|For Immediate Release
Case # 12ZF0153
September 10, 2014
ATTORNEY WHO PLOTTED WITH WIFE CONVICTED OF HAVING SCHOOL VOLUNTEER ARRESTED BY PLANTING DRUGS IN HER CAR
SANTA ANA – An attorney who plotted with his wife was convicted today of having an elementary school parent volunteer arrested and falsely imprisoned by planting drugs in her car. Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, Irvine, was convicted by a jury of one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit. This was a retrial of the case, as a former jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, finding 11 to one for guilt. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison at his sentencing. The date of the sentencing will be determined tomorrow at a hearing at 1:45 p.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 41, Irvine, pleaded guilty on Oct. 30, 2013, to one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation.
In 2010, Jane Doe was a parent volunteer at an elementary school in Irvine, where Jill and Kent Easter’s son was a student. Jill Easter became angry with the victim because the defendants believed Jane Doe was not properly supervising their son.
In February 2011, Jill and Kent Easter plotted to have victim Jane Doe arrested in retaliation.
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 16, 2011, Kent Easter drove to the home of Jane Doe and placed a bag of illegal substances which included Vicodin, Percocet, marijuana, and a used marijuana pipe behind the driver’s seat of her unlocked vehicle. He intentionally left the drugs in plain sight in a conspicuous location, where it would be easily visible from outside the vehicle. Jill and Kent Easter were in constant cell phone and text message contact as Kent Easter drove to and from the victim’s home.
At approximately 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2011, Kent Easter went to a hotel business center, near the law firm where he was working at, and called the Irvine Police Department (IPD) non-emergency number and gave a false name and phone number. This phone call was recorded on video surveillance. He told the dispatcher that he was a concerned parent who had witnessed an erratic driver park at the elementary school. He claimed to have witnessed Jane Doe, whom he identified by name, hide a bag of drugs behind her driver’s seat in her car. He also provided a description of Jane Doe’s vehicle and gave her license plate number. Jill and Kent Easter called and texted each other on the cell phone immediately before and after the call to IPD was placed.
IPD officers arrived at the school parking lot and identified the vehicle described by Kent Easter. Officers immediately observed the bag of marijuana upon looking through Jane Doe’s car window. The responding police officer contacted Jane Doe on the school campus and the victim consented to a search of her vehicle. The victim adamantly told the officer that the drugs did not belong to her and she did not know how they ended up in her car.
Jane Doe was detained for approximately two hours as IPD investigated the case. It was determined that the victim was in a classroom at the time Kent Easter claimed to have seen her hide drugs in her car. Jane Doe consented to a search of her home, which showed no evidence to support drug use or possession and did not support a link to show that Jane Doe was knowingly in possession of the marijuana or prescription pills found in her vehicle.
At the time of the crime, Kent Easter had been an active member of the State Bar of California (Bar) since 1998. Jill Easter was also admitted to the Bar in 1998, but her license has since expired.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Duff of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.