RICK von GELDERN
Capital City Investigations
P.O. Box 191342
Sacramento, CA 95819-1342
(916) 447-7009 - office / (916) 730-1148 - cell
Summary of Investigative Experience
1980 - 1988 - Central Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles, California
1988 - Present - Capital City Investigations, Sacramento, California
Owner and operator of full service private investigation office. Have gained in excess of 45,000
investigative hours conducting criminal and civil investigations for public defenders, attorneys,
insurance carriers, law firms, governmental agencies, corporations, and private parties.
Summary of Qualified Death Penalty Experience
People v. Terrence Hodges - Sacramento Superior Court Case #113126
- Lead guilt and penalty phase investigator.
- Result: Mistrial declared in 1993 at conclusion of People=s case.
People v. Thomas Robinson - Sacramento Superior Court Case #95F04763
- Penalty phase investigator.
- Result: Convicted of penal code section 187 with special circumstances and
received jury verdict of life without the possibility of parole.
People v. John Bertsch - Sacramento Superior Court Case # 94F07295
- Penalty phase investigator, moved to lead guilt phase investigator. Appointed
DNA Investigative Specialist in case involving complex and novel scientific DNA
evidence; RFLP and PCR testing. Case involved principally DNA evidence,
(RFLP, PCR and STR=s); was dismissed in 1993 after disagreements between
district attorney and FBI over the reliability of DNA evidence. Referred to as
Sacramento County=s most complex and expensive criminal prosecution.
- Result: Convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in December 2000.
Richard Louis Arnold Phillips - Eastern District of California Case #92-5267-REC
- Habeas case whereby interviews with trial witnesses were conducted based
upon developed information of allegedly perjured testimony.
- Result: pending.
People v. Jesus Cianes Hernandez - California State Defender SPD-98-SA-7302
- State court habeas of capital murder conviction.
- Result: death verdict overturned by California Supreme Court in 2003. Penalty
phase trial returned to Stanislaus County for retrial. Sentenced to life without
parole in 2006.
People v. Norman Whitehorn - Sacramento Superior Court Case #03F01273
- Penalty phase investigator retained as Aexpert consultant@ by the Sacramento
County Public Defender=s Office to conduct penalty phase investigation and to
assist with DNA issues. This 1978 homicide case came to be after a Acold hit@
through the California DOJ DNA data base.
- Result: Resolved for life without parole prior to trial in September 2006.
People v. Joseph M. Nissensohn – El Dorado Superior Court Case #PO8CFF0055
- Mitigation and limited dual guilt phase investigator appointment in 2010. El Dorado
County homicide joined with Monterey County double homicide.
Summary of Qualified DNA Investigative Experience
Appointed “Expert DNA Investigator” by Sacramento Superior Court for work on People v. John
Bertsch in 1999.
People v. Sidney Olden - Sacramento Superior Court Case #113497
- Serial rape case involving circumstantial and DNA RFLP evidence. Received
compensation for 350 investigative hours directly related to development of
opposition to the FBI DNA evidence (RFLP). The crime scene evidence was
processed by the FBI. The rape cases were dismissed prior to trial, primarily
due to the expert witness line up obtained to testify against the FBI DNA
evidence. Mr. Olden was then prosecuted for being a felon in possession of a
firearm and acquitted at jury trial.
People v. Robert Johnson - Sacramento Superior Court Case #94F03242
- Conducted investigation of fraudulent and careless activities of prosecution
scientific expert witnesses and DNA laboratory that processed the scientific
People v. John A. Bertsch - Sacramento Superior Court Case # 94F07295
- See above summary.
People v. Timothy Brantley - Shasta Superior Court Case #96-3305
First degree murder prosecution based primarily on DNA evidence. Reviewed
and investigated chain of custody concerns; reviewed and reported on facts of
case; obtained witness statements, investigated and assisted in the development
of the defense case.
