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On March 23, after deliberating for 40 minutes, a jury emerged from the jury room inside the courthouse in Vista. The 12 members had reached a verdict. As they filed into the jury box, the defendant, Michael Shields, stood beside his attorney, David Boertje. Shields’s heart pounded as the foreman announced the verdict: not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. It was a quick and easy end to a long and difficult year.

It started on the evening of February 25, 2009, when Shields, a licensed mortgage broker and full-time college student, was driving his red Jeep Liberty southeast on Barnard Drive in Oceanside after attending guitar class at MiraCosta College. According to Shields, as he approached a man on a bicycle — later identified as Martin Rios — Rios wove from the bike lane into the middle of the road. Shields passed him on the right. Moments later, Shields looked in his rearview mirror and saw Rios making an obscene hand gesture. Shields turned right on College Boulevard and got into the left-hand turn lane at the intersection of College and Vista Way. Traffic was backed up at the light, and Shields began inching forward. He glanced in his rearview mirror and saw Rios approaching on the driver’s side. As Rios pedaled past the Jeep, he spit on the windshield, slapped the hood, then raised his right leg to kick the fender. But, Shields said, he kicked too late and missed, losing his balance and causing the bike to fall in front of the car, toward the center of the vehicle. Shields jerked the steering wheel to the left, avoiding Rios but running over the bike’s rear tire.

Shields got out of his vehicle and Rios ran up to him. At that time, a man pulled up on a motorcycle. He, too, was aggressive toward Shields. The man asked Rios if he was all right. Shields said he heard the man call Rios “Martin.” The witness then asked what Shields did for a living. Shields said that he was a broker, and the man said, “You hear that, Martin?”

Oceanside police officer J. Dominique arrived on the scene at 5:58 p.m. According to the police report, Officer Dominique interviewed Rios first. Rios complained of pain in his right shoulder. The police report indicated that he had an eight-inch-by-four-inch “scrape” on his left thigh.

Both Rios and the witness, Trevor Hudson, claimed Shields intentionally ran Rios down. Rios said that after the spitting incident, Shields became angry and punched the gas, running Rios over, dragging him across two lanes of traffic and over the center divider.

Shields told Dominique that the man on the bicycle had fallen and Shields had swerved out of the way, hitting the bike but not the man.

After interviewing the three men, the officer determined that “Shields had used his vehicle as a weapon.” He arrested Shields for assault with a deadly weapon and transported him to the Oceanside Police Department in handcuffs.

After being processed, Shields waived his Miranda rights and sat down with Officer Dominique to give a recorded audio statement. He described the events, and he said that after the collision, a man on a motorcycle pulled up and immediately turned to Rios and said, “Martin, are you okay?” In the recorded audio statement Shields said he “thought that was weird,” that the witness knew Martin’s name.

Shields said that before he was hauled off to the detention facility in Vista, Officer Dominique told him not to worry, that the case would go nowhere.

Officer Dominique was wrong. Shields was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. The one thing that went nowhere was a copy of the recorded interview conducted by Officer Dominique. That recording wouldn’t surface for 13 months, until two days before Shields’s trial began.

During those 13 months, Shields often asked his lawyer, David Boertje, about the recording. Shields assured him that the witness and the victim were friends. How else would the witness have known Rios’s name that day? Despite Shields’s queries, there was no evidence of the recorded statement and there was no mention of it in the police report, as is required.

Shields attended preliminary hearings and learned that if convicted he could face up to four years in prison. In the following months, he became depressed. He developed a bleeding ulcer. Most mornings he awoke to a guttural, dry cough that caused him to run to the toilet to vomit blood. His marriage of eight years began to fall apart. He spent all the money he had saved for his first semester at the University of California San Diego. He contemplated fleeing to Costa Rica. He dropped 30 pounds. The depression became so severe that one month before trial, Shields found himself researching suicide on the internet. One morning he opened a bottle of Vicodin and stuffed a handful of pills into his mouth. He held a glass of water in his hand. Instead of chugging the water and the pills, he spit them out into the sink.

