth, and anyone involved in the system knows this. The fine Senators on the Senate Judicially Committee have actually resorted to filibustering a federal judicial nominee.

Judges are not mere referees. They do call balls and strikes at trial (i.e. objections and whether to overrule or sustain the same), but they also define the strike zone, and the appellate Judges (i.e. Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court) re-write the rules of the game, all of the time. So, if you have a civil rights / police misconduct case, your chances of success often depend on what Judge you have. That why the cops get away with it; Conservative Judges.

FALSE ARREST CASES – DON’T CALL THE COPS UNLESS YOU WANT SOMEONE AT LEAST IN JAIL, OR VERY POSSIBLY DEAD

All of use have broken some sort of law, but most of us don’t go around holding-up liquor stores. The odds are, that if you are inquiring about a police misconduct case, such as a false arrest case, that you fall into three basic categories of ways that the police came into contact with you, and then falsely arrested you, or worse.

I. I Called The Police To Protect Me, So Why Was I The One Who Was Beaten-Up And Arrested?

A frequent type of case in which the police falsely arrest an innocent person, is when you, your spouse, your lover, or your parent or child, call the police. Many times family members feel that they cannot control mentally ill (or mad or drunk / drugged-up) people, including and especially their relatives, so they call “911″; often believing that the ambulance and paramedics are going to come to actually help them. They may not have even thought that the police would be the responding agency, but when they find out that the police are there, trouble may be awaiting. Once the cops are on the scene, they are taught to take charge, and anyone challenging, or even questioning, the police giving orders or their authority to do so, even seemingly unreasonable ones, is going to either get physically abused by the police, or falsely arrested by the police, or both.

Also, many spouses or lovers call the police on each other, to get the other person out of the house; even for a night or two. The police are not there to solve your family problems, so when you make that call, don’t make it unless you want your spouse or lover to go to jail, or worse. Cops are not counselors. They take people to jail. That’s what they do. So remember, when you call the police on your parent, child, lover or spouse, the person who ends-up getting thumped and arrested by the police just may be you. “No” you say? The police won’t arrest me if I’m the party calling the police. You’re wrong. They don’t care who called. All that the seem to care about, is how you respond to them; regardless of how unreasonable they act. If then, they thump you and beat you up, the odds are, that the police won’t even investigate the subject matter that you called about. Now, all of their attention is on you, since they violated you.

Also, do not use the police to get a border or a family member out of your house, unless the person is posing a “real” threat of imminent serious physical harm. If it’s that bad that you can’t stay in the house, then leave and get a hotel room, or just leave. The police cannot summarily evict / eject a civilian from a home in which they reside; whether they’re on the lease or not. In California, if a person resides at a home, only a Judge can force them to leave; either in the form of: 1) a Writ of Possession (the Court Order that the landlord gets in an “unlawful detainer” action, to give to the Sheriff’s Department, to eject you from your home, when you don’t pay your rent); 2) a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (under Cal. § Civ. Proc. Code 527.6); 3) a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (under Cal. Family Code § 6320), and 4) an Emergency Protective Order in a criminal case (pursuant to Cal. § Penal Code 136.2.)

II. Contempt Of Cop Cases– A Frequent Reason For False Arrests By Police Officers.

Contempt Of Cop”cases, are bogus criminal actions, brought against innocents by criminal prosecutors, for essentially, “bruised ego” violations. The “ego bruising”, is really nothing more than a civilian not immediately, and without protest or question, getting-down on the ground in a proned position, or not doing something that the officer wants you to do (lawful, reasonable or not) immediately, and without question or protest. The Constable‘s “ego” is typically “bruised”, by your conduct, such as: 1) asserting your Constitutional rights, or 2) claiming knowledge of them, or 3) asking the Constable why you’re being ordered to lie down on the ground while your chest is being illuminated by the red spot of a pistol or rifle targeting device; 4) telling the Constable that you have a medical condition that makes it difficult or painful to get on the ground; 5) telling the Constable that he can’t do something (i.e. can’t go in my house without a warrant; you can’t make me go inside or come outside); 6) failing to consent to an entry or a search; and 7) not exiting your house when ordered to do so (even though the police generally can’t order you to exit a private residence; save probable cause to arrest for serious dangerous felony, coupled with an emergency; See, United States v. Al-Azzawy, 784 F.2d 890 (9th Cir. 1985) and Elder v. Holloway, 510 U.S. 510 (1994.) These are but a few examples. The list is endless, but the theme is the same. Failing to immediately do whatever the police tell you to do, without protest, challenge or remarks, often will result in your being beaten-up, falsely arrested, and maliciously criminally prosecuted.

These, “Contempt Of Cop” cases, typical involve the police using force upon persons (i.e. beating them) and/or falsely arresting them, and then inventing bogus allegations of violations various “Contempt Of Cop” statutes, such as violations of: 1) Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1) (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer [commonly called “resisting arrest”]; the most abused statute in the Penal Code; 2) Cal. Penal Code § 240/241(b) (assault on a peace officer); 3) Cal. Penal Code § 242 / 243(b) (battery on a peace officer); and 4) Cal. Penal Code § 69 (interfering with public officer via actual or threatened use of force or violence.) Cal. Penal Code § 69 is a “wobbler”; a California public offense that may be filed by the District Attorney’s Office as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County, allegations of violation of Penal Code 69 are usually filed as misdemeanors. In San Bernardino County, however, allegations of violation of Cal. Penal Code 69 are filed as felonies much more often than her sister counties. If they shoot you, they may even charge you with Cal. Penal Code § 245(d); assault on a peace officer in a manner likely to result in great bodily injury.

