In December 2008, 45-year-old David Dutcher was approached by a woman through a dating site who suggested they meet for drinks at a restaurant in Concord, California.
When they met on December 12, the woman was joined by a female companion. Both women encouraged Dutcher to drink beers and take shots of alcohol. The women then invited him to join them for a night in a hot tub.
Minutes after he got behind the wheel of his car and began to follow them, he was pulled over by a police officer and arrested for drunken driving. A blood sample showed an alcohol content of .12 percent--.04 percentage points above the legal limit.
Dutcher, an aerospace engineer, was divorcing his wife at the time. Not long after his arrest, his wife’s attorney, Mary Nolan, filed a motion to curtail Dutcher’s visits with his children. Dutcher was convicted of drunken driving in 2009 and his driver’s license was suspended for four months.
In 2011, Christopher Butler, a former Antioch, California police officer turned private investigator, was arrested and charged with orchestrating Dutcher’s arrest after being hired by Dutcher’s wife. The two women who met Dutcher at the bar were Butler’s operatives. A police officer who took part in the scheme was waiting to arrest Dutcher after he left the restaurant.
Butler admitted that he was paid $2,500 by Dutcher’s wife and that the women were decoys. He also admitted that he had been paid to set up several other men who were enmeshed in divorce proceedings. He called the set-ups “dirty DUIs.”
Butler identified Dutcher's date as Sharon Taylor, whom Butler claimed was a former Las Vegas showgirl and casino security operative who specialized in infidelity cases and undercover stings.
On September 14, 2011, ruling on a motion brought by Dutcher, the California Court of Appeals issued an order that Dutcher’s conviction be vacated, the charge be dismissed and he be declared factually innocent.
On March 28, 2012, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge vacated the conviction, dismissed the charge and declared Dutcher innocent.
Butler was indicted by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty. He admitted to dealing drugs, framing men for the drunken driving arrests and operating a massage parlor that was actually a brothel. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Also indicted in the schemes were four other men who were current or former police officers, and Mary Nolan, the attorney, who was accused of hiring Butler to plant listening devices in the cars of men her clients were in the process of divorcing.
– Maurice Possley