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Posted: 9/4/2004 6:53:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 6:58:23 AM EST by 95thFoot]
I haven't seen this one before..... WTF?

$4.5 million verdict in CHP suit
Complaint by Ramona man prompted years of malicious ticketing


By Anne Krueger, STAFF WRITER - April 27, 2004
www.signonsandiego.com/union...ws_1n27chp.html
http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?threadid=242612


EL CAJON – A Ramona man maliciously ticketed over five years
by California Highway Patrol officers has been awarded $4.5
million by a Superior Court jury. Attorneys for Steve Grassilli,
44, said he was targeted by the officers after he lodged a
complaint against one of them.


After yesterday's verdict, several jurors said they hoped the
millions of dollars in punitive damages would send a message to
the CHP. The CHP was not named as a defendant in the case, but
the agency typically pays monetary awards when its officers are
sued, said Greg Garrison, one of Grassilli's attorneys.

"We caught them in so many lies. I hope this shakes up the CHP
like you can't believe," said juror Saudra Swanson of El Cajon.
"I was totally insulted by it all."


Grassilli's attorneys, Garrison and Michael Strain, said the
six-week trial revealed a pattern in which CHP officers were
told to lie in court to protect their fellow officers. Two
officers refused to lie, and their version of events supported
Grassilli's case, his lawyers said.

Grassilli filed a complaint in March 1997 after hearing that a
CHP officer had removed the catalytic converter from a pickup
truck the officer owned, Garrison and Strain said. After that,
the officer, Richard Eric Barr, began ticketing Grassilli and
a supplier who worked with him. Barr and Grassilli had never
had any contact before Grassilli filed the complaint.

The ticketing was so frequent that Grassilli's supplier stopped
working with him, ruining Grassilli's business installing 10,000
-gallon water tanks for new homes.

Grassilli was stopped 13 times over five years for smog violat-
ions, having an obstructed view in his vehicle, or improperly
hauling the water tanks, he said. The CHP is responsible for
traffic enforcement in the unincorporated areas of the county.


Garrison said that instead of giving Grassilli a courtesy notice
about an improperly registered vehicle, Barr's supervisor, Michael
Toth, told officers to hold off on ticketing Grassilli for six
months. Then they impounded Grassilli's truck.

"They had the right and discretion to do what they did," Garrison
said. "The question is, why did they do it?"

Garrison said Barr and Toth targeted Grassilli because of the
complaint involving Barr's pickup. Deputy Attorney General
David Taglienti, representing the CHP officers, said he could
not comment on the case. Barr and Toth also declined to comment.
Grassilli complained about Barr's pickup after he heard one of
his friends say Barr had hired him to remove the catalytic
converter. Barr frequently used the truck to tow a boat for
weekend excursions and removing the catalytic converter gave
the vehicle more power.

The friend told Grassilli that Barr was dismissive about having
the catalytic converter removed, which is illegal, Garrison said.
" 'Eric said he's got a badge, he can do whatever he wants to
do,' " Garrison quoted Grassilli's friend as saying.

Grassilli filed a complaint with the CHP about Barr, and Toth
told Grassilli the catalytic converter had not been removed.
Prosecutors then filed two misdemeanor charges against Grass-
illi, accusing him of making a false complaint. A Superior
Court judge took the rare move of dismissing the charges after
prosecutors presented their case.

Initially, he wasn't interested in being awarded money when
the case began, Grassilli said. That changed as it dragged
through the court system.

"Now I want whatever I can get because I've been through seven
years of gut wrenching," he said. Yesterday, the jury, by a
9-3 vote, found Grassilli was entitled to $3 million in puni-
tive damages from Barr. The jury also determined Toth, a CHP
sergeant who retired four years ago, was liable for just more
than $1 million in punitive damages.

Last week, the jury awarded Grassilli $510,000 in compensatory
damages after finding his civil rights were violated by Barr,
Toth and CHP Sgt. Stephan Neumann. The jurors found Barr and
Toth acted maliciously, prompting the punitive damage phase
of the trial against the two.

After the verdict, jurors met in the hallway of the El Cajon
courthouse with Grassilli and expressed outrage at what they
said were numerous lies by several CHP officers who testified.

"I saw one person up there who was honest," said juror Austin
Willett of El Cajon, referring to Grassilli. "I saw others
within an organization that we give power to enforce our laws
caught in lies."


In closing arguments yesterday, Deputy Attorney General
Taglienti urged jurors to award less than $50,000 in punitive
damages, saying the officers already had been punished enough.

"These two individuals are not responsible for reforming the
California Highway Patrol," Taglienti said.

In a statement from Sacramento, CHP Commissioner D.O. "Spike"
Helmick said, "I am extremely disappointed and amazed at this
decision. I disagree entirely with it. We will look at every
way humanly possible to appeal it."

Garrison also said Barr remains on active duty in Ramona.
Neumann's status is unknown.

This is the second time Grassilli's case against the CHP offi-
cers has been presented to a jury. He lost his first civil
trial, but the case was reversed on appeal when judges ruled
that evidence was withheld improperly from jurors.

What helped his case this time, Garrison said, was when two
CHP officers, Craig Thetford and Michael Clauser, testified
that they felt pressured by CHP officials to lie under oath.
Thetford said he was told to target Grassilli for ticketing,
and Clauser testified that Grassilli was properly hauling the
water tanks, contrary to Barr's assertions.

