Monday, December 14, 2009

Thank You, TS

Quigley family addresses court at Whitmill, Flores sentencing 'I WILL NEVER FORGET HER'
After Friday's hearing, Ken Quigley expressed frustration at the way the case was handled by District Attorney Paul Gallegos. He charged that Gallegos was unprepared for court appearances, twice dropped it in the lap of unprepared deputy district attorneys and generally handled it in an unprofessional manner.

"Had this case been handled from the beginning by someone with the experience of Maggie Fleming, it would have had a much different outcome," Ken Quigley said. "I'm not here to knock people, but I'm very disappointed with the way Mr. Gallegos handled this case. Next year can't come soon enough. It is an election year, isn't it?"

Gallegos told the TimesStandard in a previous interview that the case was handled properly from start to finish.

In addressing the court, Nicole's uncle, Mike Quigley, said complaining about the sentence won't do any good. Instead, he vented anger at the defendants and a criminal justice system that released Whitmill from custody less than two weeks before the crash.

"In a just world, none of us would be here because he wouldn't have been on the streets," he said, before turning his attention to both defendants. "You killed a 9year-old girl and neither one of you are man enough to stand up and take responsibility for it. God bless my beautiful niece and her mom and dad and sister, and God damn both of you."

Whitmill, Flores sentenced while victim's family, friends look on
Whitmill, Flores take District Attorney's deal
Ken Quigley, father of Nicole Quigley, attended nearly every court appearance by Whitmill and Flores with many family members and friends. He expressed frustration that the District Attorney's Office never discussed the plea bargain with him or his family.

”We didn't find out until yesterday afternoon, late, that this was even in the works,” Quigley said on Friday. “We're very disappointed in how this worked out.”

He blamed District Attorney Paul Gallegos for settling instead of going for a stronger sentence.

”We have the most incompetent DA in the state,” Quigley said.

A call seeking comment from Gallegos was not returned by deadline Friday.

In a press release, the DA's office stated that it was a potential technicality that led to the decision to accept the pleas.

Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Whitmill, Flores take District Attorney's deal 12/05/2009
Jury selection begins in trial of Whitmill, Flores 11/23/2009
Whitmill, Flores trial to proceed 11/10/2009
Motion denied to suppress blood sample in Whitmill case 11/06/2009
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Quigley family, friends remember 9-year-old Nicole 10/06/09
Nearly one year ago 10/01/2009
Case surrounding fatal crash on Highway 299 delayed 09/15/2009
Too many delays 9/10/09
Legal maneuvers slow case of men charged in 9-year-old's death 09/01/2009
Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Evidence, charges unchanged against Whitmill 07/17/2009
Evidence for second degree murder charge? 06/19/2009
Thinking of the Quigleys 05/29/2009
Remember Nicole 05/08/2009
Looking forward: Quigley family watches and waits as case continues 05/17/2009
Defendants in 299 wreck plead not guilty 03/28/2009
Judge holds Whitmill, Flores to answer for 299 wreck 03/14/2009
Wife refuses to testify against husband at preliminary hearing 03/13/2009
Investigator testifies suspect in fatal crash changed story 03/12/2009
Officer testifies about 299 crash at prelim 03/11/2009
Preliminary hearing over Highway 299 wreck continues 03/10/2009
Superior Court delays hearing in 299 crash case 02/11/2009
Broken system 01/23/2009

Hug your children 12/03/2008
Vehicular manslaughter suspect has extensive criminal history 11/13/2008
Whitmill-Flores hearing continued 11/06/2008
Street race case waiting on CHP reports 10/23/2008
Authorities seek Mustang passenger for questioning 10/17/2008
Court document: Flores tried to 'subvert' investigation 10/16/08
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Authorities arrest driver of Mustang 10/10/2008
New driver named in fatal collision 10/09/2008
Search continues for other driver in fatal crash 10/08/2008
◼ ER Parolee named as driver in fatal collision
◼ TS New driver identified in fatal crash
◼ TS New driver named in fatal collision
TS Update: ☛ TS Police still looking for driver
◼ TS Driver sought: Suspected drag race on 299 results in fatal crash

Note: there were other articles in the Eureka reporter, but none are available online anymore.


