In a May 10, 2010 ruling the Honorable William Q. Hayes, Federal Court for the Southern District of California issued an Order and ruled that Cynthia Sommer’s $20 million dollar lawsuit goes forward.
I had watched a special on the ID channel last weekend on the Marines’ wife prosecuted for murdering her husband. Cynthia Sommer claimed in court filings that was because Bonnie Dumanis and Laura Gunn “believed that a high-profile arrest and conviction would serve their personal goals and make the D[istrict] A[ttorney’s] O[ffice] famous.” Famous they are now but not in the way they had hoped per the Court’s ruling.
Sommer has maintained that because of the way the young wife “grieved” following the death of Todd Sommer in 2002, and that the San Diego District Attorney because she did not approve of the way Ms. Sommer grieved began a witch hunt for three years to arrest and tries an innocent widow. Granted Sommer took half of the insurance policy and put it in a trust account to care for her four children but she also had a breast enhancement surgery and was seen “partying”. Thus that has to equal murder right? Nope not at all.
Sommer spent two years in jail awaiting trial, being tried and was found guilty of the murder of her husband, twenty-three year old Marine Sgt. Todd Sommer. Sommer’s was arrested on November 30, 2005 and convicted of the murder of her husband on January 30, 2007. However she was freed by a Judge in San Diego County on November 30, 2007 when her conviction was overturned and she was granted a new trial after new lab testing showed no arsenic whatsoever in Sgt. Todd Sommer’s tissues.
The federal court ruled there was enough evidence against San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Laura Gunn, Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego, that the two women per the Federal Court’s rulings; “Dumanis and Gunn fabricated evidence and continued their investigation after they knew or should have known that Plaintiff was innocent.”
On May 10, 2010 the first major ruling in Sommer’s federal lawsuit filed against the medical examiner, Glenn N. Wagner, the United States government, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and prosecutor Laura Gunn ruled they have no immunity from the case to go forward against them. On Dumanis and Gunn the Court found that the two were claiming potentially “prosecutorial immunity in the functions of their jobs”, instead the Court found that “a clearly established constitutional due process right not to be subjected to criminal charges on the basis of false evidence that is deliberately fabricated by the government.”. The case against the United States can go forward under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The case against Wagner, the medical examiner, is valid under; “Failing to follow guidelines or carry out an investigation in a manner that will ensure an error-free result is one thing; intentionally fabricating false evidence is quite another.” Further the Court said in regards to Glenn N. Wagner; “Plaintiff has set forth in detail factual allegations which support her allegation that Wagner deliberately or recklessly falsified Todd Sommer’s cause of death on the death certificate, including the inconsistencies in the forensic evidence, the opinions of other experts, and the breaks in the chain of custody. Plaintiff alleges facts which, if proven, would be sufficient to establish that Wagner’s determination that Todd Sommer had been poisoned was central to Plaintiff’s arrest and prosecution.”
Sommer per the federal ruling; “contends that she has alleged facts that would establish that Dumanis and Gunn were acting in an investigatory capacity rather than a prosecutorial capacity when they worked jointly with investigators to fabricate a case against her.” The federal Court found citing the case of Buckley that; “When prosecutors are acting in their official capacity, but not performing prosecutorial functions, they are protected only by the qualified immunity that protects all public officials. A prosecutor may not shield his investigative work with the aegis of absolute immunity merely because, after a suspect is eventually arrested, indicted, and tried, that work may be retrospectively described as ‘preparation’ for a possible trial; every prosecutor might then shield himself from liability for any constitutional wrong against innocent citizens by ensuring that they go to trial.” Id. Before probable cause exists to arrest anyone, “[a] prosecutor neither is, nor should consider himself to be, an advocate.”
The federal Court’s Ruling states in part; “Plaintiff alleges that in addition to apparent inconsistencies between the positive test for arsenic and the other forensic testing, Dumanis and Gunn consulted “several qualified independent forensic toxicologists . . . [who] refused to concur in the results of the testing performed by AFIP.” Translated if they did not like what the testing showed they “doctor/lab” shopped to find someone who would agree with their assumptions.
The ruling ends with the finding that; “Accepting as true all facts alleged in the Complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of Plaintiff, the Court concludes that the Complaint contains sufficient factual allegations to support a § 1983 due process claim against Dumanis and Gunn for deliberate fabrication of evidence during the investigation of Todd Sommer’s death. Plaintiff, [Sommer], has made specific, non-conclusory allegations that, if proven, would be sufficient to establish that Dumanis and Gunn continued to investigate Plaintiff despite knowing or having sufficient evidence that they should have known that Todd Sommer was not murdered.
Allen Bloom, Sommer’s criminal attorney, on behalf of Cynthia Sommer stated; “It basically says that early on, the intentional and reckless behavior of the district attorney’s office was so bad they have to answer to these charges. It also means that you’re going to see Bonnie Dumanis and Laura Gunn being deposed and questioned, why did they do this?”
Bloom was Sommer’s criminal defense attorney. Even he was shocked when he read the judge’s ruling which says if the allegations in the lawsuit are true, a claim can be made against Dumanis and Gunn for, “…deliberate fabrication of evidence during the investigation of Todd Sommer’s death.”
Dumanis in an attempt to get in front of this waived the new trial and stated to the public that once she “discovered the new evidence” she was taking the unprecedented stand of dismissing the murder charges against Cynthia Sommer and allowing her to walk out of prison….. Good right??? Nope because the D. A. will not drop the murder charges “with prejudice” which means they can hang over Sommer’s head a new trial if Dumanis decides to go that way in the future and Dumanis and the medical examiner, Wagner, refuses to change Todd Sommer’s death certificate from homicide back to the original natural causes that had been ruled in 2002. Yeppers folks while suing in federal court the D. A. might still be conducting an investigation to again arrest and try Sommer.
This is on top of the current petition for recall of the D. A. Dumanis for misusing her office including going after all legitimate medical marijuana dispensers in her county. Allegedly going so far as to sending under cover agents to doctors, stating legitimate medical conditions to gain a prescription for medical use of marijuana, going to a legitimate dispenser, going through the validating process, and then arresting these dispenser for illegal distributing the marijuana. Allegations are that Dumanis is getting federal grants in excess of $350,000 to investigate and try intercity gangs and instead is using it for this witch hunt.
If that is not enough trouble brewing for Dumanis she has allegedly told her prosecutors to avoid the judge that freed Sommer for all future criminal trials in a power play with the Court. Then add to that one of the judges in San Diego has filed a lawsuit against the chief justice for making “sweetheart deals” on domestic violence cases. This does not even touch the San Diego courts Foundation and the allegations that Dumanis uses that non-profit organization for pay offs to see rulings are favorable to those who contribute to this foundation.
In another ironic twist Jerry Brown refuses to investigate any of this from the alleged improprieties of Dumanis right down to the tax free foundation and the money all of this is costing California at a time that California is bankrupt and Dumanis has no one running against her in November so unless the recall is successful she will continue her reign of San Diego County California.
If you are thinking of moving to San Diego you might want to consider all of this and perhaps not relocate there.
We are going to unpeel all of these onion skin like allegations and keep up with the Sommer case as well. Expect more articles over the weekend on each of these allegations.
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May 21, 2010
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