Palo Alto lawyer faces retrial for attempted bribery

Richard Chae charged with attempting to bribe an officer, drunken driving

The retrial for a Palo Alto lawyer who allegedly tried to bribe his way out of a driving under the influence arrest in 2010 got under way in San Mateo County Superior Court Wednesday.

Richard Chae, 39, has been charged with attempting to bribe an officer and drunken driving in connection with an incident that happened in Colma on Feb. 26, 2010. At about 2:40 a.m., Colma police officers pulled Chae over on Serramonte Boulevard, according to the district attorney's office. Chae had been convicted of DUI twice before, Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato said.

According to prosecutors, Chae allegedly offered to pay $900 cash to the police officer if he was allowed to go free. When the officer refused the bribe, Chae allegedly offered $5,000, and when that was refused, he said he would pay $35,000, Serrato said.

Chae was arrested for bribery and suspected DUI. When he was searched, police found $1,055 in cash and $135 in casino chips from Lucky Chances casino, prosecutors said. His blood alcohol level was determined to be .13 percent, nearly twice the legal limit.

In November, a jury found Chae guilty of misdemeanor drunken driving charges, but deadlocked on the bribery charge. The retrial is expected to take about five days.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

Does "Palo Alto lawyer" mean he lives in Palo Alto or works in Palo Alto or both? Where is his office? Does he still have a license?

Like this comment
Posted by Search tools can answer that kind of question very easily
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:59 am

The State Bar of California still lists him as an active member, and lists his address as being in San Francisco, though that might not be current, so I won't link. He at one point had an office in Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:16 am

Reapeat DUI offender legislation was signed into law by Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Assembly Bill 1601 takes effect from January 1st 2012.

The bill authorizes Judges to revoke a drivers license for a period of 10 years for persons convicted of 3 or more DUI’s within a 10 year period.

He had 3 DUIs within 10 years but last conviction was before 1601 went into effect.

It is surprising that the State Bar has apparently taken to action on his license to practice law in California.

Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

This is another of those many situations where video surveillance cameras on police vehicles would go a long way towards providing everyone both audio, and video, of the events that led up to this man's arrest.

Without hard evidence that money was offered, it's another case of he said/he said.

Like this comment
Posted by Still Safety 1st
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

I agree with Wayne, so they can truly see what happens, plus the audio and video is very good for folks that drive drunk/drugged or also can happen if you are REALLY tired. . Keep it up Police men, We Truly Need You..

Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

Assuming he is guilty I would take his license away and take it away for longer than may be usual due to his attempt to bribe a police officer. Also, for this aspect I think he should be brought up in front of the bar

Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Imagine working so hard to get your law degree then blowing it by doing something so stupid? Admit to your problem and seek help. Arrogance is a bigger killer than ignorance.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

A "campaign donation" might have been more effective and less questionable from a legal standpoint.

Like this comment
Posted by Beast of Bourbon
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Kudos to the cop who refused the $35,000 bribe and proceeded with the arrest. I hope all of our cops are like that

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

A Palo Alto patent attorney's $35,000 offer wasn't enough to convince a Colma police officer to let him off for drunken driving.

But it was sufficient to convince a San Mateo County jury to convict Richard Chae, 49, Thursday of bribing a state worker, said assistant district attorney Al Serrato.

He faces up to four years behind bars when he's sentenced August 24.

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