COURT WATCH: Former Contra Costa County Deputy Pleads No Contest to Illegal Assault Weapon Charge, Filing False Reports

The Contra Costa County Calif. Sheirff Department logo. seal badge (Photo courtesy of the Contra Costa County Sheriff)

By Jonathan Nunez

MARTINEZ, CA – Matthew Allen Buckley, a former deputy with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, pleaded no contest to illegal assault weapon possession, filing false police reports and preparing false documents, and was sentenced to almost four years in prison here this week in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

A news release issued by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office stated in February of 2023 Buckley was charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor to offenses that occurred in 2020 and 2022.

After the initial charges were made, Buckley, his defense, and the prosecution agreed to a deal—Buckley pleaded no contest to three felonies: possession of an illegal assault weapon, filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence.

The deal provides Buckley will have to serve three years and eight months in prison with a possibility of a supervised release if he completes a six-month drug rehabilitation program.

In September 2020, Buckley was assigned to the Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort to execute a search warrant in Antioch, said the DA, adding it was during the operation that Deputy Buckley seized two illegal AR-15s, phones, laptops, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.

After the operation, according to the news release, Buckley doctored a police report where he falsely claimed to have booked the firearms into evidence. Instead, Buckley separated the illegal firearms into upper and lower sections, returning the upper sections of the firearms to the original owner and never returned the lower sections to the owner or law enforcement.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department discovered the hidden crimes former Dep. Buckley had committed, and in August 2022, as the investigation was coming to a close, deputies of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department searched Buckley’s residence where they found the missing lower sections of the illegal firearms as well as a small amount of methamphetamine.

Buckley will never be able to serve as an officer of the law after release from prison, according to new state laws. And, because of his convicted felony offenses, Buckley is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

About The Author

Jonathan is a fourth year UC Davis student pursuing a major in English and a minor in Professional Writing and African American Studies. By working alongside the Vanguard Court Watch, Jonathan not only hopes to deepen his passion for criminal justice, but he also wishes to deepen the connection he has with his community through his writing. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys hanging out with his friends and making short stories about the world around him.

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