Jerry L. Steering, Esq., is a Police Misconduct Attorney, serving, among other places, Riverside County and the Riverside County cities shown below, as well as Orange County, Kern County, Imperial County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County. He has been suing police officers, and defending bogus criminal cases of crimes against police officers since 1984.
The majority of our firm’s law practice, is defending bogus criminal cases and suing police officers and other government officials for beating and falsely arresting and maliciously prosecuting innocents; basic fourth amendment “search and seizure” (of persons, places and things) and other “Constitutional Torts.” False arrests by police officers are almost always the product of either sheer incompetence (i.e. the police arrest another for conduct that isn’t criminal), or of the police officer attempting to justify his unlawful conduct, by arresting and then framing their victim (i.e. false police reports, perjurous court testimony, false convictions) of his federal criminal (18 U.S.C. § 242), and otherwise tortious misconduct (i.e. if the police use unreasonable / unlawful force on a civilian, the use of force is almost always followed by a false arrest.)
GENERAL CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS PRACTICE.
Jerry L. Steering has been practicing criminal law since 1984 (in California since 1986.) He has tried and otherwise litigated hundreds of criminal cases, including murder cases, manslaughter cases, assault and battery cases, drug possession and drug manufacturing cases, DUI cases, vehicular homicide cases, white-collar investor fraud cases, mail fraud cases, sex-offender or drug offender registration cases, domestic violence cases, theft and embezzlement cases, towing industry cases, and the general spectrum of criminal violations. However, the overwhelming majority of Mr. Steering’s criminal law practice involves the defense of bogus criminal prosecutions for “resistance offenses” (i.e. resisting / delaying peace officer, battery on peace officer.) Unlike other areas of criminal law practice, almost every one of Mr. Steering’s resistance offense criminal case clients were factually and actually innocent.
Mr. Steering is an expert in defending your bogus criminal action, in a way to best protect, and to enhance, your ability to ultimately obtain some justice; reasonable compensation and redress, for your police beating, for your false arrest, for your unlawful search and seizure, and for your malicious criminal prosecution.
We have enough diligence and experience to nail the cops down on their stories in these criminal actions, that simply cannot be done in a regular civil action. When they’re on the stand in a criminal case, the cops don’t have their experienced civil lawyers to take them out in the hallway and tell them what to say, like they do in civil cases. Moreover, the Deputy District Attorneys who prosecute these bogus “Contempt of Cop” cases, don’t know enough, and often don’t care enough, about the intricacies of the Constitutional, legal and evidentiary issues, that are being somehow dealt with in the criminal case, that will have a marked effect on your prospects for redress for your being framed; a substantial monetary recovery; the only “redress” presently available to victims of Constitutional Torts.
In other words, we use the bogus criminal case, to shape the evidence and the primary “swing issues” in that case, to not only win your bogus criminal case, but to also dramatically improve the odds of your ultimately prevailing on your civil First Amendment retaliation claims, and Fourth Amendment unreasonable force, false arrest and malicious prosecution claims.
MOST OF MR. STEERING’S CRIMINAL CASES ARE BOGUS “RESISTANCE OFFENSE” CASES.
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 (i.e. lying, under oath and otherwise), the norm in today’s police profession, is for peace officers to falsely arrest, and procure the bogus criminal prosecution of those civilians whose Constitutional rights they violated. The idea is a pretty simple one. Your “criminal conduct” (i.e. not proning yourself on the ground fast enough, questioning or challenging police authority, or the worst, telling the police that you know your rights). They really don’t like wiseguys who tell the police that they need a warrant or tell them that the police are violating your rights. They will show you what rights you have; the right to get you butt kicked and to get taken to jail and get prosecuted for some “resistance offense”.
This is normal. This happens all day every day, especially in Riverside County. No joke. This is not lefty propaganda. This is simply a statement of the actual state of affairs of the relationship between the that part of our executive branch of government that actually places the bracelets on you, and you.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is especially disgraceful when it comes to abusing civilians and framing them for crimes that they didn’t commit, to protect their deputy sheriffs from civil, disciplinary and criminal liability.
