Are you a Criminal Justice alumnus, or a Sac State alumnus working in a related field?

If you would like to be featured in our department, contact Donna at vasiliou@csus.edu for more information.

Alumni in Criminal Justice

Joseph Gutheinz, '78 and '79 (Criminal Justice)

Joe Gutheinz holds 6 college degrees, to include a BA ('78) and MA ('79) in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento.  He also holds 6 teaching credentials and 10 law licenses, to include a law license from the United States Supreme Court.  At Sac State, Joe was the founder, and then the President, of a student group for 4 years; appointed to serve on the Criminal Justice Student Council and was an early advocate of bringing the Army R.O.T.C. to Sac State.  Joe went on to over 20 years of Federal Service, initially as an Army military intelligence officer and aviator. He then took that combination of experience together with his education he secured as a criminal justice major at Sac State to serve as a Special Agent and a Senior Special Agent with three agencies, the FAA Civil Aviation Security, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General and NASA’s Office of Inspector General. He graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s Criminal Center’s Criminal Investigator’s Course at the top of his class (Honor Graduate) and from the Office of Inspector General’s Basic Course as the Distinguished Graduate.  Joe has taught for three colleges and one law school. Joe has earned numerous awards from six Federal agencies, one state and 1 county, as well as from numerous private organizations.  For example, Joe is the only Special Agent to earn the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; he has also earned the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency’s Career Achievement Award; the NASA Superior Accomplishment Award, Special Act or Service; and  an Honorary Lieutenant Governor designation  and certificate from the State of Oklahoma. Joe was appointed by the Governor of Texas and confirmed by the state senate to serve on three Boards. Joe is the General Partner in the Gutheinz Law Firm, LLP, and in 2014, Joe was designated as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Joe has been quoted in newspapers and appeared on television and radio news programs all over the world, principally talking about aviation security and about NASA (space) related topics. However, it is his NASA cases and a project he has run with over 1,000 students that still bring him the most recognition. Labeled the Moon Rock Hunter by the New York Times, Irish Times and Brad Meltzer, Host of History Chanel 2’s Lost History, Joe has been featured in 5 television shows and documentaries to date, to include “Missing Moon Rocks”, which won an Emmy in 2015 for Best Historical Documentary.  He was a consultant for one episode of NCIS, about a moon rock. He is presently filming a full length movie by Statement Pictures, entitled Operation Lunar Eclipse, about his 1998 sting operation of the same name, where he led and went undercover as an agent, with financial backing of H. Ross Perot, to recover the Honduras Goodwill Moon Rock, valued at 5 million dollars. Joe’s students have helped recover 79 Apollo era moon rocks and Joe along with one of those students is presently written up on a plaque in the West Virginia State Museum, next to a moon rock that his student is credited with recovering.  Other cases which are the subject of past books or stories and are now being discussed for future movies are his 1997 investigation of the Russian Space Station’s fire and collision; and his investigation of an Astronaut Impersonator who talked his way into Mission Control, secured the schematics to the space shuttle propulsion system and secured VIP tours of Navy bases.