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Shredded Documents Dominate DUI Hearing

Blood-Test Waivers Electronically Scanned and Saved, Then Destroyed


Two days after the Santa Barbara Police Department confirmed that it had shredded DUI defendant Peter Lance’s original Trombetta blood-test waiver, Lance filed a motion though his attorney Darryl Genis in court Friday to dismiss his high-profile DUI case.

Lance’s now-destroyed Trombetta waiver — which he alleges in his 10-part Santa Barbara News-Press series was forged by his arresting officer Kasi Beutel — would have been his “single best evidence” in making his case if it did not contain his fingerprints or palm prints, Genis said.

The Police Department also acknowledged Wednesday that the Trombetta waivers of five defense witnesses — who had all been arrested by Beutel on suspicion of DUI, and who all testified or submitted statements alleging that their own waivers had been forged — were also shredded. Only the waiver of defense witness John Page — who testified last week that he had never signed the Trombetta waiver that bears his signature — survived.

According to the Police Department, the six destroyed Trombetta waivers were each preserved electronically, verified, and then shredded about 90 days after each arrest in a process consistent with department policy.

Genis had requested that the prosecution provide Lance with his original Trombetta waiver as early as February, less than two months after Lance’s New Year’s Day DUI arrest.

Although presiding Judge Brian Hill delayed formal discussion of Lance’s motion until August 24, this revelation of the six destroyed Trombetta waivers dominated the day in court Friday.

Genis filed a motion requesting that Hill order the Police Department to stop destroying Trombetta waivers, but Hill denied him, saying that “the Police Department has their procedures for a reason.”

Hill ruled that the only surviving original Trombetta waiver would be sent to handwriting experts for both the defense and the prosecution for analysis. The waiver will also be scrutinized for fingerprints or palm prints.

Hill will also collect handwriting samples from Beutel, including sample “forgeries” in which she signed Peter Lance’s name at the bottom of each Trombetta waiver.

Lance — who came to court wearing faded blue jeans and cowboy boots but stayed silent throughout the proceedings after being thrown out of the courtroom Monday — also provided handwriting samples.

Beutel’s and Lance’s handwriting samples will also be sent to the two handwriting experts.

Hill suggested discussing a possible settlement, but admitted that a settlement seemed unlikely considering the distance between the two sides.

While District Attorney Sanford Horowitz said that the prosecution’s offer of a “wet reckless” — a reduced DUI charge — was still on the table, Genis said he would only settle for “attorney’s fees, a dismissal, and an apology, but we’ll waive the apology.”

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