Feb 28, 2015

10 years offer made by defense for Jason Ryan Omholt currently charged burglary, stolen property, assault but previously attempted murder charges that were dismissed by Arnie Klein

On February 26, 2015, Jason Ryan Omholt was scheduled to have his preliminary hearing. The defense made an oral motion to continue the hearing for two weeks. There was discussion back and forth between Omholt and his attorney Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis. The People had made an offer. Initially, DDA Roger Rees insisted that Omholt had to take the People's offer that day. The defense had made a counter offer of 10 years which was not accepted by the People. After Judge Timothy Cissna talked with both attorneys "at the bench", final answer was that Omholt had until the day of the preliminary hearing to accept the People's offer.

The preliminary hearing is on March 16 at 8:30 with an intervention hearing at 3 p.m. on March 12 in Courtroom 2.

Omholt could run for one of top ten criminal suspects in Humboldt in a decade.
According to a post linked in Watch Paul, he was accused of attempted murder, but the charges were dropped. According to the 2007 post below, he had 80 other charges against him.

With 8 current cases against him being addressed, only some of those cases will be addressed in this preliminary hearing. In these 8 cases, Omholt is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, buying/receiving stolen property, burglary, possession of a narcotic, controlled substance and driving under the influence.

Another case that made the local press headlines with no follow-up. It could be resolved at intervention which means someone has to wait until the Judge and attorneys meet in a closed courtroom around 3 and then report out later, if there is a change. With other news and many court cases overlapping in one day, many cases get resolved and the rest of the media that likes to print arrests in the headline never follows the outcome.

Kinda ironic but former DDA Arnie Klein who unsuccessfully ran for DA, only getting 2% and criticized Elan Firpo for not being tough on prosecution when he was the one who made a circus out of the Ferrer case and he is the one that dropped the charges against this guy?

The link below is from Watch Paul and not active so I cannot verify who wrote that article. Take the information in the former posts with that disclaimer.

From Watch Paul:

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Gallegos' Schizophrenic DA's Office w/update

Attempted murder charge dropped

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

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

...Omholt and Cooke, with a third man identified as Waymond Hiat Kelly, are suspected of a string of armed robberies in Eureka and surrounding areas during a four-month period in 2006.

Cooke was shot and killed Jan. 4 in a vacant Albee Street residence during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers.

That same day, Kelly was arrested after a high-speed chase in Mendocino County.

Omholt was arrested the previous day at a Spring Street residence following a standoff with police.

As Klein told the court Thursday he would not move forward with three of the charges against the defendant, Omholt smiled, bobbed his head repeatedly and even stuck out his tongue at Braud, who was seated in the audience.

But the dismissal of charges Thursday did not in any way spell the end of Omholt’s legal troubles.

By one estimate, more than 80 charges are still pending against him, many of which stem from his suspected involvement in the string of seven armed robberies of local gas stations and markets in 2006.

And in the case under consideration Thursday, Omholt will still be held to answer for the methamphetamine charges...


We'll see. Will this play out like the Whitethorn Rapists? Another case of criminals get a pass while regular citizens get prosecuted?
***
2009 UPDATE:
Repeat Offenders, armed and dangerous
☛ TS Shotgun brandished in home invasion robbery

Arcata Plaza stabbing suspect avoids being arrested for bench warrant issued

A bench warrant had been issued for Arcata Plaza stabbing suspect Victoria Clark. If had not shown up in Courtroom 1 for a warrant surrender, her bail bond which had been forfeited would not have been reinstated.

This was for her not showing up last week for a court date from her 2015 case. Again, for alleged assault with a deadly weapon. Last time, she was in court for her 2013 case, she smacked gum and tapped her foot impatiently and she and her companion talked constantly until her case was called. Her behavior was less distracting this time.

Clark's reason to Judge John Feeney was that she was in the bathroom when her case was called and the bailiff didn't tell her. Wasn't her attorney in court? Needless to say, because she has been "diligent in appearing", Judge Feeney recalled the warrant.