As the trial neared, the district attorney’s office offered a plea bargain: a one-year mandatory prison sentence and the felony charge on Shields’s record would be lowered to a misdemeanor after three years.

On March 31, outside a coffee shop in Linda Vista, Shields and David Boertje sat down to talk about the case. Animated and visibly upset, Shields discussed his depression, the toll the case had taken on him, both personally and financially, and the decision not to take the plea bargain.

“I almost took the plea to avoid a very scary prison sentence,” said Shields. “I stuck to my guns against the advice of my parents and attorney. They all said the risk is too great. I knew I was innocent.”

Two days before the trial began, Boertje said, he received news from deputy district attorney Elisabeth Silva that a notation in an evidence log saying “audio CD” had been discovered. Silva told Boertje that she didn’t know what was on the audio CD.

“The recorded statement should have been something that was disclosed immediately,” Boertje said. “In the report, there was no mention of a recorded statement, no mention that they had the tape.”

“Before they released the recording, it was basically my word against the Oceanside police,” interjected Shields. “Who is the jury going to believe, the police officer or the ‘baby punching’ criminal?”

At 8:30 on the morning of March 15, the first day of the trial, Boertje went to the district attorney’s office, located one floor above the courtroom in the North County Regional Center, to listen to the audio CD. He confirmed that it was Shields’s missing statement. Silva asked Boertje if his client would like to reschedule the trial. He said no.

On the second day of trial, Officer Dominique took the stand. During cross-examination, Boertje asked him about the audio statement. Deputy district attorney Silva objected. The lawyers and judge met in a sidebar. Silva indicated that she was filing a motion to exclude the recorded statement from evidence.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Boertje. “I said, ‘First off, you didn’t give [the recorded statement] to me until yesterday, and now you don’t want the jury to hear what my client said right after the incident?’ There was no basis to exclude it.”

The judge allowed the statement to be used in court. A week later, Shields was exonerated.

“The judge in my case was completely outraged at the district attorney,” Shields wrote to the Reader on March 23, the day of his acquittal. “[He] scolded the District Attorney and asked her why the audio statement was disclosed the day of trial. [Silva] claimed that she ‘read the police officer the riot act.’… My audio statement was crucial evidence that proved I was innocent.”

Shields, however, is not the only person arrested in Oceanside whose recorded interview has disappeared. In April 2009, two months after Officer Dominique interrogated Shields, Oceanside police officer Damon Smith testified in court that he had failed to submit into evidence a recorded statement with the defendant in a domestic violence case.

Five months later, the San Diego County district attorney’s office released 37 undisclosed recorded statements that Smith had conducted during a period of almost four years.

Oceanside resident Woody Higdon has followed the Officer Smith matter. Higdon, who is middle-aged, worked as a police officer in Santa Ana and Garden Grove for three years. Currently a government watchdog, he is well known around Oceanside’s council chambers and police department. He speaks at city council meetings about corruption in Oceanside’s police department. He has submitted criminal misconduct complaints to the district attorney’s office, the Oceanside Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the handling of the Officer Smith situation. Higdon says the fact that two Oceanside police officers have failed to log recorded statements into evidence shows that a departmental policy failure exists in both the Oceanside Police Department and the district attorney’s office, which has not addressed the situation by charging Officer Smith or Officer Dominique for obstruction of justice and evidence tampering.

“Nothing has happened,” says Higdon. “I never got a follow-up from the district attorney’s office or the police department.

“Now we know from the Shields case of another officer hiding audiotapes. The officer finds out that this man was not the suspect but the victim, and the tape goes missing for a year while the district attorney’s office pressures this guy to cop out to a lesser offence. They were about to put an innocent man in prison for assault with a deadly weapon. That’s felony obstruction of justice and evidence tampering, not to mention falsification of an official police report.”

Higdon says he plans to file a criminal misconduct complaint against Officer Dominique.

Paul Levikow, spokesperson for the San Diego County district attorney’s office, says that no charges will be filed against either Officer Smith or Officer Dominique for the incidents.

