|(For illustration only.)
Patrice Teuton is convinced that her estranged husband, a soon-to-be-disbarred Los Angeles attorney named Mark Teuton, intends to kill her. Her adult son Jonathan is convinced that she is right.
“I am extremely worried for the safety of my mother, my brother, my sister, and myself,” wrote Jonathan in an April 29 letter to the California Bar Association. “I, personally, have witnessed him beat my family members, abuse drugs, [and] threaten to kill people…. If he is not stopped, then he will kill one of us. It’s just a matter of time.”
Similar concerns have been voiced by a doctor who has been treating Mark for emotional problems and has reportedly described him as a violent sociopath. A video of a violent encounter between an erratic, knife-wielding Mark and his terrified wife tends to corroborate that characterization.
If – God forbid – Patrice's worst fears are consummated, LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Julio Jove should be prosecuted as an accomplice. Jove helped Mark track down the would-be victim -- who had been relocated for her safety -- and held her in jail while the estranged husband burgled her home.
About two years ago, Patrice filed for divorce. In January, she obtained an order of protection and moved into a safe house in Orange County. According to Patrice’s attorney, David Scharf, her husband reacted by “threatening to have her arrested” and promising that he would “see her in jail.”
At daybreak on March 20, Patrice was startled awake by an insistent pounding on the front door. When she answered she was shoved aside by several deputies who, without permission or explanation, surged into her home with their guns drawn.
The officer in charge of the thugscrum was Detective Jove, with whom Patrice had spoken three days earlier. Patrice had called Jove after learning that the detective was investigating her in connection with the alleged theft of items from her husband's car.
“Mark had violated the protective order by calling me to say I could get some things belonging to Jonathan [the couple’s 23-year-old son] from his car,” Patrice explained to me. “After we retrieved my son's belongings I found out that Detective Jove was investigating me for some reason.”
Detective Jove later claimed that he was investigating the theft of several items from Mark's car. The March 20 raid was conducted pursuant to a “Ramey warrant,” which indicates that Jove was already planning to arrest Patrice when she contacted him three days earlier. If he had legitimate suspicions about Patrice, he neglected an opportunity to clear the case without further trouble by talking with a cooperative suspect.
Instead, Jove “told me that he had no questions to ask, and no information he could give me,” Patrice recalled to me in a phone interview. “I also let him know about the protective order against Mark, who was stalking and harassing me. Under the terms of that order, Mark was not permitted to call me, and he wasn't allowed to know where I was living, and I explained that to Jove. I also gave him the name of other law enforcement officers who had been in contact with us and knew the details of our situation. I explained all of this to him just a few days before the cops raided my home at daybreak, supposedly in search of property that had been stolen from Mark.”
The property in question consisted of two laptop computers that had been purchased with family funds and would be considered the family's “community property” under California law, since the divorce has not been finalized.
Patrice believes that Mark wanted access to information on the laptop computers dealing with alleged sexual and financial misconduct, which would play a significant role in divorce proceedings. However, Mark didn't know Patrice's passwords, and since she was living in an undisclosed location he had no way of getting them from her.
By inviting Patrice to collect the laptop computers, and then reporting them as “stolen,” Mark effectively enlisted Detective Jove and his comrades as accomplices in a home invasion robbery. The confiscated property wasn’t turned over to the Magistrate’s office, as required by law. Instead, the laptops were handed to Mark, along with an Apple desktop computer that Patrice had purchased by herself.
“After seizing my client's property under the claim of a warrant, Dep. Jove took her computer and her other property and immediately gave it to Mark Teuton,” recounted attorney David Scharf in his detailed letter to the District Attorney's office. “Releasing property that has been obtained under a search warrant is a blatant violation of the law.” The same is true of Jove's refusal to provide the search warrant and the return when Scharf filed a formal request for those documents.
After the police invaded her home, Patrice offered documentation proving legal ownership of the supposedly stolen computers, to no avail. Jove and his comrades weren't there to solve a crime, but rather to commit one.
“In front of my 14-year-old daughter these deputies pushed me, handcuffed me, and verbally abused me,” Patrice told me. “They had no justification for this, and they knew it. They also knew about my health problems” – she suffers from Lupus and coronary artery disease – “but this didn't make any difference. They took me to the hospital, then dragged me off to jail.”
Despite the burden of her parents’ impending divorce, Patrice’s daughter Natalie has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her high school. The illegal confiscation of the Apple desktop computer by “armed government workers” placed her academic life in jeopardy, Natalie explained in a letter to Detective Jove, because it “contained all of my school assignments, essays, and notes.”
Not content to confiscate Natalie’s schoolwork, the intruders attempted to do essentially the same thing to her. One of them led the 14-year-old to a waiting vehicle and told her that she would be in the company of a social worker. The driver was actually Mark's girlfriend, who was a complete stranger to both Natalie and her mother.
“This woman Natalie didn't know kept telling her, `Don't worry, it will all be over soon, and you'll be with your father,'” Patrice recalled. “During the entire trip this woman was recording my daughter and trying to get her to say damaging things about me.”
Patrice would later learn that after she had been arrested, Detective Jove called Mark and told him, “I have your daughter. What do you want me to do with her?”
“I was given sole custody of Natalie, and the order of protection specified that Mark was to have no contact with either of us,” Patrice observed. “He hadn't paid us a single dollar in child support, and was facing both disbarment and contempt of court – yet after Jove arrested me, he tried to turn my daughter over to her abusive father, as well as giving him my address and a huge amount of confidential information he was not legally entitled to have.”
