Dec 13, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

"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"

After Ms. Neel gave her closing, Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis, William Nelson's lawyer, got his opportunity to address the jury.

"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."

Mr. Elvine-Kreis' presentation in comparison to Ms. Neel's closing argument was lackluster.

At first, he went over reasonable doubt, credibility, terms and definitions the Judge had just finished instructing the jury about earlier. He did not give specific examples or use exihibits in the way Ms. Neel did. Closing arguments are the attorney's opinion/theory and Mr. Elvine-Kreis' clsoing argument was just that, all opinion.

He also said, "I don't know for sure, I'm not calling the deputy or expert a liar", several times. That does not challenge the people's theory, it is just neutral.

He blamed HCSO officers for "lack of planning." According to him, that better planning was HCSO sending more officers and an armored vehicle to serve civil papers.

Earlier, in the morning when he questioned Lt. Morey, the only defense witness, he said his client had a rapport with Sgt. Swithenbank. In his closing, Mr. Elvine-Kreiss admitted his client hated Sgt. Swithenbank.

He brought up expert testimony on shell casings but just referred to one saying"generally these bullets would fall right and behind." That is not the same as the expert saying that is the only case. He tried to discredit Deputy Cao's testimony.

Mr. Elvine-Kreis' closing argument brought back flashbacks of the Bodhi Tree defense. Essentially, the same script as in Tree's case: blame the officers, question DOJ experts and character assassination of prosecution witnesses. In the Tree case, that tactic did not work.

Will it work in this case? Mr. Elvine-Kreiss only has to convince 1 juror. In Humboldt County, with the anti-law enforcement, "I'll do what I damn please, damn everyone else" mentality, chances of finding one juror is not that difficult.

In Mr. Elvine-Kreis' defense, he did not choose his client. This is his job as a public defender.

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

Ms. Neel countered the defense's closing those in her rebuttal closing argument this morning. "The notion that in hindsight, it would have been awesome to have a whole crew go up is not reasonable; imagine if HCSO had an armored car to serve civil papers; that's not reasonable."

"You hope for the best, you prepare for the worst," said ADA Neel. "That's what they did. They didn't think their life was at risk. They approached the house, checked for safety and did it tactically."

Yesterday in her closing using photos of the property and house, Ms. Neel had given details about how the officers approached the house.

"The notion that they were derelict in their duties is unfair and not true."

"They serve 90% of the civil papers in Southern Humboldt. They did what they do every single day as a part of their job. You don't get to balme officers for escalating a situation that Mr. Nelson escalated."

"It is not in dispute that they are officers and Mr. Nelson knew that; it is not in dispute that they were serving papers; it is not in dispute that Mr. Nelson shot Deputy Cao."

ADA neel said that "nobody could have foreseen that Mr. Nelson would retreat into the house and then attack the officers but that is what he did."

"Sgt. Swithenbank never said they were friends," this was in response to defense asking why Deputy cao went to the door and not the Sgt. She reminded the jury that she asked Sgt. Swithenbank if he had a grudge against Nelson and he said no. In fact he responded with, "Mr. Nelson has a grudge against me."

Ms. Neel showed photos and bullet trajectories answering and countering Mr. Elvine-Kreis' assertions. She also said that if Nelson wanted to scare someone off his property, he had other options. She brought up the two DOJ experts and what they said, which was not what Mr. Elvine-Kreis presented. She asked the jury to get readback of testimony, if neccessary.

He could have opened the door and shot in the air but he did not.

Addressing reasonable doubt, ADA neel said, "Can every possible question be answered? This is not a movie. We do not get to go back and rewind and watch or film it over again. What is the reasonable question and conclusion you can reach?"

Yesterday's jury instructions seem prophetic in light of Nelson' s outburst today

The jury deliberating William Nelson's fate has to consider whether he is guilty or not guilty of the following charges: attempted murder with additional allegation of attempted murder of a peace officer. They also have the option of attempted voluntary manslaughter.

They have to consider the evidence and ask was this a justified killing? Was Nelson provoked?

During the first set of jury instructions yesterday, Judge Marilyn Miles told the jury: "Out of court statements cannot be used alond to convict him; can only be used with other evidence presented in trial."

Given Nelson's unexpected outburst today in court, that seems prophetic.

"I am asking you to find William Nelson guilty of willful, deliberate ,premeditated murder"

"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.