III. Police Incompetence: A Frequent Reason For False Arrests By Police Officers

Believe it or not, most experienced police officers have a pretty good functional understanding of basic fourth amendment search and seizure issues. For example, police academytraining about basic street contacts with civilians includes the following:

  • Detentions of persons (inside and outside of homes);
  • Arrests of persons (with and without a warrant, and inside and outside of homes);
  • The use of force on persons (pre-trial detainees and convicts);
  • Probation searches (inside and outside of homes);
  • Parole searches(inside and outside of homes);
  • Search warrants (obtaining and serving residential and commercial warrants);
  • Pat-down searches;
  • Warrantless searches of persons;
  • Warrantless searches of vehicles;
  • Warrantless searches of homes (i.e.exigent circumstances and emergency doctrine.)

Once you get past the basics, however, most police officers really don’t understand what the Constitution forbids them from doing. Police officers simply are not sufficiently trained to properly act within with long established Constitutional constraints on them. It takes years for lawyers and judges to understand fourth amendment search and seizure issues, and they often disagree about whether certain conduct is, or is not, constitutional.

Moreover, just like the rest of us, the cops make mistakes all of the time. They are human, and, therefore, false arrests by police officers are often 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/her unlawful conduct against a civilian (i.e. provoking verbal remonstrance, and then beating-up the civilian for protesting), by arresting, and then framing their victims (i.e. authoring false police reports, suborning and committing perjurious court testimony, concealing exculpatory evidence) of his federal criminal (18 U.S.C. 242), and otherwise tortious misconduct.

FALSE ARREST CASES; CALIFORNIA LAW

FALSE ARREST BY PEACE OFFICER – ELEMENTS AND PROOF – CALIFORNIA LAW

A “false arrest” is the same “tort” as a “false imprisonment” under California law. Unlike federal law, under California law, the burden is on the police to justify their “seizure” (false arrest / false imprisonment) of you at a civil trial (See, California Civil Jury Instructions (“CACI”) 1401 [False Arrest by Peace Officer Without Warrant] and 1402 [Peace Officer’s Justification / Defense To Claim Of False Arrest].) Under California law, a peace officer (i.e. police officer or deputy sheriff) may arrest another for a felony for which the officer has “probable cause” to believe person committed, or may arrest another for a misdemeanor that was committed in their presence (See, Cal. Penal Code § 836.) “Presence is not mere physical proximity but is determined by whether the offense is apparent to the officers senses. People v. Sjosten, 262 Cal.App.2d 539, 543544 (1968″.) An officer can arrest a civilian, upon probable cause, for any felony; committed in the presence of an officer or not. Cal. Penal Code § 836. However, it does not violate the fourth amendment, for an officer to arrest for a misdemeanor that was committed outside of the presence of the officer.

FALSE ARREST BY PEACE OFFICER – NO “QUASI-QUALIFIED IMMUNITY” – CALIFORNIA LAW

Cal. Penal Code § 847(b) provides:

“There shall be no civil liability on the part of, and no cause of action shall arise against, any peace officer . . . acting within the scope of his or her authority, for false arrest or false imprisonment arising out of any arrest under any of the following circumstances:

(1) The arrest was lawful, or the peace officer, at the time of the arrest, had reasonable cause to believe the arrest was lawful.”

Although police civil defendants have argued that Section 847(b)(1) immunizes peace officers for false arrests like the “qualified immunity” provided for police false arrest civil defendants federal court, that code section cannot be reasonably construed that way. The first part of Section 47(b)(1) (“The arrest was lawful”), logically changes nothing, for if the arrest was lawful, then there is no liability under anyone’s theory; kind an unintended legal redundancy. The second part of Section 47(b)(1) (“the peace officer, at the time of the arrest, had reasonable cause to believe the arrest was lawful”), could only reasonably be meant to apply to a situation, where an officer arrested a civilian based upon either: 1) an arrest warrant that did issue, but for which there was no probable cause to have issued (the officer who obtained the arrest warrant on insufficient grounds committed the fourth amendment violation, and is liable for the false arrest, unless otherwise protected, such as by “qualified immunity“), or 2) when the officer had “reasonable cause”, which is essentially a term equivalent to “probable cause” under the jury instructions that are used at the trial of this particular tort (See, CACI 1402; . . . arrest lawful if . . . “reasonable cause to believe that the plaintiff committed a crime“ is the standard for whether a peace officer’s arrest of a civilian was lawful.) Therefore, logically, Section 47(b)(1) provides no immunity for California peace officers for a false arrest. That does not mean, however, that a state or federal judge won’t disagree with that proposition. It is not fully developed under either California law, or by the federal district court’s interpretation of that statute.

FALSE ARREST BY PEACE OFFICER – FEDERAL LAW – GENERALLY

A “false arrest” under federal law, is considered a violation of a person’s right to be free from an “unreasonable seizure” of their person under the Fourth Amendment (See, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Model Civil Jury Instruction for Arrest Without Probable Cause Or Warrant.) The United States Supreme Court has defined a “seizure of a person” as when a reasonable person would not feel free to leave the presence of police officers and to go about their business. See, United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980.)

In 1871, Congress enacted the Ku Klux Klan Act (42 U.S.C. 1983), that gives any person whose federal Constitutional rights have been violated, a right to sue, any person who violated those rights under the color of state law, in a United States District Court. Section 1983 lawsuits can also be brought in a state court of general jurisdiction; See, 42 U.S.C. 1988. Accordingly, a person who is falsely arrested by a peace officer (i.e. police officer, deputy sheriff, or some other officer who derives peace officer powers from state law), may sue the police officer under Section 1983, as well as under California state law.

In federal court, in a civil Fourth Amendment “arrest without probable cause” case (a federal false arrest case), the jury is instructed at the end of the case, on the following definition of “probable cause”:

“Probable cause exists when, under all of the circumstances known to the officer[s] at the time, an objectively reasonable police officer would conclude there is a fair probability that the plaintiff has committed or was committing a crime” (See, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Model Civil Jury Instruction 9.20, Arrest Without Probable Cause Or Warrant.)

