Tag Archives: Sappy McTree

Law for Dummies

New Lawsuit Against Fullerton Alleges Police Misconduct & Cover-Ups

 

A lot has happened in Fullerton over the last several years and while my involvement has waned ever since the City threatened me civilly and criminally because I happen to be associated with this blog, and this blog published embarrassing things City Hall would rather hide from the people, I have remained committed to finding the truth and speaking up against the vapid and self-serving corruption of our council majority & the city hall they oversee.

In my capacity as a chronic malcontent these last few years I have made numerous records requests looking for information and many of those requests have been ignored, delayed or denied owing to dubious legal claims or just outright misrepresentations of the law. As such I have opted to sue the city of Fullerton for violations of the California Public Records Act.

The now filed Petition for Writ of Mandate alleges that the City of Fullerton has violated the CPRA in regards to my records requests related to no less than 5 separate issues.

Back when I first started filing requests, specifically for the body worn camera and dash cam videos of the Joe Felz DUI incident, the city was able to hide behind a lack of enforceable disclosure laws as SB1421 was not yet the law of the land. Cities did/do this because they know it takes a lot of time, effort and commitment to make them comply with disclosure laws.

Here in Fullerton the arrogance got so bad that they didn’t even try to hide their disdain for the public and transparency. At one point after claiming the Felz video was exempt from disclosure owing to the non-existent sham investigation, City Attorney Gregory Palmer asserted to me; “If you are dissatisfied with the response you have remedies”.

“You have remedies”

Skip ahead a few years and it turns out I DO have remedies and I have opted to act upon them. Hence this lawsuit.

For those interested, the lawsuit reads as follows (after the jump, emphasis in original, exhibits in the Writ link above):

Continue reading

Paulette Chaffee Under DA Investigation

Good luck getting any followup before the election as Tony Rackauckas is more worried about Todd Spitzer than doing his job.

Continue reading

Does Fullerton Have a Leak Problem?

Word has reached me that Fullerton might have leak problem – and that problem is that City Manager Ken Domer is quite mad that people would dare tell the public the things he intends to hide from us.

Such things as our Chief of Police and a Captain being caught up alleged Felony Battery on an EMT charges.

Or that one of our now former officers is being indicted for his cover-up work on the Joe Felz DUI incident.

When I first heard the rumors that Domer was hopping mad about the “leaks” coming out I brushed it off as hearsay. Then I heard it again from a different source. And again. And again still.

At this juncture I’m willing to chalk this rumor up as “Credible but without citation”.

If our city management would worry more about what their own staff is doing and the corruption therein and would be honest about it we wouldn’t need to rely on leaks from anonymous sources. And without those leaks, Domer would have nothing to be mad about in the first place.

Ultimately if he is mad it’s because he believes himself to be a part of the Ruling Elite above we the chattel and is more worried about appearances than solving problems.

The funny part for me is that I’ve tried to cultivate leaks within the city to no avail. All of the people who know me in City Hall are smart enough to not tell me anything for fear of guilt by association.

Yet here we are breaking stories of corruption and malfeasance and we get these leaks at FFFF because enough employees are fed up with the nonsense happening in Fullerton and FPD.

I salute the people who have sent us information because one of the last things Fullerton needs these days is a continuing culture of cover-ups. We respect your privacy and value the contribution to improving accountable, intelligent, and responsible leadership in our town’s government.

 

Felony Complaint Filed Against Fullerton Sergeant

Here is the actual copy of the Felony Complaint filed by the District Attorney’s office against Fullerton Police Sergeant Jeff Corbett as we mentioned was coming earlier today:

Corbett Complaint Corbett Complaint

 

The charge is as follows:

118.1 PC False Report by a Peace Officer – Felony

For those who are curious here is what that CA Penal Code is:

Every peace officer who files any report with the agency which employs him or her regarding the commission of any crime or any investigation of any crime, if he or she knowingly and intentionally makes any statement regarding any material matter in the report which the officer knows to be false, whether or not the statement is certified or otherwise expressly reported as true, is guilty of filing a false report punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or in the state prison for one, two, or three years. This section shall not apply to the contents of any statement which the peace officer attributes in the report to any other person.

My suspicion that it was related to Felz’s accident was spot on, though it looks like it was done without (or around) the Grand Jury. Danny Hughes clearly threw Corbett under the bus and was given a pass.

Who wants to lay odds that this goes to trial or that the “false report” sees the light of day.

Felony Rap for Fullerton Cop Corbett

We received information today that (former?) Fullerton Police Sergeant Jeff Corbett is to be charged with a felony. Could this be from the recent Grand Jury investigation and relating to his mishandling of the Joe Felz DUI incident of election night 2016?

We’ll find out soon enough as a Press Release is forthcoming from the District Attorney’s office as I type.

