Monday, September 21, 2009

Get the whole story - Letter to the Editor

On Aug. 25, 2008 Greg Jennings was killed by a motorist while riding his bike home from work. For reasons that still aren't clear, Alan Bear, the motorist who killed Greg, crossed through the shoulder, and ended up on the grass off the road, striking Greg in the process. Bear repeatedly lied to officers about his passenger, what distracted him, and where he hit Greg. On Sept. 3 Bear was sentenced to one year in jail for misdemeanor manslaughter. At the sentencing, Bear delivered his final blow, blaming the victim for being on Highway 299 on a bicycle.

I can't imagine the pain, sorrow, and repeated frustration Greg's family and friends have been through. The Highway Patrol haphazardly investigated Bear's obvious lies, and as the case was going to trial the investigating officer changed his recommendation from a felony to misdemeanor offense. The District Attorney repeatedly switched staff during the case, resulting in poor follow through with witnesses and their investigation.

What can we learn from this tragedy? The investigating authority, media, and prosecutor often implicitly assign partial fault to the cyclist before they have the facts. Officers at the scene should collect and review all the evidence and witness statements before filing their report. The media should fairly report the facts without innuendo. Finally, the DA must prepare a complete and thorough case for prosecution. If there are holes in the report, they need to find the witnesses, collect more information, and do their best to get the whole story.

Scott Kelly
Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
Get the whole story

49 comments:

  1. Mr Kelly,

    I feel bad arguing against you... Please consider the following:

    1. This should have been charged as a misdemeanor, as was the Rodoni incident.

    2. PVG might have charged a felony simply to wait for further investigation. You can always reduce an offense, but cannot file misdemeanor charges--as the CHP initially recommended--and then decide it is a felony.

    3. Witnesses were contacted. They gave more credence to the defense than to the prosecution.

    4. Saying that there was no follow-up displays ignorance on your part. You don't know what you're talking about.

    5. The CHP submitted the case as a misdemeanor.

    It's a horrible tragedy. That's what it is.

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  2. 11:08 - your comment demonstrates your ignorance. If you think somehow that it is ok to charge a felony just for the hell of it, I certainly hope you don't carry a badge in this county. Quit being an apologist. If the evidence wasn't there, Gags shouldn't have charged it. If the evidence wasn't there when he charged it then he fucked up, it is clear and we are tired of your apologies for him.

    This case was handed around to different people in that office and everyone fucked up. Nobody knew what was going on and the victims family and friends were treated like most people are in that office...they are treated like speed bumps to run over. That is why they are angry. And they have every right to be angry. Your boss needs to be fired next election.

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  3. For all the cell-phone talking, hair brushing, radio adjusting, coffee drinking, sandwich eating, cigarette lighting, book reading, makeup applying, anything but driving drivers out there... see what happens? See what will eventually happen to you if you don't pay attention?

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  4. - hate seeing staff from that office trying to blog anonymously like 11:08. At least they did so on their own time.

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  5. A very bad situation. So very sad for the family and friends. It would be better for all if Mr. Kelly would butt out. As usual he is not a very bright bulb. Again all my best wishes to the family.

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  6. First, you are hardly in a position to call a CHP investigation "haphazard" simply because it didn't crucify the perp. Secondly, the so-called "lies" that Bear told appear to have been a clumsy attempt to shield his passenger and had no bearing on the accident itself. Thirdly, the DA is bound by evidence; if it isn't there he's be wide open to a dismissal. Is that what you want?

    Bear blurted out what everyone already knows about 299: it's not safe for cyclists. He also accepted the blame for the accident and apologized in court, both of which you pointedly ignored.

    You got the tragedy part right. Too bad you couldn't leave it at that instead of trying to make it worse.

    Observer

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  7. Unrelated but if you want to see how consistently stupid Scott Kelly's comments are,just watch humboldt county planning commission meetings Thursday nights on access channel 10. Bozo comes to mind.

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  8. Hate to break it to you (Observer) but our DA isn't bound by the evidence. He is not even bound by the law. Hell, he makes shit up everytime he opens up his mouth. Try telling that to Sean Marsh, Debi August, Dave Douglas, Toni Zanotti, even Palco or how about the list of endless cases that have resulted in dismissals and acquittals. Shit the list is endless.

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  9. 1:37 We get that you don't like the DA however, without evidence you don't get a conviction.

    If you push it, you annoy the judge and take the risk that he/she will dismiss the case.

    If you have evidence that wasn't considered in a case, it's your obligation to bring it to the attention of the authorities. If, however, you just enjoy whining about the "injustice of it all" without lifting a finger, then kindly spare the rest of us your pointless tirades.

