Thursday, July 29, 2010

Leon Bigleggins arraigned; due back in court next month

Man suspected of murdering child in Blue Lake arraigned; due back in court next month
Leon Alyious Bigleggins was arraigned in Humboldt County Court Wednesday, less than one week after the death of Dylan Blount-Chambers.

Bigleggins, 25, faces charges of first degree murder, assault on a child and felony child abuse, all stemming from the death of four-year-old Dylan, the oldest son of a mother of three....

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Bigleggins on August 10. His bail was set at $1 million.

Donations requested for boy's funeral
The family of Dylan Blount-Chambers is asking for donations to help with funeral costs for the 4-year-old boy who was killed last weekend. A bank account has been set up at Redwood Capital Bank. If you would like to contribute, simply stop by any branch of Redwood Capital Bank and the tellers will ensure the funds are put into the correct account.

The funeral is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Aug. 2, at Paul's Chapel in Arcata, but the date could change depending on when the coroner releases the body.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pete Nichols doesn't care about Del Norte, he is a predatory litigant, nothing more

The sooner Del Norte figures it out, the better off they will be.

Letters to the Editor July 24, 2010

Written by The Daily Triplicate Readers July 24, 2010 10:55 am
Humboldt Baykeeper should not tell Del Norte where to fish

Regarding Pete Nichols’ July 17 letter (“Humboldt Baykeeper acts with all interests in mind”), you are right, Pete, I have not tried to cooperate with a process that is so completely compromised as the one pushed on our community by the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. While you speak of your fear of someone else making decisions for us, who are you to decide that Del Norte county should lose the prime fishing area around Wilson Rock.

Your group has been the leader in pushing the closure of that area. As you told me when you proposed it, the Wilson Rock closure starts at 8.5 miles from the No. 2 buoy. That is 1.5 miles into the safety zone you agreed to. That is why I have not seen any way to cooperate with your group.

As for your accusation that I do not work with the whole northern area in mind, apart for my continuous call for safety areas around our rough northern harbors, I am representing the Del Norte fishing community. Our local stakeholder group identified the most pristine area to close at Pyramid Point. It costs our fishing community very little, nothing like the $150,000-$350,000 that Wilson Rock will cost in lost revenue yearly. It is little used thus should be of highest value in this process.

We have not even discussed the non-monetary costs of a reserve at Wilson Creek. Fishermen are the sentries of the ocean. Fishermen are usually the ones who find point source pollution, and we are the first responders whose little boats can fight the inshore battle to save intertidal areas. By weakening us with unnecessary closures that do not take into account the fishing waters we have already given up, you increase the chance that our aquatic communities will be ravaged by pollution.

There are already abundant laws that make disturbing birds and marine mammals illegal. The beach around the Wilson Rock area is unreachable by land past Hidden Beach, and protected by national park status. No boat can safely get even near the shore, and the rookery atop Wilson Rock is over 100 feet high. The birds do not even flinch when a boat passes by, and boats passing by will still happen even after the area is closed to fishing. Yet you see a reason for stopping fishermen from using the area.

Del Norte County deserves better than being told where to fish by the Humboldt Baykeeper.

Kenyon Hensel
Crescent City

Monday, July 26, 2010

Missing gun? High Speed Chase

◼ TS - Chase down McKinleyville's Central Avenue ends in arrest

Date: July 26, 2010 From: Brenda Godsey, PIO
Subject: Vehicle Pursuit Ends with Arrest Case: 201004935

MCKINLEYVILLE – Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a man late Saturday morning after he led them on a pursuit through McKinleyville. At about 11:00 a.m. Deputies saw Nathan Aaron Ruptak talking on a cellular phone while he was driving on Central Avenue. Deputies attempted to make an enforcement stop of Ruptak he but failed to yield. Ruptak accelerated through a red light at Central Ave. and Sutter Rd. and continued northbound. Ruptak crossed into oncoming lanes several times before running another red light at Heartwood Drive. Deputies estimated the Ruptak was traveling about 70 mph on Central Avenue, where the speed limit it 35 mph. As Ruptak passed City Center Drive, deputies saw him throw an item from his vehicle. Ruptak ran a red light at Pickett Road and deputies noted that three juveniles had to run out of the crosswalk and back on to the curb. At Railroad Drive, Deputies saw Ruptak throw additional items from his vehicle. Ruptak accelerated to about 80 mph as he approached Murray Road and failed to stop at the four-way stop. As Ruptak approached Airport Road he threw additional items from his car. Ruptak eventually pulled over and stopped on Central Ave., near Johnson Lane. Deputies arrested Ruptak with out further incident. Deputies found him to be in possession of .5 grams of cocaine. Deputies located ammunition in Ruptak’s car.

Deputies searched the area that Ruptak had traveled in an effort to recover what he had thrown from the vehicle. A citizen told deputies that there was a gun magazine on the porch of a nearby residence. Deputies found the magazine loaded with the same type of ammunition found inside Ruptak’s car.

Because deputies found ammunition, and because deputies saw Ruptak throwing other items from his car, deputies searched the area for a gun. A gun was not located.

