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Investigator clears Atherton police in Buckheit case

Original post made on Jan 20, 2011

The internal affairs investigation of the alteration of the police report detailing the arrest of Jon Buckheit during a domestic violence incident at his Atherton home has exonerated the police officers involved, according to a letter sent to Mr. Buckheit by Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra. Mr. Buckheit dismissed the findings and is pushing for an independent investigation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 20, 2011, 11:39 AM

Comments (90)

Posted by Disappointed Athertonian, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I am deeply saddened that this seemingly contradictory conclusion was reached. Is the full report available online? How can teh alteration of apolice report by a second officer, without making it clear that he amended the original be "justified, lawful and proper?"

The town is leaving itself open for trouble, in what appears to be an attempt to sweep this under th rug. it will not work. I do not know any of the parties personally, but this simply smells bad.


Posted by Watching the Blue Club, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Why am I not surprised? This outcome was predicted from the moment a retired police chief was chosen by the Atherton Police Chief to be the "impartial" judge of these very real accusations. Just more of the Fox guarding the henhouse here! Lots of bushy tails over at the APD!


Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

What we have here, with the release of this report, is indisputable proof that the APD has lost entirely, any ability to distinguish between the concepts of Right and Wrong. A rather crucial distinction for officers of the law, now forever lost (and with permission), to their core institutional culture.
But it is an even bigger loss to the entire community --Like many other long time residents, I will sincerely miss the way I used to feel about this once beloved department.
Atherton's PD is a sad example of what can happen over time to a perfectly good police farce, by such poor management, unclear direction, and a weak and always distracted council.
The unions and special interests will gladly fill that leadership void until finally all trust and credibility is lost.
I would hope that a few officers still remain on the force who secretly feel as sad about this as I do.
Ultimately it has been our responsibility, as lazy citizens for allowing the the department to steer itself so badly off corse.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

For those of you who keep insisting that Mr. Buckheit was the perpetrator and not the victim, you may want to read this sentence from the report: "...the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of (in the police report) did not occur."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm

If the report, which was prepared at public expense, is in its entirety made public then the public will be able to judge the validity of its conclusions.

If the report is not made public in its entirety then the public will reasonable conclude that there is something that is being hidden.


Posted by part of the community, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

POGO - Re-read what you wrote, and what the article states....

It was not referring to the police report and what Buckheit did. It stated that Buckheits' complaint could not be substantiated. Hence, "...the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of (by Buckheit) did not occur."


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

The report was prepared by a former cop for a client which is a defendant in a multi-million dollar civil rights lawsuit.

The circumstances under which this investigation explain the contortions Peterson went through to try and exonerate DeVlught.

Unfortunately for the Town, Chief Guerra and Dean DeVlught, Peterson's finding speaks for itself. DeVlught falsified the report and Buckheit has been given yet more ammunition.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

This finding was a forgone conclusion. I am not in the least bit surprised. The unfortunate thing is that I am sure the majority of cops in Atherton are honest, but they all suffer from an image problem due to a few corrupt cops and piss poor management.


Posted by EXONERATED, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

These posts show the anti police bias by people who can't face the FACT that these officers were TOTALLY EXONERATED OF ANY WRONGDOING.

That's right, just as Mr. Moneybags got his FACTUAL INNOCENCE these officers now have there's. A totally netural outside investigator made this conclusion. Everybody knew in advance that Buckheit and his cronies would say there was something wrong with anything other than a guilty.

You know what that means? Buckheit made up false charges against them. He is the one who should be getting sued by this police officers for the slanderous and false charges he made against them.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

We do NOT know what is in this report - If the report, which was prepared at public expense, is in its entirety made public then the public will be able to judge the validity of its conclusions.

If the report is not made public in its entirety then the public will reasonable conclude that there is something that is being hidden.


Posted by Disgusted Atherton Resident, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm

So many problems here ... The inconsistencies between the reports of what the investigation determined ... the fact that the judge, who should be rigorously impartial, was a retired Atherton police officer who might reasonably be presumed to have a pro-department bias ... the failure of the town or department to release the report so that its conclusions might be examined. Like so many other matters in Atherton town administration, this matter appears at a minimum to have been mishandled. Whether there is affirmative wrongdoing is, unfortunately, not yet clear. That is a not a result that benefits anyone: complainant, department nor resident.

Is it too much to ask that this town obtain some professional and high-integrity management?


Posted by part of the community, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Yeah, EXONERATED! Did anyone get a Youtube video of Jon Buckheits reaction? I will dial 911 anytime, with no concerns of how I will be treated. Jon, next time you respond to my blog, and opinions, please don't conclude the paragraph with even the closest reference to I might sue you or send one of my friends to kill you (as maybe others have indicated in past posts)...who does that? what was that suppose to mean?? Then have your crooked friends bully me in the next two blogs..I have a right to free speech and my own opinion.

Really shows what kind of resident the town and PD has been putting up with.



