News and Commentary: Major Hearing of the Gang Injunction Slated For Monday

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In a press release issued on Friday, it was announced that on Monday in Woodland, lawyers representing defendants in the controversial West Sacramento “gang injunction” case will argue the court should not allow a Preliminary Injunction in the case as requested by the District Attorney.

A rally will occur among homeowners and community members from West Sacramento at the Yolo County Courthouse on Monday at 1 pm prior to a 1:30 PM hearing where the defense team will attempt to submit more than “100 affidavits from residents of West Sacramento claiming there is no need for the so-called “gang injunction,” but the DA is arguing that residents should not be allowed to speak.”

The defense will also question the veracity of statements issued by police officers.

“Residents of Broderick, many of them Latino, say the injunction is targeting innocent victims. They have outlined abuses by police, including charges that their families are photographed at picnics in the park, and that their children, while riding home on their bicycles, have been harassed by police.”

This will be the first major hearing since a letter from a Senior Investigator from the District Attorney’s Office disclosed that the District Attorney Jeff Reisig was dishonest with the court in the first go round of the Gang Injunction and its subsequent court challenges. He also admitted that he was pressured to sign an affidavit in support of the gang injunction this time round.

“As for the current and past Gang Injunction, when gathering intelligence, contacting active members and working with Detective Villanueva, I fully supported these efforts. However, after seeing this become your political benchmark, I have watched this injunction grow into something I did not want to be associated with or a part of, since I felt it had lost its original intent and purpose.”

He admits efforts to mislead the appellate court with regard to initial efforts at noticing a single individual who was not high up in the Broderick Boys organization.

“I also feel you misled the appellate court when you argued, as an officer of the court, that serving only one person during the initial injunction was intended to result in the word getting out to the rest of the Broderick Boys. You and I know that the opposite was true and Wolfington was not high up in the organization and was not expected to pass the word to the others.”

He also reveals reasons why they selected Mr. Wolfington to notice.

“I remember you telling me that you specifically selected Mr. Wolfington for being a less than “smart person”, you said he was “too stupid” to show up for court, he lived out of the area (in Sacramento) and he would likely not tell anyone.”

Rick Gore no longer agrees with the current gang injunction nor does he think it is needed. However, “an affidavit in support of the injunction under penalty of perjury. I did not want to sign it as written since it was not prepared by me and I thought portions of my affidavit were untrue.” He signed an affidavit of support for the second gang injunction that is currently in the process of being challenged.

He continues:

“I was called in by DDA Linden a few days later, and was told [Reisig] had ordered me to sign this injunction and I had no choice. Knowing I could be fired for not following this order, I signed it after changing some of the language.”

Investigator Gore’s acknowledgments call into question the veracity of the gang injunction.

Moreover, the District Attorney’s office has always maintained that they have full backing of the public in West Sacramento. Recently those claims at the very least have to be called into question as hundreds of residents have put up signs and walked precincts against the gang injunction. From the start they have claimed that the police department has used the gang injunction to target and harass members of the Latino Community, most of whom have little to do with the Broderick Street Boys street gang.

The District Attorney and other supports have pointed to a fall in crime as a result of the gang injunction. Those are difficult claims to maintain at best, however, it would be interesting to see all evidence laid bare for the public to see. Is there evidence that suggests that the gang injunction works beyond anecdotal rhetoric? Is there evidence that the public in the Broderick Street area–non-gang members–support the gang injunction? Let us see that evidence. I do not mean to suggest that we law enforce by public opinion, however, I have simply grown weary of certain claims made by the District Attorney’s office–I simply do not find them credible anymore.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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72 thoughts on “News and Commentary: Major Hearing of the Gang Injunction Slated For Monday”

  1. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  2. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  3. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  4. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  5. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  6. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  7. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  8. Anonymous

    Any and all claims made by Jeff Reisig should be viewed wearily, at the very least. His actions and assertions should be under public (and political/legal) scrutiny following the recent allegations against him. This includes Reisig’s reported omission of exculpatory evidence in a recent trial. Many of us wonder how often that has happened in Reisig’s career?
    We should not be surprised that Reisig’s ” gang ” injunction is not favored by many who know that they will be harassed, profiled, and targeted because of it. To think otherwise is nonsense.
    Glad that people are waking up. Davis did not vote Reisig in nor did West Sacramento. His vote was largely based in Woodland.
    It is only proper that there be a hearing held in Woodland with the public present. After hearing what is said and challenged, maybe next time Woodland will be more careful with their vote.

    Has that “official investigation” of Reisig’s misconduct began? Or will the public have to come to judgment on its own?

  9. Anonymous

    Reisig probably never expected a full on challenge to the injunction and thought that it would just go through again although he named 23 individuals this time. 3 of the individuals have been dismissed, the public defender’s office is out, he didn’t pursue against the individuals that the ACLU represented on appeal. Of course that leaves 400 unnamed persons who they can later say are part of the alleged gang. The remaining named people were denied appointed counsel even though they would be subject to criminal prosecution for violations of some crazy lifetime prohibitions on liberty.

    Think about who could mount a defense to this public nuisance injunction without a lawyer? Of the 400 unnamed people, who would know to challenge this since they have not been noticed?

    If it weren’t for attorneys willing to do what they thought was the right thing to do pro bono, round 2 would have just gone throught and West Sacramento would have been declared a War Zone again although it isn’t.

    This is allegedly being done because the people of that area are asking for the injunction since he is “speaking” for the community!

    Is the DA listening to the community that will be affected? No! Why isn’t he? In fact, he is opposing their voices in court at the hearing!

    It is a sad day when one claims to be speaking for the citizens who will be affected who say “No” yet sends his minions out to do the dirty work. Particularly when it is becoming more evident that tactical decisions may have been made to deceive judicial officers.

    All of the things coming out is very disturbing….what is going on in Yolo County? Who is the watchdog of all of this? Will there be any accountability for what Rick Gore is alleging? Are there others in the DA’s office who will have the courage to come forward or like most public employees, just ride the wave to retirement if possible?

  10. Anonymous

    Reisig probably never expected a full on challenge to the injunction and thought that it would just go through again although he named 23 individuals this time. 3 of the individuals have been dismissed, the public defender’s office is out, he didn’t pursue against the individuals that the ACLU represented on appeal. Of course that leaves 400 unnamed persons who they can later say are part of the alleged gang. The remaining named people were denied appointed counsel even though they would be subject to criminal prosecution for violations of some crazy lifetime prohibitions on liberty.

    Think about who could mount a defense to this public nuisance injunction without a lawyer? Of the 400 unnamed people, who would know to challenge this since they have not been noticed?

    If it weren’t for attorneys willing to do what they thought was the right thing to do pro bono, round 2 would have just gone throught and West Sacramento would have been declared a War Zone again although it isn’t.

    This is allegedly being done because the people of that area are asking for the injunction since he is “speaking” for the community!

    Is the DA listening to the community that will be affected? No! Why isn’t he? In fact, he is opposing their voices in court at the hearing!

    It is a sad day when one claims to be speaking for the citizens who will be affected who say “No” yet sends his minions out to do the dirty work. Particularly when it is becoming more evident that tactical decisions may have been made to deceive judicial officers.

    All of the things coming out is very disturbing….what is going on in Yolo County? Who is the watchdog of all of this? Will there be any accountability for what Rick Gore is alleging? Are there others in the DA’s office who will have the courage to come forward or like most public employees, just ride the wave to retirement if possible?

  11. Anonymous

    Reisig probably never expected a full on challenge to the injunction and thought that it would just go through again although he named 23 individuals this time. 3 of the individuals have been dismissed, the public defender’s office is out, he didn’t pursue against the individuals that the ACLU represented on appeal. Of course that leaves 400 unnamed persons who they can later say are part of the alleged gang. The remaining named people were denied appointed counsel even though they would be subject to criminal prosecution for violations of some crazy lifetime prohibitions on liberty.

