Judge Sends Bal Theatre Owner Dan Dillman To Jail

Sentenced to 4 months behind bars in connection with 2010 confrontation with Sheriff's Department investigators.


Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman was taken to jail Monday after a Superior Court judge sentenced him to 120 days behind bars for for confronting two Alameda County Sheriff's Department investigators in an incident that occurred about 18 months ago.

Dillman's family was trying to arrange $15,000 bail Tuesday to get him out of the county lockup at Santa Rita so he could arrange to keep his movie and computer repair businesses running when he returns to jail to serve out his four-month term.

"I'm heartbroken," said his friend, San Leandro businessman Chris Crow. "This is a first offense with no priors, and a misdemeanor. There are repeat offenders who've committed felonies who've gotten less."

Crow said Assistant District Attorney Scott Ford, who prosecuted Dillman, asked for a six-month sentence, arguing that the Bal Theatre owner had slandered the two sheriff's department investigators involved in the incident.

Superior Court Judge Michael Gaffey instead ordered Dillman to serve four months in jail. The theatre owner also face three years on probation.

Dillman was taken straight to jail after Monday's sentencing hearing at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Dillman said in court that he would appeal.

Judge Gaffey could not be reached Tuesday to discuss the sentence.

The district attorney's office has not responded to a request for a reaction.

Sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the judge listens to the trial from start to finish, adding that "if he thought that was the appropriate sentence, it's all right with us."

Gaffey was a career district attorney before then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the Superior Court in 2005. Gaffey is up for election this year but is unopposed and so his name will not appear on the ballot and he will be confirmed automatically.

, jurors heard two differing versions of what happened on October 12, 2010, when two sheriff's department investigators came to the Bal Theatre to question a contractor who was working there.

Dillman said the investigators failed to properly identify themselves and beat him up. The investigators, Sheriff's Department Sgt. Michael D. Carroll and Detective Terrence H. Montigue, said Dillman verbally assaulted them and interferred with their work.

The jury found Dillman guilty.

In a separate action, Dillman has filed a against Alameda County in federal court, alledging that he was falsely arrested.

Dillman is an outspoken character who has with city officials over issues including what sort of entertainment he can offer at the Bal.

On Tuesday, his eldest child, Derrick Dillman, 19, was running the Bal while his mother, Gina Dillman, and siblings, Joshua and Tianna, were trying to get Dan out of jail.

"Whatever happens we plan on running the theatre," Derrick Dillman said.

This story will be updated if additional details or reactions become available.

