San Diego County Police Misconduct Cases

Mr. Steering interviewed about Jovan Jimenez case

Jerry L. Steering specializes in the area of police misconduct litigation; both criminal and civil. “Criminal” because most of the time when the police beat-you-up or falsely arrest you or otherwise violate your constitutional rights, they usually at least attempt to procure your malicious criminal prosecution, to protect themselves and their pals and employing agency from civil liability. “Civil” because Mr. Steering sues the police for beating-you-up or falsely arresting you or otherwise violating your constitutional rights.

Mr. Steering has litigated police misconduct cases in federal court in San Diego (the United States District Court for the Southern District of California) for many years now. He has been suing police officers for violating the constitutional rights of others for over thirty years. Mr. Steering has had some recent high profile police misconduct cases in San Diego County.

Jovan Jimenez being clubbed with a police flashlight on his head while handcuffed

In Jovan Jimenez v. County of San Diego, Mr. Steering recovered $500,000.00 for a man from Riverside County who was beaten by San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff’s for verbal protest of his misdemeanor simple battery arrest. See, County settles sheriff’s deputy beating lawsuit for $500,000.00.

Mr. Steering also currently represents a retired CHP Officer in U.S. District Court in San Diego who was falsely arrested by the  San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for carrying a concealed firearm on a High School campus. He was allowed to do so because he is an Honorably Retired peace officer with a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit from the CHP. Robert Pitt v. County of San Diego, et al.; United States District Court for the Southern District of California. See, Retired cop awarded $220,000.00 against San Diego County for false arrest for gun possession

Mr. Steering also represents other men in their another case against the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for beating and falsely arresting a totally innocent man who happened to exit a 7-11 store in Encinitas and look at a Deputy Sheriff in the wrong way who harassing others there. See, Bernardo Luque-Villanueva et al. v. County of San Diego, et al.; U.S. District Court, San Diego.

If you believe that police agencies are honest and that police don’t do bad things to good people you are still drinking the Kool-Aid. That is not our world anymore; at least not in this County and not in this Country.

PREFACE:

Which Rules of Engagement with civilians will he follow?

In years gone by, we, as a society, had a whole lot more respect for each other; even if the showing of that respect was nothing more than addressing a person as “Ma’am” or “Sir”. Just listen to old radio shows, and it’s apparent that people were simply more polite, civilized and respectful toward each other. So were the police. They didn’t dress like they were suited for street patrol duty in Irag or Afghanistan; part of the present problem in itself in the law enforcement community. They walked a beat, carried .38 caliber revolvers and weren’t trained to kill you if you refused to show them their hands or otherwise possibly might pose a danger to them; the modern trend in policing.

 

Moreover, the respect by the police for the individual was reflected in the Supreme Court‘s attitude toward your right to be left alone in your home. A man’s home has always been his castle throughout Anglo-American jurisprudence. However, usually pursuant to some sort of “balancing test” created by the Supreme Court and the intermediate federal courts, your rights have, case by case, year by year, have been eviscerated.

Your home is no longer your castle, because the Supreme Court has created so many exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement (i.e. police need a warrant to enter your home without your consent), that the exceptions (i.e. “emergency doctrine”, “exigent circumstances”, “hot pursuit”, “administrative searches”, “protective sweeps” and the like) that the exceptions have swallowed up the rule; the requirement that the police obtain judicial authorization to enter and/or search your home. The Warrant Requirement is so basic to Anglo-American jurisprudence that basic and unequivocal protection from the federal government, and

This current problem in American jurisprudence, state and federal courts excusing police compliance with the Fourth Amendment’s Warrant Requirement by redefining what and who the Fourth Amendment protects; usually by eroding what protections from government intrusion your have left. This problem has become so acute and pervasive that the Champion of the Right, Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, laments the passing of the era of American liberty (1791 – 2006); when a man’s home was truly his castle; when a man had the right to be left alone in his home, save a warrant or a genuine emergency. Judge Kozinski was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Ronald Reagan in 1985; the same year Justice Scalia was also nominated by President Reagan. Although Judge Kozinski has made his reputation as a Conservative Republican jurist, judge Kozinski has gone through a transformation of sorts. Although staunchly “Conservative”, Judge Kozinski nonetheless is staunchly in favor of defending those Constitutional rights that the rights still recognizes; none more dear to the liberty judges than the right to be left alone in your home. As Judge Kozinski laments; that right is no more.

