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Huff v. City of Burbank

January 16, 2009

GEORGE ROBERT HUFF, MARIA H. HUFF, AND VINCENT HUFF, PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
CITY OF BURBANK, BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL, ALEX SEPANOSSIAN, DARIN RYBURN, EDMUNDO ZEPADA, CHRIS ROBARTS, FERNANDO MUNOZ, DEFENDANT(S).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Florence-marie Cooper United States District Court Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The matter came on for trial before the Court sitting without a jury, on January 13 and January 14, 2009. Following the presentation of evidence and argument, the matter was taken under submission. The Court now makes the following findings of fact and reaches the following conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact

1. On June 1, 2007, four officers of the Burbank Police Department (defendants Chris Robarts, Fernando Munoz, Edmundo Zepeda, and Darin Ryburn) responded to a call from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School.

2. At the high school, they learned that there was a rumor circulating at the school that a letter had been written by plaintiff, Vincent Huff, (a student at the school) in which he had threatened to shoot up the school.

3. After interviewing the school principal and two students, they learned that Vincent was a student who had been subjected to bullying, that he had been absent from school for two days, and that many parents had heard about the letter and had kept their children at home.

4. The officers went to the plaintiffs' home to interview the family and continue their investigation.

5. On arrival at the home, Zepeda knocked on the door and announced, several times, that they were with the Burbank Police Department. No one responded.

6. Ryburn then called the home phone number. Although the officers could hear the telephone ringing inside the house, there was no answer.

7. Ryburn then called Mrs. Huff on her cell phone. She answered the phone. Ryburn identified himself and asked her where she was. She said she was in her house. He asked where Vincent was, and she responded that he was with her. Ryburn told her they were outside her house and wanted to talk to her. She hung up the phone.

8. One or two minutes later, Mrs. Huff and Vincent came out of the house and stood on the steps.

9. Zepeda spoke to Vincent and told him they were there to talk about some threats at the school. Vincent responded, "I can't believe you're here for that."

10. Ryburn approached Mrs. Huff and asked if they could go inside the house to talk. She said, "No."

11. Juvenile Officers always offer to conduct their interviews inside to protect the privacy of the minors. It is extremely ...


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