  1. Here is a legal analysis from an attorney:

    Its difficult to assess the outcome of a case or a prosecutorial decision from reading a newspaper account. I have the impression from the article, however that the Gallegos/Fleming decisions were perfectly appropriate. First, it appears not to have been a deliberate premeditated type of homicide. The criminal intent comes from the gross/reckless behavior of the defendants. The 14 years and 8 months to Whitmill is a sizeable sentence in any Court. (As to the Flores disposition, they must have considered him less culpable.) Without knowing more, the abbreviated sentence that was pleaded to, might have been the best that could have been achieved by the prosecution, given the risk of an acquittal due to a technicality, if the case had gone to trial. It seems like a good prosecutorial decision to me. It may have been based upon the limits of California law or even the disposition of the trial judge.

    Legal opinion

  2. You know what they say about opinions..well, and lawyers too.
    But as disturbing as the deal is, the inept way it was handled with the family is even more upsetting. There is no professionalism in Paul Gallegos.

  3. Well 2:45 everyone is entitled to his or her "legal" opinion. Yours however is not well based upon the law:

    To find Whitmill guilty of second-degree murder, the evidence against him had to prove "implied malice." Referring to People v. Watson ((1991) 30 Cal.3d 290, 179 Cal. Rptr. 43, 637 P.2d 279), the appellate court noted a conviction for implied malice in the case of a drunk driver requires showing that:
    1. . . . the defendant deliberately performed an act, the natural consequences of which are dangerous to life, knowing that the conduct endangers the life of another but acting with conscious disregard for that risk of life.

    In People v. Talamantes ((1992) 11 Cal.App. 4th 968, 973, 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 311) the court established four factors necessary to uphold a second-degree murder conviction against a drunk driver. They were:
    1. blood alcohol level above the .08 percent legal limit;
    2. a predrinking intent to drive;
    3. knowledge of the hazards of driving while intoxicated; and
    4. highly dangerous driving.

    That is the law and if you think that it involved premeditation than either you are NOT a lawyer or a really, really bad one when it involves criminal law.

  4. Not to mention all these facts were known when the charges were filed, except the defense attorney's intent to declare his client's blood should not have been drawn since it was unknown who the driver was or the driver was believed to have been his client's wife... if we are to believe the new accounts.

    That leaves aside the fact that a driver who has been involved in an accident sustains different injuries than a passenger, so IF there were any accident injuries, CHP would have had reason to suspect something amiss, and reason then to draw his blood.

    Now, Gallegos pursued the Palco case to the ends of the judicial system in California AGAINST THE ADVICE OF HIS WON STAFF, AGAINST THE RULINGS OF THE JUDGES ALONG THE WAY - he pursued the charges against Penny O'Gara for "deterrent purposes" - and did the same with Sean Marsh.

    But in this case he folds, and reverses his own charging decision, and no longer seems to care about "deterrent purposes." Bear in mind Penny O'Gara's case was a pure accident. SHE was not drag racing down the freeway. Sean Marsh had done nothing more than let his kid walk a few feet in front of him.

    One thing is for sure, Gallegos didn't care about this case at all. there wa nothing in it for him, and this way Salzman and Alison Sterling-Nichols get to count it in his WIN column. The spin will make you ill.

    Just watch.

  5. Rose, are you upset because of the 14 years, 8 months sentence to Whitmill being too lenient?

  6. Read what Ken Quigley SAID.

    Over and over and over again, he has said, more clearly than anyone else, exactly what is wrong with Paul Gallegos.

    Pay attention, because the PERSONA created by his backers is NOT the real Gallegos. Pay attention, because the PROMISE was not realized. The PROMISES made were not kept because he never intended to keep them. He only SAID WHAT NEEDED TO BE SAID TO GET ELECTED.