Although deputies do not know if a gun was thrown from Ruptak’s car, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning citizens against picking up a gun if one is found. Never assume a gun is unloaded. Call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office immediately at (707) 445-7251.

High-speed chase suspect evades Eureka police
The Eureka Police Department is continuing the search for a man who allegedly has twice fled from officers and on Friday nearly ran over two of them.

On July 10, EPD officers were pursuing a black Audi through Eureka streets at speeds over 90 mph.

Officers chose to discontinue the pursuit at the time in light of public safety due to the excessive speeds, according to an EPD press release.... (the second time) (Bradlee) Sanders allegedly sped southbound on Broadway at speeds of over 100 mph, and officers were unable to keep up due to the excessive and unsafe speed.

Officers are attempting to locate Sanders and have issued a countywide alert on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, driving on a suspended license, and a probation violation. Anyone with information on the subject should call EPD at 441-4044.

Man arrested in death of 4-year-old child UPDATED

Man arrested in death of 4-year-old child 7/26/2010

A Humboldt County man was arrested on suspicion of murder Sunday after a 4-year-old child was brought to a hospital over the weekend and pronounced dead.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office reported that detectives were called to an unidentified local hospital late Saturday after his caregiver discovered the child wasn't breathing. The child was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead at 11 p.m. The child's body showed evidence of ongoing abuse, the Sheriff's Office reported, with extreme bruising over much of his body.

Detectives interviewed family members and learned that the child had been in the care of Leon Alyious Bigleggins, 25, in the days leading up to his death, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Bigleggins was arrested on suspicion of murder and booked into the Humboldt County jail. Bail has not been set, the Sheriff's Office said.

Bigleggins is scheduled to be arraigned by Wednesday. An autopsy of the child will be scheduled by the Humboldt County Coroner's Office, the Sheriff's Office said.

Officials did not release any further information.

Subject: Murder Arrest Sheriff's Office Press Release

◼ UPDATE: Humboldt County Sheriff investigating death of 4-year-old boy; Blue Lake man in custody 7/27/2010
The TS has details - A Blue Lake man is in custody on suspicion of murdering 4-year-old Dylan Blount-Chambers -- the grandson of the woman he is dating, according to the boy's mother.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office arrested Leon Alyious Bigleggins, 25, after detectives served a search warrant at a house on Sabertooth Road near Titlow Hill on Sunday afternoon.
Blount-Chambers' grandmother reportedly found the child having difficulty breathing late Saturday night. Donna Ray Blount called an ambulance and the boy was transported to Mad River Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11 p.m.

The child's body had signs of ongoing abuse, the Sheriff's Office reported, with severe bruises that prompted detectives to investigate further.

Neither the Sheriff's Office nor the Coroner's Office would confirm the identity of the child, citing the ongoing investigation, but the Times-Standard spoke with the boy's mother, Tracy Blount.

Tracy Blount said her son was staying at his grandmother's house for the summer, and that she'd dropped him off on July 3, the last time she'd seen him.

”I'm still in shock,” Tracy Blount said. “I really don't know anything at this point.”

Tracy Blount said that Bigleggins was dating her mother, Donna Ray Blount, who works cleaning homes and doing yard work during the day. Bigleggins -- a beginning mixed martial arts fighter -- would watch Blount-Chambers when Donna Blount was away, something that Tracy Blount said she had no reason to be uncomfortable with.

”Dylan loved him,” Tracy Blount said. “I don't want to believe that he (Bigleggins) is involved, but they think he is.”

Tracy Blount said that Dylan is believed to have died of internal injuries, but she still hasn't been able to see him.

The Coroner's Office said that the grandmother identified the child's body. No other acquaintance or family members have been allowed to view the body at this point in the investigation, Coroner Dave Parris said, as it is uncertain who may have been abusing the child.

Parris said that an autopsy is scheduled for this morning in Eureka. Detectives working on the case said that Bigleggins is the only suspect in the case at this point, and that interviews with the family would continue later this week.

The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office said that charges cannot be filed until they receive a report from the sheriff's office, which could be as soon as today.

Bigleggins is scheduled to be arraigned by Wednesday, and his bail has yet to be set.

Bigleggins fought and lost his first official mixed martial arts bout at Blue Lake Casino in the light heavyweight division in May.

UPDATE: ◼ Suspect in Humboldt County child murder to be arraigned in court today; autopsy for boy underway 7/28/2010

Man arrested in death of 4-year-old child 7/26/2010
Subject: Murder Arrest Sheriff's Office Press Release
Four-year-old boy murdered
Humboldt County Sheriff investigating death of 4-year-old boy; Blue Lake man in custody 7/27/2010
Suspect in Humboldt County child murder to be arraigned in court today; autopsy for boy underway 7/28/2010
Autopsy complete, but investigation continues in 4-year-old child's death 8/01/2010

Some innovation

Eureka Police Department teams with domestic violence advocates in first project of its kind on North Coast
Dawn Watkins, program director at Humboldt Domestic Violence Services, said the seed for the program was planted about a decade ago, but only began to sprout recently. She said the idea started through the Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee, a subcommittee of the Domestic Violence Council. She said her agency and EPD started a collaboration several years back where officers would call out advocates to crimes scenes to talk to victims. Things were going fine, Watkins said, but she felt the agency could do more.