"They told these guys, 'You will change your testimony for
the department,' " Garrison said.


As he waited for the verdict yesterday, Grassilli said he
remains confident most law enforcement officers are honest.
He said he is still baffled his problems with Barr escalated
so far.

"When this started, it was just a slap on his hand," Grass-
illi said. "I never thought it would get as bad as it is."

In another notable civil suit against the CHP, the agency
agreed in 1996 to pay $2.7 million to the family of Cara
Knott, a San Diego college student who was murdered in 1986
by CHP Officer Craig Peyer.

A jury had awarded $7.5 million to the Knott family, but the
CHP appealed. The Knotts said they agreed to the settlement
to end the civil case.

Link Posted: 9/4/2004 6:58:29 AM EST
[tcsd1236]This can't happen. There's too much oversight for police to do anything bad, ever. It'll be overturned on appeal. That jury was obviously stacked with cop bashers.[/tcsd]
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 7:01:44 AM EST
WOW
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 7:06:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By QuietShootr:
[tcsd1236]This can't happen. There's too much oversight for police to do anything bad, ever. It'll be overturned on appeal. That jury was obviously stacked with cop bashers.[/tcsd]



Very funny, QS. Actually, I recall the initial reporting on this incident from when he initially went to court. Definitely an isolated incident.

Whether or not this particular guy was able to document a pattern of harassment, I find it somewhat amusing when some people claim that being repeatedly stopped must be some form of intentional harassment in every case. Typically these people drive the rattiest cars, or refuse to believe anything other than that some factor such as race is at the bottom of the tickets they receive.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 7:22:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By QuietShootr:
[tcsd1236]This can't happen. There's too much oversight for police to do anything bad, ever. It'll be overturned on appeal. That jury was obviously stacked with cop bashers.[/tcsd]



Very funny, QS. Actually, I recall the initial reporting on this incident from when he initially went to court. Definitely an isolated incident.

Whether or not this particular guy was able to document a pattern of harassment, I find it somewhat amusing when some people claim that being repeatedly stopped must be some form of intentional harassment in every case. Typically these people drive the rattiest cars, or refuse to believe anything other than that some factor such as race is at the bottom of the tickets they receive.



Everybody in the case seemed to be saying it was an isolated case as well. But- if what you say is true, wouldn't the prosecution have brought forth many pics of the vehicle in such a condition to bolster their case?
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 7:52:07 AM EST

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Everybody in the case seemed to be saying it was an isolated case as well. But- if what you say is true, wouldn't the prosecution have brought forth many pics of the vehicle in such a condition to bolster their case?


I was saying that while this guys case may have merit, people who think they are being picked on through the ticketing process have the worst cars and bring that degree of attention on themselves.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 8:20:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Everybody in the case seemed to be saying it was an isolated case as well. But- if what you say is true, wouldn't the prosecution have brought forth many pics of the vehicle in such a condition to bolster their case?


I was saying that while this guys case may have merit, people who think they are being picked on through the ticketing process have the worst cars and bring that degree of attention on themselves.



I don't wanna flame, but last time I checked, having a bad car does not constitute a moving violation.

Basically, this this story, and tcsd's susequent comments, just reinforce the notion that the police (yes, even them) need some sort of oversight.

Power tends to corrupt.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 9:07:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By FMD:
I don't wanna flame, but last time I checked, having a bad car does not constitute a moving violation.

Basically, this this story, and tcsd's susequent comments, just reinforce the notion that the police (yes, even them) need some sort of oversight.

Power tends to corrupt.


By bad car, I mean one with lots of equipment violations: lights, mufflers, tires, you name it. Exactly what did you take "bad car" to mean?
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 9:22:06 AM EST
This is NOT that isolated, many chp officers have a huge ego trip.

The farther out you get from the city the more power they have and it goes to their head sometimes. It has gotten to the point where friends are on a first name basis with the officer that tickets them.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 9:29:08 AM EST
How great this is.

A few cops drunk on their own sense of power harass a person because he made a complaint against one of them, and now my tax dollars have to be spent on a settlement.

Of course, these pricks won't be reprimanded, fired, or receive any kind of punishment for costing the tax payers several million dollars.

I realize that my comments above will be taken by the apologists as a dig at every last cop on the face of the planet, but that isn't my problem. I make no apologies or further explanations.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 9:56:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By FMD:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Everybody in the case seemed to be saying it was an isolated case as well. But- if what you say is true, wouldn't the prosecution have brought forth many pics of the vehicle in such a condition to bolster their case?


I was saying that while this guys case may have merit, people who think they are being picked on through the ticketing process have the worst cars and bring that degree of attention on themselves.



I don't wanna flame, but last time I checked, having a bad car does not constitute a moving violation.

Basically, this this story, and tcsd's susequent comments, just reinforce the notion that the police (yes, even them) need some sort of oversight.

Power tends to corrupt.



Laws are different over there FMD... Some states have safety inspections, you can get a ticket for your car smoking too much, having loose parts dragging, etc...

Besides, even here... Broken/inop lights, sound/muffler violations, crap hanging from the rearview or too dark a tint... All of that is illegal and stop-worthy in WI.

