Defense must prove cops lied in Brown case
And because he believed the testimony of the arresting officer, Dier ruled photographic evidence produced by the defense to prove the officers were lying was “irrelevant.”
According to the defense, two photographs, one allegedly taken by a city of Susanville employee investigating a code violation at the Brown’s home on June 14 — just two days after the couple’s arrest — prove the vehicle had mud flaps the night of the stop, and therefore the officers are lying.
Dier rejected all the defense’s claims.
“ … the defense argument concentrated on the mud flaps and did not talk about the two other points made by the prosecution,” Dier wrote. “The People argued that regardless of the issue of flaps, there was cause to have stopped the Defendants because the vehicle driven by Defendant Richard Brown had crossed the double yellow lines. Additionally, the People argued that even if the officers were mistaken or lying about the absence of the flaps, those that are on the truck are not legally sufficient … “
According to Dier’s ruling the issue of “reasonable suspicion” on the part of the arresting officer is the only question to be “asked and answered” in making his ruling.
“Was there a reasonable suspicion for the stop?” Dier asked. “I find there was a reasonable belief on Deputy Mendes’ part that the driver of the Defendants’ vehicle was in violation of the vehicle code by crossing the double yellow lines. There was also a reasonable suspicion to believe there was a violation of section 27600,” regarding the legality of the mud flaps even if they were on the vehicle at the time of the stop.
Despite the defense’s claim the vehicle had mud flaps at the time of the stop, Dier believed the testimony of the arresting officer.
“I believed and continue to believe Deputy Mendes when he said he did not see mud flaps on the pickup truck on June 12, 2005,” Dier wrote.
Even if the officers are lying about the mud flaps, the judge ruled the proper remedy is for the defense to prove its case to a jury or convince the district attorney the officers are lying.
“If I am wrong in my conclusion that he (the arresting officer) did not lie,” Dier wrote, “the remedy for the Defendants is not punishing the officers by suppressing all of the evidence. It is for them to convince a jury that all four of the officers are liars and that none of their testimony is worthy of belief. Alternately or additionally, they can try to convince the District Attorney to prosecute the officers for perjury. Under the law, pretrial suppression is not available to punish a liar, unless the liar conducted an illegal detention, search or seizure.
“It is therefore ordered that the Motion to Suppress is denied in its entirety.”
In a separate case, the Browns face additional charges for presenting a photograph of their truck on a trailer allegedly taken the night of the traffic stop that showed the vehicle had mud flaps.
Actually that misrepresented photograph was taken about five months after the traffic stop by Terry Lynn DePriest, one of the Browns’ friends.
DePriest has been charged with perjury for her role in the incident.
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