“KOZINSKI, Circuit Judge, with whom Judges REINHARDT, KLEINFELD and BERZON join, dissenting

Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

from the order denying the petition for rehearing en banc:

Once upon a time in the West there was a special place called home. Solemn pronouncements from our nation’s highest court, and our own court, protected it from warrantless police intrusions. “With few exceptions,” the Supreme Court held, “the question whether a warrantless search of a home is reasonable and hence constitutional must be answered no.” Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 31 (2001). Such searches were deemed “presumptively unreasonable.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980). We held that the “government bears a heavy burden of demonstrating that exceptional circumstances justified departure from the warrant requirement. The burden [could not] be satisfied by speculation about what may or might have happened.” United States v. Howard, 828 F.2d 552, 555 (9th Cir. 1987) (emphasis added) (quoting United States v. Licata, 761 F.2d 537, 543 (9th Cir. 1985)). Police who entered the home without a valid warrant could be held personally liable. Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551, 563-65 (2004).

That special place is no more. The rules haven’t changed, at least not on paper. But legal rules are only as good as their last application. The panel majority dutifully recites the right standard, but guts it of all meaning by approving an intrusion into the home that does not remotely satisfy it. If the justification here satisfies the government’s “heavy burden” to show non-speculative “exceptional circumstances,” it’s hard to imagine how we can keep the police from barging into any home anytime they please.” (United States v. Black, No. 05-10640 (9th Cir. 2007; Dissent by Kozinski, J., from Denial of En Banc review).

Today modern police oppression hasn’t stopped with what would have been previously been deemed unreasonable entries into and searches of private residences. Before 1968, the police needed “probable cause” to believe that you committed a crime to restrain your freedom to leave their presence and go about your business (the present standard for determining whether a person is “seized” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment (United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980.)) Since 1968, police officers no longer need “probable cause” to believe that you committed a crime to seize you. In almost all “street contacts” (in public places, not in private residences), the police can, as a practical matter, seize you based on the flimsiest evidence and the slightest suspicion that you are engaged in “criminality afoot”. They can also seize you in a manner that would have required probable cause to arrest not that long ago (i.e. handcuffing and placing in police car usually treated as lawful “investigative detentions“, rather than arrests.)

Moreover, the police are trained that their personal safety is primary, and that your pesky Constitutional rights come second. In a very real way, the use of almost any type of force by a police officer can, and will be justified by the employing police agency. When is the last time that a police agency admitted that they wrongfully shot or otherwise used unreasonable force on someone, or wrongfully arrested someone, or wrongfully searched a person or place? It doesn’t happen.

Most of all, because of concerns for civil liability and political obloquy, police agencies are far less interested in finding the truth about their own conduct, than in obscuring the truth. If you are the victim of police abuse, regardless of the fact that you did nothing wrong, you are now their enemy as you are a threat to them. The police are not our friends anymore. The “why” for this state of affairs is shown below.

JERRY L. STEERING, ESQ., IS A POLICE MISCONDUCT SPECIALIST***; BOTH CIVIL AND CRIMINAL.

Suing the police is your only practical remedy for violations of your constitutional rights. However, the police typically procure your bogus criminal prosecution for “resistance offenses”, to protect themselves from civil liability and obloquy. In those bogus criminal prosecutions for a “resistance offense” Mr. Steering also defends your criminal case in a manner more likely to result in your obtaining redress for the constitutional violations perpetrated against you, in a subsequent civil case.

Mr. Steering is a “civil rights lawyer” specializing in police misconduct cases***. He sues police officers,  deputy sheriffs and other state and local peace officers, along with their municipal employers for damages for their violations of your federal Constitutional rights. Mr. Steering also sues police officers for misconduct claims under California state law. Usually we join the state law claims along with your federal claims in federal court, if they involve the same incident under the federal court’s supplemental jurisdiction.

SUING POLICE OFFICERS IN FEDERAL COURT FOR VIOLATING YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS; ENFORCING THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT.

