The defendants include Alexander, Chief Plack
Former District Attorney Mike Riese has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1.5 million dollars, claiming his civil rights were violated as a result of a crusade by current DA Jon Alexander to discredit and humiliate him.
The lawsuit filed Monday in the Northern U.S. District Court of California in San Francisco names several members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Crescent City Police Department who it says were part of Alexander’s campaign to exact revenge against Riese for being fired by him from the District Attorney’s Office in 2006.
The lawsuit cites Riese’s trial for allegedly driving under the influence with his children in his car, in which he was acquitted by a jury in February, and actions taken by law enforcement before the trial as the basis for his complaint.
The suit claims Riese’s civil rights were violated by unreasonable search and seizure, malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress and supervisory liability for constitutional violations.
Among the defendants are Alexander, Police Chief Douglas Plack, and former Deputy Attorney General Brian Newman, all of whom declined to talk specifically about the suit Wednesday.
Del Norte County and the city of Crescent City are also named as defendants.
Last August, Riese was approached by police officers in the Crescent City Safeway store after an employee expressed concern about his behavior.
Riese was detained, then released to his girlfriend, who told officers she was going to take him to the hospital.
Following the incident, Alexander and Plack met to discuss filing charges and prosecuting Riese, the lawsuit claims.
“Plack and Alexander decided to harass and wrongfully prosecute Riese to further a personal vendetta Alexander carried,” the suit states.
The two men and a city detective agreed to have officers pull Riese over every chance they could “to try and catch him intoxicated because at the time they had no evidence to use against Riese at trial,” the suit states.
It claims Alexander then pushed the Del Norte Triplicate to report Riese was under investigation for the Safeway incident.
After an article was published about Riese’s incident at Safeway, he was stopped more than 10 times by officers who conducted field sobriety tests, it states.
It claims Alexander was behind many anonymous calls to report Riese was driving under the influence and he also had other people call to report “erratic driving” or “erratic behavior” on Riese’s part.
It claims Alexander rode his bicycle by Riese’s girlfriend’s house on Pebble Beach Drive several times from last August through April for the purpose of surveillance of Riese.
It claims Alexander and Newman, the prosecutor in Riese’s trial, made a “secret deal” with Riese’s ex-wife to not prosecute her for alleged custody violations in exchange for damaging testimony during his trial.
It also claims deputies aided by Newman sought a search warrant based on false allegations.
Sheriff Dean Wilson said Wednesday the warrant was obtained properly.
“I know he was upset with the fact this search warrant was issued,” said Wilson. “Like all search warrants, we have to show cause with the judge. I have confidence and assurance the officers acted appropriately and we’ll see what happens when it gets before the judge.”
“Mr. Riese and his attorney appear to have blanketed the media with some lawsuit ...” said Alexander. “Sadly, he has not afforded me the courtesy of such notice. I have a job to do protecting the citizens of this county and refuse to allow speculation upon Mr. Riese’s latest behavior to take time away from that duty.”
Riese recently completed a drug rehabilitation program, it was revealed during court proceedings in Curry County. The former DA pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance as part of a plea deal after he was charged with forging prescriptions for pain medication in Brookings last December.
Riese had checked himself into a rehabilitation program after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last April in Crescent City, before the Curry County case concluded.
As of Wednesday, no charges have been brought in connection with the April arrest.