Jan 24, 2015

Henderson Center's Nourish bistro and catering already generating excitement

Nourish Bistro and Catering is set to open in Henderson Center in February. They are licated at 518 Henderson Center, the former location of Go-go bistro.

Already have a facebook page. Would like a hint on what they will be serving, in addition to locally roasted coffee.

Citizens of Humboldt protest against criminals planned during next Arts Alive

From 5 to 7 p.m. on February 7 between E and G streets on Fourth street in Eureka.

Check out Operation Safe Streets facebook page for more information.

Jan 23, 2015

Graphic testimony in Colby case outlines alleged abuse suffered by Jane and John Doe

Mr. Brownfield continued his closing with telling the jury that Jane Doe went into each assault with details. "She was asleep. Colby entered and locked the door. He lifted her feet, laid on top of her, grabbed her breast, kissed her neck and nibbled on her ear."

"He was trying to have sex with his daughter, he knew what he was doing."

Mr. Brownfield took the elements needed of forcible rape and related them to Jane Doe's testimony.

"He repeatedly asked his daughter to give him head. When she refused, he asked if he could eat her out."

There is an incident which allegedly happened after they returned from the river that Mr. Brownfield spoke about next. "He goes into her room, locks the door, pulls out a condom and says, 'I'm ready this time.' He pushes her on the bed, pulls her shorts down, she screams, pleads, fights, he doesn't stop. He only stops when his son knocks on the door."

Mr. Brownfield said that James Colby denied all allegations. The only independent witness was his own son testifying about knocking on the door and Jane Doe screaming and crying.

Then Mr. Brownfield pointed out inconsistencies in Colby's testimony. "He testified in court that Jane Doe was upset but he told Officer Ehler he did not know why she was upset. He testified in court thta he took over Jane Doe's phone because he thought she was texting boys. He told officer Ehler that she didn't have her phone." Earlier before closing, Officer Ehler was brought back to testify. In that testimony, he said that in a later interview, Colby said that he took away Jane Doe's cell phone as a punishment for losing her virginity.

Referring to character witnesses for Mr. Colby, Mr. Brownfield said that friends, neighbors were shocked but "no one knows what happens behind closed doors. We don't want to believe someone we like would do such things."

"When Jane Doe told her CWS worker the truth her life fell apart."

In contrast to Mr. Brownfield's closing, Colby's appointed counsel, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum did not refer to testimony or specifics. He did remind them that closing arguments are not evidence, he did go into what reasonable doubt is and that they cannot just believe one person, and even if they believed everything Jane Doe said, "that was not sufficient proof." He pointed out that Colby consistently denied allegations. he attacked the character of Jane and John Doe and said they "don't make sense."

He said Jane Doe gave pat answers, she did not have specific details about the abuse, which is contrary to what Mr. Brownfield said and Mr. Brownfield did provide specifics. Mr. Cockrum made statements to the jury about how they should interpret.

Mr. Cockrum did bring up two questions that were the strongest part of his closing. "Mr. Colby after being a foster parent for 10 years suddenly becomes a child molestor? Why bring up a whole family to live with you if you wanted these children alone?"  He is referring to the time that Jane's biological dad and family living with them. Mr. Cockrum forgets that in Colby's own testimony on the stand, it was unclear and the biological family was not there all the time, they were dependent on Colby as were the foster children and they were asked to move out and that was part of the reason Jane Doe was upset with him. These are Mr. Colby's own words.

James Colby allegedly told his son he was demonstrating what would have happened if Jane Doe was alone with a boy. "But she wasn't alone with a boy, she was with her father."

"People act differently behind closed doors. Rapists, child molestors work behind closed doors. It is difficult to identify them, they can be volunteer firemen, football coaches or boy scouts." This is the opening sentence of DDA Luke Brownfield's closing argument to a jury currently deciding the fate of James Colby, a man accused of attempted forcible rape and alleged molestation of two of his underage foster children. The minors were an 11 year John Doe and a 17 year old Jane Doe. These were the ages when the alleged incidents occurred.

"James Colby tried to rape his daughter and molested his son. It is my job as Deputy District Attorney to prove to you that he committed a crime."

"You heard Jane Doe and John Doe. If you don't believe those two witnesses, your job is easy. It is not that simple. Jane and John Doe told you the truth."

