Criminal probe of a Phoenix police officer may hurt DUI cases
PHOENIX – According to defense attorneys, many DUI cases in Phoenix can be dismissed over a criminal investigation of a Phoenix police officer over fraud allegations. Attorney Lawrence Koplow said that failure to reveal information related to the allegations against Officer Jerry Schuiteboer prevents DUI suspects from having the chance to raise questions on Schuiteboer’s credibility, the Arizona Republic reported. Schuiteboer handles DUI cases.
Court documents show that since the past 9 months, authorities are investigating allegations that Schuiteboer set his pickup on fire in the desert and in an insurance settlement, he collected more than $14,000.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is reviewing criminal-fraud charges submitted by Phoenix investigators against Schuiteboer but the city prosecutors are not willing to disclose in court information related to the Schuiteboer’s fraud case, they also didn’t comment because the fraud case is still pending and under investigation. The main reason behind the fact that prosecutors are not willing to disclose the allegations against Schuiteboer during pretrial proceedings is that disclosing can affect those DUI cases and others in which defendants have pleaded guilty because prosecutors said that Schuiteboer and his work can be trusted. Phoenix defense attorney, Cliff Girard said, “There’s a conscious effort to prevent anybody from knowing any of this stuff”.
Schuiteboer took 1 month leave starting from 27th of February. Since he returned, he has been working on “administrative duties”. The court records show that since early September, Police investigators have known about the theft-by-fraud, forgery and insurance-fraud allegations against Schuiteboer and last year in December, they served a search warrant at Schuiteboer’s Peoria home. The criminal search warrant contained the allegations against Schuiteboer.
On Friday, defense attorneys estimated that the number of active cases in Phoenix Municipal Court is 40 and the number of active cases in Maricopa County Superior Court is 10 in which DUI suspects were stopped and arrested by Schuiteboer on the basis of physical evidence.
According to court records, Schuiteboer said that in January 2011 on a Friday afternoon, he came out of a Glendale hardware store and saw that his 12-year-old Ford pickup was missing. The incident happened around 3:15. He then called Glendale police and asked the responding officer to meet him at a Westgate Entertainment District bar, where he could fill out the stolen-vehicle report. Records show that almost 2 weeks later, the truck was found by the Buckeye police in the desert. The pickup truck was burned and found with damage to the steering column as if it had been stolen. Schuiteboer told that the pickup truck was worth about $16,000 and received an insurance payment of more than $14,000.
On Friday, before declining to comment to the Arizona Republic further and referring questions to his attorney David Michael Cantor, Schuiteboer said that there are 2 sides to every story.
A driving while intoxicated and criminal-defense lawyer, David Michael Cantor didn’t immediately return an email from the Associated Press.