Posted by blues clues, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Too bad the poster going by the name of "part of the community" didn't live up to his promise to stop posting.

This blog has enough vitriolic smear to wade through.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Peter:

the report will not be made public. The peace officers' bill of rights precludes release of the report. Only the findings can be released. Thus no one will ever believe the findings. It's a shame really. If the officer is truly inocent of wrong doing there is no way the public will ever have the detailed knowledge with which to conclude that.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

exonerated:

you are so obviously an Atherton cop.

It is also a CRIME to file a false police report against a citizen. You notice this was an internal invetigation? Easy to exonerate the officer. Notice the DA hacsn't investigated the criminal aspect? Not so easy to exonerate the officer given the fact an officer already testified under oath that his report was falsified. Get it now?


Posted by M. Schmidt, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I certainly hope that the postings of EXONERATED and "member of the community" do not reflect the sentiment of more than a handful of misguided Athertonians.

These two posters are clearly in denial. The report supposedly exonerating DeVlught does nothing of the sort. Instead it casts a pall over the whole department.

It would have been much better if DeVlught had been put where he belongs. In jail wearing an orange jumpsuit.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

part of the community -

There appear to be no bounds to your ability to get "facts" wrong.

The Almanac article states:

"...Mr. Peterson concluded that "the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur," according to the letter. Chief Guerra did not return phone calls from The Almanac seeking clarification about the SEEMING CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE TWO CONCLUSIONS [emphasis added]. Obviously, one conclusion says the officers did nothing wrong, the other one does. That's the contradiction.

Beyond The Almanac's own article noting the inconsistency, this sets up an interesting confrontation between the conclusions of this former Atherton Police Chief's findings and the finding from Judge Mark Forcum, whose determination actually carries the power of law.

I suspect we'll see who a jury sides with very soon.

Lastly, why don't you have the integrity to stick to your pledge? You made it just a few hours ago...


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, there should have been a closing quotation mark ( " ) after the words, [emphasis addod] above.


Posted by barrister, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

This is unbelievably good news for Buckheit. This is a failed attempt at justifying DeVlught's conduct.

The internal affairs investigator will undoubtedly be called to testify in the Buckheit case. He will then be put into the impossible position of having to explain how the falsification of an official record can be justified under any circumstance.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Member of the community is probably some teenage kid who can't help himself and who know that his parents will kill him if they find him making such irresponsible comments on this forum.


Posted by reading between the lines, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Neither Danielson nor Guerra could be reached for comment. That says it all. The are both probably hiding under a desk somewhere waiting for the fur to stop flying.

They should make themselves comfortable. The fur won't stop flying after this latest scandal for quite some time.


Posted by another member of the community, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

As Sarah Palin said: "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig".


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

If this investigation/report was paid for by taxpayer money it should be made public.

After the full 30 page report is made public we will be able see what was written.

Without the full report being made public the Town of Atherton suffers.

You know this report is coming out in the federal case.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm

A secret report regarding documented official misconduct and paid for by public funds does not serve the public interest.


Posted by Part of the Community, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm

If EXONERATED is an Atherton cop you should all listen, because this is closer to home for him/her then any of you. The disgruntled past employees, are not living it. I am tired of reading slanted anti-police articles posted by the Almanac. Thats why when the verdict comes out, it always appears that the PD is at fault. This article is not written clearly, nor with supportive information in either direction. So you are ALL right, without the full information how can you be so convinced in your opinions?


Posted by Now let me get this straight, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Part of the Community: In the other topic you refused Mr. Buckheit's request to show you the facts and documents in this case, and he was even willing to do so in a way that you remained anonymous. And now you're saying that "without the full information how can you be so convinced in your opinions"?

Let me ask right now, who is the hold up in releasing this investigative report to the residents of this community who pay the taxes here? Is it Buckheit, or the police department?

Another relevant question that was posed on the other topic, Part of the Community, is why the police department refused the concept of a judge managing this investigation instead of the police chief. Did they think the conclusion reached in the report wouldn't be so guaranteed in that case? Do you have a better explanation?


Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The APD is making it abundantly clear that they don't need to give a fig for whatever some judge might have to say.
They are not only above the law---they are above the the entire concept of a judiciary.
Maybe it would be more efficient to simplify down to just a Police State.
But would these armed officers then still need a union to protect their interests...........don't think so guys. The teamsters might want to think the job security thing through more carefully.


