Friday, January 17, 2014

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith accused police officer's victim of panty bribery

Oh, dear. Former Judge and current San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith got caught in the act of being--well--a normal lawyer. The Bar Association would never disapprove of a public entity lawyer, not even a City Attorney, acting in the financial interest of the city even though doing so might require inflicting serious harm on the public. In this case, it seems to have required that Jan Goldsmith make a false accusation against the victim of a sexual predator who acted under cover of authority.

It's amazing how morally compartmentalized lawyers (and some judges) are. When they're not out telling the public about how moral they are, they're back at the office preparing a motion to accuse the victim of a sexual predator police officer of bribing that officer!

This is the same issue that Mike Aguirre and Leslie Devaney argued in 2005. Leslie Devaney clearly thinks that people who work for the city attorney are right to defend the "city" by helping to conceal wrongdoing by the city against its own people.

Officer Anthony Arevalos Channel 6 video

I learned about this story from Roundtable on KPBS radio today:

...Arevalos Victim Accused Of Bribery

The woman who was the first to accuse SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos of sexual misconduct was praised by Police Chief William Lansdowne as courageous. That was then.

This week, we learned she was accused of bribery by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office in its pretrial defense of a federal lawsuit against the city.

The city said the woman, who remains anonymous, offered Arevalos her underwear to get out of a DUI. She engaged in negotiation with Arevalos over her arrest, which amounts to bribery. At Arevalos’ trial, she testified that he asked her for the panties to make the arrest go away.

The day after a story on the city's defense strategy appeared in U-T San Diego, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the city had dropped that line of defense and would no longer accuse "Jane Doe" of bribery.

Some observers see similarities to the city attorney’s response last fall to Irene McCormack’s lawsuit against the city and Mayor Bob Filner for sexual misconduct. Among other things, the city said that any injury or damage was caused and exacerbated by McCormack herself...

Woman hailed by police chief for reporting sexual misconduct offered her underwear, City Attorney’s Office says
By Greg Moran
Jan 15, 2014

Once called courageous by San Diego’s police chief, the woman who first accused former San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos of sexual misconduct is now being accused of bribery by lawyers defending the city in a federal lawsuit.

In court papers filed for a pretrial hearing, the city says the woman offered Arevalos her underwear as a bribe in order to get out of a drunken-driving charge in 2011.

That’s a dramatic turnabout by the city. Chief William Lansdowne called the woman “very courageous” for reporting Arevalos and cooperating with investigators when Arevalos was arrested three days after the March 8, 2011, incident.

The woman, identified only as “Jane Doe” in her civil-rights lawsuit against the city, was stopped by Arevalos in the Gaslamp on suspicion of drunken driving. She testified at his trial that he asked her what she would be willing to do to make the DUI arrest go away, and he suggested she give him her panties.

The two went to a bathroom inside a nearby 7-Eleven where she removed her underwear, she testified, and Arevalos touched her before allowing her to dress.

Arevalos, serving his sentence at Corcoran state prison, did not take the stand at the trial.

The city’s position, outlined in legal papers filed two months ago seeking to have the woman’s lawsuit dismissed, paints a different picture.

“Plaintiff bribed Officer Arevalos with her panties to get out of the DUI,” the filing says. “Both plaintiff and Arevalos agreed to consummate the bribe in a nearby 7-Eleven in the Gaslamp.”

Browne Greene, a lawyer for Jane Doe, said the city’s position is hard to believe.

“After she comes forward to report she’s been assaulted, they proclaim her a hero,” he said. “And now, in federal court, they call her a briber.”

A spokesman for San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a written statement that the Jane Doe case is different from a dozen other women’s claims that the office has settled related to Arevalos’ conduct.

“Unlike the other cases, this one remaining case has evidence that the plaintiff actually negotiated over avoiding a DUI,” the statement said. “Regardless of outrage from plaintiff’s lawyer seeking a payday, if we have to try a case our trial lawyers present the jury with the truth.”

The woman was not arrested for bribery or drunken driving. Citing the ongoing lawsuit and Arevalos’ appeal of his criminal conviction, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis declined to comment on whether prosecutors ever considered a bribery charge against the woman.

Jane Doe is the last of a dozen women who sued the city or filed legal claims alleging they were subjected to sexual harassment or assault by Arevalos when he was an officer. So far the city has paid out some $2.3 million in claims.

Dan Gilleon, a lawyer who represented several women in those claims, said the city’s statements accusing the woman could backfire with a jury.

“It’s offensive the city would be doing this right now,” he said. “In these sexual assault, sexual harassment cases the last option you want to take is to blame the victim.”

Arevalos’ trial lawyer, Gretchen Von Helms, said Tuesday that the woman testified that she wanted to get out of the DUI charge. The city interprets that as offering a bribe, she said.

The federal lawsuit has become increasingly contentious as it moves closer to a trial, which will probably occur this year. Neither side appears willing to settle.

In the two years since it was filed, lawyers for the woman have built a case arguing that Arevalos was part of a larger culture of misconduct inside the department. The lawsuit is seeking a federal judge to appoint an independent monitor to oversee how the department handles complaints from citizens about officer misconduct.

The city says no such monitor is needed.

Arevalos was convicted of sexual battery, bribery and other charges and sentenced to eight years in prison. He’s seeking a new trial based on evidence discovered after the trial during the Jane Doe civil case that his lawyers say San Diego police should have turned over before the trial, but never did as the law requires.

A hearing on that issue is set for Feb. 7 in front of Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser, who presided over the trial. Jane Doe has been ordered to appear to testify about the notes.

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