Referring to the credibility of witnesses jury instruction they had just received from Judge John Feeney, Mr. Brownfield continued. "Why would Jane Doe lie to you? You heard some theories. Because James Colby took her phone away, she would say James Colby raped her? That is extreme. because he slapped her? To get him in trouble, all she had to say was that he slapped her. Why say that he raped her? We also heard Jane Doe was mad because he was going to have her biological family move out.

The defense theories that Mr. Brownfield refers to is testimony I was present for in the courtroom and James Colby said so in his own words when he testified.

Mr. Brownfield then told the jury that there were consequences for Jane Doe for speaking up. "She had to move out of her house, move away from her biological family, her family fell apart, she was placed in a different home, she didn't get the truck that Mr. Colby promised her. Things were going well for her." He asked the jury, why would she come forward?

Mr. Brownfield said that "Jane Doe's testimony is supported by Justin Colby, her brother," Justin Colby is James Colby's biological son. "Justin verified he heard her screaming, he knocked on the door. Jane Doe and Mr. Colby did not come out right away. It took five minutes. When the door opened, Jane Doe is upset and screaming."

"James Colby told Justin he was demonstrating what would have happened if she was alone with a boy. But he wasn't alone with a boy, she was with her father. He got on top of her, he groped her, tried to have sex with her."

"I won't lie to you," said Mr. Brownfield, "John Doe was not consistent with what he told the officer but he didn't lie. He told the truth. He is a 12 year old boy. He has been in foster care since he was 1. he moved from house to house. At least four or five houses. Nothing in John Doe's life was consistent. So how can he be consistent with you about time frames?"

At this point, I do not know if it was John Doe or Colby's own son sitting in court but his mother put her arm around him and later on as testimony went on and got into more details about alleged assaults, they left the courtroom and came back.

Referring to the incidents that John Doe testified about, Mr. Brownfield said "both times he was asleep. James Colby picked him up and and took him to bed. The things he told you, no 11 or 12 year old boy should know. There is no reasonable explaination. why he knew."

Mr. Brownfield said that John Doe said "wierd sticky stuff that was gross. We know it was Mr. Colby's semen. If someone had coached him, he would have said jizz or cum or semen."

"After the sticky stuff, James Colby rolled over and went to sleep." Mr. Brownfield said that John Doe described in detail the motion of James Colby moving his hand on his penis."

Mr. Brownfield brought up that both James Colby and his sister Dorothy Colby said that John Doe was truthful.


Previous posts (with background):

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/01/people-act-differently-behind-closed.html
http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/01/closing-arguments-for-james-colby.html

Eureka brothers destroyed public lands and grew marijuana in Shasta Trinity National Forest

http://www.justice.gov/usao/cae/news/docs/2015/2015_01/01-16-15Alcazar-Tapia.html

"People act differently behind closed doors" DDA Brownfield delivers powerful closing against Colby accused of attempted forciple rape and molestation of Jane and John Doe, his foster children

James Colby, a Fortuna resident is charged with Count 1-5: Intent to Commit Forcible Rape, Count 2 Assault/Intent oral copulation with person under age of 18, Count 7 Attempt Forcible Rape and Counts 15 and 16 Lewd/Lasvicious Act with a child under the age of 14.

The alleged victims were his foster children, a young boy 11 years old at the time and his sister, under the age of 18.

According to Colby who testified himself, this is retaliation by Jane Doe because she was upset with his rules. No media has followed this case or was there for closing.

I will have a post shortly with closing arguments.

"People act differently behind closed doors," is how DDA Luke Brownfield opened his closing remarks.

There was detailed and graphic testimony during trial and references to it during closing. The case went to jury today after closing arguments.



Previous post with background:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/01/closing-arguments-for-james-colby.html?m=0

Jan 22, 2015

From Eureka High School soccer to heroin and marijuana, the tale of Humboldt downward spiral

Kayla Throgmorton, see POP press release below.

POP bust on California Street for heroin, 15 lbs of processed marijuana and two loaded guns

On 01/22/15 at about 7:30 a.m., Detectives with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP), served a search warrant at a residence on the 3400 block of California Street in response to numerous complaints.

Detectives located 2 loaded guns, heroin for sales, and nearly 15 pounds of processed marijuana.  Paul Horn (30), Kayla Throgmorton (25), and Mario Garcia (34) all of Eureka were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

Horn: maintaining a residence for drugs, possession of a controlled substance (heroin) for sale, possession of marijuana for sale, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Throgmorton: maintaining a residence for drugs, possession of marijuana for sale, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Garcia: possession of drug paraphernalia and probation violation.