Ms. Neel told the jury that Nelson was aware that Bang Cao was a Deputy Sheriff. She went on to explain why the People have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

She said Sgt. Ken Swithenbank " in 25 years never had to draw a weapon or fire at someone." She reminded the jury that what she said was corroborated by both Sgt. Swithenbank and Lt. Dave Morey.

Sgt. Swithenbank was going to Eureka from Garberville that evening but postponed his shift to accompany Deputy Bang Cao to serve civil papers on Nelson. Sgt Swithenbank knew Nelson "for two decades, he knew where he lived, what car he drove. He also knew William Nelson was armed and had made threats against law enforcement." Six months ago before this incident, Nelson had threatened law enforcement who went to his property.

His threats were so serious that HCSO had sent an email to all officers. Ms. Neel said before Deputy Cao and Sgt. Swithenbank went to Nelson's property, they had "cleared their channels" so communication would be clear and no other traffic would interfere. They had discussed how it would've best to approach the situation. Sgt. Swithenbank thought he had rapport with Nelson and could control the situation, if needed.

Before they approached his door, they were cautious, cleared the area and knocked on the door and identified themselves, checking to see if Nelson was home.

Nelson: "What do you want? "
Deputies answer they want to talk to him.
Nelson: "What do you want to talk about?"

Nelson locks eyes through the door with Deputy Cao. Then he backs away from the door, retreats into the house. The officers hear a door click and " oneto three" minutes pass. Ms. Neel was silent for 3 minutes. This was effective.

Sgt. Swithenbank felt something was wrong, said Ms. Neel. At some point, Nelson came out and hides with what they find out later is a loaded gun. The officers hear someone yell, "Get the fuck off my property."

Deputy Cao in a calm voice asks Nelson to "show his hands" and reiterates they just want to talk. Nelson is concealed behind a deck. Instead of complying, Nelson who is crouched behind the deck, ambushes the officers and shoots at the deputies.

"Nothing that those officers did that day was inappropriate or abusive or out of line."

Addressing testimony from experts about shell casings and using visual exhibits, ADA Neel said the officers were exchanging fire, trying to get out of there and trying to save their lives.

She said Nelson, after shooting at deputies and injuring Deputy Cao in the chest, armed, fled but was apprehended and taken into custody.

"In custody he talks about corrupt cops. You know what he never said,"  ADA Neel paused for a second, "that he was terrified, scared for his life."

"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 "

Nelson interuppts ADA Neel's closing in court; almost causes mistrial

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.

Fortunately, due to quick action by Judge Miles and the bailiff, the jury was taken out of the room.

"They got hard evidence", Nelson yelled as Ms. Neel viscerated defense's argument.
As Judge Miles was asking him to be quiet and Mr. Elvine-Kreis his attorney was trying to calm him down, Nelson kept yelling, "I don't care. I tried to fire you three times."

At this point, the jury was out of the courtroom. Nelson would shake his head yesterday while the attorneys gave their closing but did not create a scene until today.

"Mr. Nelson, if you speak out again, you will be removed from the courtroom," Judge Miles told him. When he assured her and sat down, she turned to the attorneys. Jury was still outside. Two extra bailiffs in the courtroom.

Mr. Elvine-Kreiss asked for a mistrial saying the statements in the outburst made by his client were prejudicial. ADA Neel opposed his motion. "Mr. Nelson does not get to act out in court and cause a mistrial."

Judge Miles agreed with the People, denied the defense motion. Judge Miles said she would handle this by giving instructions to the jury to disregard the outburst, to decide the case based on evidence presented and that they could not hold Nelson's conduct against him or consider it in deliberations.

That is what she told the jury. She also said this is a serious matter for both sides and sometimes people get emotional.

No media was there yesterday to cover closings...Thad came back this morning and was in court today for Ms. Neel's second chance to present people's argument.

Dec 11, 2014

Jury instructions finalized, closing arguments to start shortly in Shelter Cove case

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.

I will update once closings are concluded and jury goes to deliberate.

Guilty! Another jury verdict; partial win for DA and victim

Damian Christensen charged with robbery, inflict corporal injury on spouse/cohabitant, threats to commit crime resulting in death and false imprisonment was found guilty by a jury but not on all counts.

His sentencing is on January 7. Trial was held in Courtrom 4 with Judge Dale Reinholtsen , prosecuted by Roger Rees and Christensen was represented by Kevin Robinson from the public defender's office.

