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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Deputy Sheriff Settles|With NorCal County

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy settled his lawsuit claiming that the sheriff's department fired him for blowing the whistle on a vendetta-inspired DUI sting.

Former reserve deputy William Howard accused the department in 2013 of ostracizing, demoting and firing him after he told superiors that deputy Stephen Tanabe coordinated a sting with private investigator Chris Butler to set up a winery owner for a DUI arrest.

Howard sued Contra Costa County and Sheriff David Livingston for whistleblower retaliation, negligent hiring, negligent training and supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The winery owner, Mitchell Katz, claimed in a 2011 lawsuit that his ex-wife hired Butler to set up the "dirty DUI" so she could prevail in custody proceedings.

In May 2012 Butler pleaded guilty to seven felony charges, including conspiracy and illegal wiretapping, and admitted that he worked with Tanabe to stage multiple DUI arrests on behalf of his clients.

Tanabe was convicted in February 2014 of six felony charges of fraud, extortion and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Neither side could be reached to disclose the terms of the settlement.

Howard was represented by Jacqueline Fagerlin, of Walnut Creek.

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