Closing arguments for James Colby, suspect originally accused of oral copulation with minor, to take place tomorrow morning

Currently, a jury is awaiting to hear closing arguments and jury instructions to deliberate the fate of James Horner Colby, Jr. Yesterday,the jury heard from the defendant. Judge John Feeney is presiding; DDA Luke Brownfield is the prosecutor; and Conflict Counsel's Kaleb Cockrum is assigned to defend Colby.

The case that the jury heard had several charges. Colby is charged with a felony: assault. Assault with intent to commit a sex offense; attempted forcible rape; and sexual battery. There are 13 counts in this case and the defense is trying to get Counts 8 to 13 dismissed under PC 1118.1. The People are opposing this and this morning the attorneys were going over all of this in court.

There is another case that was a felony: sex offense which is on for dismissal tomorrow with a disposition/reset. In that case, Colby is charged with a lewd and lasvicious act with a person under the age of 14 years also known as PC288 (a) which is the California Penal Code 288a describes the California sex crime of “oral copulation with a minor.”

I did sit in on some of the hearings for this case and thought the victim in both cases was the same. I asked for clarification and comment from the District Attorney's office. Our DA, Ms. Maggie Fleming responded via email:

"The two cases were consolidated.  Some of the charges were dismissed based upon the testimony. Closing arguments are tomorrow morning. "


CA Penal Code 118.1:

1118.1.  In a case tried before a jury, the court on motion of the
defendant or on its own motion, at the close of the evidence on
either side and before the case is submitted to the jury for
decision, shall order the entry of a judgment of acquittal of one or
more of the offenses charged in the accusatory pleading if the
evidence then before the court is insufficient to sustain a
conviction of such offense or offenses on appeal. If such a motion
for judgment of acquittal at the close of the evidence offered by the
prosecution is not granted, the defendant may offer evidence without
first having reserved that right.



Arcata Plaza stabbing suspect: victim of mental health and substance abuse or career criminal?

This afternoon in Courtroom 1, Victoria Shirley Clark had five cases scheduled. Clark, most recently was arrested for allegedly stabbing a victim at the Arcata Plaza.

The cases scheduled today were for other incidents and not the most recent 2014 case. Two cases were for misdemeanors: assault and battery, false imprisonment and battery on a non-cohabitating spouse. From the dates and Penal Code, it seems they are related to the Fortuna incident. Those cases had a pre-trial hearing scheduled. Other cases, which occurred in 2012 and 2010 were for a DUI and Disorderly Conduct under the influence of a Drug. There was a review hearing for all cases for alcohol and drug assessment and mental health. Clark's has several violations of probation.

At this afternoon's hearing, Clark arrived with a younger man. Someone I recognize from the courts or a most wanted poster. They sat right behind me. Before her case was called, both she and her friend smacked gum, tapped their foot impatiently, ruffled paperwork and talked while other cases were being called with complete disregard to all around them.

DDA Brienne Bennett was present for the People, Conflict's Counsel Kaleb Cockrum is representing Clark. Mr. Cockrum said that due to her pregnancy, she was requesting a hold/suspension for her commit jail date to do community service. She is on a waiting list for one program and has enrolled in Healthy Moms.

The next review date for Clark's case is March 26, 2015 at 2 p.m.

Arcata Police Department Press release:

On Tuesday, just before 11 a.m., officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to a report of a physical fight on the Arcata Plaza.

Upon officers arrival, a 35-year-old Arcata woman was located lying on the sidewalk at the corner of 9th and H St. The woman was suffering from multiple stab wounds to her torso.

Witnesses told officers the woman had been involved in a fight with another woman that had culminated with the victim being stabbed. Several witnesses were able to provide the name of the suspect, who had fled the scene prior to the arrival of law enforcement.

Approximately twenty minutes later, the suspect was located several blocks away and detained by police. The subsequent investigation determined the woman was responsible for the stabbing.

The suspect was identified as 38 year old Victoria Clark of Arcata. Clark was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for a violation of 245(A)(1) PC, assault with a deadly weapon.

The victim was transported to the Mad River Hospital, where she remains in stable condition.

From Times-Standard article:

The woman suspected in the stabbing of a woman at the Arcata Plaza on Tuesday morning has been arrested and identified as Victoria Shirley Clark, according to Arcata Police Sgt. Brian Hoffman.

Clark was arrested and booked into the county jail just before noon Tuesday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Hoffman said.

‘I believe she has a previous arrest for a PC 245 (an assault with a deadly weapon),” he said.


