Or was it James Ellroy? It was definitely James Ellroy.
A Los Angeles County sheriff's detective is the subject of an internal investigation looking into accusations that he had an affair with a woman whose husband he had investigated and helped prosecute for allegedly threatening her.
The department opened an investigation into Det. Phillip Solano in April after the allegations were brought forth by the husband, Alberto Gutierrez. Solano, who had been assigned to the City of Industry station, is on administrative duty for now.
The facts, as alleged by Alberto Gutierrez in a Section 1983 suit filed in the Central District of California, would be that Detective Solano carried on an affair with Gutierrez's wife while investigating and serving as a prosecuting witness for charges of stalking and domestic violence. According to Gutierrez, Solano cooked up the charges to help the wife obtain a restraining order and full custody of Gutierrez's daughters.
Gutierrez only learned of the affair when his defense attorney's investigator turned up a Facebook friendship between the wife and Solano.
Now this is really "inside baseball" stuff, but for you non-lawyers out there, Facebook is not the typical means by which the police maintain contact with crime victims. At least not in the United States.
And again, I apologize for the boring monograph on police procedure, but typically the police don't exchange expressions of romantic desire, love, "I miss you," or the like with witnesses. No, usually the police confine themselves to factual matters, such as asking questions about where the incident took place, the identity of the assailant, the names of other witnesses, whether a weapon was used, and such things.
Evidently this breach of police procedure, which is to say Facebook friendship and other evidence of a romantic relationship between the complaining witness and the investigating officer, was enough to convince the judge presiding over Gutierrez's criminal trial, over a year after charges were filed, to dismiss the case.
We lawyers call this a "technicality."
Anyway, Gutierrez alleges that the relationship was common knowledge in Solano's division of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and that Solano's superiors allowed him to stay on the case, prosecuting his lover's ex-husband, while conducting the affair. That the Sheriff's office turned a blind eye while Detective Solano used his office and power to send his lover's ex-husband to prison.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, of course, calls Gutierrez's charges against Solano "ridiculous" and "unfounded," even as it concedes its Internal Affairs unit is investigating Solano, and that the Detective has been transferred from the field to administrative duty. Which is to say, the Sheriff doesn't know the facts either, but still denies everything.
We lawyers call this "standard procedure." Laypeople, as opposed to lawyers, might call it "bullshit."
Via Radley Balko