Deputy DA Resigns Following Traffic Accident

Barry Shaprio
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Barry Shaprio
Former Deputy DA Barry Shapiro (right) walks with the family member of the victim in a case where he got a conviction for vehicular manslaughter in September.

Three weeks after being involved in a single-car traffic accident, Yolo County Deputy DA Barry Shapiro resigned from his post, the Vanguard has learned. Yolo County Counsel Phil Pogledich confirmed that “Mr. Shapiro’s final day of County employment was November 13, 2015.”

The California Bar Association website shows that Mr. Shapiro’s place of employment is no longer the Yolo County DA’s Office, and is instead a nondescript residential address in Davis. However, there remains no evidence that Mr. Shapiro has been brought up on charges for his actions on the night of October 22 on a county road west of Winters.

In early November, multiple sources told the Vanguard that, following a night of drinking, Deputy DA Shapiro was involved in a single-car collision a few weeks earlier, which resulted in his abandoning his vehicle on a county road.

CHP Spokesperson Pedro Leon confirmed that the CHP found the abandoned vehicle belonging to a Barry Shapiro on Highway 128 west of Winters near Pleasants Valley Road. The vehicle was disabled after being involved in a single-car collision.

However, Officer Leon indicated that there is no mention of a DUI investigation involving Mr. Shapiro.

According to the California Bar Association website’s records, Mr. Shapiro passed the bar just under three years ago in December of 2012. He has been an employee with the Yolo County DA’s office for just under two and a half years, after graduating from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.

It has been just under two years since former Deputy DA Sulaiman Tokhi resigned from the DA’s office effective November 16 of that year, following an October 19 arrest in Fairfield in which he attempted to “badge” the CHP officer involved in the arrest.

In that case, Mr. Tokhi entered a reduced plea of “wet reckless” that resulted in probation, payment of a $953 fine and his enrollment in a 12-hour alcohol education course. Mr. Tokhi had been with the Yolo County DA’s office since 2006, and is now working as a Deputy DA in Monterey County.

Mr. Shapiro’s situation was made more interesting by the fact that he was assigned to work DUI cases. Six days after the accident, Mr. Shapiro was quoted, in a Daily Democrat article, on the DA’s office’s funding to crack down “on drivers under the influence well into the new year.”

The article, dated October 28, reported, “Under the auspices of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the DA’s Office received a renewed grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety Thursday. According to a statement from Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven, the grant funds — a little more than $186,000 for the 2015-16 fiscal year — will be used to continue its DUI vertical prosecution unit.”

“The danger of driving while impaired by a drug is just as significant as the danger posed by alcohol impairment,” the article quoted Deputy District Barry Shapiro, who they said “helps oversee the special DUI unit.” He would add, “Just because a drug is prescribed does not mean it is safe for an individual driver, and does not mean an individual can drive with that drug in his system.”

The next day, on October 29, the Davis Enterprise reported, “Formed in 2012, the unit focuses on the most serious and complex DUI cases, such as those involving injury and death, and those involving drug impairment. It is led by Deputy District Attorney Barry Shapiro and Investigator John Shugart.”

Funding for the DUI unit “allows Shapiro to handle a case through all stages of the criminal process, from the time of the arrest through sentencing. Additionally, the funding also allows the team to assist law enforcement in the investigation of fatal and major injury collisions.”

“DUIs, despite being one of the most preventable crimes, pose such an enormous danger to our community because anyone can be a potential victim. Once impaired drivers get behind the wheel, they lose control over what can turn into a deadly weapon,” Mr. Shapiro added.

—David M. Greenwald 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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36 thoughts on “Deputy DA Resigns Following Traffic Accident”

  1. Tia Will

    DUIs, despite being one of the most preventable crimes, pose such an enormous danger to our community because anyone can be a potential victim. Once impaired drivers get behind the wheel, they lose control over what can turn into a deadly weapon,” Mr. Shapiro added.”

