False Arrest Specialist Attorney, Southern California
Mr. Steering has been defending these bogus criminal cases and suing the involved officers since 1984.He understanding the ever changing legal landscape and understands how to play this Contempt of Cop game to get you justice; both in the form of vindication in the bogus criminal action brought against you, and compensation and vindication in the form of monetary compensation for the police outrages perpetrated against you.
Mr. Steering is also licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia and has practiced in federal courts outside of California pro hac vice, including the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Steering is also a Members of the Bars of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court (since 1987).
|Police Misconduct Specialties:|
The majority of Mr. Steering’s firm’s law practice is defending bogus “contempt of cop” criminal actions, usually followed by Mr. Steering filing and prosecuting lawsuits against the very same police officers who beat-up, falsely arrested and falsely accused the innocent of criminal conduct, to protect themselves and their employing agency from liability to the innocent for their outrages.
Most of Mr. Steering’s criminal and civil cases involve core Bill of Rights type issues; the difference between living in a free society of a police state. Most of these federal civil rights cases involve police violation of person(s) fourth amendment rights (i.e unreasonable searches of persons and their places and effects, and unreasonable seizures of person (false arrest and unreasonable force, procuring bogus and malicious criminal prosecutions) and first amendment violations (retaliation for protected speech and to petition for redress and various other “Constitutional Torts” , including police whistleblowing cases (Cal. Labor Code Section 1102.5.)
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.
FALSE ARREST CASES – WHAT EXACTLY, IS A FALSE ARREST?
CALIFORNIA LAW ON FALSE ARREST BY PEACE OFFICER – ELEMENTS AND PROOF – CALIFORNIA LAW.
A “false arrest” is the same “tort” as a “false imprisonment” under California law. In a nutshell, an arrest by a peace officer in California is lawful if it’s either made pursuant to a facially valid warrant, or when the police have probable cause to believe that another has committed a crime. Unlike federal law, under California law, the burden is on the police to justify 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, 543-544 (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, even though such an arrest violates California state law.
Moreover, welcome to the 21st Century. In fact, in one of the most outrageous and unnecessary decisions by the Supreme Court in modern history, the Supreme Court held that no matter how “unreasonable” a particular arrest may be, if your conduct violates any law, any law, it does not violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution to take you to jail and to book you for it; even if such an arrest would be in violation of state law. See, Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). The Atwater Majority Opinion by Justice David Souter seemed to violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against an “unreasonable seizure of one’s person”; the very fundamental liberty interest protected by the Fourth Amendment. Conservative Republican Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote a Dissenting Opinion showing who badly the Majority Opinion will effect everyday life for millions of honest citizens:
The record in this case makes it abundantly clear that Ms. Atwater’s arrest was constitutionally unreasonable. Atwater readily admits–as she did when Officer Turek pulled her over–that she violated Texas’ seat belt law. Brief for Petitioners 2—3; Record 381, 384. While Turek was justified in stopping Atwater, see Whren v. United States, 517 U. S, at 819, neither law nor reason supports his decision to arrest her instead of simply giving her a citation. The officer’s actions cannot sensibly be viewed as a permissible means of balancing Atwater’s Fourth Amendment interests with the State’s own legitimate interests.
There is no question that Officer Turek’s actions severely infringed Atwater’s liberty and privacy. Turek was loud and accusatory from the moment he approached Atwater’s car. Atwater’s young children were terrified and hysterical. Yet when Atwater asked Turek to lower his voice because he was scaring the children, he responded by jabbing his finger in Atwater’s face and saying, “You’re going to jail.” Record 382, 384. Having made the decision to arrest, Turek did not inform Atwater of her right to remain silent. Id., at 390, 704. He instead asked for her license and insurance information. Id., at 382. But cf. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
Atwater asked if she could at least take her children to a friend’s house down the street before going to the police station. Record 384. But Turek–who had just castigated Atwater for not caring for her children–refused and said he would take the children into custody as well. Id., at 384, 427, 704—705. Only the intervention of neighborhood children who had witnessed the scene and summoned one of Atwater’s friends saved the children from being hauled to jail with their mother. Id., at 382, 385—386.
With the children gone, Officer Turek handcuffed Ms. Atwater with her hands behind her back, placed her in the police car, and drove her to the police station. Id., at 386—387. Ironically, Turek did not secure Atwater in a seat belt for the drive. Id., at 386. At the station, Atwater was forced to remove her shoes, relinquish her possessions, and wait in a holding cell for about an hour. Id., at 387, 706. A judge finally informed Atwater of her rights and the charges against her, and released her when she posted bond. Id., at 387—388, 706. Atwater returned to the scene of the arrest, only to find that her car had been towed. Id., at 389.
