Police Department Responds to Lance’s Handwriting Expert
Says Prefilled Forms Are Not a Violation of Department Policy
A day after handwriting expert James Blanco submitted a declaration to the court alleging that Officer Kasi Beutel may have gone into the field with at least one prefilled form “that would meet certain criteria to guarantee a successful DUI arrest,” the police have said that the use of partially prefilled forms is not a violation of department policy.
“If an officer, for example, always does an investigation a certain way or perhaps does it 80 percent of the time that certain way, it would not be inappropriate to pre-indicate that on their forms and have them available to them because it would make them more efficient in the field,” Deputy Police Chief Frank Mannix said in a voicemail message. “And should the need arise to not use that pre-completed form, they would have a blank form with them so they could always revert back to the original. So it would not be a violation to engage in such an efficiency practice.”
Mannix added that all officers are required to submit “complete and truthful and accurate” forms.
On Wednesday, Blanco submitted a statement to the court that identified several preprinted sections on the Trombetta blood test waiver form that Beutel used in her December 2009 DUI arrest of John Page. Blanco located a number of pre-photocopied checkmarks and handwritten words on the form, including marks indicating that the arrestee was not diabetic, was not under the care of a doctor or dentist, and had not slept since “last night.”
As a result of this and other revelations, the District Attorney’s case against Peter Lance appears to be on thin ice. According to deputy district attorney Gordon Auchincloss, the District Attorney’s Office is “looking into” the possibility of dismissing Lance’s case.
Editor’s Note: Upon publication of this story, deputy district attorney Gordon Auchincloss called to say his office is not necessarily looking into dismissing the case, but is instead examining the information provided by Genis regarding the handwriting analysis, and what that information might mean for the case.
Blanco — a handwriting expert who contracts with the California Secretary of State Elections Fraud Unit — was hired by freelance journalist and DUI defendant Peter Lance to analyze documents in preparation for a possible trial. Over the course of the summer, Lance has written a now 13-part series in the Santa Barbara News-Press accusing Beutel of forgery, perjury, fraud, and other forms of misconduct.