In San Diego County, alleged misconduct by sheriff's deputies is investigated by a body called the Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB.) It is this county office that I directed a complaint to in September 2011 regarding perceived misconduct & improper investigation of Rebecca Zahau's Coronado mansion death by the San Diego Sheriff's Dept. & Chief Bill Gore. Zahau was determined by Sheriff''s Dept. to have "committed suicide" in July 2011 by hanging herself at the Spreckels mansion after her boyfriend's son was injured & later died in a mishap there.
As someone who has a finely tuned antenna for justice or the lack thereof, I questioned the Labor Day 2011 weekend press conference dog-and-pony show that Gore & his minions put on for the public in regard to this case. The hastily called media gathering, on a busy 3-day holiday weekend, did not set well with me.
I called the County Medical Examiner's office and ordered a copy of Zahau's autopsy report & poured over it--not morbidly but with a watchdog's eagle eye & found that, like so many others, something here did not add up. So many inconsistencies such as injuries & contusions on Zahau;s body that were never disclosed in the Sheriff's report or at the Labor Day press conference. I smelled a skunk!
I have lived in San Diego long enough to know that it is a good ole boy's town & to get along in politics you have to go along. Also, I felt such compassion for the family of Rebecca Zahau; they deserved justice and closure in the death of their loved one. So I followed the unraveling case closely. I read all the blog comments & gained an earful on just how things were playing out in the public'
The fact that a millionaire pharmaceutical executive was part of the drama immediately raised my eyebrows. It would be just so easy for someone like that to pay off the right people here in San Diego to make this whole thing go away.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to draft a complaint to CLERB in regard to the Zahau matter. The thought that someone might possibly get away with murdering this poor soul because of shoddy work by the lackadaisical San Diego Sheriff's Dept. burned like a fire in my gut.
It took every ounce of written composure to draft something that pertained to just the facts, ma'am. My complaint, which, according to Patrick Hunter of CLERB, I am free to discuss publicly, is this:
Filing a False Report:
"The Sheriff's Dept. investigation into the death of Rebecca Zahau was incomplete, lacking factual evidence & full of some of the most jaw-dropping statements ever made by law enforcement. There was little "investigation” into the cause of Rebecca’s death but plenty of assumptions leading to a preset conclusion of “suicide.” A full rendering of evidence at hand would have allowed for a complete & thorough evaluation of the evidence. Instead, we get the Sheriff's Dept. filing a false report in order to substantiate exactly what conclusion they wished to facilitate, for whatever reasons."
I specifically mentioned "the best example of the filing of a false report is specifically, the Zahau autopsy report details that were omitted from the Sheriff's report." Additionally, "another aspect of the "filing of a false report" that should be mentioned is pertinent information "LEFT OUT" of the initial Sheriff's investigation. That would be NO MENTION in the report of two separate neighbors who live on each side of the Spreckels mansion that have reported hearing & seeing things that may indicate Rebecca Zahau & Adam Shacknai were not the only people at the house that night. One witness told Sheriff Lt. Larry Nesbit she heard "a cry for help from a woman in the mansion around 11:30 p.m. the evening prior (to Zahau’s death)." Lt. Nesbit dismissed this information as "irrelevant." That's ridiculous!
According to Forbes magazine, the Sheriff’s department left some vital information out during their announcement of their investigative conclusions. My complaint mentions these vital pieces of information, that make a suicide conclusion per the Sheriff's Dept. look even more unlikely::
1 ) the presence of tape residue on her calves and on the gag, 2) the gag was made from a T-shirt that had been wrapped around the noose three times, then around her head, and finally the sleeve stuffed in her mouth (I am assuming this is the “blue thing” seen on photographs of the body), 3) scratches and abrasions on her that looked like defensive wounds. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2011/09/06/billionaires-girlfriends-last-note-inconsistent-with-suicide/) How in the world could the Sheriff's "professional investigators" overlook something like this. My conclusion:
" I would suggest THAT CHARACTERIZING Zahau's death AS A SUICIDE, with THE HANGING OF A BOUND & GAGGED WOMEN (WITH 4 CONTUSIONS ON THE TOP OF HER HEAD & TAPE RESIDUE ON HER BODY) IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE AT HAND & IS THEREFORE FALSE & INCOMPLETE.
CLERB's answer to this: A RUBBER STAMP for the Sheriff's Dept. As such, "Board finding: Summary Dismissal. The complainant's alleged facts did not establish a prima facie showing of misconduct by the San Diego Sheriff's Dept. " (Summary Dismissal refers to "the Review Board lacking jurisdiction or the complaint clearly lacks merit.")
After my false report allegation, I then alleged "misconduct. & lack of honest services:"
"In plain words, the law presumes a public official owes the public a duty of honest services. When the official fails to offer honest services, while concealing a financial interest, it becomes a crime."
I could not prove criminal conduct actually took place in regard to the "investigation and conclusions" reached by the Sheriff's Dept. in regard to the Zahau case, but I put forward that the lack of a exhaustive investigation into several discrepancies that I have already documented previously in the Sheriff's Zahau investigation, means that a complete & unbiased report was never submitted regarding the truth about Rebecca Zahau's death.
Rose-colored glasses or not, public officials have a duty to make decisions in the best interest of the people who elect them. When they make decisions based on personal interests, they are defrauding the public. Defrauding the public is "honest services fraud." By not taking into consideration all the mitigating circumstances that surrounded the so-called "suicide" of Rebecca Zahau & over-looking pertinent details that pointed in many ways, to a MURDER & not a SUICIDE, the Sheriff's Zahau investigation was tainted with a "rush to judgement" mentality.
"The Honest-services fraud" law is the only way to confront the illegality of coming to false or hastily misleading conclusions in high-profile cases. In situations where wrongdoers cheat their victims of something less tangible, like JUSTICE & FAIRNESS, the PEOPLE are being deprived of "honest services."
CLERB response: Summary Dismissal. My facts "did not establish a prima facie showing of misconduct by the Sheriff's Dept. The autopsy was prepared by the Medical Examiner & the presentation was concluded by the Deputy Medical examiner. CLERB does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter."
Does this complete brush off by CLERB regarding my complaints in the Zahau matter surprise me? Not one bit. But why should San Diego spend money having a Citizen's Review Board that just covers up more of the same hogwash the Sheriff's Dept. throws out?
Because of the lack of a thorough, comprehensive analysis of the death of Rebecca Zahau by the Sheriff's investigative team and a RUSH TO "SUICIDE" JUDGMENT mentality, the family of Ms. Zahau & the citizens and tax-payers of San Diego county have NOT OBTAINED justice and a fair outcome.
The FALSE REPORT filed by the Sheriff's Dept. here is crying out for more EXAMINATION & an IMPARTIAL DETERMINATION not clouded by POLITICS, POLITICAL AMBITION & OTHER "FACTORS. I will never stop trying to obtain JUSTICE FOR REBECCA ZAHAU!