The keys to the federal courthouse is something call “federal question jurisdiction“. “Federal question jurisdiction” entitles a person whose federal constitutional rights were violated by persons acting “under the color of state law”, to sue under federal law, including in federal court itself, for redress. A typical situation involves a peace officer (i.e. deputy sheriff, police officer) violating the federal Constitutional rights of a civilian by using unreasonable force upon them and/or by falsely arresting them, and thereafter procuring their malicious criminal prosecution; today’s norm.)

The federal court venue was traditionally very important to the enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment, because black persons of African descent couldn’t get a fair trial in Southern state Superior Courts following the Civil War (that ended in late April of 1865.) Although starting-out as a Post-Civil War Southern “social organization”, the “Ku Klux Klan” soon became the local Southern “Sheriff and his deputized posse”, who terrorized and murdered black persons of African descent while acting “under the color of state law”; under the authority of the Sheriff.

Imagine a “black widow” (not the spider type) suing the local Sheriff and his posse members for murdering her husband in a Post-Civil War Southern state Superior Court, where the judge and the jury members were either part of the murdering mob, or relatives and friends of those who were. Unless black persons had a remedy in a United States District Court, as a practical matter they had no remedy at all.

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including and especially former slaves who had been “freed” with the ratification of the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery) by the states on December 6, 1865.

The 14th Amendment had been rejected by most Southern states, but was ratified by the required three-fourths of the states on July 28, 1868. Known as the “Reconstruction Amendment,” it makes any former slaves who were born in the United States, citizens, and forbids any state to deny any person (especially former slaves) “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Thereafter, in response to a letter to Congress from President Ulysses S. Grant, complaining of the conditions in the Southern states, on April 20, 1871 Congress enacted the the statute that we sue police officers under to this very day; The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871;  42 U.S.C.§ 1987. Also known as the “Third Enforcement Act”, Congress enacted Section 1987 to enforce the 14th Amendment; at that time to provide black persons of African descent with a civil remedy for damages in federal court against “the Sheriff” and his posse, who were ”acting under the color of state law” when they violated their victims’ federal constitutional rights (i.e. murdering black people in the South and otherwise terrorizing them. This is the very same law that we sue police officers under to this very day.

The Third Enforcement Act of 1871, also known as The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871; 42 U.S.C. § 1987:

“Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.”

Although the original immediate class of persons that the 14th Amendment was ratified to protect were black persons of African descent, those protections of the 14th Amendment apply to all persons.

Mr. Steering has been suing police officers and deputy sheriffs under 42 U.S.C. § 1987 since 1984. When the state or local police violate your federal constitutional rights (that, by the way, are shrinking by the day), a Section 1987 action is your federal civil remedy, along with any state law remedies permitted in the state where the police abuse occurred.

DEFENDING BOGUS CRIMINAL RESISTANCE OFFENSE CASES.

Mr. Steering is also a Criminal Defense Lawyer; specializing in defending innocents in “resistance offenses”, such as resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer (words that mean everything and mean nothing; Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), Cal. Penal Code § 69 (the “turbo version” of Section 148(a)(1); interfering with duties of public officer via violence or threat thereof a felony), assault and battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code §§ 240/241(c) & 242/243(b)), and even assault on a peace officer with a gun (Cal. Penal Code §§ 245(c) & 245(d).)

Almost every good old fashioned police beating is accompanied by some sort of bogus arrest; routinely for some variety of “Contempt of Cop” or “resistance offense.” The police are often successful in their attempt to shift the blame for their use of unreasonable force upon or their false arrest of innocents, by procuring the bogus criminal prosecution of their innocent victims, for a “resistance offense.”

Although the resistance offenses differ (i.e. [Penal Code 148(a)(1); resisting / delaying / obstructing officer], [Penal Code 240/241(c); assault on a peace officer, [Penal Code 242/243(b); battery on

peace officer], [Penal Code 69; using / threatening to use violence to deter / prevent public officer from performing duty]), there is one common element among all of them; they all require that the alleged “victim officer” be lawfully engaged in the performance of his/her duties. Therefore, if you’re convicted for any such “resistance offense”, there has now been a judicial determination that the police officer was not acting unlawfully; that he wasn’t falsely arresting or wrongfully detaining you; that he wasn’t using unreasonable force upon you; that he didn’t unlawfully search you, etc. Such a prior judicial determination that the officer was acting lawfully usually now precludes a lawsuit by you that alleges unlawful actions by the officer (i.e. false arrest or unreasonable force.)