We posted back when citizen accusations regarding this incident were sustained against Corbett:

Well over a year later, this letter shows that some of the accusations leveled at Sergeant Jeff Corbett and Lieutenant Goodrich, under the leadership of the since-departed Chief Danny Hughes, were indeed sustained.

Can we expect an Instagram Press Release from FPD? Maybe photos from the scene of the crime? A booking photo? Or are those only reserved for people not promised a government pension?

FPD Instagram

Like always we’ll keep you posted.

Joe Felz Plea Destroys Disney Dan’s Deception

The Joe Felz Guilty Plea contains an explicit admission of driving under the influence of alcohol. This is an actual literal signed confession in his own handwriting. This can’t be good for the cops who conspired to drive Felz home instead of hold him to account for his actions. That would be (former?) Sergeant Jeff Corbett and former Chief Dan Hughes.

For those of you having a hard time reading that on your phone I’ll transcribe it:

“ON OR ABOUT 11-9-16 WHILE IN ORANGE COUNTY, I WILLFULLY AND UNLAWFULLY DROVE A VEHICLE UPON A HIGHWAY WITH WILLFUL AND WANTON DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL”.

While. Under. The. Influence. Of. Alcohol.

I need some help here because I cannot for the life of me manage to square that with the following as written by then Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes:

“The sergeant conducted the assessment and made the determination that the city manager had consumed alcohol, but did not meet the criteria of 23152(a) CVC. The city manager was driven home and his vehicle was towed.”

Why would Dan Hughes tell our city council that Mr. Felz did not meet the criteria of “23152(A) CVC” only for Felz, 405 days later, to rebuff him and admit to having done just that? It’s almost as if Hughes was lying to the city council and simply hoped this would go away on his way out of the door to Disney.

Let us be clear here for a minute and lay out the details as we know them:

  • No arrest was made at the scene of the crime. The police had Felz’s car towed and gave him a ride home.
  • No Citation was issued at the scene of the crime. Felz paid the bill for Sappy McTree, proof that he ran over public property, later.
  • No Breathalyzer was administered to the not-accused.
  • It was months later when the District Attorney finally filed charges.

Now ask yourself – In what world does Joe Felz admit, in his own writing on that plea deal, that he was driving under the influence if there wasn’t proof? That must be some damning video that the city refuses to release. Make no mistake here either – the city won’t release the video of the Felz incident unless forced to do so by the courts because doing the right thing is a foreign concept to our local government.

You add to that the allegations from former District Attorney investigator Abraham Santos that the DA wasn’t going to look into the possible criminal actions of Dan Hughes and his cabal of miscreants AND the current allegation that the Sergeant on the scene who administered the “Field Sobriety Test”, Jeff Corbett, was recently put on Administrative Leave over this very case and you have the makings of a conspiracy to subvert justice and engage in a cover-up.

I’ve put in records requests for the video from Felz’s “incident” and it has been denied by the city twice. Once under the old guard and once under the current crew. The legal reason for denying the release is 6254(f) for those who might want to know the minutia.

Essentially the city refuses to release the Felz incident bodycam/dashcam videos because they don’t have to? I don’t know because our City Attorney seems to pride himself on being a pompous ass.

From my conversations on and around this issue it basically boils down to this:

Joe Felz was friends with people and those friends don’t want him embarrassed by his own actions. We simple plebs who don’t live our lives feeding off of the government teat should just shut up and trust that our government is doing the right thing and that they have things under control. No evidence of this will be given because apparently in a Representative Democracy it is too much to ask for our government to prove their worth and not simply demand obedience of the ratepayers.

We will get no civilian oversight. We will get no details on the case. We will get no answers. We will get what they give us which amounts to lies and resentment coiffed in legalese. Well, that and Jennifer Fitzgerald’s sad, sad tears of sadness.

The trouble here is that the deference that is being afforded to Joe Felz to save him from embarrassment isn’t afforded to the little people who fall under the boot of our same government. Keep an eye on the F.P.D. Facebook Page if you want evidence of the double standard in place when it comes to haves/havenots. Here’s a pretty standard example of the dignity afforded to criminals not the City Manger:

FPD FB Double Standard

Joe Felz was City Manager which means the then Chief of Police worked with him and both were only answerable to the City Council. The same City Council who has all but turned a teary eye away from this whole issue. Even the illusion of City Council accountability has now changed with our new Chief’s new contract which actually delegates authority over the Chief of Police to the City Manager.

Let that sink in for a moment.