“These aren’t criminal,” said Levikow during an April 23 phone interview. “The responsibility lands on the prosecutor to turn over all evidence. If there’s evidence out there that the prosecutor doesn’t know about, it is incumbent upon the prosecutor; that’s how it works.

“We took the corrective action with Smith,” Levikow continued. “We notified all the defense attorneys and allowed them the chance to file an appropriate motion. Just because he had recordings that he didn’t turn over doesn’t mean that they were germane to the case or that they affected the outcome.”

Asked if the district attorney’s office had discussed the matter with the Oceanside Police Department, Levikow responded, “We probably reminded them that anytime you record a defendant in a criminal case that it is discoverable.”

In an April 13 email, Sergeant Jeff Brandt of the Oceanside Police Department said, “Oceanside Police Department has policies and procedures in place with the handling of evidence in criminal cases. The Oceanside Police Department reviewed these policies and procedures with every member after an isolated incident was discovered regarding the way recorded statements were being handled.

“In regards to the [Shields] case,” Sergeant Brandt continued, “the recorded statement, along with all the other evidence was placed into the Evidence Locker by the officer at the time of the incident pursuant to departmental policy. Apparently, while the tape-recorded statements had been properly placed into Evidence, due to an isolated clerical oversight, the recorded statement was subsequently not sent to Court along with the other evidence in the case. This oversight had nothing to do with the officer’s handling of the evidence.”

After spending over $17,000 on bail, legal fees, private investigators, and accident reconstruction specialists, Shields isn’t satisfied with the excuse provided by the Oceanside Police Department. “What happened to me could happen to anyone. This needs to go public, and I’m shocked that I’m not the only one that has intentionally had their recorded statement buried. If I had pled guilty, the Oceanside Police Department would have completely gotten away with this.

“For over one year, the Oceanside Police Department buried my recorded audio statement and denied that I ever gave one,” said Shields, his voice beginning to quiver. “I almost lost my marriage. I thought about suicide every day.”

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MURPHYJUNK May 26, 2010 @ 12:19 p.m.

seems like one of the plans the "system" is to cost the defendant in any case a lot of money in bail, legal fees and so on, so they can't properly defend themselves.

innocent persons should get a refund when cleaned out by the "system"


strawman May 26, 2010 @ 1:38 p.m.

Everyone should listen to the videos on youtube called "Don't talk to cops". Part one is by a lawyer and part two is by a cop. Call a lawyer immediately and have him/her witness your statement, if one is called for. As for judges who withhold exculpatory evidence, they should be held responsible via an independent review board, as outlined at www.jail4judges.org


Visduh May 26, 2010 @ 8:26 p.m.

We have two really weak and corrupt PD's here in No County. One is in Escondido, the other in Oceanside. Both are an embarrassment to the respective cities. Both should be abolished, and replaced by a contract arrangement with the sheriff.

There is a painful lesson in this for anyone who reads the story: Don't waive your Miranda rights, don't volunteer to give any statements to the cops, and watch your a__ in any sort of "road rage" situation. There are some seriously wacked-out people out there who might do just about anything after a perceived slight in traffic.

One can only wonder why all this energy by the DA's office is put into a case like this one, when everyday street and property crime is ignored. Drug dealers operate freely in both cities, purse snatchings and vehicle burglaries go uninvestigated, and gangs terrorize the citizenry.


Visduh May 28, 2010 @ 8:24 p.m.

This story is one that should resonate with everyone who reads it. So, why are there only three comments appended after this many days? Come on folks, this could have been YOUR story. Show a little sympathy or at least empathy.


a2zresource May 29, 2010 @ 6:30 p.m.

RE #4:

I used to have to carry a Miranda card in DC, part of that riot-control gig the Old Guard used to handle while standing atop buses parked around the White House. Never had to use it. Never had my rights read out loud to me either, not in 50+ years.