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Janet Palma April 25, 2012 at 01:03 AM
While I am glad that the SLPD is not to blame here, I am sorely disappointed at the Sheriff's Department for their attitude regarding this situation. I have previously had good relations with the ACSD staff and personnel, but this outcome really "chaffs ma hide" - as the cowboys like to say. Shame, shame, shame on both the sheriff and the judge.
tony santos April 25, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Sorry about this; hope all works out for Dillman family.
Keith William April 25, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Ok people don't forget Dan was convicted by a jury of his pers, not the Judge or the Deputies. I wonder how many of you passing judgment have even read the police report. Limit your trust in the media, it will make you sound intelligent.
Johanna Dillman April 25, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Dan's father and I would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the support and love that the community, family and friends have shown Dan through this trying time. We know Dan. We know he's a strong man. We all wish him well, wishinging him the Lords protection while away, and all of our Love to keep him company. Stay strong Dan! We're all here for you. So many of you have said that you would help run the Bal in Dan's absense. That is totally a wonderful gesture. And so much appreciated. With the Lords help we're going to see him through all of this misjustice. And pray for a great outcome at the end of all of this. God Bless you ALL for everything your doing for him and his family.
Janet Palma April 25, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Nonsense. While he may have been convicted of something, the judge had it in his power to be lenient with his sentencing based on Dan's previous criminal history (or lack thereof), overall character and contributions to the community. He chose instead to make an example of Dan to show what happens if you stick up for yourself against the Sheriff's Department and that is what is truly despicable - not whether he was guilty of sassing the cops or not.
Leah Hall April 25, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Jennifer Diaz April 25, 2012 at 04:56 AM
He may have been convicted by a jury of his peers but I think the comments here are about the decision made by Superior Court Judge Gaffey and his lack of lenIency in his sentencing.
marianne viscuso April 25, 2012 at 05:20 AM
So sorry to hear this. I do not know Dan... but I do know Derrick. He is a wonderful ..respectful ..hard working young man..and so polite too. Knowing this I am sure being raised by his mother and father that they must be good people. So I am quite sure this sentence was not fair..my prayers to you and your family Derrick.
Wish I could tell you my name April 25, 2012 at 06:22 AM
I've dealt with many police departments and police officers over the past 30 years as a necessary part of my job. Although there are some good cops, more often than not I don't trust them to stand up and be truthful. I'm 100% sure that Dan's version of events is accurate.
Wax and Things Boutique April 25, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Wow 4 months! I've met Dan a few times an although its not enough to say I know him my prayers go out to his wife and kid/kids.
Marga Lacabe April 25, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Keith, I actually have read the police report and it's the police report itself that convinced me that Dan was innocent. In the report one of the sheriff officers accuses Dan of racism and calling him the "n" word. Now, I may believe many, many, many things of Dan, but in a thousand years I won't believe that. I have never met someone less racist than Dan. I mean, here is a man who was chosen by black students as their keynote speaker for African-American Achievement night! So if they lied about that, I can only believe they lied about everything else.
Marga Lacabe April 25, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I'm also not surprised, and not necessarily critical, of the Judge's attitude towards the letters of support. While letters from community members can be good, once they start coming from public officials there is at least a hint of political pressure applied to the judiciary, that feels improper. It's for that reason that I ultimately decided not to write a letter in favor of Dan - though I had originally meant to. I figure that if it left a bad taste in my mouth, it would not impress the judge.
Tom Abate (Editor) April 25, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Thanks for all the comments. I am not sure where this goes as a story but I will make it a point to talk with Dan soon.
Chris Crow April 25, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The appeals process will hopefully provide an opportunity for a happier ending to this story. Dan is out on bail now while he files his appeal.
Ken Briggs April 25, 2012 at 10:27 PM
thanks Chris for letting us know that Dan is out on bail .
Mitch Huitema April 25, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Personally, I find this shocking. Dan may or may not have gone overboard in his reaction to the sherrif's deputies, but that is absolutely no reason for throwing him in jail for 4 months. Sadly, this particular injustice just serves to increase the lack of trust of our judicial system.
Janet Palma April 25, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I've known people who have been sentenced to a few days in jail for drunk driving. Four months for back talk??? Again - nonsense.
Eleanor Mendenhall April 26, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Stand your ground and good luck to you and the family...God be with you!
John Blakemore April 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Do I hear a recall petition for the Judge. He refused to let some important information be presented before the Jury... Dan was Railroaded! It is time to oust these political appointees and vote in OUR true representatives. Bring then out of our communities not the DA's office. Dan was an unfortunate example on many fronts...Sheriff, DA, and Judge... The jury was simple a pawn to achieve what the judiciary want to achieve. WHY? Is it easier to persecute an honest innocent man than a criminal? Absolutely Disgusted!!! Anyone want to do a fundraising Benefit to help Dan and his family out... I'm in... Anyone else?
Chris Crow April 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM
John thank you for your kind offer. In fact, something bittersweet and very heartwarming has been occurring at the theatre since Dan was released on bail. Strangers from the community have been stopping by and donating money, in some case emptying their wallets, to help pay for a really good appeals attorney Dan just interviewed. Dan is a prideful man and I can't see him reaching out for help per se, but I'm sure his family would appreciate any support, financial or otherwise.
Stephen Carbonaro April 29, 2012 at 06:09 AM