I've been pulled for a bad headlight before (compliance ticket, dropped when I bought a headlight), so it does happen...
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 10:31:05 AM EST
Some corrupt cops got what was comming to them, good. Only thing wrong with this is that the taxpayers are shelling out 4.5 million for them. In cases like this, I sure wish the victim would sue the cop directly, that way the taxpayers don't have to shell out any money, and the crooked cop really feels the pain. I also think this would serve as a much better deterrent when everyone sees a crooked cop get his bank account drained as a result of his actions.

Of course the victim gets less money, which is exactly why we'll see LOTS of this.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 10:46:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 11:29:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By tcsd1236:



Very funny, QS. Actually, I recall the initial reporting on this incident from when he initially went to court. Definitely an isolated incident.


WHY ,when something like this is reported does LE ALWAYS say it's an isolated incident??????????????????????????? It would be intresting to know how many isolated incidences have been reported in the past year,on this board alone!!!!!!!!!!!



Roy
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 11:32:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 11:35:06 AM EST by FMD]

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
By bad car, I mean one with lots of equipment violations: lights, mufflers, tires, you name it. Exactly what did you take "bad car" to mean?



You used the term "worst cars". I took it to mean "the rattiest cars" as you said in your first post.

My apologies for not understanding that you were specifically targeting folks with legitimate violations. I must admit, I'm a little jaded on this specific subject.

<rant>

Over the years, I've been warned/ticketed for lights, "loud" mufflers, and "bald" tires. Each time I was stopped, it was thin attempt to "nail" me for something bigger (The vehicle was either searched thouroughly, I was given a field sobriety test, I was told that I was speeding in excess when I clearly wasn't, etc.)

Frustrated cops often came up with something that was a violation of some sort.

While I am no longer a willing participate in these fishing expeditions, I was young and stupid at the time.

Oh yeah; I also drove a "ratty" car.

Dave_A: I know all about smog restrictions and "technical violations" etc. I grew up and learned to drive in NJ. My dad, grandfather, and uncle were also LEO's.

As far as "compliance" ticketing goes, WI is fun that way.

You see, if a State Trooper pulls you over for something stupid ("ratty" car, long hair, whatever), and you refuse the search, don't admit to speeding, etc., some will write you up for one of those little "compliance" violations. My first was a license plate light (one of the two was out). The one after that was for a brake light (one of 3 in the high, third brake lights).

Problem is, those are both compliance items for commercial vehicles, not passenger cars.

Both tickets were during a 2 month period where I was pulled over by the same rookie Trooper 5 times. The stops ended only after a confrontation where I explained to him (through a deputy aquaintance of mine) that the next time I got pulled over by him, I was gonna file a harassment complaint.

The kid denied that he had ever stopped me, but when confronted with multiple tickets that he had issued, it was kind of undeniable. I was never stopped by the guy again.

Sorry for the long-winded post. Things like bonafide LE harassment get my ire up. I understand it's a tough job, but catch the criminals and leve the petty shit to the meter maids.

</rant>

-FMD
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 12:01:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By FMD:

You used the term "worst cars". I took it to mean "the rattiest cars" as you said in your first post.

My apologies for not understanding that you were specifically targeting folks with legitimate violations. I must admit, I'm a little jaded on this specific subject.



<rant>

Over the years, I've been warned/ticketed for lights, "loud" mufflers, and "bald" tires. Each time I was stopped, it was thin attempt to "nail" me for something bigger (The vehicle was either searched thouroughly, I was given a field sobriety test, I was told that I was speeding in excess when I clearly wasn't, etc.)

Frustrated cops often came up with something that was a violation of some sort.

While I am no longer a willing participate in these fishing expeditions, I was young and stupid at the time.

Oh yeah; I also drove a "ratty" car.



And you indicate nothing to show that thsoe were not legitimate violations.
The rattiest cars usually DO have the most violations.
From the sound of things, the officers you interacted with used the occasion of stopping you to check further. Thats good police work.


You see, if a State Trooper pulls you over for something stupid ("ratty" car, long hair, whatever), and you refuse the search, don't admit to speeding, etc., some will write you up for one of those little "compliance" violations. My first was a license plate light (one of the two was out). The one after that was for a brake light (one of 3 in the high, third brake lights).

Problem is, those are both compliance items for commercial vehicles, not passenger cars.

Both tickets were during a 2 month period where I was pulled over by the same rookie Trooper 5 times. The stops ended only after a confrontation where I explained to him (through a deputy aquaintance of mine) that the next time I got pulled over by him, I was gonna file a harassment complaint.

The kid denied that he had ever stopped me, but when confronted with multiple tickets that he had issued, it was kind of undeniable. I was never stopped by the guy again.

Sorry for the long-winded post. Things like bonafide LE harassment get my ire up. I understand it's a tough job, but catch the criminals and leave the petty shit to the meter maids.

</rant>

-FMD



There is no VTL violation for "long hair" as you put it......but I think that probably touches on what the real issue here was..you drove a ratty car, you probably had long hair and dressed like a bum, right? Well, like it or not, the criminals we deal with tend to dress just like that, and drive cars just like yours. I can understand why the officers reacted to you and pursued searches of your car if that was the case. Like it or not, first impressions matter, and if the first impression of you is that of a long haired hippy freak, expect people who deal with you to do so on that impression. Sure, its a free country and sure, you can dress the way you want, but expect your actions to have a given reaction, not only from officers but the general public. When you dress a certain way and routinely appear in public in an unkempt state, expect to be treated a certain way.