Posted by The Burner, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I have lived in Atherton since 2006. I am astounded at how poorly run this town is. I have never seen such squabbling and mismanagement in any other city I have lived in. If our town cannot effectively find trustworthy, skilled and competent management then perhaps its time to consider outsourcing some of the liabilities plaguing this community. Starting with the PD. Lets have the Sheriffs office become our police force. By doing so we pass any liabilities on to them. Risk transference can be done by written contract. Goodbye police related lawsuits. At any one time how many officers are on duty in Atherton? Perhaps 3 or 4. Why do we need a hierarchy heavy with wages and pensions overseeing such a small on duty police force? If we turn things over to the sheriff we won't be paying for a chief, lieutenants etc.. The sheriffs office may need to have a few sargeants to oversee our on duty force. If we rid ourselves of the top end it would certainly reduce our costs considering those higher ups have salaries in the $200K range. Today if an officer calls in sick a replacement has to come in and be paid overtime. With the size of the sheriffs office this may no longer be necessary saving more money. The sheriffs office has resources far beyond those of the Atherton PD. The Atherton PD needs a new building. There would be no need for that if the sheriffs were to take over. Of course we still expect the same level of service. And to maintain a local presence with an officer or clerk available during normal hours at the current Atherton PD. Its worth trying this for a few years. Especially since we can't seem to find a competent chief to properly manager our PD. I would hit on the building department next but they seem to be moving in the right direction. There may be a few skeletons in the closet over there from prior management. Its sad that this type of outsourcing may be needed to void our town of the liabilities we continue to cast upon ourselves. And I will also add the few times I have had the police at my house or needed assistance all the officers have been professional and courteous. I wish they would write some more speeding tickets but we can't have everything.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Ed rightly said "The APD is making it abundantly clear that they don't need to give a fig for whatever some judge might have to say."

However, I suspect that Atherton's Town Council will be listening very carefully and nervously when Mr. Buckheit's jury announces that they have a verdict.


Posted by EXONERATED, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I noticed the Almanac deleted my post where I pointed out the FACT that it is a CRIME in California to file a false complaint against a police officer. The investigation has proven that this complaint against these Atherton police officers was FALSE. Where is the accountability? I say arrest Mr. Moneybags for this crime and let the district attorney and jury decide. Kathy MCKeithen has also broken the laws about police confidentiality so many times. Where is her accountability? I guess she can't get arrested for her crimes either. Oh, I get it, rich people aren't accountable. And if a first responder police officer tries to hold them accountable they get investigated and sued. What kind of town supports this type of behavior? Money doesn't buy your ability to look in the mirror before an honest days work in which you're putting your life on the line and be proud of that. Somehow I feel if Kathy McKeithen hadn't been the mayor last year none of this ever would have been allowed to happen. It was has been way out of control.

Oh, and Mr. Carpenter, police investigations are confidential. That's the law. Deal with it. You don't get access to police personnel files because you're rich either.


Posted by None, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 21, 2011 at 4:40 am

Internal affairs investigations are a joke. There have been at least two internal investigations into a prosecutor in the San Mateo District Attorney's office this year and that prosecutor was "exonerated." The police and DA will always cover for each other.

Mr. Buckheit: I urge you to go to the Justice Department in Washington. Get a lawyer from outside San Mateo County. Get outside agencies to look at management at the DA's office. There needs to be an audit of its management.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:54 am

exonerated states:"Oh, and Mr. Carpenter, police investigations are confidential. That's the law. Deal with it."

Was was needed was not a 'police investigation' but rather an investigation of the police.

If this report is not made public then it will further erode the public's trust. If the report was intentionally commissioned in such a way as to prevent the report from being made public when it was completed then this review was both worthless and misleading.


Posted by Possibility, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:37 am

BART appears to have produced two reports, one in an effort to be transparent:

Web Link


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:37 am

That's a good question, Mr. Carpenter.

Why did the current Atherton Police Chief perform this investigation at all - and defend his selection of an investigator as "independent"! - if not to provide the public and Town Council assurance of a transparent process? I hope the Atherton Town Council will make every effort to bring this information to the public and that The Almanac will remain focused on this event.

I presume Mr. Buckheit's attorneys will subpoena the document (and the Police Chief will resist). It will probably be a very revealing demonstration of a still continuing pattern of cover up and obfuscation by the APD.

If this thread is any indication, an increasing number of Atherton's citizens are showing their disgust for their police department's behavior.


Posted by legal eagle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

The burson of proof is WAY less in civil litigation. Break out the check book Town of Atherton. You will pay dearly for this.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

Mr. Peterson concluded that "the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur," according to the letter.

the act or acts complained of did not occur,"

REALLY?????

Lets see the 30 page investigation please.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

to EXONERATED -

You have in several places (including one which was deleted), stated it is a crime to make a "false" complaint against police in California, and I should be arrested for it.

Firstly, my complaint was certainly not false. It was backed up with direct computer evidence that showed the report had been changed, when, and by whom. The changes were false charges that even the district attorney conceded should never have been there. Judge Mark Forcum also made the same findings in a court of law (where both I and the police testified, and were cross-examined). The reason I pushed for a judge to choose an independent investigator and to supervise this investigation is that I knew the result would be pre-destined otherwise. This is simply an expert witness report in a litigation (where each side hires and pays their own experts to make opinions consistent with their prosecution or defense of a case) under the guise of an official (and presumably neutral) government action, which is very wrong. I was never interviewed or approached for my knowledge and evidence about this situation during this so-called investigation.

