Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gary Lee Bullock Murder case proceeds - s-l-o-w-l-y

A high-profile, and complicated case, has to be handled properly.

Bullock special set this afternoon to determine trial date
Bullock diagnostic order and materials to be sent to three court expert witnesses; another chamber conference next week

Everybody's on this one - and there'll surely be national coverage when it finally goes to trial.

Judge Orders Psychiatric Evaluation of Bullock, Predicts Early October Trial Date for Priest Murder Case - Ryan Burns/Loat Coast Outpost
After meeting with counsel in closed chambers conference, Judge John Feeney today announced to the courtroom that he had signed diagnostic evaluation orders for three psychiatrists who will be charged with analyzing the mental health of Gary Lee Bullock at the time he allegedly tortured and murdered Father Eric Freed on Jan. 1, 2014.

Feeney also signed an order regarding funding for the expert witnesses, who were selected by the court on March 10, and he said an index and materials will be sent to the psychiatrists as part of the evaluation.

Upping the game

It's nice to see the changes. The effect of a competent person at the helm.

Michael Throckmorton found guilty this time for assault, sentencing on April 29 - John Chiv/Words Worth
A jury just found Michael Throckmorton guilty of Count 1. Another success for DDA Jackie Pizzo and another success for DA Maggie Fleming's administration for a case previously unsuccessful under the previous administration.
"Bad Boy Michael Throckmorton back in court for alleged assault; Pizzo v Tipps Round 2' will the third time be lucky for prosecution or will Throckmorton go free? - John Chiv/Words Worth
Pizzo vs Tipps same or different result for Throckmorton as Fleming vs Daskal? - John Chiv/Words Worth
District Attorney: Domestic Violence Suspect Found Guilty in Retrial, Could Face Four Years in Prison - Hank Sims/Lost Coast Outpost
From the District Attorney’s Office:

The District Attorney announced that Michael Throckmorton has been convicted of felony domestic violence in a case prosecuted by Deputy DA Jackie Pizzo. In the evening of March 3, 2012, Mr. Throckmorton, 33, strangled the victim in their home, then beat her with the wooden frame of a painting, causing severe abrasions to her neck and massive bruising on her leg.

After a six day trial in front of the Honorable Timothy Cissna, in Department 4 of Humboldt Superior Court, the jury rendered its guilty verdict. The trial completed today was a retrial; the original trial in February 2014 resulted in a hung jury that favored guilt 11 to 1.

The case was investigated by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office. Sentencing will occur on April 30, 2015. The defendant faces a maximum of 4 years in prison.
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Four months ago, if you were accused of a crime, you'd have been smart to demand an immediate trial. There was no way the DAs Office would be able to manage a competent prosecution in a hurry.

It seems things have changed, not just in these cases that are being retried, but some of the newer cases coming in...

Rodney Ortiz murder suspect gets his wish for speedy trial; preliminary hearing on April 7 - John Chiv/Words Worth
Vincent Ortiz who was arrested yesterday for Hoopa shooting has a prior assault and battery case - John Chiv/Words Worth

Benjamin Carter "likely to resolve in two weeks" according to defense - John Chiv/Words Worth

Chiv has remarked that court coverage (and DA Communications) is getting better as well

Interview(s) with Maggie Fleming

KINS Talkshop

ROLLING WITH HUMBOLDT’S FIRST WOMAN DA: WHAT DOES SHE DO? - Kym Kemp

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Graphic testimony... Jane Doe #1

Former Sheriff deputy held to answer on charges against 1 victim, insufficient evidence for other victim's charges - John Chiv/Words Worth
Jane Doe #1 gives graphic testimony of sexual assault and Daniels asking her "Do you like that?" - John Chiv/Words Worth
Witness shows up, Jason Daniels preliminary back on - John Chiv/Words Worth
Material witness against former sheriff's deputy Jason Daniels bails, warrant issued, preliminary hearing continued until April 20 - John Chiv/Words Worth

Chiv is updating...

Preliminary Hearing for Former Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Accused of Sexual Assault - Andrew Goff/LoCo

Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office press release:
District Attorney Maggie Fleming reports that Jason Daniels has been held to answer after a preliminary hearing on two counts of felony sexual assault against one adult victim. Charges relating to another adult victim were reduced to a misdemeanor.

