SLO city attorney’s end-around makes challenged police video public

September 28, 2020

Christine Dietrick

CORRECTION: Christine Dietrick did not initiate settlement talks, and did not propose sentencing changes.


City Attorney Christine Dietrick gave a Tribune reporter a police video as lawyers argued over its admissibility in court on Thursday. The newspaper posted photos of the video online. It was the latest turn in a 14-month-long criminal case that started when San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell lost her pistol in a restaurant bathroom.

The video was taken at the home of Cheyne Orndoff and his wife, Vanessa Bedroni. Police went to the couple’s home after an officer mistakenly identified security camera footage of a clean-shaven man leaving the restroom as Orndorff, who has a full beard and mustache.

Police searched the home even though they did not have a warrant. They didn’t find the chief’s pistol but they did find and took video of paraphernalia and filthy living conditions.

The hearing was to consider whether the video could be used against Orndorff and Bedroni on drug and child neglect charges.

During Thursday’s hearing, which was continued for a week, prosecutors played the video recorded by the police department, showing the squalid conditions of the couple’s home. The video showed filthy beds without sheets, food containers throughout the home, and needles in the parents’ bedroom.

After the day’s proceedings ended, Tribune reporter Matt Fountain left the courtroom and headed for the stairs. Dietrick hurried out yelling to Fountain to wait, and then asked if he would like a copy of the video, which she offered to put on a thumb drive.

“She is an attorney in the case,” Bedroni’s attorney Peter Depew said, while declining to discuss the issue further.

Several months ago, the defendants let the city know they were considering legal action, and discussed a settlement.

If the motion to suppress evidence is successful, the video would be excluded. No jurors could see it. But, with the posting by the Tribune, potential jurors have access.

The question at the heart of the motion is whether a mistake that incorrectly listed Cheyne Orndorff as a probationer and therefore subject to warrantless searches should allow the video to be used. The key fact: who made the mistake.

Cheyne Orndoff, Princess, and Vanessa Bedroni

In 2017, Orndorff’s brother, Cole, claimed he was Cheyne Orndorff when he was arrested on drug charges. Cole Orndorff eventually pled guilty to five misdemeanors, including impersonating Cheyne Orndorff. But when Cole Orndorff’s conviction was entered into the Probation Department’s criminal justice information system, the names were transposed showing Cheyne Orndorff as the person on probation.

If law enforcement agencies made the mistake, the evidence would likely be suppressed. If the mistake was committed by the court, it would likely be admitted. Thursday’s hearing largely consisted of various court and law enforcement agency personnel all denying they made the mistake.

On Oct. 1, the court will resume the hearing on the motion to suppress the evidence collected during the warrantless search.

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All this because the City has to obfuscate and justify a trumped up arrest based on false pretenses to cover up grotesque incompetence. And no one will come forth and correct Cheyene Ornduff’s false record. It’s patently obvious that all this is intentional and Mr. Ornduff is in absolute danger from these corrupt and evil civil servants.

Ethical attorney. Now I understand irony.

If you can’t convict them fair and square in court, can always do it by press release. That also taints the jury. How unethical! Atty should be fired. She’s a city council employee. They are responsible for this behavior. They could fire her any day. Hah! Fat chance.

I agree. Hopefully we’ll get a new mayor and new City leadership. The first thing they should do is replace the City manager and city attorney. Time to clean house and take the city back to its grandeur.

You are right they won’t fire her, she knows where are the skeletons are, she should she has been hiding them for many, many years.

Isn’t Fairfield looking for a new city attorney? Please, PLEASE…


“The California Rules of Professional Conduct are intended to regulate professional conduct of attorneys licensed by the State Bar through discipline. They have been adopted by the Board of Trustees and approved by the California Supreme Court pursuant to statute to protect the public and to promote respect and confidence in the legal profession. The rules and any related standards adopted by the Board are binding on all attorneys licensed by the State Bar.” . . .

“Rule 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor

(Rule Approved by the Supreme Court, Effective June 1, 2020)

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall: . .

(e) exercise reasonable care to prevent persons under the supervision or direction

of the prosecutor, including investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees

or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case

from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited

from making under rule 3.6. . . .”

“Rule 3.6 Trial Publicity

(Rule Approved by the Supreme Court, Effective November 1, 2018)

(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of

a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or

reasonably should know will (i) be disseminated by means of public

communication and (ii) have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an

adjudicative proceeding in the matter. . . .

(d) No lawyer associated in a law firm* or government agency with a lawyer subject

to paragraph (a) shall make a statement prohibited by paragraph (a).”

“Civility” Oath Rule Adopted by Supreme Court

Rule 9.4 states “In addition to the language required by Business and Professions Code section 6067, the oath to be taken by every person on admission to practice law is to conclude with the following: ‘As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.’ ”

“The State Bar was pleased to work with Doug DeGrave and CAL-ABOTA in urging the court to adopt this additional measure, and it is our belief that it will create an added reinforcement for attorneys entering the bar in California to remember the principles of professionalism that brought them to the practice in the first place and in particular in their dealings with clients, other attorneys, and judges” said Mr. Patrick Kelly, immediate past-president of the State Bar of California, “This was the highest priority for Doug and I, so we’re delighted that the court has made this addition to the rules.”

With the adoption of the new rule, the entire oath to be taken upon the admission to practice law will now be as follows: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability. As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.”

The video of SLOPD shooting someone’s dog … the city fought pretty hard to prevent its release, if memory serves.

“Wanton disregard is a legal term that denotes an individual’s extreme lack of care for the well-being or rights of another individual.” In this case it is four individuals (parents and 2 kids). That’s four counts of wanton disregard of individual’s rights against Dietrick, as well as retaliation for not taking a deal. It appears that if you have a messy house or are a hoarder this woman will release video to the press to shame you even before it’s admissible in court. Why isn’t she on administrative leave pending her arraignment? Karma is coming for her with a vengeance.

California Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.6(a) states: “A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will (i) be disseminated by means of public communication and (ii) have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.”

Publicizing material which is subject to an ongoing judicial proceeding concerning a motion to suppress, certainly materially prejudices the judicial proceeding and acts as a contempt of court.

If the court suppresses the material, then there is a new cause of action against the City concerning the violation of the right to privacy.