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 IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY.
Under the leadership of Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has become one of the leading agencies for the beatings and their accompanying false arrests. Under Sheriff Sniff, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy sheriffs routinely beat-up and falsely arrest any civilian who dares to challenge their authority (i.e. such as by telling the deputies that one knows their rights, or daring to ask the deputies why they are treating them this ugly way.) These deputy sheriff’s procure the bogus their victims’ false criminal prosecutions, to beat-down the innocents who’s constitutional. Sheriff Sniff’s Professional Standards Bureau (Internal Affairs) has become the “white wash” wing of that agency.
Under great political pressure, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has just started using body cam recording devices. However, they are just clip on devices, and they can be made to not have been on or working when the Sheriff’s Department wants the recording to exist or not.
Jerry L. Steering has successfully sued the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department over the years. Most recently, Mr. Steering has obtained settlements against the County of Riverside for wrongfully tasing a former Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff [Torres v. County of Riverside, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Riverside)(2010), $500,000.00], and for using unreasonable force and falsely arresting a 64 year old man [Chynoweth v. County of Riverside et al., Riverside County Superior Court (2011), $750,000.00.]
Mr. Steering also obtained an $825,000.00 settlement at completion of trial from the Riverside County City of Desert Hot Springs, for unreasonable force and false arrest [Moore, et al. v. City of Desert Hot Springs, Riverside County Superior Court (2012).]
In 2013, Mr. Steering successfully obtained a jury verdict in federal court against Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputies sheriffs for excessive force (punching a Lake Elsinore man in face) and for illegally searching his person property; resulting in a $250,000.00 ultimate settlement of the case, in Parnell v. County of Riverside.
Mr. Steering constantly sues the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department more and more often these days, because the simple truth is, that the Department is simply a morally bankrupt organization. When a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy sheriff uses unreasonable force or falsely arrest civilians, the department encourages further constitutional transgressions, by defended the outrages against the public committed by the deputies. They don’t properly train their deputy sheriffs, and not only tolerate the use of unreasonable force and their accompanying false arrests and malicious criminal prosecutions, but, by case by case of backing the deputies, promote and encourage future constitutional violations. If you’re reading this article, you are probably a person who wouldn’t have believed these serious allegations, until they actually happened to you or your
Jerry L. Steering has successfully sued the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department over the years. Most recently, Mr. Steering has obtained settlements against the County of Riverside for wrongfully tasing a former Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff [Torres v. County of Riverside, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Riverside)(2010), $500,000.00], and for using unreasonable force and falsely arresting a 64 year old man [Chynoweth v. County of Riverside et al., Riverside County Superior Court (2011), $750,000.00.]
In 2001 in Gardner v. AMR, U.S. Dist. Court (Los Angeles) Mr. Steering obtained a $650,000.00 settlement of wrongful death, for failure to provide ambulance service. Although AMR is a private ambulance service Mr. Steering successfully argued that AMR was acting under the color of state law as they were the only ambulance service allowed to service the Hemet are of Riverside County.
Mr. Steering successfully argued to then United States District Court Judge Carlos Moreno (later to become Associate Justice Carlos Moreno of the California Supreme Court) that because under the California Emergency Medical Services Act the only ambulance that one can summons, American Medical Response, that the good citizens of Riverside County were constructively in the custody of AMR ambulance services when they are in need of an ambulance.
In Risk v. Cathedral City, U.S. District Court Central District of Cal. (Riverside)(2006) Mr. Steering obtained a $125,000.00 settlement for false arrest / excessive force.
In Torres v. County of Riverside, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Riverside)(2010), Mr. Steering obtained a $500,000.00 settlement for unreasonable force (i.e. taser).