We don't have "compliance" tickets as you put it, but we do issue a correction form with an equipment violation that, if the violation is corrected within 24 hours, the ticket gets tossed. Like it or not, if we just give verbal warnings, the person will nod their head, pull away from the stop after promising to fix the deficiency, and then never get it done. A ticket gives the proper incentive to have the deficiency repaired.

Petty stuff? I don't consider traffic enforcement to be "petty". It is a public safety issue.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 12:05:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 12:06:55 PM EST by tcsd1236]

Originally Posted By rdsr:

WHY ,when something like this is reported does LE ALWAYS say it's an isolated incident??????????????????????????? It would be intresting to know how many isolated incidences have been reported in the past year,on this board alone!!!!!!!!!!!



Roy



Certain people around here and other boards like to post any negative incident with LEOs. Face it: there are no websites that talk about bad plumbers in the same way we oficers have to deal with cop-hater websites. The fact that a certain jumber of incidents, even one a day, get posted on the internet,doesn't mean that the problem is widespread. Given the number of officers nationally, the number of contacts we have with the public on any given day, it would be reported much more than it currently is if there was a legitimate, widespread problem.

POsted by paul:


The sad part is that the organization attempted to shield and protect this guy even going to the point of apparent perjury rather than to hold the bad cop accountable for his actions. Every organization has bad apples but its how their treated that makes the difference. This multi-million dollar award will make those good cops think twice about shielding the bad ones I hope.


This is indeed the worst part of this whole incident,a s it has been reported. You are only as good as your word, and no one is worth lying on the stand for.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:25:02 PM EST
"Grassilli was stopped 13 times over five years"

Big deal. That's way less than even once a month. When I delivered pizzas the cops pulled me over at least twice a week, Where is my 4.5 million?

Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:26:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
"Grassilli was stopped 13 times over five years"

Big deal. That's way less than even once a month. When I delivered pizzas the cops pulled me over at least twice a week, Where is my 4.5 million?




Maybe it isn't much, but if I came on here and posted that I'd been stopped 13 times over 5 years, you cops would give me a ration of shit for my driving and ask me "what are you doing to draw our attention?"
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:29:18 PM EST

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Garrison said that instead of giving Grassilli a courtesy notice
about an improperly registered vehicle, Barr's supervisor, Michael
Toth, told officers to hold off on ticketing Grassilli for six
months. Then they impounded Grassilli's truck.




CVC 22651(O)(1) basically says a vehicle with its registration expired over 6 months can be towed for storage when found on a public street. What kind of ass hat drives around for 6 months without noticing he hasnt registered his vehilcle?

BS like this is why the CHP is not allowed to do consent searches anymore. So they NEVER stop crimes in progress anymore. The only observed arrests they make are DUI's. Bank robbers, gang bangers, drug dealers, all get a free pass from CHP becuase of case decisions like this one.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:36:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 2:37:40 PM EST by AR15fan]
Cases like this piss me off becuase I work Directed enforcement. I dont drive around blind hoping to stumble into crooks. I am given specific targets. This judge apparently would give the bank robbers and parolees i target cash becuase i "harrass" them by specifically targeting them.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:44:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
<snipped>



I had written 5 paragraphs in response, and then I deleted them all. I can't express how wrong I believe you to be, and how your lack of respect for Constitutional principals pains me.

Your post speaks volumes of the king of cop you must be. Attitudes like yours, sir, are the reason I didn't follow my forebears into law enforcement.

Regretfully,
-FMD
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:45:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By QuietShootr:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
"Grassilli was stopped 13 times over five years"

Big deal. That's way less than even once a month. When I delivered pizzas the cops pulled me over at least twice a week, Where is my 4.5 million?




Maybe it isn't much, but if I came on here and posted that I'd been stopped 13 times over 5 years, you cops would give me a ration of shit for my driving and ask me "what are you doing to draw our attention?"



and this guys answer would be "I didnt register my truck for 6 months becuase it wont pass SMOG."

You realize much of his argument is based on the cops didnt pull him over to tell him he had an expired registration? He complains when the cops give him a fix it ticket. He complains when the cops dont give him fix it tickets...

This case sets bad case law!

Narcotics investigators target drug dealers.
Gang Units target gang members.
Vice units target prostitutes.
Traffic cops target vehicle code violators.

this case says those details are "harrassing" the criminals they target, even though the violations of law are legit.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 2:47:39 PM EST
When you call the cops sometime, becuase your neighbor is a gang banger, drug dealer, or pedophile, you have this guy to thank when the cops tell you "sorry, we are not allowed to specifically target people."
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 3:03:45 PM EST
Something about the CHP in San Diego County....

The Killer Cop
His crime was considered all the more unconscionable because of his occupation. Convicted former California Highway Patrolman Craig Peyer’s recent parole bid was denied, but the hearing led San Diegans to revisit the murder of Cara Knott.

The letters were pouring in—342 of them, some from as far away as Japan. Many were long, demanding and passionate; others decidedly perfunctory. All ended with the same plea to the California State Parole Board: Never release Craig Alan Peyer, prisoner D93018, the first California Highway Patrolman to be convicted of murder on duty.

“It’s unprecedented,” says Deputy District Attorney Rick Sachs, head of the San Diego D.A.’s lifer unit. “None of them are form letters. People [took] the time to write it all out.” In Sachs’ eight years in the division that oversees the most deadly criminals from America’s Finest City, he says he has never seen the current of anger and fear that preceded the potential unleashing of Peyer, who flunked his first parole hearing January 7.

