Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gallegos to handle police prosecution

Gallegos to handle police prosecution

If former Eureka Police Chief David Douglas and Lt. Tony Zanotti stand trial, District Attorney Paul Gallegos will be the one prosecuting them.

”It's going to be a very, very tough case,” Gallegos said Wednesday in his first public comments on the case since convening the criminal grand jury last month. “It's very divisive, and it would be unfair in my eyes to put it off on someone else. I figure those sort-of-miserable cases should flow to me. That's the way it should be.”

Gallegos' office officially announced Monday that the grand jury had returned indictments of involuntary manslaughter against Douglas and Zanotti stemming from their decision-making roles in the 2006 shooting death of Cheri Lyn Moore.

Moore, who had a history of mental illness, was shot April 14, 2006, by Eureka police officers in her apartment at Fifth and G streets after a two-hour standoff in which she brandished a flare gun, threw items from her second-story apartment and threatened to burn the building down.

Police have said they believed Moore had put down the flare gun when the decision was made to storm her apartment. When officers came face to face with Moore, who had the flare gun pointed at them, they shot her multiple times. Neither of the shooters were indicted.

On the heels of comments from the defense team and from Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen inquiring about how Gallegos led the grand jury proceedings, Gallegos said he is confident all parties involved were treated fairly.

”The intention was to be fair to all parties, to present evidence in a fair and impartial way for review by a grand jury,” Gallegos said. “That certainly was my endeavor. Certainly it will be open to intense scrutiny. Whether I did or not, certainly the defense will say I did not, and it will be up for the court to decide.”

After working through his first criminal grand jury experience as a prosecutor, Gallegos said if one thing's clear, it's that there will be nothing easy about this case.

”I am confident that it is going to be a tough case for the jurors, for us and for the community,” he said.

The law enforcement community is taking notice as well.

Ron Cottingham, president of the Police Officers Research Association of California, said this is the first time in his three decades in law enforcement that he has heard of commanders being indicted for giving orders or direction. The indictments, he said, set a scary precedent for officers, who are often Monday-morning-quarterbacked for their decisions.

”If anything adverse happens from this, everyone will probably have to reevaluate their tactical processes,” Cottingham said. “It's another situation where the decisions officers have to make on the street at the time of conflict -- when there's just a myriad of things going on -- are fuel for everyone who is going to sit back and second guess everything that was done.”

For his part, Gallegos said he doesn't foresee a problem with his office's ability to work with EPD in the future.

”We work with everyone, and that's the way it is,” Gallegos said. “Absolutely our job is to be independent. It's also to monitor law enforcement activities. ... It's a mystery to me that people think there's this relationship that we don't ever look at what (officers) do, and say, 'You've done something wrong.' That's not our legal system -- that's antithetical to our legal system. That would put individuals and an organization above the law.”

Gallegos emphasized he is not anti-law enforcement and said he believes the commanders will receive a fair trial in Humboldt County.

”(The community) isn't anti-law enforcement,” Gallegos said. “There are certainly some people that are, but that's not the community. People understand the need for it, they respect law enforcement, they defer to law enforcement, but they have certain expectations. ... I think the defendants will get a fair shake in this community.”

The district attorney also took a moment to caution that, in this case and all others, defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

”The burden of proof is on us,” he said, adding he understands that the grand jury indictments have added fuel to some of his critics' fire.

”If my doing my job and fulfilling my legal responsibility to this community makes you unhappy, then you are going to be unhappy with me.”

***

24 comments:

  1. Well, this should be interesting, in a train-wreck kind of way.

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  2. As if this isn't bringing enough critical attention to the buffoon capital of the world. I can hear the talking heads on CourtTV now, dissecting every rumble, bumble, stumble, and fumble of Gags. He is working toward a new nickname: "Custer".

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  3. What????

    Lets see:

    The idiot calls for the grand jury to be impanelled.

    He then presents evidence and instructions of his own choosing.

    He then asks them to return an indictment based upon his interpretation of the evidence and the instructions.

    Now he says it’s a tough case? Now he says he is only here but for the grand jury?

    He either misinstructed the GJ or the GJ was out of his control. I am betting the former occurred and not the latter.

    If the village idiot wanted this to be done fairly and impartially, then he should have simply charged them and let a public probable cause hearing take place before a judge with the defense putting forward their evidence and the law.

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  4. Wasn't he at the scene, talking to Dave Douglas? Unless they weren't talking about the situation, whether it was before, during or after the shooting, how can he not be a witness to what Douglas's take on it was? I mean, did he tell Douglas at the scene "Hey pal, looks like vol man to me"
    or did he say " I can see why you did it that way". Whatever, how
    is he now able to be the actual
    in-court prosecutor?