It’s important for the government that the police convict you for a “resistance offense”, because under the doctrine of issue preclusion (“collateral estoppel“) or “claim preclusion” (“res judicata“), if an issue of fact or law has been determined against you in a prior judicial proceeding, you can’t re-litigate that fact or law determination in a subsequent judicial proceeding. It’s kind of like the Rodney King civil case in federal court in Los Angeles. LAPD Officers Sgt. Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell were criminally convicted in federal court of violating Rodney King’s right to be free from the use of unreasonable force upon him under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, when it came time for Rodney King’s civil case against the LAPD Officers for money, the issue of whether LAPD Officers Koon and Powell had violated Rodney King’s right to be free from the use of unreasonable force was already “res judicata”; a thing decided. The only issue left for the civil jury to decide was how much money to give Rodney King.

Therefore, in your situation, if you’re convicted of a resistance crime (a crime that for one to be guilty of, the police had to have been acting lawfully, like not using excessive force, not unlawfully arresting or detaining one, not retaliating against persons for exercising their First Amendment rights), the issue of the lawfulness of the officer’s conduct has already been decided against you, so invariably, save very few exceptions, you cannot successfully sue the police; you’re precluded from doing so because of your conviction. That’s why the cop who violates your constitutional rights will almost always will try to frame you for a resistance offense. This is standard operating procedure for the police, and that’s not a joke.

Moreover, under the cloak of the unnecessary and morally opprobrious immunity afforded police officers under the “Heck Doctrine” (Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)), if you’re convicted of any crime, you usually cannot sue the cops at all; at least for false arrest. California adopted the Heck rule to bar civil rights claims in Yount v. City of Sacramento, 43 Cal. 4th 885 (2008.) So, under either federal or California law, if you plead guilty or even now no contest to anything, you can’t sue for your false arrest, even though the arresting officer may not have had sufficient probable cause to have arrested you when he did so.

These are policy decisions by the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court, to limit many persons’ right to sue police for real  violations of their constitutional rights, for no legitimate reason. These policy decisions are made by those same Justices who profess that they believe that the courts shouldn’t be “super legislatures”, that make any such policy decisions and that such decisions should be left to Congress and state legislatures.

Thus, because of these “policy decisions” by the United States Supreme Court, in the real world, the cops can beat you, falsely arrest you, and falsely and maliciously procure your bogus criminal prosecution; all while you’re the victim of abuse by the police, and all, in the real world, with very little chance of anything happening to themselves. How many people are willing to spend ten’s of thousands of dollars to defend themselves on bogus misdemeanor “resistance offense” charges, when they can avoid spending all of the time and money that it takes to prove your innocence, by pleading to a de minimis misdemeanor, or an infraction, like disturbing the peace? How many innocent souls have pleaded themselves out court on  good, righteous and provable civil rights actions against the police, because they either pleaded-out or stay in jail awaiting trial?

This is normal. This is reality. This what probably happened to you if you’re looking for us. This is why the police do what they do. Because they usually can. Because if they literally provoke you into expressing verbal remonstrance that results in the cops beating the stuffing out of you and falsely arresting you; without any substantial chance of any real vocational or civil liability problems, they often do so. Internal Affairs Investigations do not take the word of  civilians over than of an officer, and even when there’s some sort of audio or video recording of the incident that proves that the cop’s lying, the employing agency will almost always back their officer and find creative ways to justify it.

Let’s face it. Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) can mean almost anything, so young upstart Deputy District Attorneys who want to make a name for themselves by protecting the police and stomping their victims into submission (i.e. (a) overcharging innocents to keep them in jail on high bail, that often results guilty pleas to ”resistance offenses” to just get out of jail, that precludes the defendant-innocent from successfully suing the police; (b) abusing the ambiguity of “resistance offenses” such as Cal. Penal Code Sections 148(a)(1) (resisting / delaying / obstructing officer) or Section 69 (using or threatening violence to prevent or deter officer from performing their duties) to pursue groundless criminal proceedings against the innocent victims of police abuse, until they run out of money and capitulate by pleading to a crime that they are innocent of.)

