Sheriff Hit With Lawsuit Following Son's June 28 Arrest
July 6, 2011
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller is being sued by one of the county's Narcotics Unit detectives assigned to the case that led to his son Jacob's arrest June 28 on multiple drug charges. At the same time, the Sheriff is requesting a state Department of Justice investigation into his department's conduct in his son's arrest.
Documents including the civil complaint against Miller, search warrants for Jacob Miller's apartment and a list of property seized can be found here.
Detective Sergeant Archie Warren's civil complaint, filed July 1 in Monterey County Superior Court, alleges misconduct by Miller and Undersheriff Max Houser, claiming they violated the rights of deputies involved in the month-long investigation and subsequent arrest of Jacob Miller at his apartment on the Sheriff's property. It also asks for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Sheriff or Houser from discussing the case with anyone.
"I still haven't been served," Miller said today at a noontime press conference in Salinas, adding that he and Warren haven't spoken about this case or any other for over a week. Warren was working another narcotics case in Los Padres National Forest Wednesday and was unavailable for comment.
Warren, who's been with the Sheriff's department for over 20 years, alleges that Houser informed the Sheriff of the pending search on or before June 28, and that the Sheriff called his wife, Jane, to give her a heads-up. She showed up at her house just as narcotics officers were searching her son's property.
"Jane Miller arrived and told two deputy sheriffs, in Plaintiff's [Warren's] presence, 'my husband called me and told me that you were coming,' or words to that effect," the lawsuit says. It adds, "[Scott] Miller jeopardized officer safety and obstructed, or attempted to obstruct, an ongoing criminal investigation.
Not so, says Miller, at least according to what he's read in media accounts of the lawsuit he still hasn't seen. "These allegations are without merit," Miller said at the press conference.
The allegations don't end there, however. The lawsuit states that on June 29 and 30, Houser interrogated and intimidated Warren and an officer from the Seaside Police Department about their involvement in the Jacob Miller investigation without prior written notice. Houser suspended his interrogation of Warren after being given a cease-and-desist order by Warren's counsel, but asked the Seaside police officer for confidential information about the investigation. That's a big no-no, or so the lawsuit suggests.
"Houser has no supervisory authority over Seaside police officers and cannot compel a Seaside police officer to submit to an interrogation," the lawsuit states. Moreover, Warren believes that someone in a position of authority with the Seaside PD ordered the officer to submit to Houser's interrogation.
Miller has requested a Department of Justice investigation because, in his words, "It should be up to an independent party to fact-find on this case. I'm remaining away from this investigation." Jacob Miller, meanwhile, was freed from the Santa Cruz County Jail last week after his father posted $20,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty at his June 30 arraignment.
According to the "statement of probable cause" filed with the search warrant on June 28, Seaside Police Detective Alex Sakhrani was assigned to the case as part of his duties with the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, County of Monterey (NEUCOM).
According to Sakhrani's statement, a confidential informant referred to in the document as "X1" identified "Jake" as a Pacific Grove-based meth dealer.
"During the investigation the suspect "Jake" was positively identified as Jacob Miller from a government photograph," according to the search warrant affidavit. As part of the investigation, "XI," under Sakhrani's direction, bought meth from Jacob Miller.
Calls to Seaside Police Spokesman Cmdr. Chris Veloz were not immediately returned.