We have proof, in Joe Felz’s own writing, that he drove under the influence. We know from his payment for damages that he hit a tree. It is believed by many based upon photos from the scene that he attempted to flee the scene of the crime. We also know that despite all of this Dan Hughes decided to give him a pass on his criminal behavior despite not giving that pass to countless regular schmucks who mess up less in life. AFTER all of that our Council has not demanded public disclosure. They have not demanded any sort of oversight. And when the Contract for the new Chief of Police came up they opted to delegate their authority away to the position, the City Manger, who benefited from this very case of official corruption. This isn’t just not learning, this is doubling down on stupid.

It’s bad enough that we didn’t get anything positive out of such a terrible situation but we never even got a fight. Seemingly convinced of his own inability to sell an idea to the public or his fellow council members, even a basic idea like good government, then Mayor Whitaker couldn’t even be bothered to agendize anything even remotely relating to oversight or accountability in any facet of our city. To be fair the entire council is complicit in this problem, especially Jennifer Fitzgerald who was Mayor when the incident occurred, but they aren’t all running on their record of transparency for higher office so it needs to be pointed out.

BruceTransparency

This whole situation would be comedic if it wasn’t so pathetic and sad and infuriating.

Joe Felz’s Wild Ride Ends in Plea Deal

The wheels of justice in the Joe Felz case have finally ground to a halt with Mr. Felz finally taking the plea deal we all knew was coming.

After 405 days of waiting Joe Felz has finally admitted guilt to reckless driving. Of course he has been given a pass on his alleged drunk driving and his proven destruction of property by our oh-so-competent District Attorney’s office.

I wonder how many nobodies get the same treatment? I’d reckon not too many if the constant MADD awards presented to FPD at City Hall are any indication.

Mr. Felz will have to pay restitution, $390 in fines, serve 40 hours of community service, attend “victim impact counseling”, serve 3 months in the “first offender alcohol program” and spend 3 years on “informal” probation with no mandatory supervision if reading this correctly.

This is a curious case where the county and courts have agreed that Felz has a big enough of an alcohol problem to warrant going into a 3-month program. His problem, which resulted in him crashing his car and ensuing property damage somehow was not bad enough to justify taking his license away as happens with so many poor saps caught up in Fullerton’s outdoor saloon who hit nothing. Curious the way power protects power.

With the “ongoing investigation” over maybe now we can get to the truth of what really transpired the fateful night of 08/09 November 2016.

Poor Sappy.

Happy Felziversary

Poor Sappy.

Poor Sappy. So young, so vibrant…

One year ago today I wrote my first piece for this site, Friends for Fullerton’s Future. It was on the tail end of my lackluster city council bid when I was approached to join the site. I was asked to keep up the writing that I was doing during my campaign but here instead of my own site to which I was agreeable. No timelines had been discussed or content hashed out but the premise was we would revive FFFF because nobody else was effectively putting a spotlight on Fullerton’s abysmal government.

Then Joe Felz killed Sappy McTree after drinking his way through every election party in downtown.

One year ago this morning Joe Felz “took a wide turn” and ran down a tree only for Fullerton’s Finest to be called to the scene of the crime and offer cookies and a glass of milk to our beleaguered city manager instead of the breathalyzer and night in the drunk tank any regular Joe would have received. Continue reading

Fullerton PD Still Selectively Enforces the Law

In the last week or so Fullerton P.D. has been making it extremely clear that they take D.U.I.s very, very seriously.

This isn’t really news as the City Council regularly helps present M.A.D.D. awards to officers with the most D.U.I. arrests.

 

Fullerton Mayor Greg Sebourn, third from left, with Fullerton PD officers being honored for their contribution in getting drunk drivers off the road.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

There is very little sympathy for people who make the stupid decision to drink or do drugs and then drive. This makes sense as when you do so you’re putting not just your own life on the line but are risking the lives of anybody in your potential path.

The however, of course, is if you make such a colossally stupid decision and happen to work for the city.

Were drinking or drugs involved in the January accident and circumstances around the rolled Parks and Rec vehicle? To this day we have no information.

Better yet is if you happen to be one of the high priests of local government. City Manager perhaps. Then you can “take a wide turn” while smelling of alcohol with near impunity.

Dearly Departed Sappy McTree

For those who may have forgotten, back in March Joe Felz was charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage. He was charged in relation to his 09 November 2016 accident where he “smelled of alcohol” after running over a tree. Instead of being cited or arrested he was given a chance to talk to the Chief of Police, Danny Hughes, before being given a ride home. Hughes also spoke to then Mayor Fitzgerald.

Thanks to denied Public Records Requests and the burden of suing to get information the city won’t legally hand over we don’t know who called whom that night or who ordered the cover-up and obstruction of justice. We don’t know who arranged to let the City Manager escape the crimes that Fullerton P.D. and City Hall are ever so eager to wield against the commoners. What we do know is the following:

Joe Felz smelled of alcohol and hit a tree.
Felz went on leave for two weeks before vacating his position.
Felz then let his job with the city over “Personnel Matters“.
Jennifer Fitzgerald had the sadz when he left.
The D.A. investigator in charge blew the whistle on a cover-up.
Felz’s D.U.I. case has been postponed twice.