Highlights of Civil Investigation
31 Plaintiffs v. Sacramento Catholic Diocese - Sacramento Superior Court
Conducted investigation over 3 2 years into sexual abuse, child molestation and cover-
up by catholic priests and the church. Settlement of $35,000,000.00 reached in June
Amber Perry v. Budget Rent-A-Car - Sacramento Superior Court
Conducted plaintiff civil investigation leading to plaintiff jury award in the
Sacramento County. Record Sacramento County single plaintiff award of
- Bachelors of Arts Degree - California State University Northridge - Radio/Television/Film -
- Legal Education: Completed 25 units of formal law school studies to enhance and
complement both my professional and legal knowledge of criminal law, torts, contracts, agency
and legal writing.
- Continuing Professional Education – Have attended numerous investigator association
conferences and seminars to obtain legal updates, ethics and privacy rights training.
- U.S. Army, Honorable Discharge 1974
- Battalion Clerk, Chaparral Missile Systems Battalion
- Security Clearance: Secret
- Military Awards: National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Clasp, Certificate of
- Bureau of Security and Investigative Services - Private Investigator=s license #PI-12961 -
Affiliations (Current and Past)
- The PI Group, 2011 Legislative Advocate for 4,000 member network
- Professional Investigators of California Association (PICA) – Legislation Chair 2010, 2010 &
2011 Capitol District Director, 2010 Editor - PICA Investigative Reporter
- California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) – Past Member 1998 - 2010, 2004-5
District Governor, Legislative Committee Member 2005, 2006 & 2007, Executive Director
Search Committee 2006
- Federal Criminal Defense Panel – Eastern District
- Office of the State Public Defender - Contract Investigator
- Northern California Innocence Project - UC Santa Clara Law School – Pro Bono Investigator
- Conflict Criminal Defenders - Sacramento County
- Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action (ISPLA) – Member
- National League of Licensed Investigators (NLLI) – Member
Published Articles - Referenced and Authored
- AThe Business Journal,@ Week of March 23, 1992 - AFor a Private Eye, Marketing is Best
Done by Word-of-Mouth@ (Subject of Article)
- ADocket,@ Sacramento County Bar Association, Volume 92, Number 10, October 1992 -
AHiring an Investigator@ (Author of Article)
- ANews & Review@ Feature Story, Volume 6, No.4, May 5, 1994 - AGenetic Justice@
- AThe Business Journal,@ Week of December 5, 1997- AContractor or Employee? Private
Eye is on the Case@ (Subject of Article)
- AThe Daily Recorder,@ June 15, 2001 - @Old News Equals Bad News For Sacramento
Prosecutor,@ Cover Story, Vol. 91, No. 115 (Referenced investigator)
- ANews & Review,@ Cover Story, Volume 13. No. 31, November 1, 2001 - AThe Mystery of
O,@ (Referenced investigator)
- ANews & Review,@ Cover Story, - AThe Night They Pulled Me Over,@ Volume 15, No. 02,
April 10, 2003 (Referenced Investigator)
- ALedger-Dispatch,@ ACandidates Credibility Called Into Question,@ October 6, 2006,
- “Northern California Innocence Project – Santa Clara Law School, “Keeping Them Honest,”
Summer 2008, (Profiled NCIP Investigator)
Certificates & Training
- 832 p.c. - Firearms Familiarization, 24 hours - 1998
- 832 p.c. - Arrest, Search & Seizure, 40 hours - 1998
- P.O.S.T. - certified for level III peace officer status - 1998
Forensic Training & Experience
- Viewed evidence and reviewed procedures at Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington,
D.C.; Laboratory of Forensic Services, Sacramento, CA; Serological Research Institute,
- Training and consultations with scientists and researchers, including;
1. Dr. Simon Ford, Lexigen Science and Law, San Francisco, CA;
2. Dr. Benjamin W. Grunbaum, University of California at Berkeley, Emeritus;
3. Dr. William C. Thompson, University of California at Irvine;
4. Dr. Daniel L. Hartl, Hartl Laboratories, Harvard University, MD;
5. Dr. Peter D=Eustachio, New York Medical Center, NY;
6. Dr. Christie Davis, San Francisco, CA;
7. Dr. Lawrence Mueller, University of California at Irvine, CA;
8. Dr. Donald E. Riley, University of Washington, WA;
9. Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, Forensic Justice Project, former F.B.I. Supervisory Special Agent.