In 2016 in the case of Licitra v. County of Riverside (U.S. District Court – Riverside) Mr. Steering obtained a $300,000.00 settlement for false arrest / unreasonable force.
In Chynoweth v. County of Riverside et al.,Riverside County Superior Court (2011), Mr. Steering obtained a
$750,000.00 settlement for unreasonable force. 64 year old Mr. Chynoweth was showing his race car at the Temecula Rod Run. Mr. Chynoweth’s friend had driven his “hot rod” down the street and parked the same next to Mr. Chynoweth. His friend had a 1966 Chevelle with 1,000 horsepower and no muffler as did most of the hot rods at the Rod Run. His friend’s car made lots of noise but RCSD Sgt. Ken Southern was concerned with the friend having driven on the street after the Rod Run had begun.
While the 1,000 horsepower car was idling, Mr. Chynoweth, who could barely stand up and walked,and when he saw his friend arguing with Sgt. Southern, he yelled out for his friend not to argue with Sgt. Southern and just do what he says, otherwise he was going to be ejected, like others that day.
Sgt. Southern didn’t like Mr. Chynoweth’s attitude and told him to leave, so Mr. Chynoweth hobbled back to his car (the next rented show space over) and Sgt. Southern wanted him to left the entire event. Mr. Chynoweth protested that he paid $40.00 to rent that space for his car and that he shouldn’t have to leave.
When a large crowd saw Mr. Chynoweth verbally challenge Sgt. Southern, the good Sergeant slammed Mr. Chynoweth on the hood of his car, threw him down onto the grass and knee dropped him and arrested him; all in front of fifty people or so. Riverside County paid Mr. Chynoweth $750,000.00 for that transgression.
In 2012 Mr. Steering also obtained an $825,000.00 from the Riverside County City of Desert Hot Springs, for unreasonable force and false arrest (Moore, et al. v. City of Desert Hot Springs, Riverside County Superior Court;
In 2013 in Parnell v. County of Riverside (above), U.S. District Court (L.A.) Mr. Steering obtained $250,000.00 at award at trial for unreasonable force and unlawful search. RCSD Lake Elsinore Station detectives got a tip that someone was advertising a “Ditch Witch” construction drilling device on ebay, that was reported stolen in Colorado. The detectives dressed up as regular construction types, and told Mr. Parnell in him home that the Ditch Witch was stolen. Mr. Parnell had purchased the Ditch Witch at a legitimate drilling supply store and had the receipt with him.
In 2016 in Jones v. County of Riverside (U.S. District Court – Riverside) Mr. Steering obtained a $300,000.00 settlement for unreasonable seizure of person.
In 2014 Holley v. County of Riverside (U.S. District Court – Riverside) Mr. Steering obtained a $500,000.00 settlement for false arrest and unreasonable force.
MR. STEERING IS A POLICE MISCONDUCT ATTORNEY WHO DEFENDS BOGUS CRIMINAL ACTIONS.
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.)
One substantial advantage that Mr. Steering can provide you, is a better chance at obtaining favorable evidence, to either leverage a favorable plea agreement, or flat-out win your criminal case, when you couldn’t otherwise do so.If you don’t sue police officers, you simply don’t know what types of evidence is “out there” (i.e. in the possession of police agencies.) Because pre-trial discovery is extremely limited in California state court criminal prosecutions, most lawyers who only practice criminal law will not have an opportunity to even find out what types of evidence is available. The type of evidence that can exonerate you, and can show that the Constable is not telling the truth.
There are hundreds of different types of evidence that lawyers who only practice criminal law, usually do not know the existence of. For example, if you’re presently being represented by a criminal lawyer, make sure, they get the minimal types of “discovery”, that is available from various police agencies; most of which is “available”, only for a certain amount of time.
Almost all “resistance offense” criminal cases are procured by the same police agency that perpetrated thevery outrage complained of against the innocent civilian. This is done to shift the blame from the police officer to the beating victim (you, the innocent) for necessitating the use of force or other outrage. What the police and the prosecutors do is to charge you with committing some act that they claim is a crime and that somehow justified the police beating that you received. This is no joke. This is how the game works.