    Observer

    Observer

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  10. Very well said Observer. Too bad your boss doesn't agree with you. Now address the points made at 1:37.

    You said: "If you push it, you annoy the judge and take the risk that he/she will dismiss the case." How many judges have you annoyed and how many cases have they dismissed of yours?

    You also said: "If you have evidence that wasn't considered in a case, it's your obligation to bring it to the attention of the authorities. If, however, you just enjoy whining about the "injustice of it all" without lifting a finger, then kindly spare the rest of us your pointless tirades."

    Maybe you ought to be sharing that with your boss. Maybe you can now explain the following: Sean March, Debi August, Palco, Dave Douglas, Toni Zannotti and every other case that resulted in the DA dismissing, pleading from murder to manslaughter or getting an outright aquittal.

    Seems that you can talk a lot but still have some 'splaining to do. And please don't say,"I don't work in the DA's office." It won't square given your comments.

    And please spare us with your bullshit about Gags.

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  11. I don't work in the DA's office.

    And I don't argue with certifiable paranoids who insist on deconstructing the law without the benefit of legal training or experience.

    Face it, the legal system is beyond your understanding.

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  12. If you don't argue with certifiable paranoids then quit talking to yourself in the mirror.

    So, you don't work in the DA's office (yeah right) then pray tell what secret information do you have that the family and friends of Greg do not have?

    Face it, your need to weigh in on this to the degree that you have has shown you to be just another Gags apologist on the public dole.

    Now stop blogging from work. The legal system is not beyond your understanding, you just refuse to face facts that Gags is an incompetent lying POS who would throw any victim and his family aside in order to try and look good. Fact is that the majority of us are on to him now.

    And, I hope any person who takes over that office fires your ass and cleans house. I am getting pretty tired of reading the paper and being disgusted with the ineptitude of many in that dysfunctional office.

    I pay my taxes and expect honesty from that office and a little justice. I have not seen much of any of that over the last few years.

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  13. Paranoid rants do not strengthen your position. I'm fine with "watching" Paul but this case was handled correctly given the evidence. If "the family and friends of Greg" had any other evidence they should have brought it forward. All I see is paranoid whining. No facts. Case closed.

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  14. Ok - case closed for you, but then again, you seem a bit close minded to start with. I am so laughing my ass off at your snobbery. Paranoid rants? Hardly. Handled correctly, ok, says you, but not the family and friends of Greg. Thanks for weighing in. Next time, maybe it will be one of your family members or friends and you can give us a "real" opinion as to how well things were handled.

    How fucking disdainful of you to refer to the criticism by Greg's family and friends as "paranoid whining." Disdainful and reprehensible.

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  15. Ad hominem attacks don't help you. The EVIDENCE wasn't there so justice was served.

    And if you had evidence that the authorities didn't see you failed your dead friend.

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  16. And if you think you are going to have the last word here you have slipped off the wagon. Ad hominem? fucking more funny than your earlier rant.

    Nobody failed Greg more than the DA's office.

    Now address the points made at 1:37.

    You said: "If you push it, you annoy the judge and take the risk that he/she will dismiss the case." How many judges have you annoyed and how many cases have they dismissed of yours? You said it, not me.

    You also said: "If you have evidence that wasn't considered in a case, it's your obligation to bring it to the attention of the authorities. If, however, you just enjoy whining about the "injustice of it all" without lifting a finger, then kindly spare the rest of us your pointless tirades."

    So again, maybe you ought to be sharing that with your boss. Maybe you can now explain the following: Sean March, Debi August, Palco, Dave Douglas, Toni Zannotti and every other case that resulted in the DA dismissing, pleading from murder to manslaughter or getting an outright aquittal.

    Seems that you can talk a lot but still have some 'splaining to do. And again (I will say this again and again and again whenever you post) please don't say,"I don't work in the DA's office." It won't square given your comments.

    Finally, please spare us with your bullshit about Gags.


    What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?

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  17. Rant away. You're not convincing anyone. You've obviously got no evidence that would change anything. Your long list of past "injustices" is a transparent attempt to change the subject. In fact, it marks you as a crank who lives to complain without the need to substantiate with facts.

    Bye.

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  18. How nice it is to dismiss criticism in such manner. If you consider the above comments as rants, please don't turn on the evening news or visit any more blogs. Or for that matter, don't leave your house, you won't be able to cope.

    You clearly will not listen to anyone who disagrees with you. You are stuck on your mantra, "there is no evidence, there is no evidence."