Therefore, that standard, whether “an objectively reasonable police officer would conclude there is a “fair probability” that the plaintiff has committed or was committing a crime”, is the standard that the propriety of an arrest, outside of the home is judged by, in federal court in the states comprising the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit Model Civil Jury Instruction 9.20). It doesn’t matter what the thousands of other cases, from the Supreme Court on down, say about what “probable cause” means. All that matters, is what a civil jury is going to be told is the standard that they should judge the facts by, in their deliberations (a civil jury is the “Judge of the facts” [“trier of fact”], and the District Judge is the “Judge of the law”.)

Some justices say that the words “probable cause, are found in the text of the fourth amendment itself, and that is the standard for a seizure of a person by the government that was established by the Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1791; not reasonable suspicion:

“MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting.

I agree that petitioner was “seized” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. I also agree that frisking petitioner and his companions for guns was a “search.” But it is a mystery how that “search” and that “seizure” can be constitutional by Fourth Amendment standards unless there was “probable cause” [n1] to believe that (1) a crime had been committed or (2) a crime was in the process of being committed or (3) a crime was about to be committed.

The opinion of the Court disclaims the existence of “probable cause.” If loitering were in issue and that [p36] was the offense charged, there would be “probable cause” shown. But the crime here is carrying concealed weapons; [n2] and there is no basis for concluding that the officer had “probable cause” for believing that that crime was being committed. Had a warrant been sought, a magistrate would, therefore, have been unauthorized to issue one, for he can act only if there is a showing of “probable cause.” We hold today that the police have greater authority to make a “seizure” and conduct a “search” than a judge has to authorize such action. We have said precisely the opposite over and over again. [n3] [p37]

In other words, police officers up to today have been permitted to effect arrests or searches without warrants only when the facts within their personal knowledge would satisfy the constitutional standard of probable cause. At the time of their “seizure” without a warrant, they must possess facts concerning the person arrested that would have satisfied a magistrate that “probable cause” was indeed present. The term “probable cause” rings a bell of certainty that is not sounded by phrases such as “reasonable suspicion.” Moreover, the meaning of “probable cause” is deeply imbedded in our constitutional history. As we stated in Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98, 100-102:

The requirement of probable cause has roots that are deep in our history. The general warrant, in which the name of the person to be arrested was left blank, and the writs of assistance, against which James Otis inveighed, both perpetuated the oppressive practice of allowing the police to arrest and search on suspicion. Police control took the place of judicial control, since no showing of “probable cause” before a magistrate was required.

That philosophy [rebelling against these practices] later was reflected in the Fourth Amendment. And as the early American decisions both before and immediately after its adoption show, common rumor or report, suspicion, or even “strong reason to suspect” was not adequate to support a warrant [p38] for arrest. And that principle has survived to this day. . . .

. . . It is important, we think, that this requirement [of probable cause] be strictly enforced, for the standard set by the Constitution protects both the officer and the citizen. If the officer acts with probable cause, he is protected even though it turns out that the citizen is innocent. . . . And while a search without a warrant is, within limits, permissible if incident to a lawful arrest, if an arrest without a warrant is to support an incidental search, it must be made with probable cause. . . . This immunity of officers cannot fairly be enlarged without jeopardizing the privacy or security of the citizen.

The infringement on personal liberty of any “seizure” of a person can only be “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment if we require the police to possess “probable cause” before they seize him. Only that line draws a meaningful distinction between an officer’s mere inkling and the presence of facts within the officer’s personal knowledge which would convince a reasonable man that the person seized has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a particular crime.

In dealing with probable cause, . . . as the very name implies, we deal with probabilities. These are not technical; they are the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175.

To give the police greater power than a magistrate is to take a long step down the totalitarian path. Perhaps such a step is desirable to cope with modern forms of lawlessness. But if it is taken, it should be the deliberate choice of the people through a constitutional amendment. [p39] Until the Fourth Amendment, which is closely allied with the Fifth, [n4] is rewritten, the person and the effects of the individual are beyond the reach of all government agencies until there are reasonable grounds to believe (probable cause) that a criminal venture has been launched or is about to be launched.

There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.

Yet if the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can “seize” and “search” him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) Douglas,J. Dissenting.

Moreover, it does not matter what the arresting officer’s state of mind was, even if he was mistaken as to the crime committed, so long as in retrospect, a reasonably well trained officer would have believed that there was a “fair probability” that you committed a crime.

The Closely Related Offense Doctrine; A Reasonable But Now Extinct Approach To Whether Civil Liability Attaches To An Arrest.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals used to employ a doctrine entitled the “Closely Related Offense Doctrine.” Under that doctrine, if an officer arrested a civilian for one particular crime, but the police officer didn’t have probable cause to have arrested the person was for that crime, if a reasonably well trained officer would have believed that probable cause existed to have arrested the person for some other crime that was “closely related” to the crime that the person was arrested for, then the arrest is valid under the “Closely Related Offense Doctrine.” Bingham v City of Manhattan Beach, 341 F.3d 939 (9th Cir. 2003.) However, the “Closely Related Offense Doctrine” was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146 (2004.)

“Our cases make clear that an arresting officers state of mind (except for the facts that he knows) is irrelevant to the existence of probable cause. . . . That is to say, his subjective reason for making the arrest need not be the criminal offense as to which the known facts provide probable cause. As we have repeatedly explained, the fact that the officer does not have the state of mind which is hypothecated by the reasons which provide the legal justification for the officer’s action does not invalidate the action taken as long as the circumstances, viewed objectively, justify that action. . .. [T]he Fourth Amendments concern with reasonableness allows certain actions to be taken in certain circumstances, whatever the subjective intent.” See, Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 15253 (2004.)