If you get criminally prosecuted for a crime when you’re the real victim, the officers who violated your Constitutional rights get “two bites at the apple”. It’s like a Three Stooges coin toss;  “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

HEADS THEY WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE; POLICE PROSECUTION OF POLICE MISCONDUCT VICITMS GIVES THE POLICE TWO BITES AT THE APPLE.

The police are not technically a “party” to your bogus criminal proceeding; “The State” or “The People of the State” is the other party. Because “issue preclusion” or “claim preclusion”  generally requires a person sought to be bound by a prior judicial determination to have been a party to the prior proceeding and had the opportunity to fully and fairly litigate that issue, even if you somehow avoid being framed and are acquitted, that the finding of your innocence (“not guilty verdict”) is not binding on the police in a subsequent civil rights action against the same officers who tried to frame you.

However, if you had been convicted, since you were a party to the prior judicial action (the defendants), the issue of your guilt and all of the legal consequence flowing therefrom (i.e. basically can’t sue any more) have already and permanently been determined against you. So, for example, if a police officer unlawfully “seized” you cannot sue for your false arrest; not because your conviction adjudicated those issues of fact that go into the formulation of whether your arrest was lawful (i.e. whether the police had either a warrant or probable/reasonable cause to believe that you committed a crime); only because the Conservative Wing of the Supreme Court took it upon themselves to make-up a rule, a “policy decision”, that prohibits guilty people from being able to obtain damages for their truly false arrest. See, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).

If the prosecution is able to convict you for a “resistance offense” (i.e. resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer, battery on a peace officer, preventing public officer from performing a duty of his/her office), there has been a similar judicial determination that the police necessarily were acting lawfully. Accordingly, as one of the elements of these resistance offenses is that the peace officer was engaged in the lawful performance of his/her duties, and the jury must have found that to be so, generally you are also now precluded from suing for the use of unreasonable force upon you, or even that the police unlawfully searched you or your property; via the Heck bar (i.e. that you were convicted, and, therefore, can’t now successfully sue the police) and via the Doctrine of “Collateral Estoppel”. In other words, since there has now been a judicial determination that the officer was in the right, and that you were not, you lose in any subsequent lawsuit against the police. All police officers know this.

If somehow you don’t get convicted (of crime that you didn’t commit), the agency still backs them all of the way. It doesn’t matter whether the police agency knows that the officer violated the law and your rights. All that they’re concerned with is protecting the officer and the police agency; that’s it; even if (and especially) if their officer severely injured or actually murdered an innocent.

All the police merely have do is to create a bogus police report that accuses you of some “resistance offense”, and send it off to the District Attorney’s Office to procure your bogus criminal prosecution. If you believe that you live in a “free country”, you’re wrong. In the practical sense of the word, you really do live in a police state.” The police really can do what they want to do with you. They can point a gun at you, prone you out on the ground and handcuff you at their whim, without any repercussions. The police can also really murder anyone anytime that they want to, just by claiming that the unarmed decedent was reaching for his waistband. This is no joke. This too, is normal.
The Law Office Of Jerry L. Steering understands these dynamics of the government prosecuting the victims of government abuse, and understands how to deal with these cases in both state court criminal proceedings and federal court civil rights actions.

GENERAL CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS PRACTICE.

Jerry L. Steering has been practicing criminal law since 1984 (in California since 1986.) He has tried and otherwise litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, drug possession and drug manufacturing cases, DUI cases, vehicular homicide cases, white-collar investor fraud cases, mail fraud cases, sex-offender or drug offender registration cases, domestic violence cases, theft and embezzlement cases, towing industry cases, and the general spectrum of criminal violations. However, the overwhelming majority of Mr. Steering’s criminal law practice involves the defense of bogus criminal prosecutions for “resistance offenses” (i.e. resisting / delaying peace officer, battery on peace officer.) Unlike other areas of criminal law practice, almost every one of Mr. Steering’s resistance offense criminal case clients were factually and actually innocent.