    The problem you have is that you are not addressing the issue. The DA's office either bungled this case by filing it as a felony to begin with or dismissed it inappropriately. You say there was no evidence, well ok, now lets move on. That means that it was filed wrong to begin with. (my don't I feel better - not.)

    Next, this case was handed around from one deputy to the next, again and again. One gal didn't know squat and had just been handled the file on the morning of a motions hearing. Greg's family and friends who showed up to all the hearings and pretrials and demanded answers were just treated as pesky by the DA and his staff. Now that is a really big to-do.

    Deal with these points or we will be left to assume you were and are actually part of this bad comedy of errors over at the courthouse.

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  19. There is no "moving on" from no evidence.

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  20. Perhaps, but I can assure you that there is no "moving on" from being lied to either.

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  21. Perhaps???

    Were you asleep in basic civics class? Have you ever read our Constitution? We are a nation of laws.

    You may get your way by screaming at your family but you aren't going to get to first base in court without evidence.

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  22. 10:03 - you have melted down completely.

    Game over. You lost. You have failed to address the issue raised and re-raised and instead have retreated to your usual name-calling. Whether you accuse those who have legitimate criticism as "ranting" or "paranoid" or as above..."screaming at your family," it is all the same.

    If the "evidence" wasn't there, then this was another politically motivated filing that abused the rights of the defendant and the victim's family.

    Then after that screw up, the family and friends of Greg were misled, misinformed and not treated appropriately. Gags then blames it on the CHP and ducks out.

    Perhaps, you may wish to review a little about the ethical responsibilities of prosecutors. Just a suggestion as you are obviously unaware that they are under certain ethical obligations unlike other lawyers.

    Maybe you want to research this and go to earlier posts here on this site. There are comments from a person named "Red" who says he is a prosecutor in another county and his comment hit on the problem square. He set forth a reasoned comment as to why Gags let everyone down on this.

    Or you can 1) continue to name call or 2) just shut up.

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  23. Actually, it's you who lost both here and in court. You tried to crucify a man who had already pled guilty, apologized publicly and been sentenced to a year in jail. You had zero evidence and got laughed out of court.

    Then to excuse your incompetence and stupidity, you cooked up a conspiracy theory. You shouted and insulted those who disagreed with you here and got an education in civics.

    Like all impotent cranks you're repeating yourself and becoming boring. I'm done here.

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  24. Actually, you were done after the comment 9/22 at 9:59.

    I didn't go to court so have no idea what you are referring to as being "laughed out of court" with "zero evidence." When you opened with "Mr.Kelly" at the beginning of this thread you were condescending and disdainful. You have gone straight down hill since. And for you conspiracy theory - you just plain need meds.

    It is apparent that you don't know any lawyers nor civics. If you would like to answer the points raised about the total mishandling of this matter, so be it. Until then, quit insulting people.

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  25. oh, forgot to add this earlier post for the insulting one. It was posted on 9/05 at 8:50 pm:

    "Anonymous said...
    Let me explain something, 11:04. I am a deputy district attorney in a rural Northern California county (not Humboldt). I have charged vehicle cases, I have tried vehicle cases. Evidence, in a case involving a collision, consists of physical evidence (tire friction marks, fragments of the involved vehicles, marks [such as gouges] made by the involved vehicles) and the spatial relationships of the physical evidence or the lack of physical evidence; experts can look at the physical evidence and form opinions about what happened, in essence reconstruct the accident (i.e. where is the area of impact, how fast were the involved vehicles traveling at impact, did either vehicle brake prior to impact, etc.). An expert's opinion is evidence. But an expert's opinion must have a foundation in the physical evidence. So, when you charge a collision case, you look at the physical evidence gathered at the scene. You then look at the opinion evidence. (The investigating officer is usually going to be your collision expert, especially a CHP investigation with a fatality). The question you have to ask in charging a collision case is, does the physical evidence support the opinion evidence? And that is my problem with PVG's actions here. Either the evidence for gross negligence was never there, in which case it should not initially have been charged as a felony, or it was there, in which case it should not have been reduced to a misdemeanor simply because the IO changed his mind. And frankly it is fairly chickenshit to try to fob the reponsibility off on the chippie. If this was an EPD officer who did the same thing, would PVG have reduced the charge? Maybe the misdo was the right decision, I don't know, but you cannot escape the fact that if it was appropriately a misdo then PVG screwed it up when he charged a felony. I should note that I posted as anon at 9:18 and again here because my google log-in is bollixed up, I usually post as -
    Red

    My money will be with Red on this one and not you (1101 am), the non-lawyer with a chip on his shoulder and an agenda.

