Valley Improvement Projects

Advocating for Social and Environmental Justice in Stanislaus County and the Central Valley

VIP Protests Lenient Plea Deal for ex-Sheriff

“Justice for Rita! Jail for Abbey!”

Abbey protest2

Picture courtesy of the Modesto Bee’s Andy Alfaro

On Tuesday, June 28th, VIP members and several other members of the community protested the decisions of Stanislaus Judge Ricardo Cordova and District Attorney Birgit Fladager to NOT send corrupt Sheriff Kari Abbey to jail by dropping her murder charge and giving her a ridiculous plea-deal of probation, community service, and a fine.We demonstrated in front of the Stanislaus County DA’s office and marched around the county courthouse at the corner of 12th & I, letting the DA’s office know we won’t accept our local justice system playing favorites with Stanislaus Sheriffs!

In 2010, Abbey and her family were continuing their spree of harassing, intimidating, assaulting, and attempting to forcibly evict their tenants, when they went to the home of Rita Elias. Abbey punched Elias in the face and began to throw her property out of the residence, all for late rent (no attempt of legal eviction was made). When Elias tried to defend herself by picking up a BB gun and a stick, Abbey (who never identified herself as a Sheriff or called any on-duty officers) got a gun out of her car and shot Rita Elias, killing her.

KariAbbeyAndConspiratorsMugshotWhen the Abbey home was searched, 100 marijuana plants (potentially 25-100 pounds), an illegal sawed-off shotgun within reach of Abbey’s children, illegal steroids, and other items that went missing from the Hayward Police Dept. (where Abbey’s boyfriend worked) were found. Abbey, her father, and boyfriend were charged with conspiracy to enter tenant homes and Abbey was also charged with embezzlement for doing some of these acts while on the clock as a Stanislaus Sheriff, being paid with OUR tax dollars!

In court Judge Ricardo Cordova admitted that he had worked with Abbey, but chose NOT to recuse himself from the case, clearly a conflict of interest. Although Abbey eventually pled to unlawfully entering a home, Judge Cordova claimed that Abbey (who he admitted was the aggressor) killed Elias in self-defense; essentially determining that Rita Elias had no right to defend herself from being assaulted and forcibly removed from her own home.

Eventually the charges of murder, conspiracy, marijuana cultivation, child endangerment, and possession of an illegal firearm were ALL dropped. Abbey plead no-contest to unlawfully entering a home, possession of illegal steroids, and embezzlement; ALL misdemeanors. Abbey received three years of probation, 40 hours of community service, and a pitiful $225 fine for embezzling from the Stanislaus taxpayer. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Deputy Public Defender Greg Spiering reacted by stating, “that’s a joke!”

This is NOT the first time our local Justice system has played favorited with the Sheriff’s Dept. In 2009, Stanislaus Sheriff Alfred “Chip” Huskey admitted to having sex with his teenage step-daughter. The victim said Huskey molested her from ages 3 to 11 and eventually statutorily raped her. Birgit Fladager’s DA office gave him a deal of ONE year in county jail (not even prison) and DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER! Sentences that lenient are virtually unheard of, similar cases in the county have resulted in sentences of 6-11 years in prison. Let’s tell the DA to STOP playing favorites with Sheriffs!






Abbey protest1

Picture courtesy of the Modesto Bee’s Andy Alfaro

Download/print-out the flyer in English: Jail for Abbey Flyer

Download/print-out the flyer in Spanish: Jail for Abbey Flyer espanol

Read the Modesto Bee’s article on the protest:

Watch Modesto Bee’s Video of the protest:

Abbey protest3

Picture courtesy of the Modesto Bee’s Andy Alfaro

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