A deputy district attorney tried to dissuade a San Diego police officer from writing her a seat-belt ticket and later got a sergeant friend to delete it from the system, a prosecutor told a jury Tuesday.
Allison Debow, also known as Allison Worden, is charged with misdemeanor counts of attempting to dissuade a witness, conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of alteration or destruction of a traffic citation. She is on paid administrative leave from her job at the District Attorney's Office.
In his opening statement, Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy said Debow was a passenger in a car driven by friend and fellow prosecutor Amy Maund, who was pulled over on May 28, 2011, in Pacific Beach because Debow didn't have her seat belt on. The two had just had pedicures.
Debow, 37, became angry when the officer issued them both citations and called her friend, Sgt. Kevin Friedman, Murphy told the jury. Within six hours, the tickets were out of the system, according to the prosecutor.
Debow's father, Frank Worden, was a former assistant chief with the San Diego Police Department.
"It's not what you know. It's who you know," Murphy said.
During the traffic stop, Debow told the officers that she and Maund were deputy district attorneys and didn't violate any laws.
"She (Debow) asked, 'Is there anything you can do for us?"' the prosecutor said.
Debow then said, "I'm going to call Kevin (Friedman)," Murphy told the jury.
When Maund told Debow they could lose their jobs over the incident, Debow replied, "You can blame it all on me if it ever comes up -- which it never will," Murphy said.
Murphy said Debow gave a false statement to a deputy district attorney investigating the incident, telling him she never asked Friedman to do anything.
Maund testified that she was upset by Debow's actions.
"I was shocked about Ms. Debow using our titles (as deputy district attorneys)," Maund testified.
Defense attorney Paul Pfingst said Debow released her seat belt for a moment so she could send a pre-written text message telling her husband that she was "en route" to meet him at a local bar, where he was watching a soccer match with friends.
Pfingst said the officer who issued the citations acted inappropriately by leaning into the car on Debow's side and invading her personal space.
Friedman, who was also charged in the case, pleaded no contest last May to destroying a traffic citation and later resigned from the department.
-City News Service