Fortuna Police Dept. Press Release:

On January 10th, 2013 at about 01:45 pm, Fortuna Police received a 9-1-1 call from a resident of the National Nine Motel reporting that a female subject was inside one of the rooms threatening to stab a male subject with a knife.

The first officer on scene could hear the victim yelling for help from within the room and subsequently contacted the subjects who were still engaged in an altercation, causing the officer to prone the female subject onto the ground at gunpoint. After speaking with all parties involved and witnesses on scene officers placed Victoria Clark (age 36) of Fortuna, under arrest for the following charges;

PC 245 Assault with a Deadly Weapon
PC 273.5 Domestic Violence
PC 236 False Imprisonment

Clark was transported to the Humboldt County Jail where she was booked without further incident.

Jan 21, 2015

"Lot of people want to blame the homeless for crime in this town, I can assure you homeless are not the ones stealing your stuff"

The above quote was by event organizer Gene Bass before he introduced Pamlyn Millsap, one of the speakers. Please read the post below for background on the event. I did not stay for the question-answer part of the evening and left when the speakers finished.

Information and how the community can be a part of making Eureka safe were the key themes at tonight's Operation Safe Streets Forum. The media had asked who this group is. Event Organizer Gene Bass said it was him and five or six other people. I got permission form Jeff Lamoree, who I know personally to use his name as well as one of the group members.

Mr. Bass,  openied his introductory remarks with, "I have got four kids. As a kid, I have grown up here. I was comfortable in this town. Kids used to own this town. Now, I don't let my kids go too far." he expressed he  would like to see this community be like the one he grew up in. "Without a safe community, he said there would be no jobs. Families won't stay because of the crime.

He continued with saying that instead of asking what the police can do, the community needs to get involved. "They are maxed out," he said referring to the Eureka Police Department. "Don't let the criminals get comfortable."

Joe Filgas, who owns Cafe Nooner in Old Town and Henderson Center spoke next. He is a part of Eureka Main Street's Neighborhood Watch. He said they do not confront, they talk to people in Old Town and Downtown Eureka. "We watch, take notes and report and engage everyone." They have helped tourists, they have directed people to local services. Visibility has helped the criminal element know they are being watch. The walks by the neighborhood watch are at random.

EPD Chief Andy Mills was the next speaker. When the crowd broke into applause greeting him, he quipped, "You might want to hold the applause until I tell you the crime data."

"To have this many people concerned about public safety and take time out is something else," said Chief Mills. " He said he wanted to recognize some people in the audience who are policy makers and leaders and can make decisions that impact public safety. He mentioned District Attorney Maggie Fleming and the crowd broke out in applause. Chief Mills said that Ms. Fleming had already met with police chiefs in the morning and informing on what her plans are, what she can prosecute. "She is already making a difference." He then recognized Eureka Council members Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel and Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass. The crowd enthusiastically clapped when Ms. Arroyo and Ms. Bass's names were mentioned. This was a very diverse crowd: liberal, conservative, in the middle, residents, business owners, social workers.

Chief Mills mentioned an increase in burglary. He mentioned that only 39% of crime is reported and the police understand that is not reflective of the number of actual crimes committed. He used the example of car break-ins or small thefts people feel they do not want to bother the police with and encouraged them to call. "While we only capture so much data, we realize many crimes go unreported."

"I am very proud of Eureka Main Street's Neighborhood Watch. They are not vigilante but positive. They walk up to people and ask, 'How can I help you?'"

He asked the community to get involved. Chief Mills said that due to budgets, staffing was just recently "up to snuff" and that it takes 4 to 5 months to train an officer for basic calls and "longer to train them to be good officers." There are future plans to expand the POP (Problem Oriented Policing) team and have a"a couple of officers who are proactive throughout the city."

"If you can destroy anonymity, that destroys crime," said Chief Mills. He said he does not advocate confrontation but just watching. "Just putting up neighborhood signs doesn't help. Crooks don't read that well."

"We are trying as a police department to address the right things: social chaos and social disorder."
He addressed the Eureka shopping cart and soon to be passed bicycle ordinances. He said in addition to people stealing carts, they are holding businesses accountable that allow the carts to be easily stolen. Regarding the bicycle ordinance, he said they are not going after kids or the average person riding a bicycle. They are going after people riding the bicycles on the wrong side of the street or what he said Henderson Center Neighborhood Watch has named G-Mobs. Grown Men on Bikes. The crowd laughed.

Captain Watson spoke about tresspass laws and that "California laws are confusing and poorly written" and many are not enforceable and not enforceable by law enforcement.