”I didn't feel like we were reaching the people we needed to reach,” she said, adding that the program seemed to start and stall, and just never really took off.

Watkins said she finally approached Nielsen with the idea of having her advocates go on patrol with his officers, with the idea that “having a non-police person involved in a police situation can be a big help.”

Nielsen, Watkins said, got back to her the next day, saying simply, “Let's do it.”

99 days

and that flurry of press releases continues. The good news is, Paul Gallegos will work hard for you at least once every four years.

July 26, 2010

CONTACT: District Attorney, Paul V. Gallegos
PHONE: (707)268-2568


Today in Humboldt Superior Court, a jury returned a guilty verdict convicting Michael Sandor Pitek, 50, of Rio Dell, of driving under the influence of drugs.

On October 10, 2009, Eureka Police officer Gary Cooper saw Pitek driving the wrong way down (one-way) Sixth Street in downtown Eureka. Pitek told the officer that he was being "chased by skinheads." The officer saw no vehicles, or persons, following Pitek and also noticed that Pitek appeared agitated and that he was displaying symptoms consistent with current methamphetamine impairment and with chronic methamphetamine use. A DUI investigation was conducted, which confirmed the officer's initial suspicion. Pitek was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Toxicologist, Nancy Enkema,, an employee of the California Department of Justice, testified that the post-arrest sample of Pitek's blood contained methamphetamine.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ben Mainzer.

Records show more than 500 convictions for DUI offenses in Humboldt Superior Court in the first six months of 2010.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos commented "We vigorously prosecute these cases because drivers impaired by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs endanger us all.:"

The Honorable Harold E. Neville Jr., presided over the week-long trial and afterwards sentenced Pitek to 3 years of probation with a search term, to pay a fine in excess of two thousand dollars, and to serve 32 days in jail with credit for that amount already served.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eureka man convicted of murder; Johnny Lewis faces 25-to-life for Fields Landing slaying

Eureka man convicted of murder; Johnny Lewis faces 25-to-life for Fields Landing slaying
A Humboldt County jury on Thursday convicted a 28-year-old Eureka man of first-degree murder for the November killing of Robert Van Alstine in Fields Landing, after just hours of deliberation.

Johnny Lindel Lewis, 28, of Eureka stabbed Van Alstine in the back in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, reportedly in a jealous rage, believing that Van Alstine had slept with his girlfriend. Lewis faces 25-years-to-life in prison after the conviction, and is due to return to Humboldt County Superior court for sentencing on Aug. 18.

Deputy District Attorney Maggie Fleming said Humboldt County sheriff's detectives built a strong case against Lewis, which made her job in the courtroom a lot easier.

”I really appreciated the jurors' willingness to serve, and obviously very much appreciated the work that (Sheriff's) Sgt. Wayne Hanson and the other detectives did on the case -- it was really impressive,” Flemming said....

Hanson said he didn't know how Lewis came to the belief that Van Alstine was sleeping with his girlfriend, but said it was simply untrue and that Van Alstine was the victim of a jealous misunderstanding.

”He didn't deserve to die that morning,” Hanson said. “Maggie Flemming did a great job in presenting this case to the jury. I sat in and watched her closing argument, and she just did an excellent job.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Murder suspect appears in Humboldt County court
Murder suspect Ryan Christopher Carroll appeared in Humboldt County Superior Court on Tuesday for a status conference. His preliminary hearing was scheduled for next week.

Carroll is a suspect in the murder of Reepaul Singh Rana, a San Francisco resident whose body was found in a forested area in Southern Humboldt County nearly two years ago. Carroll was arrested in January on a warrant for murder and charged with arson, vehicle theft and destruction of evidence....

Unintentionally funny

McKinlevyille CSD talks water and sewer tonight

Uhhhh - That's what they DO. Each. And. Every. Meeting.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Murder or suicide?

Route 299 murder suspect set for trial in August; case likely to lean heavily on evidence gathered from getaway car
The trial of a man accused of killing a marijuana robbery accomplice during a high speed chase on State Route 299 last year is likely to hinge on detailed forensic evidence gathered from the getaway car.

Brian Cole Fiore of Antioch faces a variety of charges, including the murder of his alleged accomplice David Fields, armed robbery, felony evading a peace officer, transporting marijuana, illegally possessing an assault weapon, resisting arrest and the attempted murder of five peace officers. Fiore has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and is set to go to trial on Aug. 23.

Prosecutors allege that Fiore shot Fields in the head just before the Jeep Cherokee that Fiore was driving plummeted off a cliff on Route 299 on May 11, 2009.

The pair were allegedly running from officers after robbing three men of 14 pounds of marijuana in McKinleyville at gunpoint. Officers responding to the scene chased the Jeep for 20 miles up Route 299, while the suspects reportedly shot at pursuing law enforcement vehicles. The Jeep went over a spike strip outside of Willow Creek and plunged 130 feet off the road into a ravine.