Accordingly, the arresting police officers belief about what crime a person committed is irrelevant. All that matters is whether a reasonably well trained officer would have entertained a belief that the person arrested committed a crime; that is, the “reasonably well trained officer” in the abstract. If that fictional “reasonably well trained police officer” would not have believed that a crime had been committed, the arrested person may be able to obtain compensation for his/her false arrest.

Many times an officer mistakenly believes that certain conduct is a crime, but it’s not (See, Tab above for Police Misconduct News“, and the Section therein entitled “Possum Impossible”; the Lorenzo Oliver case; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that, as matter of law, no crime committed.) Other times, an officer arrests a person for a crime that he has no warrant or probable cause for, but, under the facts as the officer knew them, there was nonetheless a crime committed, that would have been apparent to the officer is he was familiar with that particular criminal statute. So long as a reasonably well trained officer would have believed that probable cause existed from the facts known to the arresting officer, the arrest is generally lawful. See, Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 15253 (2004.)

Atwater And The Rise Of The Police State

If a police officer arrests you for any violation of law, even a parking ticket or a seat-belt violation, actually taking you to jail and booking you does not violate the Fourth Amendment; at least since 2001. See, Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001) (arrest for violation of Texas seat-belt statute that carries a maximum $50.00 fine and no jail, not violative of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures”.)(See also, however, stinging Dissent by Justice O’Connor in Atwater:

“Such unbounded discretion [to arrest for even the most trivial offense] carries with it grave potential for abuse. The majority takes comfort in the lack of evidence of an epidemic of unnecessary minor-offense arrests. Ante, at 33, and n. 25. But the relatively small number of published cases dealing with such arrests proves little and should provide little solace. Indeed, as the recent debate over racial profiling demonstrates all too clearly, a relatively minor traffic infraction may often serve as an excuse for stopping and harassing an individual. After today, the arsenal available to any officer extends to a full arrest and the searches permissible concomitant to that arrest. An officers subjective motivations for making a traffic stop are not relevant considerations in determining the reasonableness of the stop. See Whren v. United States, supra, at 813. But it is precisely because these motivations are beyond our purview that we must vigilantly ensure that officers post stop actions which are properly within our reach comport with the Fourth Amendments guarantee of reasonableness . . . . The Court neglects the Fourth Amendments express command in the name of administrative ease. In so doing, it cloaks the pointless indignity that Gail Atwater suffered with the mantle of reasonableness. I respectfully dissent.” Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001) O’Connor, J., Dissenting.

FALSE ARREST BY PEACE OFFICER – FEDERAL LAW – QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Under the Qualified Immunity Doctrine, so long as a reasonably well trained officer could have believed that a person’s conduct constituted a crime, the officer who actually violated the Constitutional rights of another is nonetheless immune from being liable for damages caused by the officer’s Constitutional violation:

“The qualified immunity analysis involves two separate steps. First, the court determines whether the facts show the officers conduct violated a constitutional right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001). If the alleged conduct did not violate a constitutional right, then the defendants are entitled to immunity and the claim must be dismissed. However, if the alleged conduct did violate such a right, then the court must determine whether the right was clearly established at the time of the alleged unlawful action. Id. A right is clearly established if a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right. Id. at 202. If the right is not clearly established, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. While the order in which these questions are addressed is left to the courts sound discretion, it is often beneficial to perform the analysis in the sequence outlined above. Pearson v. Callahan, 129 S.Ct. 808, 818 (2009). Of course, where a claim of qualified immunity is to be denied, both questions must be answered.” Hopkins v. Bonvicino, 573 F.3d 752 (9th Cir. 2009.)

These days, qualified immunity for false arrests are so common, that they almost make false arrest cases impossible to win.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Someone has to stand-up to the bullies of society, who think that using state police power to humiliate others, is funny, and makes them big men (or women.) There are thousands of others like you, who are good people, and have been somehow, for some reason that you could not have ever imagined, victimized by the government. It might as well be you. Stand-up for justice. Stand-up for our form of self-government. Stand-up for the spilled-blood of our fathers, who bravery died to prevent the very thing, that the government is doing to you right now.

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. Also, if you have been the victim of a False Arrest or Excessive Force by a police officer, check our Section, above, entitled: “What To Do If You Have Been Beaten-Up Or False Arrested By The Police“.
Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.

Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.

Serving the San Bernardino County cities and neighborhoods shown below:

San Bernardino County Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places

Incorporated Places have an asterisk (*).

Adelanto* Apple Valley* Baker Ballou Barstow* Big Bear City Big Bear Lake* Big River Bloomington Bluewater Bryn Mawr Chino* Chino Hills* Colton* Crestline Del Rosa Fontana* Fort Irwin Grand Terrace* Hesperia* Highland* Joshua Tree Lake Arrowhead Lenwood Loma Linda* Los Serranos Lucerne Valley Lytle Creek Mentone Montclair* Morongo Valley Mountain View Acres Muscoy Needles* Oak Glen Oak Hills Ontario* Phelan Pinon Hills Rancho Cucamonga* Redlands* Redlands Heights Rialto* Running Springs San Antonio Heights San Bernardino* Searles Valley Silver Lakes South Fontana Spring Valley Lake Twentynine Palms* Upland* Victorville* Wrightwood Yucaipa* Yucca Valley*

 

Other Populated Places in San Bernardino County (Neighborhoods, Subdivisions & Settlements)