Although, I called it a partial win, the jury convicted Christensen of robbery, false imprisonment and lesser charge on the domestic violence; as a misdemeanor. It was only on the count of threats that they did not convict him

And this is why they are the POP team


On 12/04/14 at about 1:18 p.m. Detectives from EPD Problem Oriented Policing (POP) served a probation search at a residence on the 100 block of Boyle.  Detectives located signs of drug activity and a male child possibly 6 months to a year old unattended upstairs.
Detectives received unconfirmed reports that two people fled from the residence as detectives arrived.  Child Welfare Services responded and took custody of the child.  This is an ongoing investigation and charges will be sought once identities are confirmed.


On 12/10/14 at about 4:19 p.m., Mingo Gaitan 41 and Eleanor Bettes 31 both of Eureka, were arrested during a traffic stop conducted by POP detectives.  Gaitan and Bettes were arrested for child endangerment, possession of heroin for sale, and other drug related charges.  The child remains in protective custody at this time.

Kudos to citizen for detaining suspect

Press Release:

On 12/10/14 at about 4:13 p.m., Eureka Police Department officers responded to a report of an interrupted residential burglary that had just occurred.  The victim told dispatchers that he chased the suspect and had him detained at the 1500 block of 7th Street.

Officers located the victim and suspect and learned that the burglary had occurred at a residence on the 1600 block of 7th Street.  The victim said he found the suspect, Chad Fraker 29 of Eureka, inside his home and chased and detained him.  The victim said he recovered several items of stolen property from Fraker, prior to the officer’s arrival.

Officers took Fraker into custody and he was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for fresh burglary charges.

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.

No other local media has covered this local trial. Two HCSO deputies getting shot while serving civil papers is a big deal.

Today, the only evidence presented by the defense in this case, was five minute questioning of Lt. Dave Morey, the HCSO operations commander at the time of the incident. Greg Elvine Kreis who represents Nelson basically asked him if Sgt. Ken Swithenbank remembered who shot first? Nelson or Deputy Bang Cao? Lt. Morey said Sgt. Swithenbank could not recall who shot first. Mr. Elvine-Kreis brought up a question about Sgt. Swithenbank postponing his shift.

On cross, ADA Kelly Neel clarified that the reason Sgt. Swithenbank requested postponing switching to his shift in Eureka was that he had business to finish in Shelter Cove and wanted to assist in serving civil papers to Nelson and "help diffuse any explosive situation."

Mr. Elvine-Kreis asked if the words explosive situation were used. Lt. Morey said, " can't say for sure." Mr. Elvine-Kreis asked Lt. Morey if Sgt. Swithenbank had a rapport with Nelson and Lt. Morey said, yes.

Mr. Elvine Kreis, said that "majority of the evidence has come in" and that he was only presenting this 1 piece of evidence. He said he believes reasonable doubt has been show and he will address that in his closing argument.


Local "media" does not think HCSO deputies being shot at is worth covering

No other local media has covered the William Nelson trial.

 Two HCSO deputies getting shot while serving civil papers is a big deal. I covered a case in Atlanta for a newspaper in which two police officers were ambushed by the defendant with an arsenal of weapons. One was shot dead instantly when the defendant opened his door; his partner was severely injured and paralyzed. This because they went beyond the call of duty to check on the defendant's partner. The couple had been arguing earlier on the street and the police had been called to check on the woman. They wanted to make sure she was safe.

So, maybe the media will show up later, as they often do, 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 releases and national associated press stories on issues that don't affect people should take a backseat to live coverage.

It shows complete disrespect for law enforcement who put their lives in danger every day, protecting people.

Dec 10, 2014

No grandmother should be forced to steal so her grandkids don't go hungry; the greatest nation's children deserve better

God bless this policeman.

Read this article. The police man talks about law enforcement doing things like this everyday but how often do we read that in the news. What is even more tragic is that this grandmother was forced to steal because her grandchildren were hungry for two days. The daughter's welfare and disability check were delayed in the mail.

Before the anti police rhetoric and the derogatory remarks about people on welfare and fixed income start, as usual we do not have the facts and complete story in this case. The "media" runs with a soundbyte.

Where is the father of these children? Why is this woman on disability? The police and store did not press charges. The policeman bought the eggs for this grandmother who tried to pay him the $1.25 she had and she was 50 cents short to buy 5 eggs.