But then, there has never been a murder case like this one.

“This crime shook the consciousness of the entire state,” parole board chairman Booker Welch told Peyer at the five-hour hearing, which was attended by a crush of media.

To comprehend the immense impact of Peyer’s crime, you have to go back to an era before the public’s shock-meter was blown away by the likes of O.J. and Rodney King, back to when the San Diego region was a million smaller in population, North I-15 was tumbleweed country, and drivers didn’t carry cell phones.

Go back to two days after Christmas 1986, when golden-haired San Diego State University student Cara Knott climbed into her white VW Beetle on a Saturday night. She had been nursing her flu-stricken boyfriend in Escondido and was headed back to the hillside El Cajon home where her family sat before the fireplace, watching Sleeping Beauty on video. As was her habit, Cara called first to tell her dad, Sam Knott, she was on her way.

It was the last the family heard from the 20-year-old. Nine hours later, her battered body was found, dumped from a bridge over what was then a little-used exit off I-15, remote Mercy Road, just north of Mira Mesa. She had been strangled.

In 1986, Peyer was a 13-year patrol veteran so amped up by his power that he liked to brag, “There are two people you don’t piss off in this world: God and a Highway Patrolman—and not necessarily in that order.” He was a hot pencil who kept CHP brass happy by writing more tickets than anybody. Secretly, he was using his highly polished Badge 8611 to stalk young women for weird, sexually tinged power games. He’d order them to his “favorite spot” off the I-15 freeway, and chat them up about their love lives, often for hours at a time. He’d get into their cars and fondle their handbrakes. He’d take them on little rides deeper into the desolate dead end of Mercy Road.

“It was like a grenade went off in a crowd of innocent people, and some people got killed, but everybody got hit with shrapnel to some degree,” says Paul Pfingst, former San Diego district attorney, of the lasting effects of the Peyer case. It was a more innocent time and a more challenging time to convince the public that a cop could be not only bad but murderous. Peyer, arrested 21 days after Cara Knott’s body was found, was first tried for murder in late 1987. The jury hung, 7 to 5 for conviction.

Pfingst became the deputy district attorney who put the bad guy away in a second trial in 1988, when Peyer was sentenced to 25 years to life. He’s serving his term at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, a medium-security prison where he lives among the general population.

Peyer is now 53, a grandfather gone gray who still wears the same steel-rimmed glasses he wore at his two murder trials. The leaner, buffer Peyer removed them when out of the parole hearing room and speaking to his newest lawyer, a public defender who doggedly persisted in mispronouncing his client’s name throughout the proceeding as Payer.

The former patrolman wore a strange half-smile during the hearing. He looked like Mr. Vanilla Civil Servant, the kind of guy the prison psychiatrist praises in his file as a low-level threat to society by dint of his “positive attitude.” The kind of outwardly passive mark who, those attending the hearing learned, got jumped last summer by a new con flexing muscle in B Quad.

The shrink, the public defender and Peyer made much of the sterling record prisoner D93018 has compiled for himself in 15 years of incarceration. But the one woman on the three-member panel of the Board of Prison Terms appeared unmoved. Commissioner Donna Henderson McBean ripped into Peyer for trying to con the board, especially for his claims he never saw such key documents as statements from two ex-wives, one of whom said he had tried to choke her.

“For you to sit there, deny the crime, deny you have anything to work on, I find incredible,” said McBean. She lambasted Peyer for ignoring repeated prison orders to enroll in a mental-health program for anger management and overall therapy.

Prisoner D93018 proudly told the board he has signed up for a self-help course titled “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” As McBean excoriated him, Peyer remained impassive but dug his fingers deep into his palm, so hard they nearly bled.

Cara would have been 38 this month. She ran track for Valhalla High, worked summers at the San Diego Zoo, tried to save endangered animals. She wanted to teach school, marry her boyfriend and have four children, just like her mother.

In death, Cara became a symbol for victims’ rights—the cause for a crusade led by her father, Sam, a balding, bearlike man whose steely determination would change laws, police policies and many public minds in his quest to find justice. He sued the state for allowing a warped cop to run loose—and won a $2.7 million settlement.

Peyer’s crime chained Cara’s family to a life sentence of emotional pain, her mother, Joyce Knott, told the parole board. “I do feel that he did kill Sam as well. He always felt that he had failed his little girl by failing to protect her. His death was a slow, agonizing one.”

For 17 years, Peyer has lived on his own private iceberg—maintaining his innocence and his silence, not testifying at either trial or explaining publicly what made him betray the badge and the public trust. The parole hearing was the first time he had been forced to directly answer questions about his actions and to face the Knott family. Through his lawyer, he maintained his right not to talk about the crime itself, though he repeatedly denied it. He carefully avoided looking at the family.

But the iceberg is melting fast beneath Craig Peyer, Kearny High class of ’68, Vietnam veteran. Every other month, his parents, Eileen and Hal Peyer of San Diego, visit him in prison. They are in their 80s, and one imagines it’s a hard trip, though neither parent will speak to the press.

Peyer receives regular visits from his third wife, Karen. They met in 1984 when she was a young stay-at-home mother who moved in next door in Poway. Months later, both divorced their spouses and married each other. Less than 18 months later, with Karen at home with an infant and another child in diapers, Peyer was arrested for murder.