    What an eloquent way of framing the problem. What a shame that it does not seem to be equally realized how destructive the act of drinking itself can be to the individual consuming the alcohol. The risk is not just to those who may be potentially harmed by the DUI perpetrator but also extend to that individual and his/her family and colleagues as well. To me, our legal system seems to be too narrowly focused on a framework of perpetrators and victims, without being aware of the overlap of these groups when it comes to substance abuse, intoxication and addiction.

     

    1. Frankly

      On the contrary doctor, studies have proven time and time again that drinking alcohol in moderation is actually good for health.   You seem to have a personally vendetta against alcohol and attempt to connect your personal fear narrative of alcohol health risks to any and every topic you can.

      DUI is really a completely separate topic.

      1. Don Shor

        studies have proven time and time again that drinking alcohol in moderation is actually good for health.

        Which equals one (1) drink per day for women, and up to two (2) for men.

          1. Don Shor

            Actually, that is not entirely true. Long-term abstinence is just as healthy as moderate drinking.
            http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/30/science/sci-alcohol30

            The findings, published online in the journal Addiction Research and Theory, are an outgrowth of ideas first proposed 15 years ago by Dr. A. G. Shaper of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London.

            In his studies on heart disease and death, Shaper observed that many people who abstained from alcohol did so because of advancing age, serious illness or the use of drugs whose effects were altered by alcohol.

            He warned then, and has continued to warn, that counting such people as abstainers in alcohol studies would bias the results because their increased likelihood of disease and death was unrelated to the fact that they didn’t drink.

            But the idea that a couple of drinks are beneficial “is such an appealing hypothesis” that few have taken him seriously, he said.

            “It’s a lovely story, an appealing story,” Shaper said. “Doctors like it, patients like it, everybody likes it.”

            The paper by Fillmore and an international team of colleagues “is the first time anybody has had a good, critical look at all the evidence,” he said.

            Fillmore’s team identified 54 published reports that examined the health effects of drinking. They found that the majority of the papers included significant numbers of people who had recently quit drinking — for whatever reason — among the group who abstained from alcohol.

            Seven of the 54 studies included only long-term abstainers — people who had never consumed alcohol or who had stopped drinking years earlier for reasons unrelated to their current health.

            All seven of those studies showed no benefit from moderate drinking.

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        On the contrary doctor, studies have proven time and time again that drinking alcohol in moderation is actually good for health.   You seem to have a personally vendetta against alcohol and attempt to connect your personal fear narrative of alcohol health risks to any and every topic you can.”

        Well that is interesting since I have frequently mentioned that I drink myself, and have no problem with responsible drinking. The issue is irresponsible drinking which is not limited to DUIs.

         

        1. sisterhood

          “The issue is irresponsible drinking which is not limited to DUIs.”

          Perhaps there needs to be a DDRO registry> dangerous dui repeat offender registry. Because communities have a right to know if a dangerous repeat DUI offender lives next door, because that person might back their car out of their driveway and kill a toddler, or your teenager on a bike?

          Perhaps there needs to be some serious cash for convictions for dui offender convictions.

    2. darelldd

      “DUIs, despite being one of the most preventable crimes…”

      Which immediately puts this in the category of “not an accident.”

      Please, David. Change the subject line. And change the instances of “accident” in the article.

       

        1. sisterhood

          Perhaps the community needs a dangerous sleep deprived individual registry. Because my neighbor in North Davis fell asleep at the wheel on his way home from work in downtown Davis and hit a parked car late at night. He was injured but survived. Thank God it was a parked car with no one inside.

          Also, I drove non-stop with my dog beside me in the front seat of my car from Salem, OR to northern CA when I was young and foolish. I fell asleep at the wheel just before I reached the exits for Sebastopol, but thank God those little bumps on the freeway jolted me and woke me up. I could have very easily crossed the line into oncoming traffic and killed an innocent driver coming the other way.  My youth and foolishness made me a danger to society; perhaps my name should have been on a registry for everyone in every community to view.

          My last few comments are not tongue in cheek. Communities are truly worried about dangerous members of society.   Therefore,  folks who repeatedly drive while exhausted/drunk/high/distracted by electronic devices and/or screaming passengers, pets, when they should be paying attention to the road, and are well rested, are also a serious danger. Perhaps there needs to be a registry.