Both victims testified at the preliminary hearing. They described non-consensual encounters that occurred several months apart during 2013 while the defendant was on duty as a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff. The two victims made reports of the criminal conduct in December, 2013 and early 2014.

The case was investigated by personnel from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and by investigators from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Daniels has not been employed by the County since February 2014. Charges were filed by the District Attorney’s office in October 2014.

Mr. Daniels will be arraigned on all three charges involving both victims on April 7, 2015.

Monday, March 23, 2015

UPDATED: "Limmie Curry threw my brother away like garbage but it is Limmie Curry who is garbage"

William Reid's sister, Marilyn Reid, read a grief stricken statement to Judge Cissna before the sentence was finalized this afternoon. - John Chiv/Words Worth

William Reid's sister described the horror of visiting her brother's home and discovering burnt belongings under the leaves touching her feet - John Chiv/Words Worth

"Thanks for the ride operation mind fuck ..." ; Limmie Curry's father sends a cryptic message on behalf of his son

Limmie Curry Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter in 2010 Death of William Reid - Ryan Burns, Lost Coast Outpost aka LoCo

Press release from the District Attorney’s Office:

Limmie Curry was sentenced today in Department Four of Humboldt Superior Court on charges stemming from the death of William Reid in February 2010. Present for the sentencing was William Reid’s sister, Marilyn Reid who came from New York to participate in the sentencing hearing.

During late 2009 through early 2010, Eddie Lee and his girlfriend lived with Mr. Reid on his property off of Three Creeks Road. Mr. Lee introduced the victim to Limmie Curry during the first week of February 2010. Following that meeting, Mr. Reid’s family did not hear from the victim again. After the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department located Mr. Reid’s remains buried in multiple graves around the property, both Lee and Curry were charged with the murder of Mr. Reid.

Each defendant maintained the other was responsible for the death. In the two weeks after the homicide Lee spent thousands of dollars purchasing items such as a large screen TV which was brought to Reid’s home where Lee and Curry had a Super Bowl Party. Curry, during a call to his mother just hours after Reid’s death, told his mother he had just acquired property in Blue Lake, CA.

Lee was acquitted of all charges in the fall of 2014. At a separate trial for Curry, the jury deadlocked and was unable to reach a verdict on the murder charge. Curry ultimately pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and being armed with a weapon in the commission of that offense and agreed to serve the maximum penalty of 12 years. That sentence was imposed today in court and must be served at 85% prior to being paroled. This constitutes a felony strike offense.

Marilyn Reid read two statements before Judge Cissna at the sentencing hearing this afternoon. The first from Mr. Reid’s niece describing Reid’s loving connection to her and the impact his untimely death had on her and her family. Ms. Reid then read her statement to the Court describing the pain and anguish her family has endured, not only due to the untimely death of William Reid, but because of what happened after his death. It is believed that Curry and Lee put Reid’s body on a burn pile located on the property after he was shot to death.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel and the defense attorney was Casey Russo.

"Limmie Curry threw my brother away like garbage but it is Limmie Curry who is garbage"

William Reid's sister, Marilyn Reid, read a grief stricken statement to Judge Cissna before the sentence was finalized this afternoon. - John Chiv/Words Worth

William Reid's sister described the horror of visiting her brother's home and discovering burnt belongings under the leaves touching her feet - John Chiv/Words Worth

Chiv'd: Judge in Egger vs Board of Supervisors tells Janelle to make her political position known,, seek remedy in legislature and points out legal failures

Visiting Judge Arnold Rosenfield heard arguments by County Counsel and Janelle Egger, who is representing herself, regarding her lawsuit against the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. - John Chiv/Words Worth

...The Judge was extremely patient with Ms. Egger who was defensive at times, not able to articulate her position and having difficulty legally supporting her arguments.

Janelle argued with the Judge on law and refused to follow certain legal procedures and suggestions when cornered in court and when the Judge was trying to help strengthen her case. If it were not for his questions, Janelle's presentation would have been even more confusing....