Afton Agua Fria Alray Alta Loma Amber Hills Amboy Angelus Oaks Apollo Apple Valley Highlands Archer Argos Argus Arrowbear Lake Arrowhead Arrowhead Equestrian Estates Arrowhead Farms Arrowhead Highlands Arrowhead Junction Arrowhead Springs Ash Hill Atolia Bagdad Balch Baldwin Lake Baldy Mesa Bannock Barnwell Barstow Heights Basin Beacon Station Bell Mountain Bellevue Heights Bethune Black Meadow Landing Blue Jay Borosolvay Boulder Bay Boys Republic Brant Broadwell Bryman Bunker Hill Bush Cadiz Cajon Cajon Junction Calada Calico Calzona Cedar Glen Cedarpines Park Chambless Champagne Chase Chubbuck Cima College Heights Copper City Cosy Dell Cotners Corner Cottage Gardens Crafton Creekside Crest Park Crestmore Cronese Valley Cross Roads Crown Jewel Crucero Cushenbury Daggett Danby Declez Declezville Deer Haven Desert Heights Desert Knolls Desert Knolls Manor Desert View Housing Area Devil Canyon Devore Devore Heights Doble Duncan Corners Dunlap Acres Dunn Eagle Ranch Earp East Colton Heights East Highlands Echo El Mirage Elora Eniwetok Housing Area Essex Etiwanda Fawnskin Fenner Fishel Fizzben Heights Flamingo Heights Flynn Forest Falls Freda Fredalba Fremont Frost Gale Garden Park Glasgow Glen Martin Goffs Golden Mesa Golden Valley Acres Goldstone Grandview Grapeland Green Valley Lake Greensport Greentree East Guasti Halloran Springs Harlem Springs Harmony Acres Hart Harvard Havasu Lake Havasu Palms Hayden Heart Bar Campground Hector Helendale Hidden River High Country Hinkley Hodge Homer Houze Place Hutt Ibis Irwin Estates Ivanpah Java Jimgrey Johnstons Corner Joshua Juan Kaiser Keenbrook Kelso Kenton Mill Kerens Klinefelter Klondike Kramer Kramer Hills Kramer Junction La Cuesta Fontana La Delta Landers Lanfair Lavic Leon Little Morongo Heights Lockhart Lone Wolf Colony Los Olivos Ludlow Lugo Lugonia Homes Manix Mariana Ranchos Marigold Mars Meadowbrook Woods Midway Milligan Minnelusa Minneola Mojave Base Mojave Heights Molino Moonridge Moore Mount Baldy Mountain Home Village Mountain Pass Mountain Top Junction Mountain View Narod Nealeys Corner Nebo Nevada New Dunn Newberry Springs Nipton North Barstow North Bench North Cucamonga North Fontana North Loma Linda North Norton North Ontario North Shore North Star Ranch Old Dale Oro Grande Palm Wells Panorama Heights Parker Dam Parker Junction Patton Pinezanita Pinon Hills Estates Pioneer Point Pioneertown Pisgah Plymouth Village Racimo Ragtown Rainbow Wells Rana Ranchos del Oro Red Mountain Renoville Rice Rimforest Rimrock Rochester Sablon Saltus Sands Scotland Serrano Village Seven Oaks Siberia Sierra Heights Skyforest Skyland Skyline North Skytop Sleepy Hollow Smiley Heights Smiley Park Smoke Tree South Adelanto South Trona Southridge Village Spangler Sperry Stedman Sugarloaf Summit Terrace Sunfair Sunfair Heights Sunkist Sunset Hills Sunset Ridge Sunsweet The Mesa The Plaza The Village Thomas Place Thorn Thunderbird Ranches Toomey Trona Twin Peaks University Heights University Village Valencia Valjean Valley Gardens Valley High North Valley of Enchantment Valley View Park Valley Wells Station Vanderbilt Venus Verdemont Victoria Vidal Vidal Junction Walnut Ridge Warm Springs Warm Springs Warner West Colton West End West Highlands Westend Wheaton Springs Wild Crossing Wildhorse Canyon Woodlands Yermo Yucca Grove Yucca Inn Zzyzx

 

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The Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering   •   4063 Birch Street   •   Suite 100   •   Newport Beach, CA 92660  map   •   © 1984-2016
Phone: (949) 474-1849   •   Fax: (949) 474-1883   •   Email: jerrysteering@yahoo.com   •   Web: www.SteeringLaw.com

Victorville – Apple Valley Excessive Force Attorney

Jerry L. Steering arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in police shooting case, Pasadena, California

Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, who sues police officers for, among other things, the use of excessive force upon civilians. His law practice involves serving, among other places, Victorville, Apple Valley, and the San Bernardino County areas and cities shown below. Mr. Steering also represents persons in both civil and criminal case in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and Orange County. Mr. Steering is an expert in brutality / excessive force and false arrest cases; both civil and criminal. Mr. Steering has successfully sued San Bernardino County police agencies successfully, for many years now.

POLICE BRUTALITY IN THE HIGH DESERT.

For whatever reason, police brutality in the Victor Valley has gone off of the charts. The City of Apple Valley, California (Population 70,700), is the hotbed these days for crazed cops, who apparently really take great pleasure in shooting innocents, and beating and false arresting their “prey.” The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department contracts with the City of Apple Valley for their police services, and if your a fan of outrageous police shootings, beating and false arrest, Apple Valley is the place for you. In 2015 these violent crazed deputies of the High Desert were caught on video recording viciously beating a man named Francis Pusok who literally attempted to escape from them on horseback.

There was a Sheriff’s Department helicopter that was flying over the foot pursuit by the deputies so when the news helicopter was flying over the Sheriff’s Department helicopter the deputies didn’t know that the news helicopter was there. As a result the deputies carried on their vicious and brutal attack of Mr. Pusok, such as the deputy seen literally kicking the surrendering suspect directly in his testicles. See, “DA files charges against 3 deputies in Francis Pusok beating“. Had the news helicopter not been there and secreted by the noise of the Sheriff’s Department chopper, Mr. Pusok would have been charged with at least violation of Cal. Penal Code Section 69; using force and violence to prevent / attempt to prevent public officer from performing duty of their office (See, “Cal. Penal Code Section 69; The Hammer Of Oppression – Police Misconduct Attorney“); standard operating procedure for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. These deputies know that when they beat, torture or even kill civilians, even totally innocent ones, that San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos will prosecute their victims with some sort of “resistance offense” to beat them down (i.e. the financial costs and emotional toll of having to defend oneself on bogus criminal charges) to take a plea that will preclude the victim of police abuse from successfully suing the deputies for their constitutional violations. See, “”The “Contempt of Cop Game”; How Well Can You Play?“”. On May 15, 2013 District Attorney Ramos stated as much; that his office will not be dismissed any cases involving “Crimes Against Peace Officers” (“CAPO”) (See, “San Bernardino County DA Launches New Unit For Crimes Against Police Officers“).