THE CONTEMPT OF COP GAME; THE PROSECUTION OF INNOCENTS BY THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has upheld its long tradition of prosecuting the victims of police abuse, very often simply to protect the police from civil liability and obloquy. It does not take much to convince young ambitious Deputy District Attorney’s to file some “resistance offense” criminal case against the victims of police abuse. They want to get in with the police agencies, for their own standing with their respective prosecutorial agencies, and for chits in any future run for Judge; something not uncommon for Deputy District Attorneys.
This author has been playing this game since 1984 and things have only gotten worse for the innocent civilian in the real world of what the police can do to you and your home and property. The American public basically has no idea what their basic rights and freedoms are, and how they have been shrinking since 1968. No one except the police, the lawyers and the judges care about these shrinking constitutional protections until some police outrage is perpetrated against them or a loved one.
Moreover, most law abiding innocent types who didn’t grow up in the ghetto do not believe that police officers do bad things to people who don’t deserve it. When we hear about a claim in the media that the police perpetrated some outrage against a civilian, the first thing that comes to our mind is what did the civilian do to make the police do what they did to him. Culturally, we tend to shift the blame for the use of force or other serious intrusion on the liberty of another, to the person upon whom the force was used.
What suing police officers and defending bogus “resistance offense” criminal cases since 1984 has taught this author, is that the civilian usually is the one completely in the right, and the constable usually is the one in the wrong. This is the Contempt of Cop Game, and it is a game in a very real sense.
The first rule of this game is that police perjury is rampant and sanctioned by public prosecutors. In this world there really is no crime of perjury; at least one that is enforced.I n the real world, there is no such thing as perjury. Perjury takes place in virtually every trial in some form. Ask any trial lawyer, judge, court reporter, clerk and bailiff. If the court staff had a nickel for every canard or prevarication or outright lie told by a peace officer in a California state or federal courtroom, they would be richer than Bill Gates. There are two sides testifying in every civil trial. Someone is lying; one or the other. Same thing in criminal cases, except because of one’s right not to be called a a witness against oneself at trial (U.S. Const. Amend. 5), “There ain’t no lying when there’s no testifying”.
Moreover, in California, perjury requires either two witnesses or one witness whose testimony can be corroborated: In California the prosecution need to show more than the testimony of a single witness to convict another of perjury:
(a) Every person who, having taken an oath that he or she will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any of the cases in which the oath may by law of the State of California be administered, willfully and contrary to the oath, states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, and every person who testifies, declares, deposes, or certifies under penalty of perjury in any of the cases in which the testimony, declarations, depositions, or certification is permitted by law of the State of California under penalty of perjury and willfully states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, is guilty of perjury.
This subdivision is applicable whether the statement, or the testimony, declaration, deposition, or certification is made or subscribed within or without the State of California.
(b) No person shall be convicted of perjury where proof of falsity rests solely upon contradiction by testimony of a single person other than the defendant. Proof of falsity may be established by direct or indirect evidence.
No one gets prosecuted for perjury save a few politicians and entitlement recipients. The police all know this.
The judges all know this. The lawyers all know this. The bailiffs all know this. The courtroom clerks all know this. The court reporters all know this. So, not to worry about lying police reports. If they are put on the stand by the prosecution and they get caught lying for the prosecution, there is zero chance that the prosecutor is then going to prosecute them for perjury.
The second rule of the game is that in the real world that the police can fabricate their police reports to procure your bogus criminal prosecution, without any real world repercussions.
After the police beat you up and/or falsely arrest you and the police agency submits a “package” to the District Attorney’s Office, the Deputy District Attorney who reviews the case for potential criminal filing are almost always simply going to accept and rely on what is shown in the initial police reports. This not because these filing Deputy District Attorneys are evil people.