    Think about who could mount a defense to this public nuisance injunction without a lawyer? Of the 400 unnamed people, who would know to challenge this since they have not been noticed?

    If it weren’t for attorneys willing to do what they thought was the right thing to do pro bono, round 2 would have just gone throught and West Sacramento would have been declared a War Zone again although it isn’t.

    This is allegedly being done because the people of that area are asking for the injunction since he is “speaking” for the community!

    Is the DA listening to the community that will be affected? No! Why isn’t he? In fact, he is opposing their voices in court at the hearing!

    It is a sad day when one claims to be speaking for the citizens who will be affected who say “No” yet sends his minions out to do the dirty work. Particularly when it is becoming more evident that tactical decisions may have been made to deceive judicial officers.

    All of the things coming out is very disturbing….what is going on in Yolo County? Who is the watchdog of all of this? Will there be any accountability for what Rick Gore is alleging? Are there others in the DA’s office who will have the courage to come forward or like most public employees, just ride the wave to retirement if possible?

  12. Anonymous

    Reisig probably never expected a full on challenge to the injunction and thought that it would just go through again although he named 23 individuals this time. 3 of the individuals have been dismissed, the public defender’s office is out, he didn’t pursue against the individuals that the ACLU represented on appeal. Of course that leaves 400 unnamed persons who they can later say are part of the alleged gang. The remaining named people were denied appointed counsel even though they would be subject to criminal prosecution for violations of some crazy lifetime prohibitions on liberty.

    Think about who could mount a defense to this public nuisance injunction without a lawyer? Of the 400 unnamed people, who would know to challenge this since they have not been noticed?

    If it weren’t for attorneys willing to do what they thought was the right thing to do pro bono, round 2 would have just gone throught and West Sacramento would have been declared a War Zone again although it isn’t.

    This is allegedly being done because the people of that area are asking for the injunction since he is “speaking” for the community!

    Is the DA listening to the community that will be affected? No! Why isn’t he? In fact, he is opposing their voices in court at the hearing!

    It is a sad day when one claims to be speaking for the citizens who will be affected who say “No” yet sends his minions out to do the dirty work. Particularly when it is becoming more evident that tactical decisions may have been made to deceive judicial officers.

    All of the things coming out is very disturbing….what is going on in Yolo County? Who is the watchdog of all of this? Will there be any accountability for what Rick Gore is alleging? Are there others in the DA’s office who will have the courage to come forward or like most public employees, just ride the wave to retirement if possible?

  13. Anonymous

    Several DA officers told Reisig to dismiss several cases because of misconduct or/ and false information but he told them no and now several cases are in trail and many more to face trail. How far will he go to protect his career?

  14. Anonymous

    Several DA officers told Reisig to dismiss several cases because of misconduct or/ and false information but he told them no and now several cases are in trail and many more to face trail. How far will he go to protect his career?

  15. Anonymous

    Several DA officers told Reisig to dismiss several cases because of misconduct or/ and false information but he told them no and now several cases are in trail and many more to face trail. How far will he go to protect his career?

  16. Anonymous

    Several DA officers told Reisig to dismiss several cases because of misconduct or/ and false information but he told them no and now several cases are in trail and many more to face trail. How far will he go to protect his career?

  17. Anonymous

    Now we know why Reisig’s conviction rate is 90%. I pray that all parties involved with his misconduct pays for all the lives that has been destroyed.

  18. Anonymous

    Now we know why Reisig’s conviction rate is 90%. I pray that all parties involved with his misconduct pays for all the lives that has been destroyed.

  19. Anonymous

    Now we know why Reisig’s conviction rate is 90%. I pray that all parties involved with his misconduct pays for all the lives that has been destroyed.

  20. Anonymous

    Now we know why Reisig’s conviction rate is 90%. I pray that all parties involved with his misconduct pays for all the lives that has been destroyed.

  21. Anonymous

    Reisig is not the only one in office corrupted or/and doing misconduct, just sit in some trails to hear and see what really goes on in court, you will be very surprise

  22. Anonymous

    Reisig is not the only one in office corrupted or/and doing misconduct, just sit in some trails to hear and see what really goes on in court, you will be very surprise

  23. Anonymous

    Reisig is not the only one in office corrupted or/and doing misconduct, just sit in some trails to hear and see what really goes on in court, you will be very surprise

  24. Anonymous

    Reisig is not the only one in office corrupted or/and doing misconduct, just sit in some trails to hear and see what really goes on in court, you will be very surprise

  25. Anonymous

    I agree. Reisig is not the only corrupt person at the DA’s Office. However, he is the District Attorney. Therefore, he is accountability for the actions of his employees as well as himself.
    I, too, challenge the public to sit in on cases to gain a greater understanding of Yolo County’s ” process.” Also, when able attend meetings and hearings that address complaints against the office, its practices, and politics. Mondays hearing is a wonderful opportunity. When the DA’s Office sees that people are watching and questioning it, things will change before the next election. Reisig evidently thinks that he is ” above the law.” He has been able to get away with a lot before Gore’s allegations.
    The DA’s Office appears to have several pompous, culturally challenged, insensitive people who feel that a law degree entitles them to abuse. This characterization does not apply to all, but one DA and one or more DDA’s abusing a position of power is one too many.
    The DA’s Office has ruined and interrupted many lives just so that a DA can claim an excellent record. What happened to justice?

  26. Anonymous

    I agree. Reisig is not the only corrupt person at the DA’s Office. However, he is the District Attorney. Therefore, he is accountability for the actions of his employees as well as himself.
    I, too, challenge the public to sit in on cases to gain a greater understanding of Yolo County’s ” process.” Also, when able attend meetings and hearings that address complaints against the office, its practices, and politics. Mondays hearing is a wonderful opportunity. When the DA’s Office sees that people are watching and questioning it, things will change before the next election. Reisig evidently thinks that he is ” above the law.” He has been able to get away with a lot before Gore’s allegations.
    The DA’s Office appears to have several pompous, culturally challenged, insensitive people who feel that a law degree entitles them to abuse. This characterization does not apply to all, but one DA and one or more DDA’s abusing a position of power is one too many.
    The DA’s Office has ruined and interrupted many lives just so that a DA can claim an excellent record. What happened to justice?

  27. Anonymous

    I agree. Reisig is not the only corrupt person at the DA’s Office. However, he is the District Attorney. Therefore, he is accountability for the actions of his employees as well as himself.
    I, too, challenge the public to sit in on cases to gain a greater understanding of Yolo County’s ” process.” Also, when able attend meetings and hearings that address complaints against the office, its practices, and politics. Mondays hearing is a wonderful opportunity. When the DA’s Office sees that people are watching and questioning it, things will change before the next election. Reisig evidently thinks that he is ” above the law.” He has been able to get away with a lot before Gore’s allegations.
    The DA’s Office appears to have several pompous, culturally challenged, insensitive people who feel that a law degree entitles them to abuse. This characterization does not apply to all, but one DA and one or more DDA’s abusing a position of power is one too many.
    The DA’s Office has ruined and interrupted many lives just so that a DA can claim an excellent record. What happened to justice?

  28. Anonymous

    I agree. Reisig is not the only corrupt person at the DA’s Office. However, he is the District Attorney. Therefore, he is accountability for the actions of his employees as well as himself.
    I, too, challenge the public to sit in on cases to gain a greater understanding of Yolo County’s ” process.” Also, when able attend meetings and hearings that address complaints against the office, its practices, and politics. Mondays hearing is a wonderful opportunity. When the DA’s Office sees that people are watching and questioning it, things will change before the next election. Reisig evidently thinks that he is ” above the law.” He has been able to get away with a lot before Gore’s allegations.
    The DA’s Office appears to have several pompous, culturally challenged, insensitive people who feel that a law degree entitles them to abuse. This characterization does not apply to all, but one DA and one or more DDA’s abusing a position of power is one too many.
    The DA’s Office has ruined and interrupted many lives just so that a DA can claim an excellent record. What happened to justice?