    Or did I not see that picture in the paper of the two of them looking pretty chummy at the scene?

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  5. ”If my doing my job and fulfilling my legal responsibility to this community makes you unhappy, then you are going to be unhappy with me.”

    --Paul Gallegos, 2007

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  6. ”If my doing my job and fulfilling my legal responsibility to this community makes you unhappy, then you are going to be unhappy with me.”

    Actually we are unhappy because the idiot is NOT doing his job and NOT fulfilling his legal responsibility. In fact, he is so far from fulfilling his legal responsibility it is pathetic.

    He has the responsibility of being honest which he has never kept.

    He has a responsibility of not going forward on cases he can’t prove which he consistently ignores.

    No - Paul, we are unhappy with you because you are corrupt and an abject failure in your job.

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  7. Thanks, 4:11, I was gearing up with almost exactly the same points. Gallegos is good at those vacuous sound so good statements. If you take them at face value, and don't look beneath the surface, it's easy to fall for them.

    If he was doing his job we wouldn't have lost all of our experienced prosecutors, we'd still have all the people employed at the Victim Witness program, he wouldn't have all but disbanded the Child Abuse Services Team... the list goes on...

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  8. I think he's doing a fine job.

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  9. You seem to be digressing here, Rose, and not addressing the merits of the case.

    No reason, as I see it, to bring up Gallegos' past record into this, at this point.

    Enough said. Let's deal with the current issue.

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  10. What the hell do you know Fred? PG's record is fundamental. Especially in this case. I am tired of you stumbling around the blogosphere with nothing intelligent to say.

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  11. Au contraire, Fred has an interesting post up on this very topic.

    So does Eric.

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  12. Looks like Paul is looking forward to the publicity. Wonder if there is more to it.

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  13. Every elected person is running for their next election at all times.

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  14. It's hard to see how Gallegos benefits from this any way it goes, period. Maybe he will get some exposure on Nancy Grace. But seriously, the easiest thing for him to have done was decline to press charges like in the other shooting cases. I understand some think he's appeasing his base which is supposedly 'cop haters.' As vocal as they may be they are a very small minority. He would not have survived 2 elections + a recall if he didn't have the 'mainstream' voters. Sorry, but it's true.

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  15. 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.

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  16. Rose,

    With Paul prosecuting this case, unlike any other...even PALCO, it "should" be the defining case in Paul Gallegos' career; whether it is 8 or 28 years long.

    I think the impact will be greater outside rather than inside the Redwood Curtain.

    Mike Harvey

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  17. Maybe he will get some exposure on Nancy Grace.

    Oh God!

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  18. You called Eric? No, I don't want anything to do with this. Handle it yourself.

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  19. ”If my doing my job and fulfilling my legal responsibility to this community makes you unhappy, then you are going to be unhappy with me.”

    WHO wrote that for him?

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  20. I have a question ? If PVG polices the police (like he says and thinks he does) who is going to police him ? And his wife ? Specifically his wife's driving. More than once I've seen Joanie hauling ass down H street cutting back and forth between lanes without signalling. I guess she gets a pass because she's married to the idiot ? Maybe she has immunity ? Or maybe she just drives like an asshole because she's in a hurry and really doesn't give a tinkers damn about anyone else.

    And PVG's "legal responsibility" ? How does his systematic plea bargaining of serious felonies to misdemeanors fall into his "responsibility"? Check the papers with regards to convictions !

    Also heard PVG lost another deputy DA this week! Lost as in quit to take another job. One more to the list.

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  21. anon asked," Maybe she has immunity ?"
    If you've never made a report then you've been giving it to her.

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  22. Konkler you are such a dumb ass. Do you really think you're cute?

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  23. You called Eric? No, I don't want anything to do with this. Handle it yourself.

    You created Nancy Grace, didn't you?

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  24. Intresting ?? posed on Eric's Parlance.
    I am pretty sure the paper ran a photo of Mr. Gallegos discussing the Moore situation with Chief Douglas, possibly after the shooting. Unless they were discussing recipes, doesn't that make the prosecutor a witness to whatever Douglas said about the situation, which goes to Douglas's state of mind, which is the central element of the crime charged? How does that work?
    Either the prosecution should be calling him to testify that Douglas's remarks indicated that he had not duly considered his options, or that his attitude was cavalier or whatever, or the defense should be calling him to testify that Douglas seemed gravely concerned about the situation and that his remarks reflected serious consideration of all the options, obstacles, pros and cons.

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