For 17 years Karen has stood by her man. After her husband’s conviction, she relocated to Santa Maria in the blue-collar edge of Santa Barbara County, about 40 miles from the prison. In 1998, she filed for bankruptcy. Two years later, she earned her credential and now teaches elementary school.

In December 2003, the 45-year-old Mrs. Peyer wrote to the parole board asking for Craig’s freedom and offering to let him move in with her. Yet in October, records show, she filed for divorce, listing assets of an $80,000 condo, a $57,000 annual income (including his $52-per-month prison salary), her statuette collection, a porcelain doll collection and a collection of commemorative plates. The incongruity of the divorce filing and her willingness to allow a paroled Peyer to move in with her are unexplained. Karen Peyer does not talk to the press either.

Peyer still wears his wedding ring and referred frequently during the hearing to his “current wife.” His stepson Jason, now 20, doesn’t visit anymore.

Peyer appealed his conviction, citing a wide range of allegations that included prosecutorial misconduct and tainted physical evidence of fibers and blood that crucially linked the cop to Cara Knott in the pre-DNA days of 1987. His appeal was rejected in 2001.

Peyer had the chance to put up or shut up—to use improved forensic technology to prove his protestations of innocence. The D.A. requested a DNA sample from Peyer for the Innocence Project, a program backed by the D.A.’s office to reexamine old cases with new technology to ensure justice prevails.

Peyer declined. And when asked at the hearing, he refused to explain why.

Deputy District Attorney Joan Stein was Pfingst’s co-counsel for the second Peyer trial. She says she still thinks about the Knotts every night when she drives home from the downtown Hall of Justice to her North County home, passing over the Knott Memorial Bridge (which Sam Knott had succeeded in renaming). “I have a daughter of my own who’s starting to drive, and I will tell her how to be safe out there,” says Stein, who argued against Peyer’s parole at the hearing.

Though this crime may be old, and memories fade as new horrors grab the public spotlight, it’s likely many San Diegans still remember the case whenever they see a patrol officer’s red light in their rear-view mirrors.

“[Peyer] did more to ruin the reputation of law enforcement in San Diego than anyone in history,” says Pfingst. “It has taken years to recover. For some people who were here then, that mistrust is still in the back of their minds.”

Peyer told a court officer he never saw anything wrong with his forced chats with lone young women far from screaming distance of civilization. He told the parole board he was so respected by the CHP he was used in public relations assignments. In fact, he was assigned by the agency to present public safety tips in a TV news segment immediately following the discovery of Cara Knott’s body off the I-15. It is one of many freakish ironies of the murder case.

That post-Christmas night in 1986, after Sleeping Beauty awoke from the dead in the TV show, her father suddenly leaped up, jolted by what Sam later described as “a call to my soul.” It was 10 p.m., and Cara was only about an hour late returning home, but he said he knew something was horribly wrong.

For eight hours, the family searched for Cara up and down freeways and offramps. Their frantic calls to four police agencies were ignored—it was then the rule that 48 hours had to pass before police began looking for a missing person. That was among the first laws Sam Knott later helped change.

Then came the equally crucial impulse of son-in-law Bill Weick, married to Cara’s sister Cynthia. As the young couple searched Mercy Road for the second time that night, Weick ignored the barricades and road-closed signs, steering his own VW bug along the rutted dirt road for miles until they saw the gleaming white of Cara’s car.

Cynthia found the passenger door still locked, Cara’s new purse and an overnight satchel in the backseat. The front driver’s window was rolled halfway down, the keys still in the ignition. Cara’s new white leather jacket was gone. They drove to a pay phone to summon police and launched the legal machinery that took three weeks to net Patrolman Peyer.

“He was counting on nobody finding her for weeks, maybe never,” says Weick. “He expected her car would be stolen, and the crime scene would be gone. What he didn’t count on was us.”

Sam Knott said his soul felt his daughter’s death in 1986. In November 2000, at 63, he suffered a fatal heart attack only a few yards from the spot where Cara’s body had been thrown.

But he left a tribute there, too. One of Sam’s victories had been to turn the bleak wasteland where Cara died into a flourishing nature preserve, dedicated to Cara and fellow crime victims. From acorns, Sam grew the native oaks planted off Mercy Road, and his trees dedicated to Cara are growing throughout the county now, donated to nonprofit groups.

Joyce Knott routinely speaks to police academy classes and other groups about victims’ rights. She keeps tabs on her husband’s efforts to use technology to increase police accountability, to track their movements—for their safety and that of the public. She still plants Sam’s acorns.

Peyer will again be eligible for parole in 2008. Joyce Knott says she will be at that hearing.

“I want inmate D93018 to know Sam may be gone, but our family is strong, and we will be here forever.”

http://www.sandiegomag.com/issues/february04/featurec0204.asp
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 3:50:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By FMD:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
<snipped>



I had written 5 paragraphs in response, and then I deleted them all. I can't express how wrong I believe you to be, and how your lack of respect for Constitutional principals pains me.

Your post speaks volumes of the king of cop you must be. Attitudes like yours, sir, are the reason I didn't follow my forebears into law enforcement.

Regretfully,
-FMD


Well, that makes it rather difficult to respond to your points then, doesn't it?
My attitudes? Sorry, but I don't buy it. "My attitude" is not the problem here.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:17:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

BS like this is why the CHP is not allowed to do consent searches anymore. So they NEVER stop crimes in progress anymore.