Elan Firpo talked about private property rights and liabilities that one can be at risk at in defending their property rights. Ms. Firpo is a former prosecutor with the Humboldt County District Attorney's office and currently a partner in the law firm of Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer and Firpo.

"I'm here because I live a couple of blocks away from Wabash," she said. "I'm going to talk about what you can do and what you cannot do." Using examples she explained to people about many misconceptions that people have about being protected if they use force in defending personal property.

In CA, you cannot just claim the Stand Your Ground argument. Using penal codes given in jury instructions, she cited Penal Code 198.5 and another jury instruction. She ended with the advice, "Criminals are lazy, they look for an easy target. Be vigilant!"

She also said that there is a small group of offenders committing majority of the crimes and EPD knows them. She advised people on what evidence is needed in a court of law, the risk they are taking in defending and to be careful and let law enforcement recover personal property.

Pamlyn Millsap said she is a big proponent of drug and alcohol rehab and that EPD refers people to services, shedding light on how the EPD deals with issues of people who need help, not jail.

The last speaker was Eureka City Attorney Cyndi-Day Wilson. She explained to the group what the role of the City Attorney was and that she has the authority to prosecute violations of the Eureka Municipal Code. She also has the discretion to prosecute something as an infraction. She spoke on how people who were dealing with private nuisances like a barking dog keeping them up all night or a public nuisance where a neighborhood is affected by a house with drug dealing going on has recourse to small claims court and nuisance abatement. She also explained that the Eureka City Council passed a social host ordinance where a parent or property owner (whether they are present or not) can be held liable if underage drinking is going on in a private gathering. Ms. Wilson also complimented District Attorney Maggie Fleming and 'how they are coordinating prosecution efforts to save time and resources.

Crowd breaks into applause for Chief Mills, Virginia, Maggie and Natalie at Operation Safe Streets Forum

While the crowd clapped for all speakers, Elan Firpo and Chief Andy Mills received a welcoming applause. Others popular with the crowd were Maggie Fleming, Virginia Bass and Natalie Arroyo who were in the audience.

Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass, District Attorney Maggie Fleming, City Eureka Councilmembers Kim Bergel and Natalie Arroyo, local attorney Allan Dollison, Sequoia Park Zoo's Jeff Lamoree, Eureka Main Street's Charlotte McDonald, Measure Z Committee member Mike Newman, local business owner John Fullerton and LOCO columnist Matthew Owen were in the audience. About 250  people attended the event. Some were standing in the hallway

As part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness and help prevent crime, Operation Safe Streets, Eureka held  a community meeting this evening from 6pm to 8pm at the Eureka Veterans Building located at 1018 H Street in Eureka.

Operation Safe Streets was formed by a group of concerned local citizens to help local crime prevention groups by offering training and guidance.

Speakers included Eureka Police Departments Chief Andy Mills and EPD Division 1 Captain Steve Watson.  Captain Watson discussed law enforcement’s response and limitations to commercial trespass complaints along with current information about the departments Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP). Private attorney Elan Firpo of Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer and Firpo discussed private property legal rights and liabilities.  Eureka Police homeless liaison Pamlyn Millsap discussed issues relating to homeless, transient and mental health concerns.  Eureka City Attorney, Cyndy Day-Wilson discussed the nuisance abatement and social party host ordinances.  Joe Filgas with the Eureka Main Street Watch group spoke about the groups ongoing efforts in Old Town.

The public was asked to submit questions they would like addressed ahead of time by emailing operationsafestreets@gmail.com or submit questions at the event.

Due to time constraints, speaker times and question answer periods were limited to the set agenda.

Judson Stiglich preliminary hearing continued due to outstanding discovery

Judson Stiglich who is charged with voluntary manslaughter, unlawful firearm activity, marijuana possession, allowing a place for preparing or storing a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sale and receiving stolen property. Stiglich had a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 26. DDA Stacey Eads was present in Courtroom 4 for the People. Stiglich's family has hired private attorney David Celli. Today there was no resolution in an intervention hearing.

Mr. Celli made an oral motion to continue the preliminary hearing which was not opposed by the People. Mr. Celli said that there was "a large volume of discovery he did not have and he did not have the police report." Stiglich who had previously not waived time; entered a general time waiver today so that the preliminary hearing could be continued. Judge Timothy Cissna granted the defense motion.

Ms. Eads said that the DA's office did not have the discovery either, expected some of it today.

