By Gustavo Arellano
By OC Weekly Staff
By R. Scott Moxley
By Michelle Woo
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gabriel San Roman
By Gustavo Arellano
In The Minority Report, Philip K. Dick's 1956 science-fiction short story that became a 2002 Steven Spielberg blockbuster starring Tom Cruise, the police department finds a novel way to expand its powers. "Pre-crime" officers use three government-controlled human mutants—glorified psychics who can see two weeks into the future—and armed with precognitive reports, cops hunt down and arrest citizens for crimes that haven't occurred.
Dick's tale may have seemed farfetched decades ago, but few people know that Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) deputies now employ a modified precognitive system. Theirs doesn't involve mutants, but rather deputies relying on their own keen mental machinations.
Take, for example, the case of Nancy Butano. Just after 3 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2010, Butano was at her San Juan Capistrano home, lovingly watching her two, 20-month-old kids while handling an important business telephone call. She had no reason to suspect she was about to enter a police-state nightmare.
Sheriff's deputies Charles Henry Stumph and Cory Haruo Martino stood outside Butano's residence and saw a tall, 115-pound woman who wasn't armed, wasn't bleeding, wasn't screaming, wasn't jumping up and down, and wasn't calling for help. She was calmly talking on the phone. The deputies also knew that nobody had accused her of even shortchanging a parking meter.
In theory, the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights protects citizens from unreasonable police intrusions. Stumph and Martino didn't have consent or a search warrant to enter Butano's residence. But they knew that judges have carved holes in 4th Amendment guarantees; for example, they can evade the need for consent or a court order if they face an emergency.
According to Stumph and Martino, the scene with Butano presented a frightening crisis. The resident clearly had been on the verge of killing them, herself and her children or destroying evidence, they asserted. They'd also concocted the notion that an unknown assailant might have been lurking in the house with homicidal intentions against Butano.
Never mind the lack of any evidence; the deputies had covered their bets on the emergency excuse: Either Butano was going to kill, or someone was going to kill her. That's why, they argued, they could run inside the home uninvited, yell otherwise-illegal commands, assault a shocked Butano—kicking her down, giving her a black eye and a facial laceration, and violate state law by keeping her in custody at the Orange County Jail for more than 30 hours on trumped-up charges.
The police abuse that caused Butano (and her lawyer Jerry L. Steering) to file a pending federal civil-rights lawsuit didn't end there. With the deputies' help, government social workers took custody of her children for 11 days under the justification that she had abandoned them. Of course, the deputies were responsible for the abandonment when they unnecessarily took her to jail for the misdemeanor charge of interfering with their duties, charges that were later dropped as meritless.
The incident began when—unbeknownst to Butano—her boyfriend Paul Luddy left the back yard where he was cutting bamboo with a machete-type knife, walked to a neighbor's house, confronted gardeners who were using an obnoxiously loud leaf blower and walked away. The gardeners called OCSD about a possible criminal threat.
Deputies Stumph, Martino and Alexandra Flores, who was in training, arrived, talked with the gardeners and went to the Luddy/Butano house. Given that Luddy matched the description of the suspect, the deputies asked him to exit the house, put him under arrest and then placed him into their patrol car.
Butano, who'd been in the back yard with her kids, knew none of what happened. Later, when the deputies began ordering her to end her call, come outside and answer their questions, they didn't say there was an emergency. They told her to get off the phone. She told them to wait. That exertion of her constitutional rights pissed off the deputies.
In later depositions, both Stumph and Martino admitted that Butano was within her rights to not follow their commands before their entry. But, according to Stumph, he was free to interpret her noncompliance as an element to imagine a murder might be in the works.
Here's a key portion of transcript from an OCSD recording of the confrontation:
Deputy: Let's come outside, ma'am.
Butano: No, I am on the phone.
Deputy: Okay, listen.
Butano: I did not ask you to come in this house.
Butano: I'm busy right now.
Deputy: Okay, I'm going to tell you one time.
Butano: No! No! Don't touch me.
Butano: [being slammed down and manhandled] Don't touch me, asshole. [Cries of pain.] I can't believe you're doing this to me. [Cries of pain.] You're going to break my arm! [Cries of pain.]
Deputy: Get up! Stand up! Do you have anything illegal on you?
