2/05/2015

When the Police Violated The Sixth Amendment, He Got A Restraining Order

I have a client who is a smart, dedicated private investigator.  His name is Eugene Borghello.  During a murder trial in which Gene was the investigator for the defense, Gene was threatened by the investigating police officer after the cop learned that a woman passed Gene a note during the trial alleging that the cop's ex-wife had an affair with a member of the defendant's family. The cop went ballistic and had a fit and threatened Gene. At one point the cop even said: "You better watch your back."  Given the immense power the police have in general, and Gene's personal knowledge from independent sources of the dangerous acts the particular cop in question has perpetrated in the community, Gene sought a restraining order against the police officer to protect himself against any retaliation from the officer so he could get the court to help him "watch his back" because he felt the cop's threat was credible.

When a police officer threatens a member of the defense team during a murder trial, he threatens to undermine the alleged fairness of the criminal courts.  (I don't use the term "criminal justice system" because I think the term is an oxymoron) We have all heard of stories where the police have shot and killed someone, and when the prosecution tries to "prosecute" the officer, the good citizens of this country, like in Ferguson, Missouri who sit on our grand juries, fail to issue an indictment against the cop for murder --even though most grand juries would indict a ham sandwich.  Seriously, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide by police reported to the FBI, a white police officer killed a black person nearly two times a week in the United States during a seven-year period ending in 2012.   That's almost 104 African American human beings a year killed by white cops.  If the police can "justifiably" can kill them, they could kill justifiably kill you or someone you love.

We have heard of cases in the media where the police are seen on video violating the civil rights of citizens in Antioch, CA and San Francisco.  So why would Gene file a petition for a restraining order on a cop when cops as a rule get preferential treatment? Because Gene has a right under the First Amendment to seek protection from the courts--even if the person who threatened him is a police officer.  Gene also knows the system and how cops get away with all types of conduct and he knows from his training and experience (he was a cop too once in San Mateo County) how dangerous cops can be.

So why does a criminal defense attorney represent a PI who seeks protection from the court from a rogue cop?  Because we have a duty under the Sixth Amendment to protect the defendants and their defense team from being intimidated by the police in a criminal case.  In my opinion, if the police can intimidate a PI in a murder case, then they can undermine the integrity of the courts by threatening and intimidating those who have sworn to uphold the constitution and make sure everyone gets a fair trial.  You can't have a fair trial or a fair system if the defendant can't have a private investigator gather facts to tell his side of the story.

The fact is that the police and even the prosecutors in this country enjoy special privileges that the rest of us will never enjoy.  They can lie in open court and in front of the judge and get away with it. The prosecutor who puts the cop on the witness stand ignores the cops perjury, and sometimes I have even seen juries ignore the cop's lies too.  If you don't believe in prosecutorial corruption, watch the You Tube video below. In the video, you will see the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ask the state prosecutor why the Riverside County prosecutor, his snitch witness, or the second prosecutor who testified against the defendant were not prosecuted for perjury and suborning perjury. Start this You Tube video at 26: 14 seconds and watch the federal judges slam the California Attorney General's attorney for this egregious case of prosecutorial perjury which was condoned all the way to the state court of appeal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sCUrhgXjH4.

When it came out that, neither the Riverside county prosecutor who suborned perjury, nor the snitch, nor the lying prosecutor were prosecuted for perjury, Justice Kozinski suggested that the perjury would continue in Riverside County when he said: " They are going to keep doing it because they have state court judges who are willing to look the other way." These are not my observations but the observations of a federal judge about corrupt prosecutors who are protected by state court elected judges.  Most Police Departments pay campaign contributions to help elect some state judges and prosecutors.

By the way, if you are interested, here is a link about Gene's case: http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/crimecourts/judge-delays-hearing-on-restraining-order-bid-against-police-detective/

We can only hope the judge in Gene's case listens to the evidence and "watches Gene's back" so he can continue to investigate cases of people who are tried for murder without fear of retaliation.  Sometimes even innocent people are prosecuted.  I know of four of my own clients who were acquitted of murder, one client was acquitted of attempted murder, and one client was acquitted of torture, mayhem, and felony assault with gang enhancements (this case was all on video) in Solano County alone in the last 15 years and I couldn't have gotten acquittals without a good investigator like Gene.

I'm not anti-police, I'm just saying, "Watch your back" and let them see your hands at all times.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you guys for the great advice. I feel like it's really important to make sure that you've got a really good law attorney watching your back. You just never know when something might go wrong, and it's good to have that extra protection. That's why I always try to make sure that I've got a good lawyer making sure that I don't get into too much trouble.
    http://www.jamessnowlaw.com/team

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you guys for the great advice. I feel like it's really important to make sure that you've got a really good law attorney watching your back. You just never know when something might go wrong, and it's good to have that extra protection. That's why I always try to make sure that I've got a good lawyer making sure that I don't get into too much trouble.
    http://www.jamessnowlaw.com/team

    ReplyDelete