Halema Buzayan

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Halema Buzayan, a Davis Senior High School Honor Student and President of her school's Muslim Student Association (MSA), is a central figure in a June 2005 [WWW]incident that was finally covered by the media in March 2006.

It has been alleged that the Davis Police Department and Yolo County District Attorney pursued the case far beyond normal due to the fact that Buzayan is a Muslim. She was arrested for an automobile accident that she was allegedly involved in, after her family had agreed to pay damages to the other driver. Dean Johnson, a former San Mateo County prosecutor and legal analyst for ABC 7, alleged that the Davis Police overstepped their bounds in the following three ways:

Another possible point not brought up by Johnson is that the media did not cover the most serious charges, which contain not only an unlawful arrest but violation of her Miranda Rights and denial of the right to an attorney.

The case was dismissed by the Yolo County Superior Court on April 17, 2006. In June 2006, the family filed a claim of unlawful arrest and several other allegations against the city and district attorney. The full text of the claim can be found at: [WWW]ABC News.

On November 3, 2006, the Buzayan family, filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Davis, the Davis Police Department, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, The Davis Enterprise and individual members of each organization. In its lawsuit, the family is claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress stemming from Halema’s arrest, prosecution and the subsequent attention from the Davis City Council and reporting in The Davis Enterprise [WWW]click for story.

In June 2006, the lawsuit against the Davis Enterprise was dismissed under California's anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute. Since the Enterprise had acquired the tapes of the police interviews of the juvenile legally the Court determined that it was not liable for posting the recordings on the newspaper website. [WWW]click for story

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So far only the Buzayan family's side has been publicly presented. The police cannot comment on the situation because of the lawsuit and pending court trial. EMOSNAIL operatives have confirmed that there is a [WWW]gag order in effect on this case.— KrisFricke


2006-03-23 10:06:32   It is sad that a sixteen year old girl has to have a wiki page made about her over this topic. This case is going to get real messy (and maybe expensive). I brought it up at the city council candidate's forum this last Monday and there were a lot of people in the audience that had no idea what I was talking about because the local press has ignored it. I'm sure the Aggie will do something with it, come the beginning of the spring quarter, because they are a lot less biased than the Enterprise. —RobRoy


2006-03-23 13:48:18   Can anyone fill in those dates so we can get a clearer picture of how it happened? Also, does anyone know what cause it to suddenly be propelled back in the media this past week? I'm guessing because of the hearing this Friday. —AbdolhosseinEdalati-Sarayani


2006-03-23 13:59:32   Well, it hit the media in the bay area, not locally. However, the filing of the lawsuit and release of the tapes of the officer talking could be the cause. —JamesSchwab


2006-03-23 14:01:38   Officer Ly once gave Kristy a ticket for an illegal u-turn - she had in fact made an illegal u-turn, but Ly wrote down on the ticket that her car was the wrong colour, and that it all occured at an intersection a block or two away. So thats all I have to say about Officer Ly. What is Buzayan actually charged with anyway? —KrisFricke


2006-03-23 14:38:00   I think she is charged with hit and run. —AbdolhosseinEdalati-Sarayani


2006-03-27 09:33:53   Both Mayor Asmundson in the KGO story as well as Councilmember Souza in the March 24th Sacramento Bee article "Davis prosecution sparks bias claim"(Metero Section, B1 and B5) have supported the police on this issue. —JamesSchwab


2006-03-28 12:05:06   First of all, some of the sense of racism charges have to do with the nature of some of the comments that Officer Ly makes to himself. Secondly, the news media has made much of the story about the arrest which is a bit baffling because I have seen both cars and not only does the height of the vehicles not line up, but the damage doesn't match. Now normally the law is that once damages (civil) are accepted by the victim, legal action is not allowed. That did not happen here. Third, the victim herself in this case is outraged. Finally, the media has not covered the most serious charges which contain not only an unlawful arrest but violation of Miranda and denial of the right to an attorney. —DavidGreenwald


2006-03-30 15:55:27   This outrageous: Page A9 of the Davis Enterprise shows a picture of Jim Hyde congratulating Pheng Ly who received the David PD's Officer of the Year award on Tuesday. Ly is the cop being implicated in Buzayan case. —DavidGreenwald


2006-04-03 22:36:58   Today, after 10 months since the incident took place, 7 court sessions, God knows how many hours of work from city personnel, yolo county personnel, and "understaffed" Davis police department officers, and after thousands of dollars (I hope not millions) of tax payers' money this issue has not been resolved yet. As a matter of fact Halema's trial hasn't even been started yet. So far, all that has been done in court is submition and discussion of motions, which brings up the following questions:

  1. How much longer time will it take and how much more of tax payers money will be spent before this case is over?.

  2. What are the residents of Yolo county and those of the city of Davis gaining from spending all this money and efforts when we know that even if the judge rules that Halema is guilty she will not be paying the so called victim a single penny more on top of what her parents had already paid before the charges were even filed?.

