Creepy Prosecutor Claims Strike Chord With Judge

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – San Diego must face claims that a prosecutor fabricated evidence of insurance fraud and sexually pursued the target of the investigation, a federal judge ruled.
     Tamara McAnally claims that Ernest Marugg used his position as a deputy district attorney in San Diego to falsify evidence and then pursue sexual relationships with many women, including her, after prosecuting them.
     She said Marugg indicted her, her husband and their business, JDM Enterprise, about 10 years ago, though the joint audit he headed with the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) produced no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.
     Fearing that they would go to prison and lose their contractor license, the couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
     While feigning cooperation with the Contractors State License Board to help preserve the contractor license, Marugg allegedly exploited the couple’s dependence on him to pursue a sexual relationship with Tamara McAnally.
     She said her husband’s license was kept on hold from 2004 through 2009, causing then significant financial problems.
     Marugg volunteered to write Tamara a letter of recommendation, assist her in obtaining a real-estate license, and reduce her felony conviction to a misdemeanor, all in an effort to prove to that he cared about her, she added.
     Tamara said she repeatedly refused Marugg’s pleas to start a sexual relationship in late 2009, and that Marugg then no longer offered to help with the licensing issue,
     The McAnallys allegedly started to suspect that Marugg may have played a role in their unfair convictions when a woman who identified herself as Marugg’s girlfriend called Tamara.
     The woman said Marugg had engaged in relationships with many female defendants, both while he was prosecuting them and after, according to the complaint.
     Tamara said her investigation revealed that the District Attorney’s Office received a complaint in 2001 that Marugg was having an affair with Kathey Bradley, who was in charge of investigating insurance fraud allegations on behalf of SCIF. Tamara also allegedly learned that, between 2001 and 2009, Marugg had “taken numerous female defendants that he had prosecuted to functions sponsored by the D.A.’s Office, or where county officials were present, as well as on official business trips where supervisory person[nel]” were present.
     Many other criminal defendants had filed complaints with the D.A.’s Office and other agencies over Marugg’s allegedly inappropriate relationships with female criminal defendants, and falsification of evidence during prosecutions, according to the complaint.
     Tamara said Marugg admitted to all of this when she informed the D.A.’s office of this information, and that he agreed to retire in exchange for the promise by the D.A.’s office to drop its investigation.
     The D.A. then allegedly agreed not to oppose a write Tamara filed a writ to have her conviction overturned. After her conviction was overturned, Tamara sued prosecutor Ernest L. Marugg and his supervisors, Dominic Dugo, Bonnie Dumanis, David Lattuca and San Diego County, among others, for civil rights violations.
     San Diego, Dugo, Dumanis and Lattuca attacked the claims as time barred and demanded absolute immunity.
     U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan disagreed last week, however, saying that Tamara’s 2004 conviction did not start the statute of limitations because, at that time, she had no reason to suspect that Marugg had fabricated evidence.
     The facts in McAnally’s complaint “support Tamara’s allegation that Marugg intentionally fostered a dependant and trusting relationship that he used to try to start a sexual relationship with her,” Whelan wrote. “Under these circumstances, Tamara did not have reason to suspect before 2010 that Marugg fabricated evidence in her case.”
     Thus, the window for Tamara to sue did not open until after her conviction was overturned in 2011, Whelan ruled.
     As to the immunity claims, McAnally sufficiently alleged that the supervisors knew of Marugg’s improper conduct and failed to discipline him.
     “Specifically, Tamara alleges that the supervisor defendants were present at D.A. sponsored functions and on official business trips, which Marugg used to pursue romantic relationships with women he previously prosecuted,” Whelan wrote.
     Tamara has also claimed that the supervisors knew Marugg was sending pornographic emails to former female defendants, and that half dozen women had filed complaints about inappropriate relationships Marugg was having with female defendants.
     Whelan said Tamara has thus sufficiently pled that the supervisor defendants were aware of Marugg’s alleged misconduct, yet ignored their supervisory responsibility and did nothing about the conduct.”
     “As such, the court finds Tamara has alleged a pattern and practice of conduct by the supervisor defendants that resulted in Marugg’s alleged violation of Tamara’s constitutional rights,” according to the ruling.

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