Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A look back: 2014 stories of the year...

One in particular:

Maggie Fleming handily won the June 2014 primary election for Humboldt County district attorney, and will be sworn in Jan. 5, becoming the first woman in county history to hold the job. TIMES-STANDARD FILE PHOTO

New era in the DA’s Office

After a tumultuous three terms in office, Paul Gallegos’ time as Humboldt County district attorney is coming to an end.

Stepping into the role will be Maggie Fleming, who handily won the June primary election against three other candidates. She will be sworn in Jan. 5, becoming the county’s first female district attorney.

When Gallegos announced in November that he would not be running for re-election, he said he was proud of his tenure as district attorney, but wanted to spend more time with his family. Gallegos surprised many when he was first elected to the post in 2002, beating longtime District Attorney Terry Farmer — who held the office for 20 years. Over the years, Gallegos made a series of controversial decisions and garnered many critics.

“It’s a wonderful job. It’s a wonderful honor. It’s just, at some point, you have to say, ‘I’ve done that, and I’ve served,’ ” Gallegos said after announcing he would not run. “It’s time for me to serve my family.”

Fleming comes to the job with 25 years of experience, having worked for 17 years in the office as a deputy district attorney and most recently as a deputy county counsel.

“You work in a DA’s office because you hope to make a difference,” she said in a recent interview. “I think helping mentor the attorneys is a critical task — currently the office is young, career-wise, as prosecutors. Another part is rebuilding the office; we are down a number of attorneys.”

Tumultuous? BS. His term was a slow degradation of the office. The only 'tumult' was in the early year when he was filing a lawsuit at his backers behest. And allowing them to plot ways to get themselves paid (and how to let their buddies pay for a public prosecution) via a "trust fund.' After that 'tumult' he slowly allowed the office to fall into ruin. Lost talent, lost grants - and he never rose to the occasion, never made an attempt to solve the problem, like any normal person would have done.

Oh well.

At long last you will have a competent DA. Humboldt County will be well served.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How can we turn around the Humboldt County crime rate? Attorney Allan Dollison looks at strategies.

DOLLISON’S DOCKET: What is Wrong in Humboldt, and Can We Right It? - Allan L. Dollison/Lost Coast Outpost via LoCo's Facebook page

...There are many reasons why we got here. We must begin to address the multiple-approach solution to fix it. If we continue along with business as usual, then we are left with that saying often attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

District Attorney Maggie Fleming swearing-in-ceremony on January 5 at noon: January 2015 key month for several high profile homicide cases

The courtroom won't have two defense attorneys anymore" - John Chiv/Words Worth
I know the Board of Chambers will be packed at noon when Maggie will officially be sworn in as Humboldt's District Attorney on January 5, 2015.
◼ AND: Judge Hinrichs presiding judge for 2014; Judge Wilson asst presiding judge and a few other changes in Humboldt Superior Court
Judge Joyce Hinrichs will be the presiding judge starting next year, Judge Christopher Wilson will be the assistant presiding judge. He has been hearing family law cases and will now be back as a Judge for the courts overseeing criminal cases.

Judge Timothy Cissna will be hearing criminal cases. Judge Dale Reinholtsen, one of my favorite judges is going to be moving to the civil courts....
January 2015 key month for several high profile homicide cases; others like Ferrer and Warren will they actually make it to trial? - John Chiv/Words Worth

If you look through the dates of these high profile trials, you will see that on January 12 and January 26, it will be a busy day for the Humboldt County courts.

These are not even all the cases in 2014 and others that are going through the process starting in 2014 into 2015. They are some of the cases that made headlines.

Vincent Sanchez
Gary Lee Bullock
Matthew Brown
Jason Arreaga
Juan Ferrer
Jason Warren
Limmie Curry

Details at the link.

The challenge here is the lack of prosecutors. These people need time to devote to the cases, time to immerse themselves in the details and in the relevant law, time to prepare for trial, meet the witnesses and experts who will testify... it is everyone's hope that there will be immediate improvements made to help in this regard.

BUT - don't expect miracles. You are going to have to give the new DA time. This thing will not be fixed overnight. But it will start to get better, and will get progressively better as the year, and her term, moves forward.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In an understaffed office...

What should happen?


Addressing the observation below that there's some question regarding retaining any Gallegos hires.

Here's what should happen.

Rather than get rid of them... sit down with them. Acknowledge they have been living through hell, not given time to do their jobs well. not given any mentoring, not given the support they need, and struggling to do the work of two dozen when their numbers are under a dozen.

Let them know, things are going to change. They will be held to higher standards, but every effort will be made to make sure they have the tools, and the mentoring needed to rise to the occasion, and they will not be walking in to court unprepared anymore.

They may not all make it, but they will have the chance, and the respect they are due as professionals. And when it is done, you will have a strong team.

And when it is all done, you will ensure that they get civil service protections, so they cannot be arbitrarily fired by any future DA.

A promise which was made to get a man elected, which was never kept, not even attempted.

All this - and HIRE new people, fill those unfilled positions. But give the existing people their due, they're trying, they have pride, and they'd like to have more.

Just my opinion. They deserve a chance.

A good move for Élan Firpo


Attorney General files opening brief in Timothy Littlefield child molestation case

This means the appeal will not be dismissed because of a default. - John Chiv/Words Worth

◼ Earlier: Attorney General to default on Littlefield molestation case? Will Paul do his job? - John Chiv/Words Worth Nov 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gary Lee Bullock updates

Judge Feeney has been the judge overseeing the hearings; formner DDA Elan Firpo was assigned to the case; today we find out who takes over. Bullock is being represented by Conflict Counsel's Kaleb Cockrum. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Bullock whispers "I love you" to supporters in audience; Fr. Freed's family retains Kathleen Bryson - John Chiv/Words Worth

The case is being prosecuted now by DDA Stacey Eads. In court DA Investigator John Burke was present.

Bullock Appears in Court, Kathleen Bryson Retained by Family of Father Freed - Ryan Burns/Lost Coast Outpost

Bullock’s trial for the torture and murder of Father Freed is scheduled to begin on Jan. 26.

Jason Arreaga waives prelim, case to go to trial

Jury in Fieldbrook double homicide case second trial finds Arreaga not guilty on both counts - John Chiv/Words Worth 2/25/2016

His attorney Heidi Holmquist said that while the preliminary hearing was waived, it was with the condition the only charges against her client would be the one in original complaint. - watch John Chiv/Words Worth for updates and ongoing coverage
In a preliminary hearing, which is held after the defendant has been arraigned, the Judge decides whether there is enough evidence provided by the prosecution to hold the defendant accountable on charges to to stand trial. My guess is that by waiving trial, the defense did not want prosecution to be able to amend and add more charges after the preliminary hearing.

Arreaga is charged with murder in Count 1 of Harley Wayne Hammers and Count 2 murder of Angel Tully , both felonies. Two special allegations for both counts: personally and intentionally discharging a firearm and personally and intentionally discharging a firearm resulting in great bodily injury or death.

Ferrer scheduled for April 6

Some witnesses avoiding subpoena. - Chiv will update

Exploding crime, increasing problems

HOMICIDE: Man Found Stabbed, Unconscious on McFarlan Street; EPD Investigating - LoCo
UPDATE, 10:03 a.m.: The victim in the case has died, according to the Eureka Police Department. A homicide investigation is underway.
◼ OH GOD. FOURTEEN. 2nd UPDATE: Eureka homicide victim identified as a 14-year-old Arcata resident - Times-Standard
Fourteen-Year-Old Victim of Today’s Homicide - LoCo
According to Deputy Coroner Trevor Enright of the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, the victim of today’s homicide on 15th Street in Eureka is a fourteen-year-old boy from Arcata.