Mr. Steering is an expert in defending your bogus criminal action, in a way to best protect, and to enhance, your ability to ultimately obtain some justice; reasonable compensation and redress, for your police beating, for your false arrest, for your unlawful search and seizure, and for your malicious criminal prosecution.

One substantial advantage that Mr. Steering can provide you, is a better chance at obtaining favorable evidence, to either leverage a favorable plea agreement, or flat-out win your criminal case, when you couldn’t otherwise do so. If you don’t sue police officers, you simply don’t know what types of evidence is “out there” (i.e. in the possession of police agencies.) Because pre-trial discovery is extremely limited in California state court criminal prosecutions, most lawyers who only practice criminal law will not have an opportunity to even find out what types of evidence is available. The type of evidence that can exonerate you, and that shows that the Constable is not telling the truth.

We have enough diligence and experience to nail the cops down on their stories in these criminal actions, that simply cannot be done in a regular civil action. When they’re on the stand in a criminal case, the cops don’t have their experienced civil lawyers to take them out in the hallway and tell them what to say, like they do in civil cases. Moreover, the Deputy District Attorneys who prosecute these bogus “Contempt of Cop” cases, don’t know enough, and often don’t care enough, about the intricacies of the Constitutional, legal and evidentiary issues, that are being somehow dealt with in the criminal case, that will have a marked effect on your prospects for redress for your being framed; a substantial monetary recovery; the only “redress” presently available to victims of Constitutional Torts.

In other words, we use the bogus criminal case, to shape the evidence and the primary “swing issues” in that case, to not only win your bogus criminal case, but to also dramatically improve the odds of your ultimately prevailing on your civil First Amendment retaliation claims, and Fourth Amendment unreasonable force, false arrest and malicious prosecution claims.

PUBLICATIONS.

Mr. Steering is also a published legal scholar, and has a published Law Review Article about a logical quandary of federal evidentiary law: the disparity in the use of “accomplice accusations” between Fourth Amendment (accomplice accusations sufficiently reliable to establish probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant), and Sixth Amendmentanalysis (accomplice accusations are so inherently unreliable, that Congress could not have meant to have included them with the ambit of the Declaration Against Penal Interest exception to the hearsay rule.) See, “The Application Of Sixth Amendment Tests For The Reliability Of Hearsay Evidence To Probable Cause Determinations, 16 Rutgers Law Journal 869 (1985.)

POLICE MISCONDUCT SPECIALIST; SUING BAD COPS AND DEFENDING BOGUS CRIMINAL CASES.

The Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering of Jerry L. Steering specializes in  cases that are both bogus criminal actions (if the DA either believes the falsehoods by the police and files on you), and righteous civil rights actions, that we prosecute to vindicate your honor, your dignity and your injuries; both “general damages” (present and future physical, mental, emotional distress, pain and suffering), and “special damages” (i.e. present and future medical bills, bail costs, attorney’s fees, lost wages and other damages that can be calculated mathematically.)

IF YOU’RE THE VICTIM; YOU’RE THE ENEMY.

Moreover, the system, and the “players” and “politicians” in that system, now recognize you as their enemy. As a matter of political and institutional reality, you, the victim of constitutional violations by peace officers acting under the color of authority, are someone who poses a real threat to them. After all, the cops put you in the hospital, and you’re now being prosecuted for resisting or delaying or obstructing them handcuffing you while you were trying to cover your face from the blows (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1); resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer; the most vague, nebulous and the most misused and abused section in the California Penal Code.)

If they beat you up too badly, the D.A. will throw in a Count of battery on a peace officer (Penal Code Section 243(b)) or felony preventing public officer from performing duty by use or threat of force (Penal Code Section 69). In the real world, 99% of the time, battery on a peace officer is really battery by a peace officer. If this offends your personal belief system, I’m sorry to pop your cherry. This is the modern world of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence (i.e. the right of the police to search and seize you and you home and property). The law isn’t what’s in a book or on the internet. The law is what happens to real people in the real world. The law isn’t what it says; only what it does.

