Stanislaus bailiff on leave in wake of federal investigation, sheriff says

A longtime Stanislaus County bailiff has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a federal investigation, Sheriff Adam Christianson said Monday.

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy Dave Swanson was placed on leave Feb. 5, the same day he was escorted out of the courthouse. That was five days after a valley gang task force served search warrants at a Denair motorcycle shop owned by former sheriff's deputy Robert Cliff Holloway, at his Turlock home and his son's home west of Modesto.

Federal and local authorities won't say whether the incidents are linked.

"At some point it will all come out," FBI spokesman Steve Dupre said Monday. "But we're not going to comment right now."

What investigators are looking for is confidential because search warrants signed by a federal judge in Sacramento have been sealed.

The FBI is a member of the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, which carried out the Feb. 1 raids at Holloway's business, home and his son's home.

On the same day those searches occurred, Holloway's wife, Kathryn Holloway, was placed on administrative leave from her job as deputy city clerk and executive secretary for the city of Ceres.

Robert Holloway on Monday night said he and his wife would not comment on the investigation or his wife's employment.

She has worked at Ceres City Hall since September 2006, said City Manager Brad Kilger. He said he could not comment when asked why Holloway was placed on administrative leave, because it's a personnel matter.

Kathryn Holloway worked for the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department from 1980 to 2005, including a stint as a secretary for sheriff's Capt. Raul DeLeon.

DeLeon was placed on administrative leave in early December pending the completion of a federal investigation and has yet to return to duty, Christianson said.

Swanson was escorted out of the courthouse Feb. 5, said Mike Tozzi, executive officer of the Stanislaus County Superior Court. He would not say who escorted Swanson and neither would Christianson.

When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Swanson said his supervisor escorted him. But he declined to comment further.

Christianson said Swanson was hired as a deputy marshal by the Stanislaus County Marshal's Office in December 1982.

Back then in Stanislaus County, the Marshal's Office was in charge of security and serving papers for the Municipal Court. The Sheriff's Department performed the same duties for the Superior Court.

That changed on March 1, 1992, when the Sheriff's Department absorbed the Marshal's Office and its deputy marshals, who became sheriff's deputies to provide security for all of the county's courts.

For more than 25 years, Swanson has worked as a court bailiff. Bailiffs are normally assigned to work with the same judge in the same courtroom to ensure continuity in court procedures.

Swanson, 51, was assigned to work with Judge Ricardo Córdova for the past few years in Department 8, which handles criminal cases. But in recent months, Swanson was noticeably absent from the courtroom.

Tozzi said he had seen Swanson working security in the building's lobby and was probably training deputies new to the courthouse.

He said Swanson was set to retire the same week he was placed on administrative leave, and courthouse employees held a going-away party for him this past weekend.

The party had been planned and "had nothing to do with this incident," Tozzi said.

Christianson declined to comment when asked about Swanson's retirement, because he said it would not be appropriate to talk about a personnel issue.

Holloway, 60, retired on disability in 1985 from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department after a drunken driver slammed head-on into his patrol car. In July 1997, Holloway confronted a career criminal who tried to rob his motorcycle shop, Road Dog Cycle, accidentally shooting and killing the man during a scuffle. Prosecutors filed a murder charge against Holloway, but a jury returned a not guilty verdict in 2001.

On Thursday, federal agents and members of a valley gang task force descended on Road Dog Cycle for a second time. Unlike the previous raid, when investigators used force to gain entry to the motorcycle shop as well as the home of the owner's son, Brent Holloway, 35, they came and went without much commotion.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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