Saturday, April 19, 2014

5 California DUI arrests at San Marcos San Diego Drunk Driving roadblock Friday Night - Saturday Morning, lawyers report

Common San Diego California DUI checkpoint locations can be found by motoring folks at this free San Diego County DUI Lawyer Center site.  Regularly updated geographical efforts by local San Diego California DUI police roadblocks should be viewed before driving around the area on weekends.

Last night the San Marcos DUI Checkpoint staged by San Diego California DUI Sheriff's Deputies trapped over 3,200 drivers.  Over 750 motorists were "screened" for California DUI evaluation purposes.  Over 30 vehicles went to drunk driving "secondary," San Diego attorneys are told.

Just 5 San Diego DUI arrests were made:  4 for California DUI alcohol and 1 for California DUI drugs.

This California DUI checkpoint was located at 1300 West San Marcos Blvd from 8 pm Friday to 2:00 a.m. Saturday:
Map data ©2014 Google

Sunday, April 13, 2014

7 Trapped at famous Ingraham St. Bridge DUI Checkpoint in San Diego, California, DUI attorneys share

Stay away from Pacific Beach on San Diego weekends, California DUI lawyers warn.  That's because between 80 and 90% of all San Diego Drunk Driving arrests happen there, California DUI attorneys are told.

Last night and this morning 7 folks found themselves facing California drunk driving charges.  They were trapped in a San Diego DUI roadblock staged at 2600 Ingraham, the famous "bridge trap." This location has been previously posted as a warning to citizens at this valuable site.

Once you go up the bridge, you can't turn around.  At the bottom and to the right of the median lies the perfect San Diego DUI checkpoint trap.  Over seven hundred vehicles had nowhere to go but inside the California roadblock between 11 and 3 a.m.  Over five hundred were screened for possible DUI, attorneys report.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How do we know Police Lie In Reports & In Court? It's been documented over-and-over, say San Diego California DUI research attorneys

It's long been noted policemen will sometimes lie under oath or in the police report.  Prosecutors have pointed this out.  Attorney Generals/Governors have pointed this out.  Courts have noted it. [People v. Cook, 22 Cal.3d 67 (1978)]

3 reasons have been stated why police perjury may occur:

"1. That the natural desire of a police officer to see a criminal brought to justice may cause him to be less than candid in connection with a collateral inquiry which does not go to what appears to him to be the only relevant question:  was the defendant a thief? 

2. That law enforcement is often a 'competitive enterprise' (Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 12 [20 L.Ed.2d 889, 900, 88 S.Ct. 1868]Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 [92 L.Ed. 436, 440, 68 S.Ct. 367]; and 

3. That a police officer who has conducted an illegal search and seizure may be subject to criminal, civil and disciplinary sanctions."  [People v. Dickerson, 273 Cal.App.2d 645, 650 fn.4 (1969)]

Police sometimes lie especially in DUI or Drugs cases say San Diego California DUI lawyers.

Police lying is why we need video and audio taping in California patrol cars and breath test rooms to monitor DUI cops, say San Diego attorneys.

Courts have laid out rules for deciding cases when there is evidence contradicting police testimony.

Police lying has been noticed by numerous legal commentators.  Sometimes the police testimony is "inherently unreal." Sometimes there is "independent contradiction of the police testimony" or corroboration of the defendant's testimony. Videos always help.

The Los Angeles Times today reports that LAPD police officers incorrectly testified that they had seen drug defendant Guillermo Alarcon discard a small box as they chased him into his Hollywood apartment. 

The police officers in a criminal trial said officer Evan Samuel had quickly located the box and found it stuffed with crack and powder cocaine. 

In Alarcon's criminal trial, LAPD Officers Manuel Bernardo Ortiz, Evan Samuel and Richard Amio committed perjury. 

Charges against Alarcon were abruptly dropped when Alarcon's criminal defense attorney presented in court a video that contradicted all three officers' testimony.

The criminal defense lawyer showed a video proving it took multiple officers about 20 minutes of searching before the container was found.

The video also featured officers talking about Ortiz finding the box, which directly contradicted his testimony. Ortiz had said he did not participate in the search.