Butano: No. What are you doing to me?
Deputy: Just relax.
Butano: What's going on?
Deputy: We're here investigating something.
Butano: I can't believe you slammed me against that wall. I'm a girl, for God's sake.
Moments later, Martino turned to Deputy Flores and explained, "[Butano] wouldn't get off the phone. And we're like, 'Ma'am, get off the phone.' And then, like, we see a crossbow, and we're, like, 'Hey, get off the phone.' And she's, like, 'no,' and so Charlie starts chasing her and takes her down."
Is this the way police are trained to act. Why could they not have waited just a couple of minuets all the while observing everything going on around the house. The mentality that some officers have that they are all powerful all the time causes more problems than it solves.
@standupforyourrights - rather a racist but interesting comment don't you think to assume the gardeners were "non-english speaking". The assorted weapons are mentioned in the court documents which is public information. "Neighbors whom always complain" - interesting insight into the neighborhood dynamics and the relationship the couple (term used loosely) had there. If you are in the horse community you know of Dr Luddy, his parties and his unfortunate addiction problems. You don't have to attend to be well aware of the details.
gert123- How do you get your information? Are you one of these people who attended these "parties at all hours" or someone who goes to the house to take place in the "illegal drug activity" that goes on there? Furthermore, how would you know of the "assorted weapons" that you clam are in the house? Not that any of your claims have anything to do with the fact that the officers involved were clearly wrong in what they did. I also find it hard to believe that the non-english speaking gardeners called 911 to report a terrorist threat. Yes, Dr. Luddy made a mistake by walking outside with something that would be considered a weapon, but if he was really intending to hurt someone why wouldn't he have gone out with one of his other "assorted weapons" he owns? Oh yah, lets go back to the news story and post that as backup to your argument, because the writer was there and saw the whole thing happen, and the news never gives false information! Give me a break. Either way, Dr. Luddy paid for his mistake and willingly went into custody. Ms. Butano had nothing to do with any of that... and Pegohio1... seriously? How can you be on the phone and watch your sleeping 2 children at the same time? You people are idiots. Clearly you two are the neighbors who are always complaining or people with some kind of personal vendetta out for either Dr. Luddy or Ms. Butano,
The OCSD is known for throwing around their power and overstepping their boundaries. I would have had an attitude with 2 cops trying to tell me to stop what I was doing for no apparent reason too. Ms. Butano happens to be smart enough to know her rights and stand up to them and that pissed them off. The reason why these cops have gotten so bad is because people are scared of them and don't know their rights. They are used to being able to push everyone around. If they hadn't approached her the way that they did, I'm sure she would have gladly complied. But they were clearly rude, ignorant pigs on a power trip. Which has sadly become of the majority of the OCSD.
@standupforyourrights - I would gladly have the OCSD throw their 'power' around when there is a drunk running around the neighborhood with a machete. Ms Butano has everything to do with obstruction of justice and once again if the OCSD needs to secure a location and locate weapons, then by all means the OCSD CAN 'OVERSTEP BOUNDARIES' to protect my neighbors. You do not have the right to refuse to obey an officers command. Ms Butano is not smart enough to know her rights if she decided to ignore them. If you read the court documents, you would understand the information regarding the weapons being located within the home. If you live anywhere near Via Ordaz, you would also be aware of the activity taking place at the home. If Ms Butano had acted in a responsible manner, she could have saved herself and her children a great deal of heartache. It would have been a very small price to pay at the time.
Hey R. SCOTT MOXLEY, how does Nancy Butano 'lovingly watch her two children" when according to the court documents she filed, they were left sleeping in strollers while she conducted her important business phone call????? Of course, the phone call has only recently become classified as a business call. It is amazing how her story has been changing. I hope she reads the documents previously filed with the court to refresh her memory prior to her court date so she can get her story straight. Don't feel sorry for Nancy.
