Johansson Denies Allegations in Latest Hit Piece from the District Attorney


On Thursday, a group called Crime Victims United issued a news release containing police reports alleging that Dean Johansson, who is challenging incumbent District Attorney Jeff Reisig, assaulted his son in the fall of 2007 during an altercation in which he kicked his son out of his home.  Mr. Johansson denies the report and told the Vanguard he never kicked his son.

In a statement from Mr. Reisig released on Facebook, he said, “In the fall of 2007, the Davis Police Department submitted a criminal investigation report to my office in which witnesses alleged that Dean Johansson had committed a violent assault on his child. The allegations in the report were serious and corroborated by more than one witness and a physical injury observed by the reporting officer.”

Mr. Reisig claims that the matter was resolved through other interventions.  He writes, “As the District Attorney, my job is to seek and rely on the facts and the law and to use my discretion in deciding when to formally charge someone with a crime by filing a complaint. At times, I have decided as the DA that offender accountability, victim restitution and societal protection can be accomplished through other official interventions or programs. This was such a case.

“My decision to rely on another process had nothing to do with my belief that a crime had been committed. The facts in the independently investigated and prepared police reports clearly supported probable cause of the crime of felony child abuse.”

The Vanguard spoke late Friday with Dean Johansson, who was out of the area attending a family funeral.  Mr. Johansson denied that he ever kicked his son or engaged in any form of physical abuse and questioned the propriety of the group obtaining this information, which is not readily available via the Public Records Act.

Dean Johansson asked, “Why wasn’t this prosecuted 11 years ago if there was evidence?”

Mr. Johansson told the Vanguard, “I deny any child abuse.”

He is upset that his family has been dragged into this, but he explained that his kids were going through some trouble at the time. “It was a tumultuous time period for (my son),” he said.

“That night, 11 years ago, did I kick him?  No,” he said.  “I don’t kick my kids.”

He said, “There’s no physical evidence to support the allegation.  That’s why it was impossible for them to have even prosecuted the case.”

Mr. Johansson said, “100 percent this was never prosecuted.”  He was never arrested.  He was never taken to arraignment court.  “There was never any paperwork.  I never saw a police report,” he said.  “Absolutely there was no agreement.”

He said, “I was never informed that there was ever any case ever filed.”

Dean Johansson questioned where this group obtained this information in the first place.  “Where did they get this information?  It had to be given to them by some internal source in the district attorney’s office to even know what this evidence is.

“I would like to know where this report even came from in the first place,” he said.  “Where did this report come from?  Reisig’s using power to create falsehoods to demean his opponent.”

He said, “This is to divert attention from the real issues of abuse of power, lack of transparency, using power to bully and inappropriate prosecutions.”

Dean Johansson pointed out that the same thing happened to Pat Lenzi in 2006 as well.  “This is his modus operandi.”

In 1999, while working as Deputy DA for Sacramento County, Pat Lenzi was involved in a serious automobile accident (a drunk driver hit her car) that had for a time caused her some memory problems. James Hawes was a sexual predator who was convicted for committing a string of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, sexual assault, and several other offenses. This was a convicted sex offender who was trying to take advantage of this issue to get a new trial.

The Woodland Daily Democrat on May 31, 2006—just over one week prior to the election—seized on this information, printing an extremely slanted version of the story.

The story led off with: “An admission by Deputy District Attorney and candidate for District Attorney Patricia Lenzi of a brain injury affecting her memory – which led to her failing to give defense lawyers a piece of evidence favorable to their client – is raising questions about her competency for the top office.”

Deputy DA and a Reisig supporter at the time, Tim Wallace told the paper, “That disclosure came as quite a shock to me in the extreme because I’ve never seen any evidence of it… I’m not saying it’s not true, but I’ve never seen any evidence of memory loss… If she has memory losses of the severity that she described under oath, then I don’t think she’s fit to be District Attorney… This office performs an invaluable service to the community and they need to know the person in our top office is competent.”

Dean Johansson told the Vanguard, “I don’t want to drag my family into this.  That’s disgusting actually that someone would do that.”

He also said, “I want to focus on the issues.  This is attacking the messenger, not the message, obviously.”

He added, “Unbelievable.  They didn’t have a case to begin with and they knew it.  Whatever they had was unbelievable at the time, that’s why they never went forward with it.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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22 thoughts on “Johansson Denies Allegations in Latest Hit Piece from the District Attorney”

  1. Tia Will

    Mr. Reisig writes ““As the District Attorney, my job is to seek and rely on the facts and the law and to use my discretion in deciding when to formally charge someone with a crime by filing a complaint.”

    This is precisely the point. Mr. Reisig’s discretion and judgement are what is being called into question. If it were true that Mr. Johansson had been guilty of “felony child abuse” whose interest would have been served not to prosecute him at that time. Would it have made his family safer not to prosecute? Would it have made our community safer not to prosecute?

