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Santa Clara/James Council

Old 02-26-09, 06:29 PM
  #1  
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Santa Clara/James Council

Is there any new information on prosecution of James Council, the Santa Clara CA deputy who killed two bicyclists?

Latest news I could find is he that he had been charged - 8 months ago.

https://www.santaclara-da.org/portal/...tcurrchannel=1

CHARGES FILED IN SHERIFF’S DEPUTY BIKE FATALITY CASE

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office caused a misdemeanor complaint to be filed charging Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy James Council with two counts of vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of cyclists, Matt Peterson and Kristiana Gough. The charges are the result of an extensive investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the District Attorney’s Office that included drug screening and the analysis of GPS data from Council’s patrol car.

The negative results of drug and alcohol testing by the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory and NMS Labs in Pennsylvania and the lack of any evidence of reckless driving immediately preceding the crash eliminated the possibility of more serious felony vehicular manslaughter charges. Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter can be committed by a driver who commits a Vehicle Code infraction or is negligent and causes the death of another.

Council was on duty and driving a patrol car on March 9, 2008 Southbound on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino, when he crossed the double yellow lines and collided with Matt Peterson, Kristiana Gough and Christopher Knapp who were riding bicycles in the northbound bicycle lane. Peterson and Gough suffered fatal injuries. Knapp, a German citizen, suffered serious injures but has recovered sufficiently to return to Germany . There are no comparable criminal charges for Council’s conduct in the absence of fatal injuries.

Council could spend up to two years in the county jail if convicted.
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Old 03-01-09, 02:37 AM
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I wonder if I shot someone with my gun but passed an alcohol and drug test if it would only be a misdemeanor?

I could just say that I lost my concentration for a second, right?
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Old 03-01-09, 12:46 PM
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Wait, this is Santa Clara county? The most conservative county in California, where the District attrourney, judges, and cops are all in bed with each other?

HAH, whole thing is probably swept under the rug by now.
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Old 03-01-09, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
Wait, this is Santa Clara county? The most conservative county in California, where the District attrourney, judges, and cops are all in bed with each other?

HAH, whole thing is probably swept under the rug by now.
Santa Clara County is the most conservative county in California?

Really?

Are you positive you are thinking Santa Clara County, and not Orange County?
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Old 03-01-09, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
Santa Clara County is the most conservative county in California?

Really?

Are you positive you are thinking Santa Clara County, and not Orange County?
Tough call.
SC is more well known for corruption of justice issues...
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Old 03-01-09, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
https://www.santaclara-da.org/portal/...tcurrchannel=1 wrote:
Council was on duty and driving a patrol car on March 9, 2008 Southbound on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino, when he crossed the double yellow lines and collided with Matt Peterson, Kristiana Gough and Christopher Knapp who were riding bicycles in the northbound bicycle lane.
Points of factual detail: Deputy Council was driving northeastward and the cyclists were heading southwest. There's no bike lane in that area - it's a shoulder.

The Mercury News reported that Council had a pretrial hearing November 14. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

(The site is on one of my favorite loops. I ride past there several times every week.)

Last edited by bsut; 03-01-09 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 03-07-09, 12:45 PM
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Here's a followup article in yesterday's Mercury News.
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Old 05-08-09, 02:20 PM
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He was scheduled to start trial on Monday. Today they reached a plea agreement. Here are the stories in the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Last edited by bsut; 05-08-09 at 03:21 PM. Reason: tidy up Mercury News URL
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Old 05-08-09, 02:31 PM
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4 months. 4 stinkin months.

Originally Posted by bsut View Post
He was scheduled to start trial on Monday. Today they reached a plea agreement. Here are the stories in the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Old 05-08-09, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by murphstahoe View Post
4 months. 4 stinkin months.
and THAT'S house arrest, not even jail.
Once again proving that it's ok to kill someone as long as they're on a bicycle
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Old 05-08-09, 04:38 PM
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paid administative leave too, that means he's still collecting his pay check without having to show up or do any work, nor does he lose his job as a result of the conviction.

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Old 05-08-09, 07:47 PM
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So - does anyone believe that a civilian driver that had killed two cops through similar negligence would receive a paltry 4 months house arrest with paid administrative leave? Does that even count as a slapped wrist?
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Old 05-10-09, 09:43 PM
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Thanks for the follow-up to my inquiry.

Outcome as expected.
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Old 05-10-09, 11:44 PM
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What bothers me the most isn't the 4 months he'll do at home, it's not the pay he'll be receiving, it's not even the possibility that he'll get his job back. It's the fact that we have such and entrenched auto culture that no one has brought up his drivers license. His driving negligence cause the deaths of two people and the injury of a third and the state is ok with continuing his driving PRIVILEGE. I mean, you do something dumb and you take out a couple people, that to me should be instant privilege revocation.

This comes from an aircraft mechanic. You can be certain that if I did something negligent, say I was tired and forgot to hook up a line, and I caused the deaths of 2 people, my privilege to work on aircraft would be permanently and swiftly revoked. In essence, my livelihood would be taken away, and I would deserve it.

Yet this man will continue to pilot a vehicle he has shown he is unable to control. Fantastic.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:52 PM
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Yes, it is fantastic, and completely "legal" in all 50 states.

I agree Council should somehow lose his job as a cop, if for no other reason than costing his employer $millions for wrongful death lawsuits. He should never have been in law enforcement after getting busted for racing and DUI. This probably happened only because his father was already a veteran on the SC force.