It actually used to be a crime in California (Penal Code Sec. 148.6) to knowingly make a false complaint against a peace officer. This law came to be in 1995 due to strong pressure from police unions.

After many years of litigation in California asserting this law was unconstitutional, a federal court remove the law in 2005 and, interestingly enough, specified what the California legislature would need to do in order to correct it: make it MUTUAL.

That is, the law would need to have been amended such that ANYONE who made false statements in a police complaint process (including the police officers themselves speaking in their defense) would be guilty of a crime.

The original lobbyists for the 1995 law have not lobbied for the legislature to make this change so they law could be reinstated, which in and of itself may be thought provoking.

This has not stopped many police departments, including Atherton's, from including language on their complaint form that it is a crime to make a false complaint against a police officer and requiring the complainant to sign a statement indicating s/he is aware s/he could be prosecuted for making it. I was successful in getting the town council to have this removed from Atherton's form in 2010 by researching this issue.

No one should be making false reports against anyone.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

What is needed is a criminal investigation. What was done was an internal investigation. The findings of a criminal investigation can be made public. The findings of an internal investigation other than "founded or unfounded" cannot. Anyone want to bet a criminal investigation never happens?


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

This is another example of why a Police Oversight Committee would be valuable.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

Former police chief, Pete Peterson, who was hired by Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra,

Thinks the Hon. Judge Mark Forcum is unfamiliar with the County's Domestic Violence Protocol. REALLY!

Wow why don't we find out what Judge Forcum thinks about that statement?


Posted by ANNOYED, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

Mr. Buckheit,

Instead of wasting your time posting on this "rag", take this to the civil court area and pursue through litigation. If all the facts are as you claim they are, and there is documented evidence of falisifying or tampering with an original police report, you should have no problem kicking this ridiculous Town, the people that run it and the joke of a police department to the curb. It is time it was done properly once and for all.


Posted by Keith Wollenberg, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Surely, even if the 30 page report is deemed a confidential personnel document, the complete findings must be posted somewhere? I'd like to read the press release, or whatever document the Almanac basaed its story upon. I find this story sufficiently confusing that it is hard to tell what was decided. Which acts did this report conclude did not occur, since Mr. Peterson apparently concluded that the "acts (that) provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that they were justified, lawful and proper."

That being the case, how did Mr. Peterson also conclude that "the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur,"? Isn't it also possible that this last sentence is actually written by the Police Department, and may or may not reflect what Mr. Petersen concluded?

It is impossible to tell which statements come from whom.

Can't we get at least a web-link to that original letter, so we can read for ourselves what the police department has concluded? How is it fair to judge what they conclude, without actually reading the entire thing yourself? I have looked on the town site, as well as the APD site, without any luck.



Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm

ANNOYED -

What you are suggested is precisely what Mr. Buckheit is doing. I think this is going to be an incredibly expensive and well deserved lesson for Atherton.

It's a shame that it requires an expensive lawsuit to provide the wake up call.


Posted by None, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Besides the Buckheit lawsuit, there is currently another lawsuit that has been brought against the San Mateo District Attorney's office and prosecutor Melissa Mckowan for fraud and lying to a judge to get out of a case.

The family who is suing is represented by Nina Salarno Ashford, who is also representing the family of a victim who is suing Schwarzenneger for reducing the sentence of a politician's son for murder.

Has it occurred to people that this misconduct that Buckheit and the family who is suing the DA's office have experienced is part of a much larger pattern of mismanagement and misconduct? Shouldn't the feds be doing an investigation into how Wagstaffe is failing to manage and control misconduct within his office?


Posted by Rob Silano, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jan 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

Why was the report ever completed? Has this gone to a civil court proceeding? If the case has not gone to court, I would make sure that in discovery both sides get a copy of it. I'm sure there's nothing to hide here by the police department or they never would of have never done it. As a former law enforcement officer for over 30 years, things that happen on the street sometimes don't reflect what happens in the offense reports. I was very professional by the town to have an additional investigation completed. Now both sides have more information to use in their court proceeding.


Posted by None, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

Mr. Silano says:

"I'm sure there's nothing to hide here by the police department or they would have never done it."

Huh? Ever heard of a whitewash? The report- all of it- needs to be made public now.