Sheriff’s Office: Last Night’s Swain’s Flat Shootings Followed Home Invasion
On 12/16/2014, at about 8:45 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of shots being fired near the 19700 block of State Hwy 36. It was reported there were two subjects whom had sustained injuries from the gun shots.

Breaking News: Two Shot Out Hwy 36 - LoCo

Mugshot of Suspect Arrested in McKinleyville Shooting Incident and More Details - LoCo
Sheriff’s Deputy Fires on Suspects Attempting to Flee; One Injured, One Arrested - LoCo
[UPDATE With Eyewitness Accounts] Shots Fired in McKinleyville, Woman With Gunshot Wound

Two AR-15s, Weed, Meth Discovered During Traffic Stop in Eureka - LoCo

Just the last couple days...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tom Sebourn: Trinidad Prepares For 100 Year Anniversary Of 200 Foot Wave

Great story, at the link.

Five Six Seven major murder cases pending

Jury in Fieldbrook double homicide case second trial finds Arreaga not guilty on both counts - John Chiv/Words Worth 2/25/2016

And who are the prosecutors...?

  1. Bullock - pending
  2. Warren
  3. Limmie-Curry
  4. Ferrar (set for April 6, has had various prosecutors)
  5. Carter
  6. Arreaga
  7. Brown

Who is handling these cases. This isn't the kind of thing you pick up the file and walk into court...

Then there's the Littlefield case, a very complicated case, the default appeal expires Thursday.

Dec 17 will be a busy day with several high profile homicide cases and status overlapping - John Chiv/Words Worth
Tomorrow morning, there is the preliminary examination scheduled for Jason Arreaga, the suspect in the Fieldbrook homicide and at the same time there is a preliminary hearing for Jason Armstrong, the suspect in the Redway murder.

In the afternoon, there is a pre trial hearing Gary Lee Bullock who is charged with the murder of Fr. Eric Freed and trial confirmation for murder suspect Matthew Brown in one courtroom and at the same time a motion hearing and disposition reset hearing for Arcata murder suspect Juan Ferrer in Courtroom Four....
...I don't know who will prosecute the Bullock case but I hope that the DA's office thinks carefully about that decision.... - John Chiv/Words Worth

(Three Jason's: Jason Anthony Warren, Jason Armstrong, Jason Arreaga)

◼ And then there's the Matthew Brown case Matthew Brown murder case jury trial delayed a week - John Chiv/Words Worth

Friday, December 12, 2014

Busy day in Shelter Cove case

Jury instructions finalized, closing arguments to start shortly in Shelter Cove case - John Chiv/Words Worth
Thad Greenson is the only one here from local media. However, he could not stay and left. Judge Miles just started instructions. First set of jury instructions concluded.
Nelson interuppts ADA Neel's closing in court; almost causes mistrial - John Chiv/Words Worth
In the middle of ADA Kelly Neel's second closing argument, William Nelson, the man charged with shooting Deputy Bang Cao, jumped up in court and started yelling. He would not shut up despite the Judge's initial admonishment and even verbally attacked his own lawyer.
"I am asking you to find William Nelson guilty of willful, deliberate, premeditated murder" - John Chiv/Words Worth
"I am going to ask you to come back with a single vote. I am asking you to find William Nelson guilty of willful, deliberate, premeditated murder." This is how ADA Kelly Neel opened her closing yesterday.

With exhibits of pictures, detailed timeline and testimony, Ms. Neel in two days, with a very powerful presentation explained why William Nelson should be found guilty of the charges against him....

"That fucking Chink" is what Nelson said when he locked eyes with Deputy Bang Cao.

From that moment, "he walked through the house, thinking about it, thinking about it before", Ms. Neel referred to Nelson's threats against law enforcement.

"The officer was doing his job and for that Willy Nelson shot him. For that he should be held accountable."
Yesterday's jury instructions seem prophetic in light of Nelson' s outburst today - John Chiv/Words Worth

"You don't get to blame officers for escalating a situation that Mr. Nelson escalated"; ADA Neel counters defense assertions - John Chiv/Words Worth

"I believe the evidence that was presented to you in the last week was mistakes by HCSO and Mr. Nelson; the difference is Mr. Nelson made a justified mistake" - John Chiv/Words Worth

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pot is legal in all 50 states now

Indian Tribes Can Now Grow and Sell Marijuana, Department of Justice Says - Bloomberg - Times Standard

For now.

People and defense rest in Shelter Cove case where HCSO deputy was shot

Closing arguments, jury instructions will take place this afternoon and the jury can start deliberations as early as today. - John Chiv/Words Worth
Local "media" does not think HCSO deputies being shot at is worth covering - John Chiv/Words Worth
So, maybe the media will show up later after my post? Or the TS could always just call and have the DA's office fill them in and basically write their article. Maybe NCJ could pull some probation reports and string an article about William Nelson's past?

Why bother doing actual reporting? This is news, this is local. Reprinting press rleases and national associated press stories on issues that don't affect people should take a backseat to live coverage.
Jury trial for Shelter Cove man who shot HCSO deputy on hold while 402 hearing is being conducted; deputy is moving to Marin - John Chiv/Words Worth
William Nelson shot HCSO Deputy Bang Cao in the chest. His jury trial is currently on hold while a 402 hearing is being conducted. (Chiv does) not have any more information because the 402 hearing is being heard in a closed courtroom.

John's right.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disposition/reset hearing postponed again for Sohum murder suspect Benjamin Carter; defense wants "further examination of victim's body"

So Hum suspect Benjamin Carter, who called LOCO, instead of his defense attorney Michael Acosta when he was on the lam will have to wait for his jury trial to be scheduled. - John Chiv/Words Worth

A disposition/reset hearing has been set for January 5 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1. DDA Roger Rees represented the People today.

Judge Feeney, DDA Roger Rees and Probation take a stand for public safety; Weitchpec suspects laugh in court as if they are on vacation

All four suspects tried to be released on their own recognizance. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Their lawyers, public defenders and one appointed private counsel tried but Probation recommended against their relase and DDA Roger Rees was great in stating reasons opposing their release stating specific reasons such as several failures to appear, nature of crimes, previous criminal history....

When you are accused of a serious crime, laughing like you are at Club Med doesn't exactly elicit sympathy. If you cannot be serious in court and even fake being responsible like most repeat offenders, why should you be allowed out of custody and given a second chance or third or fourth? KEEP READING

Derek Bowman back in Humboldt County jail....

On a writ... you wouldn't...

Monday, December 08, 2014

Swear-in Ceremony

"We are in an unique position to rebuild this agency" - John Chiv/Words Worth

A swear in ceremony was held this morning for the HCSO employees recently promoted. Family members, HCSO staff, Pastor Andy Van Browse, Sheriff Downey, Undersheriff Billy Honsal, Supervisors Rex Bohn and Virginia Bass, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, District Attorney elect Maggie Fleming were among those who attended the event.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Watchdogs, representatives, oversight and videotape

Lots of questions posed - who's right and who's wrong? If anyone. Maybe Mark (Lovelace) is in the right here, Supervisors are elected to represent their Districts within the County, as well as to look out for the County as a whole....

Public meeting enthusiast Kent Sawatzky asked 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace to resign from the Oversight Board for stiffing the County and taxpayers and voting to benefit Arcata - John Chiv/Words Worth

Here's a link to City Of Arcata's WATCH MEETINGS LIVE & ON DEMAND info page

(If I've clipped this right, Here's Kent Sawatzky addressing the Arcata City Council.