DDA Brie Bennett was present for the People but Mr. Marek Reavis stood in for Clark's attorney, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum.

Now in this case, it made the headlines in the local press but the interest has now fizzled in the press as it does with most cases. Clark's preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 15 at 8:30 a.m. unless it is resolved before during the intervention hearing.

In this case, a bench warrant was issued and it turned out that she showed up. Some people like Clark do, others don't and are arrested. Those who don't show up then have their court dates get continued and reset and cases start to pile up. That impacts the whole procedure. This not showing up happens a lot in every courtroom, daily.

If you are fortunate to be let out of custody, try and show up for court. The time it takes to remind you to take the law seriously is time the Judge and the attorneys could be using to for another case and another person.

Previous posts:

Jan 22, 2015

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 these older caRelease  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: (2013 cases)

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.

Power outage out at the Mall and Costco; was the billboard vandal bored?

No one knows why according to LOCO. Maybe, the Billboard vandal was bored? Usually, this happens around the holidays with cell-service down. Hope we get some answers soon.

Do we have a free and objective local press?

No accountability for previous officials, should current local officials be blamed for "crisis"?

While it is good that the top heavy local management of DHHS is being questioned, this problem did not develop overnight. So, why the sudden outrage about MAC and DHHS? Why didn't the press look into any one these issues when mental health is a major part of crime, a major issue when people are arrested and families screaming for help. Does the major resignation over at Mental Health have anything to do with Phil Crandall's retirement?

The press is happy to write about lawsuits against the City for damages by families, they were happy to scapegoat law enforcement for deaths like the Cheri Moore case and the lawsuits but they never addressed why an agency that is one of the largest employers in the County has high paid bureaucrats and a fancy administration building on 5th Street while over worked social workers, psychaitrists and county workers try and put a band-aid on a burgeoning problem.

I can sympathize with the DHHS workers speaking out. I have spoken about many of these same issues to the Board of Supervisors in the last few years. It is disappointing to see the anonymous mob lynch mentality of blog commenters attack someone like Mitch Trachtenberg and reveal personal, unsubstantiated information.

This government growth mentality did not start with the current Board of Supervisors. It started with several previous years of Supervisors which included Bonnie Neeley and Mark Lovelace. The current Board inherited the problems. Thanks to the one rule fits all government mentality, change comes slowly.

Phil Crandall is office for years so why the sudden exposure of DHHS and Mental Health now?

The local media did not question Paul Gallegos once during his administration, they did not question Bonnie Neeley, they still fawn all over Mark Lovelace and give him a free pass.

I have questioned people I have supported. I am a blogger. They are journalists, supposedly objective. The local media loves to be wooed by business, County, City for stories handed to them. Where is the investigative reporting on outrageous pensions, top heavy government management, and any challenge of powers to be on both sides of the political spectrum?

Where is the questioning of those who supply the canbabis ad revenue that supports local media? Or any of their other advertisers? The publishers of all local media and general managers of television stations should be held accountable.

The problems in Humboldt today cannot be blamed on one group. Some people on both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of allowing an underground economy of drugs to grow combined with unions and top heavy county government as well as some in the business community that have not created any new jobs in years while they continue to grwo wealthy.

All this has contributed to the increase in crime and homelessness and the local left -leaning media needs to put blame where it is; their lack of providing the public complete and objective information.

Now, people want to attack the police and courts for a problem they did not create.

Ryan Burns has done some good articles but not enough. I would like to see more articles like Linda Stansberry's exploitation of women in the weed industry. Kym Kemp is another favorite of mine. She rounds out the stereotypical image of SoHum and puts a human face to and diversity to SoHum.

The public will never get the full story from a media dependent and unwilling to challenge their advertisers.

I disagree often with the Tuluwat Examiner but there have been posts I agree with and they do seem to be reflecting in the comment section and some posts a reality ignored by local mainstream media and raising questions worth asking.