Also, I believe Council has been on administrative leave since the "accident". So, his "punishment" was about 18 months of paid vacation following the 2 negligent homicides.

So, that is what - $25,000 per bicyclist?

What's the reward for cagers?
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Old 06-05-09, 10:31 AM
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He's been demoted to a civilian job with 2/3 the pay, no gun, no patrol car.
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Old 06-05-09, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
Wait, this is Santa Clara county? The most conservative county in California, where the District attrourney, judges, and cops are all in bed with each other?

HAH, whole thing is probably swept under the rug by now.
you have that backwards, it is the progressive-liberal (pog-li) areas that ignore violent crime.
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Old 06-06-09, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
What bothers me the most isn't the 4 months he'll do at home, it's not the pay he'll be receiving, it's not even the possibility that he'll get his job back. It's the fact that we have such and entrenched auto culture that no one has brought up his drivers license. His driving negligence cause the deaths of two people and the injury of a third and the state is ok with continuing his driving PRIVILEGE. I mean, you do something dumb and you take out a couple people, that to me should be instant privilege revocation.

This comes from an aircraft mechanic. You can be certain that if I did something negligent, say I was tired and forgot to hook up a line, and I caused the deaths of 2 people, my privilege to work on aircraft would be permanently and swiftly revoked. In essence, my livelihood would be taken away, and I would deserve it.

Yet this man will continue to pilot a vehicle he has shown he is unable to control. Fantastic.
+1000

In spite of his status as a police officer, he has killed two people... somehow that indeed should reflect on his ability to continue to partake in the privilege of driving...
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Old 06-26-09, 04:05 PM
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sentencing

https://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_12688961

no jail time
4 months house arrest
20 weeks community service

Also, as noted before, a demotion (no patrol car, no gun) and pay cut

But he retains employment by the Sheriff's office, retains his driver's license, and hopes to someday return to full duty.

I rode past the site this morning, and noticed some fresh flowers.
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Old 07-01-09, 08:47 AM
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Santa Clara County settles suit with Matt Peterson's family

Santa Clara County settles suit with Matt Peterson's family

https://www.mercurynews.com/crime/ci_12727597
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Old 07-03-09, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bsut View Post
Santa Clara County settles suit with Matt Peterson's family

https://www.mercurynews.com/crime/ci_12727597
I'm fairly certain that if I cost my employer 2 million dollars, I would not only no longer be employed, but no longer even have a chance of a job in the same field.

I imagine the other settlements and costs will escalate the total price tag to >$5M.
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Old 10-11-09, 07:29 AM
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Santa Clara County settles with cyclist's mom for $1.2 million

https://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_13518382
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Old 10-13-09, 06:43 PM
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After the wreck, council was pacing up and down the street raving about how his career was over....no effort to render aid while the cyclists died. But hey, sherrif Laurie shed a tear for the camera. That's something, I guess. I cannot wrap my brain around loosing a kid so young. How does a parent cope?
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Old 10-13-09, 07:13 PM
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A few years ago I represented a 16-year old girl severely injured in an auto accident who then was rendered paralyzed by medical malpractice during surgery to repair her back. After she settled, she was able to buy a house and a handicapped van, and she started to make a life for herself.

Two years ago, she had rented a room in the house out to a guy who turned out to be a loon. She ordered him out, and he decided to kill her. He went to Wal-Mart, which wouldn't sell him a gun because he had a PO box on his license. He got the address changed, went back to Wal-Mart, bought a rifle, came back home and shot and killed my client. I ran into her folks at the grocery store this evening, and they told me the murderer is going on trial in a couple of weeks. We talked for a long time about the trial and all the troubles they have had since the murder.

In the accident that resulted in her paralysis, her boyfriend was killed and another boy was seriously injured. All three teenagers were drunk as could be, and it was never well-established who was driving when the accident happened. The pain all these things have caused her parents is heartbreaking to see. You ask, fsor, how does a parent cope. I would never be so condescending to say that I know how a parent would feel. I do my best to try to understand how they would cope, and here's my answer - not very well, even years later.
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Old 10-14-09, 02:08 PM
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We had another young female racer killed in the bay area a short time ago. She was waiting for a red light and asshat parked on top of her. The sun reflected off his windshield and so it was an accident donchaknow. Nothing was done to him, I think he is still driving. I wish that there was some way that survivors could impress upon the courts the need to make killing a cyclist more than just an inconvenience. I lost my wife to cancer and never could appologize enough to her father for not somehow preventing that. A parent should never outlive a child. The void is beyond comprehension.

Sorry if I get strident about Council. He was driving erratically before the 'accident'. His department got him away from the scene before the CHP could take control so no blood/urine was available that had legal chain of custody for criminal proceedings. Who knows who deposited the sample taken the next day (!!) for his dept. internal "investigation" His dept. kept him sequestered from the CHP for three days before his first interview. His dash cam and the black box on the car were wiped and not admissable. This was a total snow job from the start. The SJ merc. news gave a half page talking about Dep. Council's father beign a Vietnam vet, like that was pertenent. They glossed over council's two DUI and street racing conviction before becoming a cop. I am certain he will have his badge back in a year or less. Sorry, I think that killing a cyclist should be more than an inconvenience. But when I pay through the nose for the training of a deputy and he kills one, I want his ass sliced, diced and roasted. But send that to Sherf Laurie and you get death threats.
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