By Naomi Martin, The Times-Picayune
A New Orleans police officer has been suspended and charged with malfeasance in office after investigators determined she used an official police database to look up a woman's address for personal reasons, according to a department news release.
Internal investigators found that Officer Carolyn Dalton, a 16-year veteran, used the computer in her patrol car to look up the home and business addresses of a woman who was dating a man Dalton was also dating. Dalton used the database without having been assigned an investigation that would require such a search, police spokeswoman Remi Braden said.
She is also accused of going to the woman's Chalmette home, following her around in her car, demanding she stop dating the man and threatening she would "get her," Braden said, noting Dalton is believed to have used profanity.
The woman filed a complaint with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office on Jan. 8, 2013, and the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau reassigned Dalton to desk duty that day. The woman secured a restraining order against Dalton in St. Bernard Parish.
Dalton declined to provide a statement April 23 during the department's internal criminal investigation, police said. She was read her Miranda rights but not booked, records show. The investigation at that point was handed over to the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office, police said.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office notified the Public Integrity Bureau on Jan. 6 that it had determined Dalton violated state law by using the mobile computer system for unofficial business. The office charged Dalton Jan. 16 in a bill of information for malfeasance in office, a felony.
Public Integrity Bureau Chief Arlinda Westbrook said in an interview Friday officers chose not to book Dalton immediately in April because investigators were consulting with federal and state prosecutors to make sure charges "would stick," and did not want to "barrel in" only to end up with a weak case.
"My goal is to have a larger hammer and make sure if I really have a criminal here or somebody who has serious issues that I, on top of terminate them, I put them away and for a long time, if I can," Westbrook said.
Criminal District Court Judge Benedict Willard set Dalton's arraignment for Thursday (Jan. 30), but records show she did not attend, so it was re-set for Feb. 13.
Westbrook placed Dalton on emergency suspension without pay Thursday. Dalton was most recently assigned to the NOPD's 3rd District, which covers Gentilly, Lakeview, Lakeshore and parts of Mid-City.
Dalton's attorney, Eric Hessler, of the Police Association of New Orleans, said the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office investigated the matter and did not find sufficient evidence of a crime to arrest her. "I don't know if they didn't find (the woman) credible, or what happened," he said.
Hessler said he could not comment further because he was not sure what prosecutors are alleging Dalton has done. He said Dalton's bill of information contained no details on the allegations other than the malfeasance in office charge and the date the crime was believed to have been committed.
"It's supposed to give you enough notice on what you're being held accountable for," Hessler said. "It can't just say 'armed robbery' it has to say with a gun or knife. If it's theft, you have to say the amount. This says literally nothing. ... I don't feel comfortable commenting until I know what the DA's Office is actually alleging."
Chandler detective suspended for misusing records
By Jim WalshThe Republic | azcentral.comFri Jan 31, 2014 11:33 PM
A Chandler police detective who violated policy by looking up information about his wife’s lover in a police databank was suspended without pay for four days, or one workweek, records show.
Garrett Dever told police investigating his actions that he suspected “something was going on” between his wife, former Tempe Detective Jessica Dever-Jakusz, and the man he looked up in the Arizona Criminal Justice Information system databank.
Officers are not allowed under law to access the system for personal use, but Dever admitted that’s exactly what he did.
“Dever said he kind of went into a ‘panic’ and ‘his world got flipped’ ” as he attempted to learn more about the man, according to a Chandler police internal investigation.
Dever-Jakusz, once a highly respected officer, resigned after a suspect who was the target of a drug investigation revealed that he had an affair with her.
The drug suspect — who was under investigation for selling “Molly,” a street drug similar to Ecstasy, at Mill Avenue clubs — said he was stunned when Dever-Jakusz told him she was an undercover officer and identified two other undercover officers. Police halted the investigation for fear that the officers’ safety was compromised.
Dever-Jakusz was indicted Nov. 30 on charges of hindering prosecution and conflict of interest as a public official. Prosecutors have filed notice that they intend to use her employment as a police officer as an aggravating factor in sentencing if she is convicted, according to court records.
“At the time of the commission of the offense(s), the defendant was a public servant and the offense(s) involved conduct directly related to the defendant’s office or employment,” according to a court document filed by prosecutor Kalon Metz.
A judge granted her defense attorney additional time to file a motion to remand the case to the grand jury for reconsideration of charges, according to the court records.
Garrett Dever told Chandler police that he wanted to “see what he looked like,” according to the internal investigation, and that he was distraught and in a “cloud.”
Police concluded Dever accessed the drug suspect’s driver’s-license photo and performed a warrant check from a computer on his desk on Sept. 12. He said he did not use the information for any purpose and deleted it.
A suspension notice said the investigation sustained two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. One related to violating a criminal statute of the state or the U.S. The second was for using police electronic systems for personal benefit.
Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, said that it’s not uncommon for officers to abuse the system for personal reasons and that he has no problem with Dever’s discipline.
“It certainly makes sense,” Mann said. “It sounds like it’s in the parameters of normal discipline in such circumstances.”
Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a Chandler police spokesman, said that Dever was emotionally overwhelmed and that the key to the case was that he took no actions against the drug suspect.
“If they do something with the information, we will terminate them and possibly prosecute,” Favazzo said.
Convicted ex-Flagler Beach cop will be on close watch in prison
Nathaniel Juratovac glances around the room during testimony in Judge James R. Clayton’s DeLand courtroom on Tuesday May 20, 2008.
By Tony Holt
PALM COAST — It was the long hours of isolation that shook Nathaniel David Juratovac.
At one point he was rushed to a hospital, according to court records.
Administrators at the Clay County Jail made sure to keep Juratovac away from the general population because he is a former police officer married to an active St. Johns County sheriff’s deputy. They did so to ensure his safety, according to jail officials.
Juratovac, a former Flagler Beach police officer, was convicted Jan. 24 after pleading no contest to one count of attempted manslaughter. He was sentenced to 51 months behind bars. Soon it will be up to state prison officials to ensure his protection.
Because of his law enforcement background, Juratovac is expected to be under close watch while he serves his time in a state facility, said Misty Cash, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.
“They will house him in an area that is (closely) watched by the officers,” Cash said. “They will put him where the institution feels he will be the most secure.”
The protective management protocols vary when it comes to former police officers going to prison and those decisions are made by administrators at the institution, and sometimes at the highest levels in the agency in Tallahassee, Cash said.
For starters, protective measures have to be requested by the inmate. On occasion, they don’t ask for it. When they do ask for it, their situations are carefully evaluated before a decision is made.
“It can sort of vary and run the gamut,” Cash said of the possibilities. “If necessary, they could be in a solitary cell where they’re not co-mingling with other inmates.”
The state has 55 correctional institutions ranging from high-security facilities to prison camps.
‘COURTESY HOLD’ took Juratovac to different jail
Originally charged with first-degree attempted murder, Juratovac was held without bail. He was arrested for shooting Flagler County firefighter Jared Parkey during a March 29, 2013, road rage incident in St. Augustine Shores. He was arrested in St. Johns County, but was transferred to the Clay County Jail as a “courtesy hold,” said Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mary Justino.
Some regional sheriff’s agencies have an understanding with each other to step up and allow for such arrangements when law enforcement officers are arrested.
“It’s not unusual for St. Johns to ask us to do that,” said Justino.
The courts typically don’t get involved with out-of-county courtesy holds, said Ludi Lelis, a spokeswoman with the 7th Judicial Circuit.
“Those kinds of security matters are dealt with at the jail level,” she said.
Dave Byron, a Volusia County spokesman, said the inmate facility in Daytona Beach rarely receives requests for courtesy holds and each one is weighed carefully. He also said he doesn’t recall Volusia ever making a request to a neighboring county to house one of its inmates.
“The more you move an inmate, the greater the chance of a problem of security,” Byron said. “It’s also expensive to hold an inmate. We have rarely, if ever, requested a courtesy hold. If we were to do that, security and safety would be the reason to do that.”
County officials in Volusia make a point not to allow for special treatment, said Byron. He recalled an incident in 2010 involving rape suspect Adam Silver, a Daytona Beach firefighter who was released from the jail and allowed to use a different exit of the facility to avoid being seen by the media, who were waiting outside the front door. A shift commander at the jail made the decision to let Silva use a different exit.
When word got out about what happened, there were consequences.
“County Manager (Jim Dinneen) was very upset about it,” Byron said.
Dinneen wrote a letter to the media apologizing for the gaffe.
The incident also led to a change in policy.
“All inmates are treated the same way from the time they come in to the jail to the time they are released,” said Byron.
wife: Jail treatment was ‘less than humane’
About four weeks after he was arrested last spring, Juratovac wrote a six-page letter to the judge begging for bail.
“Your honor, I am housed in a 10x10 enclosed cell for 23 hours and 40 minutes a day,” Juratovac wrote. “I receive 30 minutes a week for exercise.”
In a letter to the same judge, Juratovac’s wife also pleaded for his release, stating his treatment at the jail was “less than humane.”
In the same letter, she disclosed her husband had been admitted to Orange Park Medical Center after suffering a medical condition.
Details were removed from the public record, but his wife stated that the physician who treated her husband concluded he had a pre-existing condition that required future follow-up visits with a doctor.
In June, the judge in the case set bail at $300,000, which was soon posted. Juratovac returned home and wore a tracking device. Nine days ago, he was sentenced and back in jail.
As of Friday, Juratovac still had not been transferred to a state prison. The date of his transfer could not be released for security reasons, said Cash.
He will be credited with 84 days he served in jail last year. With good behavior, Juratovac is expected to serve less than three years.