Here are a few examples of several of the false arrest / excessive force cases that Mr. Steering has had against San Bernardino County:

Morgan v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside), (1996), $714,000.00 jury verdict (included compromised attorney’s fees) for excessive force and false arrest during search warrant execution in Apple Valley, California;

Darr v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2000), $50,000.00 settlement for violation of first amendment right to freedom of association;

Austin v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (2002), $500,000.00 jury verdict for false arrest and excessive force;

Lopez v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2002), $50,000.00 settlement for racially motivated battery;

Miller v. City of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of Cal. (Riverside) (2003), $35,000.00 settlement for unlawful detention;

Calderon v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2003), $115,000.00 settlement for false arrest and illegal search;

Arroyo v. City of San Bernardino, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of Cal. (Riverside)(2004), $125,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person;

Ford v. County of San Bernardino, (2007), $80,000.00 settlement for excessive force;

Garcia v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court – Riverside (2008), $95,000.00 settlement for failure to protect inmate at Glen Helen Jail;

Diaz v. County of San Bernardino, et al., United States District Court – Riverside (2008), $49,999.00 settlement for excessive force;

In re Jane Doe v. County of San Bernardino, et al., (2008), $290,000.00 settlement (prior to filing lawsuit) for sexually motivated mistreatment of arrestee;

Grasso v. County of San Bernardino, et al. (2009), $180,000.00 settlement for unreasonable force / infliction of emotional distress;

Aubry v. County of San Bernardino, et al, U.S. Dist. Court (LA) (2012), $325,000.00 settlement for the use of unreasonable force and for false arrest;

Trent v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court (Riverside) (2013); $600,000.00 settlement for unreasonable force and unlawful seizure of person;

Jones v. County of San Bernardino, U.S. District Court (Los Angeles) 2017; $170,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person.

EXCESSIVE FORCE, FALSE ARREST AND MALICIOUS PROSECUTION CASES

Mr. Steering has been suing police officers, and defending bogus criminal cases of crimes against police officers, for over 28 years. The majority of our firm’s law practice, is suing police officers and other government officials, for claims such as false arrest, police brutality / excessive force, malicious prosecution, and other “Constitutional Torts“, and defending bogus criminal cases against the victims of such abuse by the police.

The United States Supreme Court has defined “Excessive Force” as follows:

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the Majority Opinion in Graham v. Connor

“Where, as here, the excessive force claim arises in the context of an arrest or investigatory stop of a free citizen, it is most properly characterized as one invoking the protections of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right “to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable . . . seizures” of the person . . . . . . . Determining whether the force used to effect a particular seizure is “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment requires a careful balancing of ” ‘the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests’ ” against the countervailing governmental interests at stake. Id., at 8, 105 S.Ct., at 1699, quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 703, 103 S.Ct. 2637, 2642, 77 L.Ed.2d 110 (1983). Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has long recognized that the right to make an arrest or investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to effect it. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S., at 22-27, 88 S.Ct., at 1880-1883. Because “the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mecha ical application,” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1884, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), however, its proper application requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. See Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S., at 8-9, 105 S.Ct., at 1699-1700 (the question is “whether the totality of the circumstances justifies a particular sort of . . . seizure”).” (See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989.)

“The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. See Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 20-22, 88 S.Ct., at 1879-1881. The Fourth Amendment is not violated by an arrest based on probable cause, even though the wrong person is arrested, Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797, 91 S.Ct. 1106, 28 L.Ed.2d 484 (1971), nor by the mistaken execution of a valid search warrant on the wrong premises, Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 107 S.Ct. 1013, 94 L.Ed.2d 72 (1987). With respect to a claim of excessive force, the same standard of reasonableness at the moment applies: “Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chambers,” Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d, at 1033, violates the Fourth Amendment. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

As in other Fourth Amendment contexts, however, the “reasonableness” inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. See Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 128, 137-139, 98 S.Ct. 1717, 1723-1724, 56 L.Ed.2d 168 (1978); see also Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 21, 88 S.Ct., at 1879 (in analyzing the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure, “it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective standard”). An officer’s evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer’s good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional. See, Scott v. United States, supra, 436 U.S., at 138, 98 S.Ct., at 1723, citing United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973).”

In Graham, we held that claims of excessive force in the context of arrests or investigatory stops should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendments objective reasonableness standard, not under substantive due process principles. 490 U.S., at 388, 394. Because police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation, id., at 397, the reasonableness of the officers belief as to the appropriate level of force should be judged from that on-scene perspective. Id., at 396. We set out a test that cautioned against the 20/20 vision of hindsight in favor of deference to the judgment of reasonable officers on the scene. Id., at 393, 396. Graham sets forth a list of factors relevant to the merits of the constitutional excessive force claim, requir[ing] careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Id., at 396. If an officer reasonably, but mistakenly, believed that a suspect was likely to fight back, for instance, the officer would be justified in using more force than in fact was needed. (See, Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001).)

THE PROBLEM WITH GRAHAM’S “REASONABLE OFFICER STANDARD” IN THE REAL WORLD – THE WATCHMAN GETS TO MAKE HIS OWN RULES THAT REGULATE HIS OWN CONDUCT.