  29. Anonymous

    Prepare to see Mr. Reisig get flambeyed (sp?) and his silent partner, Jonathan Raven step in to “save the day”. Mr. Raven might even create a “consultant” position for Mr. Reisig like Reisig did for him (at taxpayer expense of course). However icky, that would at least constitute a minor improvement, in that you’ll get a somewhat feckless career politician replacing a bona fide bully and liar.

  30. Anonymous

    Prepare to see Mr. Reisig get flambeyed (sp?) and his silent partner, Jonathan Raven step in to “save the day”. Mr. Raven might even create a “consultant” position for Mr. Reisig like Reisig did for him (at taxpayer expense of course). However icky, that would at least constitute a minor improvement, in that you’ll get a somewhat feckless career politician replacing a bona fide bully and liar.

  31. Anonymous

    Prepare to see Mr. Reisig get flambeyed (sp?) and his silent partner, Jonathan Raven step in to “save the day”. Mr. Raven might even create a “consultant” position for Mr. Reisig like Reisig did for him (at taxpayer expense of course). However icky, that would at least constitute a minor improvement, in that you’ll get a somewhat feckless career politician replacing a bona fide bully and liar.

  32. Anonymous

    Prepare to see Mr. Reisig get flambeyed (sp?) and his silent partner, Jonathan Raven step in to “save the day”. Mr. Raven might even create a “consultant” position for Mr. Reisig like Reisig did for him (at taxpayer expense of course). However icky, that would at least constitute a minor improvement, in that you’ll get a somewhat feckless career politician replacing a bona fide bully and liar.

  33. Anonymous

    When will the DOJ step in to investigate the DA’s office? Sooner than you think! They are already investigating and will show up in Yolo County soon to conduct Martha Stewart quality interrogations which will land liars in federal prison.

  34. Anonymous

    When will the DOJ step in to investigate the DA’s office? Sooner than you think! They are already investigating and will show up in Yolo County soon to conduct Martha Stewart quality interrogations which will land liars in federal prison.

  35. Anonymous

    When will the DOJ step in to investigate the DA’s office? Sooner than you think! They are already investigating and will show up in Yolo County soon to conduct Martha Stewart quality interrogations which will land liars in federal prison.

  36. Anonymous

    When will the DOJ step in to investigate the DA’s office? Sooner than you think! They are already investigating and will show up in Yolo County soon to conduct Martha Stewart quality interrogations which will land liars in federal prison.

  37. Anonymous

    There will be no California State Bar investigation of Yolo DA Reisig, DDA Linden and their henchmen without public pressure, as explained in the San Jose Mercury article below. Please call or write the State Bar and demand an investigation. San Francisco (Main Office)
    180 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2000 http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_home.jsp
    FROM THE SAN JOSE MERCURY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT, TAINTED TRIALS, STOLEN JUSTICE AT
    http://www.mercurynews.com/taintedtrials/
    State bar ignores errant lawyers
    PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE RARELY DISCIPLINED
    By Mike Zapler, Mercury News
    Article Launched: 02/12/2006 05:31:54 PM PST

    When California prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys engage in conduct that violates defendants’ rights, they can rest assured that they will rarely be held to account by the agency in charge of policing lawyers.

    A Mercury News review of nearly 1,500 state disciplinary actions over a five-year period found that just one of them involved prosecutorial misconduct. Criminal defense attorneys drew more notice from the State Bar of California, but not much more: Only 5 percent of the actions concerned criminal defense attorneys targeted for their work on behalf of clients.

    The findings come in the wake of a Mercury News investigation published last month that revealed the trial and appellate courts also rarely act to curb prosecutors or defense attorneys. Combined with the bar’s record, the paper’s reviews establish that there is no consistently effective check on courtroom behavior.

    Some experts say the situation is deplorable, although they are quick to add that California’s failures are not unique.

    “The bar and the judiciary that oversees prosecutors do not take actions to enforce the norms of prosecutorial conduct,” said Richard Rosen, a University of North Carolina law professor who has written about how disciplinary authorities across the country treat prosecutors.

    “There are many prosecutors who do their best to follow the rules. But when they choose not to, they know they aren’t going to suffer
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    serious consequences.”

    Of the three Santa Clara County prosecutors described in the series whose conduct led to a wrongful conviction, there is evidence of only one even being investigated by the bar. That case, involving Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Field, is pending, 18 months after a complaint was filed.

    A few of the defense attorneys identified in the series were disbarred, losing the right to practice law. Others, such as Rudy Guzzetta of San Jose, repeatedly have been cited for misrepresenting their clients, and yet they continue to practice. Guzzetta has been disciplined four separate times by the bar since 1987, admitting to multiple instances of misconduct, but the most severe penalty he has faced was a nine-month suspension imposed in 2002.

    Guzzetta, however, does not believe he got off easy. “If there’s a complaint to the bar, there’s a presumption that you’re guilty,” he said. “It is a situation where you’re not going to get a break, not from the bar.”

    Few complaints

    Bar officials insist they take complaints against prosecutors seriously. “It’s a grave situation when a prosecutor commits misconduct,” said Donald Steedman, the bar’s supervising trial counsel.

    But for a variety of reasons, said Steedman, the bar receives complaints against prosecutors far less often than other types of grievances. When complaints are lodged, bar officials must find “clear and convincing evidence” that the prosecutor’s violation was intentional to prove charges. “Our lot is sometimes a hard one,” he said.

    Steedman also noted two recent cases involving prosecutors that fell just outside the time frame for the Mercury News review. In one of them, a Butte County prosecutor was suspended for one year for withholding evidence helpful to the defense — an infraction that eventually led to the dismissal of charges against the defendant. A third case involving charges of prosecutorial misconduct is pending.

    The Mercury News undertook its analysis of bar discipline after learning that the agency does not track its own actions by type of attorney. The paper reviewed summaries in the California Bar Journal of the most serious categories of discipline — disbarment, probation and suspension — from 2001 to 2005. That amounted to 1,464 cases.

    The review shows that civil attorneys garner by far the most attention. Time and again, discipline logs describe the workings of divorce, bankruptcy and other civil attorneys who collect money from clients and then do little or no work.

    When it comes to conduct by attorneys in criminal cases, in contrast, the bar is rarely to be found. Only 75 cases were identified — one for a prosecutor and 74 for defense attorneys — in which the lawyer was disciplined for conduct in a criminal proceeding.

    The sole prosecutor was B. Iver Bye, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney at the time. In 2004, the bar suspended him for 30 days for secretly assisting a woman under investigation by his office.

    Apparent inaction

    In some instances, the bar does not act even when detailed charges against a prosecutor are filed. Field was rebuked for withholding evidence and defying judicial orders in a rape case in which a judge later found that the defendants, Damon Auguste and Kamani Hendricks, were wrongfully convicted.

    Donna Auguste, Damon Auguste’s aunt, said she complained to bar officials about Field in August 2004, but they declined to investigate. So “I kept calling and filing additional documents,” Auguste said. Six months later, in February 2005, a bar supervisor agreed that Field should be investigated. But there is no indication since then that the bar took action against Field, although Auguste said an investigator has contacted her on occasion with questions.

    Field, who insists he did nothing wrong in the Auguste case, said he has responded fully to the bar’s inquiries.

    Bar officials say they are most likely to pursue discipline charges against a prosecutor when a court makes a finding of misconduct — and when the misconduct causes the case to be reversed or dismissed.

    But in the case of Los Angeles prosecutor Rosalie Morton — cited in textbooks and court filings as the epitome of prosecutorial misconduct in California — the bar still took no action.

    In 1998, the California Supreme Court found Morton’s actions in a trial so egregious — she engaged in a “mountain of deceit and unethical behavior” — that it took the extremely rare step of overturning a murder conviction. The court then reported Morton to the state bar for discipline, noting that it was one of a succession of cases in which Morton had been cited by courts for misconduct.

