The last of the participants in a widespread police corruption scandal was sentenced last week, finally concluding the saga that has been dubbed the “Dirty DUI” case. For those who haven’t been following the case, former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy, Stephen Tanabe, along with multiple other former police colleagues, aided a private investigator in arresting unsuspecting men outside bars for drunken driving. The private investigator’s attractive female employees had lured the men into drinking and driving in a plot to help their wives gain an advantage in their divorce and custody battles.
These elaborate stings were known as “dirty DUIs” and caused significant damage – both personally and financially – for all parties involved. Last week, Tanabe was ordered by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to spend 15 months in prison for his role in the scandal, which was notably lighter than the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s guidelines of 21-27 months for the crimes. However, Judge Breyer didn’t elaborate on his reasoning, only stating that the case was unique in his 15 years on the bench.
Another individual implicated in the ring was Mary Nolan, a former San Ramon family law attorney who represented the ex-wives of two men who were arrested for the DUI sting operation. Nolan hired the same private investigator working with Tanabe to wiretap the cars of people she was opposing in divorce and child custody cases. After setting up the spouses of her clients for DUI arrests, Nolan would then use the evidence gathered as leverage in family court. Though prosecutors were initially seeking a 33-month prison sentence, Nolan was ultimately sentenced to two years in prison for evading taxes and for illegally eavesdropping on a client’s spouse. Nolan was also required to relinquish her law license and pay nearly $500,000 in back taxes.
Family law cases are oftentimes emotionally charged and can lead parties to take desperate measures. A knowledgeable, experienced family law attorney can help you legally navigate the system and guide you through this trying time. If you have questions about divorce planning, please contact our California Certified Family Law Specialists (as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization). Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex family law proceedings and offer a free consultation.
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Sources: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Ex-Contra-Costa-Co-Deputy-Sentenced-in-Dirty-DUI-Case-246253961.html; http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Ex-Deputy-Sheriff-Stephen-Tanabe-sentenced-in-DUI-5249741.php; http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_25053072/dirty-dui-attorney-gets-two-years-prison-her