The problem with the description of how “excessive force” is defined, is not the Supreme Court’s strong emphasis on the officer’s conduct being based on an “objective” standard; they hypothetical reasonable officer in the abstract. The problem is, that the standards in the police profession for what is “reasonable” or otherwise proper police conduct in a given situation, are generally neither the creature of legislation (i.e. state law requiring the audio recording of custodial police interrogations) nor the product of any judicially created mandate, duty, or prohibition (i.e. Constitutional limits on conduct and judicially created “exclusionary rule“.) The conduct of “the objectively reasonable officer”; that standard that the Supreme Court attempted to describe in Graham v. O’Connor and Saucier v. Katz, is created by the very persons whose conduct the Fourth Amendment is supposed to impose limits on. Thus, in a very real sense, the Supreme Court has set the standard (“objectively reasonable officer”) that the Fourth Amendment requires, but has delegated the details of what’s reasonable or not, to the police.

It’s letting the regulated enact their own regulations. It’s like letting the local power company, set the rate of profit that they should make; set the formula for how the amount of profit is determined; set how much they can spend on public relations (since they’re a monopoly), and how, when, by whom and in what manner, they should be inspected, what they can and can’t do in their industry, and every other aspect of the business. If they want to all use tasers on civilians, then that’s reasonable. If they all want to pepper-spray persons because their hands in their pockets, then that’s reasonable. If they want to prone-out everyone at gun point that they detain, then that’s reasonable. At the end of the day, in the real world police world, if the technique, method, procedure, policy or practice reduces the danger level to the officer, you can bet that, eventually, they will find a way to justify such technique, method, procedure, policy or practice , and make such otherwise unreasonable behavior, “reasonable”, for no other reason than the police would prefer to act that way; Constitutional or not. You see the problem. The police have an old slogan: “It’s better to be judged by 12, then carried by 6.” It’s another way of saying, I’ll act in a way that is in my self interest; not yours, and if I happen to trample your Constitutional rights, so be it.

THE PROBLEM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY, COMPOUNDS THE PROBLEM CREATED BY GRAHAM.

In a nutshell, the Qualified Immunity is an immunity from a lawsuit for violation of a civilian’s Constitutional rights, when those rights were actually violated, but a reasonably well trained police officer could have believed that his conduct did not constitute such Constitutional violation. So, even if the police officer actually violated your Constitutional Rights, he may be immune from suit, because the law was not clearly established enough at the time of the violation, to hold a police officer liable for his conduct. This is a doctrine “contrived” by the conservative members of the Supreme Court (since 1981), to ensure that you can’t do anything about (or at least do a whole lot less about) your Constitutional Rights being trampled by the government.

So, for example, if the police come-up with a whole new technique to restrain people, such as a with a taser, or pepper-spray, or pepper-balls, or water-balls, or hobbling (police hog tying), or a shock-belting, or stun-gunning, the officer may very well be entitled to qualified immunity from being sued for the misuse of any of the above-mentioned devices; not because its “reasonable”, but because the police just use those devices in such manners; thereby giving the Courts an excused to relieve the police officer from liability for the damage caused by his violation of the Constitutional Rights of civilians:

“Qualified immunity is an entitlement not to stand trial or face the other burdens of litigation. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 200 (2001) (quoting Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985)) . . . Accordingly, we must resolve immunity questions at the earliest possible stage in litigation. Pearson, 129, S.Ct. at 815.

An officer will be denied qualified immunity in a 1983 action only if (1) the facts alleged, taken in the light most favorable to the party asserting injury, show that the officers conduct violated a constitutional right, and (2) the right at issue was clearly established at the time of the incident such that a reasonable officer would have understood her conduct to be unlawful in that situation. Saucier, 533 at 201-02; Liberal v. Estrada, 632 F.3d 1064, 1076 (9th Cir. 2011.) To assist the development of constitutional precedent, we exercise our sound discretion to follow Saucier’s conventional two-step procedure and address first whether the Torres Family has alleged the violation of a constitutional right. See, Pearson, 129 S.Ct. at 818.

The qualified immunity analysis involves two separate steps. First, the court determines whether the facts show the officers conduct violated a constitutional right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001.) If the alleged violate a constitutional right, then the defendants are entitled to immunity and the claim must be dismissed. However, if the alleged conduct did violate such a right, then the court must determine whether the right was clearly established at the time of the alleged unlawful action. Id.

A right is clearly established if a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right. Id., at 202. If the right is not clearly established, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. While the order in which these questions are addressed is left to the courts sound discretion, it is often beneficial to perform the analysis in the sequence outlined above. Pearson v. Callahan, 129 S.Ct. 808, 818 (2009.) Of course, where a claim of qualified immunity is to be denied, both questions must be answered.

When determining whether there are any genuine issues of material fact at the summary judgment stage, the court must take all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In the context of qualified immunity, determinations that turn on questions of law, such as whether the officers had probable cause or reasonable suspicion to support their actions, are appropriately decided by the court. Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 873 (9th Cir. 1993.)

However, a trial court should not grant summary judgment when there is a genuine dispute as to the facts and circumstances within an officers knowledge or what the officer and claimant did or failed to do. Id.” (Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001)).

Prior to Saucier v. Katz, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that because the qualified immunity was not a defense to a Fourth Amendment claim for excessive force by a peace officer because the inquiry for a Fourth Amendment unreasonable force violation and the inquiry for whether the officer is entitled to qualified immunity is the same question; would a reasonably competent officer believe that the force used was “reasonable”. See, Hopkins v. Andaya, 958 F.2d 881 (9th Cir. 1991). Hopkins   makes sense. Instead, the Supreme Court came up with this; that a police officer can reasonably act unreasonably. That is the state of where we are. George Orwell was right.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos prosecutes the innocent victims of police outrages instead of the officers whom committed serious crimes against them

WHY THE POLICE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE THEIR VICTIMS.

