Guys: If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Amazing story from California:

David Dutcher met Sharon on Match.com in late 2008, a few months after separating from his wife. “We had a lot in common,” he recalled. Sharon loved four-wheel-drive trucks and sports.

They met for coffee, then dinner. Sharon was tall, slender, blond and beautiful. She moaned that she had not had sex in a long time. She told him he had large, strong hands and wondered if that portended other things. She described his kisses as “yummy.”…

On their second date, Sharon suggested they join one of her friends “who was partying because she had closed a real estate deal,” Dutcher said. They drove to an Italian restaurant in a suburb near San Francisco. Sharon’s friend, “Tash,” was a loud and raucous brunet who was pounding down shots.

The women fiddled with Dutcher’s tie and massaged his neck and shoulders. The brunet unbuttoned her blouse to reveal generous cleavage. “I am way over my head with these girls,” he remembered thinking. “I hadn’t been out dating in a while.”

Sharon had trouble finishing her tequila shots and asked Dutcher to help, he said. When the women went to the bathroom, two men at the other end of the bar peppered Dutcher with questions…

The women suggested going to a house with a hot tub that Tash was housesitting, Dutcher said. He followed them in his truck. Within a few minutes, a flashing red light appeared in his rearview mirror. The officer said he had been swerving.

Three months later, Dutcher’s wife filed a motion in their divorce case, telling the court that her soon-to-be former husband had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and that she feared for their children’s safety. The judge ordered that Dutcher’s visits be supervised.

Here’s what happened:

Dutcher had been duped.

The women who’d ogled him worked for Butler’s detective agency. Sharon, who told Dutcher she was a divorcee employed by an investment firm, actually was a former Las Vegas showgirl.

A man who once worked for Butler had blown the whistle. He told authorities Butler arranged for men to be arrested for drunk driving at the behest of their ex-wives and their divorce lawyers — and that entrapment was only one of many alleged misdeeds.

Butler, 49, a former police officer, was arrested in February. In addition to setting up at least five DUIs, he sold drugs for law enforcement officers and helped them open and operate a brothel, collecting and delivering the profits, according to prosecutors and a statement Butler gave them after his arrest.

In the March 15 statement obtained by The Times, Butler said his accomplices reasoned that they could shield their illegal businesses because any complaints would be investigated by a state-run narcotics task force, which one of the officers headed.

The alleged crimes implicated three different law enforcement agencies — the San Ramon and Danville police departments and the narcotics task force — and took place in Contra Costa County, a collection of mostly middle-class communities that stretch from the East Bay shoreline opposite San Francisco to upscale suburbs inland.

Jewett called the scandal a “sordid drama” that overwhelmed the resources of the county and raised potential conflicts for police departments being asked to investigate their own.

In May, the FBI took over the probe, interviewing Dutcher and other ex-husbands arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. A federal grand jury indicted Butler and two of the officers in August and September. The charges included drug dealing, running a prostitution business and illegal possession of a weapon.

More indictments are expected. A third officer, implicated by Butler in the DUIs, faces state charges of accepting bribes to make arrests.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

33 Responses to “Guys: If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is”

  1. #1 |  jlhoover | 

    There was a good This American Life episode about this PI a couple of weeks ago. He’s quite the winner.

  2. #2 |  Paul | 

    Let me ask the obvious question first: were tickets sold to this event?

  3. #3 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Is it too, too naive of me to suggest that if a particular crime has become a popular one to accuse people of falsely (or set them up with) for leverage in divorce, then the standards for proving that crime under law are too goddamned loose?

  4. #4 |  Greg | 

    Addendum: If the child visitation rights were changed because of the arrest, they probably haven’t been changed back despite the conspiracy being uncovered.

  5. #5 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I’ll note that if the man actually was dangerously drunk when he was driving, he could have injured or killed someone, even though he was set up to be arrested quickly.

  6. #6 |  Law Prof | 

    The women’s lawyers need to be disbarred.

  7. #7 |  Difster | 

    Nancy, notice that he was set up by the cooperating cops as well. They SAID he swerved. He might not have had enough to drink to be dangerous.

