May 3, 2014

Hoopa tribe endorses Elan Firpo

Just last night Elan Firpo received the endorsement of the Hoopa tribe.

More details soon.

Help EPD find this guy

The Eureka Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a robbery suspect. On 5-2-2014 at about 12:33 p.m., officers were dispatched to a robbery that had just occurred at the 100 block of 2nd Street in Eureka.

Upon arrival, officers contacted the victim who advised that he was walking through old town and gave money to two homeless individuals. As he walked away, the suspect approached the victim and stated, “Hey, I saw you give my home boys some money.” The suspect then demanded the victim’s possessions or he would assault him. The victim refused and tried to run away. The suspect grabbed the victim and threw him to the ground. The victim tried to defend himself, but was overcome by the suspect. The suspect took the victim’s wallet and ran east on 2nd Street.  The victim received minor injuries but denied medical attention.

The area was checked by responding officers, but the suspect was not located. The suspect was described as a white male adult, 30 to 40 years old, 5’8”, with a medium build. The suspect’s hair was brown in color and he had goatee style facial hair. The suspect was wearing a black flat brimmed “Metal Militia” baseball cap and a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt.

May 2, 2014

Silverio Sanchez court hearing this afternoon; the cousin of the fugitive Sanchez

This afternoon Silverio Sanchez was scheduled for a court hearing  at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4.  Same name but not the guy undone by the canine. Same family, same name even the middle and they are cousins.

Sanchez #2 has been in jail for 10 days. There is one case with a criminal protective order; it is a felony with the charge being assault with a deadly weapon other than firearm. That case was scheduled for Intervention today and result was from a complaint filed on April 25, 2014.

The other case was on for Pre Trial conference for a misdemeanor traffic case. Charge was showing false ID to a police officer.

Prosecutor for the cases is Zach Curtis. Mr. Curtis is very professional and always provides feedback to the court and so it is very helpful and informative to cover his cases. 

The atmosphere today in the Courtroom was more peaceful. In addition to Mr. Curtis, there was Jonathan McCrone from the Public Defender's office and David Lee from Conflict Counsel. Both have such compassion for their clients and you can tell their experience from their calm demeanor. Sometimes the courtroom becomes more about the attorney's personalities than the clients. Today Courtroom 4 had three lawyers that focused on their job, their clients and not themselves.

Mr. Lee represents Sanchez #2. When Judge Reinholtsen called the cases, Mr. Lee informed the court that there had been a resolution in the case with the felony charge and protective order. Mr. Lee said the People are amending the felony charge of assault to a misdemeanor, penal Code 242, battery. "Mr. Sanchez will plead guilty," he said. The other case was being dismissed.

"The reason for the reduction is because I spoke to the victim," said Mr. Curtis. "She told me what happened. The police report got garbled somehow. There was no misconduct." 

Before sentencing, Mr. Lee addressed the Court. He said the People are not seeking additional jail time but they want an alcohol and drug assessement. Mr. Lee also told the Court that the victim wanted the stay away order to be amended to allow peaceful contact with the complaining witness. 

Then Mr. Curtis made  a motion about the other case being dismissed in the interest of justice. Judge Reinholtsen granted that motion. 

Cases have resolutions and then a related case is dismissed. Thanks to Mr. Curtis, we know why. 

Since Sanchez #2 had credit for the amount of jail time he was sentenced to, he was released today. He is  on conditional revocable release. He has a review date in four weeks for his alcohol and drug assessment.

While he waited for his case to be called, while he talked to his attorney and throughout the proceedings; Silverio Sanchez #2 was very polite and he thanked Judge Reinholtsen after his sentence.

Siverio Sanchez bail enhanced by 5 million

On 05-01-2014, after Silverio Sanchez was taken into custody a Sheriff’s Office Investigator requested and obtained a bail enhancement for Sanchez based upon the totality of his crime and risk to community safety. A Humboldt County Superior Court Judge agreed with the request for bail enhancement and raised it to 5 million dollars for the assault against the USFS Officer. Sanchez’s total bail is now set at $5,410,000.00. He remains in the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility.

May 1, 2014

Canine brings attempted murder suspect Sanchez out of hiding and leads to arrest

On 05-01-2014, at approximately 7:00 a.m., a Parole Search and Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant were served at the 2500 block of Garland Street, Eureka. United States Marshals, United States Drug Enforcement Agents, California Highway Patrol (C.H.P.) Officers, Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and California State Parole conducted the search.  Officers in Trinity County served a Trinity County Search Warrant at the same time at a parcel at Ruth Lake. Both warrants were to search for wanted attempted murder suspect Silverio Sanchez.