Officer Manuel Bernardo Ortiz, who was convicted of one count each of perjury and conspiracy, must perform 900 hours of graffiti removal or work for the California Department of Transportation.

Ortiz, 40, was one of three Los Angeles Police Department officers convicted in connection with the arrest of Guillermo Alarcon Jr. Former officers Evan Samuel and Richard Amio were convicted of multiple counts of perjury for testifying falsely during different court proceedings. Samuel also wrote a police report that contained inaccuracies.

Ortiz was relieved of duty without pay during the criminal proceedings, according to a police source with knowledge of the case who requested anonymity because officer discipline matters are confidential. The department will now press ahead with efforts to have Ortiz fired if he does not resign first.

Amio resigned from the LAPD in February, the source said. Samuel, who had left the LAPD for the Chino Police Department in 2008, was fired from that agency following his conviction.

Prosecutors argued that all three officers should serve time in state prison, but the men instead were sentenced to perform community labor.

Chicago Drug Cops just got caught lying, too. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Should there be a law requiring police to videotape all California DUI driving, testing and questioning, attorneys demand?

Of course the cops should be legally required to collect and preserve all audio and video taping of their observations of a person accused or suspected of DUI, California DUI lawyers reasonably know.

Otherwise, cops can exaggerate or even fabricate evidence without being checked, San Diego California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys confirm.  Video cameras have been led to result in dismissal of 79 DUI cases when cops fabricated evidence.

Do you really want to see special needs people punched by cops?  Videos like this can expose this abuse of power and perhaps help stop excessive police conduct!

Should citizens of California be outraged that Los Angeles Police Department have removed antennas from patrol cars, thereby successfully tampered with taping of DUI and other suspects?

The cameras, which turn on automatically whenever an officer activates the car's emergency lights and sirens or can be activated manually, are used to record traffic stops and other encounters that occur in front of the vehicle. Officers also wear small transmitters on their belts that relay their voices back to the antennas in the patrol car. Regardless of whether they are in front of the camera, officers' voices can be recorded hundreds of yards away from the car, said Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on the recording devices.

The distance an officer can roam and still be recorded depends on what buildings and other objects are interfering with the signal. Removing an antenna does not render the voice recorder useless but cuts its range by as much as a third, Gomez said, citing information from the manufacturer.

Most of the antennas were removed from cars in the Southeast Division, which covers Watts, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens, where relations between police and minority communities have historically been marred by mistrust and claims of officer abuse. The in-car video cameras have been touted as a powerful deterrent to police misconduct and a tool for defending officers against false accusations.

A federal judge last year formally ended more than a decade of close monitoring of the LAPD by the U.S. Department of Justice. The judge agreed to lift the oversight, in part, after city and police leaders made assurances that the LAPD had adequate safeguards, such as the cameras, in place to monitor itself.

The first sign of a problem came in early July when a Southeast supervisor noticed the cameras in a few patrol cars were missing antennas, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a spokesman for Beck. Vehicles are equipped with two small antennas, one for each of the officers assigned to the car.

After the supervisor's discovery, a check of the entire fleet of cars in Southeast and the other divisions in the department's South Bureau was done. With a total of about 160 antennas installed in Southeast Division vehicles, 72 had been removed, Smith said. Twenty antennas from cars in other divisions were missing as well.

Because cars in the Southeast Division had been equipped with cameras since 2010 and different shifts of officers use the same car each day, officials decided an investigation into the missing antennas would have been futile, according to Smith and Capt. Phil Tingirides, the commanding officer of the Southeast Division.

Instead, warnings went out at roll-call meetings throughout South Bureau, and new rules were put in place requiring officers to document that both antennas were in place at the beginning and end of each shift. To guard against officers removing the antennas during their shifts, Tingirides said he requires patrol supervisors to make unannounced checks on cars.

"We took the situation very seriously. But because the chances of determining who was responsible was so low we elected to … move on," Smith said, adding that it cost the department about $1,500 to replace all the antennas.

Since the new protocols went into place, only one antenna has been found missing, Smith said.
Soboroff said Beck briefed him on the problem in September and assured him it had been resolved. Around the same time, the commission's inspector general, Alex Bustamante, learned of the antennas and opened an investigation, commission records show.

