Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day 610

Arraignment only the first step in Moore case
Law enforcement bloggers weigh in on indictments

TS It's not just Humboldt County that is worked up about the indictments of two Eureka commanders stemming from the April 2006 shooting death of Cheri Lyn Moore.

”(The Police Officers Research Association of California [PORAC]) would be very interested in the eventual outcome of this case because of the far-reaching consequences,” said association President Ron Cottingham.

In his 33 years in law enforcement, he said, he has never heard of scene commanders being indicted in the aftermath of their decisions.

But Cottingham is far from the only one who will be watching the proceedings closely.

A criminal grand jury returned indictments of involuntary manslaughter, officially announced Monday, against former Eureka Police Chief David Douglas and Lt. Tony Zanotti for their decision-making roles.

Moore, who had a history of mental illness, barricaded herself in her apartment, brandishing a flare gun and threatening to burn down the building. The two-hour standoff ended when officers forced entry into Moore's apartment and shot her multiple times.

News of the indictments has moved quickly, and is now the topic of discussion on several law enforcement blogs, where many in the law enforcement community have weighed in on the possible ramifications. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the Web sites, most of the comments seem to fall on one side of the issue.

”This is crazy,” the poster wrote on www.policeone.com. “I have never heard of this. This is pure lunacy that the DA in Humboldt County would even think of bringing charges against the command staff. Are we not supposed to work together? Must be an election year, and the DA must be trying to make some news.”

In a similar thread on www.officer.com,, another poster had a similar take.

”Well, if this case gains any kind of credibility, we in California had our remaining free hand cuffed,” the poster wrote. “It used to be danged if you do, danged if you don't. Now it's just danged.”

21 comments:

  1. Well, the PVG crowd is aghast, aghast, at the tone taken at www.officer.com, but when actually read it's pretty moderate.

    The two camps have glowered at each other forever, and
    such worthies as Orwell, Churchill and Kipling have weighed in
    on behalf of law enforcemen

    Kipling: Yes, making mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap

    Orwell: for the pacifist type of a nationalist, the notion that "Those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf." is impossible to accept. "Notes on Nationalism [Wiki excerpt]

    Attributed to Churchill, an Orwell variant: "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."


    Whoever said it, and however said,
    the fact remains that society expects a tiny minority to run huge risks on behalf of the indifferent majority. Or as Yeats put it, in memory of a dead Irish
    airman
    "Those that I fight I do not hate
    Those that I guard I do not love;

    Indeed, it becomes hard to love
    the Humboldlt public. The haters are loud, loud, loud, and the
    others (there are others, yes?)
    well, when was the last time
    the public showed any appreciation for law enforcement? Yes, there's
    the opening for Noel and his tribe,
    but hey, if you hate cops, next time you feel like dialing 911, call, well, who are you gonna call?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you guys need to calm down. The question here is whether the 'rough men' were negligent or not. Law Enforcement has huge discretion in these kinds of situations and my guess is this case will eventually be dismissed or adjudicated in the officers favor.

    But clearly this was not an ideal outcome and one that did not have to come about the way it did. It was not a wise use of discretion, but not necessarily criminally negligent. This is the responsibility of the department head and department policy. So again, it comes down to discretion. And discretion is where the officers will win.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What Noel, Mark Konkler et al, who live in their insular, provincial and hippie cocoons do not realize is that this event has HUGE implications beyond even the Humboldt Soviet. Pursuing this indictment is the Rubicon that Gallegos will regret he has crossed. The delay itself speaks volumes on the agony Gallegos has endured. On the one hand his debt to his green, progressive, hippie base is opposed to his oath to uphold the rule of law. He is not so obtuse as to fail to understand this dilemma. His choice in complying with the wishes of the radicals who were instrumental in electing him by going the grand jury route will result in his being a laughingstock even in the People's Republic of California and beyond.

    Poor Paul!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great comments all. BUT, "not so obtuse", me thinkest,oh-ya baby oh-ya!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Perhaps Rose can settle this dilemma.

    Rose?

    Is Paul a super-genius bent on changing the nation and the world?

    Or is it the other conspiracy? That he is dumb and wears velcro shoes?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmmph... hadn't thought about it in those terms. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Which one Rose?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Plucked from a Kansas energy blog:
    Kansas, however, isn’t the only State that harbors block heads. For a different perspective, try living in Humboldt County, Ca. Talk about rude, cold, clannish, and hypocritical. I’ve lived all over the U.S., but the worst place I ever lived in was Arcata and Eureka, Ca. Liberals can be just as narrow minded and self-righteous.

    ReplyDelete
  9. And others believe that police officers are above the law and shouldn't be charged for committing crimes like involuntary manslaughter.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh god, there Konkler/mrequan goes again...what is it Mark? Do you have some kind of emotional disorder or a processing problem?

    No one here believes that police officers are above the law and shouldn't be charged for committing crimes like involuntary manslaughter. It’s just that no “law” has been broken at all. Gallegos is really pretty stupid and incompetent. He is a lousy lawyer that can’t handle anything but the most “no brainer” cases. Look at the PL suit - toast. Look at Debi August - toast. Look at his reversals.

    The simple fact of the matter here is that what killed Moore was her own actions and not the officers. If she hadn’t pulled the gun, she would be alive. You either are choosing to close your mind to this fundamental flaw in your (and Gags’) reasoning process or you are just too physically limited to exercise basic critical thinking skills.

