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Who is Sgt. Michael Yore?

Original post made on Apr 29, 2008

The resolution of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre investigation into suspected financial crimes depends on police Sgt. Michael Yore, the case's lead investigator.

Related material:
  • Chief rebuts Daily News article on Sgt. Yore

  • Full text of Chief Lynne Johnson's statement

    Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 5:25 PM
  • Comments (6)

    Like this comment
    Posted by 50 year resident
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Apr 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    "Yore's handling of the Children's Theatre case, which has placed three well-known city employees on administrative leave, their reputations tarnished at least, has provoked widespread community concern".

    I have known Pat for years. Her reputation is NOT tarnished.

    The only reputation that has been tarnished are those who have let this investigation get way out of control.

    Would you please let these employees come back to work - geez!

    It is not like they would try to make a run for it.

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    What has gone wrong here. Everyone should be allowed to return to work as the investigation.

    The reputation of the people handling this case have been tarnished.

    Like this comment
    Posted by RJ
    a resident of Downtown North
    on Apr 30, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Yes, interviews are taped. But police can turn on or off the tape recorder at any time.

    In "false confession" cases that are later overturned, a cop will typically turn off a tape recorder and tell the suspect that he's going to prison for a very long time. But if he confesses now, he can shorten that sentence considerably. A suspect who is innocent but nonetheless figures that he has no chance of convincing anyone of that will often take the "deal" on the spot and make a false confession. What would you rather do, spend 50 years in jail for a crime you didn't commit or 10 years?

    This isn't some far fetched scenario for the Palo Alto Police Department. Remember the 18-year-old Gunn High School graduate who was arrested in May 2002 for supposedly raping a 94-year-old woman at the Palo Alto Commons nursing home?

    Another Palo Alto detective told the suspect that they had surveillance video of him entering the nursing home before the woman was raped, and that he would be convicted. That claim turned out to be a lie.

    The tape of the interview is shut off and then it goes back on again. Then the trembling teen, who must of thought his life was over at that point, gave a "confession" to Palo Alto police. The cops threw him in jail where he remained for three weeks. Then the D.A. got the DNA tests back. No match. Somebody else raped the woman.

    The D.A. insisted that the teen be released. The chief at the time, Pat Dwyer, was so angry that he refused to say the kid was innocent even though he had been completely exonerated by DNA evidence. The chief continued to insist the kid was somehow involved. Even after it came out that cops couldn't identify the person they saw on the surveillance video.

    Later, the city coughed up a settlement -- $75,000. The amount was nothing to the city. The city spends more each month on catering.

    The officers involved in this case should have been punished not only for arresting the wrong person but for scaring this kid into giving a false confession. It would have also sent a message to other officers that this kind of conduct was completely unacceptable. Instead, the chief, by saying that he believed the kid was still guilty despite the evidence, creates an environment where cops will continue to squeeze false confessions out of innocent people.

    BTW, it's interesting how Chief Johnson isn't specific about her claim that the Daily supposedly made errors in its story. She just makes a few general comments about things being out of context, but the Weekly (which always wants to find a way to bash the Daily) doesn't press her to be specific. That's a disservice to the public. If the article, which was based largely on court transcripts, was flawed, how so? Correct the record so that the public has the right impression about how Yore arrested the wrong person for murder.
    Is it possible that she's just trying to deflect attention from the fact that her officers blew both the Children's Theater and Galbraith cases?

    Like this comment
    Posted by Palo Alto - Get Over Yourself
    a resident of Menlo Park
    on Apr 30, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Who the cop is isn't really anyone's business at this point.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Doesn't he have a boss?
    a resident of St. Claire Gardens
    on Apr 30, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I have followed this entire saga with great amazement. First of all the articles mentioned that he flew out to Texas in November to interview the former theater head about theater business practices. So that means, and correct me if I read this wrong, even though PAPD knew that the EPA man burgled the items and was caught with them in a UHAUL in San Carlos they still sent two people to interview the former director in Texas in November. Yet they still shut down a production with kids in the theater in January, as if there was a current danger.

    Now, it has been at least six months of investigation into this theater fracas. PLEASE STOP. You would think that Enron collapsed here in Palo Alto or Kenneth Starr was investigating Bill Clinton.
    Even if some old costumes or travelers checks went missing why is this investigation going on and on and on? And the strange thing is no one in Palo Alto, including the Mayor or City Council seems to have any idea of its conclusion or whether the probe will go on for another six months.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Deep Throat
    a resident of another community
    on Apr 30, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Did the City Manager place the Children's Theater employees on administrative leave on the recommendation of the Police Chief, or was the decision to remove the employees from their life's work and prevent communication among themselves and between them and the public independent of the criminal investigation?

    What event was the reason for the timing of the decision to place the Children's Theater employees on adminstrative leave other than knowledge of Micheal Liftin's terminal illness?

    What caused two investigators to go to Suguar Land, Texas to interview the former Director of Arts and Sciences in late November 2007, about the same time as the City Manager announced his plans to retire on June 30, 2008?

    Like this comment
    Posted by Charles
    a resident of College Terrace
    on Apr 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    RJ - Chief Dwyer may have had evidence that the 18 year old was involved with the crime at the Commons without actually participating in the rape. As long as a case is not closed, the police should not disclose evidence which might later compromise it.

    If you wish to know how the court transcripts are flawed, you have every right to read them and decide the truth of the matter. Or you can ask the chief for one or two errors to support her statements.

    Making innuendos or asking slanted open-ended questions does not help to shed light on the events.

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

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