The department has not identified any cases in which poor audio quality left officials unable to judge whether an officer had acted appropriately, Smith said. It is impossible, however, to know if conversations were not recorded at all because of missing antennas.

Poor recordings during a shooting investigation drew the attention of commission members in February. They were puzzled why several cameras in cars at the scene had poor audio quality, while another had good, clear recordings. Even though the recorded conversations did not seem germane to the incident, the commissioners asked for answers about the problem.

Last month, the department conducted a follow-up audit and found that dozens of the transmitters worn by officers in Southeast Division were missing or damaged.

This time, department officials opted to open a formal investigation into whether officers broke or lost the devices intentionally.

Los Angeles Times reports police officers tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars in an effort to avoid being monitored while on duty, according to records and interviews.

An inspection by Los Angeles Police Department investigators found about half of the estimated 80 cars in one South L.A. patrol division were missing antennas, which help capture what officers say in the field. The antennas in at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions had also been removed.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other top officials learned of the problem last summer but chose not to investigate which officers were responsible. Rather, the officials issued warnings against continued meddling and put checks in place to account for antennas at the start and end of each patrol shift.
Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, were not briefed about the problem until months later.  In interviews with The Times, some commissioners said they were alarmed by the officers' attempts to conceal what occurred in the field, as well as the failure of department officials to come forward when the problem first came to light.

"On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away," commission President Steve Soboroff said. "This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don't like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling." Beck said there was no deliberate attempt to keep the commission in the dark, saying the failure to alert the board was "unintentional." "The department did not try to hide this issue," Beck said, emphasizing that he has been a vocal advocate for the in-car video cameras that rely on the antennas.  Commissioner Robert Saltzman said he plans to ask department officials to answer questions publicly about how they handled the issue at a meeting this month.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Which roads to stay away from when going downtown San Diego on weekends, California DUI attorneys warn

Because the cops work hard to keep DUI checkpoint locations secretly under seal until a poor motorist finds himself or herself trapped, often the only help San Diego DUI lawyers can provide is to track the "usual suspect locations."

Like most human beings, drunk driving police are creatures of habit.  Last night's 1500 Fifth Avenue California DUI checkpoint is a common location for SDPD's "weekend crashers."

It's just a matter of knowing the streets to stay away from.  Avoid 1st Ave and G Street (East Village) when exiting Gaslamp.  Avoid Garnet and Grand Avenues in Pacific Beach and going towards the I-5; instead use far west streets north towards La Jolla even though it's longer drive to the north or use far west Mission Beach routes south towards Ocean Beach.

If you did not avoid 5th Avenue last night just before 11 pm until 3 a.m., you might have been one of the 10 unlucky drivers who found themselves unable to avoid yet another California DUI checkpoint in downtown San Diego on the weekend, local attorneys are told.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, California's San Diego Sheriff's Department announces

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, California's San Diego Sheriff's Department announced today.

Any California driver that texts or uses a hand-held cell phone can cause a crash that leads to serious injuries or even death.  Drivng while using a cell phone can be more dangerous than drunk driving.

San Diego's Sheriff's Department will have a "zero tolerance" policy toward drivers caught using a hand-held cell phone, attorneys are told. San Diego California DUI Deputies will dispatch special distracted driving enforcement patrols across the county on April 3rd, April 8th, April 17th and April 22nd, lawyers report.

One can view a California public safety video on the dangers of distracted driving by following the San Diego Sheriff's Department on YouTube:  Put the phone in the trunk if drinking, DUI lawyers remind.

If you are stopped for violating California's cell phone laws, you will be cited and face a minimum fine of $161 plus court fees with subsequent violations being higher.

California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) claims drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said Sheriff Bill Gore. "Sheriff's Deputies are always on the lookout for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones to prevent accidents that could seriously hurt people.  DISTRACTED DRIVING: IT'S NOT WORTH IT!"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dumb DUI Facebook Post can lead to Revocation of DUI Probation Hearing, California Attorneys warn

San Diego DUI lawyers suggest that people convicted of drunk driving or on California DUI probation not put negative information on social networks such as Twitter or Facebook.

California DUI attorneys do not want clients to make incriminating statements on social media as they could come back to bite.  Today's Yahoo story is no exception.

