Chris Adrian Smith Is the Wrong Man

[Moxley Confidential] And a judge's written order says so. But OC sheriff's deputies arrested him anyway

Just after 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2010, Chris Adrian Smith started a $1 DVD for his kids and entered the kitchen to fix dinner in preparation for a quiet Saturday night at home.

Then undercover Orange County sheriff's deputies, dressed in all black, surrounded his Aliso Viejo home.

At 5 feet 8 inches and 180 pounds, the 38-year-old Smith didn't strike an imposing figure, and he wasn't armed, at least not with anything lethal. With deputies banging on his door, the only thing Smith had to defend himself was locked in his car. He'd placed this special object there in anticipation that someday he'd come face-to-face with law enforcement.

The object wasn't a gun or a knife. It was a document. Well-intentioned people in the local criminal-justice system had assured him that if he showed deputies the court order that gave him immunity from arrest in a specific case, then officers would be smart enough to apologize for any inconvenience and skedaddle.

But, as it turned out, that assurance rested on the faulty assumption that the deputies who'd confront Smith could read and comprehend English.

When Smith answered his door that night, a deputy placed him under arrest, alleging he had not paid a $300 conviction fine for driving on a suspended license.

"I told him I have paperwork telling him he is wrong," Smith says. "I am not the right guy."

A deputy allowed one of Smith's sons to retrieve the document.

"He looks at it and says, 'This doesn't say anything,'" recalls Smith. "I said, 'Read it. It says not to arrest me because I am not the right guy. Somebody stole my identity.'"

Smith said the deputy looked frustrated by the document, though its contents were unambiguous. Orange County Court Commissioner Vickie Hix's July 1, 2009, order states, "Chris Adrian Smith with identifying information of Date of Birth [redacted by the Weekly], driver's license [redacted by the Weekly] and tattoo: a circle with hidden picture of Jesus is NOT THE SAME PERSON [the judge's emphasis] in [case #09CM02605] and [is] not to be arrested."

According to Smith, "The deputy reads the order again and declares, 'It says you are the guy to arrest.' He saw my driver's license, and I showed him my tattoo and said, 'See? It says don't arrest the guy with this tattoo.' He says, 'No, you're the guy.' I said, 'Please, I don't understand that. I am not the guy!'"

Smith had entered a nightmare.

"The deputy put me in handcuffs in front of my kids and took me to jail," he says. "I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday locked up for something I didn't do, and the deputies should have known that."

Had deputies Gil Torres and Virgil Asuncion spent about 30 seconds checking the county's online court-records system, accessible in their county-provided vehicle, they could have verified the authenticity of Hix's order.

There is also this: The criminal using Smith's identity was easy to determine. I have no badge, gun, law-enforcement training or access to secret police databases, and I'm not responsible for arresting the right people, but it took me 15 minutes to obtain not only the guilty man's full name, date of birth and address, but also his picture.

You can't confuse Smith with Jose Guadalupe Caballero. Even at a glance, their faces and physiques are quite dissimilar. Caballero, 40, stands three or four inches taller, weighs at least 70 pounds more and has Dumbo-sized ear lobes.

(Attempts to get the deputies' explanation for the botched arrest failed after sheriff's officials refused to relay my interview requests.)

Smith landed inside the notorious Orange County Jail. Nobody cared about the court order he carried and, he says, deputies scowled at him after he mentioned that his ordeal was worthy of a lawsuit.

"They treated me like shit," Smith says. "This deputy orders me to bend over. He reaches into my pants and rips my underwear up. When he takes his hand out, he's holding a clump of my torn underwear. . . . It was painful."

He pleaded with another deputy to read Hix's order. He says, "That deputy gets up in my face and says, 'If you don't change your attitude, I'm going to fuck you up.'"

Smith still held out hope, showing yet another deputy the court order. He says that before that officer put him in a cell with five other inmates, he said, "You're a stupid ass."

Inmates told him to pick sides before a fight broke out.

"I told them that I didn't want to pick sides or fight because I shouldn't be locked up," he recalls. "I told them I was innocent, and they said, 'Yeah, right.'"

On Monday afternoon, Smith's 50-hour ordeal took another turn. He walked into a courtroom, and who did he see? Judge Hix.