How many posts have you seen on my blog or others that are then pursued by media. Who is watching out for the average person?


Feb 27, 2015

Another continuance ploy aka request, a week before jury trial in the Fieldbrook double murder case

There is a Trial Readiness conference on March 2 for the Fieldbrook double murder case. On February 18, the defense already requested a brief continuance due to "outstanding issues with discovery".  Now, once again, lo and behold, Public Defender Heidi Holmquist has another motion to continue filed yesterday.

Due process is one thing but in certain cases with certain attorneys, always Public Defenders, there is always a gag order, there are always last minute continuances filed, usually the same reasons, couple days before trial readiness. At least, that is the pattern I have observed this year.

Last year, there have been a lot of homicides, high profile. Courtroom backlog with these constant last minute delays also impacts other defendants who have a right to have their cases heard in a timely manner.

Due process is one thing, using the system for delays with a pattern by some, is another. You don't get a fair trial when one side abuses the rights provided by the law.

In this case, the victim's family comes to court each time, only for another delay. I have watched their pain.

Next week, we have Limmie Curry, Judson Stiglich, Jason Arreaga (the Fieldbrook case), Jason Warren, Juan Ferrer and Gary Lee Bullock on the docket with cases overlapping at the same time.

Just like the victim's family in this case, victims and their loved ones in all the other cases, except in the Stiglich case, have waited years, months, for justice.

Only to come to court, to have the alleged suspect re victimize their pain over and over.

There needs to be some balance with these constant continuances. Unless it is an issue of appeal, Judges need to make these defense attorneys demonstrate good cause for continuances.  Covering the courts now for a year, these vague excuses are too familiar, too often. The People deserve better.




Feb 26, 2015

Will frequent informant Quentin Williams avoid prison for his failure to register as a sex offender?

Quentin Williams may avoid prison if Judge Timothy Cissna accepts his conditional plea on  March 23.

Williams plead to California penal code 290. He will get jail time and probation but no prison as part of the plea agreement. To avoid prison, his probation has to be "successful."


The District Attorney's office originally wanted prison time. The case was originally handled by DDA Luke Brownfield and is now being prosecuted by DDA Stacey Eads.

Nov 24, 2014


Frequent DA informant Quentin Williams lucks out getting Allan Dollison appointed as his defense attorney

On November 6, Allan Dollison was appointed as Quentin Williams attorney by the court. He met with Williams, who has been charged with a felony; failure to register as a sex offender. Williams is a frequent DA informant and listed below are links on Williams and he testified in two recent cases:

On November 7, after meeting with Williams, Mr. Dollison requested that a disposition/reset hearing be scheduled for this afternoon at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4. The case is being prosecuted by ADA Kelly Neel. At the last hearing, Mr. Dollison told Judge Dale Reinholtsen that there were some discovery issues to be addressed and he submitted a funding order for investigator.


This afternoon, DDA Luke Brownfield was present for the People. Mr. Dollison told the court that he expected a subpoena back on December 17 and requested a Intervention hearing to be set soon. That was set for 3 p.m. on December 17. Mr. Dollison continued to waive time on this case on behalf of his client and a preliminary hearing was set for December 30 at 8:30 a.m.

Mr. Williams has tried to help many inmates out, will someone return the favor?

Last post with other links:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/11/frequent-da-informant-and-bodhi-tree.html

Feb 24, 2015

"You say compensation, I say spiking, compensation! spiking ! Let's call the whole thing off"; instead taxpayers get stiffed by Humboldt County unions and special MOUs

In  nutshell, Humboldt County unions won today and Humboldt County taxpayers got the shaft but 50% less thanks to 4 Supervisors, minus one dissenter Supervisor Mark Lovelace. Humboldt County MOUs had the Board of Supervisors locked into some decision despite taxpayer concerns.

