Federal lawsuit continues against Pleasanton, police officer | May 10, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 10, 2013

Federal lawsuit continues against Pleasanton, police officer

One claim dropped, others continue

by Glenn Wohltmann

A $3 million federal lawsuit that names the city of Pleasanton, a Pleasanton police officer and a number of others is continuing to make its way through the court system.

The case was filed by Brian Lancaster, a former Pleasanton resident, who claims he was the victim of several attempts to have him arrested, and that confidential information about him was shared by an Alameda County sheriff's deputy and a San Ramon attorney.

The suit also claims that drugs and drug paraphernalia were planted in Lancaster's car during a traffic stop.

The case names Pleasanton Police Officer Tim Martens, the city of Pleasanton, attorney Leslie Regina, Deputy Ryan Silcocks, and Alameda County.

One claim against Pleasanton has been dismissed, in which it was alleged Lancaster's civil rights had been violated. Jeffrey Hubins, a Pleasanton attorney who represents Lancaster, said the judge ruled that illegally obtaining information was not a violation of Lancaster's rights.

"Everything else exists against them -- negligence, all the state law claims," Hubins said. He explained that if the judge decides that any of the claims are valid under federal law, the judge could also choose to look at claims that state laws were violated. If not, the case could end up at the state level, where a new judge would consider evidence.

"If you have federal causes of action and state causes of action, you can bring them in federal court," Hubins said. "The (federal) court has jurisdiction to rule on those if there is cause of action."

Right now, the federal judge has to decide if, as the lawsuit claims, Martens violated Lancaster's civil rights.

"What he told us to do is go, prove your case on Tim Martens, and if that sticks, I'll rule on state law," Hubins said. "What we have against Lesley (Regina) is all state law stuff."

Regina has asked to be removed from the lawsuit, but the judge, for now, has refused her request. Silcocks has yet to file a response.

Because Silcocks hadn't responded, a judgment was filed against him, but Hubins said he expects a response from Silcocks' new attorney, and thinks the judgment will be set aside.

Regina, who has an office on Crow Canyon Court, was charged with one count of knowingly receiving records that she was not authorized to possess. Silcocks faces three misdemeanors, computer access and fraud, unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and unauthorized furnishing of a local criminal record.

The misdemeanor charges were filed last June and the trial for Regina and Silcocks has been postponed five times.

"They are stalling. That's my opinion," Hubins said. "I'm guessing they're trying to negotiate with the D.A. and they don't like what they're getting, so they're stalling."

In court on Tuesday, Regina did not show up, despite being ordered to do so by Judge Jacob Blea III. She has yet to appear in court.

Her attorney, John Noonan, told Blea on Tuesday that Regina is still in discussions with the California state bar, which governs attorneys.

According to the bar's rules of conduct, an attorney can be penalized if he or she commits a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, engages in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, or engages in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Penalties can range from sanctions to permanent disbarment.

The latest postponement was requested by Silcocks' new attorney, Gabriel Quinnan, who said he has yet to receive documents from his client's former lawyer.

The incidents in question took place in January and February 2012. Court documents say Silcocks entered a closed Alameda County building on Jan. 15, Jan. 17 and again on Feb. 21 and illegally accessed DMV and criminal records databases.

On two occasions, on Jan. 23 and Feb. 21, Silcocks sent text messages to Regina containing confidential information, court documents say. The two were charged on June 11, 2012.

A new trial date has been set for May 21.


Like this comment
Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

The Chicago way baby!