In The News

Sonoma County district attorney defends call to not charge ex-deputy who fondled female inmate

The Press Democrat | April 19, 2019

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Thursday her office still lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute a former correctional deputy who worked in the Sonoma County Jail even after the recent disclosure of Sheriff’s Office records showing he had admitted to investigators that he had fondled and kissed a female inmate in March 2017.

The files showed the former deputy, identified as Garrett Paulson, was placed on administrative leave soon after a witness to the unlawful sexual contact came forward, triggering a report to his supervisors. Paulson resigned five months later amid an attempt by the Sheriff’s Office to fire him.

Ravitch said records released in the case by the Sheriff’s Office on April 10 under California’s new police transparency law gave her office its first access to the internal affairs files, which are not typically shared with prosecutors. She said her office wanted to review them to see whether the new information could change their decision from two years ago not to pursue criminal charges against Paulson. They did not.

“We found that in this case, we did not have that independent evidence that enabled us to go forward with criminal prosecution,” Ravitch said. “You cannot prosecute someone based on what they say. (Prosecutors) must have independent evidence of the crime.”

Read Full Article: The Press Democrat