    But his conviction should be thrown out. Has it been? Who knows. Should the wife be prosecuted? Possibly? Should the wife lose custody of the children for wanton disregard of their need for a father? Absolutely.

    Will these kids know what kind of woman their mother is growing up? I certainly hope they learn (a good lesson) from it.

  8. #8 |  EH | 

    There are certainly active-duty officers who should go to jail for this.

  9. #9 |  freebob | 

    This sound similar to This American Life from a couple of weeks ago. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/447/the-incredible-case-of-the-pi-moms
    I’m taking some criminal justice classes and it’s scary that everyone in the class that’s in law enforcement either has outright distain for due process or simply can move beyond the ‘I’m the good guy they’re the bad guy I can’t be bound by rules because bad guys are bad” level of thinking. Apparently this raises to epic levels when they go into private practice.

  10. #10 |  freebob | 

    Sorry that should be “can’t move beyond” not “can move beyond.” Minor typo but completely changed my post. Damn you no edit button.

  11. #11 |  Dwight Brown | 

    “But his conviction should be thrown out. Has it been? Who knows.”

    From the article:

    “Prosecutors offered to help Dutcher and Woods remove their DUI convictions and approved the dismissal of charges against the three other men. Dutcher obtained a court order last month to expunge his conviction.”

  12. #12 |  Mark Adams | 

    this kind of c— wouldn’t happen if “family” courts weren’t so eager to insert themselves in every detail of litigants’ lives.

    In what intact family would a spouse’s reaction to a DUI charge be to hire outside monitors for every afterschool pickup? That would be none, correct?

    Yet the courts of california were willing to impose that pointless cost here, for every moment of time between parent and child. Since punishing H is of value to W, making that punishment available gives Ws incentive to create this crime.

  13. #13 |  Dwight Brown | 

    Hit “submit” too soon.

    freebob: For what it may be worth (and understanding “the plural of anecdote is not data”) I’ve been taking a criminal justice class at my local university as well. (The class actually wrapped up last night.)

    The main focus of the class was on case law relating to the Fourth Amendment: Terry searches, search incident to arrest (and the limits thereof), and such. I didn’t see any of the “I’m the good guy” thinking you describe. Throughout the entire class, there was a strong emphasis on “this is the law” and “you should follow these rules because a) they’re morally right, and b) they will keep your evidence from being thrown out of court”.

    And by the way, this was in Texas. (I’ve blogged some of the work I’ve done for that class at my own blog.)

    Also, the thing that really struck me about this wasn’t the DWI setups. I mean, that’s bad, but not all that surprising. What I think deserved more play was the “running a brothel for the cops” and “selling drugs for the cops” accusations, as well as the two cops being indicted and the whole “I can cover for us, I run the narcotics task force” thing.

    (Obligatory: as a libertarian, I’m in favor of drug and prostitution legalization. I’m opposed to police officers using their positions to get away with crimes, regardless of my personal beliefs about whether they should be crimes.)

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m so used to very attractive women hitting on me and inviting me to party at expensive homes with their buxom friends that I’m like a sitting duck!

    My bet: the DWI convictions will stick (along with the divorce “winnings”). The cops will get busted by the Feds for pimping and dealing…which are about the only two things you can do as a cop that gets you arrested.

  15. #15 |  freebob | 

    #12 You’re right not all my experiences have been like that. But the class I’m taking this semester Constitutional Law for Justice Personnel is being taught by a LEO that’s explained once you violate the law you should lose all protection due process provides and summed up the fourth amendment as “if you’re not doing anything wrong you don’t have anything to worry about.” It may be that everyone else is afraid to argue with the professor, the LEOs in this class seem to be in complete agreement with the professor, that or they’re being influenced to think that way. In this particular class I’ve spoken up and the answer from the LEOs is usually shallow and condescending. But I’ve had at least one good LEO professor and met good LEOs in other classes.

  16. #16 |  Deoxy | 

    Also, the thing that really struck me about this wasn’t the DWI setups. I mean, that’s bad, but not all that surprising. What I think deserved more play was the “running a brothel for the cops” and “selling drugs for the cops” accusations, as well as the two cops being indicted and the whole “I can cover for us, I run the narcotics task force” thing.