When discussion on the agenda item to increase compensation started this morning, Fifth District Supervisor Rex Bohn , who requested that the item be pulled for discussion said, "There is nothing in here stating specifics on what extra work" was being performed by Assistant County Counsel. He said he had received "quite a few phone calls and wanted more clarification."

Mr. Frank DeMarco, Consultant Interim Counsel, repeated what he basically wrote in a letter and said, "this is not an unusual process, and that we are not aware that we are spiking retirement", a concern brought up because the Ms. Ruth is supposed to be retiring by June and if she did, she would retire at the higher salary. No specifics of this extra work were offered.

Supervisor Virginia Bass asked Personnel Director to state policies of the past and he said it is"standard policy in our MOUS to compensate someone working out of class." She asked Mr. Fulks how the amount was determined and echoing the concerns of some other Supervisors about retirement spiking. He then started to say, "there are different types of spiking not allowed by law" and then said, "I won't refer to it by spiking." Mr.Fulks did say PERS does question the type of increase in compensation but that Humboldt County got around it by having written rules that allow such a process. Other counties do not have special rules our MOUs do.

Such MOU special rules benefitted County employees last year who wanted a raise and got a one-time payment instead before Christmas, that was not a "bonus." The rest of the County has people struggling but we wouldn't want County, tenured employees with benefits making any sacrifice.

Then, Supervisor Ryan Sundberg asked if there was another option such as "one time funding" other than the significant bump in compensation for the "extra duties" being performed by Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth who is supposed to retire but that decision is not final or formal, yet.

Mr. Fulks responded, "My concern about one-time funding is the appearance to PERS where spiking is not permitted." So is it "spiking" or not Mr. Fulks?

Supervisor Bohn made a good point that Assistant County Counsel had performed duties when previous County Counsel Wendy Chaitin was not present. "This has sparked some interest. We are getting some phone calls."

Mr. deMarco said, "This is a discretionary act on the part of the Board." CAO Philip Smith-Hanes, Mr. Fulks and Supervisor Mark Lovelace all felt that this was "just routine business." As Supervisor Bohn pointed out that this was asking the County to pay "someone a substantial amount of money for 3 or 4 months" and have lifetime cost increase for retirement and this was "the first time he had seen such a request with so much value." He could not support the long term costs, if Ms. Ruth was not retiring, he would support short-term costs.

Board Chair Estelle Fennell brought up the fact that the increase in compensation for Assistant County Counsel would be "the defacto County Counsel salary" and with Mr. De Marco, the "County would be paying for two County Counsels." Supervisor Sundberg reiterated that fact that in discussion defending this "routine increase", Mr. Hanes "was leaving out the genetleman sitting next to you" referring to Mr. DeMarco.

Supervisors Sundberg and Fennell said that they were trying to be fair to Ms. Ruth but they were also being fair to taxpayers.

Public comment mostly focused on the cost. Supervisor Sundberg suggested compensation at a level that was adequate to the extra work being performed.

Supervisor Lovelace said "he was baffled." He brought politics into the discussion. Anyone who disgareed with him got chastised. At this point, Chair Fennell said, "You brought politics into this, upto now we have had a professional discussion about an unique issue.' She was referring to the fact that this wasn't just an extra increase for an employee doing extra work ; there was also the cost of the Consultant.

At no point could any one answer what these extra duties were other than a vague reference to the budget referred in the agenda.  Ultimately, after two failed motions, Supervisor Bohn comprised with the motion that Supervisor Sundberg had put forth. It was a salary range of 11 instead of 22 with a 50% reduction in cost.

This isn't a simple HR issue. It is about certain department heads wanting a rubber stamp on a substantial amount of money for another department head and being shocked that taxpayers questioned them.

Previous posts:

johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/02/after-two-motions-failed-on-asst-county.html

johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/02/asst-county-counsel-compensation-to-be.html



Defendant Pena pleads guilty to Penal Code 288.5 (a) ; Judge will decide whether prison or probation for sexual conduct with a child

A jury trial was vacated for Candido Pena today because he entered a change of plea. He was charged with Penal Code 288.5 (a) and held to answer to all charges last June after a preliminary hearing. His attorney is Mr. Rusell Clanton.

