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Posted: 3/27/2006 6:13:14 AM EDT
California Deputy Shot Sues Couple


Updated: March 27th, 2006 09:59 AM EDT


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Sacramento Bee, The (CA) (KRT)
via NewsEdge Corporation


Mar. 25--A Sacramento County sheriff's deputy who was shot while responding to a domestic violence call is suing the couple he was trying to help, claiming the wife lied about having no weapons in the house.

Deputy Matthew Tallman claims Virginia Huerta knew her husband kept guns in their North Highlands house but didn't warn deputies who responded to her 911 call for help two years ago.

Huerta, who had called from her front yard, told the deputies her husband had slapped her. According to Tallman's suit, she led them to believe that there were no weapons in the house and that it would be safe to enter.

But as Tallman and another deputy approached the front door, her husband, Richard Huerta, opened fire, striking Tallman in the chest and arm.
The other deputy was not injured.

In an interview this week, Virginia Huerta denied knowing about the guns and said the suit is in retaliation for a complaint she filed against the deputies.

She questioned why deputies led her back to the house when her husband had slapped her.

"The officer knew it was a domestic violence call. But the officer had me walk back up to my house," she said. "He put both of us in danger."

Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.

According to newspaper reports, he had previous convictions for spousal abuse, attempted robbery, driving under the influence and resisting arrest.

While the lawsuit doesn't specify monetary damages, Virginia Huerta said she and her husband are being sued for more than $500,000 in damages.

Legal and law enforcement experts say it's not uncommon for public safety servants - such as firefighters and police officers - to seek financial redress if they believe they were intentionally injured in the line of duty.

That differs from a public servant injured, for example, in an accidental fire, according to Lawrence Levine, law professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

David Mastagni, whose firm is representing Tallman, said such lawsuits help reimburse the public who paid for an officer's medical bills. They also discourage people from intentionally injuring law enforcement officers.

Tallman and his attorney, Amanda Uhrhammer, declined comment. In the lawsuit, Tallman accused the Huertas of reckless disregard for the safety of others, and for misrepresenting the presence of guns in the home.

Had he been aware, the suit says Tallman "would have taken action to protect himself."

Steve Fisk, president of the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs' Association, said deputies are trained to take precautions when responding to domestic violence calls. Domestic disturbances are generally considered high-risk calls, he said.

According to The Bee's trial coverage, Virginia Huerta called the Sheriff's Department after her husband slapped her during an argument. Her husband had been on a four-day methamphetamine binge, prosecutors said.

When two deputies approached the front door, Richard Huerta opened fire, shooting through the wall, window and front door.

Tallman, who was wearing protective armor, was hit in the upper arm and lower back. A bullet lodged above his heart.

The other deputy, Jamin Martinez, testified that he felt a bullet pass by his head.

The deputies returned fire and after a brief standoff, Richard Huerta walked out of the house with his wife and two sons.

Sacramento County prosecutors said Richard Huerta warned his wife that there was going to be a shootout if she called 911.

"She knew her husband was on meth, on a binge. She knew he had a gun, knew there was going to be a shootout. She lied to them," said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Marv Stern.

Virginia Huerta maintains she wasn't aware that her husband had guns in the house.

"If I did know, do you believe I would go back to my front door and put myself between the officer and him?" Huerta said. "My children were in the house. I didn't know."

She said she's confused and upset by the suit. As a state worker raising two boys, she said she lacks the cash to make small household repairs. Right now, rubber bands keep her cupboards shut, she said.

Link Posted: 3/27/2006 6:16:45 AM EDT
Hard learned lesson for the deputy: Expect the unexpected.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:26:23 AM EDT
Finally, the good guys sue back!
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:30:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Finally, the good guys sue back!



+1 Turnabout is fair play! It's about friggen' time that one of the good guys pulls a page out of the crimminal/victim playbook.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:30:44 AM EDT
She knew there was a gun in the house.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:33:30 AM EDT
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:35:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
She knew there was a gun in the house.



Well at least a meth-head...................
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:36:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:37:03 AM EDT
Over an hour and no JBT reply? This place is mellowing.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:45:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By callgood:
Over an hour and no JBT reply? This place is mellowing.



Fuckin Jack booted assholes!


Feel better?



Seriously, I see his side of it. She knew, I have little doubt. What he's going to recover from the meth-heads I don't know though?
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:49:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.




75 - life for attempted murder? WTF?? Is that just because he tried to kill a cop?
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:54:01 AM EDT
It appears he was a felon. Isn't the possesion of firearms by felons illegal in California? How could this happen?

Its George W. Bush and the NRA's fault.

Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:00:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.