"I didn't have to say anything," says Smith. "Judge Hix asked, 'Why are you here?' I said, 'Because they arrested me for that case.' She said, 'This really pisses me off. They disobeyed my order. You need to get an attorney and file a claim. This is not right.'"

Hix ordered Smith to be released. But deputies had other plans. They marched him back to a cell and left him there for another six hours.

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36 comments
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Sunnie
Sunnie

DUHHHHH !!! Cops DO think they can do whatever they want, just because they are cops. They are the most crooked of the crooked(ist). And they usually get away with it too. I can't believe that this would still be news to anyone. It's so rampant now-a-days, its "old news".

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

thank you for your support (chris smith)

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Jon Smiff
Jon Smiff

Pop quiz: One profession in the United States can legally (with supporting case law) deny you employment based on having to high of an IQ, what is it?

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Joe
Joe

We rescue and care for a strayed animals on street. Kelly Thomas is only another drifter in Orange County, one less sore eyes to see in Fullerton. There was not reason to continue to beat a man's head into concrete, smash his face and skull with steel flashlight, hog tie him, taser, etc to death. In Orange County, similar incidents are almost never prosecuted. It takes a video, a death, and large scale media coverage to get any justice at all.

Friend of Fullerton Future: http://www.fullertonsfuture.or...CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/...YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Joe
Joe

Never mess around with Orange County Sheriffs..They are Untouchable, Invincible, and protect by the powerful police union and justice system.

The Minuteman Project
The Minuteman Project

Orange County Deputies Gil Torres and Virgil Asuncion should not be the targets of witch-hunting predators from the public, or the media, who seem to blame them for all of the world's injustices. These deputies did exactly what is expected of them: execute an arrest warrant and bring in an alleged fugitive. Yes, it's sad that an innocent person was caught up in a situation that neither he, nor the deputies, caused. The problem was sourced much higher up in our judicial system, not at the street-cop level. Criticism of the upper echelons of our judicial system is warranted in this case, but the deputies should be off limits. After all, Deputies Torres and Asuncion did not prepare the arrest warrant. They merely carried out its orders. In my opinion, they are good cops who deserve better than the unwarranted public whipping that is so commonplace to second rate "dirty" journalists and ultra right and left wing fanatical extremists.

As far as the falsely arrested Chris Smith, he and his attorney should take the high road in this matter and accept a fair remuneration of $3,000 from the County. They should not hold the taxpayers hostage in expectation of a multi-million dollar instant lottery jury award. To do so would make Smith and his lawyer no better than the haughty and cavalier county administrators who recklessly spawned this problem.

Jim Gilchrist, President, The Minuteman Project

DJBriggs
DJBriggs

Jim - in my professional opinion you are delusional and should be locked up.

Outraged citizen
Outraged citizen

Jim, I'm sorry, but you're an idiot. I truly hope this happens to you; it couldn't happen to a better idiot. He HAD a valid court order which they just dismissed. Go catch some illegals.

mazesclarson
mazesclarson

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Ray1126
Ray1126

Sounds about right oc sheriff's are fucking idiots most of them started as security at south coast plaza

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

"According to Stock, the deputies are guilty of making a false arrest and violating his client's constitutional rights."

You have no constitutional rights according to the OCSD.

Kaonashi
Kaonashi

On a positive note, this could end up being the best thing that ever happened to him.

Taxfarmer1963
Taxfarmer1963

This is a fucking travesty! Orange County Deputies are out of control whether it be in OC Jail or on the streets. To recklessly disregard a County Judge's order is bad enough but to ignore repeated pleas and requests to merely examine the order itself borders on intentional Felony False Imprisonment as well as cruel and unusual punishment, thereby violating Chris Smith's Constitutional rights. Where is the Sheriff on all of this. Why aren't these illiterate boneheads up on charges of misconduct? If the treatment of this man is indicative of the way that County deputies treat the accused they arrest then it is very appropriate that they wore black when they arrested him. It brings to mind another police force that dressed in black and cared little for the rights of the accused. These Deputies should at the least be suspended and at the worst be charged with the aforementioned false imprisonment and violation of Smith's Constitutional Rights, as should the Deputies at the Jail. It might be wise in future, when hiring deputies to make sure that they understand the 4th and 8th amendments and read FUCKING ENGLISH! If someone can be arrested for a crime that they didn't commit AND have an order from a Judge stating that they are not to be arrested for that crime then who among us is safe?An action like this, taken by supposedly trained Deputy Sheriffs, is an affront to every citizen in the County and the Nation! These Deputies are loose cannons and are a danger to the people at large and should be punished harshly in order to restore the faith that is seemingly no longer deserved in their ability to enforce the laws of the land. I am a member of the OCEA and if the Union comes to their aid in this affair it will only serve to prove that the people are powerless in the face of blatant abuse by the authorities that we elect to protect us. If that is the case, what can we do and where can we go for redress?