Mark's not gonna resign, so that's moot -

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Who celebrates incompetence and the destruction of an office?

Letter: Saluting Pal Gallegos’ service to community - "R. Trent Williams" (Richard Salzman himself)

Lying, conniving and slavishly loyal to the end.

If you go - shame on you.

If you go, you're celebrating taking a working office from almost 20 to under 10, the horrific working conditions resulting from being severely understaffed, you're celebrating the horrible reputation the Humboldt DAs Office has earned under Gallegos' tenure (No one wants to work here), inexplicable schizophrenic prosecutions (letting bad guys go, and going after people like the toddler-wanderer Dad). These things are not in dispute.

It's a sorry state of affairs, and it is in very poor taste to advertise it like it is some kind of achievement. But, that's "R. Trent." He doesn't say whether they'll be passing the hat.

(Fitting that there's a typo...)

Monday, December 01, 2014

To all the Cops, everyone in law enforcement and their families.

Thank you for what you do.

Every. Day.

Thank you.

Harris Street suspect Vincent Sanchez sentencing continued until January 9

Mostly due to his attorney Ms. Dixon was not present... - John Chiv/Words Worth

Harris street double murder suspect Vincent Sanchez to be sentenced this afternoon - John Chiv/Words Worth

The TS could learn from LOCO's Kym Kemp on giving due credit and Tuluwat and other blogs for original reporting - John Chiv/Words Worth

John makes a good point. For those that used to care about the sport of such things, John often scoops all other news sources. Acknowledge it. And in the spirit of what it means to BE a reporter - on-the-ground wearing out the shoe-leather information gathering, and developing sources and understanding the people involved in the stories, John is a reporter. His specialty is the courts and the trials alongside a true appreciation of the many businesses that sprout and bloom in Old Town.

It's a good thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Attorney General to default on Littlefield molestation case? Will Paul do his job?

John Chiv has Details


DOLLISON’S DOCKET: California’s Leniency on Crime and What it Means for Humboldt

California’s Leniency on Crime and What it Means for Humboldt - Allan Dollison/Lost Coast Outpost

...There is one consistent exception and thread to re-alignment, drug treatment and the Prop 47 initiative, and that is defendants who have violent offenses or are registered sex offenders are not eligible for these “reduced punishment” systems. However, most people in our community are not affected by violent crime. What they are affected by, tremendously, are these property offenses. We are now entering a new chapter in how we treat these offenders. Will leniency mean they change their lives, or make them more likely to commit these offenses and not change their behavior? We are starting with a very high baseline in Humboldt with these crimes, so if it does spike even worse this community will be a terrible place to live. MORE

Dollison's Docket on LOCO and Ryan Burn's post Cannabis Voice, as some LOCO commenters like to say are spot on - John Chiv/Words Worth

Frequent DA informant Quentin Williams lucks out getting Allan Dollison appointed as his defense attorney - John Chiv/Words Worth

Friday, November 21, 2014

ELMY WORKMAN: Two plea deals rejected, case goes to trial but " resolved"?

Elmy Workman was found guilty of PC 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon and personal infliction of great bodily injury per PC 12022.7. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Basically, this one was not allowed to tank.

◼ Well, look at this: link - Lost Coast Outpost prints the DA's PRESS RELEASE, which DOES NOT tell the story of how Gallegos/Zach Curtis tried to tank this case.

It is a grotesque misrepresentation of the story of the verdict. You can read the lousy thing at the link. The only good thing you can say is the DA's Office finally does seem to grok that there were life-threatening injuries.

A couple of comments shed some light:
Jacqueline ZumwaltThe district attorney was going to let her plea out to an assualt charge. Angel had to get a lawyer. The judge finally denied the plea agreement and made her stand trial for a felony charge. It took Angel 3 years for justice to be served. I wish that LoCo had told more of the story. If Angel hadn't fought hard for that justice, that woman would have been let off with probation. I hope the new DA better serves the Humboldt community.

Angel DawnThank you. Allison Jackson is a hero. She took my case, probono, two hours before this crime got a three year probation result. It's sad the DA's office didn't do their job themselves. I hope Maggie Fleming can turn that office around for the better. I got lucky. Think about how many cases didn't get proper justice :/'s stomach turning

swedeIf you all would read the Chiv blog regarding this case, I don't have a link, you will learn that Gallegos twice attempted to gain a plea bargain for probation for this convicted vermin apparently falsely asserting special circumstances existed. Allison Jackson had to represent the victim because the DA was more concerned with expediting the prosecution (sic). Per the blog, Jackson represented the victim in front of Feeny and Feeny denied the plea bargain as Jackson successfully argued the special circumstances did not apply and the wounds received by the victim were evident the criminal was attempting to eviscerate her (purposeful "J" incision with severed liver, etc). A status was set for June 30th of this year. Apparently when Jackson and the victim appeared on the 30th they learned Gallegos had already in early June attempted and achieved his same plea in Reinholtzen's court. As I understand, Jackson had that matter reversed.

Jackson rightfully called out Gallegos for "forum shopping" attempting to find a judge who would approve his plea bargain attempt while totally disregarding the victims rights per a recently passed proposition requiring DAs' to notify victims of prosecutorial actions against their assailants.

It is a relief to see that this matter was finally brought to its rightful, final conclusion. We all should be relieved Gallego's time as the top law enforcement officer in this County is now numbered in the days.

Jacqueline ZumwaltExcellent Swede. Thank you for posting that info/history. Gallegos actually told Angel that she had no rights or say in what deal was made with the woman who tried to kill her.

John Chiv was the only one to cover the case as it went its tortuous way through the courts. LoCo is remiss in not pointing this out and linking people to the coverage - OR asking for a full report with a byline. As it is, you don't know the half of it. But those commenting DO.

TWO Plea Deals tossed, NOT by the Perp. BY THE COURT. Denying a victim's rights, judge shopping (BY THE DA!), a complete and utter failure to act in an ethical and transparent manner.... and yet he, the DA, no less, lectures the people of the County about their 'priorities.'

Sneaky Plea Deal fails
Allison Jackson scores another win for victim; deal between Gallegos and Sanders busted - John Chiv/Words Worth
Allison Jackson puts a crimp in secret plea deal - John Chiv/Words Worth Jul 30, 2014
Allison Jackson, who is representing the victim in the Elmy Workman case was never notified that the same plea deal that was rejected by Judge John Feeney was presented again to Judge Dale Reinholtsen. She was not also sure if Judge Reinholtsen had been given the background of the case. - John Chiv/Words Worth Jul 30, 2014
Previous plea deal rejected back on table with no victim notification; exact deal - John Chiv/Words Worth Jun 30, 2014
Judge Feeney tentatively rejects Workman plea deal; final decision is the same, case to go to jury trial - John Chiv/Words Worth Apr 15, 2014
Elmy Workman sentencing postponed again, this time defense requests continuance based on amended probation report - John Chiv/Words Worth Apr 3, 2014
Elmy Workman sentencing postponed again. - John Chiv/Words Worth Mar 20, 2014
Defense and private attorneys run the courtroom under Paul's watch? - John Chiv/Words Worth Mar 12, 2014
Another case where comments sections get out of control - Real News From The North Coast June 3, 2012
Suspect arrested after woman stabbed in Arcata - Times-Standard May 31, 2012
Blue Laker Slashed, One Arrested - Arcata Eye May 30, 2012
APD Press Release - May 29, 2012

Eureka police shooting investigation awaits DA's decision... And....

