It was a bombshell story in 2011, when a sting operation was uncovered in the town of Concord, California. A collaboration between estranged wives and a Contra Costa County private eye, the operation targeted husbands who were either involved in bitter custody disputes with their former partners or were believed to be cheating on them. During a nine-hour investigation with law enforcement, the private eye in question, Christopher Butler said that his clients referred to him as a San Ramon attorney. Some women sought videotaped proof that their husbands were cheating. In one case, a woman paid Butler $2,500 to obtain irrefutable proof that her husband was “seeking other women.” To meet client requests, Butler hired female decoys to drink and flirt with the targeted men, before inviting them back to their homes. One such victim of the sting operation, aeronautics engineer Dave Dutcher, met a blonde woman from Match.com, hired by Butler, at a bar. She made advances toward Dutcher throughout the evening and encouraged the flow of alcohol; she then invited him to go 'hot tubbing' with an equally flirtatious friend. Dutcher is a father of three who had recently separated from his wife. Unknowingly duped, Dutcher left the restaurant with a blood alcohol content of .12. Shortly after pulling out of the parking lot, Dutcher was pulled over by a patrol car. The officer had been tipped off by Butler about a possible drunk driver but was not aware of the sting operation.
The DUI arrest and court case proceeded routinely. Dutcher entered a plea of no contest and the conviction factored into his divorce settlement and custody battle. He was granted less time with his children. As the sting operation came to light, Dutcher has not been given full leeway by prosecutors to withdraw his no contest plea and make a motion to have the DUI effectively wiped from his record. Local outlet Mercury News characterized it as a “stunning reversal of fortune.”
Others have been implicated in the DUI setups, including Deputy Sheriff Stephen Tanabe, who allegedly took a bribe to arrange the DUI arrest of a man outside a Danville bar. Butler's attorney called the operation an "unseemly kind of investigation process,” but insisted it was not criminal in nature. Arguing against the notion that he was entrapping these men, Butler stated drinking and driving was a decision: "You know, he can call a cab, he can call a friend.” Still, he characterized a “successful sting,” as one which resulted in a DUI. Apparently, these incidents date as far back as 2008.
This week, after years of investigation and litigation, the city reached a six-figure settlement with Dutcher in his DUI setup case. It is yet unclear if other sting victims will seek out settlements as well.
If you or loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, do not hesitate to contact Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson. With over 20 years of DUI experience, he is ready to scrutinize the charges against you and fight for your rights in court. Time is of the essence in DUI cases so act soon!