Chairman’s Message

Posted on Tuesday, September 01, 2009 at 12:00PM

In June 2008, Juvenile Institutional Officer Jachu Richardson and another officer conducted a pat down and cell search of a juvenile inmate suspected of possessing contraband. During the cell search, the inmate violated a lawful order to remain seated, began cussing at Officer Richardson and approached the officer with fists clenched.

Officer Richardson restrained the inmate, finally placing the inmate on the cell bed and waited for backup to arrive.

Officer Richardson is a nine-year veteran of the Alameda County Probation Department. For the last five years, he was assigned to the maximum security unit of Juvenile Hall – a unit that routinely houses serious juvenile offenders, incarcerated for murder, rape, home invasion and strong arm robbery.

After the incident in June, Officer Richardson and his partner followed all of the established protocols, informed their supervisor, and wrote up the incident. Four months later, after intense pressure from both the Alameda County Probation Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Richardson’s partner changed his story.

This fellow officer then claimed to have falsified the initial report and lied to investigators during an initial interview. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed a felony charge of P.C. 149, Assault Under Color of Authority, against Officer Richardson.

At the preliminary hearing, this author, of Goyette & Associates, Inc. represented Officer Richardson. I successfully defended Officer Richardson at the preliminary hearing, resulting in a judge’s order that the District Attorney’s Office could not proceed with felony charges against Richardson.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office then re-filed the case as a misdemeanor. On June 16, 2009, Officer Richardson was tried in front of a jury on a single misdemeanor count of P.C. 149. Again, I represented Officer Richardson at trial.

Following seven days of testimony and two days of deliberation, the jury could not reach a decision, deadlocking in favor of acquitting Officer Richardson.

The Alameda County DA’s Office, having now twice failed to convince a trier-of-fact that Officer Richardson did anything criminal, again attempted to proceed with charges and to subject Officer Richardson to a second full jury trial.

On July 17, 2009, before the second trial could proceed, I argued before the Alameda County Superior Court that the charges against Officer Richardson should be dismissed in the interests of justice, pursuant to Penal Code Section 1385 (order dismissing action). The Alameda County Superior Court ruled that in the interests of justice, the charges against Officer Richardson should be dismissed.

With the criminal case over, Officer Richardson hopes to continue to clear his name in an upcoming administrative hearing, and return to his career with the Alameda County Probation Department.

About the Author: Lauro A. Paredes is an employment and labor attorney with Goyette & Assoc. Mr. Paredes is a graduate of the UC, Berkeley, and UC, Davis, King Hall School of Law, and represents clients in all aspects of administrative, criminal and civil litigation.

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