This happened in Alabama but it will happen in Humboldt County. The move to route mail to Medford and back to Humboldt will have such consequences. Many people locally depend on that check, whatever it may be, retirement, pension, disability.

The federal legislators won't back off from requiring pensions to be funded and career postal employees who make pretty good money won't sacrifice their guaranteed pensions.

Stupid laws with unintended consequences for the most vulnerable. Complain all you want about rich people not caring but then also hold government employees and unions accountable. Why should some groups have guarantees while others struggle?

The children in the article are innocent. They deserve better.

Every one wants someone else to sacrifice while wanting guarantees. Instead of the blame game of partisan politics, when is the last time you gave from the little you had so someone else did not go hungry for 1 day? To someone who can spare it, a little change is not a sacrifice. To someone who gives from the little they have, it is all they have.

Jury trial for Shelter Cove man who shot HCSO deputy on hold while 402 hearing is being conducted; deputy is moving to Marin

William Nelson shot HCSO Deputy Bang Cao in the chest. His jury trial is currently on hold while a 402 hearing is being conducted. I do not have any more information because the 402 hearing is being heard in a closed courtroom. I will be updating when the trial resumes and if Nelson testifies.

Deputy Cao received a purple heart from Sheriff Mike Downey for this case. On a happier note for Bang, he is moving to Marin County soon.

Most recent post on this case:

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. Today in Courtroom 1, Mr. Acosta told Judge John Feeney that while the defense is ready for trial, there are some "discovery issues. We want to do further examination of the victim's body."

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

Some of the previous Posts:

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

All four suspects tried to be released on their own recognizance. Their lawyers, public defenders and one appointed private counsel tried but Probation recommended against their release and DDA Roger Rees was great in stating reasons for opposing their release such as several failures to appear, nature of crimes, previous criminal history.

Judge John Feeney denied their release on OR or supervised release citing concerns for public safety.

Sally Ferris was giggling and chatting with fellow suspect Katrina Inong while her case was being heard and communicating with a man in the audience who blurted out, "I'll make sure she is in court," when failure to appear was being discussed.

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?

Dec 4, 2014

So 911 was used by a citizen who gave permission to 4 people to enter property, who then stole stuff, maybe a little common sense would have saved taxpayers money?

At least one of the alleged suspects Don Colegrove,has been in the press for crime related activity, more than once.

HCSO Press-Release:

On the above date at about 3:00 AM Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Lake Prairie Road in the Weitchpec area.  A 911 call alerted the Sheriff’s Office that a citizen had at least two burglary suspects at gunpoint and was awaiting law enforcements arrival.  While deputies were responding the reporting party called back and reported two additional suspects were now on scene and all four were being cooperative and the citizen no longer had them at gunpoint.

When deputies arrived they learned from a caretaker that on 12-3-14 in the afternoon hours, all four suspects had permission from the property owner to collect a vehicle on the property.  However, when the caretaker arrived back at the residence at around 8:30 PM they discovered property from the residence inside two vehicles belonging to the suspects.  The suspects did not have permission to enter the residence.

A relative of the property owner was contacted and later arrived at the property around 1:30 AM (on 12-4-15) and confronted the suspects who were trying to leave the area. The relative disabled the suspect’s vehicles by shooting out their tires with a firearm and then holding them at gunpoint.

No one was injured during this incident and all the property was returned to the victim.

The suspects were identified as: Daniel Pack (age 29), Katrina Inong (age 31), Sally Ferris (age 34) and Donsuagi Colegrove (age 29).  All four suspects were from the Hoopa area. Pack, Inong, Ferris and Colegrove were all arrested and booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for burglary and are currently being held on a $75,000 bail.

Matthew Owen responds to Tuluwat's latest post

 link for the California form 700

In response to a post by the Tuluwat Examiner about disclosure by elected officials, Supervisor Virginia's Bass' husband Matthew Owen sent the following response:

"California law states you are not required to report your primary residence.
Also excluded are personal bank accounts, mutual funds and retirement assets."

The following comment is from me:

Since I have supported Virginia, I think the public should check out the facts for themselves, don't take my word or anyone else's.

Windows smashed, iPods and purses stolen from 5 vehicles last night

1200 block of Broadway between 5 pm and 8 pm according to EPD.

Louis Altic is new Old Town Patrol Officer

I will miss seeing Drake Goodale around Old Town; he has done an excellent job. However, if they had to replace Drake, they picked an excellent choice.