Natalie returned to the safe house, where she stayed with her adult brother until Patrice was released from jail. Once she was home, Natalie noticed that the doors had been left open. A quick inventory of the family’s belongings revealed that someone had taken a black book containing Patrice's computer passwords, as well as two large binders filled with receipts, financial records, and other materials that had been gathered for divorce hearings.
The raid happened on a Thursday morning. Patrice was able to arrange bail by late that afternoon – yet she was held, without necessity or justification, for more than three days. No charges against Patrice were ever formally filed. The purpose of arresting her was simply to get her out of the home long enough for her husband to carry out a black-bag job.
Scharf concludes that while Patrice was held in custody – despite posting bail – her husband, who was forbidden to have any contact with her, “gained access to her home and stole the black book and the two binders containing documentary evidence obtained by Patrice proving Mark was actively hiding assets intended for use in the final divorce trial. No one else on earth would have any interest in these items and only Mark would know that there would be no one at the residence while Patrice was being arrested. It is significant to note that for no apparent reason Jove deactivated the security camera recording system installed by Patrice” before she was taken to jail.
Jove arrested Patrice without cause, confiscated her property and illegally transferred it to her ex-husband, facilitated the near-kidnapping of her teenage daughter, disabled her home security, and then prolonged her unwarranted detention to allow her ex-husband to steal critical evidence in a civil case. Jove did this in knowing violation of a protective order, acting outside his jurisdiction to aid and abet a man regarded as an immediate, and potentially lethal, threat to his wife and children.
“I know Mark,” Patrice was reportedly told in her home by an Orange County deputy who had served papers to him. “You need to protect yourself because Mark will kill you in seconds, and I can’t get here for minutes.”
As Scharf pointed out in his letter to the Los Angeles DA’s office, Patrice would have been able to protect herself – were it not for the intervention of Detective Jove: “The simple fact is that Patrice Teuton's life is in danger and Jove has been facilitating a stalker with his violations of law and perjury.”
Accusations of sexual and financial misconduct are typical in divorce cases, and it’s hardly unheard of for one deeply alienated spouse to obtain a protective order by falsely accusing the other of harboring violent intentions. The fears expressed by Patrice, her son Jonathan, and her best friend, were considered plausible by the judge who issued the protective order. While that isn’t a particularly challenging hurdle to cross, it does suggest that the wisest course of action would have been for Patrice and her daughter to be left unmolested in their safe house until the divorce was finalized.
The husband in this dispute, however, enjoyed the advantage of impunity-by-proxy – that is, he was able to persuade police officers to commit illegal acts under the color of “law.” Detective Jove was in a position to help because he has literally gotten away with murder.
In October 2010, Detective Jove shot and killed a 20-year-old man named Jonathan Cuevas who had been jaywalking across a street on Long Beach Boulevard in Lynwood. Jove rolled up to Cuevas and several friends and flashed a spotlight on them. Cuevas, who was not a criminal suspect, bolted. Video provided by a security camera shows Jove shooting several times at the fleeing man, who falls to the ground and is dispatched execution-style once the officer reaches him.
In his report, Jove dutifully recited from the police officer’s catechism of self-exoneration, claiming that the “unusual behavior” of Cuevas and his friends led him to believe that they were “setting him up for an ambush” – despite the fact that he was the one who initiated the contact. When Jove demanded that Cuevas show him his hands, he “quickly turned his upper body,” which prompted the high-strung officer to shoot at him. As Cuevas fled, he stopped long enough to turn and “blade his body” at the officer, who fired several more rounds.
After Cuevas fell, Jove continued, the victim could be seen “aggressively moving his shoulders from side to side” while screaming, “You f****g shot me!” Honest and rational people would describe this behavior as “writhing in agony.” As someone deeply indoctrinated in the officer safety uber alles dogma and given authorization to lie, Jove insisted that his victim’s death throes left him “in fear for his life,” which supposedly meant he was justified in firing “two to three rounds from his service weapon” at point-blank range.
Jove’s incident report claimed that Cuevas pulled a handgun from his waistband. A gun was allegedly found at the scene, but Cuevas’s fingerprints weren’t on the weapon and there is nothing in the surveillance video corroborating Jove’s claim that Cuevas ever reached for it or threatened him in any way. Additionally, the firearm provided to the family’s attorney as part of civil discovery was not the silver-handled gun supposedly found on the scene.
The video “doesn’t show that he makes a threat to the officer,” insisted Mayra Murrillo, the mother of Cuevas’s son, who was a newborn when his father was killed. “He’s running. He gets shot in the back and he falls down and the officer stands over him and continues to shoot him.”
Seven months after Jove killed Cuevas, the LA County DA’s office, presiding over the familiar liturgy of institutional immunity, ruled that the killer “acted in lawful self-defense” when he shot a fleeing man in the back and then administered the coup-de-grace at intimate range. Last September, the county paid $875,000 to settle a $5 million wrongful death suit brought on behalf of the victim’s son.
No punitive action was taken against Detective Jove, which left him in a position to terrorize an innocent woman on behalf of her estranged and allegedly abusive husband, which is precisely the kind of service reasonable people expect from the degenerate racket called "law enforcement."
Dum spiro, pugno!