  3. Why are thousands of tax payers' money are being spent on a case that Mr. Buzayan resovled 10 months ago with only 870 Dollars?.

If this is the way all hit-and-run cases are handeled, both the Yolo county and the city of Davis will go bankrupt just after a hand full of similar cases. What money do they save to investigate, prosecute, and try bank roberries, burglaries, homicides, drive-by-shootings, and other criminal activities that are more serious than a minor misdemeanor such as a hit-and-run. How about using tax payers' money for other important issues such as schools, healthcare, water resources, environment, flood protection, affordable housing, etc. In conclusion, I strongly believe that since the damages were paid for to the satisfaction of the so called victim, the charges should be dropped immdediately so that no more tax payers' money will be wasted on this case and a better chance will be given for spending on just causes. -AnisSury


2006-04-07 18:57:28   I think the police certainly acted inappropriately here, but I don't see any reason to conclude that it has anything to do with the family being Arab. To assume so anyway, and for the Arab Council to become involved, will only exacerbate side issues that shouldn't exist in the first place. I think that the real explanation for this is that some people in Davis want to have an incident of police brutality so they can feel outraged, and they think this is it. I think the real solution is to have a smaller police department that doesn't have time for stuff like this instead of a police review board. This way the same problem is solved with less people and a smaller government.

AbdolhosseinEdalati-Sarayani says below, "Davis cops have a history of making work for themselves where none exists", and the solution to this is reduce the police department so they are busier with real work. There wasn't just one "mistake" here, this was the police repeatedly pursuing this case after it had been resolved civilly and there was not any life or property at risk. Is that what a police force that is too busy would do? Ultimately, treating people badly wastes more time for the police than it will benefit them and they will realize this sooner with a smaller department.

I don't think the city council, city manager, and city lawyer care one way or the other except for however can make the least trouble for them. So I think that if they treat the Buzayan family badly, it is because they are trying to cover for the police department just because they think that will be easier than fixing it. That may or may not be true, but I suspect it comes down to just what they, maybe arrogantly as you say, think is easiest and most convenient. As for the police, you are right that the family may have been personally targeted, but that could be for lots of reasons (and I am not saying there are good reasons). Maybe Officer Ly has a grudge with the family. I don't know, but I really don't want to assume that it is racism or a similarly broad-based discrimination. I think it would be a very bad idea to jump to conclusions about that and if it ever becomes explicit it will look that much more ridiculous. -NickSchmalenberger


2006-04-07 22:46:45   I do not think that this is an incident of racial profiling per se. Davis cops have a history of making work for themselves when none exists, but what Davis cops definitely need is some cultural sensitivity training. From personal experience I have seen how Davis police's lack of cultural sensitivity can exacerbate a normal, harmless situation. Sure if you have the talk and the walk of a white suburban resident you will be fine, but throw an immigrant, person of color, or even a young teenager and a little bit of misinterpretation and you get a nasty situation. They are inadept at handling such circustances. In fact, it seems that any profile outside the "norm" evokes Police paranoia and suspicioun as in this case. As if the Buzayan's were trying to pull the wool over the cops eyes by playing off the mother as the daughter...psh give me a break. —AbdolhosseinEdalati-Sarayani


2006-04-08 19:20:52   In the NCA emergency meeting that was held on Saturday April the 8th, and during his account of his experience with the ongoing criminal charges against his daughter, Jamal revealed to the meeting that in one of the 7 court appearances they had, the judge asked Patricia Fong, The DA deputy that is prosectuing Halema, "Why are you prosecuting this case?". "Your honor, we must convict Halema because she is suing the City of Davis" Patricia responded in front of every one in court.


2006-04-08 21:50:15   Anis: Good seeing you tonight at the meeting. Just want to add this is not the only time Patti Fong has said this. She said this back in either late January or early February. Right after Gonzalez-Leigh took over for Jamal. Whitney Leigh told me this back in early March before the gag order and he was just stunned at her audacity. —DavidGreenwald


2006-04-12 22:36:03   There was an [WWW]article in the Enterprise yesterday. —GrumpyoldGeek


2006-04-13 22:07:26   It must be tough being a police officer. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. You guys are probably the same people who complain that there is never a police officer around when you need one. Yet, when the police do their job you complain they should stay out of your business. A hit and run occured whether or not restitution was paid. Just because this rich girl was able to pay for the damages she caused does not mean she did not commit a crime. A crime still occured. Please reserve your judgment until both sides of the case are heard. I know more about this case then I can say at this point, but I can tell you that there is very strong evidence that this "honor student" is lying through her teeth. —NancyGrisby