Getting in trouble for a post on Facebook is becoming common. When a DUI Probationer who is not supposed to be consuming alcohol but passes a random breath test she maybe should not pass, don't blow it by publicizing it.  You could face a DUI probation violaton.  Here's how:

Back in 2012, Colleen Cudney was convicted for drunken driving. As part of her punishment, she was put on probation, and so on the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the 22-year-old was ordered to come to her Westland, Michigan probation office for a random breathalyzer test. She managed to pass it and celebratedthe good news on Facebook. That Facebook post, as WDIV Local 4 News reports, was a pretty stupid move.  She purportedly posted:

 “Buzz killer for me, I had to breatalyze this morning and I drank yesterday but I passed thank god lol my dumba**." There’s There are a lot of problems with this status update. Why don’t we go over them? (Note: Notice how I criticized her writing and then proceeded to make a mistake myself? Karma.)

  1. It’s “buzzkill,” not “buzz killer.”
  2. I know you meant “breathalyze,” but that isn’t a word. (I stand corrected, because it's pointed out breathalyze IS a word. I shouldn't have been so quick to be smarmy. This was a rough stretch for me, huh?)

Colleen Cudney (WDIV)

Cudney’s post gained the attention of a Westland police officer, who then notified the probation office. Did the probation office then say something like, “Oh well, she got us. She wins this round”? Nope. They called her up and told Colleen they wanted her to take a urine test, something that would detect whether she had had alcohol in the previous 80 hours. Colleen then…hung up on the probation officer. You’re not supposed to do that.

Colleen's Facebook post (WDIV)

Hanging up the phone on the probation official was a probation violation. And to think, her probation was set to end in a few weeks. Colleen Cudney will be back in court on April 1 for a probation hearing and faces up to 3 months in jail.

Friday, March 28, 2014

San Diego's U.S. District Court dismissed Jane Doe's claims against 9 past San Diego Police Department Supervisors of Anthony Arevalos, convicted of sexually assaulting women in the famous "No DUI for Sex" scandal, California DUI attorneys report

San Diego's U.S. District Court dismissed Jane Doe's claims against 9 past San Diego Police Department Supervisors of Anthony Arevalos, convicted of sexually assaulting women in the famous "No DUI for Sex" scandal, California DUI lawyers report today.

One such victim, Jane Doe, said his supervisors covered up repeated sexual misconduct, violating her rights.  But the court said there lacks evidence even though he's presently in jail for almost 9 years for San Diego Gaslamp District DUI stops, California DUI attorneys are told.

The ruling does not change the fact that the City of San Diego is responsible under the law for Arevalos' misconduct while on duty, regardless of the fact that SDPD could not have prevented it. Plaintiff's attorneys, however, had sought to broaden the scope of the trial scheduled for May to include the claims which are the subject of Judge Anello's ruling. The ruling narrows the scope of the trial.
"The upcoming trial is about what injuries Jane Doe suffered and how much she should be awarded," said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who pointed out that the City settled with the other 12 victims because the City understands its legal responsibility. "She says she fears being outside because of the incident, for example, and should be awarded damages for that. We want the jury to see all the evidence and set a reasonable amount for whatever injuries they find she, in fact, suffered. That's what the case is about."
The decision does not change the City's commitment to an independent federal review of SDPD's processes. "The federal review is not about legal liability. We want to know how SDPD can do better," said Goldsmith. "We want SDPD to meet a standard of excellence and we want people to have confidence in our police officers."

Arevalos was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer. He was acquitted of other serious charges involving two other women.
Two of the convictions were overturned last month. Arevalos's attorneys are also seeking a new trial because handwritten notes from Doe, who is the main accuser, were not turned over to the defense.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Being on wet reckless probation not the same as DUI probation if stopped and blow .01% or higher.

In California, if you are on DUI probation for a Vehicle Code Section 23512 (DUI) conviction, you have to submit to a PAS.  If over .01%, your license is pulled and you get cited for VC 23514, San Diego DUI lawyers remind.

If your client suffered a DUI conviction, you may attack other issues like PAS coordinator, records, lack of timely accuracy checks, variances, thermometer, 15 minute observation and the like.

