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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“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.” It would appear that the courts have excluded themselves from rules that protect citizens.

It is so frustrating to know the truth and listen to lies.

Officer, (Sargeant, right after the cover up), Dickle, as we all know, when police go into a house to look around, they are ever so gentle and cautious not to disturb anything, break things, or move things around, and if they do, they readily admit and apologize or put things back where they were, police never want to make things look worse or make themselves look better, or innocent if you will, right Sarge?

You, never went in to that, (admittedly dirty house), and threw things around and broke locked bedrooms doors in, or emptied sharps containers all over the bedroom, that was not you, was it?

Hey, I have an idea, you all had body cams, ( would be very convenient not have had one), why don’t you turn over your body cam footage from all officers involved and let’s compare that footage with the ‘video’ that you took from your cell phone that you showed in court and your buddy, Christine Dietrick, ran to the trib reporter to make sure they had it.

Hmmm, wonder what differences and truths would come out of that.

You know, who are the criminals, all of you that are involved in covering up the truth.

The truth is that, these people were in trouble, they had reached out to many of our government agencies and got nowhere. Cheyne graduated with honors from Cal Poly. His life should have taken off and he and his family should have had a great chance at the American dream. Instead, his life became a nightmare of trying to get ahead while trying to get, probation, sheriff, Pismo Beach police, the court system to correct their mistake in identifying him as the perpetrator instead of the victim in the, godforsaken, case that was holding back his life from taking off. It became hopeless, he got nowhere with the agencies that should have helped him, (you sure are paying attention now!)

The people that he talked to were the same people that testified under oath that they never knew anything and were not aware of the mistake. But there is paper trail showing that there had been some kind of alert attached to the case, but, very conveniently, nobody can remember who or why that alert was put there. Hmmm.

So first, there is a cover up for our very transparent chief of police, everybody involved knows they f’d up in every aspect of this cover up, the city knows there is going to be a suit against them and are trying to minimize their role and responsibility, and in the mean time this family is suffering and are the fall guy for it all.

I wonder, at what point is it enough already.

This can happen to you, me, anybody, they walk all over our civil rights, shoot our dogs, trample our belongings, and say “its just one incident” or say “it never happened”, lol

Well, the citizens, you and me are letting these legal thugs get away with it, so it is our fault also.

We must not cry ‘foul’ when it happens to us, cause we let it happen to them and just stood by.

Silence is acceptance.

Justice in this country is in the toilet.


Lack of contempt finding (with real punishment) and/or a judgement of mistrial with prejudice will demonstrate that the judge is most likely also in on this apparent conspiracy to deflect city’s liability.

I don’t get the distinction between courts and le. Courts ARE part of le. The VICTIM in this case certainly did not make the mistake that listed him on probation. One or more of the perps did.

The distinction is made based on caselaw. See the Brief filed by defense attorney Peter DePew in this case beginning at page 26.

Sometimes evidence collected without a warrant is allowed, referred to as ‘the exclusionary rule’, if law enforcement relied on information in the database that was mistakenly made by the Court and not the law enforcement agency. If the incorrect information in the database was a clerical mistake made by the Court, it is not held against law enforcement and the evidence is allowed according to the exclusionary rule.

However, the exclusionary rule doesn’t apply if the mistake was made by law enforcement because that would not encourage law enforcement to make sure that their records/database are correct. So, if the mistake was made by law enforcement, the evidence collected in the warrantless search would not be admissible because law enforcement cannot benefit from their own sloppy records.

Christine Dietrick assumed the exclusionary rule applies in this case but the defense attorney’s investigation seems to indicate that the mistake was made by the probation department which is considered law enforcement, not the Court. If the mistake was made by law enforcement, the evidence collected is not admissible. The Brief indicates that the Court’s records did not show Cheyne as being on probation and listed him as a victim of stolen identity by his brother. The only “bad” information about Cheyne was in the law enforcement database.

There were a confluence of multiple errors, both latent and active on the probation record. There was the latent errors of wrong data entry done and failure to be corrected in the past. These errors affected Orndoff’s employment which affected his quality of life. The latent mistake of an erroneous probation record was explained by Cheyne to the officers and he had papers from the court in his car explaining it. The next mistake was in real-time by the officer(s) not looking at the exculpatory volunteered paperwork in the car. The officers did not act upon and discounted relevant information that would have halted the search right there. The officers were not in hot pursuit and in fact had the luxury of time for a tailboard meeting where they stood in a circle clicking their heels and squeezing their butt cheeks. They certainly could have and should have spent the extra 10 minutes reviewing the document in the car. The officers failed that offered opportunity for independent verification (a basic human performance tool). This is certainly a future training issue that must be incorporated into a LE action plan, which solidifies that the error was a relevant error precursor. This was more than a missed opportunity to review that paperwork. It was a decision making error by LE to NOT independently verify and requires an action plan.

Ya, but during the illegal raid, Cheynne offered the papers proving it was indeed his brother and not him on probation. The police refused to look at that paperwork. IF they had at least given him the opportunity to prove his non probation standing. Prove he was indeed the victim, the city would not be in this position of having to justity denying his civil rights. Some cops refuse to listen to reason. Some are too arrogant to see the whole picture. Some could care less about the reality of the situation. They just want to be right. No matter the truth.

Actually Christine Dietrick (a city contract employee) gave the defense a huge opening to get a change of venue. Suspecting the judge would suppress the video Dietrick leaked only the selected video to influence public opinion and taint the jury pool. There are probably other bodycam videos that actually help the defense, but they weren’t leaked. Since the judge (an elected official) has been ineffective to get the prosecutors to produce discovery items and the outcome of punitive damages will affect SLO, it’s time to move the trial somewhere else. A judge or jury in another jurisdiction will see through this BS immediately.