    This. I mean, entrapment is indeed bad (for several reasons), but the mental leap from “sting” to “entrapment” is fairly small (especially for those who have a strong “us vs them” and/or “they’re all guilty, anyway” mentality) – running a brothel or selling drugs are both CLEARLY crimes, and would result in arrest of any civilian doing so (and they clearly knew that, by the “I run the taskforce” bit).

  17. #17 |  Jeff B. | 

    Moral of the story is to call a cab.

  18. #18 |  Big A | 

    Boyd- Our prayers are with you.

  19. #19 |  Dwight Brown | 

    Okay, one more thing and then I’ll STFU:

    “Even though the men had been drinking, prosecutors said Butler’s stings violated a little-used 19th century law that makes it a felony to conspire to subject another person to arrest. The female decoys have not been charged.”

    I’m wondering if this a unique to California statute, or if other states have similar laws (against conspiracy to subject another person to arrest). I assume there’s a law enforcement exemption (otherwise, no hooker stings).

    I’ll leave debate on the merits or demerits of charging the decoys to other commentators.

  20. #20 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Women, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts.

  21. #21 |  Ted S. | 

    I’m so used to very attractive women hitting on me and inviting me to party at expensive homes with their buxom friends that I’m like a sitting duck!

    Are you sure they’re actually women and not trannies? (Not to criticize those who have a fetish for trannies.)

  22. #22 |  Marty | 

    holy shit! I would’ve been a sitting duck after my divorce, too…

  23. #23 |  JSL | 

    And people wonder why porn use is so prevalent.

  24. #24 |  TC | 

    Seems they are way underfunded!!!

    I’ll hit the surprised button tomorrow.

  25. #25 |  croaker | 

    @15 This is what post-class instructor evaluations are for.

  26. #26 |  MassHole | 

    Check the full story here:

    http://www.diablomag.com/Diablo-Magazine/April-2011/The-Setup/index.php?cparticle=1&siarticle=0#artanc

    A great read.

  27. #27 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Women, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts.

    Go watch Contagion at the theater and you will not want beer nuts at a bar anymore.

    Ever.

    As an aside, if an ex did something like that to me, I would retaliate in some fashion. Maybe leave a kilo of weed in the car and drop a dime to the police. I was never big on the concept of forgive and forget.

  28. #28 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Are you sure they’re actually women and not trannies? (Not to criticize those who have a fetish for trannies.)

    Using the term “tranny” is a little bit like calling a black man a “boy”. It is insulting, and is particularly associated with pornography. Transgendered women are represented in all socioeconomic groups and many have advanced degrees and work in science and law. Please reconsider use of that term.

  29. #29 |  Deoxy | 

    Using the term “tranny” is a little bit like calling a black man a “boy”.

    No, it’s a bit like calling a transmission a tranny, or a grandmother a granny. It’s actually closer to calling Los Angeles “L.A.” than the example you gave.

    Calling a black man a “boy” is insulting because it refuses to recognize the moral and societal equality of the man – he is not an adult, but a child, to be talked down to. “Tranny” has no such inherent insult.

    Calling something a shortened form of it’s proper name is… um, NORMAL. People do it ALL THE TIME.

    That’s not to say that “tranny” may be considered insulting (I really don’t know), only that your example was WAY over the top.

  30. #30 |  A handful of randomness. « Whipped Cream Difficulties | 

    […] up ex-husbands for DWI (plus running a brothel for the cops and selling drugs for cops) case. Balko covered this as well, prompting a lively discussion in the […]

  31. #31 |  celticdragonchick | 

    “Tranny” has no such inherent insult.

    It betlittles and is almost exclusively connoted with sexual exploitation and pornography. I stand by my assertion.

  32. #32 |  California Love Part II | Iced Borscht | 

    […] Guys: If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is (theagitator.com) […]

  33. #33 |  Ben | 

    #29 – Deoxy

    So, it’s ok to refer to homosexual people as “homos”? That’s ok because it’s a shortened form of the real description? Give me a break. Words gain colloquial connotations. It’s a good idea to learn which ones have become pejorative.

    Go up to a transgendered person and call them a tranny. I think they’ll let you know if they consider it to be an insult.

Leave a Reply