Highlights of Judge's remarks to County Counsel and Janelle.... at the link.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Motion to withdraw Candido Pena's guilty plea denied by Judge Miles

The defendant filed a motion to withdraw his previous guilty plea and the People oppose that motion. Judge Marilyn Miles denied the defense motion filed by Mr. Clanton to withdraw Candido Pena's guilty plea. - John Chiv/Words Worth 3/20/15

..After hearing from both attorneys, Judge Miles said, "Because this is a serious offense, I made sure I took the extra time to make sure Mr. Pena understood the consequences. I find that his plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered. I don't find evidence to withdraw the plea, the motion is denied."...

People file opposition to withdrawl of guilty plea in case involving alleged misconduct/molestation of a minor - John Chiv/Words Worth 3/19/15

Reasons to be optimistic

As previously reported, confirmed by DA Press Release: Three new DDAs hired - John Chiv/Words Worth

March 20, Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced the hiring of three new deputy District Attorneys: Trenton Timm of Scotia; Moksha Chattopadhya of San Jose; and Whitney Barnes of Moreno Valley. All have joined the D.A.'s office this month and all will initially handle misdemeanor cases. Former Humboldt State University Police Chief Lynne Soderberg has also recently joined the DA’s Office as an investigator.
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Good luck, and congratulations.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chiv'd = Scoop'd

Verdict in this morning: Jury finds Bronson Lewis Moon guilty
Previously, when Moon was tried, it was a hung jury. Moon is also currently involved in a family law case.
Passerni busted this morning; arraigned this afternoon! Justice DA Fleming style
He is charged with possession of a concealed and loaded firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, and possession of a concealed dirk/dagger
Repeat felons got money for guns but we pay for their repeated legal fees

William Reid's family allegedly pissed at the Judge and prosecutor for Limmie Curry deal; the person to blame is the one that botched the codefendant case and caused a mistrial for first Curry case

People file opposition to withdrawl of guilty plea in case involving alleged misconduct/molestation of a minor

Candido Pena previously plead guilty to Penal Code 288.5. Today, there is a motion hearing scheduled in Courtroom 2 at 2 p.m. and the defendant is planning to withdraw his guilty plea. The People have filed an opposition to that motion. Pena is represented by private attorney Russ Clanton and DDA Zach Curtis had been prosecuting the case....
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Lost Coast Outpost may be the place to go for breaking news, but Chiv's blog is the place to go for court coverage, not just the high profile cases, but a lot more ... Chiv will be updating these and other stories later today. Click on the links and head on over...

From the District Attorney’s Office: - LoCo

District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced that Bronson Moon Lewis was found guilty by jury of felony domestic violence today. Mr. Lewis who is 33 years old assaulted the mother of his children on November 7, 2011.

Mr. Lewis came to the victim’s home in Ferndale in the early morning hours of November 7, 2011. The victim discovered that Mr. Lewis was attempting to move back into the home and an argument ensued. As the victim was trying to get Mr. Lewis’s possessions out of her vehicle, he started pulling at her, eventually slamming her face into the side view mirror causing a cut to her nose. The victim used a bat to defend herself, and eventually Mr. Lewis left her home.

The case was investigated by the Ferndale Police Department. Sentencing will occur on April 30, 2015. He is facing a maximum of 4 years in prison. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo.

This case was heard in Department 2 in front of Judge Miles. This was a retrial after a jury hung 11-1 for guilt in 2013.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Standoff, missing documents and disks that can't be read in the embezzlement case

More of the shambles being revealed:

Standoff between the People and Defense regarding discovery in the alleged $100,000 embezzlement case - John Chiv/Words Worth

Rees said he was "trying to locate some items she requested which had been difficult, "given the volume of discovery" and because "the attorney, previously handling the case has left our office." The last coverage of this case was in the Times-Standard and DDA Christa McKimmey is listed in that article as the prosecutor. Mr. Rees said he went through all the discovery and some of the discovery like a receipt books were difficult to copy and he thought some of that discovery had been provided to defense. He said the retirement of a DOJ agent also made it hard to locate some of the discovery being requested.

...According to the TS 2013 article, a criminal grand jury indicted Cervantes for the alleged embezzlement."

