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Carl Schoppe

Other Contra Costa County Exonerations
On June 3, 2014, police were called to the Mar-Ray Motel in Pittsburg, California after a caller reported loud knocking on the door of room 7.

Officer Elisabeth Ingram responded. She later reported that she curbed a truck in the parking lot and that the driver, 30-year-old Carl Schoppe, and his passenger, Martitza Guerrero, got out. Ingram said that as she approached, Schoppe, with his back turned toward the officer, made a furtive gesture toward the open door of the vehicle.

Ingram reported that she believed Schoppe was putting something into the truck. A search of the vehicle revealed a handgun and methamphetamine on the floor.

Schoppe denied that the gun and drugs were his and Guerrero told Ingram that they belonged to her. He denied that he had made any gesture toward the truck and said he was walking to room number 6 where his sister was staying.

Nonetheless, Schoppe was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of methamphetamine.

On February 2, 2015, Schoppe pled guilty to the gun possession charge and the drug possession charge was dismissed. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

On December 12, 2016, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to vacate Schoppe’s conviction as well as more than a dozen others. The motions were granted and the cases were dismissed.

The prosecution took the action because the police had failed to disclose to the prosecution—and ultimately to lawyers in the Contra Costa Public Defenders Office who were representing Schoppe—that Ingram and another officer, Michael Sibbitt, had been accused of beating suspects in other cases with flashlights. Defense attorneys could have used the information to challenge the officers’ testimony.

The action came after former Pittsburg police Lt. Wade Derby filed a lawsuit earlier in 2016 claiming that he had warned the department and provided memoranda to the Pittsburg police chief that the department was failing to turn over the records to the prosecution and to defense attorneys.

According to a lawsuit Sibbitt and Ingram filed against the Pittsburg police department, they were placed on administrative leave in June 2014 and resigned from the force “under duress” in August 2014. Their lawsuit claimed that other officers instructed them to falsify crime reports and not to report use of force during arrests in order to downplay crimes and present a portrait of a city with a lower crime rate.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/6/2017
County:Contra Costa
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2014
Sentence:1 year and 4 months
Age at the date of reported crime:30
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No