Posted by knowthelaw, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Renee...here is the law. Do your homework when you write a story

832.7. (a) Peace officer or custodial officer personnel records and
records maintained by any state or local agency pursuant to Section
832.5, or information obtained from these records, are confidential
and shall not be disclosed in any criminal or civil proceeding except
by discovery pursuant to Sections 1043 and 1046 of the Evidence
Code. This section shall not apply to investigations or proceedings
concerning the conduct of peace officers or custodial officers, or an
agency or department that employs those officers, conducted by a
grand jury, a district attorney's office, or the Attorney General's
office.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency shall
release to the complaining party a copy of his or her own statements
at the time the complaint is filed.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency that
employs peace or custodial officers may disseminate data regarding
the number, type, or disposition of complaints (sustained, not
sustained, exonerated, or unfounded) made against its officers if
that information is in a form which does not identify the individuals
involved.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a department or agency that
employs peace or custodial officers may release factual information
concerning a disciplinary investigation if the officer who is the
subject of the disciplinary investigation, or the officer's agent or
representative, publicly makes a statement he or she knows to be
false concerning the investigation or the imposition of disciplinary
action. Information may not be disclosed by the peace or custodial
officer's employer unless the false statement was published by an
established medium of communication, such as television, radio, or a
newspaper. Disclosure of factual information by the employing agency
pursuant to this subdivision is limited to facts contained in the
officer's personnel file concerning the disciplinary investigation or
imposition of disciplinary action that specifically refute the false
statements made public by the peace or custodial officer or his or
her agent or representative.
(e) (1) The department or agency shall provide written
notification to the complaining party of the disposition of the
complaint within 30 days of the disposition.
(2) The notification described in this subdivision shall not be
conclusive or binding or admissible as evidence in any separate or
subsequent action or proceeding brought before an arbitrator, court,
or judge of this state or the United States.
(f) Nothing in this section shall affect the discovery or
disclosure of information contained in a peace or custodial officer's
personnel file pursuant to Section 1043 of the Evidence Cod


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Mr. Silano:

with all due respect, it took them well over a year to do this investigation and only did so when Buckheit forced their hand. Then they wouldn't have an independant person conduct the investigation. This was a white wash pure and simple.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Neither Mr. Pete Peterson or any investigator interviewed or even spoke with Mr. Jon Buckheit.

Lets see this 30 page report that was paid for by Taxpayers of Town of Atherton


Posted by Law enforcement, a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Mr. Buckheit I am not using my name but I'm also not going to pretend to be anything other than what I am. I am in law enforcement.

Police need to make decisions on the scene of a situation based on what they see and what they are told. You received a factual innocence and I believe you deserved it. That does not mean the police were out to get you. Do not assume that if a police officer makes a mistake it was because there was a malicious reason behind it.

I will tell you that any of my friends or my family would be thrilled to have just a fraction of what you have. You should go ahead and enjoy what you have and enjoy your life. You are a very smart man and even the people who have been very hurt by all of this must realize that. Do not assume whatever you've said hasn't gone noticed or people haven't paid attention to it. I think right now you are simply trying to get retribution and that doesn't change things for the better and doesn't help you enjoy your life.

And let's face it - the fact that none of the people involved especially at the government level have been willing to apologize or admit mistakes has certainly added fuel to keep you going. I can realize that even if they won't. I think everyone can learn some lessons here.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Law Enforcement states:"I think right now you are simply trying to get retribution and that doesn't change things for the better"

I believe that Buckheit is NOT seeking retribution but is seeking both justice and a change in a system that appears to have failed to uphold the high standards that we expect from our police department. When this first began I believe that it could have been resolved with a sincere apology and a commitment to discipline any officer who had acted inappropriately. The stone-walling that Buckheit has received has raised the stakes but that is not his fault.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Law Enforcement:

the problem here is not that an officer made "a mistake." I am ex-law enforcement. I worked for a large, busy metropolitan police department. I well know decisions have to be made often in split seconds. But this case doesn't involve that. What it involves is someone falsifying a report and accusing someone of something they did not do. And that officer knew damn well he hadn't (child abuse) because no such accusation had been made by the victim. That is a crime, not a "mistake." Like Mr. Carpenter, I don't think Mr. Buckheit is seeking retribution. I Think he wants justice. And like Mr. Carpenter, I think that had this been handled differently, not stone walled, Mr. Buckheit likely would not have felt it necessary to file suit.

The problem with APD is that they clearly like adequate management. They need a major shake up in management and as much as it pains me to say it, they need civilian oversight. I don't like civilian oversight under normal circumstances because, in my experience, civilians do not have a clear understanding of what is involved in police work. Because of that I don't think they normally bring value. In this case however, APD is so obviously disfunctional as to scream for the need of civilian oversight.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

that should be "they clearly LACK adequate management."


Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Dear Lie Enforcement:
You have articulated to perfection exactly what is wrong at the core of the APD's attitude.
Buckheit should hit the print button and attach your comment on to his suit as Exhibit A B and C
You guys need guidance desparately and it is for the best that you can be assured of getting it.
I hope this story ends with better leadership provided to the APD, Buckheit on the oversight panel and all of you thanking him for having saved the whole force from getting outsourced.
You guys used to be great.... but not anymore.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

[Post removed. This is speculation on what someone's stare meant and what someone's motive may have been for committing an act that may have been illegal. Please stick to the facts, not speculations, on such issues. ]


Posted by Shut up, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

[Post removed. Comments on another post that has been removed.]