Family members family were present in the courtroom. Not sure if they were Stiglich's family members or the victim's family but after today's hearing, some were sobbing outside the courtroom.

An OR Bail hearing and Disposition/Reset hearing has been scheduled for January 29. This is not Stiglich's first brush with the law.

UPDATED: Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested, Judson Allen Stiglich age 32, for homicide for the shooting death of the victim, Ryan James Robinson age 22 from Rio Dell.

During the investigation Detectives learned that the victim and suspect knew each other. On the day of the homicide the suspect shot the victim after a brief verbal argument with each other.

The female age 32 in this investigation was released by the Detectives after questioning and was not arrested. Judson Stiglich was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for Homicide, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and for possession for stolen property.

The firearm used in the homicide was stolen from a victim out of the City of Fortuna. Stiglich’s bail has been set at one million dollars. An autopsy has been scheduled for this Saturday. If anyone has information in this Homicide please contact Investigator Greg Musson at 707-268-3643.

Original press release:

Judson Allen Stiglich, age 32, of Eureka (see 2013 mugshot right) was arrested yesterday for murder in the death of Ryan James Robinson, age 22 in Cutten. According to Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Stiglich was also arrested for being a convicted felon in the possession of a firearm. Hanson said the firearm had been stolen out of Fortuna.

Lt. Hanson said the two men knew each other and got into a dispute which resulted in Robinson’s death.

A 32 year old female who was detained in connection with the incident was not arrested.


Limmie Curry continued again, request by People, new trial Feb 9

Ms. Kelly Neel who is prosecuting the case is also prosecuting another homicide case, set for trial on the same date. The People requested that the jury trial set for January 26 be continued. Casey Russo who is representing Limmie Curry opposed the continuance.

The other case, Ms. Neel is prosecuting is for Matthew Brown, who is charged with the murder of Neil Decker and that case has no time waiver. Curry has waived time. The Brown case is awaiting trial and each week that date cannot be set due to unavailability of courtrooms.

Unavailability of witnesses was also an issue brought up by the People for the Curry case.

Judge John Feeney ultimately granted the People's request. The new jury trial date for Limmie Curry case is February 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Mr. Russo argued that the People had not shown good cause on both issues but Ms. Neel addressed those in her argument. She said that initially an attorney had the ase, then Mr. Gallegos (former DA) had the case. And she took over in the last couple of months. Countering Mr. Russo's argument that it could be handed over to another prosecutor, Ms. Neel said, "This is not the type of case that you can just hand off." She also said that People had done due diligence in "securing the witnesses." She added that it was the People's preference that the witnesses testify in court otherwise the People would have to request their prior testimony be admitted.

Limmie Curry is charged with the murder of William Reid. His alleged co-conspirator, Eddie Lee is a free man. His case was dismissed right before the jury went into deliberations. Eddie Lee's defense attorney cited CA Penal Code. That case was also heard by Judge Feeney and it was prosecuted by former DA Paul Gallegos.

The other key players in the alleged murder are Lee's sister and Lee's former girlfriend, who has been on the EPD Most Wanted poster for months.

You can read extensive coverage of the Lee jury trial on this blog. No other media covered that trial.

Jan 20, 2015

Rest of Measure Z Advisory Committee finalized

The rest of the Measure Z Advisory Committee, is as follows: Sheriff Downey will represent his office and other public safety agencies;  Barney Anderson will represent the Fire Chief's Association.

The two at-large members are: Adam Jager and Lora Canzoneri.

The two alternates are: Glenn Ziemer and John McFarland.




Frank DeMarco as Interim County Counsel?

Wendy Chaitin, who is retiring and just did her last report for closed session from the Board of Supervisor's morning session said that the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted unanimously to direct CAO Hanes to enter into agreement with Frank DeMarco of the Hanson Bridgett Law Firm for interim County Counsel.

This is Ms. Chaitin's last meeting.

Jason Omholdt of Eureka's Most Wanted apprehended and booked

On 01/19/15, the Eureka Police Department received information from multiple sources that wanted fugitive, Jason Ryan Omholt (36), may be in possession of a recently stolen green 1994 Chrysler minivan. Omholt had been on the run from law enforcement for some time, and he’d managed to evade capture by eluding officers on several occasions.

Omholt and a female companion are suspected of committing numerous residential burglaries around Eureka. He has been prominently featured in EPD’s Eureka’s Most Wanted poster with outstanding felony warrants for vehicle theft, assault with a deadly weapon, evading police, vandalism, possession of controlled substance, and parole revocation.