I have known a couple of ALCO deputies, both before they started their careers and after, and all I can say is by the time they leave the Academy, they have lost all sense of compassion and fairness. Anyone not in law enforcement is a scumbag, as officers they are above any legal or moral codes, and they can be dangerous, Empowered by the "Patriot Act" and other anti-terrorism laws, some have become terrorists themselves, I don't mean to imply that all officers are this way, but this is what happened to two who were once very trusted friends. Good luck to Dan, as he will be in my prayers. alco
Ken Martin April 30, 2012 at 05:25 AM
I used to have an acquaintance that was a San Jose police officer. He readily admitted that there was definitely a "police mentality" that existed among law enforcement officers. He was not saying this to be complimentary. I think Dan's case supports the existence of such an aberration. Also, we have a problem with "whimsical" law enforcement. Officers are generally acting with no immediate supervision, a situation that allows them to do what they please and frequently show no accountability for whatever course of action they they may or may not take. When they do report to a superior, it is the officer's account that the superior receives first and the "perpetrator", whether the officer's report is correct, incorrect, or biased, has to counter it as best he can. I think this, unfortunately, applies in Dan's case. I hope he can find an unbiased judge (if there is such a thing) to hear his appeal and that he succeeds.
ajazzie May 02, 2012 at 09:27 AM
If he is such an upstanding person then where was his professionalism when they were in his place of business....It sounds as if he became upset with seeing two people of color in his business, where was the warm welcome or greeting, isnt that the way to conduct business. Wouldnt you hear him say, hey how's it going? How can I help you two today? That sort of talk has never been said, and all of you are saying that he is a kind person. Really?
Chris Crow May 02, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Ajazzia...just to clarify Dan was not at the business when these two men arrived. His wife and kids were manning the counter. When the two men came in they did not approach the counter and introduce themselves, though they said they did. Dan's wife and kids stated in their testimony that the two men just came into the theatre and started talking to this sign worker. When Dan's wife asked them what they were doing they simply said "This is a private conversation and took the worker into the darkened theater section of the building. Given the imposter police situation that occurred just weeks before the wife got alarmed at their lack of professionalism and called Dan and let him know she was scared and Dan came back to the theatre. During the incident Dan's wife, and the other sign worker called 911.
Stephen Carbonaro May 03, 2012 at 05:12 AM
And these officers beat him, correct? Professionalism?
Chris Crow May 03, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Yes the medical records reflect contusions to multiple parts of the body, and Dan has suffered a permanent loss of feeling part of his hand. Not to mention this beat down occurred rught in front of his wife, daughter, and son. The medical records were not reviewed by the jury that convicted Dan.
Marga Lacabe May 03, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Ajazzie, I don't think you know just how ridiculous your comment is. Dan has been in conflict with the city because he's hosted - and wants to continue hosting - live events that feature African-American performers and his neighbors have a problem with "the element" that these shows attract. There is a reason why AFrican American students had Dan be their keynote speaker at last year's African American Achievement night.
Sergio Chaves May 05, 2012 at 05:22 AM
I can't say that I've followed the case in detail but here's my two cents. I'm not surprised by the behavior of the deputies. About two years ago I attended the ACSO Citizen Academy and I found many of the deputies to be arrogant, self-righteous and condescending. Also, the sheriff’s department provides security for the court house and they know all the judges and DA; so how could this system be fair and impartial? This is a case of “the fox guarding the hen house.” When you deal with law enforcement, you are dealing with a system that created the rules and controls the telling of events. Having worked alongside police officers there is one thing I’ve learned; many are untrustworthy and they control whatever version of the truth they want to portray to the courtroom. Lastly, if he is found guilty, why waste tax payer money jailing Dan? With all the financial disarray the county is experiencing, why didn’t they just fine Dan and leave it at that.
Bob Vincent May 08, 2012 at 11:23 PM
The Police Department needs to get Dan out of Jail. Tell Stephen Cassidy to get out of the court room and and get Dan out of jail. Dan is probably the top 2 or 3 smartest" high end" people that live in San Leandro. . I was working with Dan to get the San Leandro website able to show streaming videos of the Council Meetings. I talked to Stephen about Dan helping to make this cost effective like for nothing. Stephen told me that we can't use him only his knowlege. What a waste of time for the city and his life and family. The Police and City Politicians need him. I consider him a hero. He doesn't take crap in front of his business or fort. How many people own a Fort? The Bal Theatre is the strongest building in San Leandro... .And guess who owns it?. Get your hands out of your pockets and get to work. Get him out now. Not tomorrow, now. OK.... Make him wear a stupid ankle brace, Whatever. This is the first time I've been deeply upset with the City and the Politics. If I was not working so much I would be chasing down Stephen Cassidy and convince him to step up to the plate to pull Dan out of jail. Both Cassidy and Dillman are my heroes.
DD May 29, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Dan Dillman is a good man who supports the local economy and I support him. Leave it to San Leandro police to let kids shoot each other on E 14th but then harass a local business owner who has brought life back to the historic bal theater. He and his wife have been running small business in San Leandro for 15 + years and service some of the highest profile clients in the bay area. I would be confrontational if police busted in my establishment looking for someone and roughing people up with out a proper explanation. If it has been proven that Mr. Dillman violated law, a fine would be acceptable. There is no reason to waste my tax dollars to incarcerate a well respected businessman over some confrontation that none of us was there to see. Dan is under God's direction and will gladly accept the consequences of his actions, but please do not waste our time and money harassing someone who supports San Leandro when you could be arresting this little thugs making the area unsafe with drugs and guns. God bless Mr. Dillman and his family. I will continue to support his theater and his computer business. The Dillmans are a great family and a friend of San Leandro. Anyone who has done business with Dan trusts and relies on him. Including the government and police organizations. Everyone support your local small business!


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