Jury picked for ticket quota trial
March 12, 2014
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.