OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice against a former Oakland police officer for his involvement with a prostitute were dismissed for the second time Monday.
At the end of a lengthy preliminary hearing for Ryan Walterhouse, 27, that spanned many days, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy said, “I do not see a conspiracy here.”
Murphy said he doesn’t think prosecutors proved that there was an agreement between Walterhouse and prostitute Dajah Brown, who testified against him earlier this year, that she would provide sex to him if he tipped her off about police stings in a high prostitution area in Oakland in which she did business.
Murphy said it’s clear that Walterhouse told Brown about police undercover sting operations on International Boulevard on Oct. 13 and Oct 14, 2016, but he said it appears to him that Brown didn’t ask him to provide her with that information and that Walterhouse gave her that tip on his own in hopes that she would have sex with him without him having to pay her for it.
Murphy said, “He wanted to get into her good graces to have sex with her” and said “it was like puppy love.”
Murphy said Walterhouse “was not doing his job” and “was not being a good police officer” but he doesn’t think there was a criminal conspiracy.
Murphy also declined to order Walterhouse to stand trial on a felony bribery charge that prosecutor Sabrina Farrell attempted to add to the case.
This was Walterhouse’s second preliminary hearing on the two conspiracy charges.
On June 26, during his first hearing, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Rogers dismissed the two conspiracy counts against him when prosecutors refused to disclose the name of a confidential informant who brought the matter to the attention of Oakland police, saying that the informant’s safety was at stake.
However, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office re-filed the felony charges against Walterhouse on July 10.
Walterhouse’s lawyers, Michael Cardoza and Jyoti Rekhi, again sought to have prosecutors ordered to disclose the name of the confidential informant but Murphy declined to do so, saying there wasn’t a reasonable possibility that the informant would have information that could potentially exonerate Walterhouse.
Walterhouse, who resigned from the Oakland Police Department last December, is also charged with one misdemeanor count of engaging in an act of prostitution for his alleged involvement with Brown in 2016. Murphy scheduled his hearing on that charge for Nov. 6.
Farrell said she’s “disappointed” by Murphy’s ruling and will review her options for re-filing the felony charges against Walterhouse.
Cardoza said Murphy and Rogers took different routes in their approaches to Walterhouse’s case but both came to the same conclusion that the felony charges against him should be dismissed.
Brown testified on June 2 during Walterhouse’s first preliminary hearing that he gave her his phone number and solicited her for sex after he met her while he was patrolling a high-prostitution area in Oakland last year.
She said Walterhouse stayed in touch with her and warned her about police undercover sting operations on International Boulevard on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, 2016.
Brown said Walterhouse later texted her that she “owed” him, which she assumed meant that he thought she owed him for tipping her off.
Walterhouse’s case is unrelated to a sexual misconduct scandal involving the teenage daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher who allegedly had encounters with numerous officers from Oakland and other local law enforcement agencies.
The charges against most of the officers who were allegedly involved with the then teen have either been dismissed by judges or dropped by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.