288.5.  (a) Any person who either resides in the same home with the
minor child or has recurring access to the child, who over a period
of time, not less than three months in duration, engages in three or
more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child under the age of
14 years at the time of the commission of the offense, as defined in
subdivision.

I contacted DA Maggie Fleming asking why there was a plea in this case for the above charge under her administration. She responded promptly. Under Ms. Fleming's administration, we actually get answers, and promptly.

"Deputy District Attorney Zack Curtis handled this case. The defendant pled guilty to one count of Penal Code section 288(a) after discussion with the victim and family.  It is very important to this office how the family feels about the possible plea and consequences and it was with their agreement that the People accepted the guilty plea by the defendant.  The defendant has been referred for a psychological evaluation and that report is due back on March 10.  After that report is received it will be referred to probation and a date for sentencing will be scheduled.  At sentencing the Judge will decide if the defendant should receive prison or probation."


Thank you Virginia

I appreciate your comments and your apology during your board report this afternoon.

Supervisor Bass calls me out during BOS meeting and Supervisor Lovelace shows utter contempt for public comment

Supervisor Mark Lovelace inserted politics into a discussion about compensation of Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth because he didn't get his way. He was disrespectful after public comment when public cannot respond. His comment was directed to me but he did not mention me by name,

Supervisor Virginia Bass said "some people are politicizing this" and agreed with Supervisor Lovelace and said she disagreed with my post and that I didn't present both parts of the issue. This, after I respected her wish not to go on record, about an email she sent me over the weekend. Can't present two sides of the issue when one party forces you into silence.

I have a post from 2 Supervisors and another community member voicing concerns.

I have supported Virginia since 2010 and been one of her most vocal supporters. After the meeting, a few people felt "she threw me under the bus." In a very public way.

Disagreeing is okay, singling out someone you call a friend and who has supported you for the past 4 years is not okay.

Welcome to Humboldt County politics where friendship and alliances can and are sacrificed for political expediency.

Some people make a big deal about my supporting certain candidates and political leanings, yet I have done several posts and given public information questioning the very same people.

Mark, hissy fits aren't new for you. If you are going to use your time to attack public comment, give us a chance to respond. How ironic that today Mark who slapped Virginia and who I gave a "slap down" and got information backing Virginia's side was on the same side with Virginia today. Both showed complete disrespect for me and other public commenters.

Thank you Supervisor Ryan Sundberg and Supervisor Estelle Fennell for bringing back civility and calling out the personal attacks.


After two motions failed on Asst County Counsel and a heated discussion, a third motion passes

Consultant Interim County Counsel was welcomed by Humboldt County Board of Supervisor Chair Estelle Fennell this morning.

Agenda Item #5 regarding increase in compensation for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth was pulled from consent by 2nd District Supervisor Rex Bohn. All supervisors were called regarding this item according to public enthusiast and regular commenter Kent Sawatsky.

The discussion got heated towards the end and I will have a post later about the process that led to the vote.

Basically, the Consultant Interim County Counsel and Asst County Counsel will split the workload 50/50 and Ms. Ruth will be compensated for the additional time at a lower rate.

The MOU that is being used to justify this decision is Hum Co's own cookie cutter version. Not all Counties do that, this is from Personnel Director Dan Fulks and Consultant Interim Counsel Frank DeMarco's own comments. Mr. Fulks was not even familiar with Ms. Ruth's salary history. Mr. DeMarco and Mr. Fulks could not provide specifics of what this extra work was despite being asked by Supervisor Bohn.

As Supervisor Ryan Sundberg pointed out, we essentially have two people doing 1 job with Mr. DeMarco and Asst County Counsel. As Supervisor Rex Bohn pointed out, this has long term effects on taxpayers.

