Five federal assistant district attorneys have been honored for the work they did in prosecuting police and others in what started as an investigation into set-up stings.
Those stings, which became known as "Dirty DUIs" targeted men in custody battles, using women as decoys to lure the men to bars, then inviting them to hot tubs. The men were arrested for DUIs when they left the bar. That opened the door to a series of arrests of law enforcers in Contra Costa County.
Hartley M.K. West, Philip J. Kearney, John H. Hemann, Susan E. Badger, and Stacey P. Geis, were among 57 attorneys around the state to receive the 18th annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award, in the category of criminal law.
"We are proud of the accomplishments of these Assistant United States Attorneys and congratulate them and all the other honorees for this well-deserved award," said United States Attorney Melinda Haag.
The team brought "dozens of civil rights and corruption charges against the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team and four police officers which resulted in several convictions," said Lili Arauzhaase, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco.
That included the prosecutions of former CCCNET Commander Norman Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler for civil rights and narcotics conspiracies, narcotics distribution, extortion and robbery.
Former San Ramon Police Officer Louis Lombardi was prosecuted for stealing money and property during searches that he performed as a law enforcement officer.
Former Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Tanabe was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison for honest services fraud and extortion for arranging those "stings" against men involved in child custody disputes.
Former Richmond Police officers Danny Harris Jr. and Raymond Thomas Jr. on firearms and obstruction of justice charges in connection with running a private security business on the side.
"As a result of these prosecutions, these corrupt law enforcement officers sustained felony convictions, lost their jobs, and are serving sentences imposed by the Court," Arauzhaase said.