Yesterday you believed that police officers were basically honest, with a few deviants here and there. Yesterday, you didn’t feel threatened if a police officer was driving behind you, because you believed that since you don’t break the law (and or since you look like white and respectable type), that the police are not going to do anything bad to you. Yesterday is now gone. You still can’t believe that this really happened to you. You really didn’t do anything wrong, but you’ve been beaten-up and falsely arrested, and to boot, you are now being accused of a crime by the District Attorney’s Office; really to beat you down to protect the police from liability. That’s reality. Today is a new day in your life. You would not have believed what really happened to you if it had happened to another. That all being said, since the police beat you up, you either deserved it or you didn’t. So, how are the politicians going to handle your situation?

Just imagine a Chief of Police or a County Sheriff announcing at a Press Conference, that his agency took the word of independent civilian witnesses over that of a group of police officers and is firing the officer or deputy for either using unreasonable force upon or falsely arresting a civilian. What would the politicians say? We know that that will never happen.

Although we elect politicians and insist on them being totally honest with the public, we actually expect them to act in a dishonest and disingenuous way with the public. We expect the City Attorney to guard the City coffers, by denying that the police unlawfully committed a  duty related activity (i.e. using force on an innocent arrestee, or simply falsely arresting an innocent), even if they know otherwise; even if the evidence is so overwhelming and moving that no reasonable person would deny (with a straight face) that the police acted wrongfully. So, on the civil side, the City or County is going to claim that you’re to blame; that it’s your fault.

Then, the D.A.’s office jumps in the fray, and attempts to get you to plead to any crime; a plea that will almost assuredly preclude you from obtaining redress for the wrongs perpetrated upon you. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld release – dismissal agreements; an agreement where the D.A.’s offices promises to drop the bogus criminal case against you and let you out of jail, in exchange for a promise not to sue. Newton v. Rumery, 480 U.S. 386 (1987.) Creepy, huh? Extortion? Sounds like it. MacDonald v. Musick, 425 F. 2d 373 (9th Cir. 1970)(conditioning dismissal of criminal DUI charge in exchange of promise not to sue police is felonious extortion under California law.) But so long the government is the extorting party, no crime, since no one is going to prosecute a Deputy District Attorney for making such a dismissal offer.

Even when it’s obvious that a public entity is going to have to most likely pay money to a victim of their officer, the agency will never admit fault. So, since they didn’t do anything wrong, you must have. Therefore, you’re the enemy, because you’re a potential threat to them; to their paycheck; to them being imprisoned (however remote that really is); to them being promoted in the future; to them being disciplined (i.e. reprimanded, suspended, demoted or terminated) and to them being exposed to obloquy and disgrace.

Most of our law firm’s Police Misconduct clients, were factually and actually innocent of anything; yet most of them where at the wrong spot at the wrong time, or had the audacity to question police authority.

When many of our clients questioned or challenged police orders to them, the officers routinely have claimed that they have now “resisted” them or have “delayed” the officer’s investigation of them, or of another (real or imaginary; the most common claim by officers in bogus “Contempt of Cop” cases), by asking the officer for further identification, or by asking why there was a red laser targeting spot on their chest, or by asking why the officer wanted them to get prone-out on the ground when they had no clue why the police were even engaging them at all. These actions by our clients, true innocents, have typically resulted in them getting “gooned” by the cops, and half of them getting criminally prosecuted for non-existent crimes, to protect the officers and the agency from civil liability and disgrace. In all of these situations, the cops were going to show our client’s who’s in charge, and it’s not the client. These are truly ego crimes; “Contempt of Cop” crimes.

WHY THE COPS TRY TO DESTROY YOU; TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

The Police know that once they’ve crossed-over a clear and well-defined Constitutional boundary, such as your Constitutional right to be free from a sadistic police beating (U.S. Const. Amends. 4 and 14), that they must immediately take steps to shift the blame for their use of force upon you; for it certainly can’t fall upon them, lest they be considered monsters; “Bad Apples”. Their first step being to either immediately arrest you, or to restrain or confine your freedom to leave their presence. This is done as a matter of reflex, rather than a product of reflection, by police authorities. You’re not going anywhere until the police figure-out what to do with you. Hospital, Jail, or otherwise. It’s automatic for you to be taken to jail, even if you’re taken for a humiliating visit to the hospital (bloody and in handcuffs, being escorted by the police), on the way there. It doesn’t matter that you committed no crime. All that does matter at that time, is that they did (i.e. they beat you up; federal and state crimes), and they don’t plan on taking the blame for doing so. They justify their behavior, by accusing you of de minimis and vague criminal offenses; especially of California Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) (Resisting / Obstructing / Delaying a Peace Officer.)

