FBI raid should be headline news

April 19, 2020

James Duenow


With all the uproar in the national news over the virus some important local developments have taken a back seat. For example it should be headline stuff when the FBI gets multiple warrants from a judge to search the home and office of a local public official, in this case San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill.

We hear it’s the job of the FBI to investigate crimes. We know that for the FBI to get a search warrant they must, by affidavit, show a judge that they have believable, probable cause that a crime has been committed. To get the warrant they must also describe the criminal evidence they are seeking and believe to exist at the places they seek to search, Adam Hill’s home and office.

When Supervisor Hill was served with the search warrant he was so upset that he tried to kill himself. Why?

The FBI is closed mouthed. We haven’t been told what crimes are alleged. The next thing we look for will be indictments, hopefully not under seal.

Meanwhile, this is the stage in the proceedings when defendants and their lawyer try to make a deal. There’s an old saying, that the first one to deal usually gets the best deal. Soon we will know more about this investigation, the criminal activity and defendants.

More will happen soon. This is enormously important and should be front page news.

Watch this news site.

Jim Duenow, a Democrat, has lived in San Luis Obispo County for 54 years. He is a civil trial lawyer, now semi-retired, who has served on multiple San Luis Obispo City commissions and committees.

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The Trib would do a story, but they endorsed Hill.

As I remember it, The Tribune did not endorse Hill. They endorsed neither candidate, which shows just how awful Ms. Korsgaden actually was. Please, please, please, San Luis Obispo movers and shakers, run someone who has some integrity and is not simply an insurance salesman or financial adviser. Hill was ripe for defeat this year yet, the only opponent was someone with zero political acumen who, in debates, was rendered basically speechless or produced babble when it came to the hard questions.

Excuse me… the Tribune has a long history of endorsing Adam Hill.

Yes, but they did not do so in this election. I would provide a link to the story in the Trib but it is subscriber only and I stopped getting home delivery for any newspaper years ago. They said they could not endorse Hill because of his recent misdeeds, including reprehensible e-mails to Dave Congalton as well as other nefarious dealings. They also would not endorse Ms. Korsgaden because she had proven that she had basically no idea how to deal with the problems facing SLO County.

Our country does not have a news media anymore…we have a propaganda machine geared to coax us into whatever the establishment wants for us…..they hide news distort the news and out right lie if they have to…search for the truth on your own because turning on the television or opening a news paper is foolish at this point….If Mr. Hill were a conservative outsider he would be jobless today….

Sadly the public is very apathetic to the assertion of corruption in government. Even an admitted suicidal maniac can dictate when he’ll be back at running our government. Surely everyone is innocent until proven guilty, even if one stands at the Board and says, “come to my district if you want to grow and sell cannabis”. Open, hostile and notorious is the law for a perfectly legal taking. So if you feel taken, you earned it with your negligence.

Then again there are those who will take the position of not knowing? I say for them, you’ve elected the government you deserve. Obviously I do not have the sweet BS to sugar coat stupid.

Opinion pieces are easy. Anybody can write them. REPORTING is another matter. That takes a professional — and professionals have to be PAID. If nobody supports local PAID journalists, then we won’t have any professional reporting. No professional reporting? No news stories.

I’m not doubting the FBI has legitimate reason to investigate Mr. Hill, but Mr. Duenow’s assertion that we know or should know that the FBI must have and show credible evidence of crime to obtain a search warrant is patently ridiculous.

Huh? I’ll just let Gordo explain it.

There is confusion on what constitutes public information in a criminal investigation.

Law enforcement agents collect information and evidence to determine facts. Sometimes the investigation merits a search warrant to further the goal of determining the facts of a case. To obtain the search warrant agents present an affidavit to the judge, which outlines the facts determined thus far and explains why a search warrant is needed to further the investigation.

An investigation with issued search warrants and/or subpoenas for records does not always end with a criminal charge; facts, not emotions, drive criminal prosecutions, or at least they are supposed to.

The law enforcement agents’ work product, their interviews, reports, etc. are not public information. This is why if you request a police report you get a heavily redacted copy that tells you almost nothing.

The exemption in the CPRA exists so as to protect the integrity of an investigation and the rights of someone who may be under investigation, but ultimately found not to have committed an offense or where insufficient evidence exists to support a prosecution.

Search warrants and their affidavits are routinely sealed during an investigation as a means of protecting the integrity of an investigation.

Once a criminal complaint is filed and reports are sent to the court they become public records available for review.

If the FBI and the DOJ obtain indictments they will become public when a criminal case is filed with the court in Los Angeles.

Until that happens there won’t be much news to report from official sources. Of course this doesn’t stop a reporter from doing a little investigating of their own to dig up a story and I would hope good reporters will do just that.

Let me clarify my comment. I absolutely believe that credible evidence should be required to obtain a warrant. Unfortunately we know from history that many agents of government will fabricate evidence for political reasons. We should not believe without skepticism the proclamations of so called professionals be they in law enforcement, religion, or science the new religion of the state.

We have been getting reamed by Hill and when he goes to prison the tables will be turned.

“FBI raid should be headline news”

I assume Mr Duenow is alluding to the Tribune’s lack of coverage!

Of course if the Tribune had not been and is, a organ for the SLO Progressive movement, we wouldn’t have such corrupt politicians in the county to start with!!

As with any public corruption investigation the FBI conducts, the final phase ends with warrants being served on the official themselves.

The “legwork” of interviews, T3 wiretaps, subpoenaing documents and reviewing records is done well in advance.

The only deal Mr. Hill can make is to “flip” on other corrupt public officials, generally people higher up the food chain, ie. state assemblymen, senators, judges, etc. Any deals in this case have probably been made already with the people who “flipped” on Hill, which is what led to the search warrant service(s).

My best guess is Mr. Hill’s involvement with marijuana moguls is what started the ball rolling, but once the FBI interviewed and reviewed records of developers, business people and county employees who have interacted with Mr. Hill they learned the full scope of his corruption.

Any federal indictment will be sealed until they have concluded their investigations. At that time, if the FBI needs some good press they will appear one morning and snatch Mr. Hill out of his office or out of his chair during a board meeting. If the FBI is in a generous mood they will send a letter to his attorney to surrender at the Metropolitan Detention Center in LA, away from news cameras.

Given his mental health history I would wager they will come to arrest him, so he doesn’t do himself in before he is arraigned in court.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Duenow. Having acted for Hill at one point, he wasn’t afraid to admit his error and cut off relations. Would that more of Hill’s supporters had that level of insight and integrity. Duenow knows Hill, and having practiced law for decades, knows the justice system. I trust his opinion here.