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  26. Go ahead and put "your money" wherever you want. The case is over. You failed utterly to influence anyone. As usual, I suspect.

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  27. yawn.....

    Another non-responsive response from you. Doesn't suprise me.

    We all thought you meant what you said when you wrote: "I am done here." Evidently not. How much longer do you wish to be smacked around before you either 1) address the points raised by Red and by me or 2) decide to move on?

    Your call.

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  28. I've been watching this "discussion." I have a suggestion. Next time you are in court tell the judge to "move beyond the evidence."

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  29. Bullshit. You haven't been "watching this 'discussion.' You have been taking part in it.

    Pathetic try. But expected. Lets see, you are the non-lawyer and Red is the career prosecutor from another county. Seems that relying on his analysis is significantly a better choice.

    One last time, either 1) address the points raised by Red and by me or 2) decide to move on.

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  30. You keep making these paranoid assumptions. First, you're supposed to be arguing with a secret member of the DA's office. Then you're arguing with a "non-lawyer" (were you asleep in English 1?") Then you want to debate a legal case without a shred of legal training. And you have psychic powers and can tell who is posting anonymously.

    The truth is people have similar reactions to a fool. MANY people. The longer you stay here the more flak you are going to get. Poor baby.

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  31. Ok, I think this horse has been about beat to death.

    You've made your points. LOL

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  32. Yeah, let's put this to bed. Justice was served in this tragedy. Cranks will be cranks no matter what.

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  33. Or more accurately, what passes for justice in Humboldt County these days was served.

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  34. The perp apologized and went to jail for a year. What more do you want?

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  35. I want a District Attorney who is not an incompetent chowderhead. Thanks for asking.

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  36. Please answer the question: what sentence do you want?

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  37. I did answer the question. Now you're asking another one. Don't you have anything better to do?

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  38. Oh... you are in full agreement with the sentencing. In other words, justice was indeed served.

    If that isn't the case, tell us what an appropriate sentence would be.

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  39. The troll here doesn't understand that he is talking to 4 or 5 different people. Figures.

    Troll, you are too caught up in yourself. If you think justice was "served" here, then you have set the bar to a new low.

    Justice is not about simply locking someone up. It involves much more. Treating the victims family with honesty and dignity. Being truthful to them and the public. Charging appropriately as opposed to politically.

    Just to name a few things.

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  40. Sorry but family counseling is way outside the DA's job description. If you're hurting you should get professional help.

    Attacking others to expiate your suffering casts sand in the gears. It won't buy you any sympathy nor will it relieve your suffering. At the best, it just spreads your suffering around a bit.

    As far as the legal side of this, it appears that you did get a conviction, apology and jail sentence out of the trial.

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  41. As I said before if any conviction and any sentence will do, then your idea of justice differs with the norm.

    Ok, by me if you think that way, but don't nut up because the majority of this county, state and country differ with you.

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  42. I can't stand this. Justice? ok.

    Article I, Section 25 California Constitution:
    A person who is a victim of crime shall be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect, and shall be informed of the rights accorded under this Section. As defined by law, a victim of crime shall have the right to reasonable notice and to be present and heard during all critical stages of preconviction and postconviction proceedings; the right to be informed upon the release from custody or the escape of the accused or the offender; the right to confer with the prosecution prior to final disposition of the case; the right to refuse to be interviewed by the accused or a representative of the accused; the right to review and comment upon the presentence report prior to imposition of sentence; the right to seek restitution; and the right to a reasonably prompt conclusion of the case. The legislature shall enact laws to implement this Section. The evidentiary and procedural laws of this state shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with this Section.

    ARTICLE I, SECTION 28.
    Victims' Bill of Rights.
    The People of the State of California find and declare that the enactment of comprehensive provisions and laws ensuring a bill of rights for victims of crime, including safeguards in the criminal justice system to fully protect those rights, is a matter of grave statewide concern. The rights of victims pervade the criminal justice system, encompassing not only the right to restitution from the wrongdoers for financial losses suffered as a result of criminal acts, but also the more basic expectation that persons who commit felonious acts causing injury to innocent victims will be appropriately detained in custody, tried by the courts, and sufficiently punished so that the public safety is protected and encouraged as a goal of highest importance. Such public safety extends to public primary, elementary, junior high, and senior high school campuses, where students and staff have the right to be same and secure in their persons. To accomplish these goals, broad reforms in the procedural treatment of accused persons and the disposition and sentencing of convicted persons are necessary and proper as deterrents to criminal behavior and to serious disruption of people's lives.

    And just last year the Notification and Participation of Victims in Criminal Justice Proceedings. (prop 9 which overwhelmingly passed here in CA.)

