DA Bonnie Dumanis, DDA Laura Gunn Not Immune from $20 Million Federal LawsuitWritten by: Chris Print This Article
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The San Diego District Attorney’s office including DA Bonnie Dumanis and DDA Laura Gunn do not have immunity for their misconduct, ruled a Federal court in a $20 million lawsuit against them and other parties involved in the wrongful prosecution of Cynthia Sommer.
Sommer spent two years in jail awaiting trial, being tried and was found guilty of the murder of her husband, twenty-three year old Marine Sgt. Todd Sommer. Sommer was arrested on November 30, 2005 and convicted of the murder of her husband on January 30, 2007. However she was freed by a Judge in San Diego County on November 30, 2007 when her conviction was overturned and she was granted a new trial after new lab testing showed no arsenic whatsoever in Sgt. Todd Sommer’s tissues.
The federal court ruled there was enough evidence against San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Laura Gunn, Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego, that the two women per the Federal Court’s rulings; “Dumanis and Gunn fabricated evidence and continued their investigation after they knew or should have known that Plaintiff was innocent.”
Speculation is that the initial tests that showed very high levels of arsenic were due to contamination. A defense expert witness testified that the initial tests showing arsenic levels 1020 times normal were physiologically improbable and inconsistent. Given the alarming track record of misconduct of the district attorney’s office under Dumanis, there are obvious questions about the source and reason for the contamination.
Federal Lawsuit Moves Forward
While the May 2010 ruling simply allows the lawsuit to continue, it was clear that if Sommer and her attorneys are able to show their claims are accurate then Judge William Q. Hayes believes the individuals involved in the wrongful prosecution cannot hide behind prosecutorial immunity laws. Her criminal defense attorney, Allen Bloom, was pleased with the ruling.
“Accepting as true all facts alleged in the Complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of Plaintiff, the Court concludes that the Complaint contains sufficient factual allegations to support a… due process claim against Dumanis and Gunn for deliberate fabrication of evidence during the investigation of Todd Sommer’s death.”
The claims, if proven, “would be sufficient to establish that Dumanis and Gunn continued to investigate Plaintiff despite knowing or having sufficient evidence that they should have known that Todd Sommer was not murdered,” the ruling says.
DA’s Pattern of Abusive Misconduct
Prosecutors under the authority of Bonnie Dumanis have been repeatedly accused of illegally withholding exculpatory evidence and fabrication of evidence. Although Dumanis would like to dupe the public into thinking these are just the ravings of accused criminals, that is not so. Several San Diego criminal judges, best know of them Judge Harry Elias, have reprimanded San Diego prosecutors for hiding the existence of evidence that did not support charges. This misconduct violates the due process rights of the accused.
In San Diego, the goal of prosecutors is to put accused people in prison or even have them executed regardless of whether they actually committed the crimes. In the process, prosecutors are willing to commit a variety of crimes and abuses to raise their win ratio. Consequently, innocent people like Cynthia Sommer are having their lives ruined with years spent in jail due to knowingly wrongful prosecutions.
San Diegans who serve on a jury should be aware that often the government is far more dishonest and criminal than the accused.
Recall Bonnie Dumanis
San Diego residents are banding together to mount a recall campaign against Bonnie Dumanis. Dumanis has no opposition for re-election in 2010. Speculation is that this is in part due to her willingness to use her office to terrorize and harass political opponents. Local officials and politicians are afraid of her, so much so that they want to remain anonymous when they talk with news media:
Many of the scores of people interviewed for this series — elected officials, deputy district attorneys, judges, office seekers, ex-public officials, community leaders, defense attorneys, college professors, cops and Sheriff’s deputies, friends and ex-friends — wanted to remain anonymous for fear of offending Dumanis and jeopardizing their careers, standing in the community or electability.
“She is the biggest political power in San Diego, now that Kolender is gone,” said a high-ranking law enforcement official who fits in the above categories. “Her endorsement was second only to Kolender. You don’t want to cross her.”
Some of these citizens are angered by the refusal of Dumanis to follow voter mandates to allow the medicinal use of marijuana as she continues to violate laws passed by voters.
However, the opposition against Dumanis is not isolated to that group. In an era of corruption, abuse, and misconduct spread across local governments and courts, citizens being badly affected can see that Dumanis is a friend and backer of many of the most oppressive and abusive officials in the county. She trades endorsements and campaign support with these people, from family court judges to her friend Sheriff Bill Gore. Stopping the abuse in local government is an unlikely prospect without first getting rid of power broker Dumanis. That is what motivates many of those involved in the Recall Bonnie Dumanis group.