    Morton has never been publicly disciplined; she has left the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office but remains an active member of the bar.

    Steedman declined to comment, saying the bar discusses only cases that result in formal charges. But he noted that the bar at the time was in the midst of a severe budget crunch caused by a dispute with then-Gov. Pete Wilson. Most employees were laid off, and when the bar resumed functioning, “We had to prosecute cases we believed would protect the public most from future misconduct.”

    Legal experts say there are many reasons why bar organizations rarely pursue prosecutors. One is resources: Cases against prosecutors are hard to prove and likely to be contested, so it is easier for the bar to pursue allegations that involve money, which are more clear-cut.

    “It’s largely a passive operation that reacts to complaints and chooses to prosecute what it considers the worst violations,” said Fred Zacharias, a University of San Diego law professor, who said he doesn’t believe that disciplining prosecutors more often would do much to deter misconduct.

    Let courts do it

    Other experts say bar officials prefer to let the courts handle misconduct allegations, or that they are uncomfortable, except in the worst cases, challenging attorneys who are trying to put criminals behind bars. And even though judges are required by professional code to report serious findings of prosecutorial or defense misconduct, bar officials say they don’t believe that always happens.

    California does not appear to stand out in its rate of attorney discipline. A recent American Bar Association survey of lawyer discipline agencies suggests that the frequency with which California sanctions attorneys ranked in the middle of states that responded. California’s rate of disbarring attorneys was lower than the median, but it suspends lawyers and puts them on probation more frequently than many states.

    The survey also indicated that California has one of the best-funded bar organizations in the nation, on a per attorney basis.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who is running for district attorney, said it is troubling that the California bar so rarely sanctions criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors.

    “I think they’re very focused on civil litigation and attorneys who take money from clients,” Sinunu said. “Few and far between are there cases of criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors getting slapped on the hand for anything.”

    “I think the state bar should be more active” in that realm, Sinunu said.
    Data analyst Griff Palmer contributed to this article. Contact Mike Zapler at (408) 920-5505 or mzapler@mercurynews.com.

    3/15/08 9:45 PM

  38. Anonymous

    There will be no California State Bar investigation of Yolo DA Reisig, DDA Linden and their henchmen without public pressure, as explained in the San Jose Mercury article below. Please call or write the State Bar and demand an investigation. San Francisco (Main Office)
    180 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2000 http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_home.jsp
    FROM THE SAN JOSE MERCURY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT, TAINTED TRIALS, STOLEN JUSTICE AT
    http://www.mercurynews.com/taintedtrials/
    State bar ignores errant lawyers
    PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE RARELY DISCIPLINED
    By Mike Zapler, Mercury News
    Article Launched: 02/12/2006 05:31:54 PM PST

    When California prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys engage in conduct that violates defendants’ rights, they can rest assured that they will rarely be held to account by the agency in charge of policing lawyers.

    A Mercury News review of nearly 1,500 state disciplinary actions over a five-year period found that just one of them involved prosecutorial misconduct. Criminal defense attorneys drew more notice from the State Bar of California, but not much more: Only 5 percent of the actions concerned criminal defense attorneys targeted for their work on behalf of clients.

    The findings come in the wake of a Mercury News investigation published last month that revealed the trial and appellate courts also rarely act to curb prosecutors or defense attorneys. Combined with the bar’s record, the paper’s reviews establish that there is no consistently effective check on courtroom behavior.

    Some experts say the situation is deplorable, although they are quick to add that California’s failures are not unique.

    “The bar and the judiciary that oversees prosecutors do not take actions to enforce the norms of prosecutorial conduct,” said Richard Rosen, a University of North Carolina law professor who has written about how disciplinary authorities across the country treat prosecutors.

    “There are many prosecutors who do their best to follow the rules. But when they choose not to, they know they aren’t going to suffer
    Advertisement
    serious consequences.”

    Of the three Santa Clara County prosecutors described in the series whose conduct led to a wrongful conviction, there is evidence of only one even being investigated by the bar. That case, involving Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Field, is pending, 18 months after a complaint was filed.

    A few of the defense attorneys identified in the series were disbarred, losing the right to practice law. Others, such as Rudy Guzzetta of San Jose, repeatedly have been cited for misrepresenting their clients, and yet they continue to practice. Guzzetta has been disciplined four separate times by the bar since 1987, admitting to multiple instances of misconduct, but the most severe penalty he has faced was a nine-month suspension imposed in 2002.

    Guzzetta, however, does not believe he got off easy. “If there’s a complaint to the bar, there’s a presumption that you’re guilty,” he said. “It is a situation where you’re not going to get a break, not from the bar.”

    Few complaints

    Bar officials insist they take complaints against prosecutors seriously. “It’s a grave situation when a prosecutor commits misconduct,” said Donald Steedman, the bar’s supervising trial counsel.

    But for a variety of reasons, said Steedman, the bar receives complaints against prosecutors far less often than other types of grievances. When complaints are lodged, bar officials must find “clear and convincing evidence” that the prosecutor’s violation was intentional to prove charges. “Our lot is sometimes a hard one,” he said.

    Steedman also noted two recent cases involving prosecutors that fell just outside the time frame for the Mercury News review. In one of them, a Butte County prosecutor was suspended for one year for withholding evidence helpful to the defense — an infraction that eventually led to the dismissal of charges against the defendant. A third case involving charges of prosecutorial misconduct is pending.

    The Mercury News undertook its analysis of bar discipline after learning that the agency does not track its own actions by type of attorney. The paper reviewed summaries in the California Bar Journal of the most serious categories of discipline — disbarment, probation and suspension — from 2001 to 2005. That amounted to 1,464 cases.

    The review shows that civil attorneys garner by far the most attention. Time and again, discipline logs describe the workings of divorce, bankruptcy and other civil attorneys who collect money from clients and then do little or no work.

    When it comes to conduct by attorneys in criminal cases, in contrast, the bar is rarely to be found. Only 75 cases were identified — one for a prosecutor and 74 for defense attorneys — in which the lawyer was disciplined for conduct in a criminal proceeding.

    The sole prosecutor was B. Iver Bye, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney at the time. In 2004, the bar suspended him for 30 days for secretly assisting a woman under investigation by his office.

    Apparent inaction

    In some instances, the bar does not act even when detailed charges against a prosecutor are filed. Field was rebuked for withholding evidence and defying judicial orders in a rape case in which a judge later found that the defendants, Damon Auguste and Kamani Hendricks, were wrongfully convicted.

    Donna Auguste, Damon Auguste’s aunt, said she complained to bar officials about Field in August 2004, but they declined to investigate. So “I kept calling and filing additional documents,” Auguste said. Six months later, in February 2005, a bar supervisor agreed that Field should be investigated. But there is no indication since then that the bar took action against Field, although Auguste said an investigator has contacted her on occasion with questions.

    Field, who insists he did nothing wrong in the Auguste case, said he has responded fully to the bar’s inquiries.

    Bar officials say they are most likely to pursue discipline charges against a prosecutor when a court makes a finding of misconduct — and when the misconduct causes the case to be reversed or dismissed.

    But in the case of Los Angeles prosecutor Rosalie Morton — cited in textbooks and court filings as the epitome of prosecutorial misconduct in California — the bar still took no action.

    In 1998, the California Supreme Court found Morton’s actions in a trial so egregious — she engaged in a “mountain of deceit and unethical behavior” — that it took the extremely rare step of overturning a murder conviction. The court then reported Morton to the state bar for discipline, noting that it was one of a succession of cases in which Morton had been cited by courts for misconduct.

    Morton has never been publicly disciplined; she has left the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office but remains an active member of the bar.