After receiving the information concerning his association with the stolen van, EPD officers began scouring the city looking for the vehicle.  During the early morning hours of 01-20-15, officers located the van parked unoccupied on the 1800 block of 3rd Street, Eureka. Officers subsequently searched a nearby apartment with consent from the owner and pursuant to a resident’s probation status.
Omholt was located inside a partially barricaded back bedroom in the apartment. As officers attempted to enter the room, Omholt immediately fled by jumping out of a rear window. Officers positioned around the outside perimeter of the apartment intercepted Omholt and took him into custody after a short struggle.
During a search incident to his arrest, Omholt was found to be in possession of the keys to the stolen van. Officers also collected property belonging to Omholt from inside the apartment. During a later search of Omholt’s possessions, officers identified property that had been stolen during a recent residential burglary in Eureka.  Additionally, Omholt was found to be in possession of narcotics (heroin) and concentrated cannabis.
Omholt was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where in addition to his multiple felony warrants, he was booked on fresh charges including possession of concentrated cannabis, possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property, and possession of a stolen vehicle.  Omholt is currently being held without bail for violation of his parole.
Additionally, EPD has referred multiple other cases involving Omholt to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office (residential burglary, vehicle theft, felony reckless evading etc.), and additional charges may follow.

Courts are need in space now and " the Judges want us to light a fire under the State for a new court facility and keep it on this block"

Getting a new courthouse facility and why it hasn't happened is complicated.

CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes in response to my question to Board Chair Estelle Fennell said, 'how long do we have?" I would like to thank County CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes for his candid answers today to my question.

The question was regarding a to resolution before the Board of Supervisors to send a letter that the CAO's office was asking to be sent to the Judicial Council of California to make a commitment of land to build a new courthouse for the Humboldt Superior County Courts.

The Board did approve this resolution, it will now be forwarded to the Humboldt County Superior Court who will send it to the Judicial Council of California. They are the state organization that oversees courts and provide funding.

CAO Hanes said that Supervisors Rex Bohn and Virginia Bass as well as a "couple of Humboldt Superior Court Judges" have been working on additional court space.

"The Judges want us to light a fire under the state for a new court facility and to keep it on this block." The state has only be dragging their feet since 1997 (see letter below)

CAO Hanes said the group is seeking efforts to "secure an economic opportunity and hoping to begin a dialogue with the State." If the State does not chose the location mentioned in the letter below, CAO Hanes said that "we have other plans like a permanent parking" for that location. CAO Hanes said they were hoping to get this facility into the Governor's next funding cycle which is 2016-2017.

County Public Works Director Tom Mattson said that while there was not "fully architectural plans" designed, "there was a full facility design but funding was pulled."

At this point I asked, "So, is my understanding that if we don't get funding from the state, we will not have a new Courthouse facility?"

CA Hanes responded, "We are currently in a situation where Courts have need for additional space right now. The 'good news' and I put good in air quotes is that we have been able to keep the Courts in one location because we have a Judgeship that has not been funded. When that Judgeship is funded, they will need a Court right away. The options would be to find another space in another location or to keep the Civil Courts together and the Criminal Courts together. This would create complications for the County in terms of safety and transportation."

Letter regarding new Courthouse:

Date: December 30, 2014
To: Board of Supervisors
From: Phillip Smith-Hanes, County Administrative Officer
Subject: Resolution Regarding Commitment of Land to Build a New Courthouse for the Superior
Court of California, County of Humboldt
RECOMMENDATION(S):
That the Board of Supervisors approves the attached Resolution and directs staff to forward it to the
Superior Court for transmittal to the Judicial Council of California.
SOURCE OF FUNDING: Not applicable.
DISCUSSION:
For more than 20 years, the county has held title to a vacant lot adjacent to the east side ofthe correctional facility between Fourth and Fifth Streets, accessed off K Street, in the City of Eureka. For most of this period, the lot has served as overflow parking for county and court employees. It is largely unpaved and this creates maintenance issues.
The original intent of acquiring the lot was to site a courthouse on the property. However, in 1997 the
courts transferred to state responsibility. Since that time, the state has not moved forward with construction of a new courthouse in Eureka despite the documented need of the local courts for additional...(read rest on Humboldt County website where agenda is posted)

Ginger Campbell, Mike Newman, Shon Wellborn, John Flyer and Helen Edwards are board appointments on Measure Z committee

The at large appointments by the Board of Supervisors as well as Fire Chief and Sheriff's representative appointments will be discussed and finalized during the afternoon session of the Board of Supervisors meeting.

