The Santa Barbara County Court will hear a motion this afternoon from Patrick Galoustian — the former iV Menus owner arrested in December 2017 on sexual assault charges — that could force the UC Santa Barbara Police Department to release internal evidence related to three of the UCPD lawsuits if the court believes that evidence in Galoustian’s case may have been tampered with.
Galoustian’s lawyer, Leonard B. Levine, claims that the officers, due to the accusations of “misconduct, dishonesty, and improper investigative techniques,” “intentionally violated” Galoustian’s right to due process and a fair trial, according to a motion filed with the court on Oct. 3.
Levine attached copies of a lawsuit filed by former UCPD Officer Ryan Smith, referred to as John Doe in court documents, as well as articles by the Santa Barbara Independent and the Daily Nexus describing the lawsuit, as supporting documents for the motion.
The motion names Officers Ryan Hashimoto, Michael Little and Tiffany Little as well as Lieutenant Mark Signa and argues that “the defense needs the requested information to properly prepare for trial on this matter.”
Specifically, the defense argues that because Hashimoto allegedly circulated a video “of an alleged sexual assault that was evidence in [Galoustian’s] case,” the video tapes have been “tampered with and no longer reflect the original content.”
In the motion, Levine also referenced an allegation in the UCPD lawsuits that said “many reports were being taken by UCSBPD officers, sanctioned by Signa, where males were being listed as rape and sexual assault suspects, despite no evidence of a crime occurring.”
“Traits of dishonesty, misconduct, false sexual assault reports, and improper investigative techniques are very relevant issues in this matter, as is whether or not Hashimoto and the other officers and employees of UCSBPD tampered with video or audio evidence in this and in other cases,” Levine wrote.
The motion requests:
- “The name, address and telephone number of all persons who accuses any above-named officer of acts constituting misconduct.
- The name, address and telephone number of all persons who were interviewed as potential witnesses to any of the aforementioned accusations of misconduct.
- The name, address and telephone number of all persons who accuses any above named officer of making false, misleading or inaccurate statements (or committing any other misconduct, such as threatening or coercing or interfering with witnesses), orally, in writing or in any other form, during an official, internal affairs or any other investigation conducted by the Investigating Department or any other agency. A “writing” includes, but is not limited to, any police report, log or daily field activity report, or legal pleadings arising from any lawsuits against or involving misconduct by UCSBPD officers or staff.
- The name, address and telephone number of all persons who were interviewed as potential witnesses to any of the accusations of misconduct listed in number 3 above. These witnesses should not only be those identified from the initial complaint but should include all witnesses identified as of the date of the hearing on this motion.
- The dates and locations of all of the aforementioned incidents of misconduct.
- All statements of witnesses and other evidence pertaining to the acts of misconduct identified above.
- The discipline imposed upon any above named officers as a result of the Investigating Department’s investigation into any act of misconduct described above.
- All statements and evidence obtained as a result of any internal investigation concerning the arrest in this case, whether obtained from an officer or other witnesses. Such statements shall include, but not be limited to, statements contained in any internal affairs reports, use of force reports, law enforcement related injury reports and officer involved shooting reports.
- The date of birth of the above named officers.
- A list of all other police departments or other agencies, in addition to the current agency, which have employed any above named officers, along with the dates of such employment and the officer serial number during such employment.
- Any other material which is exculpatory or which impeaches the credibility of any above named officer, including material which reflects acts of misconduct which occurred more than five years prior to the date of the alleged offense in this case.”
Lawyers for the University of California Board of Regents filed an opposing motion on Oct. 18, arguing that many of the officers named in the motion were not involved in Galoustian’s investigation or arrest.
They listed three reasons for the judge to deny the defense’s motion; first, the UC’s lawyers said the defense has not proposed “any specific defense or defenses to the pending charges” against Galoustian.
Secondly, the lawyers said the defense has not adequately pointed out a “specific factual scenario of claimed misconduct that is plausible when read in light of the pertinent documents.”
Finally, the opposing motion argued that the request for documents is “overbroad” and “lacks specificity,” emphasizing again that the defense is requesting personnel files for officers “unrelated” to Galoustian’s arrest and investigation.
The lawyers added that if the judge does decide to grant the motion, they would request that the court apply restrictions that would exclude information about “conduct that occurred more than five years before the alleged offense,” “the conclusions of officers investigating complaints against the officer” and “facts too remote to be of practical benefit.”
“The Regents further request that any disclosure of information be made pursuant to a protective order pursuant to Evidence Code § 1045 (e),” the motion says.
The Regents’ motion points to several court case precedents to argue that police personnel records are confidential, including that the defense did not provide “good cause” to warrant the disclosure of personnel records.
The motion also emphasizes that the allegation regarding Hashimoto is “taken from an unproven allegation in a civil lawsuit.”
The defendant “has not cited, nor could he, any corroboration for the allegation,” the motion read.
“That an officer has been accused of misconduct in an unproven civil lawsuit cannot be the good cause necessary… especially when three out of the four officers were not directly involved in [Galoustian’s] arrest or investigation,” the lawyers added.
Galoustian currently faces 33 felony rape, kidnapping and other charges on behalf of two victims.
Judge James E. Herman will hear the motion during the afternoon proceedings of the Santa Barbara County Court, which begin at 1:30 p.m. Galoustian’s next scheduled court appearance is his trial, slated to begin on Dec. 4, 2019.