The first vote was 3-2 with Supervisor Bohn and Supervisor Lovelace dissenting. Supervisor Lovelace because he was aghast that taxpayers actually questioned a significant pay rate, Supervisor Bohn because he was trying to have the voices of those who expressed concern be heard.

After the meeting Mr. Sawatsky said, "it's been 7 months since (former) County Counsel notified that she was retiring." He said that the Supervisor's had all that time to get us a new County Counsel. Also according to his math, at $400 a day, the Consultant Interim County Counsel was making $2,500 a day plus expenses to travel here.



I would suggest watching the video when Access Humboldt has it up.

Background on Agenda item #5 and my previous posts:


Feb 24, 2015


Asst County Counsel "compensation" to be pulled off consent, Supervisors and other community members respond to my original post

My original post this weekend on a proposed increase in compensation for Assistant County Counsel elicited the following response from two County Supervisors.

3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace spoke with yesterday before the GPU meeting and sent me what he said via email:

"The County pays its ~2,000 employees based on the work they are doing and on longevity, not based on who they are. If an employee is asked to do work that is above and beyond the duties for which they normally get paid, we must compensate them appropriately. This is captured in the MOU for each of our bargaining units."

5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg via email commented on Julie Williams personal opinion about the money that was spent on the Tooby Ranch litgation based on Ms. Ruth's advice.

"Ms. Ruth had nothing to do with why money was spent on this case, we has outside Council and it was 100% up to the BOS. These have all been unanimous votes, so it falls squarely on the BOS, both the ones who started it and the current board (all new since it was first started, and just trying to get it finalized)." 

From today's BOS meeting, agenda item #5 :


Temporary Increase in Compensation for Assistant County Counsel (4/5ths Vote Required) That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5, 2015, whichever occurs first.

It also elicited response from other members of the community. There has been a request to pull this item of the consent calendar by a few community members.

Debbie Provolt gave me a letter from the legal department of the Department of Transportation and Humboldt County Department planning and policies on parcels and what it deemed illegal. I will post that letter later today. It is not just Ms. Williams that has concerns about Ms. Ruth's abilities.

Her increase in compensation may increase her retirement benefits and is a question worth asking.

Ms. Provolt also had a pro-active solution: "It is always good to suggest an alternative, and I think that most office manager tasks do not need to be done by an attorney, Few Co offices or private businesses have an attorney for an office manager.  I wonder if Phi Smith-Haynes office could provide some temporary help.  Also I think that they could authorize overtime as an alternative to a raise."

Original post:


Feb 21, 2015 and 


Why is an Assistant County Counsel who is retiring, cost the County and taxpayers money in litigation being given a raise for doing her job?

At their Jan 20, 2015 meeting the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted  unanimously to direct CAO Hanes to enter into agreement with Frank DeMarco of the Hanson Bridgett Law Firm to be interim County Counsel. County Counsel Wendy Chaitin's retired and January 20, 2015 was her last meeting.
From the February 24 meeting, agenda item #5 is:
Temporary Increase in Compensation for Assistant County Counsel (4/5ths Vote Required) That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5, 2015, whichever occurs first.
This brilliant idea is a suggestion by Frank J. DeMarco, Consultant Interim County Counsel.
Listed below are the recommendations in a letter to the Supervisors which is an attachment on the agenda.
RECOMMENDATIONS:
That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5,2015, whichever occurs first.
SOURCE OF FUNDING: General Fund
DISCUSSION:
On January 23, 2015, County Counsel Wendy Chaitin retired from county service. As a result of that
retirement, the Board of Supervisors retained the services of experienced outside counsel to provide
specified contractual advice and guidance. In order to minimize expenditures, retained counsel does
not provide daily onsite management of the office. Daily onsite management is being performed by
Assistant County Counsel, Carolyn Ruth, with the guidance and advice of retained outside counsel. In the absence of a full time county counsel, the Assistant is performing additional duties such as preparing the 2015/16 annual budget and in communication with retained counsel is performing a full range of law office management duties.