This morning after two requests from the public, instead of just filing an informational report on their appointments, thanks to Supervisor Ryan Sundberg and Estelle Fennell, the Board shared who they appointed.

Each Board member explsined a bit about why they picked the person from their individual district. You can watch that on video to learn more about each appoingment. Each member mentioned budget knowledge for each appointment. Supervisor Sundberg appointed Helen Edwards from Mckinleyville, Supervisor Mark Lovelace appointed Ginger Campbell from Arcata, Supervisor Rex Bohn appointed John Flyer from Loleta, Chair Fennell appointed Shon Wellborn from Sohum and Supervisor Bass appointed former City of Eureka Councilmember Mike Newman. Supervisor Bass added that Mr. Newman brings a perspective important, especially in Eureka. That perspective is is on dealing with mental health issues and homelessness.

Jan 19, 2015

New Courthouse for Superior Court, Measure Z appointments and Carolyn Crinch recognized at tommorow's Board of Supervisor morning session

Plenty of reasons to attend tomorrow's morning session of the Board of County Supervisor meeting. Agenda is available online.

Letter regarding new Courthouse:

Date: December 30, 2014
To: Board of Supervisors
From: Phillip Smith-Hanes, County Administrative Officer ffi*
Subject: Resolution Regarding Commitment of Land to Build a New Courthouse for the Superior
Court of California, County of Humboldt
RECOMMENDATION(S):
That the Board of Supervisors approves the attached Resolution and directs staff to forward it to the
Superior Court for transmittal to the Judicial Council of California.
SOURCE OF FUNDING: Not applicable.
DISCUSSION:
For more than 20 years, the county has held title to a vacant lot adjacent to the east side ofthe correctional facility between Fourth and Fifth Streets, accessed off K Street, in the City of Eureka. For most of this period, the lot has served as overflow parking for county and court employees. It is largely unpaved and this creates maintenance issues.
The original intent of acquiring the lot was to site a courthouse on the property. However, in 1997 the
courts transferred to state responsibility. Since that time, the state has not moved forward with construction of a new courthouse in Eureka despite the documented need ofthe local courts for additional...

From "rags to riches"; a Humboldt County entrepreneur shares his success story

John Fullerton was was raised by a single mom who was a school teacher. “We were so poor that my younger brother and I literally put cardboard in our shoes to make them last longer,” said Fullerton.

This did not deter him from rising above his humble circumstances to being a successful local business owner today. Surviving 32 years in Humboldt County speaks to Fullerton’s determination and success.

By the time he was a Junior in College, he had five other students working for him part time and they did yard maintenance service as well as trash hauling.  At the start of his Senior year in college, he sold the business and lived off that sale and his savings.  He continued to work four hours per month doinga bookkeeping job for a teacher’s union.  This was to to concentrate on school as he had 18 units for the last two semesters.

Fullerton paid all his own expenses during college.   His first accounting job after graduation was “a pay cut from my trash hauling days!”

Fullerton opened his current business in May 1983.  “The first month in business I grossed $25 before expenses. My first client paid me $15 to balance his check register.”

“I wanted to frame that first check and put it on my wall like some local retail stores do with their first dollar,  but I needed the money.  So I cashed it and a month later I called the client. He got the cancelled check from the bank and gave it to me.   It is now framed & hung on my office wall.”

Today Fullerton’s business consists of almost 100 business clients and over 1,300 individual clients. He currently employs seven full-time and two part-time people.

Fullerton has lived in Eureka since 1976 and  has volunteered in the local community for 37 years. This includes the Eureka Planning Commission, Eureka School Board, Eureka Chamber of Commerce, CASA, Rotary Club of Eureka, South Bay School Board Member, Redwood Acres Fair Board, Humboldt County Budget Oversight Committee, Humboldt County Community Budget Task Force, Humboldt CPA/LAW Review Advisory Board Member , Citizen's Advisory Committee (Eureka area), Inmate Welfare Fund Committee, Eureka Heritage Society,  Redwood Community Action Agency,  Humboldt Historical Society and others listed on his website.

To contact him, call (707) 444-3874 or visit www.fullerton-cpa.com for more information.


Jan 18, 2015

Both sides of courthouse have people "standing for life"




From 2 to 3 p.m., Humboldt County men, women and families stood on both sides of the Courthouse "for respect for all life from conception to grave."

You'd be surprised how many people honked and waved, almost one every minute.