  2. Misanthrop

    I met him once. Seemed like a bright young guy with great prospects. I’m glad nobody was hurt. Its understanding that the DA’s office would want to hold its people to a high standard. I wish him well and hope he learned a lesson or gets help if he needs it.

    1. Paul Thober

      “I’m glad nobody was hurt.”

      Mr. Shapiro hurt himself and his family through his actions. He was fired because of this incident. I am not glad about any aspect of it other than it was not swept under the rug.

  3. Davis Progressive

    it seems that david was right in his original reporting even though he was forced to utilize unnamed sources.  my problem is that neither he nor tokhi were disciplined by the bar even though as law enforcement officers they transgressed in their sworn duty to uphold the laws of california by violating them.  yes, the yolo da’s office apparently did not see fit for them to continue – and that is to their credit – tokhi is now a deputy da in monterey country and practicing law.  i wonder what my old friend jim eager would say (he’s the public defender there).  meanwhile there is no bar association action happening against barry shapiro either.  while i think tokhi’s situation is more egregious – he actually tried to get out of it by badging the chp officer and then pled it down to wet/ wreckless, barry shapiro is more hypocritical given the fact that he argued for excessive punishment for those who violated the law in the same manner he did but for the fact that he happened to cause no injuries in his accident.

  4. darelldd

    I’ll make this short.

    Crashes are not accidents. And there was no accident here.

    Words matter.

    The world-wide medical profession, the NHSTA, the DOT, Caltrans and the CHP no longer refer to these crashes as accidents.

    Now it is time for the press and the individuals to get onboard. Let’s start with the folks who’s job it is to use correct, non-subjective terms, and stop marginalizing these tragic events.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “An accident, as defined by the dictionary is an unfortunate event that took place either by carelessness or ignorance. ”

      i get your point, i’m not sure accident as opposed to crash is that meaningful.  i agree that we need to stop marginalizing these events, but i prefer to focus on the system that appears to be protecting his transgression rather some sort of neo-structuralism.

      1. darelldd

        If this weren’t so tragic, it would be amusing. Did you stop looking after finding that one definition that made your point? How about the definition of the same word that includes “unavoidable” and “unpredictable?” Make no mistake – using objective, accurate words is the easy, low-hanging-fruit way to avoid marginalizing these events.

        If you wish to fix the broken system that protects the transgressors, proper word usage is where we start. You’ll note that the only reporting that used the word “accident” in this situation was from David. And until he stops using accident, I’ll be right here being a thorn in his side. I think David’s articles are great in general… but not once have I heard him agree that crashes are not accidents. He writes it, I complain about it, and nothing changes. The heading of this article should be changed – as should every instance of the word in his article.

        The reason? Because this was as crash, not an accident. Why is it so hard to call it what it is, instead of coloring it with subjectivity? Was this not a fatal crash?

        The most NEO of agencies, the NHSTA stopped using the word ACCIDENT in the NEO year of 1997 for this stated reason:

        Changing the way we think about events, and the words we use to describe them, affects the way we behave. Motor vehicle crashes and injuries are predictable, preventable events. Continued use of the word “accident” promotes the concept that these events are outside of human influence or control. In fact, they are predictable results of specific actions.

        Since we can identify the causes of crashes, we can take action to alter the effect, and avoid collisions. These events are not “acts of God” but predictable results of the laws of physics.

        The concept of “accident” works against bringing all the appropriate resources to bear on the enormous problem of motor vehicle collisions. Continuous use of “accident” fosters the idea that the resulting injuries are an unavoidable part of life.

        “Crash”, “collision”, “incident”, and “injury” are more appropriate terms, and should be encouraged as substitutes for the word “accident”.

        Want to now what the NEO agency of the CHP has to say about it? Especially as it pertains to substance abuse?

         

        CHP pamphlet made for the purpose of reporting a collision:

        …vehicle collisions are not accidents. An alcohol related vehicle collision is just that… a vehicle collision because the term “accident” implies that these collisions, deaths, and injuries are unavoidable.. In fact, alcohol related collisions are predictable and preventable because drinking and riving is the conscious choice of the driver.