Officers located four adults and four children in the residence on Garland Street. The officers had the eight occupants exit the residence. The officers interviewed the occupants and learned Silverio Sanchez was hiding inside the residence in the attic. The officers attempted to call Silverio Sanchez out of the attic, but he refused their commands. The officers deployed a United States Drug Enforcement apprehension canine into the attic. The canine was able to locate and apprehend Silverio Sanchez , who received minor bites to his feet. Officers were then able to take him into custody without further incident.

 While searching the residence officers located a handgun, rifle and handgun ammunition, high capacity magazines and approximately three pounds of processed marijuana.

Ronald Sanchez Jr., 26 years old who is Silverio Sanchez’s brother is on active parole, and was arrested for a violation of parole and is being held without bail. Additional charges for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felon being in possession of ammunition and harboring a fugitive are being sought against Ronald Sanchez Jr.

 Officers from Trinity County Sheriff, U.S.M.S., California Fish and Wildlife, United States Forest Service, and a CHP Helicopter served the search warrant at the Ruth Lake parcel. Located on the parcel were several travel trailers and storage containers. The warrant also authorized a search for Silverio Sanchez , weapons and stolen property. During the service of the search warrant officers located two of Silverio Sanchez’s relatives on the property, along with an assault rifle and ammunition.

One of the Trinity County Deputies was assaulted by Damen Carlson, 19 years old who was present at the property. Carlson was arrested by Trinity County Sheriff’s Office for assaulting a police officer

“Today’s capture of Silverio Sanchez is a testament to the dedication and hardwork of all involved and the cooperation of several agencies,” said Don O’Keefe United States Marshal for the Northern District of California.

 Listed are the agencies involved with the apprehension of Silverio Sanchez. 

US Marshals Service
Humboldt County Sheriff Department
US Forest Service
Trinity County Sheriff Department
US Drug Enforcement Administration
Eureka Police Department
California Fish and Wildlife
California Highway Patrol
Northern California Regional Intelligence Center
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Arcata Police Department
Fortuna Police Department
California State Parole

EPD to hold 3 neighborhood meetings to get input on Geographic policing

The Eureka Police Department will be holding three neighborhood input meetings in May.  The purpose of the meetings will be to solicit input from community members as to what they consider their “Neighborhood,” what their top three neighborhood concerns are, and how they feel the city should be divided in order for the Police Department to implement “Geographic Policing.”

 Geographic Policing involves the assignment of public safety officers to defined geographic areas or beats.  Whenever possible, officers are assigned to the same beat.  This enables them to build relationships with area residents and partnerships with community organizations.  These partnerships build trust and give officers more insight to recurring problems and trends in the area.

Geographic Policing also makes good business sense. Its structure requires a coordinated approach to problem solving by all ranks within the Eureka Police Department. That is, all levels of personnel participate to ensure that daily, short-term, and long-term concerns are addressed.

Attend any one of the three neighborhood input meetings at the following locations: 

Monday May 12, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way in Eureka.

Wednesday May 14, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Fire Department Training Classroom, 3030 L Street in Eureka.

Monday May 19, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jefferson Project, 1000 B Street in Eureka.

Apr 30, 2014

13 cases in the system, at least 11 on calendar today and Belisle's private attorney negotiates an offer with Luke Brownfield?

Fortuna Police Lieutenant Matt Eberhardt told LOCO when Sandra Belisle was arrested yet again, in february 2014, that because Belisle had seven pending felony cases for similar crimes, they were able to add on the enhancement charges.  “Belisle has a very extensive criminal history,” Eberhardt said. “Multiple pending matters. She continues to victimize people and businesses….Victims are wanting to see some justice….She is obviously manipulating the system because she is on release and continuing to commit crimes while out on release.”

I was in Courtroom 1 when Judge John Feeney read the 11 cases. When I searched the public computers, she had two recent criminal cases in 2014; five from 2013 and two from  2012. She also had 4 other cases including some traffic cases.

She was charged with  forgery, driver's licenses that did not belong to her, then fictitious checks and buying and receiving stolen property; then burglary; petty theft. More of the same which escalated to transporation/sales of marijuana, posession of ammunition, and more of the burglary, petty theft, stolen property forgery.

Most recent cases included auto theft and several of the above charges. I have the charges for each case but they would fill up an entire post.

The case is being prosecuted by Luke Brownfield. At the last hearing, her attorney Kathleen Bryson asked for time to meet with Mr. Brownfield. Stated health issues for Belisle and her mother. Mr. Brownfield at that time said he did not see a resolution. It seemed from the exasperated look that Mr. Brownfield and the Court had gone through this being dragged out before.

Days go by.

Today, Ms. Bryson said that she met with Mr. Brownfield and "an offer had been made." now she needed time to file motions for a "better offer". Same reasons of health issues for Belisle and her mother.

