Charges against one of three Placer sheriff’s officials accused in a jail abuse case last year have been dismissed, according to the attorney for former Sgt. Megan Yaws.
Yaws originally was charged with filing a false report in the case, but that count was later amended to being an accessory and was dismissed Wednesday in Placer Superior Court for lack of evidence, attorney Jonathan Gonzales said.
“At the preliminary hearing the judge found there was insufficient evidence," Gonzales said, adding that Yaws is now contemplating whether to seek legal action against the sheriff’s department.
“The reality is after she’s been in the news and painted as this horrible person, which she is not, it’s pretty hard for her to get any job in law enforcement,” Gonzales said.
”Our office respectfully disagrees with that ruling by the Judge and we are in the process of reviewing several legal options available to us in the case against Ms. Yaws,” said Jeffrey Wilson, Placer County assistant district attorney, in an email Thursday.
Lt. Andrew W. Scott of the Placer County sheriff’s Investigation Division said in an email Thursday, “We are aware of the dismissal of criminal charges against our former employee, Megan Yaws. While the charging and filing decisions on criminal cases rests with the District Attorney’s Office, this dismissal in no way affects our decision to terminate Ms. Yaws. The behavior uncovered through our internal investigation does not meet the standards expected by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The District Attorney will decide how to proceed in this matter and we would refer any additional questions to them.”
Online court records show charges still are pending against Deputy Robert Madden and Officer Jeffrey Villanueva, with both facing a court hearing May 1.
The three were arrested in 2017 in a case announced by Sheriff Devon Bell, who said evidence had been found of excessive force against inmates at the Auburn jail. Since then, a number of lawsuits have been filed by inmates claiming they were abused in the jail, including one that was settled in November for a payout of $100,000 and no admission of wrongdoing by the county.