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Meanwhile, Shannon's hope for justice in her civil lawsuit is teetering on collapse, but not based on the merits. Her Irvine law firm demanded a more profitable fee deal and quit when it didn't get it. The move has pushed the case into limbo. A future jury may never get a chance to decide if unethical HBPD officials tried to protect a deranged member of their force.
At a late-February hearing, Judge John C. Gastelum accepted the firm's resignation and asked Shannon if she'd found new counsel. Visibly distraught, she said multiple lawyers have declined to represent her. A sympathetic-sounding Gastelum gave her 60 days to find new counsel or risk dismissal of her lawsuit. The 36-year-old Roberts—who is no longer with the police department—left the courtroom looking relieved. Sources say he is hoping to get his badge back.
Asked to comment on her experiences, Shannon said she is too afraid to comment because she fears police retaliation.
This column appeared in print as "Shield From Justice: Did Huntington Beach police conspire to protect a cop accused of violently sodomizing his ex-wife?"