Friday, July 20, 2007

Deadfall author Robert Scott on Paul Gallegos' plagiarized My Word

Obviously, Robert Scott is still following events here in Humboldt County. When he made this post, he must not have known that Paul Gallegos' "My Word" was largely plagiarized. Perhaps he has followed the story since then:

Response to Editorial
Recently the District Attorney of Humboldt County, Mr. Paul Gallegos, wrote an editorial in the Eureka Times Standard. This is my response to that editorial. I am posting it here, because according to Lisa, the Times Standard does not take editorial comments from people who live outside the county. Mr. Gallegos' editorial was entitled - Vigilantism a force of anarchy.

Though Mr. Gallegos' recent editorial about vigilantism didn't make specific references to any particular case, I'm wondering if he had the cases of Sherry Lynn Smith and Andrea LaDeRoute in mind when he wrote it. The reason I believe this may be is that both the surviving sisters of Sherry and Andrea have been very vocal in their displeasure at the way the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office has handled those cases. If he was not referring to Smith and LaDeRoute, then it has to be wondered how many victims family members feel disenfranchised by the DA's office in that county.

As has been written about many times over the years in Humboldt County newspapers, including the Times Standard, Mr. John Annibel is the main suspect in the murders of Smith and LaDeRoute. In fact, the Fortuna Police Department has stated that Mr. Annibel is the only suspect in the murder of Andrea LaDeRoute, and has submitted all its evidence to the DA's office in that regard.

No one is advocating vigilantism, which would take Mr. Annibel out of the court system and somehow administer arbitrary justice. Instead there is an agreement that the system should work exactly as Mr. Gallegos stated, "the report of a crime and its investigation, the review of that investigation and possible accusation, the disposition or trial on the accusation, a verdict, and a judgement." Neither Pam Smith Annibel nor Lisa LaDeRoute Lawler disagree with that assessment. What they do agree on is that the system on these cases has failed at the District Attorney level.

In the probable cause report concerning Mr. Annibel, Detective Mike Losey wrote, "Based on the evidence and information, probale cause exists to believe LaDeRoute has been murdered. Further, the available physical evidence, as well as circumstantial evidence, indicates that John Annibel murdered Andrea LaDeRoute." It was only the failure to proceed by then District Attorney Bernard C. dePaoli that short-circuited the trial. Mr. DePaoli was later arrested and convicted for taking a bribe to change a witness' statement in the murder case of Philip Kellotat. To say the least, it should cast doubt on his handling of other murder cases during his tenure as District Attorney of Humboldt County, especially Andrea's case.

One thing Mr. Gallegos failed to mention in his editorial on vigilantism is the role of the District Attorney's Office. It is to stand up for the rights of a victim of crime. In the case of Sherry Lynn Smith and Andrea LaDeRoute, the District Attorney's Office is their voice, because they can no longer speak for themselves.

Once again, Pam Smith Annibel and Lisa LaDeRoute Lawler do not want to railroad John Annibel. All they want is for Sherry and Andrea to have their day in court. Without the district attorney's office, functioning as it should, they can never have that happen. This is a far cry from vigilantism. Both sisters understand that neither the prosecutor, nor defense attorney, or even a judge is the trier of fact. The trier of fact in these cases are twelve ordinary citizens of Humboldt County who would decide upon Mr. Annibel's guilt or innocence. Mr. Annibel's rights would be protected by his defense counsel, as they should be. It is the duty of the of the District Attorney's Office to stand up for Sherry and Andrea's rights.

Robert Scott

Mr. Scott, if you read this post, here are links to stories relating to Paul Gallegos' "My Word" Op-Ed on Vilgilantism:
a copy of THE OX-BOW INCIDENT in case the link goes down
TS - Paul Gallegos' My Word
ER - A second Gallegos column raises questions about attribution

And, another take on what he was trying to say, who he was trying to go after:
When law enforcement fails, 'vigilantism' sometimes needed

There may be other answers to some of your questions, and Lisa's questions here as well.


  1. I really wonder why the T-S didn't run that. I just ran over a couple of letters to the editor and found that even though they SAY they live in Eureka, they don't. Unless San Fransisco is part of Eureka.

  2. I think they ought to reconsider that policy. I know they also would not publish a commentary by Tom Kinsolving, following Tim Stoen's apology to Kinsolving's Dad. Out of the area or not, both pieces were relevant and timely, and would have been appropriate to print as well as interesting to readers.


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