Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Former Sheriff Thomas Responds

I guess one good publishing of a post by me deserves another by the former sheriff:

Sorry, but I can't let it go by. According to a "former campaign staffer", I committed a number of sins.

#1 – That I changed from Republican to Democrat. True, but not at the time and for the reasons "staffer" suggests. I was running in 1986 against Sheriff John Carpenter. As we were both Republican's, we were invited to Barney Klinger's home in Hope Ranch for a campaign function. We were being introduced and Ken Petit was there as a guest of Howard Menzel. Petit was running for Clerk-Recorder. When Howard ( a republican) asked them to introduce Ken, they refused . . . because Ken was a democrat.

Being new to politics, my wife and I decided at that point that we did not want to be in a political party that refused to recognize the existence of another human being. We re-registered as democrats. Ken and I are not the best of friends any longer but I believe he will confirm the story. After a number of years, I found that hard-core democrats were much the same as hard-core republicans, and I changed back. Believe it or not - that's the truth.

#2 - On the issue of the law suit by Dale and Lia Schade. Of course I know about the investigation of the Schade's - I ordered it. Lia recently testified that that I started that investigation because her husband, former Lieutenant Dale Schade, said in 1999 that he might run for sheriff. Trouble is, the narcotics and money laundering investigation against them started in 1997 - two years earlier.

There is an inference that a Federal Court found guilt in a law suit against me, the Sheriff's Department, and the County. Again - not true. The county had filed a motion for summary judgment against the 8 claims made by the Schade's in a civil rights violation law suit. All but 2 were dismissed - one, a claim against one of the investigators and another against me and an investigator. That meant that they could go forward with a civil suit had they chosen to do so. Rather than go to Federal Court in LA with all the costs and the POTENTIAL of a loss, the county decided to settle the case for $2.35 million in 2005 . . . 3 years after I retired.

I would have opposed the settlement and gone to court. The claim against me was that I should have know the affidavit for a search warrant lacked probable cause- I did not. A search warrant is written by law enforcement, scrutinized by the DA, and again scrutinized and signed by a Superior Court Judge before being served. As Sheriff, after that level of review, it is normally believed that probable cause was present, or the DA and Judge would not have approved it.

An interesting side note - during the case, Lia Schade served as Jim Anderson's campaign treasurer during his 2002 campaign for Sheriff. After he won, the case settled.

My e-mail is and my personal cell # is 680-2345. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I will be happy to set the record straight. Jim Thomas, signed in as another anonymous.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe Anthony Simmons left all that off his mailer and his website. He must have been running short on space.

6/01/2006 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

When Das is elected to the board there will be greater oversight on this department. He will require that all law enforcment officers treat non native born working americans with respect. The sheriffs department must learn to protect the rights of those who are being victimzed by George Bush and his Border Storm Troopers!

6/01/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Vernon Schabert said...

Tony Simmons called me several months ago, before the end of the filing period. He said that he was coming down (from San Francisco) to "help out the Jim Anderson campaign." I can't directly recall if he said he'd be paid staff, but the implication was definitely there.

If Tony spent more than $1k, then he needs to form an FPPC committee and report his funding sources. The mailer contained no indication of a committee name or that an FPPC number was pending. He'd have to send fewer than 2000 pieces to reasonably stay under the threshold.

The piece was strange under any circumstances. Why would Democrats be eager to vote for the guy who stood as a candidate during the failed Gail Marshall recall attempt? This was obviously just a "Swift Boat" attempt to get earned media for a negative hit piece.

Vernon Schabert
Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee

6/01/2006 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but can Das lower the price of gas while providing universal health care and spinning plates on a long stick? Jeez, enough already.

6/01/2006 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well former sheriff, I read your reply and explanations concerning the critical material posted by Tony Simmons on And just out of curiosity I did a Google search on the Schade lawsuit. This highly informative PUBLIC record of Summary Judgment is posted online by the US Federal Courts. Obviously, one should read the entire document to understand why the TAXPAYERS paid $2.35 MILLION of OUR money PLUS attorney’s fees. This little escapade probably cost upwards of $4-5 million when it was all done. The Conclusion is posted below.