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2011 at 6:18 am

Pete Peterson's Report ….Occurred….did not occur

The letter from Chief Guerra, dated Jan. 14, stated that the "acts (that) provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that they were justified, lawful and proper."

"the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur,"

Lets see the full 30 page report


Posted by None, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 23, 2011 at 6:59 am

I wonder how Judge Focum feels about being described as "unfamiliar with how the county's domestic violence protocol works."

Like Buckheit, the other family who is currently suing the San Mateo DA's office has the means and the education to continue to fight in the courts.

I just wonder how many more people out there who have been victimized by police and the DA's office, aren't fighting back because of lack of funds and don't know they can fight the system?


Posted by only me, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

Dear "Shut up"

The report is not a court decision. it is merely an opinion, and an opinion by someone who can hardly be described as being impartial. Under the law, Officer DeVlugt was not exonerated, or anything.

Just because someone says something does not make it so. This reinforces Dr.Buckheit's case, as it agains shows the consistent and persistent pattern of corruption and illegal activities by the APD.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

There are so many problems and questions raised by this situation. We have a new City Manager and a new City Council but where is the leadership? In a well managed city this would not be happening this way. The main questions I see are as follows.

1. Will this report be released to the public?

2. How can the report at the same time state that the conduct didn't occur, but that it was justified, lawful and proper?

3. Why was the request to have a judge handle this investigation and appoint the investigators turned down? This weekend in the San Jose Mercury News are articles about San Jose selecting a new police chief, and how one of the candidates received high praise for having asked the FBI to investigate an accused officer to increase transparency.

4. What effect will the Atherton Police Department stating that a judge who didn't rule in their favor doesn't know what he's talking about have on the residents of Atherton? Does this increase the credibility of the Atherton Police within the county court? This comment was very disturbing.

And as a resident I offer my thanks to Mr. Buckheit to making sure these issues see the light of day.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: January 23, 2011 9:42:30 AM PST
To: John Danielson <jdanielson@ci.atherton.ca.us>, Mike Guerra <mguerra@ci.atherton.ca.us>
Cc: William Widmer <billwidmer4atherton@gmail.com>, Theresa DellaSanta <tdellasanta@ci.atherton.ca.us>, James Dobbie <jdobbie@ci.atherton.ca.us>, Jerry Carlson <jcarlson@ci.atherton.ca.us>, Elizabeth Lewis <lizlew08@gmail.com>, kathy mckeithen <kmckeithen@ci.atherton.ca.us>
Subject: The Peterson Report

John and Mike,
This report, which was paid for by public funds, was intended to put to rest concerns that improprieties occurred within the police department regarding the Buckheit case. Unfortunately the press release which attempted to summarize this report has not achieved that objective. In addition, the statements in the press are apparently contradictory - "acts (that) provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that they were justified, lawful and proper." Vs "the investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur".

I recommend that you issue another statement regarding the Peterson Report which is clearer and more definitive.

I also recommend in the future when such an investigation is commissioned, and knowing in advance that the resulting report will not be made public in its entirety, that you select an individual whose judgement will have credibility in the community (such as a retired judge) rather than someone from the law enforcement community. Having a former police official perform such an investigation creates the perception of bias and furthers the belief in the blue code of silence.



Posted by Lisa, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I was born and raised in Atherton. My family has lived in Atherton for 56 years.
For the first 52 years of my life I also believed that the Atherton Police were honest
Law abiding officers...WRONG... I learned the hard way they just love to lie on Police reports. They did it to me and I can prove it.
I can't tell you how much of a shock that was to a believer. Their lies have put an elderly woman's life at risk.
The APD is similar to a group of bullies. They honestly believe they can follow the laws they want to and ignore the ones they don't.
Nothing is a greater risk to our way of life than abuse under the color of authority.
I hope all of my fellow Athertonians proceed with care when dealing with the APD.


Posted by Dumb dumb dumb, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

To the geniuses at the Atherton PD : Is protecting one bad cop worth the ultimate fallout you guys are going to get for this? Is now the time to be eroding support from the town's residents and council members when you may be getting outsourced? This wasn't really smart.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Lisa is right. The falsification of Dr. Buckheit's report is not an isolated incident.

I have borne witness to an attempted break in by an Atherton Police Officer to a car holding papers thought to incriminate one of Atherton's finest.

I have had my office raided on false pretenses and a report regarding the raid falsified. If you don't believe me submit a public records request for Police Report 07-474 and see for yourself.

I have seen workers compensation fraud and the falsification of police officer time and attendance records by Atherton's men in blue.

No Dr. Buckheit's experience is not a fluke. It wasn't a mistake. It wasn't the result of a computer glitch. It certainly wasn't justified. It is the tip of the iceberg.


Posted by Jo Schmo, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

I think that EVERYONE on this board should really get a life. I sit here and think (other than the people who may be directly involved)it must be really nice to have so much on time on your hands to focus on pathetic issues that you know nothing about or do not concern you. Try to do something more useful with your time. I'm outta here!