Fiore shortly came up the hill with a gunshot wound to his head, telling officers that he'd tried to kill himself, according to court documents. Fields was found dead feet away from the vehicle, with a gunshot wound to his head.

In recent court documents, public defender Jonathan McCrone, representing Fiore, said that forensic scientist John Jacobsen had examined the Jeep and found what he believed to be brain matter in the back seat of the car. McCrone wrote that the presence of the material suggests that his client couldn't have shot Fields. Fields was shot in the left temple, and the bullet exited the right temple, McCrone wrote. Fiore would “have to be a contortionist to achieve this” McCrone wrote of the brain matter in the back seat.

”The trajectory of the bullet which killed David Fields is critical to the determination of whether this is a murder or a suicide,” McCrone wrote.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tune in - Starting next Monday

Tom Fredriksen will be debuting his new morning show at
News/Talk AM 1650
Humboldt County’s only live daily morning show
Studio Line (707) 702-1776
9-10am Monday - Friday
Live Call in show. Culture / Politics

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The story of Monica and Robin Bradshaw

Together and alone: The story of Monica and Robin Bradshaw, how they defied all odds to be together and wound up in near complete isolation - Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard
The first in a three-part series looking at the lives of Robin and Monica Bradshaw. The stories look at their early relationship, isolated life, her killing and the investigation that led to his arrest 18 months after her death. 7/11/2010

Cracks in a foundation: The Bradshaws' marriage, the product of youthful love, begins to crumble
The second in a three-part series looking at the lives of Robin and Monica Bradshaw. The stories look at their early relationship, isolated life, her killing and the investigation that led to his arrest 18 months after her death. 7/12/2010

Monica Bradshaw's remains are recovered, and Robin Bradshaw is sent to prison
The third in a three-part series looking at the lives of Robin and Monica Bradshaw. The stories look at their early relationship, isolated life, her killing and the investigation that led to his arrest 18 months after her death.

Friday, July 09, 2010

TS - Suspect in Fortuna attempted murder arraigned in Humboldt County court

Suspect in Fortuna attempted murder arraigned in Humboldt County court

Michael Alan Coen pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in Humboldt County Superior Court on Thursday, less than a week after his alleged involvement in a shooting incident.

Coen, 28, was the subject of a multi-agency manhunt last Friday in connection with a shooting on the 3400 block of Hillras Way in Fortuna. Victim Michael Cooper was treated and released from a local hospital, and authorities said he and Coen are believed to know each other.

Coen faces numerous charges, including attempted murder, assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting arrest. Coen pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Coen pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm in November 2009. He spent 47 days in jail and was sentenced to three years probation, according to Humboldt County court records. Coen was also arrested in February for his alleged involvement in an Arcata carjacking. Charges stemming from the incident were never filed, and the case is still under review.

Coen's bail was set at $600,000, and a preliminary hearing on the matter was scheduled for July 21.

Matt Drange/The Times-Standard
Posted: 07/09/2010 01:24:12 AM PDT
Three more arrested in Eye Street robbery
Arrest made in Eye Street robberies

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

UPDATED - Return of Kevin Scott Walker - Man arrested for rape in Arcata, another on the loose

UPDATE: ◼ Woman Raped – Man Arrested, Another Sought Arcata Eye has more details...

The witness accounts include several horrifying details, with suggestions that there may be more to the story than police have so far been able to verify.

Woodward said the victim was shaken, but not distraught when she first appeared in the parking lot and asked to borrow a cell phone. Avelar described her as “kind of crying.”

Woodward said her face bore a fresh red handprint, the fingers clearly outlined on her cheek, apparently from one of the rapists clamping his hand over her mouth to keep her silent during the attack.

APD Sgt. Todd Dokweiler said the rape survivor’s family lives in Eureka. Woodward said she called her father on the borrowed cell phone. Witnesses said she told him she had been raped and that it sounded like he told her to take a cab home. She said that she couldn’t, because her boyfriend had robbed her.

“She told her dad that her boyfriend had left her high and dry and stolen her money,” Woodward said.

Several of those present report hearing the victim mention three men, not two, the third being the boyfriend. Some mentioned seeing two other men, not just the one outstanding suspect, leaving Walker behind in the wooded area and escaping via the trail that leads up to Seventh Street.

“She said her boyfriend and the two guys were friends,” Avelar said.

Dokweiler confirmed that the victim initially mentioned three men. “Within a few minutes, she recanted that,” he said....

Police arrest man, seek another in Arcata rape; suspect pleaded guilty in 2008 Trinidad assault, got probation full story

Man arrested for rape in Arcata, another on the loose yesterday's brief report
Arcata police arrested one man and are looking for another believed to have sexually assaulted a 25-year-old woman near the Arcata Sports Complex Monday night.

Kevin Scott Walker, 37, of Eureka was booked into Humboldt County jail on suspicion of rape. The second man remains on the loose. He is described as a white or Indian male adult in his early twenties with dark shoulder-length hair and thin facial hair. He was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket.

Officers responded to the 300 block of Community Park Way for the report of a sexual assault at 11:17 p.m. They located a 25-year-old woman being comforted by bystanders....