If your sadistic police beating was bad enough to be actually kept in the hospital, or if it’s obvious to the Patrol Sergeant that the patient didn’t deserve what he got (and assuming that your Patrol Sergeant isn’t the truly creepy kind,  you may be given a Citation to appear in Court, or you might even get “long formed”. Getting “long formed” is police lingo (in the real world), for not formally arresting you now, but nonetheless concocting  a phony story about the event that resulted in you being in the hospital, and based upon the template of the bogus story, create phony reports to support that story, and conceal and destroy evidence that belies the concocted story, such a deleting an audio or video recording of the actual incident complained of, or a materially significant portion of any such recording. Usually, the officers create not all that serious allegations of criminality by you; not enough for you to realistically be exposed to any jail time, but serious enough to justify their conduct, and, most importantly, serious enough to get you criminally prosecuted.

The police really do create false and misleading police reports to shore-up the odds, that some young and ambitious Deputy District Attorney, will want to endear himself to a police agency, by protecting them from civil liability. The young and ambitious Deputy District Attorney files a criminal case against you for violation of California Penal Code Sections 148(a)(1) (Resisting / Obstructing / Delaying a Peace Officer), and Sections 240/241(c) and 242/243(b); Assault and Battery on a Peace Officer. Now what do you do? If you take a plea bargain, you can’t sue for the damages that you suffered from being falsely arrest and falsely prosecuted for a crime, and the mental and financial toll that being falsely arrested and falsely prosecuted takes on one (i.e. job loss, attorney’s fees.)

If, rather than take a plea bargain, and you stand your ground and defend yourself in court, you can pay many thousands of dollars for a lawyer, to defend you on a bogus criminal charge, that is usually a misdemeanor, and usually will result in no jail time, and a de minimis fine. What do you do? Do you spend the money on a lawyer and hope that things work about and that after you prevail on your criminal case, that you can sue and get pay-back and paid back? Mr. Steering has been contemporaneously defending these bogus Police Misconduct criminal actions, and prosecuting civil rights lawsuits for victims of police outrages, since 1984. He will know what to do in your particular case.

SUING THE POLICE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS AND OTHER TORTIOUS CONDUCT, WHEN NO CRIMINAL CASE HAS BEEN FILED AGAINST THE POLICE MISCONDUCT VICTIM.

In many cases, notwithstanding efforts by local police agencies to procure the filing of a bogus criminal case against the victim of their oppression,  Deputy DA’s see the same reports from the same cops, that again and again and again, seek the criminal prosecution of persons for “resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace office in the lawful performance of his/her duties”, when the “suspect” always ends-up in the hospital. Therefore, many times, we can proceed to sue the officers in the appropriate court (usually federal court), without having to wait for the conclusion of underlying bogus criminal proceedings, since they will not be any.

If you want to know what do to if you’ve been falsely arrested, retaliated against for exercise of your constitutional rights, beaten-up by the police or maliciously prosecuted, please contact us at (949) 474-1849 or  jerrysteering@yahoo.com. Thank you for visiting with us, and best of luck. Even if you have a legal question that’s important to you, and you just need lawyer input, we’ll be glad to answer your questions.

Thank you again for visiting with us.

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.

What to Do If You Have Been Falsely Arrested or Beaten-up by the Police – Click Here

Jerry L. Steering with Diane Sawyer,  Co-counsel* Bob Dole,
and former partner** Melvin M. BelliJerry L. Steering with Diane Sawyer, Co-counsel Bob Dole, and Former Partner Melvin Belli

Suing Bad Cops And
Defending Bogus Criminal
Cases For 33 Years

***The State Bar of California does not recognize a specialty in police misconduct
which is most of Mr. Steering’s law practice.
*In the District of Columbia only.
**In Beverly Hills Office only.