Unfortunately, because of institutional pressures (i.e. “ratting out fellow officer not a good career move), and the obvious political and practical consequences of not backing-up the their fellow officers, the norm in today’s 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. 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).)

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.

Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.

Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.

The Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering   •   4063 Birch Street   •   Suite 100   •   Newport Beach, CA 92660  map   •   © 1984-2016
Phone: (949) 474-1849   •   Fax: (949) 474-1883   •   Email: jerrysteering@yahoo.com   •   Web: www.steeringlaw.com

Serving the San Bernardino County cities and neighborhoods shown below:

San Bernardino County Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places

Incorporated Places have an asterisk (*).

Adelanto* Apple Valley* Baker Ballou Barstow* Big Bear City Big Bear Lake* Big River BloomingtonBluewater Bryn MawrChino* Chino Hills* Colton* Crestline Del Rosa Fontana* Fort Irwin Grand Terrace* Hesperia* Highland* Joshua Tree Lake Arrowhead Lenwood Loma Linda* Los Serranos Lucerne Valley Lytle Creek Mentone Montclair* Morongo Valley Mountain View AcresMuscoy Needles* Oak Glen Oak Hills Ontario* Phelan Pinon HillsRancho Cucamonga* Redlands* Redlands Heights Rialto* Running Springs San Antonio Heights San Bernardino* Searles ValleySilver Lakes South Fontana Spring Valley Lake Twentynine Palms* Upland* Victorville* Wrightwood Yucaipa* Yucca Valley*

Other Populated Places in San Bernardino County (Neighborhoods, Subdivisions & Settlements)

Afton Agua Fria Alray Alta Loma Amber HillsAmboy Angelus Oaks Apollo Apple Valley Highlands Archer Argos Argus Arrowbear LakeArrowhead Arrowhead Equestrian EstatesArrowhead Farms Arrowhead HighlandsArrowhead Junction Arrowhead Springs Ash Hill Atolia Bagdad Balch Baldwin Lake Baldy Mesa Bannock Barnwell Barstow Heights BasinBeacon Station Bell Mountain Bellevue HeightsBethune Black Meadow Landing Blue JayBorosolvay Boulder Bay Boys Republic BrantBroadwell Bryman Bunker Hill Bush CadizCajon Cajon Junction Calada Calico CalzonaCedar Glen Cedarpines Park ChamblessChampagne Chase Chubbuck Cima College Heights Copper City Cosy Dell Cotners CornerCottage Gardens Crafton Creekside Crest ParkCrestmore Cronese Valley Cross Roads Crown Jewel Crucero Cushenbury Daggett DanbyDeclez Declezville Deer Haven Desert HeightsDesert Knolls Desert Knolls Manor Desert View Housing Area Devil Canyon Devore Devore Heights Doble Duncan Corners Dunlap AcresDunn Eagle Ranch Earp East Colton HeightsEast Highlands Echo El Mirage Elora Eniwetok Housing Area Essex Etiwanda Fawnskin FennerFishel Fizzben Heights Flamingo Heights Flynn Forest Falls FredaFredalba Fremont Frost Gale Garden ParkGlasgow Glen Martin Goffs Golden MesaGolden Valley Acres Goldstone GrandviewGrapeland Green Valley Lake GreensportGreentree East Guasti Halloran SpringsHarlem Springs Harmony Acres Hart HarvardHavasu Lake Havasu Palms Hayden Heart Bar Campground Hector Helendale Hidden RiverHigh Country Hinkley Hodge Homer Houze Place Hutt Ibis Irwin Estates Ivanpah JavaJimgrey Johnstons Corner Joshua Juan KaiserKeenbrook Kelso Kenton Mill KerensKlinefelter Klondike Kramer Kramer HillsKramer Junction La Cuesta Fontana La DeltaLanders Lanfair Lavic Leon Little Morongo Heights Lockhart Lone Wolf Colony Los OlivosLudlow Lugo Lugonia Homes Manix Mariana Ranchos Marigold Mars Meadowbrook WoodsMidway Milligan Minnelusa Minneola Mojave Base Mojave Heights Molino MoonridgeMoore Mount Baldy Mountain Home VillageMountain Pass Mountain Top JunctionMountain View Narod Nealeys Corner NeboNevada New Dunn Newberry Springs NiptonNorth Barstow North Bench North CucamongaNorth Fontana North Loma Linda North Norton North OntarioNorth Shore North Star Ranch Old Dale Oro Grande Palm Wells Panorama Heights Parker Dam Parker Junction Patton Pinezanita Pinon Hills Estates Pioneer Point Pioneertown PisgahPlymouth Village Racimo Ragtown Rainbow Wells Rana Ranchos del Oro Red MountainRenoville Rice Rimforest Rimrock RochesterSablon Saltus Sands Scotland Serrano VillageSeven Oaks Siberia Sierra Heights SkyforestSkyland Skyline North Skytop Sleepy HollowSmiley Heights Smiley Park Smoke Tree South Adelanto South Trona Southridge VillageSpangler Sperry Stedman Sugarloaf Summit Terrace Sunfair Sunfair Heights Sunkist Sunset Hills Sunset Ridge Sunsweet The Mesa The PlazaThe Village Thomas Place Thorn Thunderbird Ranches Toomey Trona Twin Peaks University Heights University Village Valencia Valjean Valley Gardens Valley High North Valley of Enchantment Valley View Park Valley Wells Station Vanderbilt Venus Verdemont VictoriaVidal Vidal Junction Walnut Ridge Warm SpringsWarm Springs Warner West Colton West EndWest Highlands Westend Wheaton Springs Wild Crossing Wildhorse Canyon Woodlands YermoYucca Grove Yucca Inn Zzyzx

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