Posted by None, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 24, 2011 at 8:13 am

To Jo Schmo:

It sounds as if what is being said on these boards is making you nervous.

And why, pray tell, are you even reading AND posting on this message board if you think it's all just a waste of time ?

I have found the level of discourse here to be thought provoking and intelligent.

Keep it up, posters!


Posted by none yo bizz, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

The "burner"

I think outsourcing to the Sherrif's office is an excellent idea! Really, do you think that the deputies will cater to the ATherton residents like the current PD officers do? House checks, newspaper pickups, mail pickups, hmmmmmm.......I don't think so. Let the S.O come on in and serve the town. Maybe the naive residents of the town of ATherton will get a wake up call as to what the real world is like.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

none you biz:

if the town chooses to outsource they will get what they are willing to pay for. If they want ot pay extra to have the amenities the APD currently provides they can do so. It will just cost them more than what neighboring communities pay for protection.


Posted by Keith Wollenberg, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Would it be possible for either Mr Buckheit or the Almanc to post a link to the actual letter sent to Mr Buckheit, to at least post the text of that letter here? Incoherent as it may be, I would like to read the entire leter which was released, rather than only a story about it.

I asked for this before, and what I got was an expanded story, with more details abotu Mr buckeit's subsequent actions, but no more information about how to find the actual letter.

If the APF feels this letter is satisfactory to announce the resolution of the complaint, why is it not posted for us all to read?


Posted by A lurker, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Good idea, Keith Wollenberg. Can the Almanac post the letter sent to Mr. Buckheit?


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Kieth & Lurker--you can't be serious! Do the two of you actually believe that a PRIVATE letter, sent to a PRIVATE citizen, somehow is any of your or any one else's business just because it came from a public office? So did the letter I got from the State the other day-its none of your business either. Mr. Buckheit, please put an end to this nonsense, get your case into court, get your judgement, collect your 10 million and teach them all the lesson they so obviously need to learn the hard way.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

And to the Atherton Police Department -

When you find yourself in hole, stop digging. Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you... and, in this case, it most certainly will.


Posted by Moment of silence, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Please pray for the families of 10 fallen officers this year already, 61 last year, and two today in Florida. This poem is touching....
Web Link


Posted by Another moment of silence, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Yes, let's have a moment of silence for those ten fallen officers, two in Florida and 61 last year. The fact that there are honest cops who are tragically and heroically killed in the line of duty makes any bad act of any cop okay. There have been so many Atherton officers killed in the line of duty that we can't really expect them to not have to bend the rules sometimes, it just goes along with the territory.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Moment of silence -

What an absurd and shameful way to play on emotions. The loss of any police officer's life is an enormous tragedy. Invoking that emotion here - on a thread about police officer corruption, planting false evidence, seeking personal retribution, lying and falsifying police reports - is hardly relevant.

But speaking of irrelevant, you may wish to note that more than 70 journalists - such as Mr. Bothun - died in 2009 alone. The number of deaths of journalists is up by over 200%. Web Link That's about as relevant as your point.


Posted by Lurker, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 8:46 am

Keep fighting, Mr. Buckheit!


Posted by Moment of Silence, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 9:01 am

A news report was issued yesterday by the Catholic Pope, asking the world to be "thoughtful when blogging". I was taking that into consideration, when I posted this prayer request. My heart goes out to police families, and what they must have to endure.

Dear POGO - The validity of the prayer on this blog, speaks louder then your words of unproven criticism. I agree a jury should determine their fate, not you.





Posted by amazed, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

To the poster "none yo biz", if the sheriff handles Woodside, Ladera, unicincorportated Menlo Park and Portola Valley, I think they will know how to handle little tiny nothing ever goes on Atherton. Clearly, the service is above board for those very wealthy communities. Lose the dirty, expensive and litigeous do nothing police department. It is time to move forward and be fiscally responsible. San Carlos did it. It is shocking the millions that have to be paid out in suits before the powers that be "get it".


Posted by Dr. S, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

There are four elements of police work:

1. Police have power.
2. Police has responsibility to use that power judiciously.
3. Police get paid well.
4. Police can be a dangerous/risky line of work.

Moment of Silence says just concentrate on number 4. But that would be looking at just one aspect of the job.

As for the so called investigation, I believe police will absolutely NEVER determine wrongful conduct of other police unless one of two situations is true:

1. They are told to do so by their management.
2. The level of evidence is so overwhelming (such as the Meseherle tapes) that they simply cannot deny it.

Keep in mind that the BART police originally downplayed the Meseherle/Grant incident until community outcry got to be too much. Unfortunately there is really no community outcry in Atherton about this since everyone there seems to be apathetic. I cannot see a court or jury looking well on how this has been handled.