The Court’s error, however, does not merely affect the disposition of this case. The per se rule that the Court creates has potentially serious consequences for the everyday lives of Americans. A broad range of conduct falls into the category of fine-only misdemeanors. In Texas alone, for example, disobeying any sort of traffic warning sign is a misdemeanor punishable only by fine, see Tex. Tran. Code Ann. §472.022 (1999 and Supp. 2000—2001), as is failing to pay a highway toll, see §284.070, and driving with expired license plates, see §502.407. Nor are fine-only crimes limited to the traffic context. In several States, for example, littering is a criminal offense punishable only by fine. See, e.g., Cal. Penal Code Ann. §374.7 (West 1999); Ga. Code Ann. §16—7—43 (1996); Iowa Code §§321.369, 805.8(2)(af) (Supp. 2001).
To be sure, such laws are valid and wise exercises of the States’ power to protect the public health and welfare. My concern lies not with the decision to enact or enforce these laws, but rather with the manner in which they may be enforced. Under today’s holding, when a police officer has probable cause to believe that a fine-only misdemeanor offense has occurred, that officer may stop the suspect, issue a citation, and let the person continue on her way. Cf. Whren v. United States, 517 U.S., at 806. Or, if a traffic violation, the officer may stop the car, arrest the driver, see ante, at 33, search the driver, see United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S., at 235, search the entire passenger compartment of the car including any purse or package inside, see New York v. Belton, 453 U.S., at 460, and impound the car and inventory all of its contents, see Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367, 374 (1987); Florida v. Wells, 495 U.S. 1, 4—5 (1990). Although the Fourth Amendment expressly requires that the latter course be a reasonable and proportional response to the circumstances of the offense, the majority gives officers unfettered discretion to choose that course without articulating a single reason why such action is appropriate.
Such unbounded discretion 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 officer’s 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’ poststop actions–which are properly within our reach–comport with the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of reasonableness.
THE POLICE FALSELY ARREST THEIR VICTIMS TO SHIFT THE BLAME FROM THEM TO YOU.
Today’s police have been “permitted” by the federal and state courts, to do just about anything that they want to do with you, and if you object or even protest police orders to you, many times you will be beaten, falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted.
This is not “lefty” propaganda. This is the reality of what happens when the courts allow the police to detain you for almost any imaginable reason. This is the reality of what happens when the courts shave or chop-down the most basic constitutional protections. Chances are, that if you’re even reading this article, you don’t need any convincing. You know that the epidemic of police abusing civilians in this country is all so real. These days, if you somehow come into contact with today’s police officers and, and they start ordering your around, such as not proning yourself on the ground fast enough, or not following other “police commands” for you to do or not to do something, the police will take it upon themselves to use unreasonable force upon you. Once the police cross that line, there’s no going back. There’s no apologizing. You’re going to jail for some sort of “resistance offense”, and the police are going to make sure that you’re now going to be convicted for a crime against a police officer that never happened.
This typical tandem of outrages are all done in an effort by the police, and their accomplices, the District Attorney’s Office, to literally convict you of a crime that you didn’t commit, to protect the offending police officers from internal discipline, criminal liability, civil liability and obloquy. If you are reading this article, chances are that you’ve recently been falsely arrested, and are likely also at least waiting to find out if you’re going to be maliciously prosecuted, or, if the District Attorney’s Office will simply pass on prosecuting you.
The truth is, that when it comes to cases in which the employing public entity may be civilly liable for the Constitutional, statutory or common law violations of its officers or deputies, no matter what the truth is, no matter how maliciously you were treated, you, the victim of police beatings are now the enemy to that agency and entity. You are a threat to the police. You are the one who some ambitious Deputy District Attorney will use to advance his/her standing with their agency and with local police agencies; often to someday make a run for Judge, or to otherwise advance their career at the District Attorney’s Office.
All that being said, the officers / deputies of the agency who were guilty of brutalizing you, usually for fun (no joke) then usually at least attempt to procure your malicious criminal prosecution, to get that protection. So, when the police officer is done tasing you, pepper-spraying you, dog-chewing you, clubbing you, choking you out, punching you, kicking you, chicken-winging you, ball-kicking you or some other form of similarly anti-social and sadistic behavior, the police almost always at least attempt to procure your malicious criminal prosecution, to get that protection; to make them look like the victim, and you, the perpetrator.
DON’T STAY A VICTIM OF POLICE ABUSE.
If you want to know what do to if you’ve been falsely arrested, retaliated against for exercise of your constitutional rights, beaten-up by the police or maliciously prosecuted, please contact us at (949) 474-1849 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for visiting with us, and best of luck. Even if you have a legal question that’s important to you, and you just need lawyer input, we’ll be glad to answer your questions.
Thank you again for visiting with us.
Jerry L. Steering, Esq.,
Suing Bad Cops And Defending Bogus Criminal Cases Since 1984
Jerry L. Steering with Diane Sawyer, Co-counsel* Bob Dole, and former partner** Melvin M. Belli