    Steedman declined to comment, saying the bar discusses only cases that result in formal charges. But he noted that the bar at the time was in the midst of a severe budget crunch caused by a dispute with then-Gov. Pete Wilson. Most employees were laid off, and when the bar resumed functioning, “We had to prosecute cases we believed would protect the public most from future misconduct.”

    Legal experts say there are many reasons why bar organizations rarely pursue prosecutors. One is resources: Cases against prosecutors are hard to prove and likely to be contested, so it is easier for the bar to pursue allegations that involve money, which are more clear-cut.

    “It’s largely a passive operation that reacts to complaints and chooses to prosecute what it considers the worst violations,” said Fred Zacharias, a University of San Diego law professor, who said he doesn’t believe that disciplining prosecutors more often would do much to deter misconduct.

    Let courts do it

    Other experts say bar officials prefer to let the courts handle misconduct allegations, or that they are uncomfortable, except in the worst cases, challenging attorneys who are trying to put criminals behind bars. And even though judges are required by professional code to report serious findings of prosecutorial or defense misconduct, bar officials say they don’t believe that always happens.

    California does not appear to stand out in its rate of attorney discipline. A recent American Bar Association survey of lawyer discipline agencies suggests that the frequency with which California sanctions attorneys ranked in the middle of states that responded. California’s rate of disbarring attorneys was lower than the median, but it suspends lawyers and puts them on probation more frequently than many states.

    The survey also indicated that California has one of the best-funded bar organizations in the nation, on a per attorney basis.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who is running for district attorney, said it is troubling that the California bar so rarely sanctions criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors.

    “I think they’re very focused on civil litigation and attorneys who take money from clients,” Sinunu said. “Few and far between are there cases of criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors getting slapped on the hand for anything.”

    “I think the state bar should be more active” in that realm, Sinunu said.
    Data analyst Griff Palmer contributed to this article. Contact Mike Zapler at (408) 920-5505 or mzapler@mercurynews.com.

    3/15/08 9:45 PM

  39. Anonymous

    There will be no California State Bar investigation of Yolo DA Reisig, DDA Linden and their henchmen without public pressure, as explained in the San Jose Mercury article below. Please call or write the State Bar and demand an investigation. San Francisco (Main Office)
    180 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2000 http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_home.jsp
    FROM THE SAN JOSE MERCURY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT, TAINTED TRIALS, STOLEN JUSTICE AT
    http://www.mercurynews.com/taintedtrials/
    State bar ignores errant lawyers
    PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE RARELY DISCIPLINED
    By Mike Zapler, Mercury News
    Article Launched: 02/12/2006 05:31:54 PM PST

    When California prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys engage in conduct that violates defendants’ rights, they can rest assured that they will rarely be held to account by the agency in charge of policing lawyers.

    A Mercury News review of nearly 1,500 state disciplinary actions over a five-year period found that just one of them involved prosecutorial misconduct. Criminal defense attorneys drew more notice from the State Bar of California, but not much more: Only 5 percent of the actions concerned criminal defense attorneys targeted for their work on behalf of clients.

    The findings come in the wake of a Mercury News investigation published last month that revealed the trial and appellate courts also rarely act to curb prosecutors or defense attorneys. Combined with the bar’s record, the paper’s reviews establish that there is no consistently effective check on courtroom behavior.

    Some experts say the situation is deplorable, although they are quick to add that California’s failures are not unique.

    “The bar and the judiciary that oversees prosecutors do not take actions to enforce the norms of prosecutorial conduct,” said Richard Rosen, a University of North Carolina law professor who has written about how disciplinary authorities across the country treat prosecutors.

    “There are many prosecutors who do their best to follow the rules. But when they choose not to, they know they aren’t going to suffer
    Advertisement
    serious consequences.”

    Of the three Santa Clara County prosecutors described in the series whose conduct led to a wrongful conviction, there is evidence of only one even being investigated by the bar. That case, involving Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Field, is pending, 18 months after a complaint was filed.

    A few of the defense attorneys identified in the series were disbarred, losing the right to practice law. Others, such as Rudy Guzzetta of San Jose, repeatedly have been cited for misrepresenting their clients, and yet they continue to practice. Guzzetta has been disciplined four separate times by the bar since 1987, admitting to multiple instances of misconduct, but the most severe penalty he has faced was a nine-month suspension imposed in 2002.

    Guzzetta, however, does not believe he got off easy. “If there’s a complaint to the bar, there’s a presumption that you’re guilty,” he said. “It is a situation where you’re not going to get a break, not from the bar.”

    Few complaints

    Bar officials insist they take complaints against prosecutors seriously. “It’s a grave situation when a prosecutor commits misconduct,” said Donald Steedman, the bar’s supervising trial counsel.

    But for a variety of reasons, said Steedman, the bar receives complaints against prosecutors far less often than other types of grievances. When complaints are lodged, bar officials must find “clear and convincing evidence” that the prosecutor’s violation was intentional to prove charges. “Our lot is sometimes a hard one,” he said.

    Steedman also noted two recent cases involving prosecutors that fell just outside the time frame for the Mercury News review. In one of them, a Butte County prosecutor was suspended for one year for withholding evidence helpful to the defense — an infraction that eventually led to the dismissal of charges against the defendant. A third case involving charges of prosecutorial misconduct is pending.

    The Mercury News undertook its analysis of bar discipline after learning that the agency does not track its own actions by type of attorney. The paper reviewed summaries in the California Bar Journal of the most serious categories of discipline — disbarment, probation and suspension — from 2001 to 2005. That amounted to 1,464 cases.

    The review shows that civil attorneys garner by far the most attention. Time and again, discipline logs describe the workings of divorce, bankruptcy and other civil attorneys who collect money from clients and then do little or no work.

    When it comes to conduct by attorneys in criminal cases, in contrast, the bar is rarely to be found. Only 75 cases were identified — one for a prosecutor and 74 for defense attorneys — in which the lawyer was disciplined for conduct in a criminal proceeding.

    The sole prosecutor was B. Iver Bye, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney at the time. In 2004, the bar suspended him for 30 days for secretly assisting a woman under investigation by his office.

    Apparent inaction

    In some instances, the bar does not act even when detailed charges against a prosecutor are filed. Field was rebuked for withholding evidence and defying judicial orders in a rape case in which a judge later found that the defendants, Damon Auguste and Kamani Hendricks, were wrongfully convicted.

    Donna Auguste, Damon Auguste’s aunt, said she complained to bar officials about Field in August 2004, but they declined to investigate. So “I kept calling and filing additional documents,” Auguste said. Six months later, in February 2005, a bar supervisor agreed that Field should be investigated. But there is no indication since then that the bar took action against Field, although Auguste said an investigator has contacted her on occasion with questions.

    Field, who insists he did nothing wrong in the Auguste case, said he has responded fully to the bar’s inquiries.

    Bar officials say they are most likely to pursue discipline charges against a prosecutor when a court makes a finding of misconduct — and when the misconduct causes the case to be reversed or dismissed.

    But in the case of Los Angeles prosecutor Rosalie Morton — cited in textbooks and court filings as the epitome of prosecutorial misconduct in California — the bar still took no action.

    In 1998, the California Supreme Court found Morton’s actions in a trial so egregious — she engaged in a “mountain of deceit and unethical behavior” — that it took the extremely rare step of overturning a murder conviction. The court then reported Morton to the state bar for discipline, noting that it was one of a succession of cases in which Morton had been cited by courts for misconduct.

    Morton has never been publicly disciplined; she has left the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office but remains an active member of the bar.

    Steedman declined to comment, saying the bar discusses only cases that result in formal charges. But he noted that the bar at the time was in the midst of a severe budget crunch caused by a dispute with then-Gov. Pete Wilson. Most employees were laid off, and when the bar resumed functioning, “We had to prosecute cases we believed would protect the public most from future misconduct.”

    Legal experts say there are many reasons why bar organizations rarely pursue prosecutors. One is resources: Cases against prosecutors are hard to prove and likely to be contested, so it is easier for the bar to pursue allegations that involve money, which are more clear-cut.