In 2008, Walker pleaded guilty to felony assault in what was widely believed to be a hate crime in Trinidad. Walker was arrested in May 2008, along with 18-year-old Collin Roczey, after witnesses reported seeing three men fighting in a Trinidad beach parking lot. Witnesses said Walker and Roczey were holding another man down, hitting his head on the ground, hitting him with a metal pipe and stepping on his face while shouting racial slurs.

The two men were originally arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault and kidnapping, but pleaded guilty to the assault charge in a plea deal. *

Walker was in Humboldt County Superior Court Tuesday for violation of probation related to the 2008 case.
In court Tuesday, the prosecutor told the court she did not yet have a new filing on Walker. Judge Bruce Watson set Walker's arraignment for Thursday.

(* Actually they pled guilty to assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, which carries a two, three or four-year sentence. They were originally charged with kidnapping to commit a crime, assault with a deadly weapon and sodomy in concert with another person.) Apparently, he got probation.

Gang rape at Arcata Sports Complex. 50 feet away from softball play. - samoa softball
APD Also quoted in the Eye story above (updated)

Man arrested for rape in Arcata yesterday's first breaking report

Prior reports:
Charging decision expected today in Trinidad assault case 5/14/2008
A grisly assault reportedly occurred at Trinidad Beach over the weekend, resulting in the arrest of two suspects and a victim being treated at a local hospital...
Two men plead guilty in assault 6/21/2008
Two men charged in an allegedly racially-motivated assault in Trinidad last month entered guilty pleas to one count in Superior Court this week.

According to court documents, Kevin Scott Walker, 35, and Collin Gregory Roczey, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Together they face a minimum penalty of 2 years and a maximum of 4 years in prison.

Three other felony charges related to an alleged sexual assault on the victim, including kidnapping to commit rape or robbery, were dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to court documents.

Deputy District Attorney Arnold Klein said he will wait for the completion of a probation report to make a suggestion on their penalty to the judge....

Transient sodomy suspects plead guilty to lesser crime - Eureka Reporter (no longer online)
Two transient men arrested in early May on suspicion of sexually assaulting and beating up a man near Trinidad Beach pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge that could keep them in jail up to four years.

Collin Gregory Roczey, 19, and Kevin Scott Walker, 35, were arrested by the Trinidad Police Department on May 10 after several 911 calls were made regarding a man being beaten and kicked by two men in the parking lot. It was discovered that the victim was physically and sexually assaulted and both suspects were reportedly yelling racial slurs at the victim as they were attacking him.

“Alcohol was consumed and allegedly the two arrested suspects turned on the third transient by sexually assaulting him by sodomy,” the Trinidad police log said. “The two suspects then followed the victim to the parking lot of Trinidad Beach and physically assaulted him by kicking him in the head and punching (him).”

The men pleaded guilty to assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, which carries a two, three or four-year sentence. They were originally charged with kidnapping to commit a crime, assault with a deadly weapon and sodomy in concert with another person.

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Arnold Klein, who prosecuted the case, said he’s waiting to see the report from probation before recommending sentences for the men.

Probation sentence for Trinidad assault 7/17/2008
Two men who pleaded guilty to weapons charges in an allegedly racially motivated assault against another man in Trinidad were sentenced Wednesday to three years probation with no additional time in jail.

They will have to serve 300 hours of community service.

Judge Bruce Watson credited Collin Roczey, 18, and Kevin Walker, 35, for the 60 days they served in jail. However, Roczey's probation was amended, and Watson stipulated he must complete high school, or a GED program, and become gainfully employed under the terms of his probation.

Both men were charged for court costs and restitution fees.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Skilled Healthcare Verdict

Jury imposes maximum damages on Skilled Healthcare; nursing home chain faces upwards of $600 million for health code violations
...”This is a really strong statement to Skilled Healthcare that they have to follow the law,” said plaintiff's Attorney Michael Thamer, who delivered the closing arguments in the case and specializes in fighting corporate abuse. “They need to know that they are going to be held responsible....
Verdict: Skilled Healthcare faces more than $600 million in damages
Skilled Healthcare suit grinds forward in Eureka; defense calls economics professor to the stand
Injunction phase of Skilled Healthcare suit continues
Eureka facility administrator testifies in Skilled Healthcare suit; injunction phase of case set to continue next week
Closing arguments begin in Skilled Healthcare case
...The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office intervened in the lawsuit, and has been largely a bystander in the case from the start. District Attorney Paul Gallegos said that his office is planning to file an injunction against the defendant later this week that would order Skilled Healthcare to be in compliance with the law in the future.
Gallegos said the penalties, depending on how the court interprets them, could amount to up to $2,500 for each infraction. If you multiply this by the number of patients represented in the case, Skilled Healthcare is looking at a possible 1.4 million violations.
”It's been a long-term problem,” said Gallegos. “There is overwhelming evidence that the law has been broken."...