I was stopped for jaywalking near the Justice Complex on Broadway downtown once, decades ago. It was raining, and I was wearing a lightweight khaki-tan jacket that didn't have a liner. The street was fairly empty of cars when I stepped off the curb, but the officers that caught up to me almost ran me over by the time I had crossed the street.

While waiting for my ticket, I stood there with my hands in my pockets until Junior told me to pull my hands out. As I did, I asked why, and he mentioned the possibility that I might be packing a weapon.

On hearing that, I stood there with feet wide apart and my arms straight out left and right, palms facing him. He told me I could put my hands down, but I made like a statue, saying I didn't want to get shot by some rookie.

Sarge, still sitting in the curbed cop car out of the rain while observing, started laughing his assets off...

On another occasion, I was approached by an officer while I was walking home extremely late after, interestingly enough, partying down with some of the OG just south of Streamview. I was heading east on Market just past Euclid, which was/is considered a rough no-man's land past midnight, and I'm pretty sure I was inebriated enough to be glad I wasn't driving. If I HAD a car, I probably would have been with the most interested of the fine young ladies I'd met at the par-tay...

As the officer got out of his car and approached me, I made like a statue again, palms facing the officer. He asked what I was doing, and I said "If I were approaching a detainee, I would want to see his hands."

After that, everything was cool, and once we talked a little about my Old Guard days, the officer gave me a ride to my house to get me past no-man's land.

I never challenge an officer who's doing her/his job. If that job involves me, I cooperate fully. So far, life has never put me in a position to question an officer's side of any story about me.

I still have no bullet holes in me, even though I live in Encantostan. There's still a nice one in my neighbor's car door though... and nobody is happy about the girl who got killed by the rifle round that tumbled through the windshield.


TargetedinSanDiego May 30, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Shields was targeted for this sabotage by the government, law enforcement and the justice system operating under a corrupted cooperative. Millions of Targeted Individuals are set up this way every day by government-sponsored scumbag criminal Perpetrators, who call themselves Community Organized Police - or in this area, COPP. Staging dangerous accidents and other forms of entrapment-by-design are performed every day by well-paid Agents Provocateur, hoping to railroad you through the corrupt justice system, or worse. This one is a CLASSIC technique, happens every single day all across the country and is fully endorsed and subsidized by the entire justice system and the government. Mr. Shields was lucky not to have had every one of his attorney(s) "coerced" into complete non-cooperation. I am very surprised that Deputy DA Silva came through with the audio evidence in the end. Google "Gang Stalking," "Organized Stalking," "Targeted Individual," "Phony War on Terrorism," "National Security Letter," "Gag Order."


TargetedinSanDiego May 30, 2010 @ 8:46 p.m.

And, of course, "The Patriot Act," which was recently renewed by our sitting President.


MURPHYJUNK May 31, 2010 @ 7:22 a.m.


seems they are having problems catching real criminals, so they make up stuff to keep their "stats" looking good and the federal money rolling in.


SurfPuppy619 May 31, 2010 @ 8:36 a.m.

On March 23, after deliberating for 40 minutes, a jury emerged from the jury room inside the courthouse in Vista. The 12 members had reached a verdict. As they filed into the jury box, the defendant, Michael Shields, stood beside his attorney, David Boertje. Shields’s heart pounded as the foreman announced the verdict: not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. It was a quick and easy end to a long and difficult year.

Believe it or not-many years ago I was in the EXACT same situation as this guy was.

Had 4 gang bangersd attack me so I pulled out a T-ball bat and went to work. Add in some incompetent/dirty GED educated cops and you end up with ADW charges (as wella s others) getting slapped on you AFTER you have filed civil rights charges against the dirty cops for false arrestr, and then you have to go to trial. (the dirty prosecutors will try every trick in the book for a plea-and the deals got better and better every week)

And just like this guy the dirty cops and gang bangers lost. One of the reasons I went to law school.


SurfPuppy619 May 31, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

Oh, and the 4 bangers, [email protected] 18 y/o, [email protected] 19 y/o-all had criminal records, 2 had felony records at age 19 and couldn't testify, the other 2 dirtbags had several misdemeanor convictions at age 18, and all 4 had numerous other convictions as juvies.