    “It’s largely a passive operation that reacts to complaints and chooses to prosecute what it considers the worst violations,” said Fred Zacharias, a University of San Diego law professor, who said he doesn’t believe that disciplining prosecutors more often would do much to deter misconduct.

    Let courts do it

    Other experts say bar officials prefer to let the courts handle misconduct allegations, or that they are uncomfortable, except in the worst cases, challenging attorneys who are trying to put criminals behind bars. And even though judges are required by professional code to report serious findings of prosecutorial or defense misconduct, bar officials say they don’t believe that always happens.

    California does not appear to stand out in its rate of attorney discipline. A recent American Bar Association survey of lawyer discipline agencies suggests that the frequency with which California sanctions attorneys ranked in the middle of states that responded. California’s rate of disbarring attorneys was lower than the median, but it suspends lawyers and puts them on probation more frequently than many states.

    The survey also indicated that California has one of the best-funded bar organizations in the nation, on a per attorney basis.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who is running for district attorney, said it is troubling that the California bar so rarely sanctions criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors.

    “I think they’re very focused on civil litigation and attorneys who take money from clients,” Sinunu said. “Few and far between are there cases of criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors getting slapped on the hand for anything.”

    “I think the state bar should be more active” in that realm, Sinunu said.
    Data analyst Griff Palmer contributed to this article. Contact Mike Zapler at (408) 920-5505 or mzapler@mercurynews.com.

    3/15/08 9:45 PM

  40. Anonymous

    There will be no California State Bar investigation of Yolo DA Reisig, DDA Linden and their henchmen without public pressure, as explained in the San Jose Mercury article below. Please call or write the State Bar and demand an investigation. San Francisco (Main Office)
    180 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2000 http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_home.jsp
    FROM THE SAN JOSE MERCURY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT, TAINTED TRIALS, STOLEN JUSTICE AT
    http://www.mercurynews.com/taintedtrials/
    State bar ignores errant lawyers
    PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE RARELY DISCIPLINED
    By Mike Zapler, Mercury News
    Article Launched: 02/12/2006 05:31:54 PM PST

    When California prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys engage in conduct that violates defendants’ rights, they can rest assured that they will rarely be held to account by the agency in charge of policing lawyers.

    A Mercury News review of nearly 1,500 state disciplinary actions over a five-year period found that just one of them involved prosecutorial misconduct. Criminal defense attorneys drew more notice from the State Bar of California, but not much more: Only 5 percent of the actions concerned criminal defense attorneys targeted for their work on behalf of clients.

    The findings come in the wake of a Mercury News investigation published last month that revealed the trial and appellate courts also rarely act to curb prosecutors or defense attorneys. Combined with the bar’s record, the paper’s reviews establish that there is no consistently effective check on courtroom behavior.

    Some experts say the situation is deplorable, although they are quick to add that California’s failures are not unique.

    “The bar and the judiciary that oversees prosecutors do not take actions to enforce the norms of prosecutorial conduct,” said Richard Rosen, a University of North Carolina law professor who has written about how disciplinary authorities across the country treat prosecutors.

    “There are many prosecutors who do their best to follow the rules. But when they choose not to, they know they aren’t going to suffer
    Advertisement
    serious consequences.”

    Of the three Santa Clara County prosecutors described in the series whose conduct led to a wrongful conviction, there is evidence of only one even being investigated by the bar. That case, involving Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Field, is pending, 18 months after a complaint was filed.

    A few of the defense attorneys identified in the series were disbarred, losing the right to practice law. Others, such as Rudy Guzzetta of San Jose, repeatedly have been cited for misrepresenting their clients, and yet they continue to practice. Guzzetta has been disciplined four separate times by the bar since 1987, admitting to multiple instances of misconduct, but the most severe penalty he has faced was a nine-month suspension imposed in 2002.

    Guzzetta, however, does not believe he got off easy. “If there’s a complaint to the bar, there’s a presumption that you’re guilty,” he said. “It is a situation where you’re not going to get a break, not from the bar.”

    Few complaints

    Bar officials insist they take complaints against prosecutors seriously. “It’s a grave situation when a prosecutor commits misconduct,” said Donald Steedman, the bar’s supervising trial counsel.

    But for a variety of reasons, said Steedman, the bar receives complaints against prosecutors far less often than other types of grievances. When complaints are lodged, bar officials must find “clear and convincing evidence” that the prosecutor’s violation was intentional to prove charges. “Our lot is sometimes a hard one,” he said.

    Steedman also noted two recent cases involving prosecutors that fell just outside the time frame for the Mercury News review. In one of them, a Butte County prosecutor was suspended for one year for withholding evidence helpful to the defense — an infraction that eventually led to the dismissal of charges against the defendant. A third case involving charges of prosecutorial misconduct is pending.

    The Mercury News undertook its analysis of bar discipline after learning that the agency does not track its own actions by type of attorney. The paper reviewed summaries in the California Bar Journal of the most serious categories of discipline — disbarment, probation and suspension — from 2001 to 2005. That amounted to 1,464 cases.

    The review shows that civil attorneys garner by far the most attention. Time and again, discipline logs describe the workings of divorce, bankruptcy and other civil attorneys who collect money from clients and then do little or no work.

    When it comes to conduct by attorneys in criminal cases, in contrast, the bar is rarely to be found. Only 75 cases were identified — one for a prosecutor and 74 for defense attorneys — in which the lawyer was disciplined for conduct in a criminal proceeding.

    The sole prosecutor was B. Iver Bye, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney at the time. In 2004, the bar suspended him for 30 days for secretly assisting a woman under investigation by his office.

    Apparent inaction

    In some instances, the bar does not act even when detailed charges against a prosecutor are filed. Field was rebuked for withholding evidence and defying judicial orders in a rape case in which a judge later found that the defendants, Damon Auguste and Kamani Hendricks, were wrongfully convicted.

    Donna Auguste, Damon Auguste’s aunt, said she complained to bar officials about Field in August 2004, but they declined to investigate. So “I kept calling and filing additional documents,” Auguste said. Six months later, in February 2005, a bar supervisor agreed that Field should be investigated. But there is no indication since then that the bar took action against Field, although Auguste said an investigator has contacted her on occasion with questions.

    Field, who insists he did nothing wrong in the Auguste case, said he has responded fully to the bar’s inquiries.

    Bar officials say they are most likely to pursue discipline charges against a prosecutor when a court makes a finding of misconduct — and when the misconduct causes the case to be reversed or dismissed.

    But in the case of Los Angeles prosecutor Rosalie Morton — cited in textbooks and court filings as the epitome of prosecutorial misconduct in California — the bar still took no action.

    In 1998, the California Supreme Court found Morton’s actions in a trial so egregious — she engaged in a “mountain of deceit and unethical behavior” — that it took the extremely rare step of overturning a murder conviction. The court then reported Morton to the state bar for discipline, noting that it was one of a succession of cases in which Morton had been cited by courts for misconduct.

    Morton has never been publicly disciplined; she has left the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office but remains an active member of the bar.

    Steedman declined to comment, saying the bar discusses only cases that result in formal charges. But he noted that the bar at the time was in the midst of a severe budget crunch caused by a dispute with then-Gov. Pete Wilson. Most employees were laid off, and when the bar resumed functioning, “We had to prosecute cases we believed would protect the public most from future misconduct.”

    Legal experts say there are many reasons why bar organizations rarely pursue prosecutors. One is resources: Cases against prosecutors are hard to prove and likely to be contested, so it is easier for the bar to pursue allegations that involve money, which are more clear-cut.

    “It’s largely a passive operation that reacts to complaints and chooses to prosecute what it considers the worst violations,” said Fred Zacharias, a University of San Diego law professor, who said he doesn’t believe that disciplining prosecutors more often would do much to deter misconduct.