Seems a little harsh now don't you think? If someone is beating on the inside of the trunk, blood all over the back seat, etc, I'm sure that crime would be stopped. Unfortunately, you can't catch every criminal and we won't hold that against you.

We could setup random roadblocks every day and search every car to come through, but this is the USA, not USSR.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:25:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By FMD:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
<snipped>



I had written 5 paragraphs in response, and then I deleted them all. I can't express how wrong I believe you to be, and how your lack of respect for Constitutional principals pains me.

Your post speaks volumes of the king of cop you must be. Attitudes like yours, sir, are the reason I didn't follow my forebears into law enforcement.

Regretfully,
-FMD


Well, that makes it rather difficult to respond to your points then, doesn't it?
My attitudes? Sorry, but I don't buy it. "My attitude" is not the problem here.




Cops attitudes are never a problem, it's always the civilians with the problem.


Roy
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:25:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By G-Rated:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

BS like this is why the CHP is not allowed to do consent searches anymore. So they NEVER stop crimes in progress anymore.



Seems a little harsh now don't you think? If someone is beating on the inside of the trunk, blood all over the back seat, etc, I'm sure that crime would be stopped. Unfortunately, you can't catch every criminal and we won't hold that against you.

We could setup random roadblocks every day and search every car to come through, but this is the USA, not USSR.


Thats a rather extreme example of a crime that can be stopped in progress; the reality is that the criminals travel the same roads as the rest of us, and proactive officers catch a lot of them; that proactivity is greatly impacted by this sort of decision, as has been commented already.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:37:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By rdsr:

WHY ,when something like this is reported does LE ALWAYS say it's an isolated incident??????????????????????????? It would be intresting to know how many isolated incidences have been reported in the past year,on this board alone!!!!!!!!!!!



Roy



Certain people around here and other boards like to post any negative incident with LEOs. Face it: there are no websites that talk about bad plumbers in the same way we oficers have to deal with cop-hater websites. The fact that a certain jumber of incidents, even one a day, get posted on the internet,doesn't mean that the problem is widespread. Given the number of officers nationally, the number of contacts we have with the public on any given day, it would be reported much more than it currently is if there was a legitimate, widespread problem.

No web site for bashing plumbers is probally because they don't go around claiming to be the next best thing to the pope



Roy
POsted by paul:


The sad part is that the organization attempted to shield and protect this guy even going to the point of apparent perjury rather than to hold the bad cop accountable for his actions. Every organization has bad apples but its how their treated that makes the difference. This multi-million dollar award will make those good cops think twice about shielding the bad ones I hope.


This is indeed the worst part of this whole incident,a s it has been reported. You are only as good as your word, and no one is worth lying on the stand for.

Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:41:45 PM EST
rdsr, you forgot to say anything, unless your goal was simply to eat up bandwidth with no other purpose in mind.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:42:25 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By G-Rated:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

BS like this is why the CHP is not allowed to do consent searches anymore. So they NEVER stop crimes in progress anymore.



Seems a little harsh now don't you think? If someone is beating on the inside of the trunk, blood all over the back seat, etc, I'm sure that crime would be stopped. Unfortunately, you can't catch every criminal and we won't hold that against you.

We could setup random roadblocks every day and search every car to come through, but this is the USA, not USSR.


Thats a rather extreme example of a crime that can be stopped in progress; the reality is that the criminals travel the same roads as the rest of us, and proactive officers catch a lot of them; that proactivity is greatly impacted by this sort of decision, as has been commented already.



As well as proactivity should be impacted when it affects MY rights.

Roy
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:57:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By rdsr:

As well as proactivity should be impacted when it affects MY rights.

Roy


There is a difference between a minor impacting and majorly hamstringing officers ability to do their jobs in any realistic fashion.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 5:20:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
There is a difference between a minor impacting and majorly hamstringing officers ability to do their jobs in any realistic fashion.



Major hamstringing? You mean like this;

Article [IV.]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article [V.]
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article [VI.]
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article [VII.]
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article [VIII.]
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article [IX.]
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.



Link Posted: 9/4/2004 5:21:58 PM EST

Originally Posted By FMD:

Major hamstringing? You mean like this;



No.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 5:29:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
rdsr, you forgot to say anything, unless your goal was simply to eat up bandwidth with no other purpose in mind.




Sorry it was there but I submitted it wrong.

"No web site for bashing plumbers is probally because they don't go around claiming to be the next best thing to the pope"



Roy
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 6:02:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By rdsr:

"No web site for bashing plumbers is probally because they don't go around claiming to be the next best thing to the pope"



Roy



Link Posted: 9/4/2004 7:57:49 PM EST

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
Face it: there are no websites that talk about bad plumbers in the same way we oficers have to deal with cop-hater websites.



I wouldn't be too sure about that......

forums.baddealings.com/t1783.html
www.thecomplaintstation.com/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi/Forum/Subtopic/TopicID=3114/SubtopicID=00054935/firstrecord=0/finalrecord=14/
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-186056.html
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-178838.html
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 8:31:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
Face it: there are no websites that talk about bad plumbers in the same way we oficers have to deal with cop-hater websites.



I wouldn't be too sure about that......

forums.baddealings.com/t1783.html
www.thecomplaintstation.com/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi/Forum/Subtopic/TopicID=3114/SubtopicID=00054935/firstrecord=0/finalrecord=14/
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-186056.html
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-178838.html



True, but I didn't see any plumbers responding and indicating they were just doing their job or blaming the shoddy work on the home owner, or the home owner was targeted because they had ratty pipes and they fit a profile as an easy mark. Or they are extremely well trained and how DARE you question me.


