News


Police search former editor's home

 

A probation-violation inquiry by officers of the Atherton Police Department, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and the county probation department led to a search for illegal drugs in the Atherton home of Brian Bothun at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, police said.

Mr. Bothun, a former editor for the Palo Alto Daily News and former reporter for the Daily Post, is on probation in connection with a July 2008 citation by the Menlo Park Police Department for being under the influence of a controlled substance, Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department said.

Earlier this year, Mr. Bothun pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possession of pornography and opted to serve a jail sentence rather than accept probation, but this police visit to his home was not related to that case, Lt. Wade said.

During the search, a probation officer found "a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine," Lt. Wade said. Police turned the matter over to the county District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution on charges of possession and a probation violation.

Mr. Bothun was cooperative during the two-hour episode and was not arrested as he is the primary caregiver for someone who shares his house with him, Lt. Wade said.

Atherton police, which deployed three officers to the scene, also had the help of two county probation officers and Sheriff's Office deputies, including a drug-sniffing dog unit. Atherton is not equipped for routine drug search operations and the police force is so small that a call during a search would overstretch its resources, Lt. Wade said.

Indeed, a call came during this incident and Atherton officers had to leave, Lt. Wade said.

Asked to comment on the need for such force for a home search, Daniel Barton, a Palo Alto-based defense attorney who has represented Mr. Bothun in the past, replied: "It's very unusual for there to be a search of somebody who is on (court ordered) drug treatment. I've never seen that before, ever."

Mr. Bothun's treatment is set to expire in November, as is his probation for the 2008 incident, Mr. Barton said.

In a probation situation, police do not need a reason to conduct a search, Mr. Barton noted.

Did the search leave Mr. Bothun's home in disarray? "We always do our best to make sure the place is left as it was when we entered," Lt. Wade said.

"They seldom put things back," Mr. Barton said when asked for a comment.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm

It is unfortunate but the Atherton Police Department has a very well documented history of corruption and falsifying police reports especially against reporters/whistleblowers.

There is a 100% chance they will find what ever they are looking for each time.

By the way it is Not Illegal for adults to have pornography...That was a false statement.


Like this comment
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2010 at 1:04 am

That is so much bull, that they try and leave the house the same as when the entered. By mistake they raided my house and it was a total disaster when they left. They even broke the key off in the lock of the front door.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 9, 2010 at 8:49 am

Simple question: What was the probation violation that warranted a search of this man's home?


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

What kind of call would have all of the Atherton Police Officers leave the scene in the middle of the incident?

"indeed, a call came in the middle of this incident and Atherton officers had to leave the scene" Lt. Wade said.

10 officers conducting a search in a misdemeanor under the influence probation case.

Sounds out of the ordinary.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2010 at 10:55 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"10 officers conducting a search in a misdemeanor under the influence probation case.

Sounds out of the ordinary."

In my experience it is VERY out of the ordinary. I conducted numerous probabtion searches when I was in law enforcement and unless I expected a house full of people, I did it with one or two other officers. I sometimes involved the probation officer, but often as not, I did not. It is not required. In my OPINION this was harassment pure and simple.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

POGO is a registered user.

I have historically been very "pro" police and law enforcement. In the past, when I heard about alleged police abuses, my first reaction was to discount the claims because they almost always came from people with questionnable pasts.

But thanks to the Atherton police department, I now have a very different view of law enforcement and police abuse. I never thought police were capable of the things that the Atherton police have admitted to and I find the other charges against them to be believable.

As I've said in the past, I now have an entirely different perspective when I drive through Atherton, which is probably not so different than what some minorities probably feel as they drive through the town. If you would have told me that my opinion would change so radically, I never would have believed you.

I also have an entirely different perspective when I hear a news story about someone who has been caught with child pornography on their computer. In the past, I had no doubt that this must be a disgusting, vile person. But thanks to the Atherton police department, my first reaction is to wonder if this is just a dirty trick from the police. Child porn is a near-indefensible charge, yet a nefarious cop can easily load a bunch of it onto your computer from a flash drive as they are carrying your laptop to the trunk of their police car.

Thanks, Atherton police.


Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

The entire episode sounds like a deliberate setup and the story, as written by David Boyce, certainly leaves one thinking that Mr.Bothun is an arch criminal and possibly a pedophile.
There are a lot of important details like the 10 (ten) officers needed for a man and a probation violation.
No details about the person who Mr.Bothun is primary caregiver.
A load of details missing and it sounds like a planned harrassment.
A criminal attorney should be called by Mr.Bothun to find out if he is a target of some kind. A professional outside this County seems to find the entire episode "peculiar".
I photograph my Verification Codes for comparison, since I found you make me redo them twice in the past three weeks.
AGAIN JUST NOW


Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Well, just Googling Mr. Bothun certainly opens a lot of information of him as an aggressive reporter and he has been in trouble with the police dept. after making allegations against a former police chief.
He is NOT popular in Atherton. That is for sure.

This story is not over.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Update:
Brian Bothun appeared in court today to answer to a probation violation the county filed as a result of the October raid. The District Attorney declined to charge.

A judge threw the violation out.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm

POGO is a registered user.

And exactly how many Atherton police officers did it take to get this totally bogus charge against Mr. Bothun to court?


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

I think it was 10 Officers including the K9 and Sheriffs Department.


Like this comment
Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Jan 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Here's a link to our current story:

Web Link


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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