Zak
Zak

He still had to pick a side when asked, and he's a killer till he gets out.

Johobo64
Johobo64

If jails are anything like schools, they probably get paid for each head accounted for.

Deeznuts
Deeznuts

The cops in the OC are total morons. I am originally from NY and was once skating with a friend of mine about a block from my house when a OC Sheriff pulls over to have a "talk" with us. The first thing he asks, where do you live and why are you skating here? Fine, no problem fair enough questions, I am a 35 yr old skater, so I guess that could deserve some questions.

Then he asks if either of us have any warrants?! Wait? Seriously? If I had any do you actually think I am going to fess up and tell you? Are the people in the OC that honest? LOL, I somehow don't think so... He didn't even ask for id. This is particularly funny to me because the cops in NY will just throw your ass in the squad car for skating right away and then get your id and then check your priors, after incarceration. YOU CAN'T GET AWAY!

Why am I not surprised by this story in the slightest?

I guess it's hard to be when there are still idiots in OC that try to out run the cops on the 405 or 5 freeways. THEY ONLY GO TWO WAYS AND NORMALLY THERE IS TRAFFIC!!! You aren't getting into Mexico and you sure as hell aren't getting anywhere else on the freeways.

Wait am I seeing a pattern forming? I do hear that this state out west called California has some of the worst schools in the country, I wonder if that has anything to do with it? Or is it all of the drug addicts and alcoholics coming to the OC for rehab?

Mmmm. Might be on to something. Is that guy in Riverside still trying to get SoCal broken off from NoCal, because that seems like a damn fine idea. Let all of the militant, god fearing folk stay in SoCal and merge it with Arizona, they can be their own bastion of conservatism for the world to envy......

Bill T.
Bill T.

So do back to New York. I've been hearing about how horrible California is for most of my 63 years from people who have moved here from the oh-so-wonderful (insert name of state here). Over and over I have heard how life would be perfect if hey could move back to their home paradise. They get the chance, move back, I turn around and here they are again. Where do you think most of the people "learned" to drive, or whatever you're bitching about at the moment. Then, Californeos move to Oregan, or Wyoming, or whatever after being squeezed out by the people moving here from those states and they get, oh we don't like you moving here. Get a grip.

Dbo90274
Dbo90274

I second that -- Fuck you Gil Torres and fuck you Virgil Asuncion !!!!

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

i also thank you very much for your comments and support (chris smith)

Guest
Guest

What freaking DOUCHE bags those officers are

Fuck you Gil Torres and fuck you Virgil Asuncion - I hope you both get arrested and fucked in the ass.

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

thank you very much for your support (chris smith)

Harold
Harold

Chris Smith is a very unique name, I don't blame the cops for arresting him. Plus I heard he was holding a wooden spoon - thats a dangerous weapon.

Roberto
Roberto

It would be interesting to know how many of these screw-up sheriff's deputies were former deputy marshals under Mike Carona who came over to OCSD in 2000 when the marshal"s office was merged in.

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

thank you for support and your comments (chris smith)

Robibm2003
Robibm2003

Seriously, we need congressional hearings on out of control cops in this country. It's a plague.

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

thank you for your support from the real (chris smith)

Culichi1967
Culichi1967

did these deputies have at least a GED? i guess the language on the court order is a bit complicated to understand for some of our law enforcement finest. poor guys are overworked. the dumbing down of amerikkkas finest continues...

Yttims_1971
Yttims_1971

thank you for your support ( from the real chris smith)

Darwan Winkler
Darwan Winkler

Sounds like Orange County to me. Business as usual.

 
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