Your thoughts on Michael Gressett’s re-hiring?

Some of our regular commenters apparently have been straining at the bit to talk about this situation, so here it is, from the article we carried in yesterday’s print editions:

MARTINEZ — An arbitrator has reversed Contra Costa County’s firing of a veteran prosecutor accused of raping a junior colleague at his Martinez home nearly three years ago, backing Michael Gressett’s claim that the pursuit of rape charges by the District Attorney’s Office was “tainted by political animosity,” according to a copy of the ruling obtained by Bay Area News Group.

In a sharp rebuke of the county, arbitrator Norman Brand rejected six causes for dismissing Gressett, 54, including the rape allegation. Brand ordered the county to reinstate Gressett with full back-pay and benefits. He earned $140,000 in annual salary before his firing in July 2009.

Whether Gressett ever returns to work as a county prosecutor is doubtful. He remains the subject of a 13-count criminal indictment accusing him of raping the former colleague at his Martinez condominium in May 2008, using an ice pick and a handgun. Gressett, who worked in the sex crimes unit, argues that the sex was consensual. He pleaded not guilty in October.

He will likely be placed on paid administrative leave, said Mark Harrison, an investigator working for Gressett.

“He will immediately be placed back on the payroll. He’ll be put on the books today,” Harrison said.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • ralph hoffmann

    Male commenters like the arbitrator’s ruling, female commenters don’t. Congressmen should not be impatient, and “keep their shirts on!”

  • Concord Guy

    Congrats to Mike for hanging tough through all this. The arbitrators report was clear; Bob Kochly, Brian Baker, Paul Sequeira and the gang of defense attorney’s clearly were motivated to lie, cheat and manufacture evidence to get Mike prosecuted and maintain power in the DA’s office. Kochly was motivated by politics and not a search for the truth, which is what his job was. The report also points to Kochly not believing the victim in the case, which makes his conduct even more despicable.

    The other important result from this arbitrator report is the complete validation of the voters rejecting Peterson’s opponent in the election. Who did he run against again? Can’t remember that guy’s name, but that is besides the point. In addition to Mark winning by a landslide, this is just another example of how the voters made the right choice. The next challenge for the new DA’s office will be how to deal with the employees who caused this to happen. Who is held accountable for bringing a dark cloud to that office with 95% of hard working professionals. Who holds the 5% accountable?

    I would imagine the Attorney General’s Office will dismiss the criminal indictment against Mike soon and he will be free to now rehabilitate his good name. If the County Counsel’s Office (the gang who couldn’t shoot straight)can’t convince an arbitrator that Mike should be fired, which requires a standard of proof far less than a jury trial, then how does DOJ expect to convince a jury of his guilt. It is because Mike is innocent and DOJ will not want anymore of this mess.

    Another side effect these cases have is casting doubt on the legitimate cases in which women have been assaulted. It is these cases in which women lie about what happened that makes people doubt the real cases. That is unfortunately going to be the longest lasting side effect of this case. Law Enforcement wants nothing more then to put these losers behind bars, but our job is made much more difficult when women like Jone Doe in this case make up allegations.

  • publius

    The state and local government cannot fire or lay off anyone with out it going to arbitration or a wrongful termination law suit. Jurisprudence has paralyzed common sense. Though the litigious nature of employee vs employer is common in the private sector, the public sector has become a gold mine for lawyers, arbitrators, and ex-employees. The government has created so many rules for it self that it cannot move with out legal action. Weak politicians+public sector unions+lawyers=ineffective, bloated government. As always we the tax paying peaple will get stuck paying more for less.

  • Elwood

    It just goes to show that things are not always what they seem, and we’re all innocent until proven guilty.

    The prosecution should be dropped immediately.

    Gressett will have some dandy lawsuits against the county, personnel in the DA’s office and the beyotch who accused him.

    He’ll never have to work again if he doesn’t want to.

  • John W

    He could be on paid leave until it’s full pension time.

    The case smelled to high heaven of dirty politics from the gitgo. That said, it’s pretty creepy that the former head of the sex crimes unit is a guy whose idea of good sex involves a gun and knife, consensual or not.