This is because these Deputy District Attorneys simply don’t have the time to extensively review anything other than the initial arrest reports in making their decision to prosecute the subjects of those reports. Most Deputy District Attorneys who make the decisions whether to prosecute you and what for are forced to review between 15 and 30 cases per day. There is simply no time other than to read the initial arrest reports. There is no time to review the audio or video recordings, the use of force reports, any internal investigations (that the DA actually has to move the court to even see) or other items of evidence.
Police officers are trained on how to justify their conduct in court; both when they are attempting to frame you in a criminal case for some “resistance offense” (i.e. the defendant struck my fist with his jaw). Moreover, the laws of search and seizure of persons, places and property are extremely complicated and are ever changing. The police know what police keywords / buzzwords they can accuse you of that will ultimately, in the real world almost always justify their conduct. Accordingly, it is easy for the police to procure your bogus criminal prosecution, to shift the blame for their conduct from them to you, and to preclude you from suing them via your bogus criminal prosecution.
IT REALLY HAS BECOME THAT BAD; CASE EXAMPLE, THE DESERT HOT SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT.
Case In Point; Desert Hot Springs PD:
In the mid-2000’s Desert Hot Springs (California) Police Department Lieutenant David Henderson used to bring two cans of pepper-spray with him during his duty shift, because one can of pepper-spray usually wasn’t enough. In order to get off of a new officer’s probationary period with Lt. Henderson and be a regular DHSPD police officer, one had to “engage”; to beat up someone; innocent or not, when no force was called for at all. They were usually handcuffed. Lt. Henderson eventually was convicted of torturing an arrestee with pepper-spray. He put red WD-40 straws on his pepper-spray cans and stuck the straw up the nose of his victim and then pull the trigger.
Lt. Henderson’s cohort, DHSPD Sgt. Anthony Sclafani was also convicted of torturing prisoners; a woman and a gangster. He stomped, pepper-sprayed and tased his victim and he ended up in federal prison. This was normal at DHSPD in the 2000’s.
DHSPD was so bad that in the Michael Sanchez in-custody death incident (a pursuit case by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department), after the sheriff’s deputies were done beating Mr. Sanchez they watched Lt. Henderson kick a beating and handcuffed Mr. Sanchez in his testicles (“Like kicking a field goal through the uprights”), and watched Mr. Sanchez die from that kick within a minute. They did nothing about that and neither did the FBI or the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, who both know the gory details of Mr. Sanchez’ murder in the desert by the police. This again is no joke. This really happened.
DHSPD was so bad that the department was divided into two camps; the “Meat Eaters” (used force for fun and glory) and the “Lettuce Eaters” (those who didn’t create excuses to beat and torture civilians). Two thirds of the agency were under FBI investigation.
DHSPD was once of the worst departments in the country, but the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department still to this day to not have either patrol car video recording systems, body cams, or even any policy requiring the deputies to audio record their detentions or arrests of civilians.
Other police agencies are not far behind, if at all, DHSPD.
Take the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The certainly have DHSPD beat in sheer number of total police outrages committed.
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 report Commissioned by the Board of Supervisors, 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 reported to 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.
THE LAPD’S MOTTO IS “WE’RE THE BADEST GANG IN TOWN”.
A recent study of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (LASD) that was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (“Report of the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence“) actually found that there is a culture within the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department of various “gangs of officers”, who routinely beat, torture, maim and kill members of the jails, and of the community, for fun; for the honor of the gang. Everybody is a scumbag, and have no rights.
One of those gangs was “the Vikings”, whose “colors” was the Minnesota Vikings Football Team log
tattooed on their lower legs. The Former Undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, was a Viking gang member when he was a Captain at the Lynwood Sheriff’s Station. The Vikings were found by United States District Judge Jesse Curits to be a Neo-Nazi / White Supremacist gang within the ranks of the Los Angles County Sheriff’s Department; See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, et al; 978 F.2d 504 (1992).