Whether Ms. Belisle has health issues or not, she has 13 cases in the system. She is not the only repeat offender. Remember the post on Shiloh Chase. There are others.

There is a difference between protecting rights, giving chances but there are people who know the system and abuse it.

To be fair, not all repeat clients are Ms. Bryson's or any private attorneys. This case is just 1 of many egregious examples.

But when you see people in custody telling their public defender or private attorney what they could plead to or how to try their case, you have a problem.

And now Mr. Brownfield is negotiating with someone who has had 13 cases.

At what point is it time to say No.

9 cases, 11 cases, 13 cases , when do you get to say enough already!

Now that the title has got your attention, check out the Sandra Belisle case. It inspired the title today.

It is one of those wonderful "gems" I discovered while sitting in court one long afternoon waiting for cases to be called. As the Justice (slowly) Turns in Humboldt has a few classics that keep repeating. Or if you prefer the Young and the Clueless or All My Clients.

In Humboldt County, I think baliffs, court staff, attorneys and Judges need a VIP lounge room for breaks while they wait because there is certainly not a lack of crime here and most afternoons are long. Vending machines with repeat offenders supplying the free coffee and soda in between breaks.

Too bad the no food and drink rule was put was place when flying liquid spilled all over the 2nd floor. Behind every rule in the courthouse is a story.

David Anderson and Jason Warren court dates update. Warren death penalty sought; Anderson human trafficking, sex offenses and more

Jason Warren's case is scheduled for Jury Trial on October 6. Pre-trial is on August 6. There are other dates but as Alternate Counsel Glenn Brown said in today's hearing in Courtroom 4 with Judge Dale Reinholtsen. The hearing today was to set dates, "we will have a better idea of the status of the case" by August. There are two cases, both being tried by Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. Warren is being represented by Kevin Robinson and Glenn Brown in one case and Mr. Brown in the second case.

The defense estimated 6 months or more for the trial, including jury selection. Mr. Gallegos thought while it could take 6 months, that he thought 4 months was more realistic.

The case for David Anderson who is being represented by Ben McLaughlin was on for Trial Confirmation Hearing in Courtroom 1. The case is being prosecuted by Luke Brownfield. Judge John Feeney said both cases, including the first one against Mr. Anderson (which was dismissed due to failure to provide adequate discovery) were on calendar this afternoon. This was because there were some records subpoenaed that were the same as in the previous case.

Mr. McLaughlin provided a Trial Confirmation Statement to the Court this afternoon. May 12 is still the date for Jury Trial. "The only issue that might throw a wrench is that we were provided 1108 evidence a week or so ago and our investigator is working on it."

Mr. McLaughlin thought the defense will be ready by the date but since May 12 is only 4 days short of the 60 day deadline for trial; he suggested to the Court that perhaps a "402 hearing on the 1108 witness could be heard before jury selection."

Here are links and information on on 402 and 1108 codes:

402.  (a) When the existence of a preliminary fact is disputed, its
existence or nonexistence shall be determined as provided in this
   (b) The court may hear and determine the question of the
admissibility of evidence out of the presence or hearing of the jury;
but in a criminal action, the court shall hear and determine the
question of the admissibility of a confession or admission of the
defendant out of the presence and hearing of the jury if any party so
   (c) A ruling on the admissibility of evidence implies whatever
finding of fact is prerequisite thereto; a separate or formal finding
is unnecessary unless required by statute.

1108.  (a) In a criminal action in which the defendant is accused of
a sexual offense, evidence of the defendant's commission of another
sexual offense or offenses is not made inadmissible by Section 1101,
if the evidence is not inadmissible pursuant to Section 352.
   (b) In an action in which evidence is to be offered under this
section, the people shall disclose the evidence to the defendant,
including statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of
any testimony that is expected to be offered in compliance with the
provisions of Section 1054.7 of the Penal Code.
   (c) This section shall not be construed to limit the admission or
consideration of evidence under any other section of this code.
   (d) As used in this section, the following definitions shall
   (1) "Sexual offense" means a crime under the law of a state or of
the United States that involved any of the following:
   (A) Any conduct proscribed by Section 243.4, 261, 261.5, 262,
264.1, 266c, 269, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 288.5, or 289, or
subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2 or Section 311.3,
311.4, 311.10, 311.11, 314, or 647.6, of the Penal Code.
   (B) Any conduct proscribed by Section 220 of the Penal Code,
except assault with intent to commit mayhem.
   (C) Contact, without consent, between any part of the defendant's
body or an object and the genitals or anus of another person.
   (D) Contact, without consent, between the genitals or anus of the
defendant and any part of another person's body.
   (E) Deriving sexual pleasure or gratification from the infliction
of death, bodily injury, or physical pain on another person.
   (F) An attempt or conspiracy to engage in conduct described in
this paragraph.
   (2) "Consent" shall have the same meaning as provided in Section
261.6 of the Penal Code, except that it does not include consent
which is legally ineffective because of the age, mental disorder, or
developmental or physical disability of the victim.