For someone charged with alleged $100,00 embezzlment; Socorro Cervantes has a devil may care attitude; trial setting continued again - John Chiv/Words Worth March 17, 2015
Trial setting for former assistant court manager charged with allegedly embezzling approximately $100,000 from local court's operation department - John Chiv/Words Worth Jan 27, 2015
California embezzlement case: Woman Indicted five years after the act - stopemployeefraud.com 10/30/13
Fortuna woman pleads not guilty in $100K court embezzlement case - Thadeus Greenson/Times-Standard 10/07/13

More Web Of Lies: "Board of Supervisors’ recent actions no great mystery"

Richard Salzman opines. Or spins. The usual. Lies.

The only "mystery" here is why Ricard Salzman's sorry ass is involved in this one.

Oh, ok, here's the real link to his latest POS in the Times-Standard. ◼ Salzman's My Word (And by the way, Kimberley, you do your paper a great disservice when you give this liar a credible platform.)

You do understand that when it comes to the Sheriff and the Coroners Office, they've CONSOLIDATED two very distinct departments, don't you?

And what's this about County Counsel?

Salzman says: "For anyone who doesn’t remember, HumCPR once sued and County Counsel (including Carolyn Ruth) defended us, the people of Humboldt County. We lost, they won and in the end we had to pay HumCPR’s attorney Allison Jackson $100,000 in taxpayer money." See how he spins it? "Defending us, the people of Humboldt County" Ummm, not exactly, Richard, ol' buddy, ol' pal.

ACTUALLY - this one deserves some real clarification. Starting with the fact that Salzman is just pissed off that his guys lost several election. So he's out to defame the Board of Supervisors. Knowing that you are totally uninformed, he feels very safe in making his accusations.

Let's look at the facts, because the TRUTH is a matter of Public Record (very important). Recognizing that the job of County Counsel is to give good advice and keep the County and the Board out of trouble, make sure the law is followed and SAVE them from expensive losses in court, not allowing (his or her) petty personal agendas to get in the way. And then realizing what REALLY happened.

The simple fact is, County Counsel REFUSED to comply with a Public Records Act Request. Repeatedly refused. Stubbornly refused. And that refusal cost the County $100,000.

The attorney’s fees paid by the county for Ruth’s poor advice on the CPRA lawsuit (as well as all the other frivolous suits she got the county in) was to cover legal fees incurred by the public when she told the Board that the public has no right to know how much they had been spending in lawsuits. In fact, she wrote that the public was too stupid to understand the issues.

The arguments she advanced on the County’s behalf was that the trial court should make new law to allow the county to withhold from the public all costs of litigation for three reasons: 1) the public was too opinionated to correctly decide a good lawsuit from a bad one; 2) if the public found out about the costs of lawsuits they might use it as an election issue, and; 3) if the public found out the costs they might press for other alternatives to the lawsuit.

A person cannot make this stuff up. These concepts are what was in the county’s own brief as justification for the County’s position. Even the Times Standard wrote an article about the County’s position and cited commentators, questioning the wisdom of the County for taking these positions about the release of documents of costs that the taxpayers are ultimately shouldering.

The suit resolved when the county hired private counsel who told them that they would lose and that they would end up owing twice as much in fees and costs.

So much for "mystery solved."

As for County Counsel: The question now is to the Board and if and when they will re-review Ruth’s job description and revote on the issue. She should have never gotten any raise to do the very things within her job description and which she was already getting a boost in pay for.

What Carolyn Ruth claimed for the reasons justifying the raise were part already of her current job description as assistant county counsel and for which she was already getting additional money. Her job description is also public information and easy to find: ◼ Go to http://ca-humboldtcounty.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/6122 then scroll down to pages 94-96.

This is QUITE different from consolidating two entire departments into one.

Isn't it now? Richard?