The district attorney's office will rule whether it was a justifiable homicide - Times Standard

...And, every so often, he does the right thing. Sad as it is for the families involved. It is the right choice.

DA: No Charges Will Be Filed Against Officer for Death of Tommy McClain - Andrew Goff/Lost Coast Outpost

After reviewing the report in its entirety, the District Attorney’s Office concluded that that the evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an officer committed a crime. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against any officer arising out of the September 17, 2014, shooting of Thomas McClain.

Specifically, the evidence establishes that, on the early morning hours of September 17, 2014, Thomas McClain was in possession of a BB gun that resembled an actual firearm. Thomas McClain was carrying the BB gun in the front waistline of his pants. The BB gun was perceived as an actual firearm by law enforcement officers. On lawfully engaging with Thomas McClain, law enforcement officers directed him to put his hands up and comply with their orders. At that time, the officers observed what they believed was Thomas McClain moving his hand toward the BB gun. Believing that the BB gun was an actual firearm, and that Thomas McClain would shoot them, the officers responded and Thomas McClain was shot and killed. The perceived firearm was later determined to be an unarmed BB gun.

The District Attorney stated that: “Thomas McClain’s death is a terrible tragedy. He is mourned by his family, his friends and this community but it was not caused by any criminal activity that I can see on the part of the law enforcement officers. My heart and my prayers go out to Thomas McClain, his family and friends and the law enforcement officers involved in this terrible tragedy. It is my sincere hope that time brings comfort and solace to all.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On plea deals...

A Plea against Pleading - Conrad Black/NRO

...The percentage of federal prosecutions tried by juries declined from 19 percent in 1980 to 3 percent today, as prosecutors have huge advantages over defense counsel and throw a great raft of counts against a defendant who declines to roll over.

...In actuality, our criminal-justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone....

His premise is 'Prosecutors abuse the system to win unjust convictions.' - but we've seen the opposite here.

Knowing how it's played out here - whaddya think? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Fieldbrook homicide suspect Jason Arreaga prelim on Dec 17

The case is being prosecuted by DDA Zach Curtis. THis hearing was in Courtroom 1 with Judge John Feeney. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Monday, November 10, 2014

Arcata chef stabbing case back in court this afternoon, Co-defendants plead, get probation and community service

The question of the day is will outgoing District Attorney Paul Gallegos show up for this hearing? The last time we waited almost half an hour, while court staff and the DDA in court tried "to locate Mr. Gallegos." - John Chiv/Words Worth

Juan Ferrer, is represented by Marek Reavis, Nicholas Stoiber is represented by Jennifer Dixon and Sophie Rocheleau is represented by Benjamin Okin. They are all co-defendants in this case.

Co-defendants in Ferrer case get 3 years summary probation and 50 hours of community service - John Chiv/Words Worth
"I realize that a person died, " said Judge Reinholtsen, after he sentenced Rocheleau and Stoiber who were out of custody and stood by their attorneys. Their loved ones and friends as well as Juan Ferrer's family, who is the one charged with the stabbing that resulted in the death of Douglas Anderson-Jordet and is in custody, silently listened as Judge Reinholtsen pronounced the sentence after hearing from victim witness who read letters from the victim's family and after DA Paul Gallegos and the attorneys made brief statements.

Before he sentenced them, the Judge read the definition and penalties that could be imposed on them and advised them of the rights they were giving up by not going to trial.
Two defendants plead guilty to battery charges in Arcata fatal stabbing case - Will Houston/Times-Standard
(Defense Attorney Ben) Okin said that everyone involved in the case is a "good person," but a "catastrophic combination" of events occurred.

"I think we need to look at what Ms. Rocheleau knew at the time she acted," Okin said, further stating that Rocheleau did not know Anderson-Jordet had been stabbed when she kicked him.
Juan Ferrer who is charged with stabbing Douglas Anderson Jordet back in court on Dec 17 - John Chiv/Words Worth
DA Paul Gallegos said the family wants to proceed with a jury trial and he wants that scheduled as soon as possible.
"Doug was a victim that day...we will be victims the rest of our lives" - John Chiv/Words Worth
This is one of the heart wrenching statements in 5 letters by Douglas-Anderson Jordet's family read by victim witness representative Marybeth Bian. This statement was written by Douglas' 80 year old parents.

Pled out - 8 counts reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse, false imprisonment and human trafficking in plea offer

The plea deal offer, has yet to be accepted by Judge Reinholtsen and sentencing is scheduled for this afternoon. If it is accepted, it looks like it would result in 8 counts being reduced to three counts. - John Chiv/Words Worth

After the case being dismissed the first time, mistrial the second time, a plea deal was reached right before the third trial started for David Anderson, a suspect who was originally charged with kidnapping, rape by force, forcible oral copulation of minor victim over age of 14, sexual battery, unlawful sexual intercourse, threats to commit crime resulting in death, false imprisonment and human trafficking.

Anderson has been represented for all three trials by private defense attorney Benjamin McLaughlin, who was appointed by the court as Anderson's attorney. The case was prosecuted each time by DDA Luke Brownfield....

Sentence in human trafficking case: 9 years, 4 months - Will Houston/Times-Standard
Brownfield said in an interview with the Times-Standard that the plea deal was reached during a third trial in the case. During the first trial, other alleged "pimping and pandering" victims of Anderson's from two other California counties also testified, but Brownfield said the case was dismissed. When the district attorney's office refiled, the trial went on for about six to eight weeks before a mistrial was declared based on a statement made by a witness. Brownfield said it was about three weeks into the third trial when "we reached a negotiated deal to the human trafficking charge."

...Before the sentencing, McLaughlin asked Reinholtsen to consider waving or reducing the fines associated with the case — which included a $500,000 fine for the human trafficking charge — due to his client not having "the resources to pay any significant fines or fees."

Friday, November 07, 2014

Passing the Torch: Maggie Fleming looks to the future as district attorney

Video at KIEM-TV/News Channel 3

And, no. It's not going to become the 'watchmaggie' blog.

'Human trafficking' case sentencing continued until November 10

"One of the counts he pleaded to initially was incorrect. We were simply modifying the charging document to accurately reflect the disposition," Mr. McLaughlin told me outside court. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Elections have consequences

Multiple Humboldt Correctional Facility Inmates Released Into a Shiny, New Post-Prop 47 World - Andrew Goff/Lost Coast Outpost

On Tuesday, Californians passed Proposition 47 — AKA the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act — which reclassifies drug and theft crimes that involve less than $950 from felonies to misdemeanors.

Less than three days later, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced this morning that it has already freed eight qualifying inmates. There’s certainly more to come.


Will Fr. Eric's murderer go for California's Insanity Defense aka the McNaghten rule? - John Chiv/Words Worth
There is a gag order on the case. (Gary Lee Bullock) It is my understanding that usually you enter a plea of not guilty due to insanity and the Court appoints a professional to do an evaluation.

This would have to be done on the record and in the open and so we will see what happens at the pre-trial conference on December 17.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Brain Drain Continues

Élan Firpo Moves On

Former Humboldt County District Attorney candidate Elan Firpo took her first steps in a new career today, stepping in as a partner in a prominent local firm now known as Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer and Firpo....

Firpo’s departure comes just weeks after her successful double murder prosecution of Bodhi Tree, who is now serving 108 years to life in state prison. Tree’s conviction wound up being Firpo’s prosecutorial swan song. She was also slated to handle the case of Gary Lee Bullock, a Garberville man accused of torturing and murdering popular St. Bernard Church Pastor Eric Freed on Jan. 1. Firpo said the hardest part of her decision to leave the office came when she called Freed’s family to tell them she’d be handing off the case.