Arguments in Skilled Healthcare suit conclude; Humboldt County District Attorney to address case today
...District Attorney Paul Gallegos will be in court today when the injunction phase of the trial -- which does not involve the jury -- begins. The district attorney's office intervened in the case four years ago, assisting with collecting witnesses and sifting through evidence over the past few months.
Now Gallegos will make the state's case to prove to the court that Skilled Healthcare failed to provide adequate staffing. Gallegos said that he will present evidence, including video clips of witness testimony, with the goal of getting an injunction filed against Skilled Healthcare that could assess additional penalties and would order the company to make sure that staffing levels are compliant with the law....

Skilled Healthcare stock takes a nosedive; outlook for company grim after Humboldt County jury renders verdict
◼ Seniors protected from unscrupulous nursing facilities, thanks in great measure to the intervention of District Attorney Paul Gallegos - the headline on the Gallegos propaganda blog

Sunday, July 04, 2010

'Armed and dangerous' -- authorities arrest suspect in connection with Fortuna shooting

'Armed and dangerous' -- authorities arrest suspect in connection with Fortuna shooting
Authorities arrested a man Friday evening who is a suspect in an alleged shooting that occurred Friday morning.
Michael Alan Coen, 28, was arrested at 7:35 p.m. on Highway 36 near Van Duezen Street in Alton after a concerned citizen spotted the suspect and called authorities, according to Humboldt County Sheriff's Sgt. Ernie Stewart.

”We spotted the suspect and he ran,” said Stewart. “After a brief foot pursuit, we caught him.”
He was transpoted to the Humboldt County jail, where he was booked on charges of attempted murder, resisting arrest and a parole violation.

Stewart said additional charges are expected to be filed against Coen, but he declined to comment further.

Coen was the subject of a multi-agency manhunt Friday in connection with a shooting on the 3400 block of Hillras Way in Fortuna. An armed and dangerous warning regarding Coen was issued to the media.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office was notified at 8:15 a.m. Friday that a man was being treated for a gunshot wound at a local hospital. A short time later, the vehicle Coen was believed to be driving was spotted by the Fortuna Police Department. Fortuna police officers saw a man flee the white SUV after he parked it on Rocky Mountain Road, south of the Van Duzen River bridge, an earlier press release stated....

Charles Albert Kesselring, 24, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, making threats against an executive officer, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, and a parole violation.

HCSO Press Release

Police search for wanted man after shooting
Bank robbery suspects captured after chase 2.6.09
Two bank robbery suspects' attempted getaway ended after about 15 minutes Thursday when a Shasta County sheriff's deputy rammed their minivan with his squad car...The suspects were identified Thursday afternoon as Nathaniel Patrick Smith, 32, and Charles Albert Kesselring III, 42. The suspects' cities of residence weren't available....

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Journal knows how to throw a party.

It was good to see many people I haven't seen in a long time.

celebrating the 20th anniversary of the North Coast Journal

I just wanna know how much you had to pay the protestors.

Great turnout. Great weather. Great music. Great food. Great time. Congrats. Very cool.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Serious question.

Would you hire Gallegos to work for you?

Why or why not?

Gallegos said the grand jury is “very politically motivated.”

Humboldt County Grand Jury looks at aging facilities, District Attorney's Office
Government agencies identified in a grand jury report must respond to the findings, and the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office is already planning a detailed response, said District Attorney Paul Gallegos in an e-mail.

”Rest assured, we do not agree with the findings,” Gallegos said in an e-mail.

There were four main findings that the grand jury reported within the district attorney's office. The first being the office failed to file for some grant reimbursements in fiscal year 2006-2007, and that other grant applications were not properly processed or submitted. The result was that some reimbursements were not received and were covered by the county's general fund.

The second finding stated that nepotism, or favoritism toward relatives of supervising personnel, was a problem in the district attorney's office, and that current county personnel rules were not sufficient to stop it.

”It is the grand jury's belief that the current county policy that nepotism only occurs when there exists a direct line of supervision is ineffective ...,” the report states. “Nepotism creates tension, provides an unnecessary source of resentment by staff and usually becomes a source of morale and retention issues.”

No specific circumstances are listed in the report, and calls to the grand jury's office were not returned by deadline.
The report also cites a lack of routine personnel evaluations, and that “poor office management practices and communication continue to plague” the office.

Gallegos did not respond specifically to any item in the report, leaving that for the written response. However, he said the grand jury is “very politically motivated.”

The grand jury recommended that the county office organize a grant-management program, review policies on nepotism, require that evaluations be performed on a set schedule, and that Gallegos “recognize the ongoing responsibility of his department” and abide by county policies.

“Very politically motivated.” Really? Now it is Gallegos who is in to conspiracy theories.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

2009-2010 Grand Jury Report - Poor office management practices and communication continue to plague the District Attorney's Office

Poor office management practices and communication continue to plague the District Attorney's Office, after first being noted in the FY 2004-05 Grand Jury report.

The 13 cases that did lead to formal Findings and Recommendations are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Board of Supervisors Salaries
County Government’s Accounting Standards
County Government Management
Delayed Action on the Part of the District Attorney’s Office
Elk River Land Use
Ethnic Tensions in Public Schools
Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG)
Humboldt First Five
Sites Visits, Law Enforcement (including Sheriff’s Office and all facilities,
Coroner’s office, all Police Departments, Juvenile Probation, and government operated
animal shelters)
Victim Witness Program

Grand Jury Report 2010-HESS-03:
Delayed Action on the Part of the District Attorney’s Office

Required Response

Pursuant to California Penal Code Sections 933 to 933.05, response to the Findings
and Recommendations of this report shall be provided as follows:

• District Attorney shall respond to Finding 1 and Recommendation 1.