That should have been the end of the case right there-but the goal of the police and prosecutors was NOT to win the case (or heaven forbid seek justice)-but to harrass me, b/c even if they lost the case (which they did) the harrassment value of a full blown criminal case and trial was extensive and draining.

Nothing like sitting in the defendant chair as the word comes back the jury has reached a verdict and they hand the verdict to the judge who reads it to himself silently before the clerk reads it out loud.


SurfPuppy619 May 31, 2010 @ 8:44 a.m.

There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Shields was targeted for this sabotage by the government, law enforcement and the justice system operating under a corrupted cooperative.

By TargetedinSanDiego

I am shocked that such a thing could happen, set up by dirty cops and prosecutors, SHOCKED I TELL YOU



ctina98 May 31, 2010 @ 11:09 p.m.

Mr. Shields is very, very lucky. And this is why I implore my fellow citizens of California to not fall from the propoganda that our fake lawmakers tout. If we really want safer streets the answer is not to lock people up and throw away the key. If we want to make our lives more safe we need to vote out lawmakers who allow these things to happen, who perverse justice, who are corrupt and believe that they are above the law. We must demand that these officers are fired, that they do not get paid time off or pension, fired and thrown in prison for the crimes they committed. What happened here is disgusting and we should all be afraid!


SurfPuppy619 June 1, 2010 @ 7:06 a.m.

If we want to make our lives more safe we need to vote out lawmakers who allow these things to happen, who perverse justice, who are corrupt and believe that they are above the law.

Yeah, they are all "tough on crime" until they or a family member gets rail roaded on some ridiculous charge.

Reminds me of Randall "Duke" Cunningham who was the poster boy for tough on ctime legislation, right up until the point his son was busted for drug possession and was looking at 10 in the slammer-then Duke cried like a little baby on the House floor begging to change the drug laws....oh the irony.

Or the Riverside Police Chief who was arrested for domestic violence at the Bahia a few years back- with eye witness testimony from a Bahia employee, a misdemenaor charge which would have ended his law enforcement career, yet somehow he magically didn't get charged!

When the clowns who make the rules don't want the rules to apply to them that is when you know you have some serious problems.

If you want to see a good example of this read the SCOTUS case from many years ago Skinner v Oklahoma-it's a riot!


TargetedinSanDiego June 1, 2010 @ 10:58 a.m.

Unfortunately, big government is behind pretty much all incidents like this now. Police misconduct and brutality, as well as corruption in the justice system is already at epidemic proportions and growing exponentially. The cops, while not all bad guys, have tacit permission to conduct these phony arrests, perpetrate the most heinously violent brutality on innocent, law-abiding citizens, falsify police reports and tamper with evidence, and the DA's are corrupt as hell.

Every day there are more and more news reports and stories about the rapidly rising tide of police brutality, phony arrests, grossly falsified police reports, etc.

Things might go well at the lower levels, you might be told "it will go nowhere" by the police or the jail Deputies, but it's the DA's who are so aggressively pushing these phony, trumped-up charges through the courts, AFTER THE FACT.

Threatening the falsely accused victims with long jail sentences, and talking them out of their right to a fair trial is the terrorism the DAs use to put innocent people away and ruin their lives with criminal records that will never be allowed to be cleared, which is a Constitutional right.

Because this is big government at the highest levels, Woody Higdon's attempts to apply justice to the misconduct and corruption within the Oceanside Police Department via complaints to the FBI, etc., will also nowhere. Most complaints of this nature go nowhere, not even with the ACLU.

The ACLU will spend hundreds of thousands to defend someone whose Islamic religious rights are violated because someone looked at them sideways, but innocent people being grossly victimized every day are s*** out of luck.

What kills me is that the police had NO EVIDENCE against Mr. Shields, and yet he was going to be CONVICTED??? WTF?????

Mr. Shields should DEFINITELY sue the State of California, among others, and will probably win if he can find an attorney at this point who hasn't been corrupted. There is ZERO evidence to support the phony scumbag gang stalkers' claims.