This is a crying shame, given the absolutely decimated prosecutorial team.

What it means is - the already overburdened prosecutors are now having to handle this load. So where is Gallegos? With a little over 2 months to go, he leaves the place in an absolute shambles.

It's not going to help with putting out a welcome mat to attract new (seasoned, competent) prosecutors to the Humboldt County DA's Office, and that's a shame.


It's a cameo appearance, to be sure, but be sure to watch the video explanation of 'special treatment' by the DA's Office.

State Parks Ranger Detained for DUI Received Unusual Treatment - Lost Coast Outpost
ABC7 News asked Humboldt District Attorney Paul Gallegos if anyone else in that position would have gotten the same treatment.

"It's a fair question, I think it's fair for you to conclude that you probably would not have," Gallegos said.

Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos confirmed that it is the normal procedure to book a DUI suspect into jail to let them sober up. Data obtained by the I-Team under the Freedom of Information Act shows that so far this year, the Garberville Area CHP arrested 234 DUI drivers and just five, including Tyson Young, were cited and released. Fabbri could not say whether those other four were also government employees or their friends and family.

"We should aspire to treat everyone similarly, everyone should be entitled to the same protections and consequences associated with the law," Gallegos said.
Note: I don't think it is all that surprising, after watching so many drunk driving charges dropped to 'wet reckless' and passed through. For years.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Attempted murder charge dropped back in 2007, and here he is again.

◼ At LoCo: Jason Ryan Omholt, Arrested for 2006 Robbery Spree, Sought by EPD After Allegedly Damaging a Patrol Car and Evading Pursuit

As the result of an incident on Halloween night, Eureka Police are seeking Jason Ryan Omholt for vehicle theft, using that vehicle to strike a law enforcement vehicle, and evading arrest...

Omholt was arrested in 2007 for a series of robberies with two other men. One of the men, his 18-year-old half-brother, Zachary Cooke, was shot and killed during a standoff with law enforcement on Albee Street in Eureka. For more information on the incidents in 2006 and 2007 involving a string of robberies that ended with Omholt’s arrest and Cooke’s death, ◼ Background: go here.

◼ From the comments (at LoCo): INCOMPETENCE!! Can't even keep us safe from the real monsters. They had this guy for DUI back at the end of February, and couldn't be bothered to even look for his warrants when they arrested him.

Back then, November 01, 2007: The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday it would not pursue some of the charges against a man who had been accused of shooting at a Humboldt County sheriff’s deputy.

The announcement came at a preliminary hearing for Jason Ryan Omholt, 29, of Eureka, who was arraigned in January on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession and transportation of methamphetamine...

Thanks, Kym, for the fearless link. :)

EPD Press Release for this latest incident:
On 10/31/14, at approximately 9:22 PM, EPD Officers were dispatched to the 400 block of Randall Street on the report of a vehicle theft that had occurred within the previous hour. The vehicle was reported to be a black Audi Q5 SUV with Massachusetts plates. Officers learned the victim’s iPhone had been inside the vehicle at the time of the theft, and the victim had tracked the phone to the vicinity of Carolyn Court off of Herrick Avenue.

Officers subsequently located the vehicle in a carport on the 5300 block of Carolyn Court and attempted to block it in with a patrol car. As the Officers prepared to ascertain if anyone was in the vehicle (which was difficult due to luggage in the rear blocking the view of the passenger compartment), the vehicle suddenly accelerated out of the carport in reverse and collided with the front portion of the patrol vehicle causing damage to its push bar. The driver of the vehicle then attempted to drive over a brick and wood fence which disabled the vehicle. The driver, a white male adult, fled on foot. Officers gave chase and unsuccessfully attempted to use a Taser to subdue him. The suspect fled over several fences and remains at large. No officers were injured.

A witness identified the driver as Jason Ryan Omholt. Omholt is currently wanted on two outstanding felony arrest warrants. EPD will be seeking the issuance of an additional arrest warrant for Omholt for charges stemming from this incident. Anyone with information concerning Omholt’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4044.

Date: 10/31/14
Crime: CVC 10851(a)-Vehicle Theft, CVC 2800.2(a)-Evading, PC 245(a)(1)-Assault with Deadly Weapon, PC 594(b)(1)-Vandalism ​
Incident: 3C14-9142
Suspect(s): Omholt, Jason Ryan (age 36)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Money and crying poor...

I'm a little sick of the ads claiming Measure Z's tax increase will bring about 'more effective' prosecutions - REALLY? And how is that?

No one has fixed the fundamental problem at the DA's Office, don't lie.

Then there's this:

County to pay $700 one time money to employees instead of pay raise; Will Measure Z be used for public safety or for union contracts? - John Chiv/Words Worth

Seems to me, the one thing the Supervisors could do - and have not done, as far as we know - is stand up to the state, refuse to give the County's money to the state, demand that the County be allowed to keep its money rather than have it doled back, pennies on the dollar, in the form of grants. That stand should be taken before ANY attempt to charge people more, when it is just going to go down the rathole.

Solve the fundamental problems first.

Just say NO.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"We are trying to find Mr. Gallegos"

The Question Of The Day was: ◼ Will Paul show up this time? Will the Arcata chef stabbing case ever go to trial?
This afternoon, yet another hearing is scheduled to discuss the ongoing soap opera of the case involving the stabbing of Arcata chef, Douglas Anderson-Jordet. It is on for status of discovery, again, in Courtroom 4 at 2 p.m. with Judge Dale Reinholtsen.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos, who is prosecuting the case, makes ocassional guest appearances, often leaving either ADA Kelly Neel or DDA Zach Curtis to cover for him. The "every week we come back" will put that statement in context.
And then: ◼ Paul did saunter in 20 minutes later and apologized to the Court twice. - John Chiv/Words Worth
Humboldt County justice came to a standstill today for several minutes in Courtroom 4 because no one could locate District Attorney Paul Gallegos. Calling of the case was delayed twice today because of him. "We are trying to find Mr. Gallegos," said DDA Zach Curtis, the first time Judge Dale Reinholtsen tried to call the case.
Ferrer case continued again until Nov 10 - John Chiv/Words Worth
After District Attorney Paul Gallegos finally appeared in court, he then appeared to change his mind about the agreement he made with Ms. Jennifer Dixon, Nicholas Stoiber's attorney....

The 995 motion to dismiss the case against Rocheleau and other matters such as the status of discovery which has still to be addressed will be dealt with on November 10 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4.
Ferrer/Stoiber/Buttercup=Rocheleau background

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Judge Feeney grants continuance for Curry case, Eddie Lee released

Public Defender files for continuance in murder suspect Limmie Curry trial - John Chiv/Words Worth
Eddie Lee has to appear in Oregon for the case that he was on probation for when he was found with an ounce of marijuana he was trying to sell. Curry County requested that Eddie Lee be cited and released to appear in Oregon on 9/27 for this case. - John Chiv/Words Worth

ADA Kelly Neel and Limmie Curry's public defender, Mr. Casey Russo, agreed to a new jury trial date of January 26. The People did not oppose the defense's motion to continue the trial, and Judge Feeney granted the request for "good cause."

Pre-trial is Nov 10 at 2 p.m. and Trial Confirmation is January 12 at 2 p.m.