I have known Louis and his family personally since I moved here and I have known Louis in my capacity as an on site manager, living and working in Old Town.

Congratulations Louis! Drake wherever they assign you, we are lucky to have you both.

EPD Press Release:

The Eureka Police Department is pleased to announce that Officer Louis Altic has been selected to be the new Old Town Foot Patrol Officer.  Officer Altic begins his assignment on January 7, 2015.

Officer Altic was hired by the Eureka Police Department on July 8, 2002.  During his over 12 years as a police officer with EPD, he has served as a School Resource Officer, patrolman, evidence technician, and defensive tactics instructor.

Officer Altic has been married to his wife, Linda, for 26 years. They are the proud parents of 8 children.  Officer Altic’s oldest son, Ben, is following in his father's footsteps and will graduate from the College of the Redwoods’ 114th Basic Police Academy this Thursday.

Officer Altic is looking forward to serving as the Old Town Officer, and he’s excited about the prospect of getting to know its merchants, residents, and regular visitors on a more personal level as they work together to enhance safety and improve quality of life in that district.

Dec 9, 2014

HCSO asks: are you prepared for the storm?

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office OES would like to advise residents of the potential for flooding in low lying areas based on the currently anticipated amount of rainfall over the next 24-48 hours.  We are continually monitoring the situation for any changes and updated information will be disseminated as necessary.

            North Coast residents should consider taking the following preventive measures in case of future flooding.

Prepare by collecting a supply of food, water, clothing, bedding, toiletries, and emergency equipment such as a flashlight, extra batteries, portable radio, and first aid kit.  Obtain household bleach for water purification.  Fill your car with gas.
Collect any special needs such as diapers, baby food, formula, pet food, and drug prescriptions.
Individuals should make sure that storage facilities are filled and that backup emergency power is available when possible.
Farmers and ranchers should obtain animal feed and be prepared to move animals to higher ground in case of additional flooding.
Collect sandbagging supplies and prepare sandbags.
If you are on high ground, stay inside and listen to local radio/TV for evacuation routes and instructions.  If you need to evacuate, lock your windows and doors.
Watch out for washouts, fallen wires, fallen trees, etc.  Do not cross flowing water (on foot or in a car).
Be prepared for flash floods, which can happen with little or no warning.  Have a plan and act at once when authorities give you information.

"If you are not going to terminate him, leave him until next Friday when the 1.3 million check comes in"

The most exciting part of today's Board of Supervisor's meeting was public comment before the Board adjourned for closed session.

Public meeting enthusiast Kent Sawatsky spoke on all three items being discussed in close session.

The first item is considering appointment for the position of County Counsel. Mr. Sawatsky mentioned that the only person qualified in that office was Maggie Fleming "but she is going to be our DA." He also brought up that at a crucial meeting County Counsel was not present and if it had not been for a planning commission appointee by Supervisor Virginia Bass present at that meeting, the County could be facing litigation. He urged the County to hire someone who is not a "litigation magnet."

Regarding the performance evaluation of CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes, he said "If you are not going to terminate him, leave him until next Friday when I get confirmation of the 1.3 million check." This reference is to the post I did about the Oversight Board, Mark Lovelace.

About the County litigation against Robert McKee, Mr. Sawatsky said it should not have happened. " There are other people being affected."

He made a comment about"agendas" and the battle for control in Humboldt County politics. He used commercial marijuana growing as an example.

He called the people growing in the hills, the Hatfield's and the people growing in the lowlands, the McCoys. He clarified this later outside the chambers. Marijuana should be grown on agricultural land, not timber land "where fish, tree and nature need water."

No media was present to cover the meeting.

Dec 8, 2014

Cannabis vending machine unveiled in Colorado

Tragic incident ends in juvenile death

On the above date at 3:05 PM the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a missing three year-old male at the Big Lagoon County Park North of Trinidad.  Deputies were immediately dispatched including Sheriff’s Search and Rescue personnel.  Numerous other emergency personnel were also immediately dispatched including: Cal Fire, Mad River Ambulance, California State Parks Rangers, California Highway Patrol and a US Coast Guard helicopter.

It was reported the juvenile was last seen near the water on the lagoon side of the park and rescuers including local citizens started searching.  The juvenile was located in the water by rescue personnel and quickly moved to an ambulance where Paramedics performed lifesaving efforts.  Tragically, the juvenile did not survive.