    Hey - is anyone up to making bets that the court dismisses the matter for lack of probable cause? Could be fun to start a pool. Would be a lot more fun if only this weren’t about the lives of two good honorable and hardworking cops whose lives the Idiot is trying to destroy only for his own self aggrandizement.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "The simple fact of the matter here is that what killed Moore was her own actions and not the officers. If she hadn’t pulled the gun, she would be alive. You either are choosing to close your mind to this fundamental flaw in your (and Gags’) reasoning process or you are just too physically limited to exercise basic critical thinking skills."

    She didn't have a gun in her hand when the officers decided to go in.There is even a question as to whether she had it in her hand when they opened the door.Again I'll reiterate that the officers took no other actions to subdue her,no tasers,no tear gas,nothing she was asking,no bags,not a thing.And they went as far as cutting off any potential contact with her.
    The court may dismiss the case,who knows.If the prosecution asks for for a change of venue then the officers maybe be toast,gonna be hard to find an impartial jury here.
    Regardless of what happens these two will be fighting civil suits for quite some time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Honestly, Mark, I do not understand why you cannot see. You do not point a gun at a cop (Really you do not point a gun at anyone. People who grow up with guns know that. And it wasn't that long ago, everyone grew up with guns. They were part of subsistence.)

    Much is made of the flare gun - "Oh, it was 'only' a flare gun..." but the fact is if a person has one gun, they may have others, they may have a .22, they may have automatic weapons, you never know. No policeman can make any assumption that it's only a flare gun or only a toy gun.

    It's incredibly cynical to believe that anyone on this planet, much less on the scene that day wanted to kill Cheri Moore or anyone else. You can be sure they would much rather have been able to take her in to Mental Health facilities and get her the help she needed. She chose her path, she made life choices that included the estrangement of her family, apparently. It looks like a tragic life, with tragic choices for friends, and a tragic end. Period

    ReplyDelete
  13. "It's incredibly cynical to believe that anyone on this planet, much less on the scene that day wanted to kill Cheri Moore or anyone else."

    I never said that they did want to kill her,they just never took any other precautions,and it should be examined why they didn't.It was negligence by the cops and her,and the courts may rule that the negligence on the part of the police may have been a factor in her reaction when they entered the building.
    Put yourself in her shoes if you can for a second and think about what she's may have in her mind when she isn't getting any treatment she's asking for,the police ordered all contacts with her to be cut off,including a friend (regardless of what one thinks of that friend,she has guns pointing at her from all directions outside,then all of the sudden officers storm the apartment.One in her state may feel the need to defend themselves.I'm just saying.
    Negligence by the cops is what led to this outcome in the end though.I'm sure nothing was intentional,but it was a serious mistake which had consequences which deserve punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's kind of a "crying wolf" thing, mresquan - you take a teenager who calls her friends and says she's gonna slit her wrists, and she gets all kinds of sympathy and attention, and angst, and people working to "save" her, and the next time she does it, the attention isn't quite as much, so she has to up the ante, next time, she says she has already taken the pills, the next time she actually does something to hurt herself, it's kinda like a junkie, you have to take more and more to get the fix... I don't know about Cheri Moore, but someone with a history of that kind of thing probably wasn't all that surprised by the police outside. Threatening to burn the place down is like saying you have a bomb on a plane. It sets in place a whole new dynamic.

    Again, I know nothing about Cheri Moore - just saying there's alot to the situation - alot of complexities and layers and factors that we, as normal rational people cannot even begin to comprehend. All this theorizing fails to take that into account.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would add that second guessing the police, who have the misfortune to have to deal with it on our behalf may be necessary, but demonizing them and blaming them for actions resulting from her theatrics is also grotesquely unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am not so sure the prosecution
    can ask for a change of venue. Perhaps Mresquan can show us where he gets the idea that it can?
    Or is that a right that accrues
    solely to defendants?

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's mostly up to the defendant unless and until a jury cannnot be obtained

    Penal Code § 1033. Order for change of venue in superior court; Grounds

    In a criminal action pending in the superior court, the court shall order a change of venue:

    (a) On motion of the defendant, to another county when it appears that there is a reasonable likelihood that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had in the county. When a change of venue is ordered by the superior court, it shall be for the trial itself. All proceedings before trial shall occur in the county of original venue, except when it is evident that a particular proceeding must be heard by the judge who is to preside over the trial.

    (b) On its own motion or on motion of any party, to an adjoining county when it appears as a result of the exhaustion of all of the jury panels called that it will be impossible to secure a jury to try the cause in the county.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you 1:42 - it seems that Mark’s legal knowledge regarding the DA asking for a change of venue is about as poor as his legal knowledge regarding “criminal negligence” and its application to police shootings.

    Please stop Mark - this is embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. (b) On its own motion or on motion of any party, to an adjoining county when it appears as a result of the exhaustion of all of the jury panels called that it will be impossible to secure a jury to try the cause in the county.
    No chance in hell of getting an untainted jury here.
    But thanks for clearing that up 10:42.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I tried to post a comment on the police blogs. They were asking what kind of guy is this Gallegos - they can come here and learn more, but you have to be a licensed law enforcement officer to comment. Anybody out there who can, post a link to this blog.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are open. Play nice.