Is Paul's calendar cleared?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Last word: 'Unfit for a Free Society'

A week after Bodhi Tree was sentenced to serve 105 years to life in state prison for murdering two people in Arcata last year and shooting a third in Eureka, a pre-sentencing report made public as a part of his case file sheds new light on the 29-year-old and his path through the criminal justice system. It also underscores the multi-layered tragedy that just played out before our community’s eyes. - Thadeus Greenson/The Journal
The report paints a picture of a man born into difficult circumstances who suffered numerous childhood traumas and was never taught to harness his anger, a problem that compounded with the onset of multiple mental illnesses as he became an adult....

Born July 5, 1985, Tree grew up in Garberville with his parents, but bounced around, living in at least six different communities by the time his mother died of an aneurism when he was 13. But Tree’s troubles began long before that, according to a letter from Kai Ferrara included in the report....

“I believe it is the responsibility of our justice system to protect its citizens from people as dangerous as my childhood friend Bodhi Tree,” Ferrar wrote. “With the delinquency of his parents, I have always felt like an older brother to him, wishing the best for him and wanting to help. However, as all of his past friends have individually learned, there is no safe place near him. When he is on the street, he is a free roaming threat to whoever has the misfortune and responsibility of his presence.

“As a kid, Bodhi needed constant supervision, which his parents were not capable of providing. As an adult, Bodhi needs constant supervision, and only our jail system can provide the kind of safety we citizens need. It is an incredible misfortune that two beautiful innocent lives have been lost, and we must use this experience to prevent further imminent harm. I worry that Bodhi Tree will be out on the streets in 10 years’ time. We citizens need to be safe for longer than that.

“Please, do not allow him freedom, ever.”
Tree sentenced in tear-filled courtroom - Paul Mann/Mad River Union
Convicted murderer Bodhi Tree’s 105-year sentence was pronounced in a packed, tear-filled courtroom, where the 29-year-old Garberville native spoke no word and showed no remorse.

In impassioned statements read aloud minutes before the Oct. 10 sentencing, wrathful and weeping family members of the victims implored Superior Court Justice Dale A. Reinholtsen to mete out the maximum punishment of 117.5 years.

He came close.

Accusing Tree of lacking any moral compass and describing his shooting spree as senseless and inexplicable, Reinholtsen ordered the prisoner to serve consecutive sentences totaling 105 years
"I'm here to talk about the impact on our lives by the senseless slaughter of two innocent people by a man, and I'm hesitant to use the word, man." - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014
"Little did we know that this nightmare would never end" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014
Jurors, family, community members pack courtroom for Bodhi Tree sentencing - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014
...7 jurors took the time out of their schedules, community members that attended the trial, and the families of all victims have been waiting...
link - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014
...He has to serve consecutive sentences... but the basic gist is he has to serve 75 years and even then with minimum parole times on other terms, it is another 25 so it would be 100 years before he is eligible for parole.

Tree sat with with an attitude, no remorse and after sentence looked at bailiffs and said "Allright, ready."
We plead with the court to never release this animal to society" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"It would seem that if you were running for City Council you might want to divulge that you filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition, just a little over 2 years ago...." UPDATED

Is a Bankruptcy filing by a Eureka City Council candidate relevant information? - John Chiv/Words Worth
Kim Bergel and her husband filed bankruptcy in July of 2012 and listed $222,514 in unsecured creditors along with $233,794 in secured and priority creditors for a total of $524,248.
Bankrupt? You too can pay off $524,248 with just $51,720 - John Chiv/Words Worth


Here we are. In a year when almost every item on the ballot is asking for MORE money. Which means the budget is Issue #1.

So. This is sad. And yet it is very relevant. Because you're asking for a position that will oversee public funds, and which arguably will make decisions, or pass ordinances which will involve punishing people who don't pay their bills or follow rules.

I've spoken to John, who is working without a scanner, and he has transcribed the documents listed amounts.

And, on another note, I sit here shaking my head, thinking - what if?
What if this were the 'other side'? You'd be seeing interactive charts, complete with analysis, and comments threads with 1,000 denunciations.

J. Eric Bergel Responds: It's interesting to note Mr. Chiv's obvious bias as evidenced by the fact that he didn't brother to report on Mike Newman's 2004 Chapter 7 (non-repayment) bankruptcy. I'd be curious to know if his pre-economic meltdown bankruptcy was a result of a nearly fatal accident as ours was. I'd also be interested in ascertaining whether or not he made an effort comparable to our nearly four years doing everything within our power to avoid bankruptcy.

We deeply regret the damage we caused to local business as a result of our misfortune. We only exercised our right to protection under the law as an absolute last resort after exhausting all other avenues. Then, against the advice of our attorney, we filed a repayment plan (chapter 13) rather than walking away from our debt (chapter 7) as we were legally entitled to do.

The unfortunate reality is that after all the damage caused by thirty years of trickle down, voodoo economics and deregulation which resulted in the latest devastating economic melt down, financial success can no longer be relied upon as an accurate gauge to measure a person’s intelligence, aptitude, work ethic or character. Because the playing field is no longer level, it makes it very difficult for working class people to achieve or even maintain the American dream.

I understand campaigning for political office often turns to blood sport, especially when a candidate is seriously threatened, but I really do believe in the golden rule as well as the adage that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Perhaps it could be modified in this case to state, those who have soiled there own reputation should not sling mud.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Eddie Lee case dismissed, Judge Feeney grants defense motion

Right before the jury would decide - John Chiv/Words Worth

All jokes that Paul would Fuck Up this case have been proven true I guess.

Is he gonna tank the Limmie Curry case, too?

The Eddie Lee Trial: Murder, robbery, mutilation - September 2014
Two high profile jury trials; one murder; another human trafficking scheduled for tomorrow - September 2014
Jurors being questioned in Eddie Lee trial; first witness expected to be called around September 2 - August 2014

Whatever happened to Eddie David Lee? And Maggie Jean Wortman UPDATED - February 2011

One suspects pleads not guilty to Willow Creek man's murder - February 2010

John Chiv's Questions for Ms. Egger

Janelle's screenshot

Janelle Egger tries to serve court summons to Supervisor Rex Bohn during public comment - John Chiv/Words Worth

Why was it necessary to serve the summons during that meeting besides to get attention and on the cameras? It isn't as if you don't know where Rex is or his office is located. Like your previously ill-intentioned lawsuit and perceptions, you just keep on with your agenda. Who is behind this latest ploy? And why?

Those are the questions unasked, not investigated by the local media. People are smart Janelle and they deserve public information that is complete.


A. Why was it necessary to serve the summons during that meeting besides to get attention and on the cameras?

Janelle: ____
(Anonymous answer #1: The papers were served on the Board of Supervisors which does not exist except when in session. Pretty simple to understand if one has the most basic understanding of our government.) INCORRECT, BTW
B. Who is behind this latest ploy?

Janelle: ___

C. And why?

Janelle: ____

I'm not playing the email game with you, Janelle. I get that you have something to say. As John points out, you have chosen to 'respond' - though not ANSWER the questions - on an anonymous blog "which clearly has an agenda and is very obviously comprised of the same Heraldo crowd, the Fair Wage crowd and Occupy Eureka."

And you've chosen to comment profusely - pseudonymously - in the comments threads, which is only obvious because people respond to you by your name following those arguably anonymous responses.

All from someone who professes to care about free speech issues.

We live in a nation where free speech is a God-given right, meaning it cannot be taken away, and you are safe to use your name when stating your opinion.

Yet people hide in the shadows of anonymity, refusing to be upfront and honest in stating their opinions, and you choose to participate in that manner.

Not gonna play.