(Cue "Sara the Dog" Salzman's anonymous attacks in 1 - 2 - 3...)
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Calling Richard Salzman on his BS, I mean His Word - John Chiv/Words Worth
"You say compensation, I say spiking, compensation! spiking ! Let's call the whole thing off"; instead taxpayers get stiffed by Humboldt County unions and special MOUs - John Chiv/Words Worth
After two motions failed on Asst County Counsel and a heated discussion, a third motion passes - John Chiv/Words Worth

Asst County Counsel "compensation" to be pulled off consent, Supervisors and other community members respond to my original post - John Chiv/Words Worth
Why is an Assistant County Counsel who is retiring, cost the County and taxpayers money in litigation being given a raise for doing her job? - John Chiv/Words Worth

County Employees to Rally Outside Courthouse, Say They’re Understaffed, Unsafe - Ryan Burns/LoCo
Downey Bumped Up: Supes Approve Sheriff-Coroner Pay Hike Unanimously - Hank Sims/LoCo

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Still in the news: Robert Durst














Did The Jinx's Filmmakers Expect Their Ambush Of Douglas Durst To Work?
Why isn't The Jinx clearer on the Trinidad timeline its own self?

There's a lot of...I wouldn't call it "dead air," but a lot of stuff I feel like we didn't need in "Family Values." The footage of Jarecki putting the letter exemplars in a safe-deposit box; the entire sequence in which Ed Wright can't really talk about what he did or didn't find (and the filmmakers got the report anyway, so why bother with that except to reinforce what we already know about Durst's malleable story about his whereabouts); Durst's visit to his brother's Manhattan townhouse (their estrangement is more than asked and answered, and the "Durst goes to his brother's house with guns in the car" thing isn't followed up terribly well).

Then, when it's time to follow real evidence, like Durst's trip to California in 2000, and his coincidentally silent cell phone when he would have been in Los Angeles, and his smirky "California's a big state," The Jinx doesn't lay its groundwork as carefully. How long has he owned the Trinidad property -- or does he own it, or rent it? How long had his car been in longterm parking? How often did he visit? What about this trip would have been unusual in these respects, besides that Berman ended up dead afterwards?

And once you see the block printing and the misspelling, all of this other "evidence" sort of falls away as far less compelling, so why not boil it down better or cut it entirely? The episode as a whole is not uninteresting, but often feels like it's stalling or needed another editing pass. It's re-answering questions it already asked of some subtopics and not pushing hard enough on others...and thanks to the "cliffhanger" from last time that wound up being a curb cut, I'm not super-confident they can wrap the story in a satisfying way in the hour remaining.
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Manhunt has Humboldt Connection... - North Coast Journal November 29, 2001

With Robert Durst Murder Arrest, National Attention Returns to Karen Mitchell’s Disappearance - Hank Sims/Lost Coast Outpost

The FBI’s arrest of millionaire Robert Durst on murder charges over the weekend has thrown the 1997 disappearance of Eureka teenager Karen Mitchell back into the spotlight....

The Daily News is only one national media outlet looking at the two cases again. EPD Chief Andy Mills told the Outpost earlier that he spoke with NBC Nightly News today, and will likely continue to field calls from national media as they search for the second-day angle on the Durst case.

But Mills wished to have one thing clear: “We have a missing person,” he said. “We don’t have a murder case.”

Mills said that the EPD no longer has the investigative files in the case. They, and the investigation, were turned over to the district attorney’s office some time ago, he said, for reasons that are still unclear to him. However, he would soon be reaching out to the Los Angeles investigators on Durst’s case to see if they might have anything of interest, he said.

Offended?

A recent staff mixer at HSU was headlined as a 2015 Mardi Gras Presidential Staff Mixer.

The flip side of the promotional flyer - which presumably was an update - apologizes "to individuals who were offended that we used Mardi Gras as the theme for the Staff Mixer."

They announce that "Effective immediately we are changing the event title and theme to the "Spring Into Green and Gold Mixer."

"A New Beginning, a New Theme, but an Old Tradition"

Come on, people. This is ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Another murder case trial date set

Benjamin Carter new trial date of April 27; defense filed demurred to Count 2 and request of dismissal - John Chiv/Words Worth

Today was the trial Confirmation hearing for Benjamin Carter. Michael Acosta represents Carter. Mr. Andrew Isaac is prosecuting for the People.... Benjamin Carter, is charged with Count 1 murder. Count 2 is possession of a firearm. Two firearm enhancement allegations were added for both counts and a special allegation of prior and serious felony conviction. He is the suspect in the murder of Zachery Chapman.
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As noted earlier, things are moving instead of languishing forever.