As I said, staging dangerous car accidents is just one way millions of innocent people are being framed in the U.S. today by gang stalkers, aka Community Organized Police.

My advice to anyone feeling "targeted" is to get an inexpensive car camera, both front and back, with a small DVR, for evidence, in the event you are set up for something like this. There are inexpensive car camera sets on eBay.


TargetedinSanDiego June 3, 2010 @ 1:29 p.m.

To follow up on this for readers' information:

THIS is your oppressor.


The Department of Justice is spending BILLIONS across the country on Community Organized Police - or COPS - as we speak. They whitewash it all, so it looks very wholesome and upstanding, but the fact is, Community Organized Police are being trained - AT THE TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE - to persecute and destroy innocent, law-abiding citizens. This is the biggest outrage I have ever seen in my life and I can't believe the taxpayers aren't revolting. No wonder there is so much secrecy surrounding their real agenda.



The COPS Office was recently authorized to move forward with a FY 2010 Hiring Program that will award nearly $300 million to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide and to increase their capacity to participate in community policing. In FY 2010, COPS will select hiring program grantees from the existing pool of approximately 6,000 2009 COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) applications.


a2zresource June 15, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

In case anyone's interested:


Personally, I've never been identified as a gang member or as an associate. I always figured that if I got shafted into a jail sentence, then I could spend the rest of my days teaching fellow inmates how to do post-trial motions for effect.

On the other hand, I'm having a good time attempting to get some of the ones hanging out in the 'hood here to get FEMA-certified in comprehensive emergency management. For those who've asked me about it, I figure it helps when they appear in front of a judge. If one is getting bugged out about COPS neighbors, FEMA EMI CEM certification tossed back at 'em might act as a balance.

Also had some success recruiting locals as Proposition 65 private enforcers in the public interest, complete with state AG enforcer numbers. Attorneys for SDG&E & Sempra Energy took notice. The funny thing was that although the local DA sat on her hands and did nothing (not the first time anyone at the Reader site has written 'bout that), US DOJ got guilty verdicts against defendants in the first USA V. SDG&E trial back in 2007. The 7-13-07 press release still shows up when I google "SDG&E guilty"...


realnews Dec. 13, 2011 @ 8:51 p.m.

The so-called defense attorney David Boertje was a tool for not getting copies of the Evidence Log first, letting his client twist in the wind for that period of time second; and third, suggesting he cop a plea. That's hardly the kind of representation anyone should pay for. Boertje was also the tool in this video.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 14, 2011 @ 1:21 a.m.

WOW Patricia Gregory was CHARGED YIPEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 17, 2011 @ 2:37 p.m.

I just ran Dianne Yorks name throught he online court records-she does have one heck of a lot of lawsuits against her.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 17, 2011 @ 2:41 p.m.

Has there been a trial date set for Patricia Gregory yet??? She needs a clubfed vacation!


Ponzi Dec. 17, 2011 @ 7:02 p.m.

SP, I know there was the felony readiness on the 13th of December. I don't know the results of that hearing or any future appearances. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t have access to the up to date status.

So I just follow it and have some sources that tell me what’s next. The victims and others continue to be upset that Gregory has not been “arrested” or taken into custody. From what I know, the court may have just had her go to Vista Jail and do a “book and release.” The Sherriff basically cuffs you at the door, takes your mug shot, does your fingerprint (or LiveScan) and fills out paperwork. Then they release you. So no one should don’ expect any arrest and jail. She probably doesn’t have a prior record and she is not a flight risk, so she will only see a jail cell when the trial is over.

My gut instinct is that she will strike a plea bargain. My bet is she’ll plead to one felony count and accept probation. She will be ordered to pay the victims restitution, which will probably never be paid.


GuestSpeaker Feb. 10, 2012 @ 2:32 p.m.

This is the same lawyer who is on disbarred corrupt lawyer Patricia Gregory's defense team. Her other lawyer is Sean Leslie.


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