Comment here - WITH YOUR NAME - and I will put your responses in the post. I will do so even if you wish to use your pseudonym: Fortuna Rain. No problem.

ADDED: IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING HERE, you can email your answers, and I will paste them in.

Supervisors served court summons for alleged Brown Act violations - Will Houston/Times-Standard

The writ of mandate was filed against the board this month by Fortuna resident Janelle Egger, who said the board's use of committees — with three specifically targeted — violated the Brown Act by ignoring its own rules on committee formation and excluding members of the public from attending standing committee meetings, which she claims should be open to the public.

"The Brown Act has a provision, generally speaking, that meetings are going to be open and publicly noticed and agendized," she said. "It says that applies to the legislative bodies and its commissions and committees and then it gives an exception to that. The way the county seems to be interpreting it is that as long as it has less than quorum of the board members it was not subject to the Brown Act."

...One question still up in the air is whether Egger served the summons correctly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What a sweet deal

So we'll drop the attempted murder charge if you agree to waive your prelim...

What? Why?

This does not look good. Certain things should be avoided when the defense attorney is related to the Assistant DA... is the first reaction to this news. Seriously.

Silverio Sanchez preliminary waived; attempted murder charge dropped

DDA Zach Curtis stipulated with Silverio Sanchez's attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin, to drop Count 1 which is the attempted murder charge and the special allegation associated with it and Sanchez agreed to waive the preliminary hearing.

..."Our aim this morning was to get the attempted murder charge dropped and to litigate the rest of the trial," Mr. McLaughlin told me after the hearing. "By waiving the preliminary hearing, we are not acknowledging that Mr. Sanchez was driving the vehicle."

Friday, October 10, 2014

"We plead with the court to never release this animal to society" UPDATED

And so it ends. "May God have mercy on your soul."

"I'm here to talk about the impact on our lives by the senseless slaughter of two innocent people by a man, and I'm hesitant to use the word, man." - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

"Little did we know that this nightmare would never end" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Jurors, family, community members pack courtroom for Bodhi Tree sentencing - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

...7 jurors took the time out of their schedules, community members that attended the trial, and the families of all victims have been waiting...

link - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

...He has to serve consecutive sentences... but the basic gist is he has to serve 75 years and even then with minimum parole times on other terms, it is another 25 so it would be 100 years before he is eligible for parole.

Tree sat with with an attitude, no remorse and after sentence looked at bailiffs and said "Allright, ready."

We plead with the court to never release this animal to society" - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Some of the jurors were wiping tears as did Sean Butler-Smith's sister Breanne and community members. Even the court staff who were stoic and professional were shaken by the emotional testimony of the families. While Rhett August's mother attended, she chose not to speak.

Victim witness representative Marybeth read a letter from Nancy Jo Marcet, Sunshine's mother, Michael Tostado, Christina's uncle read his own statement, that of his wife, and Christina's aunt and the last one to read was Tina Schwarz, Christina's mother.

Mrs. Marcet started her letter by referring t the loss of her son, "who was taken from us so violently trying to protect Christina." The last words Alan "Sunshine" Marcet etxted to his mother on May 17, was "I love you so very much." And on May 18, she found out he was dead. This loss just on the heels of Sunshine's father being killed.

"He should not be allowed to do this anyone again," Mrs. Marcet's sentiment was reiterated by all speakers, Ms. Firpo and Judge Dale Reinholtsen.

They were very grateful to DDA Elan Firpo and the jurors who they thanked. Mrs. Schwarz even thanked the public defenders and addressed Bodhi Tree. At one point, she asked him to look at her, he didn't. She said, "May God have mercy on your soul."

Thank you, John Chiv, for covering this case in its entirety.

Tree gets life in prison - Paul Mann/Mad River Union
A full report will appear in the Oct. 15 edition of the Mad River Union.
Thank you, Paul Mann.

Bodhi Tree Sentenced to Life in Prison - Andrew Goff/Lost Coast Outpost

Key witness in Tree trial assualted the second time in jail - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 11, 2014
Even with the trial over, Sean is not safe; his sister's account - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 11, 2014
DDA Elan Firpo gives notice, joins well-known local firm - John Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

DDA Elan Firpo gives notice, joins well-known local firm

DDA Elan Firpo has given her notice to DA Paul Gallegos. Effective 11/1, she is joining a local firm as partner. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Because everyone should take advice from a known liar

Profit Motive - Richard "R Trent" Salzman/LoCo

Yeah, the guy who creates phony names, shadowy groups, attack pieces mailed in plain brown wrappers, and who sneaks around in the dark of night sticking attack stickers on parking meters - yeah, that guy - wants to tell you how to vote. How to run your business. How to see the world is you're an employee.

The only question is - are you that stupid?

'Cause he's not gonna be there for you when you lose your job, or your employers closes his doors.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Pheww! Judge denies defense motion for new trial in Tree case

Bodhi Tree was in court dressed in the orange jail garb with his trademark "wtf" and "I don''t give a damn" expression. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Representatives from Probation, Victim Witness and two jurors were present as well as prosecution key witness Sean Butler-Smith's sister.

Prior to the motion, when sentencing has been scheduled, other jurors have attended as well. They are very vested in the outcome.

(John) Will be updating soon with more highlights from both arguments. (at the link)

"Russo and Holmquist were handed a crappy case and they did a crappy job." - John Chiv/Words Worth

Prior coverage at Words Worth
LINKS to Bodhi Tree coverage, including Words Worth

Bodhi Tree sentencing scheduled for this afternoon in Courtroom 4 - JOhnm Chiv/Words Worth Oct 10, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It's a good thing she had those plastic bags

Fatu Kekula, 22, was just a nursing student, and was left with no choice -- she became a one-woman Ebola hospital as she treated her sick family. - Laura Ingraham

Request for continuance

Will Judge Feeney grant defense motion in Bullock case to continue the trial again? - John Chiv/Words Worth

Decision to be made today.

Bodhi Tree motion for new trial will be heard October 8

When world views collide

Oh, the irony. It seems POT is not a victimless crime. Paul. Ken.

Salmon recovery plan IDs Humboldt marijuana cultivation as threat - Juniper Rose and Jeff Barnard/Times-Standard

From damage to streams and rivers caused by clear-cutting and illegal road grading to water diversions and chemical pollution associated with marijuana grows, the action plan calls for steps to address many of those issues alongside hundreds of other recovery strategies for salmon populations in an area stretching from the Mattole River near Petrolia to southern Oregon, said Julie Weedly, NOAA recovery coordinator for the Northern California office.

You're guiltier than Palco EVER was.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Eureka prayer lawsuit settled, city to pay $16K in attorney's fees

City to cease endorsing mayor's breakfast
After nearly two years of hearings, a lawsuit over prayer breakfasts sponsored by Eureka city officials was settled Thursday, but plans are in motion to appeal a previous ruling made on invocations at city council meetings.
Clarification about the prayer lawsuit that was not clear from the Times-Standard article - John Chiv/Words Worth
Mike Newman: We did not settle on the invocation issue, we are free to continue our policy. What was settled was the matter about the Mayor involving City Personnel in a Prayer breakfast several years ago.

Marian Brady: As is true with any unfounded claim or lawsuit against the City, the City has to make decisions about the costs to defend and the risk the claim poses. In this case, it was decided to pay Ms. Beaton a portion of her attorneys’ fees (no monetary damages were paid to her) and permit her to go forward with her appeal, without further cost to the City, to end the matter.
Is Peter Martin hurting for actual clients because he sure has a lot of free time to collect attorney fees on behalf of "causes" - John Chiv/Words Worth

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The DA of San Luis Obispo got it right!