If your client suffered a "wet reckless" conviction, you are in luck.  That is VC 23103 per 23103.5 which reads on a printout VC 23103.   It is not VC 23152.

This is another advantage of a reckless driving, alcohol - related reduction.  It's an issue for San Diego California attorneys to remember for both court and DMV.

A cop may think the person is on DUI probation but misunderstood the conviction showing up on his or her screen.

When the person admits he or she is on DUI probation, that is enough for a cop to cite and force a trial.

I like to think I won today's trial based on lawyering but in reality it was a DMV printout which saved the day and prevented a delayed decision.  That printout showed client convicted of VC 23103(a), NOT VC 23152 (DUI) as required by VC 23154.

It also  helped that the new case was not a new DUI as the client blew under .08%.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feds look at San Diego "No DUI for Sex" cops, report California attorneys

The Los Angeles Times reports that the federal government will look into San Diego California's Police Department which has been the subject of "Sex for No DUI" and sexual assault cases, San Diego California drunk driving attorneys are told.

15 criminal cases were cited by the San Diego Union Tribune today.

The most famous California drunk driving interest may revolve around the San Diego Police Department officer who is presently in prison but recently won an appeal, say California DUI lawyers.

This federal audit will include a review of the recruitment, training, supervision and Internal Affairs practices of the department, as well as interviews with officers, citizens of San Diego and others,  United States Attorney Laura Davis announced.

Lansdowne, 69, former San Diego Police Department chief for more than a decade, retired March 3, the day that Faulconer was sworn in as mayor. At Faulconer’s request, Zimmerman was quickly approved by the City Council as his successor.

In 2011, San Diego Officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of demanding sexual favors from women after making traffic stops. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison, although a recent appellate decision might reduce his sentence. He was fired after the accusations were made.

The City Council has approved a total of $2.3 million in payments covering 12 of 13 lawsuits involving women allegedly assaulted by Arevalos. One case is set for trial in federal court.

Linda Workman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff, known only as Jane Doe, said that the study is only a “short-term” review and that its recommendations are not binding.

“This is too little too late for victims like Jane Doe who have had their lives ruined by SDPD misconduct,” Workman said. She added that the department did “some voluntary cleanup of this type of misconduct” in the past, but “it obviously did not last.”

In 2011, Lansdowne initiated a number of reforms amid about 10 allegations of drunk driving, spousal abuse, rape, stalking and excessive force involving officers. Some of the incidents occurred while the officer was off duty.

Monday’s news conference occurred as a former officer appeared in Superior Court court on charges of abusing women while on duty. A second officer has been suspended and is being investigated.
U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy, noting that the department has been “under fire” for recent misconduct cases, said she has spoken to Zimmerman about the new chief’s plans to restore the department’s once sterling reputation.

Associate Atty. Gen. Tony West praised Lansdowne and other city officials for seeking the outside review. “When misconduct does occur, it is our collective responsibility to act and to act swiftly to demand accountability and correct the situation,” he said.

In his final days as chief, Lansdowne, reacting to current allegations, ordered that whenever a woman is taken into custody, there must be two officers in the police car. Also, the department is testing the use of body cameras for patrol officers to record their dealings with members of the public.

Zimmerman, who was assistant chief under Lansdowne, has begin a series of public Meet the Chief meetings in communities throughout the city.

Faulconer said Zimmerman “is breathing new life into our city” by promising to “restore public trust” in the police department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to review the management practices of the San Diego Police Department with a goal of helping the department avoid officer misconduct and restore its reputation as an “innovative, progressive, trusted force,” officials announced Monday.

The audit comes amid recent allegations that two officers assaulted women while on duty. In the last four years there have been about 15 cases of misconduct of various kinds among the department’s 1,856 officers, officials said.

The review  will take six to eight months to complete and include periodic reports to the public and recommendations to the department about better ways to spot problem officers.

The review was requested by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith, and former chief Bill Lansdowne.

Separately, a “case specific” criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney and FBI will focus on whether other officers have been guilty of misconduct. “Every rock should be turned over,” Goldsmith said.
Zimmerman, a 30-year veteran of the department who was named chief three weeks ago, said she is “not going to tolerate this misconduct and betrayal of our badge and profession.”