Other posts on this blog about this case:

HCSO warns public of scam artist wanting to bilk them

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wants to warn the public regarding a telephone scam. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office today has received approximately five separate complaints today from citizens, who all basically stated the following:

 A male subject called them stating he is with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or the Humboldt County Courts and they have a warrant for their arrest with a bail of $2,500.00. The caller attempts to get a payment from the intended victim. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wants to advise the public that this person is not associated with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or anyone else in law enforcement or Humboldt County Courts. The Sheriff’s Office does not call citizens and demand they send in money to avoid arrest.

 The Sheriff’s Office would like to continue to remind callers to not send money, money orders, provide credit card information, checking account information or any other personal information to people over the phone or on line.

Heroin, Narco and Marijuana discovered when deputy checks on man's welfare

 On 04-30-2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was patrolling in the Manila area when he saw a green Honda Accord parked in the gravel lot on the south side of Manila Park. The deputy saw the adult male occupant was laying low in his seat, so the deputy exited the patrol car to check the man’s welfare. As the deputy approached the Honda he could see the male through the back window. As soon as the male saw the deputy approaching, he reached for a black cigarette box in the passenger seat. The deputy saw the male stuff a plastic baggie that contained a white powdery substance into the cigarette box to conceal it from the deputy. The deputy recognized the white powder as a controlled substance. When the deputy asked the male for identification, he verbally identified himself as David Charles Wilson, 33 years old.  Wilson told the deputy he did not have any identification with him. The deputy could smell the strong odor of  marijuana in the vehicle as he spoke with Wilson. When he asked Wilson about it, he said he had a medical card for the marijuana.

The deputy had Wilson exit the vehicle and the deputy detained Wilson. The deputy searched the cigarette box that he saw Wilson stuff the plastic bag containing white powder into. The bag contained approximately 6.3 grams of cocaine.  The deputy located a second plastic bag in the same cigarette box which contained approximately 2.5 grams of heroin.  The deputy also located four boxes of sandwich baggies like the ones that contained the drugs on the floor board of the car. Under the driver’s seat the deputy located a digital scale,  and another cigarette box which contained 19 Narco pills.
 In the trunk of the vehicle the deputy located approximately 1.5 pounds of processed marijuana with a medical card for Wilson taped to the box the marijuana was contained in.

Wilson was arrested possession of a controlled substance and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail was set at $25,000.00

Daughter pistol whips 74 year old father

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 11:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a woman, who identified herself LaDonna Dee Dellera, 48 years old, from Ettersburg. Dellera told the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher she shot at her 74 year father with a .357 magnum revolver and pistol whipped him. Deputies and medical personnel responded to the 1300 block of Harrow Road, Ettersburg. While enroute, the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a call from a neighbor of Dellera, who said the 74 year old victim was at their residence. He was not shot, but did have head injuries.

Deputies met with the victim who told them he owns the cabin on Harrow Road, but his daughter lives in the cabin, and he resides in Fortuna. When he arrived at the cabin today, she came at him with a chrome handgun in her hand. He believed she fired the gun at least once into the ceiling of the residence, and then attacked him by kicking him several times. As he backed out of the residence, she fired at least one more round in his direction.  Deputies saw he had fresh lacerations on his head and face, and his shirt was torn. The victim declined medical attention.

Deputies contacted LaDonna Dellera at the cabin where the assault occurred. She was waiting for the deputies outside her home on the deck. She told the deputies she and her father got into an argument. She admitted to firing a .357 handgun into the ceiling of the cabin after her father walked aggressively towards her. She admitted to striking him in the head with the handgun and striking him with her hands and feet. She also admitted to firing two rounds in his direction as he left the cabin towards the front of his truck. She denied trying to shoot him, only scare him.

Deputies recovered the handgun and saw evidence consist with the weapon being fired.

LaDonna Dellera was arrested for assault with a firearm, and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked. Her bail is set at $100,000.00.

Man with warrant for arrests calls in about man who jumped into Humboldt Bay

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 10:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a pay phone in Johnny’s RV Park, King Salmon. The male caller told the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher he just witnessed a man jump into Humboldt Bay. The caller said the man was walking a black lab on the beach, when the man suddenly yelled, “Lisa, I can’t live without you”, and jumped into the water. The caller told the dispatcher the black lab ran off after the man jumped into the water. The caller witnessed the man dive under water and watched him, waiting for the man to surface.  The caller said the man was under water for two or three minutes and failed to resurface. The caller then decided to call 911 to get the man help. The caller refused to wait for deputies or give the dispatcher his name. The caller said he had warrants for his arrest, which is why he would not provide his name to the dispatcher.