The name of the juvenile and family are not being released at this time out of respect for their privacy.  At this time, there is no indication this incident is anything other than an unfortunate accident.  

Enjoy oyster shooters with local sauces and support your local entrepreneurs

Sebastian Elrite,owner of local business Aqua-Rodeo Farms, whose locally harvested oysters are served at Humboldt Bay Tourism Center, has partnered with HBTC, It's Alive Kombucha and Humboldt Hot Sauce for Buck A Shuck, every Tuesday from 6-8 pm at the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center.  Enjoy oyster shooters with local sauces and support your local entrepreneurs.

Two Christmases ago, I was looking for a gift and called Sebastian at the last minute. When it rains, he cannot harvest. Still, he had enough advance notice and he delivered a dozen oysters, packed and on time. I mention this because it has been raining a lot lately so keep that in mind for the winter months.

This holiday season as a thank you to our local business owners, I am doing these posts on select businesses that I patronisea s a customer.

Aqua-Rodeo farms offers Humboldt Bay Oyster Tours and Bucksport Oysters are exclusive to Aqua-Rodeo Farms.  Gift certificates available by the dozen(regular price $12 each) or 10 dozen punch card at a discount ($100). 

Call (707) 444-3854 for more information or visit

"We are in an unique position to rebuild this agency"

The above quote is one of many made by Sheriff Mike Downey at a press conference and swear in ceremony that took place at 9 a.m. today. Only media present was Channel 3 and KAEF.

"It is very important that you all here today to honor these promotions," said Sheriff Downey. "It is monumental to have so many promotions at this time."

"Due to budgetary issues, which are nationwide, we are down to 220 employees." With the passage of Measure Z, " now we can deliver better service to Humboldt County. These promotions are a part of that movement."

He explained why he promoted each individual and said he had received positive feedback from the community.

" What is unique about the Lt. position of Kevin Miller is that we are returning that position to Mckinleyville. Kevin's position is not patrol oriented but community oriented. He will be going to meetings in the community; he will be meeting people coming into the office."

Introducing Lt. Young, Sheriff Downey said, "We were both truck drivers at one time." Lt. Young has been with HCSO for a long time and he assured Sheriff Downey that "he is committed to being here for a long time."

Lt. Young, in addition to his responsibilities overseeing HCSO staff in the criminal and civil courts will be in charge of Southern Humboldt.

Sheriff Downey said these promotions were only a part of the bigger changes coming in the future for HCSO. He said increased law enforcement is what voters wanted from Measure Z and that he is looking at anticipated income and seeing what changes he can make.

Speaking of the recent consolidation of the Sheriff's and Coroner's office, Sheriff Downey said he had put Sgt. Bryan Quenell in charge of that consolidation.

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.

Previous release:

Sheriff Michael Downey is pleased to announce five new promotions within the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office due to recent vacancies. Effective 11-24-2014, two Sheriff’s Office Sergeants, Kevin Miller and Dennis Young, will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.  Corporals Jesse Taylor, Justin Braud and Detective Samuel Williams will be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Sergeant Kevin Miller has been with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 20 years and has worked a variety of assignments. He is currently a patrol sergeant and when he is promoted, he will be assigned to the re-established Northern Area Command. Lieutenant Miller will be responsible for all areas north of Eureka, including Orick, McKinleyville, Willow Creek, Hoopa, the Animal Shelter, the Airport and the contract cities of Blue Lake and Trinidad. Lieutenant Miller will be attending community meetings, tribal meetings and contract city meetings as the Sheriff’s representative.

Sergeant Dennis Young has been with the Sheriff’s Office for approximately 16 years and is currently the Sergeant in charge of the bailiffs, courthouse security and civil division. Lieutenant Young will be responsible for courthouse security, civil division, court security and all areas south of Eureka, including Loleta, Garberville, Bridgeville, Honeydew, Petrolia, Redway and Alderpoint. He will also be attending community meetings as the Sheriff’s representative.

Corporal Justin  (J.D.) Braud has approximately 12 years of law enforcement experience. He has worked for the Sheriff’s Office as well as Eureka Police Department.  Corporal Jesse Taylor has been with the Sheriff’s Office approximately 12 years. Detective Samuel Williams has been with the Sheriff’s Office approximately 13 years.  All three newly promoted Sergeants will be assigned to the patrol division of the Sheriff’s Office.