    As noted above, Proposition 8 established a legal right for crime victims to be notified of, to attend, and to state their views at, sentencing and parole hearings. This measure expanded these legal rights to include ALL public criminal proceedings, including the release from custody of offenders after their arrest, but before trial. In addition, victims are given the constitutional right to participate in other aspects of the criminal justice process, such as conferring with prosecutors on the charges filed. Also, law enforcement and criminal prosecution agencies would be required to provide victims with specified information, including details on victim's rights.

    Other Expansions of Victims' Legal Rights. This measure expanded the legal rights of crime victims in various other ways, including the following:


    Crime victims and their families would have a state constitutional right to (1) prevent the release of certain of their confidential information or records to criminal defendants, (2) refuse to be interviewed or provide pretrial testimony or other evidence requested in behalf of a criminal defendant, (3) protection from harm from individuals accused of committing crimes against them, (4) the return of property no longer needed as evidence in criminal proceedings, and (5) "finality" in criminal proceedings in which they are involved. Some of these rights now exist in statute.
    The Constitution is now changed to specify that the safety of a crime victim must be taken into consideration by judges in setting bail for persons arrested for crimes.

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  43. Would a relative or friend of the deceased cyclist be considered a "victim of a crime?"

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  44. The next of kin have these rights if the victim is deceased.

    The parents of a minor are also considered the same.

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  45. So 11:19 - counselling is outside of the office? Really?

    Lets look at what Alameda does. Their program boasts the following:

    "We work cooperatively as members of the prosecution team to SUPPORT AND PREPARE THE VICTIM(S) AND THEIR FAMILIES THROUGHOUT AND BEYOND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS. THEY SERVE AS THE LIAISON BETWEEN THE VICTIM, PROSECUTOR AND LAW ENFORCEMENT, WHILE PROVIDING THE FOLLOWING MANDATED SERVICES;
    1. Mandatory Services:
    Crisis Intervention (Wow, looks a bit like conseling)
    Emergency Assistance
    Resource and Referral Assistance (counseling?)
    Follow-up Assistance
    Property Return Assistance
    Orientation to the Criminal Justice System (looks also like a bit O’ counselling.
    Victim Impact Statement Assistance
    Court Escort/Court Support (Bit like counseling again)
    Case Status/Case Disposition Information
    Notification of Family/Friends
    Employer Notification
    Victim of Crime Claims Assistance
    Restitution Assistance
    Additionally, there are optional services, these are;
    Optional Services
    Creditor Intervention (counseling?)
    Child Care Assistance
    Witness Notification
    Funeral Arrangement Assistance
    Crime Prevention Information
    Witness Relocation Assistance
    Temporary Restraining Order Information
    Transportation Assistance
    Court Waiting Area
    Employment Intervention
    Victims Rights in California
    VICTIMS OF CRIME AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS have the right to:
    Know the current status of your court case.
    Be assisted if called as a witness.
    Attend all sentencing proceedings.
    Speak in person; address the court in writing; or be represented by an attorney at the time of felony sentencing to express your views concerning the defendant, the crime, and its effects on you and your family.
    Have the court order restitution from the convicted person.
    Request the Board of Prison Terms to provide notice of any hearing to review or consider parole eligibility or parole setting for prisoners in your case. You must keep the Board of Prison Terms informed of your current address if you wish to be notified.
    Speak personally; submit a letter, tape recording or video tape; or send an attorney to the parole hearing to express your views about the crime and the person responsible.

    Now, perhaps because Gallegos totally gutted his victim witness program and treats both victims and witnesses like crap, you mistakenly believe that they don't have any rights and that Gallegos and clan don't have any obligation to them.

    You would be wrong. Now can we move on. We get you (11:19 etc) don't care about victims and witnesses or their plight.

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  46. Yes, I can move on. I hope you can move on too. If you are indeed a relative of the deceased, your anger at one and all is probably understandable.

    However, if you are just an angry bystander your anger is probably a permanent fixture of your personality. You attach yourself to various causes that will allow you to blow up in public. Anyone who engages you becomes a target for your anger, so at this point...you're on your own.

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  47. Oh thank god. Thank you so much for your condescending approach to anyone who criticizes Gallegos' utter mishandling of this. So move on so we can avoid any more psychoanalysis from the peanut gallery.

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  48. Well, keep up the sneering attacks on people who are trying to help you. I'm sure you will get lots of cooperation and compassion in return.

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  49. Guess you aren't ready to move on.

    OK, who are you helping here? Oh right, the guy who killed an innocent biker and the DA who bungled the case. Got it now.

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