.does not mean that she did not commit a crime.”, “I know more about this case then I can say

.there is very strong evidence that
.is lying through her teeth.” Can you tell me specifically, with no need to get into details, which of the case documents did you see to come to these conclusions including your judgment that “the honor” student committed a “crime”. From Dan Noyes reports there is not a single person that was involved in the case testified that he or she saw a hit and run. The so-called witnesses stated clearly in their statements to your “cop of the year” that there was no physical contact between the two cars (review Dan Noyes reports linked above). Also a registered mechanical engineer and a reputable expert on car collisions wrote his report testifying that the damages on the two cars don’t match (review Dan Noyes reports linked above). Well, I don’t have as much access to evidences about this case as you seem to have, but if what you know is as critical as you claim it to be then please bring it out so at least I can make sure that I stand on the right side of the issue. From what I know though, it is a clear-cut case.


2006-04-17 08:25:15   New Girl makes allegations against Officer Ly but does not file complaint, takes diversion, and will not sue. Just wanted to get her story out: [WWW]http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=i_team&id=4089871DavidGreenwald


2006-04-17 11:22:14   THE JUDGE HAS DROPPED THE CASE! —DavidGreenwald


By "The Case", Mr. Greenwald means the Judge has dismissed the case against Ms. Buzayan. The case filed by her family against the police is still going. Please start your rhetorical ownage of the DPD below: (—BrentLaabs)


2006-04-17 18:06:26   See Juvenile Justice SystemSharlaDaly


2006-04-17 18:22:42   KGO Story: [WWW]http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=i_team&id=4090553DavidGreenwald


2006-04-18 10:31:51   Does someone happen to know the case # of either the original hit & run case or the case now against Ly? —also the comments to this page are out of control and in extreme need of refactoring. —KrisFricke


2006-04-20 16:31:05   FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OFFICER PHENG LY, PLEASE VISIT [WWW]WWW.OFFICERLY.COM. I URGE EVERYONE TO HOLD JUDGEMENT UNTIL BOTH SIDES OF THE CASE HAS BEEN HEARD. THANK YOU! —NancyGrisby


2006-04-20 20:05:18   Wow. This is getting really intense. I find it so strange seeing this happen to someone I know.. especially Halema. I see her in the Drama room everyday, and I would really have to say, In response to the comments left about the validity and truthfulness of Halema's story are entirely false, and show that those who made them have obviously never met her. Sorry about the bad grammar, if there is any.. —JulienBiewerElstob


2006-04-21 00:45:18  Commenting on the case dismissal based on “civil compromise”, to me, the out come means three things

1) Halema is innocent, that is a fact. I do not have any kind of legal experience, but I believe that this fact is based on Halema’s very basic human right of being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Before the judge had dismissed, Halema was a suspect but she was never guilty, however, now that the judge has dismissed, Halema is innocent PERIOD. People who still try to cast doubts on her innocence are, in my opinion, in a way disputing her basic human right of being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

2) The dismissal was based on civil compromise. That means that the judge determined that the government had no business interfering in this case beyond the point where the police had facilitated the exchange of information.

3) By his dismissal of the charges against Halema, the judge neither exonerated nor convicted the police, city officials, and/or DA. That is simply because none of these public officials was on trial, therefore, exonerating them or convicting them was beyond the scope of the court in that session. However if the Buzyans decide to file civil lawsuits or criminal charges against these public employees for any reason such as constitutional violations, law violations, or any other misconducts or criminal activities, then these public employees will be on trial, and only the outcome of their trial is what is going to determine whether or not they are guilty as charged.

Picking up from comment number 3 and reflecting back on comment number 1 above, my guess would be that if Halema is entitled to the basic human right of being innocent until proven guilty, then the public employees should be entitled to it as well. However, regardless of any court ruling and aside from the matter of innocence and guilt, “public employees” bear an additional burden of providing good explanations and justifications to the public when authorities and money are used in controversial ways. In this “fender bender” issue, the continuous failure from the part of the involved public officials in communicating with the public in a convincing and transparent manner is one of the major factors that drove the public concerns to become so serious, and drove the public comments to be so critical.—AnisSury


2006-05-02 16:12:34   Is there still a gag order on this case? I'm just curious. If there is, can Officer Pheng Ly still have a website defending himself and his actions. The website is www.officerly.com. Oh, by the way, NancyGrisby is really Officer Pheng Ly's sister named Nancy Ly. She's hiding her identity and is defending her brother. I received some emails from people in Sacramento that Nancy is trying to rally up her community to support her brother on May 2nd at the Davis City Council meeting. My understanding is that their Hmong commuinty doesn't support them because they feel it's not about racism but about an individual who violated another citizens rights. —PattyShire


2006-05-09 09:14:58   Per Officer Ly's letter to the Editor - Cal Aggie 5/9/06, the tapes that were posted on the Davis Enterprise website were removed at the request of the family. We need to remove confidential information that was posted here as a result of the release of the tapes, I believe. —SharlaDaly


2006-05-09 10:05:27   question —BrendaRodgers I'm confused about the confidentiality issue. If the parents willingly went to the media (Their daughter's name and face were shown on TV) why are they now seeking confidentiality? I'm not being argumentative, I'm really wondering.


