By Steve Large

COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) – A district attorney has been arrested for DUI. He was arrested, but never booked into jail.

The DA admits what he did was wrong, but cops say not putting him in jail was right.

His name might as well be up in lights here. He’s a big name in this small town. The man who was district attorney for 25 years is now suddenly on the wrong side of the law.

At the Colusa County Courthouse so far this year only six DUI cases have been filed by the CHP. But one of them is against the man in charge of prosecuting all the others: District Attorney John Poyner.

“The vehicle was seen traveling on Highway 20,” said CHP Commander JT Epperson.

But Poyner’s arrest on this two-lane road is unusual not only because of who he is, but because of what happened next. The DA was arrested, his car towed then he was allowed to go home. He was never booked into jail.

Steve: Any time there is a public figure arrested and not booked into jail, you have to ask, was there special treatment.

Epperson: Absolutely not.

Commander JT Epperson says he made the decision not to book Poyner based on CHP policy.

“We have to be able to identify them, they can’t be a flight risk, they can’t be able to cause harm to themselves or others,” said Epperson.

Epperson says in his six months working here, at least one other DUI suspect was not booked into jail — an elderly woman.

Poyner was driving home from dinner with his wife when he was pulled over. He failed a field sobriety and a breathalyzer test.

Poyner would not go on camera, but told CBS13 on the phone, “I made a mistake. I was wrong. There’s no doubt about it. As soon as the attorney general files the charge, I’ll go to court and plead guilty. It is what it is. I feel terrible about it.”

At Poyner’s barber shop his reputation doesn’t seem to have faded.

“It happens in the big city. I think it’s covered up more in the big cities. Local towns you don’t get away with those kinds of things,” said Poyner’s barber.

Poyner says he won’t be taking any time off work. That means he could very well be prosecuting other people’s dui cases, as he deals with his very own.

Epperson says his office releases up to a dozen DUI suspects each year without booking them.

Comments (9)
  1. No More Snake Oil says:


    At the very least, the Colusa County District Attorney’s Office should recuse itself from all future DUI cases, and all cases of any type which involve the CHP, as long as this drunk is in office.
    All such cases should be handled by the state Attorney General, in order to remove the appearance of conflict-of interest.

  2. Mike Smith says:

    By the DA’s own admission he has knowledge of crimes throughout the big cities of America, “It happens in the big city. I think it’s covered up more in the big cities.” I bet the AttorneyGeneral doesn’t launch an investigation. How about he CHP – that stands for Corrupt Highway Police, right?

  3. Cal says:

    The statement by the CHP Officer was complete bull***t. He was absolutely not booked into jail because of his position. The other case he refered to as not being booked into jail was probably another officers wife or something. ALL COPS ARE CORRUPT…along with a corrupt judicial system!

  4. George says:

    Wow, another GOOD cop not booked nor arrested……NOT! Fire them all & replace them with new ones at lower wages and lower benefits!

  5. trj says:

    NO SPECIAL TREATMENT HERE!!!!! But if a regular person broke the law in ANY way it would have been jail. It’s amazing they even let this POS keep his job. Just ORE special treatment.

  6. rmcsticks says:

    I have to agree, this is Bull Sh it. It’s not what you know it’s who you know…Ahhh the good old boys club !

  7. Anonymous says:

    Does Epperson really believe this is CHP policy?, and that someone caught at DUI can’t be able to cause harm to themselves or others?

    A cop apparently tried to rape a Millville CA woman taken into custody, but he apparently doesn’t have to register as a sexual offender because they couldn’t prove that the victim didn’t consent. Maybe it’s policy to get out of a DUI?

  8. Gene Forte says:

    You want to read about public officials gone wild.

    I am being falsely prosecuted by Merced County officials for exposing public corruption. Listen to the recorded conversations with the FBI.

    McClatchy Newspapers knows about it and isn’t saying a word because it involves them also.

    CA District Attorney’s Association Notified of Merced DA Morse’s Ethical Misconduct

    DA Larry Morse, II and Gene Forte, April 1st, 2009.

    (Merced County, California) The Badger Flats Gazette notified members of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) of a recorded conversation with Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse, II and myself, Gene Forte. Links to this article have been provided them for response.

    Morse emphatically states several times during the conversation that if he investigated or filed charges against me he would be violating his ethical duties as a prosecutor, and California statutory codes.

    So why did he investigate and file the charges he said he couldn’t?

    Morse stated the reason why the conflict existed was due to the fact that:

    1. Morse was the defendant and I was the plaintiff in the civil case management conference I was arrested at.

    2. Five of his Assistant Deputy DA’s were witnesses to my arrest which would need to be investigated and charged. . . . → Read More: CA DA’s notified of Merced DA Morse’s Ethical Misconduct

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