By PETER SCHELDEN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER A horse veterinarian from San Juan Capistrano is in custody after tree trimmers told police he had approached them with a large knife while they were cutting down a neighbor's tree and threatened to cut their heads off if they didn't stop making noise. Paul Joseph Luddy, 46, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of brandishing a weapon and making criminal terrorist threats, said sheriff's Lt. Dan Dwyer, chief of police services for San Juan Capistrano. Luddy remains in custody this afternoon with bail set at $50,000. Article Tab: image1-Horse doctor accused of threatening to cut off tree trimmers' heads ADVERTISEMENT Police confiscated a Gurkha knife as evidence, as well as firearms in Luddy's home. A Gurkha knife is a large, curved Nepalese weapon. Nancy Ann Butano, 35, a veterinary assistant, also was arrested and is being held this afternoon with bail set at $500. The incident was reported at 2:54 p.m. Wednesday in the 28400 block of Via Ordaz.
I think what everyone here needs to be aware of is the complete story. Read the original OC Register story. Dr. Luddy was drunk and possibly under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime of threatening to kill the gardener with that machete by chopping off his head because they were making too much noise. The doctor is rarely sober. Nancy is pretty damn stupid to not be able to hang up the phone when a uniformed officer tells her to do so. Who in their right mind would think they have the right to talk to an officer conducting an investigation into an threat of murder. I would hope to heck they would slam her face to the ground until they got all of the weapons out of that house, and trust me, there were plenty. He not only had the machete, he had guns, the crossbow and other assorted weapons. Don't be so quick to judge the police officers. You seriously need to be aware of the type of people they deal with. The house is very well known for all the illegal drug activity that takes place on a daily basis. Parties take place to all hours. You can get whatever drugs you desire by visiting upstairs. Underage drinking. Neighbors have reported suspicious activity for years. Now you bring two children into this environment and complain when they are put in protective custody, think twice about that. I hope she does not win this suit and that it is thrown out just as it was when she tried to pursue it with the City of San Juan Capistrano. Please get your facts straight, before defending unfit parents.
Before coming down on one side or the other on this story there are a few glaring gaps that need to be filled in. I find it hard to imagine a bunch of gardners, who may have been legal or illegal calling the Police over a guy who complained about a loud leaf blower. The we go straight to the Deputies hooking up the citizen without ever talking to him to find out his side of the story. Then that should have been the end ofit, except somehow one of the Deputies ends up inside the house, without an invitation, The story then goes downhill fast, as it would if I found someone uninvited in my home, Police or not.
We can assume that the woman made a complaint and I would like to see how the Internal Affairs Report reads. By the tiime this case is over, all the facts will have been brought into the light of day and will have cost the County of Orange a substantial sum of money. Would like to see this case in public from start to finish and what if any disclipine was handed out to the Deputies?
I probably would have just complied with the officers, got off the phone, and came outside to see what they wanted. I'm sure if she did that, dropped the attitude they probably would have quickly realized nothing was wrong and departed.
But, if you argue with them, you'll have problems. I learned just follow their commands, don't talk back to them and the move on. They don't have the desire or time to randomly just harass people for no reason.
Case in point, we always hear about the Rodney King beating, but how come we don't hear about the two other passengers with Rodney King that were arrested at the scene without incident prior to Rodney King acting out and getting beaten.
My point is rights or no rights, I prefer to just go with the flow and move on.
Call me what you like, but I have been stopped many times by police and with nothing more than a speeding ticket.
But, you all with plenty of time on your hands, and money to get lawyers etc, and not feeling inconvenience by bucking the system, go for it!
Spineless sheeple like you are the reason that what little shred we have left of the proud legacy of liberty left to us by our forefathers, will soon exist only as a footnote in the history books
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty".- Thomas Jefferson
"There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue".
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".-Edmund Burke
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."- Samuel Adams
Why are there not perjury, lying on a police report, malicious prosecution charges on these idiots? I have lost my trust with law enforcement.
It takes highly skilled and ETHICAL law enforcement officials to plow through day to day issues, free of any and all financial and political objectives. No doubt there are many Orange County officers that fit this crucial job requirement and will place the protections of the public before political aspirations..... however, it appears that something has gone very wrong in the OC and is continuing despite what everyone believes now that former OC Sheriff Carona is in federal prison.
If the OC Sheriff and the OC Board of Supervisors want to act on behalf of those who have placed them in positions of trust and authority, maybe someone needs to evaluate the type of attorneys and law firms are hired in the OC and why the hell the same violations of civil rights are continuing, without an end.... is it about collecting attorneys' fees to pad financial and retirement portfolios????? Or, is it about political power and routine lawsuit settlement monies. which only allows the cycle of abuse to continue.