No offense but do you guys even read the stories before you answer?


Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.



Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:03:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2006 8:04:13 AM EDT by jrzy]

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
It appears he was a felon. Isn't the possesion of firearms by felons illegal in California? How could this happen?

Its George W. Bush and the NRA's fault.




It's illegal everywhere in the USA.
There's a federal law against possession by convicted felon.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:04:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.




No offense but do you guys even read the stories before you answer?


Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.






None taken. Just did not remember reading it before.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:05:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.




No offense but do you guys even read the stories before you answer?


Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.






None taken. Just did not remember reading it before.



Bama , thanks, I really did mean "no offense" because sometimes I don't read the entire story if it's way too long, ya know what I mean?
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:31:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.




No offense but do you guys even read the stories before you answer?


Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.







I did, but I got so caught up in my own answer that I failed to account for the fact he's away.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:02:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

Originally Posted By jrzy:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



I have a feeling the hubby is spending time on the .gov dime at the state gray bar hotel.




No offense but do you guys even read the stories before you answer?


Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Richard Huerta, who was convicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a 75-years-to-life sentence for the March 21, 2004, shooting.







I did, but I got so caught up in my own answer that I failed to account for the fact he's away.



Yeah that happens to all of us once in a while.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:23:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:31:14 AM EDT
So in calling the police to report a possible crime, a citizen should have to worry about being sued personally if the police officer gets hurt in responding to the call? Is that good public policy?
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:35:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By slefelar:
So in calling the police to report a possible crime, a citizen should have to worry about being sued personally if the police officer gets hurt in responding to the call? Is that good public policy?



It can be if the caller withholds information intentionally, and possibly with the intent to DO harm to the officer by withholding information.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:36:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:59:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2006 11:01:38 AM EDT by slefelar]

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:

Originally Posted By slefelar:
So in calling the police to report a possible crime, a citizen should have to worry about being sued personally if the police officer gets hurt in responding to the call? Is that good public policy?


If you contribute to that injury, yes.



So if I "contribute" to an officer being hurt by calling the police through the failure to disclose some information, I should be liable to the officer in a civil action?

What if I call the cops because I hear someone downstairs at night but fail to tell the cops I have just waxed my floor and they slip, huring their back? Or I just dug a ditch in my yard, etc. Are we going to insist that people in exigent circumstances be required to reveal all possible hazzards to the police?

Does a cop really need to be clued into the fact that a guy beating his wife might be dangerous?

Allowing public officers to sue citizens for injuries suffered in their official duties is a slipperly slope that has lots of negative consequences.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:13:23 AM EDT
I am more surprised that the perp wasnt shot himself.

I have no problem with the suit, but doubt they have anything worth collecting.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:46:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By slefelar:
Allowing public officers to sue citizens for injuries suffered in their official duties is a slipperly slope that has lots of negative consequences.



Might be necessary to combat the inevitable lawsuits whenever a cop shoots someone while on duty.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:59:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
I hope she and her shithead husband wind up living in a cardboard box until he rots from the inside out due to meth and she becomes a disease-ridden crackwhore of the first order.



Come on dude, dont you think your being a litt......

Well, at least have the common decien........

D A M N thats just about how I feel about them also ! ! !
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 3:10:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Grunteled:
What he's going to recover from the meth-heads I don't know though?


Her home owners insurance policy will cover the judgment. Plus she has a govt job so they can garnish her wages.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 3:12:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By slefelar:
So in calling the police to report a possible crime, a citizen should have to worry about being sued personally if the police officer gets hurt in responding to the call? Is that good public policy?



Nope. But they should not knowing give the police false information that endagers them. this is the same thing as if she let the fire department enter a structure fire knowing there were explosives in the house.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 3:14:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By slefelar:

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:

Originally Posted By slefelar:
So in calling the police to report a possible crime, a citizen should have to worry about being sued personally if the police officer gets hurt in responding to the call? Is that good public policy?


If you contribute to that injury, yes.



So if I "contribute" to an officer being hurt by calling the police through the failure to disclose some information, I should be liable to the officer in a civil action?

What if I call the cops because I hear someone downstairs at night but fail to tell the cops I have just waxed my floor and they slip, huring their back?



This was not an accidental ommission. They specifically asked if there were guns in the house. she lied.

At every domestic violence call here the dispatchers as has either party been drinking, has either bparty been using drugs and are there any firearms in the house. The answers to those questions determines what type of response is dispatched.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 3:21:55 PM EDT
Tit for tat. If people can personally sue the police for negligence, turnaround is fair play. I hope the cop gets a satifactory settlement from her homeowner's policy and garnishes a % of her wages until the debt is paid.
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