Commentary by Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer:
“A previous criminal probe involving officials in three school districts in San Diego County has expanded to now include 15 who were indicted for 232 felony and misdemeanor charges related to bribery and conspiracy in an ongoing ‘pay for play’ corruption case in connection with construction contracts entered into by district officials was reported by the UT News on January 7, 2013. The case involves campaign contributions, tickets to plays and sporting events as well as lavish meals, etc. in exchange for multi-million dollar school construction bond contracts.
At least one defense counsel was reported to be discussing a severance of the multiple cases so all of the defendants are not prosecuted together. The public’s interest in receiving information regarding the criminal case and the defendants’ right to due process and to have a trial free of adverse publicity has to be balanced by the court, with such a claim likely to be made by at least one of the defense counsel. The court will also have to manage this complex case with over a dozen defense counsel seeking to make a series of arguments and motions on behalf of their respective clients. Also, this case will no doubt proceed over many months, and here will be some defendants who will enter guilty or nolo contender pleas (plea in which one declines to admit or dispute the charges); it is even possible immunity may be given by the prosecution to some of the offenders if they have not done so already in helping to build their case. In spite of all of the allegations and innuendos, one always needs to be cognizant of the fact a person must be deemed innocent until proven otherwise.”
A sheriff’s deputy in Los Angeles County was accused of raping
women and soliciting bribes while on duty. He is set to appear in court on Wednesday.
28-year-old Jose Rigaberto Sanchez was arrested in his home on Monday night after a three-year investigation. He is being charged with 11 different counts.
The article did not include any interview with the officer &/or his lawyer; no discussion regarding officer’s family, social history and mitigation, if any. What has happened to honest and balanced journalism? It seems more and more we are provided with short references to events with little analysis and even less about the people and their background to invite a dialogue &/or serious reflection.
Clearly, our system of justice requires that he be given the benefit of doubt and not be tried in the news, regardless how serious and horrific the alleged crimes are, and for which our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
Commentary by Sam Spital, San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer and former Deputy Attorney General.
COMMENTARY BY ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL:
“A former SDPD Officer previously convicted of felony and misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, bribery and assault and battery by a police officer and sentenced for nine years in State Prison was reported on November 14, 2012 in the CBS online news to have been the perpetrator to several women victims, one of whom received a nearly ¾ million dollar settlement approved by the San Diego City Council. Among other chilling facts, this particular victim told about the officer stating he would let her go without a citation for a vehicular violation ‘if she showed her breasts and let him put his hand down her pants,’ at which point the former officer reached into her pants and touched her private parts. This traffic stop at 2:00 a.m. no doubt resulted in severe emotional distress to the victim and she will likely be scarred for a very long time. On the other hand, the former officer’s career in law enforcement is over and he no doubt regrets these improprieties; it is hoped he will consider his actions and strive to have remorse and rehabilitation for his crimes.”
–ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL
Two state workers were arrested for accepting bribes from a state toner contractor, according to officials.
Michael Mathison, owner of the Veterans Toners Services, has been accused of inflating quotes for office supplies, and then providing even more inflated fake quotes from competitors. That way, his company got the business from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Transportation.
Two other people were charged as well.
Stories like these are a reminder to deal honestly with money. It is a sad reality when anyone will sacrifice their employment to be involved in unscrupulous and/or improper conduct. The author failed to include in the article, however, information relating to mitigation and extenuation, if any. Everyone deserves to know about and read a balanced account rather than one that simply presents a (biased) narrative regardless of the other side of a story.