Posts Tagged oc da

Orange County Deputy District Attorney EBRAHIM BAYTIEH was apparently hand picked by TONY RACKAUCKAS to lead an investigation into whether laws were broken by the the Fullerton Police CHIEF DANNY HUGHES with regards to the handling of the then City Manager Joe Felz DUI accident with damages in the wee hours of November 9. 2016. by Barry Levinson

Deputy DA Ebrahim Baytieh

Well there are three points that jump out at me concerning the above.

First point is that over 13 months have passed since this incident occurred.   It is important to note that Joe Felz was charged over9 months ago by the same DA’s Office with two misdemeanor counts.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

Second and even more important point is that based on what we know for a fact, it is inconceivable to me or to any citizen with common sense to not come to the conclusion that Danny Hughes should be charged with obstruction of justice.   Danny Hughes took over the investigation right after Joe Felz was allowed to speak with Danny Hughes at home at approximately 1:30 – 1:45 AM on November 9, 2016.   Hughes asked that the officers on scene wait until his field sergeant gets to the scene for him to do a field sobriety test.   We know this because we have it from none other than Danny Hughes himself. (See below the November 9, 2016 Memo from Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes to Fullerton City Council members.)  An anonymous source to the Fullerton Informer stated that the officers on the scene were asked to shut down their cameras once Danny Hughes was contacted and the field sergeant he personally selected got involved in the case.   Since that was from an anonymous source, I am hoping that this can be confirmed later, for I will be doing a FOIA or California Records request for a copy of all the camera footage taken during the entire time each officer was on the scene of the DUI accident.

But Fullertonians here is the key point.   Danny Hughes’ field sergeant per the Dan Hughes memo was directed by Dan Hughes to perform a Field Sobriety Test instead of the very conclusive Breathalyzer Test (that should have been done right after Joe Felz was pulled over by FPD officers while attempting to leave the scene of this accident).   Dan Hughes in the memo verified that the 1st sergeant originally at the scene smelled alcohol on Joe Felz.   A police chief following proper police procedure should have ordered that one of the officers already on the scene perform a Breathalyzer Test, which would have conclusively told police whether Joe Felz was legally DUI.

 A police chief following proper police procedures would have questioned why the officers had not already performed the Breathalyzer Test since it was verified alcohol was present on Joe Felz.  No in fact Hughes made matters worse by ordering that any field sobriety tests be postponed wasting precious time until his field sergeant arrived and could perform a Field Sobriety Test not the specific and conclusive Breathalyzer Test.  It is clear to me in my opinion that Dan Hughes did not have justice on his mind when he veered from any standard procedure with dealing with a possible drunk driving accident.  Instead we know that after Dan Hughes personally selected field sergeant finally showed up at the scene that Joe Felz was driven home rather than arrested.  (Please note that regardless of whether Joe Felz was legally drunk or not, his being caught red handed leaving the scene of the accident with damages was enough reason to arrest him on the spot.)

Now we know that there was probable cause here since the DA decided to charge Felz with two charges, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident with damages.   Therefore, the DA in filing these charges believed that Danny Hughes and his hand selected field sergeant did not do there jobs properly concerning Joe Felz.  If he felt Danny Hughes followed proper police procedure the proper course would have been the arrest of Joe Felz by the FPD in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016. 

So my question is since Joe Felz was charged by the OCDA about nine months ago, what is taking so darn long for the DA to charge Danny Hughes and maybe include his field sergeant as well with obstruction of justice charges.    By definition of the actions taken by the DA against Joe Felz, the DA must believe that Danny Hughes and his field sergeant did not do their jobs properly.   Also by definition, please tell me in what police department or sheriff’s department is it proper police procedure to allow the suspect to call the Chief of Police at home in the wee hours of the morning.   Please remember that Danny Hughes has only one direct boss at the City of Fullerton and that was none other than City Manager Joe Felz.  Please tell me also in what police department or sheriff’s department is it proper procedure for a police chief to stop the critical, very time sensitive part of the investigation until his hand picked officer (field sergeant) can arrive at the scene.

The way this investigation was handled by the FPD lead by none other than Danny Hughes breaks every police procedure with regards to the proper handling of a DUI case.

There is one more point that supports the position of filing obstruction of justice charges against Danny Hughes.   The OC DA’s own investigator of the accident Abraham Santos recommended that obstruction of justice charges be filed against former Police Chief Danny Hughes.  He was subsequently removed from the case and his recommendation to this point has been obviously ignored.


Here is the complaint form from Investigator Santos : GovernmentClaimFormSantos

There you have it Fullertonians and Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh.  I believe based on the facts there is more than enough evidence or probable cause to charge Danny Hughes with obstruction of justice.  The fact that it has been alleged that Deputy District Attorney Bayieh is friends with Danny Hughes should not have any bearing in an honest District Attorney’s Office on whether Danny Hughes is charged or not.

Really the only question remaining is whether or not the Orange County District Attorney Office will in fact do the right thing, the ethical thing and as we have shown here the proper legal thing by following the evidence regardless of the close connection that every DA’s Office has with the police chiefs throughout the county.

P.S.  There is one more matter that I believe must be addressed by our OCDA.   I ask simply why hasn’t the OCDA Tony Rackauckas charged Westminster as well as Fullerton City Attorney Dick Jones with falsifying City of Westminster time cards in an attempt to collect a PERS pension from the City of Westminster in the future.   It is my layman’s belief that falsifying times cards is a felony and Dick Jones committed that act over and over and over again for a sustained period of time.  A very seasoned attorney such as Dick Jones should obviously know the difference between being a city employee vs. an independent contractor.  Any first year law student at any second rate law school would have learned the obvious distinctions.

Memo

To:     City Council Members

From:            Chief Dan Hughes

Date: November 9, 2016

Re:     Incident involving City Manager

On November 9, 2016 at approximately 0130 hours FPD officers were dispatched to 255 W. Glenwood regarding a possible collision where the vehicle had struck a curb and was stuck on the sidewalk.  The driver was later determined to be city manager Joe Felz.

I received a telephone call at my residence from the Watch Commander who informed me that the city manager was involved in a minor single vehicle collision and that the sergeant believed the city manager was emitting an odor of alcohol. I informed the Watch Commander that I would call the sergeant to obtain additional information and that I would have the field sergeant conduct a preliminary assessment by performing Field Sobriety Tests and if the sergeant believed there was a level of intoxication that met the criteria to be a violation of the law, we would contact the CHP to investigate.

I provided the above directions to the field sergeant and also briefly spoke to the city manager on the phone to explain what protocol would be followed.  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.

During this time period, I also contacted Mayor Fitzgerald and informed her I was following the protocol of notifying the mayor about the contact with the city manager. I informed the mayor of the directions I had provided to the field sergeant and that I would re-contact her when the investigation was complete.  Her only instructions were to follow normal procedures.

A collision report was documented under case 2016-74804 and a supplemental report will be completed by the sergeant documenting the assessment of the city manager.

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