Saturday, December 1, 2007

Former California Sheriff arrested for DUI

California DUI lawyer news

Disgraced former San Joaquin sheriff arrested on suspicion of DUI / drunk driving in California.

A disgraced former San Joaquin County California Sheriff who spent six months in federal prison for his alleged role in a corruption case was arrested Thursday evening on felony California DUI - drunk driving charges.

Temple Baxter Dunn Jr., 60, of Manteca, was travelling between 65 and 70 mph in his Chrysler 300, when he made a lane change and was unable to slow down enough to avoid colliding with a truck driven by Jorge Albert Becerra, 33, of Ceres, California Highway Patrol officials said.

CHP Officer Adrian Quintero said calls of a traffic accident were reported shortly before 10:15 p.m. on westbound Highway 120 just east of the Union Road exit. Becerra complained of back and abdominal pains and was admitted to Doctor's Hospital in Manteca, CHP officials said.

Dunn, who was wearing his seat belt, wasn't injured, but his air bags deployed and there was major damage to his vehicle, Quintero said. When emergency crews arrived on the scene, both parties were out of their vehicles and on the side of the road.

Quintero said Dunn provided a California DUI breath sample, and although he can't release the results, he did say it was over California's legal limit for driving. He also failed other California DUI field sobriety tests before being arrested on felony charges of DUI - driving under the influence for injuring someone other than himself in the accident, Quintero said. "We don't show any favoritism,'' Quintero said. "A DUI is a DUI, no matter who they are or what their former position is. We're going to take appropriate action.''

Dunn was booked into San Joaquin County Jail -- where he served as the top elected cop in the county from 1990 through 2005 -- and has since been released after posting $50,000 bail.

Dunn spent six months in a federal prison in Taft after pleading guilty in federal court to mail fraud charges in exchange for his testimony against a former partner in a corruption case. Dunn had teamed with Monte McFall and N. Allen Sawyer -- the former executive director of the Governor's Office of Criminal Justice Planning -- to secretly form two companies, MSD Ventures Inc. (McFall-Sawyer-Dunn) and SMTM Partners (Show-Me-The-Money). Both companies represented Sunlaw Energy in its bid to build a power plant in exchange for a $2 million commission.

The trio conspired to extort Calpine Co. into dropping plans for a competing power plant at the Port of Stockton. McFall was convicted of nine counts of attempted extortion, six counts of mail fraud and two counts of witness tampering in 2005. He was sentenced last December to 10 years in prison.

Sawyer was sentenced to five years probation and confined to his home for six months. Former San Joaquin County Supervisor Lynn Bedford pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal agents in 2005 and was sentenced to five years probation.

Following his guilty plea, Dunn announced his retirement after 38 years with the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office and is currently collecting $12,000 a month in pension. The move prompted state lawmakers to pass what's been dubbed the "Baxter Dunn law,'' which bars elected officials convicted of felonies connected with their office from receiving the taxpayer-funded portion of their pension. His California DUI defense attorney will be handling this.