 Deputies and the United States Coast Guard responded to the King Salmon area and searched for the man  who allegedly jumped in the water. A United States Coast Guard Helicopter also arrived and assisted in the search efforts. Searchers could not find a man in the water. They could also not find the caller, any witnesses or the black lab the caller had described.

76 Gas Station in McKinleyville robbed

On 04-30-2014, at approximately 2: 57 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the clerk at the 76 Gas Station, located at 2698 Central Avenue, McKinleyville. The clerk reported he had just been robbed and the suspect had left on foot running southbound on Central Avenue. Deputies arrived at the gas station in less than two minutes of the call and searched the area for the suspect.

After searching the area, deputies met with the 26 year old male clerk. He told the deputies he was seated behind the counter when the suspect came into the station. The suspect was wearing a mask over his face, a ball cap over the mask and a light colored jacket with a dark hoodie. The suspect appeared to have a light beard under the mask and appeared to be a white male adult.  The suspect demanded money from the register and told the clerk to do it quickly.  The clerk never saw a gun, but felt the suspect may have had one due to his behavior.

Right after the suspect fled the store, another former store employee walked into the store and witnessed the suspect running southbound on Central Avenue.

Deputies reviewed the stores video tape and saw the suspect was wearing a light windbreaker with dark strips on it. He also was wearing a black hat with a white triangle type symbol on the left side of the hat face.

The clerk was not injured in the robbery.

McKinleyville man arrested for growing marijuana on Karuk Tribe's ceremonial grounds

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call
From Karuk Tribal members who reported they located a man trying to grow marijuana on their Ceremonial Dance grounds located off Camp Creek Road, Orleans. The tribal members were detaining the man waiting for Sheriff’s Deputies to arrive.

When deputies arrived they met with the Tribal Members and the 38 year old male suspect from McKinleyville. The tribal members told the deputies they found the man attempting to cultivate numerous marijuana plants on their Ceremonial Dance grounds.  Deputies determined the land where the Dance Grounds were located, is owned by a person who resides out of the area. The Tribal members were allowed to use the property for their Ceremonial Dances.

When interviewed, the suspect told the deputies he was in the process of purchasing the property and it was in escrow. The suspect told the deputies he was growing the marijuana for medical reasons and had a medical marijuana recommendation. The deputies told the suspect he was trespassing, as he did not own the property yet, and was out of compliance for medical marijuana based upon their investigation. Deputies located and seized 615 growing marijuana plants, which were approximately two feet tall and all being grown in plastic pots. The suspect was directed by the deputies to clean up the grow equipment on the site. Deputies are seeking a warrant for the suspects arrest for trespassing, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

More details on the Hydesville bust; marijuana, $3,000 cash rifles and a loaded semi-auto handgun found

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant on a residence in the 3000 block of Johnson Road, Hydesville. The search warrant was obtained after the Sheriff’s Office received numerous complaints  from parents, teachers and school administrators about the marijuana grow.  When deputies arrived they detained a 28 year old female, who was walking up to the residence. Deputies learned the female had just walked her child to school and was returning to the residence where she lived.

The female told the deputies she lived in the residence with a male and her two year old daughter  and both were in the home. When deputies served the search warrant they located the male, Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old in the home. They also located the two year old child in the master bedroom of the home where dried marijuana and an assault rifle were located.

 The couple told the deputies the marijuana was a medical marijuana grow.

Deputies continued their search of the property and residence. They located 176 growing marijuana pants approximately 2’ tall being grown indoors in a detached shop area. They also located four pounds of processed marijuana and approximately ten pounds of drying marijuana plants, approximately $3000 cash, scales,  along with a Russian SKS and Mac-90 Assault rifle, two high capacity magazines, and a loaded 40 caliber semi-auto handgun.

Deputies called the Humboldt County Planning Department and Child Welfare Services who both responded to the residence. The Planning Department determined the electrical wiring was unpermitted and notified P.G. &E. to respond to the scene.

Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, child endangerment, illegal possession of an assault rifle, armed in the commission of a felony and illegal possession of a gun magazine. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00.

Deputies interviewed, identified and released the 28 year female and will be seeking a warrant for her arrest with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and seeking the same charges as Carr.

Thad Greenson's Crime Fighters in NCJ's latest issue a must read

Thad's recent article, UnSealed was good. His Crime Fighters, in the latest issue, is a fair and balanced article and has profiles and statistics. If you do not have time to attend debates, watch videos online; this article will give you a glimpse into each candidate.

Follow it up with your own research.

