• Sheriff named in lawsuit following son’s arrest

    By Cameron Douglas

    Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller and undersheriff Max Houser were named by an officer in their own narcotics unit in a civil lawsuit filed in Superior Court on July 1. The suit focuses on alleged improper actions by Houser and Miller prior to the arrest of Miller’s son Jacob on narcotics charges. As of Wednesday, July 6, Miller stated in a news conference that he has not yet seen or received a copy of the lawsuit. The suit states the court may rule in favor of the plaintiff unless the defendants, Miller and Houser, respond within 30 days.
    The plaintiff in the suit is Detective Sergeant Archie Warren of the sheriff’s office. Warren’s attorney is Christopher W. Miller of Mastagni, Holstedt & Amick Miller & Johnsen in Sacramento.
    The suit’s First Cause of Action is listed as Obstruction of Justice; Conspiracy. There, the suit claims that Houser learned of the imminent search of the younger Miller’s living quarters prior to the team’s arrival and informed the sheriff, who in turn alerted his wife. This, claims the suit, compromised the officers’ security as the arrived to serve a search warrant.
    The suit further claims that afterwards, Houser engaged Warren and other officers, including one from the Seaside Police Department, for the purpose of obtaining confidential information connected to the investigation and arrest of Jacob Miller. The suit claims Houser exceeded his authority by questioning the Seaside officer, and violated the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act in his treatment of Warren.
    Reading from a media news release at a press conference outside the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office in Salinas on July 6, Miller said the following: “On June 28, my 25-year-old son was arrested for narcotics violations by members of my narcotics unit. My son has been arraigned and his case is going through the criminal justice system, as it should be. I did not participate in the investigation of my son in any way, shape or form. I did not know of the investigation whatsoever until the moments when he was being taken into custody at his apartment. Since being advised of the arrest I have remained away from the investigation, I had no participation in the investigation either before or after his arrest, and I’ve spoken with none of the individuals involved in his arrest—none of the investigating officers.
    “Undersheriff Max Houser is responsible for the narcotics unit, as well as managing all of our investigative units as well as our professional standards and training units. He is a man of unquestionable character and integrity. He was brought in specifically to oversee the narcotics unit and multi-gang agency task forces here in Monterey County. These are all areas of direct responsibility of Undersheriff Houser and remain so at the present time. Various allegations have been directed at the undersheriff and me since the arrest of my son, all of which are without merit. Let me repeat: All allegations that have been made are without merit.
    “In order to separate fact from fiction, we’ve requested the assistance of the California Department of Justice, to conduct an investigation into various components of the investigation and the subsequent issues that have been raised in recent days. We’ve asked them to be as expeditious as possible. We all realize time is of the essence.”
    Miller said his office initiated the request for a Department of Justice investigation on July 4.
    Before taking questions, Miller spoke of the lawsuit. “This lawsuit, right now as far as I know, is a purported lawsuit. Because while you in the news media have had the lawsuit available to you for six days, as of this moment (gives correct time and date) I have still not received a copy of the lawsuit. I have not been served. I do not know the status of the lawsuit. I don’t know if it’s been filed, and all I know about the lawsuit is what I’ve read in the newspapers and heard in the media, which started last Friday. So six days after it allegedly was written and somehow processed I still have not received a copy of the lawsuit. I have received nothing. All I know of the lawsuit is what I have read and heard in the media.”
    Miller declined to discuss questions on the lawsuit or the arrest of his son, although he did say, “He is an adult. He’s going through the system. He has an attorney, and any questions regarding him and his case would have to go through his attorney.”
    Miller claimed he has not spoken with any of the investigating officers involved in Jacob’s arrest. Asked of a possible prior rift between Warren and himself, Miller answered, “I have gotten along well with Archie Warren over the six months I have been sheriff. I believe I have gotten along well with everyone in the sheriff’s office.”
    Jacob Miller was arrested at his apartment adjacent to Sheriff Miller’s home in Pacific Grove. The charges are possession of methamphetamine for sale, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, narcotics paraphernalia, packaging and digital scales. He entered a not guilty plea in Superior Court on June 30. He is scheduled to appear in court again on August 9 for a preliminary calendar call. If he is scheduled to return, the date will be August 11.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 13, 2011

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Cameron Douglas


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