Roy
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 2:26:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By rdsr:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:

Originally Posted By G-Rated:

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

BS like this is why the CHP is not allowed to do consent searches anymore. So they NEVER stop crimes in progress anymore.



Seems a little harsh now don't you think? If someone is beating on the inside of the trunk, blood all over the back seat, etc, I'm sure that crime would be stopped. Unfortunately, you can't catch every criminal and we won't hold that against you.

We could setup random roadblocks every day and search every car to come through, but this is the USA, not USSR.


Thats a rather extreme example of a crime that can be stopped in progress; the reality is that the criminals travel the same roads as the rest of us, and proactive officers catch a lot of them; that proactivity is greatly impacted by this sort of decision, as has been commented already.



As well as proactivity should be impacted when it affects MY rights.

Roy



Roy,
I specifically mentioned consent searches. Not "roadblocks" or any other violation of your rights under the fourth. Unless you are one of those tinfoil hat types that believe a cop merely asking your consent is somehow an infringment?
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 2:47:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By rdsr:

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By tcsd1236:
Face it: there are no websites that talk about bad plumbers in the same way we oficers have to deal with cop-hater websites.



I wouldn't be too sure about that......

forums.baddealings.com/t1783.html
www.thecomplaintstation.com/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi/Forum/Subtopic/TopicID=3114/SubtopicID=00054935/firstrecord=0/finalrecord=14/
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-186056.html
forum.freeadvice.com/archive/index.php/t-178838.html



True, but I didn't see any plumbers responding and indicating they were just doing their job or blaming the shoddy work on the home owner, or the home owner was targeted because they had ratty pipes and they fit a profile as an easy mark. Or they are extremely well trained and how DARE you question me.


Roy



From the Google searches I did under "plumber complaint forum", mostly it all ended up in lawsuits. LOTS of lawsuits.....
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 2:52:30 AM EST
Nobody mentioned Craig Peyer.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 3:09:21 AM EST
Go back and read my post.
Kids.
GET OFF MY LAWN!!


Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Nobody mentioned Craig Peyer.

Link Posted: 9/5/2004 3:29:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Go back and read my post.
Kids.
GET OFF MY LAWN!!


Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Nobody mentioned Craig Peyer.




Oops, read the first page the other day and forgot about your post.

Whats the thing with the lawn?
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:15:09 AM EST
Funny the CHP has never bothered me maybe its because I'm not a Fuckin low life piece of fuckin shit fuckin loser.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:07:28 AM EST
As far as the first incident is concerned it seems the man would not have any problems if he hadn't ratted the cop on his cutting out the converter.

Thats why you leave sleeping dogs lay. Keep your own shit in order and let the man take care of those who's shit isn't in order.

This doesn't mean I wouldn't report a methlab in the neighborhood, drug dealing, or murder. But the gain from turning in the law, on this type of violation, is small compared to possible consequences.

I asked a dps trooper here one time how he got to Corpus in a hour and 45 minutes without reciving a ticket. His answer was no cop in Texas would ever write a ticket to a DPS officer in his personal car. If a ticket was given the officer who wrote the ticket would be harassed unmercifully by DPS in his area.

So before you throw rocks better check if your living in a glass house.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:11:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By TexasRooter:
As far as the first incident is concerned it seems the man would not have any problems if he hadn't ratted the cop on his cutting out the converter.

Thats why you leave sleeping dogs lay. Keep your own shit in order and let the man take care of those who's shit isn't in order.

This doesn't mean I wouldn't report a methlab in the neighborhood, drug dealing, or murder. But the gain from turning in the law, on this type of violation, is small compared to possible consequences.

I asked a dps trooper here one time how he got to Corpus in a hour and 45 minutes without reciving a ticket. His answer was no cop in Texas would ever write a ticket to a DPS officer in his personal car. If a ticket was given the officer who wrote the ticket would be harassed unmercifully by DPS in his area.

So before you throw rocks better check if your living in a glass house.



All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
-George Orwell, "Animal Farm"
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:22:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By TexasRooter:
As far as the first incident is concerned it seems the man would not have any problems if he hadn't ratted the cop on his cutting out the converter.

Thats why you leave sleeping dogs lay. Keep your own shit in order and let the man take care of those who's shit isn't in order.

This doesn't mean I wouldn't report a methlab in the neighborhood, drug dealing, or murder. But the gain from turning in the law, on this type of violation, is small compared to possible consequences.

I asked a dps trooper here one time how he got to Corpus in a hour and 45 minutes without reciving a ticket. His answer was no cop in Texas would ever write a ticket to a DPS officer in his personal car. If a ticket was given the officer who wrote the ticket would be harassed unmercifully by DPS in his area.

So before you throw rocks better check if your living in a glass house.



You could prolly do a lot of harassing DPS if you wanted to.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:55:43 AM EST
I have personal experience with this. Three good stories come to mind.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 8:07:22 AM EST

Originally Posted By Possible_Spam:
I have personal experience with this. Three good stories come to mind.



Well, [ahem] these sorts of things are isolated occurrences, and, uhhh, do not reflect the world of police work as a whole, but...

-what the hell- do go on.....
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 8:14:11 AM EST
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