District Attorney Gerry Shea resigning so DA-elect Dan Dow can assume the post. - The Tribune
District Attorney Gerry Shea will step down two months before his current term expires and allow newly elected District Attorney Dan Dow to take over early.

“I’m really convinced it’s in the best interest of the office to do this,” Shea said, noting that there are many significant policy and hiring choices that Dow should be allowed to make sooner rather than later.
Sadly, it looks like our particular train wreck will continue into January.

Another high profile jury trial continued; Benjamin Carter discovery leads to motion to continue

On October 20, three jury trials were scheduled. Timothy Littlefield, Benjamin Carter and Vincent Sanchez. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Will he won't he go to trial for the third time?

Timothy Floyd Littlefield's victim will have to keep waiting to see if there will be yet another trial or if appeals court will uphold the second trial jury verdict. - John Chiv/Words Worth

Chiv reports that DDA Luke Brownfield will prosecute the case. What, pray tell, qualifies Luke Brownfield to try a difficult sexual assault case?

Who, in the DA's Office right now, is qualified?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why the gag order? Again.

Gag order in Fieldbrook double homicide case; Lucerne man pleads not guilty - Juniper Rose/Times-Standard

The Lucerne man charged in this month's Fieldbrook double homicide has pleaded not guilty to murder charges and is set to appear in Humboldt County Superior Court again in October.

Jason Michael Arreaga, 29, faces two murder counts and four special allegations related to the use of a firearm, according to court documents. The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office has also submitted that the two murder counts qualify as a special circumstance case, or eligible for a punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Arreaga has a pre-preliminary hearing on Oct. 6, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 15...

The Oct. 6 hearing will be a closed court session, according to the district attorney's office.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Marijuana- the peaceful herb. It's medicine! And that's why we should encourage everybody to grow a couple hundred plants."

◼ from the comments, here: MCSO: Brother Kills Brother in Yesterday’s Shooting - Kym Kemp/LoCo

Yep. It's always the same. Don't blame pot, oh no. Or the pot growers, either. No, no.

Compare and contrast the reactions and consequences of this (and any other pot related shooting) to the outrage when it's a cop shooting a person with a weapon. Just as a asocial experiment. Why is this an "Oh well..." and the other, well, what would you call it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Surf's up?

Where is Paul Gallegos?

"Every week we come back and hear the same excuse"; attorneys in Ferrer case express frustration with delays by Gallegos - John Chiv/Words Worth

Today in Courtroom 4, the Ferrer case was scheduled for status of discovery and a motion to dismiss the case against Sophie Rocheleau. Paul Gallegos, who is prosecuting the case, has missed several court dates and hearings have been continued several times.

That happened again today. ADA Kelly Neel told the court some time when the hearing was underway that Mr. Gallegos is ill and that decisions regarding issues brought up by Mr. Marek Reavis who represents Juan Ferrer and Mr. Benjamin Okin, who represents Rocheleau, be discussed when Mr. Gallegos is back next week....

"Every week we come back and hear the same excuse," was Mr. Reavis' response and frustration when Ms. Neel responded to his statements at the start of hearing.

Several times, Mr. Reavis and the attorneys have requested X-rays and information on autopsy essential to their case, and finally today, only Mr. Reavis received two CDS, both which he said were duplicates. There were two dozen "images that had never been discovered before, according to Mr. Reavis." He told the Judge that "this is material that should have been discovered the first week."

He told Judge Reinholtsen he renews his request for sanctions. Mr.Okin and Ms. Jennifer Dixon who represents Nicholas Stoiber did not even get these CDS. - Read the rest.

C'mon, MAN! It's a couple more months is all. Then you're free. DO YOUR JOB.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Fieldbrook homicide suspect arraigned today; special circumstance affects penalty

Jury in Fieldbrook double homicide case second trial finds Arreaga not guilty on both counts - John Chiv/Words Worth 2/25/2016

Fieldbrook homicide suspect Jason Michael Arreaga was arraigned in Courtroom 2 today. Due to the three special allegations added to the murder charges, it can affect his penalty. People have not made a decision yet about what penalty to seek. - John Chiv/Words Worth

When the Judge was reading the charges, Arreaga looked down at the floor. Arreaga is charged with two counts of murder, CA Penal Code 187 (a) with special allegations of personally and intentionally discharging a firearm; great bodily injury/death; and a special circumstances under 190.2 (a) which if proven true would result in life without parole or the death penalty being sought.

Fieldbrook double homicide suspect pleads not guilty - KIEM-TV News Channel 3

Earlier reports/Background

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

(Double) Homicide in Fieldbrook UPDATED

Sept 8, 2014
Fieldbrook homicide suspect Jason Michael Arreaga was arraigned in Courtroom 2 today. Due to the three special allegations added to the murder charges, it can affect his penalty. People have not made a decision yet about what penalty to seek. - John Chiv/Words Worth

When the Judge was reading the charges, Arreaga looked down at the floor. Arreaga is charged with two counts of murder, CA Penal Code 187 (a) with special allegations of personally and intentionally discharging a firearm; great bodily injury/death; and a special circumstances under 190.2 (a) which if proven true would result in life without parole or the death penalty being sought.

Fieldbrook double homicide suspect pleads not guilty - KIEM-TV News Channel

(UPDATING) Sheriff’s Office Responding to Suspected Homicide in Fieldbrook - LoCo 3 Sept 3, 2014

UPDATE, 6:57 p.m.: According to scanner traffic, dispatch is calling this a double homicide.

Second update: Fieldbrook homicide investigation confirmed - TS
Updated: Homicide in Fieldbrook - Thadeus Greenson/Journal

Facebook is as good as a news source. "They just said on scanner they know the suspects names and vehicle armed and dangerous." Names are mentioned, I will refrain from posting them until there's confirmation. But apparently it's not in much doubt

Double homicide in Fieldbrook, suspect apprehended - Mad River Union HCSO Press Release 3 Sept 4, 2014


HCSO: Suspect in Fieldbrook double homicide arrested - Times-Standard HCSO Press Release

Victims Named in Fieldbrook Double Homicide, Suspect Arrested on 101 Near Loleta - Andrew Goff/LoCo Sept 4, 2014
At 12:27 this morning, several law enforcement agencies worked together to carefully choreograph a traffic stop on the suspects’ vehicle, which had been spotted traveling on 101 south of Eureka. Audio from the scanner (at the link)
Third Update: Victims identified, arrest in Fieldbrook double homicide - Juniper Rose/Times-Standard

Eureka Police Department Chief Andrew Mills confirmed an EPD detective assisted by deputies took three people into custody in connection with the Fieldbrook double homicide just after midnight, but said the sheriff's office would need to release further details. Sheriff's office Lt. Steve Knight said he could confirm one arrest: Jason Michael Arreaga, 29 years old from Lucerne, California. He said Fieldbrook Road is now open.

According to a sheriff's office release, the first deputy arrived on scene at 5:17 p.m. The deputy immediately learned there were two victims, an adult male, later identified as Harley Wayne Hammers Jr. 37 years old, from Eureka and an adult female, later identified as Angel Robin Tully, 37 years old, from Eureka, both whom had been shot.

Fieldbrook double homicide suspect(s) arrested. Sheriff's office: Eureka residents shot after argument - Juniper Rose/Times-Standard

Hours after a double homicide left the small community of Fieldbrook in shock, a Eureka police officer and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office deputies took three suspects into custody early Thursday morning in Loleta, authorities said.