Posted by Moment of Silence, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

Dr. S,

With all due respect, I agree with the 3 elements of police work that you have stated, with the exception that #1 and #2 are the same. But what you have left out, is that there are people in our community, that have been arrested, had friends or family arrested, and therefore dislike the police. This blog allows these people to voice anger toward them. The police department has laws to abide, and if doing so, means they cannot communicate with the public, it's because they are upholding the law. If Mr. Buckheit wants to reveal all the FACTS, he has access to them.

Maybe you should ask him personally to see, he has offered anonymously. Ask him what documents he had sealed in court?

Scenerio, you go to traffic court, and hope the cop does not show? What happens to the traffic ticket? Typically it's dismissed. Does that mean you did not commit the crime?

Please also note, that it is evident, that for every pro-police post, you receive 3+ arguments. Typically from the same posters?







Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

Moment of Silence, you are a distractor if you wish to pray for the fallen start a fallen officer thread. As you know very well that is not what this thread is about.

Where is the enforcement of topic?


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

Moment of Silence - are you saying that the police never showed up in court and Buckheit got his factual innocence that way? I think you are trying to confuse the actual facts since the police did show up (in force) and testified and this led to the judge making his decision. This is very different than the traffic ticket example and shows you either don't understand facts or are trying to mislead people.

Also don't be so sure that anyone who has criticized police behavior has been arrested. I don't think that's true at all for nearly all of the posters here. They can speak for themselves, but I don't think Carpenter, Stogner, POGO or Menlo Voter have been arrested. Actually Menlo Voter was a cop himself!


Posted by LAwsuits, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

The Atherton police should be outsourced because of lawsuit costs? That would be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The lawsuits were started by a bunch of bad people like Johns and Buckheit who can't take responsibility for their own misbehavior. Throw them out, not the cops. I guess Johns was thrown out but you'd never know it since he keeps coming back. Wasn't he paid to go away?


Posted by Lurker, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:44 am

Hello, Atherton Almanac Editor:

Anyone over there monitoring comments here?

And may I repeat: Keep fighting, Mr. Buckheit!


Posted by Playbook of APD, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

*** If someone who was arrested complains, it's because they are upset over being arrested.

(Yes, but that has nothing to do with whether or not the arrest or behavior of the police during the arrest was lawful and proper...the arrest may have been false...the arrest may have been okay and the police still behaved badly and illegally like with Oscar Grant).

*** If a judge determines we did something wrong, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

*** Pray for the fallen cops.

You guys are supposed to be better than this.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

LAwsuits - the lawsuits started when the police did something they shouldn't. And that's not MY opinion, that's the opinion of an independent party, San Mateo County Judge Forcum, who, unlike you and me, heard all of the evidence and made an official finding that carries the power of law.

Moment of silence - you said "my heart goes out to police families, and what they must have to endure." As does mine... and I provide more than prayers to those families. But I have no prayers for officers who have been shown (see above comment) falsely arrest someone or falsify a police report. NONE. Their actions should not be protected, they should be prosecuted.

And, yes, I'm perfectly willing to let a jury decide their fate. But given the fact pattern and the recent whitewash investigation performed by, of all people, their former boss (!), it appears these officers are unwilling to subject themselves to that level of scrutiny.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Moment of Silence:

your attempt at deflection is disgusting. I was a police officer. I KNOW what an officer's family endures. Having been on honor guards at numerous police funerals, and having lost brother officers I KNOW what an officer's death means. None of that excuses what this officer or officers did. Also, to try and make an Atherton Police officer's job out as dangerous is a laugh. They are nothing more than a highly paid private security force with police powers. Do you think any of them ever had a gun pointed at them? Do you think any of them have ever had to fire their weapon in defense of their lives or another's? Do you think any of them have ever had to deal with a real bad guy? In case you're not sure, the answer is NO.


Posted by Blue Canary, a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

What is the exact nature of the pre-existing relationship between
Chief Guerra and Mr. Peterson?


Posted by tweety bird, a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Peterson was introduced to Guerra by Mr. Vucinich. Mr. Vucinich is the attorney representing the Town in Buckheit's litigation against the Town.

This is another indication that Peterson was hired to cover up misconduct in the Atherton PD, not help Guerra cleanse the department.

One other thing: Peterson said in his report Judge Forcum, who granted Jon Buckheit his factual innocence was unfamiliar with the County's domestic violence investigation protocol.

Mr. Peterson did not do his homework. Or if he did, Mr. Peterson made a bold faced lie.

Anyone with an internet search engine can easily find out that Judge Forcum was one of the authors of the County's domestic violence investigation protocol.

It is time for Guerra to be investigated. Guerra has committed a misuse of public funds by hiring Peterson and directing Peterson not to do an investigation.

The police corruption in Atherton is unbelievable. Guerra isn't part of the solution he's part of the problem.

Jerry Gruber should never have given him the job.


Posted by Lurker, a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2011 at 7:52 am

Tweety Bird:

You said, "Anyone with an internet search engine can easily find out that Judge Forcum was one of the authors of the County's domestic violence investigation protocol."

Great catch!


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