  • Elwood

    Re: #5

    My, you seem to have great knowledge of the case.

    Are you sure that the gun and ice pick (not knife) were not just embellishments by the beyotch?

  • John W

    Elwood, I stand corrected about the ice pick. I’ve read the same published reports from the start as you and everybody else. I think the guy got railroaded on the rape charge and that the arbitrator got it right, okay? We have no disagreement on that score. I have no problem if he gets a big settlement. But do I think he set himself up with some really bad judgement? Big time! Let me count the ways. You work in a politically toxic office where you know your situation is already precarious and that people have their daggers out for you. Any idiot knows that messing around with co-workers often backfires, especially for men, even in more benign workplaces. So you decide to go have a kinked-up nooner with a co-worker who has motive to hold it over your head. As Forest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.” And to answer your question, I’ve never read that Gressett or his attorney claimed that she brought the toys, only that it was consensual.

  • Elwood

    So he let the little head tell the big head what to do.

    First man who ever did that.

  • D. Noodle

    Hilarious… It is so funny to me how high and mighty all the idiots in the DA’S office think they are. Their votes don’t count any more than the Average Joe’S despite what they might think. I think they learned that hard lesson, especially all of those contracts that thought if they donated $500 and put up a campaign sign in their yard they would get hired. Their “version” of the truth doesn’t count more either. It was a witch hunt from the beginning. Shame on Jane “Dough” and her idiotic knee jerk supporters. If they weren’t so tanked or so under the thumb of their supervisors, maybe they could have seen the truth. I can’t wait for the civil suits to fly. If I were Paul, Brian, or Bob, I would put my house in some other person’s name because they are going to lose it. At least Bob doesn’t need his BAR license anymore. I think Paul and Brian still need theirs. Maybe Copper Skillet is hiring? As for “Jane Dough”, she better have already spent that $450k because Gressett is coming after it.

  • Elwood

    Well put, D. Noodle!

  • John W

    Re: #8

    Something like that.

  • Concord Guy

    D. Noodle,

    I like it. Wonder if Dan O is giving out refunds. Probably can’t cause he is gonna need that money for his defense attorney when Gressett sues him, or better yet, when he gets himself indicted for bribing a witness.

    I hear Paulie got hired at Mendocino County, interesting, wonder if they did a background check. Doesn’t matter how much dope he smokes up there, he’s gonna get that knock on the door someday with service of a lawsuit, that’ll make for a nice commute to make his court appearance.

    If I were Mr. P i’d enjoy a fine cigar and a nice bottle of scotch while personally signing the warrants for these defense attorney’s.

    Karma is a bitch

  • ralph hoffmann

    POLITICS ISN’T A SPECTATOR SPORT. Where are the blogs on County Supervisor Redistricting and nepotism in appointments. I guess I should just keep my shirt on.

  • Elwood

    Yes and your pants too, Ralph!

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Read the Contra Costa Times, Ralph. If I write dailies on a subject, I don’t often blog them, too. I can only be in so many places at once.

  • ralph hoffmann

    Lisa, I’ve read and clipped your fine articles in the Contra Costa Times on these 2 subjects. You live in Martinez, where at the BOS Meeting was, and went to the Lafayette Vets Hall, as I did, for the study session. You get paid, I don’t. My point is others in the County may wish to comment via blogs on these 2 subjects. Don’t you have a secretary who can copy your articles as blogs?

  • Judy Mayse – Bullock

    I’m very glad to hear Michael’s beating this ludicrous charge. The whole thing was incredibly out of character. I know all of this has consumed him for years and just pray he can get beyond it emotionally and financially.

  • A Friend

    Now that is a reason for celebration. Michael is quite the monster everyone thinks he is. As for the weapons, I don’t think that’s in dispute, it’s whether it was consensual and did she ever use the safe word. Sorry to her daddy, but little girls grow up to enjoy wild sex too.