        Need, I go on? There are plenty more NEO agencies that have stopped using “accident” (see my list above). The only people still using the word are the reporters… and the folks who are just so used to the word that they can’t stop using it – or worse… continue to defend it.

  5. Anon

    dp: “it seems that david was right in his original reporting even though he was forced to utilize unnamed sources.  my problem is that neither he nor tokhi were disciplined by the bar even though as law enforcement officers they transgressed in their sworn duty to uphold the laws of california by violating them.  yes, the yolo da’s office apparently did not see fit for them to continue – and that is to their credit – tokhi is now a deputy da in monterey country and practicing law.  i wonder what my old friend jim eager would say (he’s the public defender there).  meanwhile there is no bar association action happening against barry shapiro either.  while i think tokhi’s situation is more egregious – he actually tried to get out of it by badging the chp officer and then pled it down to wet/ wreckless, barry shapiro is more hypocritical given the fact that he argued for excessive punishment for those who violated the law in the same manner he did but for the fact that he happened to cause no injuries in his accident.

    The CA State Bar has what is called “The Other Bar” to help those attorneys who have a problem with alcohol or drugs.  They try and help bar members (attorneys) overcome their problems before disbarring them.

    If this was a DUI, which we still don’t know for a fact, my hope is this man gets the help he needs and gets back on track with his life.  The mark of a man is not that he made no mistakes, but that he learned from his mistakes.  All humans make mistakes – it is inevitable.

    1. Davis Progressive

      but the mark of a law enforcement official has to be at a higher standard than the mark of a man.  because holds great power and responsibility of making decisions to deprive people of their liberty.

      we know this was a dui.  talk to people who work in and around the courthouse, everyone knows about it.

        1. Davis Progressive

          except for one problem this isn’t a court of law and it appears he already took the equivalent of a plea bargain by resigning while not currently facing any charges.

        2. sisterhood

          “…he already took the equivalent of a plea bargain by resigning while not currently facing any charges…”

          DP, I hope you are not insinuating that a plea bargain is an admission of guilt.

      1. Frankly

        but the mark of a law enforcement official has to be at a higher standard than the mark of a man.  because holds great power and responsibility of making decisions to deprive people of their liberty.

        This is true a great many people that work in government positions. And I don’t see you giving anywhere near the same level of scrutiny to others as you do to law enforcement.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i disagree on both fronts of your point.  first, police officers can shoot people, da’s take our liberty, and remember my professional work actually puts scrutiny on both.  that said, there are certainly plenty of government officials, most of them elected that are highly scrutinized on here from city staffers to city managers to city councilmembers and above that i think your overall bent is false.

        2. Miwok

          From my experience working with people in a variety of jurisdictions, there are many who are in position of power and not, who all have problems like these enumerated, and never see any discipline, and have relatives in prison, addicts, and they spend lots of their time getting their family and friends the “discount” that comes with having access to the system from within.

        3. sisterhood

          “This is true a great many people that work in government positions.”

          Frankly, your described I.T. position at a bank undoubtedly placed you in a position of great power & responsibility as well. Also, you’ve mentioned you are a dad. Another position of immense responsibility.

      2. sisterhood

        “…talk to people around the courthouse…”

        The talking behavior you suggest sounds like idol gossip,  or as lawyers call it, “heresay”. Where is the proof?

         

    2. sisterhood

      “They try and help bar members (attorneys) overcome their problems before disbarring them.”

      I disagree.  Some individual members of the CA State Bar are very subjective.  They do not always try to help their bar members.

      “…my hope is this man gets the help he needs and gets back on track with his life. The mark of a man is not that he made no mistakes, but that he learned from his mistakes.”
      I agree.

  6. sisterhood

    The CA State Bar is made up of very subjective individuals; there is no uniform fair discipline of their own. It does not surprise me that Mr. Shapiro can continue to practice law.

  7. sisterhood

    Perhaps it is partly because so many lawyers like to drink alcohol that this offense is not taken seriously, unless it is being prosecuted by any overly zealous DA for his own political career, not for the safety of the community.

     

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