    I am reminded of Mr. Reisig’s choice to use his “discretion” in allowing Frank Rees to walk free for months. Frank Rees is the father of Baby Justice who died from exposure on the levee. Frank Rees was a known meth dealer whose testimony helped secure a murder conviction for Baby Justice’s mother. This was Mr. Reisig’s exercise of “discretion” despite the known facts that Frank Rees was a meth dealer, despite the fact that he, along with the mother had signed an agreement to not use meth, to care for the infant as part of an agreement allowing them to take the infant home, despite the fact that by his own testimony he knew at the time he left the baby in the care of his mother that she was not mentally fit to provide care, despite the fact that Rees in his own words was sexually active with a number of women. The outcome ? Reisig got his conviction & Rees continued to procure meth, have sex with at least one meth addicted woman, and fathered yet another meth affected baby. Cost to society?  More meth use, costs of care for a meth affected infant. This is just one example of the judgement and “discretion” exerted by the current DA.

    I believe it is time for a change of DA and will be voting for Dean Johansson.

    1. Jeff M

      You complain about one case of under-charging while all your friends owning your similar views on the world claim he is the wrong choice for over-charging.

      Lack of objectivity plagues the democratic process in Davis.

      I will vote for Reisig, the DA that has proven he understands that his job is to keep the people of Yolo County safe while also promoting the use of alternative judicial methods when appropriate.

      Frankly, too I have questions about Johansson’s character.

      1. Tia Will


        Do you think that when the issue is judgement, one could not be guilty of both over charging in some cases, and under charging in others ?  There is nothing objective in believing that errors have to be in one direction only. How about judging each case on its own merits?

        I am not attempting to change your vote. But if you think that our community is made  “safer” by either allowing a meth dealer free on our streets or by hoping to incarcerate a cheese thief for 8 years on a third strike, we will have to disagree.

  2. PhilColeman

    Apologies Stevie Wonder, “Wouldn’t it be lovely,” if every person seeking or holding public office were spared vicious personal and professional attacks that do not meet any probable cause standard, or has no supporting evidence. Persons now holding public office could devote more time and effort to the tasks to which they were elected. Highly qualified candidates would come forward offering their talents to public service without fear of scurrilous attacks for getting a “D” in 6th Grade English Class. In the instant case, the embarrassing information contained in the Johannson police report would never have been published. Reisig has been similarly assailed by innuendo, inference, and unidentified hearsay sources over the past decade. Why does anybody not having mental illness even consider running for elective office?

    Quite a few previous stories come to mind where the content of police reports obtained under suspicious circumstances are published and interpreted. There are ample instances found on this forum. Thus, it becomes a difficult premise to now condemn this particular police report. Police reports, by the way, are simply an accumulation of personal observations of others, they less often contain indisputable facts.

    In the above column, containing Johannson’s rebuttal,  he repeatedly stressed he was never formally prosecuted for a felony investigation. Nobody alleged that he was, including Reisig.

    However, ther was crucial point raised with this detailed rebuttal. It speaks to the credibility and attempts to deceive and distort for both persons seeking the position of Yolo District Attorney.

    Mr. Johannson categorically refutes having any participation in an alternative program to resolve this criminal investigation. (This assumes Johannson’s quoted comments are accurate). Note in Mr. Reisig’s statement on this point he spoke ambiguously and in passive voice, saying such non-judicial options are used at the discretion of the DA. Simple direct question to both disputants: Did the DA give this alternative justice option to Johannson, and did he accept it?

    Typically, when the DA chooses a non-judicial option to a criminal complaint, the participant must sign a contract of agreement and compliance. The wording includes the admonishment that failure to comply will bring the filing of a criminal complaint. We have a credibility issue here. Somebody is lying, or has a very poor memory of very special event. If Reisig did use the alternative option, he should publicly present this tangible evidence of participation to maintain his challenged integrity.

    DA Reisig says he had sufficient probably cause to prosecute Johannson. Mr. Johannson falsely states that there was no probable cause solely due to an absence of physical evidence. He, and every other person trained in criminal law, knows that multiple witness testimony and circumstantial evidence are often sufficient to charge and convict a defendant.

    Several persons now reading this, and Johannson, have directly accused Reisig being responsible for the public release of the incriminating police report. No proof, no evidence, other than who else could it be? Is it possible that naked suspicions and baseless accusations be posted with that stipulation? With American politics being described as “The last male blood sport,” probably not.

    Only the DA could have performed or orchestrated this exposure? Not necessarily. It could have been somebody with access to the records of the Davis Police Department. There may be repositories of such information elsewhere in court system. The DPD, I believe, keeps a chronology of requests of particular reports.

    1. Jeff M

      This is a good post from Phil and provides me some more food for thought.  My understanding from previous stories and statements made surrounding this issue were that DA Reisig had offered an alternative judicial process to Johansson.  There was no reason to doubt that fact given the history of DA Reisig being a strong supporter and promoter of alternative judicial processes when appropriate.