The underlying case had to do with the County taking complainants’ three young nieces and nephews from her care without advising her of reasons or their whereabouts. She was originally given custody of them because of alleged abuse at the hands of other custodial relatives.


The Grand Jury determined that an interview of the County Child Welfare case worker was needed. She informed the Grand Jury that a subpoena would be necessary in order to do this. Following is the sequence of efforts to obtain the subpoena

October 16, 2009 - Grand Jury requested the County Counsel to obtain a subpoena. County Counsel, citing conflict of interest, referred the Grand Jury to the District Attorney's office;

October 22, 2009 - Grand Jury contacted District Attorney's office, providing requested information;

October 25, 2009 - District Attorney’s office requested more information;

December 2, 2009 - County Counsel asked DA's office for an update. DA's office indicated that three petitions had been signed;

December 3, 2009 - DA's office said addresses were needed;

December 5, 2009 - Two Grand Jury members waited in DA's office for over an hour for a meeting with the Deputy DA assigned to the case. No meeting occurred and no response was received concerning Deputy's failures to meet;

December 16, 2009 - Grand Jury members met Deputy DA by chance; inquired of progress on subpoena. Deputy DA indicated that he would check on whether an “827” has been filed, also needed address of grandparents. (Second time info was provided);

January 5, 2010 - Grand Jury supplied grandparent addresses to DA's office;

January 27, 2010 - County Counsel again requested status of the subpoena from Assistant DA;

March 2, 2010 - GJ Foreperson wrote to the judge requesting his help regarding the subpoena;

March 16, 2010 - Another query by the foreperson to the judge;

March 19 2010 - The judge said he had contacted the DA’s office;

March 23, 2010: The judge informed the Grand Jury that the DA’s office was now commencing the “827” process which is lengthy and complicated;

March 27, 2010 - Asst. DA responded that the “827” forms had been prepared but that files had not.

This report sheds light on:
1. Inefficiency and/or lack of cooperation from the District Attorney’s office.

1. That the District Attorney’s office, when presented a request by the Grand Jury, act responsibly and promptly on the matter.


Grand Jury Report 2010-LJ-01
Victim-Witness Program
Required Responses:

Pursuant to California Penal Code Sections 933 to 933.05, responses to the Findings and
Recommendations of this report shall be provided for as follows:
1. The County Administrative Officer and the County Auditor-Controller shall respond to
Recommendation 1.
2. The Board of Supervisors and the Personnel Department shall respond to
Recommendations 2 and 3.
3. The District Attorney shall respond to Findings 1 through 6, and to Recommendation 4.

This report, regarding administrative management issues and the failure to submit claims for grant reimbursement by the District Attorney's Office, originated with an investigation that was initiated by the previous Grand Jury (2008-2009). That Grand Jury could not bring the case to a conclusion before its term expired, largely because the principals from the District Attorney's Office delayed responding to Grand Jury requests for information. Thus, at the direction of the Presiding Judge, the current Grand Jury reinitiated the investigation.

The main issues this Grand Jury investigated were:
D.A.’s Office failure to file for at least two quarters of grant fund reimbursement documents for the Victim-Witness program with the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) in FY 2006-07, resulting in substantial funds being reverted to the State;
• Problems with the timely submission of requests for grant reimbuursement claims that resulted in the loss of revenue for the County;
Complaints from District Attorney's Office staff of nepotism and favoritism toward relatives of supervisory personnel;
The failure to complete District Attorney's Office personnel evaluations, as required by the agreement between the County and the American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1684, and reflected in County Merit System rules.

A. Grant Monies
Monies received from grant funds are a mainstay for ensuring the overall operation of the District Attorney’s Office, as well as many departments in the County. Typically, State grants are applied for on a fiscal year basis and are paid to the department in arrears, in the form of periodic reimbursement for wages and other expenses associated with a particular activity. Actual expenses and wages are paid out of the County’s General Fund which is subsequently reimbursed after a reimbursement claim is filed with the granting authority.

To obtain the reimbursement the applying department must submit documentation proving the amounts expended are eligible for reimbursement. In the instance specific to this investigation, the reimbursement filing period was quarterly (with the State OES). For the last two quarters of FY 2006-07, the District Attorney’s Office failed to file for the reimbursement, resulting in those accumulated expenses NOT being recovered and the state reverting those funds to itself for other uses.

The funds NOT recovered were subsequently replaced by monies from the County’s General Fund.

These monies were not budgeted for this use and other programs or departments were thus precluded from the opportunity of having access to these funds.