Forensic and Investigative Workshops
- ADNA,@ Peter J. Neufeld & Jeff Thoma;
- ABasic Principles and Terminology of DNA,@ Simon Ford, PhD & Jeff Thoma;
- AReading Autopsy Reports II -Child Homicide,@ Michael Baden, M.D. & Leslie H. Abramson;
- AReading Autopsy Reports III -Gunshot Wounds,@ Michael Baden, M.D. & Leslie H.
- AInvestigating Crime Labs,@ Kim Kruglich & John I. Thornton;
- APrinciples and Terminology for DNA,@ Walter Krstulja & Gary Sims;
- AScientific/Trace Evidence,@ Chuck V. Morton & Russell Stetler;
- APreparing Witnesses to Testify at Penalty Phase,@ Trina L. Thompson Stanley &
Gretchen E. White, Ph.D.;
- AJuror Investigations,@ Jana Clark, Margot Garey & Russell Stetler;
- AJuror Debriefing: For Misconduct and Learning, A Russell Stetler, Scarlet Nerad
- ADNA Evidence,@ Continuing Education of the Bar, Julita Fong, M.D.
- AMitigating Sexual Homicides,@ Wendy Downing
- APolice Pressures & Confessions,@ John Philipsborn, Charles D. Weisselberg
Capital Case Defense Seminar, Monterey - 1998
Capital Case Defense Seminar, Monterey - 1999
California Association of Criminalist (CAC), Semi-Annual Seminar, Oakland - 1999
Science in the Courtroom for the 21st Century, DePaul University Law School, Invited Guest -
Capital Case Defense Seminar, Monterey - 2000
C.A.L.I. Annual Conference, Desert Springs - 2002
C.A.L.I. Mid-Year Conference, Long Beach - 2003
C.A.L.I. Annual Conference, Reno - 2005
C.A.L.I. Annual Conference, San Diego - 2006
- AProtecting Your Privacy@ - Sponsored by the ACLU, one of three guest speaker panelists
with McGeorge School of Law constitutional and criminal law professors John Cary Sims and
- Testified before numerous Assembly and Senate Committees: 1997, 1998, 2004, 2007, 2008
- Have testified in Federal Court, dozens of civil and criminal superior and municipal court trials
in Sacramento, Placer, Alameda, Stanislaus, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Yuba, and Yolo
Counties. Have given civil depositions, testified at California State Administrative Law
Hearings, Worker=s Compensation Board Appeals, Employment Union and Parole Hearings.
- Have been an invited guest speaker at numerous trade associations’ district meetings on the
topic of state legislation affecting the investigation and security profession.
AI hold him (Rick von Geldern) in the highest regard too, I think, he is probably one of the best
(investigators) there is in Sacramento County, maybe in the state. I have had him in other
cases and I am very impressed with him. I know he is reputable. @ The Honorable Lloyd G.
Connelly, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge, former California State
A....I know of you and your work. It=s always been top-notch.@ The Honorable Jeffrey L.
Gunther, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge
“We have relied on Rick for nearly 20 years for extraordinary professional and ethical
investigation services. His work in the clergy sexual abuse litigation was extremely helpful
negotiating a $35 million settlement from The Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento for 35
victims of clergy sexual abuse. I highly recommend Rick von Geldern.’ Joseph C. George,
Ph.D., Attorney at Law
AWe have worked together on a number of homicide cases in the past, and I have known
Rick=s work to always be of the highest caliber....It is my belief that Mr. von Geldern would be
an asset to any case and I highly recommend him.@ Kevin D. Clymo, Attorney at Law
AWe have relied on you for years for prompt, thorough investigation services, and we=ve never
been disappointed. Without your persistence in the Perry case, we would not have received the
$8.875 million jury verdict in February, 1998.@ Joan M. Medeiros, Attorney at Law
AMr. von Geldern was the investigator for the defense team. I was impressed with his
professionalism. His organizational skills, his ability to locate and obtain necessary records,
and his talent in working with others made him an invaluable member of the defense team.@
Benjamin W. Grunbaum, Ph.D., M. Crim., FAIC
AI know that Mr. von Geldern is an outstanding investigator, that he has first-hand experience
of the FBI laboratory (he and I visited the laboratory together) and that he has excellent skills at
interfacing scientific experts.@ Simon Ford, Ph.D., Lexigen Science and Law