    Pay attention. Plea Deals, charges dismissed, the mindset of a defense attorney who has more sympathy for the criminal than the victim.

    And a DA, no, a MAN, who did not have the courtesy to tell a man whose daughter had been killed that he was about to cut a deal with those who brought about her death. Even though the family had demonstrated in very clear terms that they wanted justice. Or maybe BECAUSE they had. He did not have the courage or the courtesy to speak to them. Even though... well, I'll leave it there.

    The man is not suited to the job of District Attorney, and he has demonstrated over and over and over again that he does not care about the VICTIMS of crime, he was put in office to perform a task for his backers. The only case he really pursued as if he cared.

  7. Further to the legal analysis above:

    As to the Quigley family, this is not the kind of case that would involve restitution to them (sometimes there is a blurring with civil damage cases) There is therefore no obligation whatever to discuss and negotiate the decision with the victim's family. The homicide is legally a crime against the government and the public generally and not the victim's family. In my view their criticism is uninformed, vindictive and presumptuous.

    Legal opinion

  8. 9:56, you are a nitwit. California Constitution, Article I, section 28, sets forth the rights of victims. Victims have an absolute right to be kept apprised of the progress of a case. As to the issue of restitution, victims have a (state) constitutional right to compensation for any direct economic loss, including lost wages and funereal expenses. The survivors of a homicide ARE VICTIMS. You are an ignorant git; please keep your foul cakehole shut. As to the sentence, frankly 14 yrs 8 mos., assuming they got a violent felony out of it, isn't bad, it's comparable to what would happen in other jurisdictions. The question is, was the manner in which this has been handled by PVG appropriate? I think the victim's family has made that clear.

  9. Well, Red, unfortunately, you are inventing law out of thin air.

    The legal opinions above happen to be correct. The family cannot be considered victims in the trial you cited.

  10. Look, 7:35, I cited the authority upon which I relied in making my point. I understand that not everyone has a copy of the California Constitution floating around (though it is widely available online). This is California Constitution, Article I, section 28(e):
    As used in this section, a “victim” is a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. The term “victim” also includes the person's spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated. The term “victim” does not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a minor victim.

    Why don't you have someone who can read (assuming you know such a person) tell you what that says, you big dope.

  11. We're making some progress here. We've established that the sentencing was entirely correct. As to the so called rights of the family, we'll need someone with legal credentials who can come up with something more substantial than hurling empty insults around. If this individual had legal training, he/she would know better.

    Third parties cannot expect to involve themselves in court proceedings. If the victim's family presumes to do so, then the perpetrator's family, would have an equal right.

  12. No legal obligation to consult with the victims family. Ok. How about telling the family before they read it in the newspaper.

  13. Yeah, I guess I should quote some, you know, law or something.

  14. 9:20 - you are either an ignorant moron or truly without any moral character. If you really believe what you have written about there being no legal obligation to speak with the victims family you are the former. Either that or you have been alone on a desert island for 25 years. Every election or so in this state (and other states across the nation) victims rights are on the ballot and they pass. I know you seem to really want to defend Gags here, but what he did in giving the middle finger to the family is indefensible. And your constant fabrications regarding victims rights (or the lack thereof) is so off the mark that I can only think that you are a complete idiot or are doing this intentionally. I am hoping for the former and not the latter, because the latter makes you a cold monster.

  15. I guarantee you it is the latter. Gallegos' defenders do not care about victims. Only about protecting Paul.

  16. Actually, the opposite is true: this blog freely invents grievances in order to attack G. Those who dissent become targets for hysterical insults. See above.