During witness interviews testimony was received indicating that situations like this one had occurred with other County departments and agencies, with similar effects on the County’s General Fund. It was also noted by witnesses that there was no effective tracking of grants, resulting in the County administration’s staff being unaware of these situations until well after the time for reimbursement. The Grand Jury also notes that this issue was identified by the County’s independent audit in its most recent report. [Reference: 1) County of Humboldt, Single Audit Report, dated June 30, 2006, by Donald R. Reynolds, CPA; and 2) Letter from Donald R. Reynolds, CPA, to Board of
Supervisors, dated March 13, 2009.]

Also revealed, while the Grand Jury was investigating the foregoing grant fund issue, were several instances where grant applications were not properly processed or submitted. This resulted in either the resubmission of the grand application (with time lost in repetitive work), and/or the loss of funding for the oft times-mandated programs affiliated with the grants. This would have resulted in General Fund monies being utilized for programs(s) when grant monies were possibly available.

B. Nepotism

Nepotism and/or favoritism toward relatives of supervising personnel is a problem in the District Attorney’s Office. It is the Grand Jury’s belief that the current County policy that nepotism occurs only when there exists a direct line of supervision is ineffective. Depending upon the office positions of the related parties, favoritism can transcend multiple levels of supervision. Quite often it can extend beyond the single level of supervision that the County has identified, and is as much influenced by physical location and individual behavior as it is by the involved individual’s position.

In one instance in the office in question, this issue resulted in confusion on the part of other staff members about the effective chain of command and the correct identity of an individual’s direct

Nepotism creates tension, provides an unnecessary source of resentment by staff and usually becomes a source of morale and retention issues.

C. Personnel Evaluations

Personnel evaluations are not being done routinely in the District Attorney's Office, as required by the County’s Merit System rules. During the interviews conducted with department staff, it became apparent that evaluations were either done sporadically or not at all. There did not appear to be any systematic evaluation program in place.

By failing to conduct evaluations the County does disservice to itself (e.g., failing to document inadequate performance issues), its employees (loss of means to receive guidance for improved performance) and the community (loss of quality of services).

D. Office Management

Poor office management practices and communication continue to plague the District Attorney's Office, after first being noted in the FY 2004-05 Grand Jury report. These ongoing problems have
been corroborated by the testimony of several witnesses.

Their testimony indicates job-related frustrations, such as: (1) needing to re-do tasks previously completed; (2) delays in the timely completion of routine tasks; and (3) failures in communications between office staff.


1. The Victim-Witness program grant fund reimbursements for at least two quarters of FY 2006-07 were not submitted, resulting in the loss of significant reimbursment monies to the County.

2. County General Fund monies made up the Victim-Witness reimbursement shortfall.

3. Grant applications have not always been properly processed, resulting in the loss of potential funds to the County.

4. Nepotism effectively exists in the District Attorney's Office and adversely affects staff.

5. Personnel evaluations are not being routinely done by the District Attorney's Office, as required by County Merit System rules.

6. Poor office management practices continue to plague the District Attorney's Office, many of which are similar in nature to problems noted in the 2004-05 Grand Jury Report.


1. That the County Administrative Office and the County Auditor collaborate to allocate additional staff to create a centralized grant-management program that is responsible to one or the other of them. The purpose of this new program would be to: (1) better manage and track the many grant funds used by all County departments and agencies; (2) improve opportunities for acquiring and applying for grants, and (3) ensuring that associated activities related to grants (including filings for reimbursement) are accomplished in a manner that does not result in a loss of monies to the County or the use of General Fund monies for unbudgeted programs.

The Grand Jury notes that this issue was also identified by the County’s independent auditor, with a similar recommendation in his last report. [Reference: 1) County of Humboldt, Single Audit Report, dated June 30, 2006, by Donald R. Reynolds, CPA; and 2) Letter from Donald R. Reynolds, CPA, to Board of Supervisors, dated March 13, 2009.] The Grand Jury supports this recommendation.

2. That the Board of Supervisors review their current policy on nepotism. The Grand Jury recommends that an improved policy will clearly disallow relatives from working in the same county department.

One potential remedy would be to separate the affected parties by way of reassignment to different, uninvolved offices or units.The refined policy/ordinance should apply to all County departments and offices. The Board should charge the Personnel Department with the drafting and enforcement of this ordinance, as well as devising appropriate penalites for non-compliance.

3. The Board of Supervisors establish a County ordinance requiring that employee evaluations be accomplished on a set schedule and format. As a County ordinance, the requirement would then be binding on all County employees, including appointed and elected department heads. Said ordinance should be developed by the County’s Personnel Department and contain appropriate language to ensure that evaluations occur and appropriate penalties for non-compliance are spelled out.

4. That the District Attorney recognize the ongoing responsibility of his Department to abide by the administrative, finance and personnel policies of the County when they do not conflict with the position’s State Constitutional duties.

Final Numbers

Post Election Update - July 1, 2010 — Unofficial
KATHLEEN BRYSON........1,510.....4.38%
ALLISON JACKSON.......12,774...37.07%
PAUL V. GALLEGOS......13,800...40.05%
PAUL HAGEN.................6,331....18.37%

BREAKING NEWS: Sundberg to face Cleary in run-off
◼ TS - Ballot count finally complete: Runoff elections to be held for four local races
Election Results In
Final Election Results In
Final election results, finally