Some of the LASD gangs of these gangster deputies are: The 3000 Club (the deputies who worked the third floor of the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail), The Grim Reapers, The Little Devils, The Regulators, The Vikings and The Jump Off Boys.
Out Boys. After the FBI had announced that it had infiltrated the Los Angeles County jail and can now prove that the LASD Men’s Jail was essentially a torture chamber, with gangs of sick and sadistic guards, Paul Tanaka still showed his grit, as an LASD “gansta”, by addressing the command staff of the sheriff’s department, about the LASD internal affairs bureau. He mentioned that their were 45 LASD Internal Affairs Bureau investigators, and that was 44 too many (you’re got to have at least one to have a bureau.)
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. 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.
On May 13, 2015 former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 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.) Those Indictments also resulted in the resignation of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, as Tanaka implicated Baca as having approved the LASD scheme to thwart the FBI investigation of tortures, beatings and murders of inmates by deputies at the L.A. County Jails.
On February 10, 2016, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty to violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); lying to FBI agents and federal prosecutors investigating the beatings of inmates and visitors at the Los Angeles County Jails. As part of a surprise plea deal with the U.S. attorney’s office, Sheriff Baca admitted that he took an active role in trying to stymie the federal probe into his deputies routinely beating and torturing inmates at the Los Angeles County Jails and in having his deputies hide an FBI informant – jail inmate from his FBI handlers. He admitted even approving a team of his deputy sheriff’s attempting to interfere with the government’s investigation by threatening an FBI agent at her home with arrest.
Thereafter, on April 6, 2016, former LASD Undersheriff was convicted by a jury of 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 threatening 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 July 18, 2016, United States District Judge Percy Anderson threw out a plea agreement that would have given former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca a maximum of six months in prison, saying the sentence was too lenient considering Baca’s role in obstructing an FBI investigation into the county jails. Addressing a downtown courtroom packed with Baca’s supporters, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said the deal “would trivialize the seriousness of the offenses … the need for a just punishment [and] the need to deter others.”
On December 19, 2016 a mistrial was declared in that federal criminal corruption case against Sheriff Lee Baca. During the two-week trial, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office tried to convince jurors that Baca had played a central role in a scheme carried out by a group of subordinates to thwart an FBI investigation into abuses and corruption by sheriff’s deputies working as jailers. Baca’s lawyers countered he had been unaware of the ploy unfolding beneath him. The panel deliberated for days, with all but one of the 12 jurors ultimately voting to acquit Baca. After the panel announced it was deadlocked, Anderson declared the mistrial.
On January 10, 2017, federal prosecutors announced that they would retry Sheriff Baca. Judge Percy Anderson also granted a request by the U.S. attorney’s office to allow prosecutors to include the charge of making false statements to federal authorities in the retrial. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson previously split that charge from the obstruction and conspiracy charges Baca faced at his first trial.
On March 16, 2017 Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted for his role in a scheme to block an FBI investigation into mistreatment of inmates in his jails.
One might think, why are these cops acting like Nazis; literally, not metaphorically? Why is this allowed to persist? Things have gotten so bad at the LASD that now the United States Department of Justice Indicted 18 LASD Deputy Sheriffs and their Supervisors on charges ranging from Obstruction of Justice and torturing prisoners.
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 another (i.e. beaten-up / torture); usually to self-medicate rather frail and easily bruise-able egos.
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.
WHY THE POLICE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE THEIR VICTIMS; THE ROOT OF MOST FALSE ARRESTS.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
***The State Bar of California does not recognize a specialty in police misconduct
which is most of Mr. Steering’s law practice.
*In the District of Columbia only.
**In Beverly Hills Office only.
Click on “Home“, above, or the other pages shown, for the information or assistance that we can provide for you. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your particular legal situation, please call the Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering for a free telephone consultation.
Thank you, and best of luck, whatever your needs.