    Let courts do it

    Other experts say bar officials prefer to let the courts handle misconduct allegations, or that they are uncomfortable, except in the worst cases, challenging attorneys who are trying to put criminals behind bars. And even though judges are required by professional code to report serious findings of prosecutorial or defense misconduct, bar officials say they don’t believe that always happens.

    California does not appear to stand out in its rate of attorney discipline. A recent American Bar Association survey of lawyer discipline agencies suggests that the frequency with which California sanctions attorneys ranked in the middle of states that responded. California’s rate of disbarring attorneys was lower than the median, but it suspends lawyers and puts them on probation more frequently than many states.

    The survey also indicated that California has one of the best-funded bar organizations in the nation, on a per attorney basis.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who is running for district attorney, said it is troubling that the California bar so rarely sanctions criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors.

    “I think they’re very focused on civil litigation and attorneys who take money from clients,” Sinunu said. “Few and far between are there cases of criminal defense attorneys or prosecutors getting slapped on the hand for anything.”

    “I think the state bar should be more active” in that realm, Sinunu said.
    Data analyst Griff Palmer contributed to this article. Contact Mike Zapler at (408) 920-5505 or mzapler@mercurynews.com.

    3/15/08 9:45 PM

  41. Anonymous

    The problem with the CA State Bar, as is done in most other states, is that it is made up of lawyers policing themselves. It is tantamount to having the fox guarding the henhouse. Never a good thing…

  42. Anonymous

    The problem with the CA State Bar, as is done in most other states, is that it is made up of lawyers policing themselves. It is tantamount to having the fox guarding the henhouse. Never a good thing…

  43. Anonymous

    The problem with the CA State Bar, as is done in most other states, is that it is made up of lawyers policing themselves. It is tantamount to having the fox guarding the henhouse. Never a good thing…

  44. Anonymous

    The problem with the CA State Bar, as is done in most other states, is that it is made up of lawyers policing themselves. It is tantamount to having the fox guarding the henhouse. Never a good thing…

  45. Anonymous

    A simple slap on the hand for ruining someone’s life or stealing someone’s years while someone waste away in the system ? That is truly appalling.
    For every year that Reisig has put someone who is not guilty behind bars, he should be incarcerated. Of course, with his ego it would hurt him more if he was disbarred.
    The DOJ needs to step in as soon as possible and conduct a serious investigation regarding the allegations. The State Bar will respond with a lot of pressure, whether lawyers are policing it or not.

  46. Anonymous

    A simple slap on the hand for ruining someone’s life or stealing someone’s years while someone waste away in the system ? That is truly appalling.
    For every year that Reisig has put someone who is not guilty behind bars, he should be incarcerated. Of course, with his ego it would hurt him more if he was disbarred.
    The DOJ needs to step in as soon as possible and conduct a serious investigation regarding the allegations. The State Bar will respond with a lot of pressure, whether lawyers are policing it or not.

  47. Anonymous

    A simple slap on the hand for ruining someone’s life or stealing someone’s years while someone waste away in the system ? That is truly appalling.
    For every year that Reisig has put someone who is not guilty behind bars, he should be incarcerated. Of course, with his ego it would hurt him more if he was disbarred.
    The DOJ needs to step in as soon as possible and conduct a serious investigation regarding the allegations. The State Bar will respond with a lot of pressure, whether lawyers are policing it or not.

  48. Anonymous

    A simple slap on the hand for ruining someone’s life or stealing someone’s years while someone waste away in the system ? That is truly appalling.
    For every year that Reisig has put someone who is not guilty behind bars, he should be incarcerated. Of course, with his ego it would hurt him more if he was disbarred.
    The DOJ needs to step in as soon as possible and conduct a serious investigation regarding the allegations. The State Bar will respond with a lot of pressure, whether lawyers are policing it or not.

  49. Anonymous

    Jeff Reisig is only a small part of the problem that has existed in the DA’s Office. The problem dates to the time Peter Martin was named Chief Investigator by David Henderson. Since that time there has been no one more unethical and corrupt as Martin and his sidekick Daniel Stroski. I think that the Yolo County Grand Jury should look into all facets of the day to day operations of the DA’s Office, particulary that of Peter Martin. Martin continues to get people hired that aren’t qualified, such as Dan’s wife, Virginia Stroski. She has never been able to maintain any position in the DA’s Office that requires peace officer skills. She was only hired because of the friendship of Dan and Peter. Even Dan, who is about as worthless, was hired back under the support of Martin. Now Dan is an acting supervisor collecting 5% extra pay without any end in sight to fill the position with a proper supervisor. Pete has bought the loyalty of DA employees by assuring them of titles they don’t deserve and a company car to take home every night when truly not authorized by the County. So would you speak against Martin if you were given some of these benefits as a DA employee. This is only the tip of the iceberg and needs to be look into by either the County or the Grand Jury.

  50. Anonymous

    Jeff Reisig is only a small part of the problem that has existed in the DA’s Office. The problem dates to the time Peter Martin was named Chief Investigator by David Henderson. Since that time there has been no one more unethical and corrupt as Martin and his sidekick Daniel Stroski. I think that the Yolo County Grand Jury should look into all facets of the day to day operations of the DA’s Office, particulary that of Peter Martin. Martin continues to get people hired that aren’t qualified, such as Dan’s wife, Virginia Stroski. She has never been able to maintain any position in the DA’s Office that requires peace officer skills. She was only hired because of the friendship of Dan and Peter. Even Dan, who is about as worthless, was hired back under the support of Martin. Now Dan is an acting supervisor collecting 5% extra pay without any end in sight to fill the position with a proper supervisor. Pete has bought the loyalty of DA employees by assuring them of titles they don’t deserve and a company car to take home every night when truly not authorized by the County. So would you speak against Martin if you were given some of these benefits as a DA employee. This is only the tip of the iceberg and needs to be look into by either the County or the Grand Jury.

  51. Anonymous

    Jeff Reisig is only a small part of the problem that has existed in the DA’s Office. The problem dates to the time Peter Martin was named Chief Investigator by David Henderson. Since that time there has been no one more unethical and corrupt as Martin and his sidekick Daniel Stroski. I think that the Yolo County Grand Jury should look into all facets of the day to day operations of the DA’s Office, particulary that of Peter Martin. Martin continues to get people hired that aren’t qualified, such as Dan’s wife, Virginia Stroski. She has never been able to maintain any position in the DA’s Office that requires peace officer skills. She was only hired because of the friendship of Dan and Peter. Even Dan, who is about as worthless, was hired back under the support of Martin. Now Dan is an acting supervisor collecting 5% extra pay without any end in sight to fill the position with a proper supervisor. Pete has bought the loyalty of DA employees by assuring them of titles they don’t deserve and a company car to take home every night when truly not authorized by the County. So would you speak against Martin if you were given some of these benefits as a DA employee. This is only the tip of the iceberg and needs to be look into by either the County or the Grand Jury.

  52. Anonymous

    Jeff Reisig is only a small part of the problem that has existed in the DA’s Office. The problem dates to the time Peter Martin was named Chief Investigator by David Henderson. Since that time there has been no one more unethical and corrupt as Martin and his sidekick Daniel Stroski. I think that the Yolo County Grand Jury should look into all facets of the day to day operations of the DA’s Office, particulary that of Peter Martin. Martin continues to get people hired that aren’t qualified, such as Dan’s wife, Virginia Stroski. She has never been able to maintain any position in the DA’s Office that requires peace officer skills. She was only hired because of the friendship of Dan and Peter. Even Dan, who is about as worthless, was hired back under the support of Martin. Now Dan is an acting supervisor collecting 5% extra pay without any end in sight to fill the position with a proper supervisor. Pete has bought the loyalty of DA employees by assuring them of titles they don’t deserve and a company car to take home every night when truly not authorized by the County. So would you speak against Martin if you were given some of these benefits as a DA employee. This is only the tip of the iceberg and needs to be look into by either the County or the Grand Jury.

