Although it’s a case that has gone on for a while, the Los Angeles Times had an excellent in depth look at the case of the PTA mom, who went to a school in Irvine, and was framed for drugs while at the school.
At the Plaza Vista school in Irvine, Kelli Peters was a PTA mom and volunteer at the Plaza Vista school in Irvine. One day, the police apprehended her, searched her car, and found drugs, specifically bags of marijuana, Vicodin and Percocet in Kelli Peters’ car in February 2011.
Before then, in February 2010, Jill Easter arrived to pick up her son and was upset that he wasn’t waiting in front of the school, Peters spoke to Jill. Peters told her that her son may have been “slow to line up,” a comment that Easter apparently mistook as an insult against her son’s intelligence. As the conflict escalated, Peters said Easter glared at her and shouted: “How do you sleep at night? I’ll get you!”
“Really, from that day on, my life was never the same,” Peters said.
It turned out that the drugs were planted by a husband and wife couple, both attorneys, who later went to trial and were convicted. Kent Easter’s first trial ended in a mistrial, but the second time he was convicted of felony false imprisonment and spent 87 days in jail. Jill Easter pleaded guilty to the same charge and spent about 60 days behind bars.
Not only the LA Times covered this criminal case here in Irvine, but also the Dr. Phil Television Show, the Orange County Register, the Huffington Post, and other media outlets. As the author of the LA Times piece stated:
“If this had happened a few miles away in Anaheim or Santa Ana, where the cops are busy with violent crime, it would almost certainly have gone differently. Who has 20 detectives to spare on something like this? There are murders every day in Southern California that don’t get 20 detectives. The Irvine PD had the time and resources to investigate the hell out of it, and I think they took it personally because they had been used as a tool to hurt one of their citizens.
There was a debate in the newsroom about whether this could have happened anywhere but Irvine ― whether something about the place’s master-planned, hyper-regulated, hyper-competitive yuppie weirdness fed the Easters’ worst instincts. Maybe the crime could have been hatched in any rich city. But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been solved in just any rich city. “
The victim in the potential Irvine criminal case, Kelli Peters, also has a book that she has authored on the incident as well.
Because both the husband and wife were attorneys, the bar also took action. The bar suspended lawyer JILL EASTER [#198399], 41, of Irvine, and then summarily disbarred her on Oct. 16, 2014, after she had in 2013 pleaded guilty to felony charges of false imprisonment. Because the crime involved moral turpitude, it met the criteria for summary disbarment.
KENT WYCLIFFE EASTER [#199838], 40, of Newport Beach, was placed on interim suspension Dec. 10, 2014 following a conviction for false imprisonment by violence or fraud or deceit.
As it turned out, the husband, Kent Easter, who represented himself at trial, and his wife, who also represented herself, were found liable by the jury, who awarded the plaintiff 5.7 million dollars in a verdict in the civil case. Jill Easter has since changed her name to Ava Everheart.
Irvine criminal defense attorney Paul Meyers represented Kent Easter at trial in the criminal case. Before trial, he was briefly represented by Thomas H. Bienert.