Ms. Butano is a smart lady..... one can only wish that others had the wisdom to get out of the OC before lives and careers were destroyed.... Moxley is correct... all law enforcement has to do is say there is suspicious activity and viola, a political adversary can be destroyed, without accountability. As far as seeking justice in a court of law in the OC, good luck to anyone who is not a member of the inner political and law enforcement circle... you are SOL! The elected public officials in the OC need to return to the basics of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.... they are clueless and in my opinion, beyond reconciliation. Humility is a tough life lesson..... and it is too bad that former OC Sheriff Carona is the only one that was forced to serve time for the crimes he committed against the People. NOTE: Carona's political and legal advisors were NEVER held accountable for the aiding and abetting of the crimes that were committed against the People.... This fact is a tragedy that were allow the elitists in the OC to only gain power and wealth, destroying anyone who dares to speak truth or seek justice.
All the normal people, for most of the normal parts of their lives - think that the police are a benign, helpful, and valorous group of public servants. I believe this to be the case in 99.9% of their interactions with the public. Problem is, that in that one tenth of one percent of situations - you get a guy on a bad day. And they cover it up, trump up the situation, and close that "blue-line". We all know this. We detest it. We insist that they tell the truth about it. But in some cases (like this one apparently) - the Judicial System is in the balance. The whole fourth amendment is in a balance. They made a mistake and there has to be a consequence. For the public good - the officer must be held accountable. It's either that or the whole damn system crumbles. The idea that a single mistake by the police has to be met with a firing or imprisonment must be revisited. Our cops, in almost every respect - are our heroes. It's too bad that when one of them has a bad day, and gets upset on a perceived insult - he would resort to this. Worse still is the coverup and "leaning into the mistake" that takes place. A sad day for law-enforcement. I back the badge, but this story throws some cold water on it. I wish there was a less intense way for an officer to just apologize for having a bad day. Which is ultimately what this could have been about. Still (and this is ONLY to put things in perspective) I think our police forces in OC (and the Sheriff's) are still among the most public friently, and public serving group of men and women in that job - probably in the world. And no, I'm not a cop - and only know a few in other cities. This lady should sue, sue, sue. But I still don't think the cops are on some total power trip. At least not 99.9% of the time.
These kind of things are happening everywhere all the time. I see 10-20 reports like this across the web every day. This is a systemic problem afflicting a large % of law enforcement.
They're trained like military, they get military weapons, they use military terms, and lo and behold they start acting like they're soldiers instead of peace officers.
Watch 20 year old episodes of cops compared to more recent ones and you'll notice a huge difference.
I don't know how you define "normal" people but i wholeheartedly disagree with your statement. How many times does an incident in orange county alone need to be published before people like you wake up and realize they over step their roles way to often. (shooting of marine at a local high school, Kelly Thomas ring any bells?) I don't thing there as many people think the way you do.
The police can do all sorts of things. They've arrested people in their homes who have called them by accusing them of lying (when they weren't), etc...
As they said on the old film 'Lost Boys,' never invite a vampire into your home silly: it renders you powerless.
It appears anymore, you don't even have to call them for your life to enter a police officer spawned surreal nightmare.
Police don't like it that you have rights. They prefer you not to have any so they can decide what happens unilaterally. But we have rights anyway. So some police wave their magic wand and make all the rights go away. The easiest way for them to do this is to make you a mccriminal. A mccriminal is a law-abiding citizen that has just been turned into a criminal by the police. How does this happen? Again, the magic wand. It's all in the wrist.
Hey Jmc, don't be a sore loser. I have never seriously put down a person who chooses to engage in homosexual acts simply because of that choice alone (jokes aside) nor bullied in real life any homosexual in my life. But you have no problem putting me down proving that you are, in fact, the hypocrite here.
What I did is fail to align with the homosexual agenda while making very good arguments why the government should not enable homosexuality nor offer people who choose to engage in homosexual acts greater legal protections than people who choose not to engage in homosexual acts get.
So you can stop misrepresenting both myself and my positions and start respecting my human and legal right both to have and express an opinion.
I also advise you to seek counseling to help you with those anger issues and also a good logic 101 course to help you learn to reason properly. Maybe you will even grow to stop misrepresenting what other people say at some point in the future. All things are possible.