FAIRFIELD — A thank you card mailed to a Vacaville police officer that included a $20 Starbucks gift card resulted in prosecutors filing a felony bribery charge against a man the officer had recently ticketed for driving under the influence.
Matthew R. Weber, 29, was pulled over on New Year’s Eve. He admitted Friday to driving under the influence of pain medications he was taking for a recent wrist injury.
During the traffic stop, Weber had jokingly asked the officer something akin to, “How many Starbucks cards would it take for this to go away?” The officer reported later that he had heard similar remarks from motorists in the past and took them in jest.
What made Weber’s jest different was the greeting card and gift the officer received at his office in January.
When Weber showed up for his first court appearance in May to be arraigned for the misdemeanor DUI charge, he and his defense attorney, Denis Honeychurch, were taken aback by the news that Weber also faced a felony bribery charge.
Honeychurch managed to get the felony charge dismissed and Weber pleaded no contest to the DUI. Weber also pleaded no contest to an assault charge arising from a drunken brawl that led to his wrist injury. He received a six-month jail sentence for the fight.
Nothing in court records for the case reveals whether Weber believed a $20 gift card could somehow be enough to tip the officer’s ethical and legal boundaries.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.