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Antioch Resident Sued After Helping Police Stop Hammer Fight

Publication Date: 
February 06, 2010
Contra Costa Times
Hilary Costa

Professor Robert Weisberg, an expert in criminal law and procedure, is quoted in the Contra Costa Times on whether witnesses can be sued for making statements to police:

John Trizuto thought he was performing a civic duty when he saw two men in a fight involving a hammer last year and reported it to police. Now that deed has landed the Antioch resident in court.

The man who allegedly wielded the hammer in the incident, Paul Roberson, of Antioch, is suing Trizuto for $7,500.


Stanford law professor Robert Weisberg said he believes a judge will throw out the case because in 2004 the California Supreme Court ruled that witnesses cannot be sued for damages for making statements to police.

"If the statement was false, the person could be criminally prosecuted but not sued," Weisberg said.

Still, Trizuto said the situation is "like a kick in the stomach or something."

"I tried to pull over and do somebody a good deed," he said. "Nobody likes to have any kind of a court date hanging over them."