Jury picked for ticket quota trial

March 12, 2014
Chief Robert Burton

Chief Robert Burton

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

A jury of nine women and three men will determine if Paso Robles city and police officials established an illegal traffic ticket quota in 2010, and then retaliated against one officer who objected to the alleged policy.

The panel was sworn in Wednesday afternoon after two days of culling through a large pool of prospective jurors.

An extensive list of potential witnesses, a virtual who’s-who of local law enforcement personnel, may be called during the trail, which San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford said may last until April 4.

Jon Tatro, a 25-year veteran with the Paso Robles department, filed a lawsuit against the city saying that supervisors first reprimanded, then threatened to suspend him, after claiming that he was not meeting his quota of traffic citations.

When he complained to then-police chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty and city human resources staff, the city initiated an internal investigation into Tatro’s allegations, according to the lawsuit. He was then required to submit to unwarranted counseling, denied advancement possibilities, and was ostracized by co-workers, he alleged.

California law prohibits the use of traffic citation quotas by law enforcement agencies, and those agencies cannot use ticket totals as criteria for promotions, demotions, or reassignments.

Paso Robles Police Chief Robert Burton has attended jury selection sessions.

Opening statements by attorneys for both parties are scheduled Thursday morning in Department 2, Paso Robles courthouse.


18 Comments

  1. SanSimeonSam says:

    Yeah now i understand why i got a ticket for going 40 miles an hour in a 35 mile zone in 2010….in fact on easter sunday. On top of that the officer giving the ticket was snickering and enjoying himself. We had a name for cops like him in the 60’s….It fit this guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. Pelican1 says:

    Why no mention of App as a potential witness? As a key player in this debacle, he should have to take the stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. heybobareebob says:

    The word “settlement” should be verboten in this case.

    The city cannot logically settle with Tatro because it already settled the same issue with Soloman.

    The city told Soloman that her claims were bonafide, ie the allegedly false accusations by the officers as to ticket quotas and management improprieties.

    This case must continue to be fully tried so all the facts come out. I know of one city council member who will not agree to settlement or so he said. I hope the others understand the egg on the face ill logic with an attempt to settle with Tatro. Let the jury decide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. JB Bronson says:

    The entire tone of what we are about to learn, is set by Jim App.

    Have to admire Tatro for allowing his character rise above “just being one of the boys” under App’s thumb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  5. Old Salt says:

    the system will never allow that to take place.

    Should read UNIIONS with High pay…and 90 to 100 percent salary at retirement …
    will never allow that to take place…
    Very hard to be fired…unless Ol’Boy Clique cronies conspire against ya…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  6. NorthCountyGuy says:

    The City of Paso Robles is loaded with corruption and Ol’Boy Clique cronyism.

    In 1997, Burton suppressed physical evidence, lied and threatened a witness in order to cover-up the commission of assault with a deadly weapon by one of his Ol’Boy Clique cronies.

    Burton and App symbolize everything that is wrong with Paso Robles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 5

  7. topper01 says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 43

    • pasoparent5 says:

      So I’m a “sexist” if I don’t think that Lisa Chitty was 1) qualified to ever be Paso’s top cop, 2) thoroughly incompetent once selected and 3) responsible for ripping off Paso’s taxpayers for $250,000 so she could slink away?

      No, Lisa’s not responsible for our crummy roads and other “ills” but she IS responsible for a whole heck of a lot of other crap and she’s ultimately behind this ticket quota fiasco. She and city manager Jim App should be called to testify. Let’s hear it from them directly.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 3

      • MaryMalone says:

        I don’t think Solomon-Chitty is smart enough to come up with a workable ticket-quota system.

        I think it is more likely that James App came up with the idea and Solomon-Chitty just rubberstamped and then implemented it.

        By the way, has an audit ever been done for the speeding tickets issued during the Solomon-Chitty regime? I would not be surprised if some of the funds were siphoned off and laundered.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • MaryMalone says:

        I don’t think you are a sexist, PP5.

        I think App’s top priority for a police chief is one who will follow App’s pro-corruption campaign. I think if an aardvark was the most corrupt candidate possible, App would try to find a way to hire it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • SamLouis says:

      Solomon was a terrible embarrassment and waste. She did damage to the community. Sexism is the ONLY reason she became chief. Had she been a male with the same qualifications and record, she would NEVER have become chief.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

      • MaryMalone says:

        I think anybody who was endorsed by App as a candidate for chief in Paso would have to be willing to do App’s bidding. It has nothing to do with sexism, but has to do with a corrupt City Manager endorsing a corrupt candidate for chief of police.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

        • SamLouis says:

          You’re mistaken. Chitty becoming chief has everything to do with sexism. Had she been a male she would never have been salable by App given her past experience and performance.

          Those in charge were hot and heavy to have a female chief in SLOC and they picked a complete loser who did damage to PR that continues to this day.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • NorthCountyGuy says:

          App will appoint anyone who is corrupt enough to do App’s bidding.

          Chitty and Burton are willing accomplices of App’s agenda.

          The Kangaroo Court on Tenth Street is the wrong venue.

          The Kangaroo Court on Tenth Street has a reputation for being a prostitute of Jim App.

          App manipulates the Kangaroo Court on 10 street via the appointment of judges who are user-friendly to App’s agenda.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Welcome to the new world of spin. When you disagree in today’s world, you are a sexist, racist, homophobe etc. No it can’t just be that you have an opinion that differs from the other person and you just don’t like what is going on irregardless of all the other B.S.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  8. pasoparent5 says:

    I believe Officer Tatro’s story but I wish that any settlement money would be paid not by Paso taxpayers but out of Lisa Chitty’s quarter of a million dollar payout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 5

    • TacomaRose says:

      absolutely an excellant point pasoparent … but the system will never allow that to take place.

      If only the law allowed some of these issues to be taken out of the wrongdoers hide, then much of this baloney could be corrected.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  9. jarhead says:

    This is exactly what SAN LOUIS OBISPO PD does , JON is going to expose something that the citizens of our citys have no idea, that this has been been going on for some time , there is also some other juicy stuff , we will see AS THE WORM TURNS, I will guarantee that the staffers are squirming, wait and see

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

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