Brenda, Please see the discussion re: juvenile confidentiality that I've moved here from another page. Also see [WWW]Juvenile Justice System - specifically "Local Rules" of the Yolo County Court. SharlaDaly

Discussion:

2006-04-29 01:47:26   I read the information (DavisPublicServant) posted on the Halema page (See [WWW]Halema Buzayan / Yolo County DA) and also listened to the police tapes on the Davis Enterprise. I understood that Judge Warriner had ordered that the adults involved in Halema's case were to follow the law regarding juvenile confidentiality. Can the Yolo County DA's office decide on its own that these laws no longer apply to a particular juvenile? What's to keep this from happening to other kids in Davis? —SharlaDaly


2006-04-29 01:49:08   Maybe we should now remove the Halema page or at least edit out all reference to her identity. —SharlaDaly


2006-04-29 08:31:50   I believe that Halema and her family waived their right to confidentiality. —WilliamLewis


2006-04-29 08:55:41   I don't believe a parent can waive that right for their child and the Court ordered that the Defense and the DAs office were to follow the confidentiallity laws. Juvenile files are not to be even acknowledged. This does not bode well for juveniles in Yolo County. I think that they should rotate out the DAs assigned to juvenile cases and reassign them to adult criminal cases where confidentially is not something that needs to be grasped. —SharlaDaly


2006-04-29 15:43:13   I'd imagine that parents, since they legally represent their children, and that children have no legal rights (short of against abuse and other direct criminal acts) against their parents unless "emancipated" (that is to say, given their own legal identity), are wholly qualified to waive confidentiality rights on behalf of their children. Furthermore, if the parents weren't of the same party (ie representing their children fully), THEY would not have access to the confidential files either. Suffice to say, I would say unless someone cites something authoritative that says otherwise it is not safe to fiat "I don't believe a parent can waive that right." —KrisFricke


2006-04-29 18:43:37   Even if the parents give their permission for the release of information, Juvenile Court has to approve it. There is a process. See [WWW]California Code - Welfare and Institutions Code Section 825-830.1 Releasing confidential juvenile information to others not on a very specific list and for very specific purposes is a misdeameanor. From what I read in the paper, the DDA made a request to be allowed to release information about the case and it was denied by Judge Warriner. The order was for everyone to follow juvenile confidentiality laws. Information that the DDA released is extremely confidential and, it is assumed, damaging to the child, including the juvenile's birth date, where she goes to school, her drivers license number, description, names and birth dates of her 3 siblings. Why the DDA did this, I can't fathom. Essentially, she is asking the community to become a huge "police oversight" body. Or, maybe the DDA just disagrees with the Judge's adjudication and hopes that this will result in something that approximates her sense of justice in this matter. That is something to think about —SharlaDaly


2006-05-12 23:14:22   Contrary to what has been suggested, the family's side has not been publicly presented. The family's lawyers have declined to provide specific responses to Pheng Ly and the District Attorney's comments, on the grounds that the judge has not given them permision to do so. —LawJuvi


2006-06-13 16:30:42   In September 2003 I wrote to Police Chief Hyde congratulating him on being named to his new position and I told him I hoped he would clean up the Davis Police Department. As someone coming in from outside the organization, I hoped he would make some positive changes and get rid of some of the individuals who did not measure up. The “Hit and Run” case demonstrates that Mr. Hyde has done very little to improve the performance of his staff. The fundamental problems are-
there is too much dishonesty coming out of the department
there appears to be no review of the officer actions,
supervision is sorely lacking and
there is an obvious tendency to bully young people.
The complaint, described above,mentions Officer Ly’s “bizarre conspiracy theory”. This is not the first time Davis Police Officers have arrived at bizarre conclusions – they dream these things up and no one up the chain of command bothers to determine if the conclusions make any sense. —SteveHayes



2006-07-19 19:55:33   Federal civil rights law suit filed last week. Actually only the first part of it. —DavidGreenwald


2008-09-11 00:13:17   Welcome To DavisStevenDaubert


2010-03-26 00:52:50   Why did Officer Ly feel the need to create a personal website to defend himself? This doesn't speak "professionalism" to me, why should he be ashamed/need to explain anything if he simply "did his job." That should be enough. This whole situation is very upsetting. —ArianeMetz

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