    The bottom line is Michael had familiarity at the polls. Even though he lost, it’s like when you go to the store, you are more likely to choose the brand name you remember. Anyone who believes Kochly was anymore than Yancey’s puppet is naive and they both didn’t just hate Michael they were ridiculously jealous. Michael quite frankly had it all. He lived what they could only dream of.

    Michael if you read this, you my friend will always have a piece of my heart. Who the heck do you think cried political foul to Cardoza!

  • A Friend

    P.s. I will say he is guilty of being an irresponsible gun owner in my opinion and that pissed me off. But he is not a monster, just very gifted with women!

    Prayers should go out to all and praise God for an arbitrator who had the truth of vision to put Kochly, et al., in their place.

    Hang tough, the truth will be revealed.

  • Terrie Beecher

    I believe that Mr. Gressett was set up by those of the D.A.’s office and that he deserves to be reinstated. Those arrogant a–holes stole my car and bank accounts when they set me up in 2006. But I had no idea when I hired McKenna that he was a creature who’d climbed out from under a rock along with a deputy sheriff, named Tiffany Gaul and especially a special investigator named Joe Kosmicky. They all only wanted the drugs and money that their ignorant snitches told them were hidden in the walls of my house. They charged me with over 10 felonies but there wasn’t any drugs or money hidden in the walls. Even Norman from CNET came to my raids. I was 53, divorced and lived up in the Berkeley Hills. So many knew of my case and also that I’d been set up but no one ever stood up for me and told the truth. My car was forfeited in May ’07,but it was driven the entire time, still in my name. McKenna told me that Joe Marin’s wife loved my car and by the CarFax, I know that someone enjoyed driving my car and added over 5,000 miles from 7/28/06 until it was sold to a dealer in Brentwood. How appropriate that a dealer should buy my car, since all of the court docs stated that I had a felony, no money or job. My car was the result of drug deals. The documents filed with the courts by my prior attorney included all of my records. Since they were ignored, I guess BMW is really a front for selling drugs. The felony conviction, I was supposed to have was a secret and not on my record. I know my ex-husband felt it was illegal and a crime to pay me $10,000 a month in alimony,but the IRS and State of California had no problem accepting the taxes, I paid. I have no idea how my bank accounts were split but McKenna was the winner, he had charged me over $20,000 to watch as I was destroyed. He even bought a star and is a Super Star Lawyer. It’s right there on his website for all to admire. His new office is not nearly as nice and Claudia needs some advice about creating new files.

  • Michael H.

    Yet another example of the dirty dealings of another prosecutor’s office where they sit in judgment of others deciding what cases to charge and take to trial when some of those prosecutors are as dirty as the day is long.

    I am glad the truth came out and I hope Michael sues the county, the individuals personally, collects the money and retires from the DA’s Office and opens a lucrative defense practice. What better spring-board?

  • Michelle

    Sexual preditors dont stop this type of behavior. You get away with this he will do it again he has been a cheater likes to play both sides of the fence. He cant commit to anyone or anything. Make no mistake he breaks the laws and cheats on every woman he has been with.

  • Jon Frost

    Congratulations to Michael Gressett!
    Now you know what hell is like and what it is like being denied Due Process.
    Only if i had my day in court like I should have I would not have gone threw almost 20 years of hell and not having a job that could give me the life style to fully support my family.
    You are lucky to have what you have mike and You have my true sympathy.
    I really mean it.
    Now my only hope is a governors pardon. gee Maybe some body can Help?
    At least I could get my respect back that i lost…Remember that day in Officemax in concord Mike? when I ran across you and tracy?
    I need help with that pardon!
    God bless Mike and I really hope you get your life back fully, I should know what it’s like not having it. I have been without it for almost 20 years.

  • otherwoman

    I personally know Mr. Gressett for 17 1/2 years. We were close friends. I can tell you for a FACT that Michael would NEVER do anything that this woman is accusing him of. He would never do anything that was unwanted by another person. He is a GREAT attorney for the state of California and he is a wonderful Friend! What ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” I am telling you on a hundred Bibles, I know Michael is not capable of purposely hurt anyone!