We find out on Monday if former City Manager Joe Felz will actually be prosecuted for the crimes with which he’s been charged. We’ll be watching to see if the District Attorney has any interest in actually prosecuting one of the aristocrats in our midst. More likely they plan to keep continuing the case in the hopes that anger subsides and the status quo of corruption can settle back into place. The worst thing that could happen to the Fullerton Police Department, and the sycophantic City Council, is for the truth to come out so the smart money is on a plea deal or a dropping of charges.

Something to keep in mind here is that our City Council has been silent on this whole fiasco. While it is true that the Felz case is still pending, 9 months after the accident, there is no such investigation going on with F.P.D. and the alleged cover-up. Nary a word has come from Council or the City Manager’s office. This council, all 5 of them, are perfectly fine with police corruption and a total lack of oversight. They could have demanded oversight before hiring a new chief. Or before hiring a new City Manager. They didn’t even bother to address the issue. These 5 are more worried about angering the F.P.O.A. campaign monster than doing the right thing. To add insult to injury the thin blue line would rather wallow in their own corruption than oust their “bad apples” once again proving that the whole bushel has rotted.

Nothing changed after Kelly Thomas died and nothing has changed after Joe Felz’s wild ride.

We’ve been waiting to be proven wrong on this issue. We’ve been waiting for council to demand accountability. We’ve been waiting for the council to demand oversight. We’ve been waiting for the brothers and sisters in blue to step out of the shadows and tell the truth. For 9 months we’ve been waiting and it looks like we’ll be waiting forevermore. For all of the pomp and circumstance about public service and the public good it is once again clear that our government institutions and those inside it are interested in anything but.

DA Investigator Blows Whistle on Felz DUI Coverup

Add Another Item for the DOJ and State Attorneys to Investigate

The Joe Felz DUI case just took another wide turn and this time not over a tree. New allegations have arisen within the Orange County District Attorney’s Office:

One of the allegations, listed only by [investigator Abraham] Santos, involves an election night car crash by Fullerton’s then City Manager Joe Felz on Nov. 9, 2016. A Fullerton police officer, who responded to the scene, notified the city’s then Police Chief Dan Hughes, who contacted a police sergeant and allegedly told him to drive Felz home instead of arresting him.

Santos’ investigation later concluded that Hughes was calling in a favor allegedly owed by a sergeant. That sergeant, according to Santos’ claim, had once been caught having sex in a police car but was never disciplined.

“Chief Hughes covered up the misconduct by his sergeant and, when he needed him in the Joe Felz DUI/attempted hit-and-run case, (the sergeant) repaid the favor to Chief Hughes,” said the claim.

Santos’ subsequent investigation of the incident concluded that Hughes “criminally obstructed justice.” But the county never filed a charge against Hughes. Santos, in his claim, said Assistant District Attorney Ibrahim Baytieh told him, “I am friends with Chief Hughes and we are only going to be investigating the DUI and nothing else.”

Let us repeat part of that for emphasis.

“Santos’ subsequent investigation of the incident concluded that Hughes “criminally obstructed justice.””

This isn’t your run of the mill water-cooler talk either as it was disclosed in an official complaint with the OCDA’s office. Pertinent Screenshots as follows:

DA Complaint abt Felz Case

DA Complaint abt Felz Case2

This seems to be par for the course for the OCDA being that Supervisor Todd Spitzer has asked the US Department of Justice to take over their operations owing to an ongoing Jail Snitch scandal amogst other trying issues. Things have gotten pretty bad at the OCDA. So much so that the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the California Attorney General & the Orange County Grand Jury are all separately investigating the OCDA for “systemic” cheating in the jail snitch program. While speculative it wouldn’t be surprising for this Felz DUI Cover-up case to be sucked into the investigations.

We in Fullerton were told time and again that Hughes reformed the department. We were told that he was the man we needed for the job. If these allegations are true it means that not only did he cover-up previous misconduct regarding officer Corbett but he then used that previous cover-up to bury another more egregious case. One cannot have a reformed department if the man in charge is not only participating in coverups but using them as leverage for later ones.

If the rot at FPD started with the head down did it permeate other parts of our city as well? If an Assistant District Attorney refused to look into Hughes owing to a personal friendship did others likewise turn a blind eye to corruption and criminal wrongdoings? Considering how often our own Jennifer Fitzgerald proclaimed her friendship to both Hughes and Felz one must wonder how much misconduct she was aware of and if she was aware did she help cover anything up while she’s been on council?

This further begs the question of how Disney feels about having a potential felon in Fantasyland?

Disney Danny.