A former Sacramento police officer on Friday admitted falsifying three drunken driving reports and lying at a state Department of Motor Vehicles administrative hearing.
Brandon Michael Mullock, 27, faces a maximum term of five years in state prison as a result of the no-contest pleas he entered on four felony charges in Sacramento Superior Court. Judge Patrick Marlette scheduled the former officer's sentencing April 19.
Mullock could have been sentenced to 24 years in prison had he been convicted at trial on all 34 counts that were pending against him. Although he faces the five-year prison term, Mullock, at his sentencing, also will be eligible for five years probation.
"That will be up to Judge Marlette," Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher said in an interview after Mullock entered his pleas. "We'll see the probation report and we'll make our recommendation."
Jeff Schaff, an attorney for Mullock, said in an interview that his client received no guarantees from anybody on where or whether or how much time, if any, he will serve in custody, either in prison or county jail.
"We're basically pleading open," Schaff said. "We don't know what the judge will do at this point. There is a possibility (Mullock) goes to prison. There's a possibility he gets probation. There's no deal yet. It's up to the judge. It has to go to probation, they'll make a recommendation and we'll be back on the 19th."
Authorities began their investigation into Mullock after defense attorneys in drunken driving cases reported in 2010 that some of the visuals taken from the officer's in-car patrol videos did not match up with the written reports he prepared.
Defense lawyers also complained that some of the testimony Mullock gave at DMV driver's license revocation hearings strayed from the video evidence.
As a result of the discrepancies, prosecutors were forced to dismiss 79 cases involving Mullock, District Attorney Jan Scully told reporters at a May 2011 news conference, before criminal charges were filed against Mullock in the case.
The DA's Office already had obtained convictions in 73 of those cases before it was forced to dump them, according to prosecutors.
At his preliminary hearing last year, Mullock's report on one drunken driving arrest stated that the suspect refused to take the field sobriety tests, when the patrol car tapes displayed no such unwillingness on the part of the driver.
Computer records also showed Mullock performing an eye-gaze test on a driver less than five minutes after the stop when police general orders require a 15-minute delay.
"What he did was make false statements in his reports, and in some instances he made false statements either in the affidavits submitted to the court or in testimony, usually at DMV hearings," Locher said. "The system cannot function if we're going to have police officers who are going to lie about what happened. We have to rely and depend on the integrity of the police in presenting the facts to the court."
Schaff said that every stop Mullock made that was the subject of the criminal complaint was legal. All of the drivers he arrested were at or above the legal limit for blood-alcohol, Schaff said, including the suspects in the four counts to which he pleaded no contest.
In one instance, the driver's blood-alcohol level hit 0.26, more than three times the legal limit.
"Brandon was a very diligent officer who made mistakes," Schaff said. "I don't think it was malicious. I think he was trying to make DUI arrests and get as many DUIs off the street as possible, and he made mistakes in doing that."
Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.