I don't know if it was Thad's excellent editing and reporting or a conscious choice by certain candidates not to personally attack their opponents and instead focus on their strengths. Going forward the latter would be a refreshing change.

Love the cover NCJ!

Operating Engineers and Bear River Rohnerville Rancheria endorse Ryan Sundberg

 Supervisor Ryan Sundberg  has been endorsed by Operating Engineers and Bear River Rohnerville Rancheria.

Apr 29, 2014

Not Broadway Motel but Pine Motel where pellet gun was used, victims knew each other

According to EPD's Sgt. Steve Watson, the victim said they knew each other. He added that  is unclear exactly what at this time,  but there is some kind of past history between the two women. The victim had been told not to return to the property

Another first for Patrik Griego, restitution for emotional distress requested in child molestation case

Mr. Patrik Griego, who does both civil litigation and criminal defense, has done it again. Mr. Griego said that in California, a victim of a crime such as rape or murder has to file civil litigation to get restitution for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. In California, the exception is that if the crime is child molestation, then you can request restitution for non-economic damages in a criminal case which includes emotional distress.

Patrick Griego represents Jane Doe who was molested by her uncle. On behalf of Doe, Mr. Griego is seeking restitution for past and future emotional distress in a criminal case. According to Mr. Griego, this is the first time he is aware that such a request is being made in Humboldt.

The charges against Brian Clark were for a felony: sex offense. Count 1 and 2 Lewd or Lascivious Act with victim under 14 years, Count 3 Indecent Exposure and Count 4 Annoy/Molest a Child under 18 years.

According to Mr. Griego's testimony, the molestation occurred from ages 4 to 14.

The case was heard in Courtroom 1 by Judge John Feeney. Luke Brownfield prosecuted the case. Defendant's attorney is Russ Clanton and Mr. Griego represents the victim.

Today there was a sentencing and restitution hearing and instead of Mr. Brownfield, Jason Sheets was representing the People. The Defense filed a motion today to oppose restitution.

Judge Feeney announced his tentative decision for a 3 year supervised probation and 180 days in jail for Clark.

Then he heard from the attorneys. Mr. Clanton said he did not object to probation; he did object to the incarceration. Mr. Clanton said that Clark made "an error in judgement. He has received significant punishment. He will be a registered sex offender."

Mr. Clanton went on to comment on how this case affected Clark's economic status and that Clark had voluntarily entered the NARUM sex offender program. And that he had offered the victim restitution and needed to be out of custody to earn money. He also asked if Judge Feeney would remove the no alcohol condition that probation recommended.

Mr. Sheets asked the Court to follow the recommendations of probation.

Judge Feeney sentenced Clark to the the 3 year formal supervised probation and a 180 days in jail. Clark received credit for 22 days. Judge Feeney did not remove any conditions of probation. He said that Clark could not "associate with a female under 18 years unless accompanied by an adult. and that he have no contact with Jane Doe and cannot harass her.

Mr. Griego then spoke about how he arrived at the amounts they were seeking for restitution. $600,000 for the 10 years of molestation and another $36,000 for expenses. He cited a case and summarized reasons for the request submitted in writing.

Mr. Clanton countered with a theory that Jane Doe had pre-exisiting problems and that it could not be proven that Jane Doe's problems were directly because of Clark's behavior.

Judge Feeney did not make a final decision on the restitution today. He will issue a written ruling.

Mr. Griego was successful in getting the DA's office to dismiss a case against Adam Laird , who worked for the EPD when the alleged assault occurred. He works for Janssen Malloy LLP, the firm that is well known for successful civil litigation including  the firm’s jury verdict case in 2010, Lavender vs. Skilled Healthcare LLC.

Mr. Griego has been honored by multiple state and national legal organizations, including awards for both California and National Trial Lawyer of the Year. These include : 2011 Public Justice National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award,  2011 Consumer Attorneys of California Attorney of the Year Award, 2010 Northern California Super Lawyer,  2009 California Lawyer of the Year, 2009 Street Fighter of the Year and  a Superb 10/10 RATING from AVVO.

HCSO serves 1 warrant in Hydesville and then responds to Hoopa/Orleans area for another marijuana grow call

From Lt. Steve Knight, HCSO:

 A warrant was served at a residence in Hydesville about 8:30 am today in the 3000 block of Johnson Road.  DTF and HCSO . The officers arrested one person that I am aware of, that was Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old. He was arrested for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, child endangerment, illegal possession of a gun magazine, possession of an illegal assault weapon. Total of Six felonies. His bail was set at $50,000.00.

The officers left the Johnson Road marijuana grow and responded to the Hoopa /Orleans area for another marijuana grow, so Lt. Knight will have a complete press release tomorrow. The area law enforcement went to did not have cell information.

