Published April 04, 2012 in the Olympian by JEREMY PALWLOSKI
A former Lacey police officer faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty Tuesday for lying to a judge under oath.
While applying for a search warrant by telephone Jan. 9, Emmanuel Olivo told a judge that he had pulled a car over at Carpenter and Mullen roads after conducting a random state Department of Licensing check and discovering that the car’s owner had a suspended license. [The purpose of this lie was to establish ‘probable cause’ for the warrant else a search of the vehicle would violate 4th Amendment protections. The fact the officer pulled the vehicle over and searched it w/o such a DOL check meant the evidence seized should have been suppressed. By lying, the officer intended to deny the suspect’s right to 4th Amendment protection.]
But after Olivo’s patrol supervisor checked his reports and audited the vehicle stop, she determined that Olivo had not performed a DOL check, Thurston County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Toynbee has said.
Officers typically can check a driver’s license plate number from their patrol car and determine whether its registered owner has outstanding arrest warrants or is driving with a suspended license.
After the judge granted Olivo’s search-warrant request, Olivo found suspected methamphetamine in the vehicle. A felony meth charge against the car’s occupant was dismissed after evidence emerged that Olivo had lied.
Olivo, 28, pleaded guilty to gross-misdemeanor false swearing during a brief court hearing before Judge Kalo Wilcox. His sentencing is tentatively set for April 18.
Olivo declined to comment outside court. His attorney, Michele Shaw of Seattle, said he does not have a plea agreement in place that could affect his sentencing.
Since Olivo’s arrest, a separate criminal case he investigated has been dismissed because of questions about his credibility, a prosecutor said. Toynbee has said it’s possible that defense attorneys can challenge convictions in cases in which Olivo was a witness.
Police Lt. Phil Comstock said Tuesday that Olivo resigned last week. He previously had been on paid administrative.
The Lacey Police Department is completing a separate administrative investigation of Olivo, Comstock said.
After learning of Olivo’s possible crime, Lacey police turned the investigation of it over to the Olympia Police Department. Comstock said that the incident, while unfortunate, shows that the department holds itself accountable.
Chief Dusty Pierpoint added that he can’t recall a similar incident in his 26 years with the Lacey police. [Just never met a cop ya didn’t like, eh Chief? Come to the barrio! Some of the street people, buskers, and homeless could help provide you a remedial education in Cop 101.]
“It’s unfortunate, and we don’t like anything like this to happen,” he said. “But at the same time, when it does, we have to address that. The public does expect that.”