  17. Look, I just reviewed the above. I take no side in this discussion re the incumbent. However, on the law and the State Constitution, Red is correct. I don't know if Red's a lawyer, but I am. I practice criminal law. Every day.
    It is the unanimous opinion of every criminal court judge, every prosecutor, and every defense lawyer I know, which I have seen given legal effect in court (yesterday, for instance) that victims include those described by Red above. Yesterday that was
    Mom, Brother, Sister. I have seen Fathers, Uncles and Aunts. All under Article I, section 28(e)as cited above. The prosecutor is required to take reasonable steps to keep the victims informed of
    case developments. The victims have an absolute right to attend and, on issues including plea bargains and sentencing, to be heard.

  18. Thanks 12:14. Maybe 2:45 and 9:56 will think before she/he posts another misinformed and callous comment.

  19. What a perfect circle of deceit. Ghostly "attorneys" cite imaginary law. And we all pat ourselves on the back and conclude that the case is closed.

    The truth? Read carefully above.

  20. 11:32, you sound like a bit of a poser. If you can back up your insinuations, why be so Delphic? If you claim Red is not citing correct law, or that judges and defense lawyers and prosecutors are not applying said law, put up or shut up. Get specific, cite some cases or some statutes, or butt out.
    Who is being deceitful? On what points? What is the truth you assert?
    Why do you suggest "the case" is not closed?
    There's a whiff of douchbloggery in the air.

  21. Agree, 9:05 - It is not just a whiff. It is a strong stench.

    Here you folks go. Straight from the California Attorney Generals web site. Victims rights in california.

    enough said you callous deceiptful putz? Go argue with Jerry Brown.

  22. Nice try. As explained above, the victim's FAMILY does not share the same legal status as the victim himself. You are conveniently blurring the two parties. No judge, DA or defense atty would do the same for fear of getting laughed out of court.

  23. You can think anything you want to 1:24. It doesn't make it correct though. If you actually READ the statutes provided by the Attorney General's office, it says the "victim" OR "the victim's family." Are you learning impaired or just so much of an apologist for Gags that it has blinded you?

    My money is with what Red said, what the criminal defense attorney posted and the clear words of the statutes.

  24. 2:44, you are not only ignorant, but obtuse. The victim, in a homicide, is ill-positioned to speak to the court at any proceeding.
    The law is that the family is defined as victims. Partners are described as victims. Red posted it for you: a “victim” is a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. The term “victim” also includes the person's spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated. The term “victim” does not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a minor victim.
    Let me reiterate. I was in court
    this week when, PURSUANT TO THE LAW
    the mother, brother and sister addressed the court on sentencing.
    The family,under their state constitutional rights, had earlier addressed the court in opposition to the plea agreement, which the court approved anyway.
    The only person who should be laughed out of anywhere is you.

  25. Regardless, Ben MacLaughlin showed how it is done this week. He took a cold-blooded murder down to a burglary in yet another Gallegos plea bargain, but he, at least DID keep the VICTIM/VICTIM'S family apprised. They didn't have to read about it in the paper.

    Law - or not - that is the RIGHT THING TO DO.

    And again, Gallegos' implied promise when he ran, that we would be BETTER - has proven false time and time and time again.

  26. "the family is defined as victims"

    As you know, this is wishful thinking at best. You are inventing laws to support your vengeful fantasies.

    "homicide is legally a crime against the government and the public generally and NOT the victim's family. In my view their criticism is uninformed, vindictive and presumptuous."

  27. 3:57 and 3:29 - we get it. You won't look at the law here because it is bothersome for you. That is ok, it is bothersome for Gallegos also. So take heart, you are not alone.

  28. Now you can click on them, sorry, can't make them open in a new window.

  29. Rose,

    We know that victims have rights. For some reason, you keep including the FAMILY of the victim in those rights.

    Anyway, this is getting more than tedious and I'm done here. Spin away...

  30. 4:38 is clearly inaccessible to
    the written word, and we are well shut of him/her. My guess is him.
    Yes, it can be "tedious" to have it repeatedly rubbed in your face that you are wrong. I mean, not a little wrong, "not a leg to stand on" wrong.
    You will be back, and you will get
    hammered flat again.


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