Monday, April 7, 2008

Motions rejected in Dibor Roberts case

In the case of Dibor Roberts, the woman charged with several felonies after being assaulted by a Yavapai County sheriff's deputy on a dark, deserted road, Judge Michael Bluff has rejected three motions filed by the defense. Roberts is now set to go to trial May 14-16.

The controversy in the case surrounds Roberts's decision to continue driving several miles to a well-lit area to make sure the car pulling her over was actually a police car after Sergeant Jeff Newnum attempted to pull her over for speeding. An enraged Newnum smashed Roberts's window and dragged the woman from her car once he drove her off the road. This despite the fact that she was following advice published on some police department Websites and repeated by Sheriff Steve Waugh during a press conference. According to the Verde Independent:

Waugh said that if someone is concerned an officer may not be legitimate, he or she should move to a well-lighted area. But, he cautioned that in some areas of the county, there are "25 to 75 miles between well-lighted areas." Make sure to signal or acknowledge the officer and roll down the window enough to hear."

That Roberts's fears were not paranoia was demonstrated just last month and a mere 100 miles from her arrest.

A police impersonator conducted a traffic stop on two teenage girls last month, Phoenix police said.

The girls were pulled over by a white Crown Victoria with a light system shortly before 11 p.m. on March 21.

Believing the Crown Victoria was a real police car, the 14-year-old driver pulled into the parking lot of the Desert Sky Mall.

Police said Michael Escobar, 33, got out of the flashing car wearing a "police-type uniform" with a bullet-proof vest and a gun belt equipped with Mace, handcuffs and a handgun.

Yavapai County is now in the difficult position of prosecuting a woman for acting in accordance with advice offered by its own sheriff for dealing with real-world fears of criminals pretending to be police.

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