Victim shot with a pellet gun near Broadway Motel

On 04/28/14 at approximately 7:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to a report of an assault which had just occurred at a motel near the 2400 block of Broadway.  The victim said she was waiting for a friend in the driveway of the motel when the manager, identified as Tina Nash, walked from the office area and pointed a rifle type gun at her.  The victim said she heard what appeared to be a pellet gun shot and immediately felt a sting on her chin.  The victim ran away from the scene and called police. 

The victim initially denied medical aid, but was later treated and released from the hospital for a small wound to her lower jaw and lip.  Nash was arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon.  The pellet gun was seized as evidence.

General jury selection in Bodhi Tree case to start soon

General jury selection in the Bodhi Tree case may start as early as later this week or the beginning of next week.

As explained and reported previously, jurors are being questioned for hardship prior to general jury selection. Some jurors have confidential matters and there are also motions on evidence that are confidential so the courtroom is closed for those matters.

The courtroom is open for certain parts of the selection process now and the above information was mentioned by the Judge Reinholtsen to jurors and public this morning.

There is only 1 DA who is truly for the People

There is only 1 DA candidate who believes: “We have to be mindful how the decisions we make affect lives”;  “The DA’s office is not the prosecution arm of law enforcement, we are the system of checks and balances”; and “People should not be able to buy their way out of crime.”

There is only 1 DA candidate with no party affiliation. Only 1 DA candidate who gave up guaranteed party endorsements, money and volunteer support that comes with the party approval.

There is only 1 DA candidate that has brought together diverse people who have not worked together before this election.

There is only 1 DAcandidate who is presently an active prosecutor in the criminal justice system with a full caseload and full-time job. There is only 1 DA candidate who has prosecuted under realignment and given specifics on how this affects sentences.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has management and business experience in the private sector.

There is only 1 DA candidate who did not leave the office but stayed when the going is tough.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has been criticized, put under the spotlight, and has risen above the clamor to stay focused on her job and the race.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has not polarized this community pitting Democrats against Republicans; growers against non-growers, rich against poor; Eureka against Garberville.

That candidate is Elan Firpo. We need a DA who is truly for the People.

Alleged pitchfork perpetrator Darling in court today with 5 cases, released on OR days before recent incident

Paula Sue Darling was in court today and 5 cases were on the court calendar this afternoon in Courtroom 5. This is Judge Hinrich's courtroom but today visiting Judge Arvid Johnson was presiding. Roger Rees for the People and Kevin Robinson was appointed as counsel for Ms. Darling.

 The most recent case Darling is charged with felony, assault. Count 1 is Inflict Corporal Injury on a Spouse and Cohabitant and Count 2 is Assault with a Deadly Weapon other than Firearm.

A quick glance on the public access computers shows two cases for which she was arraigned on 4/3/14 and released on 4/6/14 on OR. She has failures to appear and bench warrants on at least 1 of these cases. Charges were misdemeanors.  Assault and battery, vandalism, possession of a controlled substance.

Two other cases she had conditional probation foira 1 year. Was found guilty in September 2011 on a DUI and Drug Offense. Various charges of reckless driving, possession of controlled substance, possession of marijuana over 28.5 grams, possession of controlled substance paraphenelia and failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility.Public Defender represented her in 2011.

Today's update:

She was denied release on OR today. She does have a couple of aliases today and started her court proceeding by identifying herself as Paula McKee. She was not feeling particularly Darling today.

But the savvy court staff informed the visiting judge and the hearing proceeded While Mr. Robinson was receiving and looking over the paperwork for the 3 cases she was arraigned on today and while the Judge was mentioning that there were petitions to revoke probation, Darling was impatient in wanting to see the documents. Mr. Robinson calmly spoke with her and thankfully for her, entered her not guilty pleas and a time waiver.

While Mr. Robinson had requested she be released on OR with a supervised release program, Mr. Rees objected and asked that the Court follow the recommendations of supervised release but no OR and that this was for the protection of the victim and the community.

The Judge agreed with Mr. Rees.

Background info:

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville.  When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand.  Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.
Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes

"Your Voice, Your Future" conference presented by the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California

If you have not already heard about it or registered, there may still be time to attend "Your Voice, Your Future: Climate Change on the North Coast Global Events, California's Vision, North Coast Choices."

It is taking place May 2, Wharfinger Building in Eureka. The introduction, recommencement and closing remarks will be given by Paul Hagen, Environmental Lawyer, Isola Law Group, Arcata. Other presenters include Amos Tripp, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe; Scott Bauer, Senior Environmental Scientist, Coho Recovery, Coastal Conservation Planning, California Department of Fish and wildlife and Cris Carrigan, State Water Resources Control Board's Office of Enforcement.