      The seriousness of these types of criminal complaints cannot be ignored.  Certainly some kids go off the rails and need tough love.  But, in our hypersensitive state of society where media inflates the fear of tragic lack of oversight and charging by law enforcement, a DA would be taking a career risk failing to charge and prosecute a complaint of child abuse.  Johansson’s dismissal of the seriousness of these types of cases, his lack of considerations for DA Reisig’s handling of this case, and then his playing of dirty politics jumping on the inference that DA Reisig was somehow responsible for releasing the police report… well it speaks to some problems with Johansson’s character.

      1. David Greenwald

        “My understanding from previous stories and statements made surrounding this issue were that DA Reisig had offered an alternative judicial process to Johansson. ”

        Dean says he was never arrested, never arraigned and never contacted by the DA’s office on this issue.  There is also no “case” associated with this isue.  Given that, I don’t believe it’s accurate.

        1. Jeff M

          Well we don’t know do we?  However, there is the police report.  Did you read it?

          However, if so I would think you would be happy with this evidence of undercharging.

        2. David Greenwald

          We actually do know that a case was never filed, or it would be in the system, which it’s not.  There is a police report from 11 years ago.  I read to the police report and spoke with the family.  A police report is based largely on what the police officers were told at the time the report was filed.  That they never filed charges or removed the children from the home lends credence to the notion that there was a lack of evidence to the notion that there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Johansson.

        3. David Greenwald

          Dean told me that this not undercharging because the lack of charges were not due to any leniency or offer of a diversion program on Reisig’s part, but rather because “they didn’t have a case to begin with.”

        4. David Greenwald

          “If an alternative judicial process was offered and accepted, then we would not see a case in the files, correct”

          No.  We would still have a case filed. And again, we have the competing claims by Dean and Jeff.

          The way this would normally work would be a diversion program. You file the charges. They go away or are dismissed when you complete the program. That didn’t happen here which would be highly unusual.

        5. PhilColeman

          You’re both using legal terms incorrectly and out of context. Case, file, and charge are the culprits here.

          The police report was a criminal case investigation. Once the initial police report and supplements was designated by the field officer for further investigation it became a criminal case investigation. Later, the case with supplements was submitted or “filed” with the district attorney’s office. There’s a time stamp showing this happened.

          The criminal case, now in the hands of the DA’s office was never “charged” as a crime. Had the DA formally charged the suspect, he would have “filed” a criminal complaint with the court. Filing and charging are distinct terms dependent on where in the criminal process it is used.

        6. Jeff M

          Thanks for the clarification Phil.

          Would the DA have to make a formal charge to then offer an alternative judicial process?  It would seem that is the purpose of sending these cases to the alternative judicial process… to prevent them from becoming a criminal charge.

      1. Jeff M

        Uh, well the police report was obtained by and reported on by a non-profit that has been around for a while and has a mission of advocating for the victims of crime.  It is a nice counter to the smearing coming from non-profits that advocate for criminal rights claiming that Reisig overcharges (false claims).  Are these these reports and claims the responsibility of the candidates?   How do you make that leap?

        You really don’t need to make up any fake justification for making a reactionary bad choice at election time.

        1. David Greenwald

          The question is whether the non-profit (which Reisig is a member of the board) has the right to have that report.  According to my information only victim would and the parties would have the right to the report.  So if Reisig is the one that leaked that info, then that would be an abuse of his power

        2. Howard P

          Minor (?) correction, for ‘transparency’…

          which Reisig is a member of the ‘advisory’‘ (my add) board 

          As written, one might assume you implied ‘board of directors’… although you did not specify what ‘board’, it is true…

  3. Matt Rexroad

    David —

    Consider this.

    What if last week Dean Johansson would have been endorsed by the Sacramento Bee instead of Reisig?

    My guess is that it would be a banner headline here.  You would not need a press release or anything else.  You would write on this blog how you agree with them and how they are so right to support Dean and his mission.

    Yet Jeff got the endorsement… and crickets.

    That is why I think this site is biased and simply providing the voice of one campaign. This is not an attempt to report objectively.

    Matt Rexroad

    (916) 539-0455




  4. Tia Will


    I agree with you on one point. Phil’s post was good. However, even though we do not know identities & the full intent of those who brought the report to light, I think it is safe to say that they were not doing so to enhance Dean’s chances of winning. Thus, I think it is safe to consider this a case of negative campaigning by members of a politically active group favoring Jeff Reisig. Whether Reisig was or was not aware & did or did not approve of such actions is in question. Dean Johansson has disavowed the action that precipitated this reporting, although not in words satisfactory to all. I would think it is now in Jeff Reisig’s court to avow or disavow the actions of this group, and perhaps his own actions.

  5. Keith O

    Once again, if the tables were turned in this story and the allegations were directed at Reisig I have little doubt that the Vanguard would be running with it.

    1. Howard P

      Yet, they (DV) also ran with it, including where the DV named the source, and I posted a link to it…

      Yeah, interpretations may have ‘spin’, but the facts are all out there, as they should be.

      So as “facts”, it has been balanced… not sure how that can be done with “interpretations”, but I’ve seen those from both ‘sides’.  And, at this point, I can honestly say I’ve not landed on either side…

      But I do think all should consider it all, then vote June 5…

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