ailure in his first appeal.
The Administrative Hearing Commission for the State of Missouri stands behind its initial ruling that Ferrelview Police Chief Daniel Clayton tampered with a public record and is subject to discipline from the director of the Department for Public Safety.
That discipline may include the revocation of his peace officer’s license. If so it would end Clayton’s ability to perform duties as a police officer.
In what could be described as a scathing decision handed down on Friday, Dec. 13, the state denied Clayton’s request for a reconsideration of its initial ruling.
It is possible Clayton, within 30 days, could appeal the matter to Cole County Circuit Court. Cole County houses the State Capitol of Jefferson City, home of the Department of Public Safety. If the court sustains the commission’s decision, it is considered final and then forwarded to the Director of Public Safety to determine discipline.
In 2016, Clayton arrested a woman who was a passenger in a car that had been stopped for failing to signal a turn and took her to the Platte County Jail. She was not immediately issued a citation and was released from jail custody the next day.
Several days later, Clayton left two citations at the door of the woman who was a passenger in a car he pulled over more than a week earlier. The citations, one for failing to obey a lawful order and the other for resisting arrest, said the woman refused to sign the paperwork.
At the bottom of the citations, Clayton wrote on the signature line: “Refused in custody.”
But the woman was never afforded the chance to sign the paperwork, the AHC found, and Clayton backdated the citations to nine days earlier.
In its ruling released Friday, the AHC said “there is no question that the director has met her burden by preponderance of evidence to show that (Clayton) committed the criminal offense of tempering with a public record,” adding that most if not all of the points made by Clayton in his request for a reconsideration had already been raised and argued.
Clayton had argued that he was trained to prepare citations by writing the date of the incident in the block next to where the officer signs the citations and by writing “refused in custody” in the block where the defendant is required to sign. Yet Clayton provided no other evidence that shows this is how he was trained to write tickets.
“It is unconscionable to think that (Clayton) was trained to provide false information on a ticket he had prepared,” the AHC says in its ruling, adding that “this is especially concerning since his citation would be used as, or the basis for, a charging document for criminal charges.”
The AHC says Clayton, in his appeal, mischaracterized the testimony of Det. Nancy Penrod of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department when he alleged that Penrod “has only written a few tickets over the course of her career.” Penrod actually testified that she was a patrol officer for more than 10 years and wrote “well over 100 tickets.”
Clayton had also pointed out he wrote the phrase “refused in custody” in small print. The state decidedly rebuked this argument by Clayton.
“Whether or not the phrase ‘Refused in Custody’ was written in large print or not is not a matter before this commission. What is before the commission concerns the false statement made by (Clayton) when he wrote ‘refused in custody’ which clearly Ms. Gilheaney was not in custody when (Clayton) wrote the citations.”
The state AHC goes on to say “while (Clayton) is correct that the report did not provide the dates he wrote the tickets, the evidence is clear that he wrote and signed the report on Jan. 25, 2016. The false entry is found in the final paragraph of his report, where he attests to the fact that “Ms. Gilheaney was issued two citations for failing to obey a lawful order and resisting arrest.”
Clayton “cannot attest to the fact that on the date he signed the report that “Gilheaney was issued two citations.” By attesting to this in his report, it is a false entry in a public record, the AHC rules.
The state ruling issued Friday goes on to pick apart other items Clayton included in his appeal.
“The respondent (Clayton) testified that he was trained to use the date of the incident and not the date he signs the citation. If what (Clayton) said is true then there would be no purpose for the form to include a date box to the right of the officer’s signature since it would be repetitive of what the officer wrote earlier in the citation and therefore has no beneficial purpose.”
The date box, the state points out, is “designed to record the date that the citation was signed by the reporting officer for the benefit of the court, prosecuting attorney and the defendant.”
The AHC ruling on Friday says Clayton’s motion “has not identified any evidence that undercuts this commission’s finding that (Clayton) is subject to discipline for committing the crime of tampering with a public record.”