Interestingly enough, many of these DEFENDANTS are on your endorsement list; i.e., then Detective Palera (who has since been promoted several times by you) and other current and past employees, most have been promoted to high positions by you and one that was fired for theft of narcotics and cash from the department (all easily researchable via Google and NP archives).

A fascinating insight.....$FILE/CV00-11122AHM.pdf


For the foregoing reasons, the SBC Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment17 against Dale and Lia Schade is GRANTED in part and DENIED in
part. The Court’s specific rulings are as follows:

1. On the face of the Affidavit there was no probable cause to search the
Schades’ residence, their vehicles, Lia Schade’s office, purse, personal day
planner or the Schades themselves. Accordingly, Defendant Means is not
entitled to qualified immunity regarding the facial validity of the warrant.

2. Defendant Means is not entitled to qualified immunity on Dale Schade’s
Franks v. Delaware claim. Defendant Julie McCammon is entitled to
qualified immunity on that claim. All other SBC Defendants are entitled to
Summary Adjudication on that claim.

3. Defendants Birchim and Meyer are entitled to Qualified Immunity
regarding Dale Schade’s purported detention during the search of his

4. Defendants Burridge and Standley are not entitled to qualified immunity
regarding their searches of Lia Schade’s office, car, purse and day planner.
5. As to both Dale Schade and Lia Schade, there is a genuine issue about
whether Defendants Palera and Auchincloss conspired with Means to
procure a defective warrant lacking probable cause. There is also a
genuine issue about whether Palera conspired with Means to omit material
evidence from the Affidavit in violation of the Franks doctrine. All other
SBC Defendants are entitled to Summary Adjudication on the Schades’
conspiracy claims.

6. The SBC Defendants are entitled to Summary Adjudication on Lia
Schade’s unlawful detention claim, Dale Schade’s First Amendment claim, the Schades’ property damage claim, the Schades’ retention of property
claim and the Schades’ claims regarding Andalon’s activities, since the
Schades have now acknowledged that they are no longer asserting these
claims against the SBC Defendants.

DATE: ________________________
A. Howard Matz
United States District Judge..."

6/01/2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, former Sheriff Thomas. But you forgot to explain:

1. Why you helped waste over $1 million of taxpayer money supporting the attempt to unseat Supervisor Marshall.

2. Why you had to waste even more taxpayer dollars settling the lawsuit when officers on your watch beat up a bunch of bikers, a settlement you tried to keep secret from the public.

Were there any actions taken against the offending officers. Did you take any responsibility for oversight?

3. When you crashed the County plane what exactly do you mean when you say you "took responsibility." Did you lose pay or rank or anything? Taking responsibility should have consequences but it did not in your case. Responsibility without consequences sounds rather empty.

4. You got rich helping the DA and news groups exploit the failed prosecution of Michael Jackson.

Would you like to offer any more explanations?

6/01/2006 6:23 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

...and, therefore, VOTE FOR BILL BROWN instead of Dumb and Dumber we got in the choices of JimmyT and the inept incumbent Anderson.

A Sheriff Brown will stand up to any Supervisor Das and keep the autonomy of the Sheriff and not let any Board of Supervisors, led by Das, interfere.

Also do not forget that Das invented adverbs while spinning those plates.

6/01/2006 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found the Schade civil docket case notes posted online too.

I slogged through all of them (including Bezek's filings), along with everything else.

What is notable in the court filings through depositions, is that Mr Thomas is inextricably weaved into all 3 cases - yet leaves the smallest footprint possible in the Carpenter, Schade and Sheriff's Council lawsuits(thus plausible deniability).

6/02/2006 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I too "slogged" through a lot of that, but to me it raises more questions than answers. Mostly, it paints Det. Means as a real villan, but you can't tell me a mere Detective can run a major investigation of a sitting Sheriffs LT. without major oversight from (way) above. Who was that? And why weren't they mentioned? What was their oversight role? Cover up?

So where was/is the FBI in all of this? Seems to me if you have a conspiracy to violate someones civil rights, you have a Federal crime do you not?

6/02/2006 12:59 PM  

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