Online registration is closed so call (415) 538-2508 to see if space is still available.

Community effort supporting Sara's Garden and the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation

Ran into Julie Fulkerson, Mayor of Trinidad She gave me a poster about a Silent Art Auction on May 3 that will benefit Sara's Garden and the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation.

The viewing of paintings, photographs, sculptures, pottery and jewelry and bidding can be done 5/2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 5/3 10 a.m to 8:30 p.m. The location is listed as 5th and F, which I assume is the empty storefront, the former home of Plaza Design. It is in the building owned by Dan and Jayne Ollivier, both big art patrons and supporters. Next door to the Sewell Gallery.

Bids on many items start at $5. Music provided by Marimba One.

Julie said that artists came forward to donate on their own and the outpouring of support was very generous.

For more information, call (707) 845-1125.

Apr 28, 2014

The human face of the criminal justice system that goes unseen

Drug busts, plea deals, high profile cases that make headlines. The media covers those but the daily grind of following a case from start to finish is not something that entices a reporter or reader. Usually.

The human face of the criminal justice system are the addicts, the mentally ill, the abused, the poor, the ones who do not have the support of family or friends yet survive and succeed.

This last week, there have been at least two success stories that were very heartwarming. This happened in two courtrooms this week, as I waited for yet another case to be called.  The case I was covering was grinding its way through the painstaking slow criminal justice procedures; dates being reset, resolutions being discussed.

I like to follow the life of the case. It is one of the reasons I do this regular court beat. It gives a view into the reality of the criminal justice system.

One of the Judges said that people end up in the criminal justice system for many reasons. For some it is a wake up call and they turn their life around. Others find themselves back time after time.

The Judge commended the man who stood silently and had successfully met all the requirements asked of him. He thanked the Judge, the prosecutor and his attorney for giving him a chance and believing in him. They smiled, genuinely happy for him.

Over and over again, you see people in custody  not taking seriously the consequences of their actions, just nodding their head to a plea deal so they can get out, showing no remorse.

There are individuals who chose to walk away from the past, take responsibility and succeed against all odds.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome". --Booker T. Washington

Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund endorses Elan Firpo

Press Release:

The Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund (HCLDF) enthusiastically endorses √Član Firpo for District Attorney. The HCLDF is committed to the protection of civil liberties for all residents of Humboldt County and feels that Ms. Firpo is the candidate that would best protect those liberties guaranteed in our State and Federal Constitutions.

The HCLDF was founded in 2011 and is made up both conservatives and liberals. While the membership may differ on matters of legislation, we are united in our unwavering defense of civil liberties because we believe them to be the cornerstone of our democracy.

The office of District Attorney plays an unparalleled role in both the protection and violation of our cherished liberties. Few public officials hold such power to take away one's freedom as a prosecutor does. We urge all citizens who share our concern for protection of the freedoms we hold so dear to join us in working to elect √Član Firpo as Humboldt County's District Attorney.

For more information or to offer your support to the Defense Fund go to or visit us on Facebook:

Ms. Firpo's response:

"I am honored to add the endorsement of the Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund to the other endorsements that have been entrusted to me by diverse Humboldt County constituents," said Ms. Firpo. "Civil liberties is one of the cornerstones of my personal beliefs. I want the Humboldt County District Attorney's office to stand up for the rights of all people equally".

Golden Harvest open for dinner 1 night only, also benefit for Firpo campaign

Sean Balassa, besides cooking fresh, organic food is an enthusiastic Elan Firpo supporter.  On May 2, the Golden Harvest Eureka location will be open for dinner.

In addition to the full menu, Sean is cooking three of his favorite dinners: Fresh Pasta Alfredo, Chicken Tacos Supreme and NY blackened steak. Sean will be donating part of the night's income to Elan Firpo's campaign.

Check out the Golden Harvest facebook page for more information and make reservations for May 2nd.

Marijuana, cash and Chevy Impala taken in home invasion robbery on Fickle Hill Road

On 04-27-2014, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a Home Invasion Robbery that occurred in the 12000 block of Fickle Hill Road, Arcata. Deputies responded to the residence and met with three victims, a 28 year old male, a 36 year old male and a 33 year old female.  The two males lived at the residence, and the female was visiting when the Home Invasion occurred.  The victims reported being tied up for several hours before freeing themselves. The victims also reported there were four suspects who were armed with AR-15 type assault rifles. The suspects were all in their twenties,  they all wore masks and were described as two white males, a black male and an unknown male whose face was completely covered with a clown mask.  The suspects stole marijuana, cash, and the female victims white Chevy Impala, which deputies located at approximately 9:40 p.m. near the intersection of Butler Valley Road and Fickle Hill Road.

The victims had no idea who the suspects were. No one was injured during the robbery.