  53. Anonymous

    Its amazing to me that the persons who write this crap, don’t have the integrity to leave their names. I know the people in question, and their integrity is beyond reproach.

    Pete Martin has been a loyal civil servant for close to 30 yrs. He was appointed by Henderson and now continues under Reisig. Do you honestly think if he was doing bad job that Reisig would have kept him on?

    Dan Stroski is a 26 yr veteran with a reputation of being honest and a go to kind of guy. He was voted officer of the year two years ago, by his peers. Hardly worthless as the writer implies.

    Name calling, and slurring reputations to satisfy ones need to feel better about their own failures is what smells of this last blog entry.

    Questionable hiring practices? The idiot fails to mention that the County has to approve hires as did David Henderson. Martin could only give a favorable nod, but it was Henderson that hired Martin and the Stroskis.

    This idiot also fails to mention that Virginia was hired as an entry level position. She is entitled to be new and learn, just like everyone else. She still had to meet basic standards set by POST.

    The fact is, that the county will investigate these allegations. But the personal attacks only cheapen the issues. Lets let the County make the call and leave the mud slinging to the Democrats.

  54. Anonymous

    Its amazing to me that the persons who write this crap, don’t have the integrity to leave their names. I know the people in question, and their integrity is beyond reproach.

    Pete Martin has been a loyal civil servant for close to 30 yrs. He was appointed by Henderson and now continues under Reisig. Do you honestly think if he was doing bad job that Reisig would have kept him on?

    Dan Stroski is a 26 yr veteran with a reputation of being honest and a go to kind of guy. He was voted officer of the year two years ago, by his peers. Hardly worthless as the writer implies.

    Name calling, and slurring reputations to satisfy ones need to feel better about their own failures is what smells of this last blog entry.

    Questionable hiring practices? The idiot fails to mention that the County has to approve hires as did David Henderson. Martin could only give a favorable nod, but it was Henderson that hired Martin and the Stroskis.

    This idiot also fails to mention that Virginia was hired as an entry level position. She is entitled to be new and learn, just like everyone else. She still had to meet basic standards set by POST.

    The fact is, that the county will investigate these allegations. But the personal attacks only cheapen the issues. Lets let the County make the call and leave the mud slinging to the Democrats.

  55. Anonymous

    Its amazing to me that the persons who write this crap, don’t have the integrity to leave their names. I know the people in question, and their integrity is beyond reproach.

    Pete Martin has been a loyal civil servant for close to 30 yrs. He was appointed by Henderson and now continues under Reisig. Do you honestly think if he was doing bad job that Reisig would have kept him on?

    Dan Stroski is a 26 yr veteran with a reputation of being honest and a go to kind of guy. He was voted officer of the year two years ago, by his peers. Hardly worthless as the writer implies.

    Name calling, and slurring reputations to satisfy ones need to feel better about their own failures is what smells of this last blog entry.

    Questionable hiring practices? The idiot fails to mention that the County has to approve hires as did David Henderson. Martin could only give a favorable nod, but it was Henderson that hired Martin and the Stroskis.

    This idiot also fails to mention that Virginia was hired as an entry level position. She is entitled to be new and learn, just like everyone else. She still had to meet basic standards set by POST.

    The fact is, that the county will investigate these allegations. But the personal attacks only cheapen the issues. Lets let the County make the call and leave the mud slinging to the Democrats.

  56. Anonymous

    Its amazing to me that the persons who write this crap, don’t have the integrity to leave their names. I know the people in question, and their integrity is beyond reproach.

    Pete Martin has been a loyal civil servant for close to 30 yrs. He was appointed by Henderson and now continues under Reisig. Do you honestly think if he was doing bad job that Reisig would have kept him on?

    Dan Stroski is a 26 yr veteran with a reputation of being honest and a go to kind of guy. He was voted officer of the year two years ago, by his peers. Hardly worthless as the writer implies.

    Name calling, and slurring reputations to satisfy ones need to feel better about their own failures is what smells of this last blog entry.

    Questionable hiring practices? The idiot fails to mention that the County has to approve hires as did David Henderson. Martin could only give a favorable nod, but it was Henderson that hired Martin and the Stroskis.

    This idiot also fails to mention that Virginia was hired as an entry level position. She is entitled to be new and learn, just like everyone else. She still had to meet basic standards set by POST.

    The fact is, that the county will investigate these allegations. But the personal attacks only cheapen the issues. Lets let the County make the call and leave the mud slinging to the Democrats.

  57. Anonymous

    In case you haven’t seen or heard people are getting fired or asked to leave around here. That’s why I didn’t give my name. I have a family to feed and can’t afford to lose my job. I also hope the County looks into this matter and people will be honest with them. By the way where is your name?

  58. Anonymous

    In case you haven’t seen or heard people are getting fired or asked to leave around here. That’s why I didn’t give my name. I have a family to feed and can’t afford to lose my job. I also hope the County looks into this matter and people will be honest with them. By the way where is your name?

  59. Anonymous

    In case you haven’t seen or heard people are getting fired or asked to leave around here. That’s why I didn’t give my name. I have a family to feed and can’t afford to lose my job. I also hope the County looks into this matter and people will be honest with them. By the way where is your name?

  60. Anonymous

    In case you haven’t seen or heard people are getting fired or asked to leave around here. That’s why I didn’t give my name. I have a family to feed and can’t afford to lose my job. I also hope the County looks into this matter and people will be honest with them. By the way where is your name?

  61. Anonymous

    How about spinning this situation out a little more? If Reisig were asked to step down, which he will never do, who would be left to run the office? His Chief Deputy is married to a Yolo County Judge!!! Isn’t that cozy? The Public Defender’s Office has complained for years that Mrs. Judge should not be allowed to do anything in the Courts but she still does. Be careful what you wish for. Several of the high and mighties in the DA’s office have skeletons in their closets- that’s why they are taking it out on the staff. Rick Gore had had enough and finally said something. No one will say anything because they need their jobs. Gore will be forced to make a decision- either resign or be crucified. Watch and see…..

  62. Anonymous

    How about spinning this situation out a little more? If Reisig were asked to step down, which he will never do, who would be left to run the office? His Chief Deputy is married to a Yolo County Judge!!! Isn’t that cozy? The Public Defender’s Office has complained for years that Mrs. Judge should not be allowed to do anything in the Courts but she still does. Be careful what you wish for. Several of the high and mighties in the DA’s office have skeletons in their closets- that’s why they are taking it out on the staff. Rick Gore had had enough and finally said something. No one will say anything because they need their jobs. Gore will be forced to make a decision- either resign or be crucified. Watch and see…..

  63. Anonymous

    How about spinning this situation out a little more? If Reisig were asked to step down, which he will never do, who would be left to run the office? His Chief Deputy is married to a Yolo County Judge!!! Isn’t that cozy? The Public Defender’s Office has complained for years that Mrs. Judge should not be allowed to do anything in the Courts but she still does. Be careful what you wish for. Several of the high and mighties in the DA’s office have skeletons in their closets- that’s why they are taking it out on the staff. Rick Gore had had enough and finally said something. No one will say anything because they need their jobs. Gore will be forced to make a decision- either resign or be crucified. Watch and see…..

  64. Anonymous

    How about spinning this situation out a little more? If Reisig were asked to step down, which he will never do, who would be left to run the office? His Chief Deputy is married to a Yolo County Judge!!! Isn’t that cozy? The Public Defender’s Office has complained for years that Mrs. Judge should not be allowed to do anything in the Courts but she still does. Be careful what you wish for. Several of the high and mighties in the DA’s office have skeletons in their closets- that’s why they are taking it out on the staff. Rick Gore had had enough and finally said something. No one will say anything because they need their jobs. Gore will be forced to make a decision- either resign or be crucified. Watch and see…..

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