So we hired an outside consultant to replace Ms. Chaitin and now we have to pay extra to the assistant County Counsel because she has to assume some extra work that the consultant cannot do?

Supposedly, Ms. Ruth is supposed to retire this June. There is concern by some members of the community that this is a move to get Ms. Ruth the permanent position of County Counsel.

Julie Williams, had this to say about the proposed raise: "In my personal opinion, as a concerned citizen, "It is highly inappropriate to give Ms. Ruth a raise at this time. Merely by looking at her record and the excessive costs to taxpayers for her advice on land use decisions and land use litigation. Ms. Williams cited the Tooby ranch litigation as an example.

In her professional opinion, representing the North Coast Home Builders, Ms Williams said, " We would have deep concerns about Ms. Ruth and her unprofessional behavior and attitude to property owners across  the spectrum,; not just towards local developers who gets permits. It is due to her cohorts which include the former planning director and some former Supervisors that the GPU has been too time consuming and costly". Ms. Williams used an example the time Ms. Ruth cited to the Supervisors a state statute as a basis for the County to adopt an emergency tpz ordinance. "Trouble is, in her staff report to the BOS, Ms. Ruth changed a comma to a period, omitted several lines and told the Board to move forward on the tpz ordinance. We have deep concern that even though Tuesday's agenda item says the increase would be temporary in nature, sometimes things happen and it is our fear that this could be a potential move to keep Ms. Ruth on staff permanently which we would oppose. She has turned in her resignation."

Woman admits to stabbing mall employee

On 02/23/15 at about 7:15 p.m., Officers with the Eureka Police Department were dispatched to the Bayshore Mall after a woman called 911 reporting that someone was attempting to stab her.  Upon arrival, officers located a mall employee that had been stabbed in the arm.

The suspect, Cayla Tatum (26) of Eureka, had been pepper sprayed and detained by mall security and an off-duty police officer prior to officer’s arrival.  Tatum admitted to stabbing the victim.  Based on witness statements, Tatum attacked the victim without any provocation and chased her from one store to another where she cornered and stabbed her.

The victim was transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.  Tatum was transported to the hospital for medical clearance prior to being booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for assault with a deadly weapon.

Asst County Counsel "compensation" to be pulled off consent, Supervisors and other community members respond to my original post

My original post this weekend on a proposed increase in compensation for Assistant County Counsel elicited the following response from two County Supervisors.

3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace spoke with yesterday before the GPU meeting and sent me what he said via email:

"The County pays its ~2,000 employees based on the work they are doing and on longevity, not based on who they are. If an employee is asked to do work that is above and beyond the duties for which they normally get paid, we must compensate them appropriately. This is captured in the MOU for each of our bargaining units."

5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg via email commented on Julie Williams personal opinion about the money that was spent on the Tooby Ranch litgation based on Ms. Ruth's advice.

"Ms. Ruth had nothing to do with why money was spent on this case, we has outside Council and it was 100% up to the BOS. These have all been unanimous votes, so it falls squarely on the BOS, both the ones who started it and the current board (all new since it was first started, and just trying to get it finalized)." 

From today's BOS meeting, agenda item #5 :

Temporary Increase in Compensation for Assistant County Counsel (4/5ths Vote Required) That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5, 2015, whichever occurs first.

It also elicited response from other members of the community. There has been a request to pull this item of the consent calendar by a few community members.

Debbie Provolt gave me a letter from the legal department of the Department of Transportation and Humboldt County Department planning and policies on parcels and what it deemed illegal.  It is not just Ms. Williams who has concerns about Ms. Ruth's abilities.

Due to Blogger's limitations, I can't link or upload the letter, I am trying.

Her increase in compensation may increase her retirement benefits and is a question worth asking.

Ms. Provolt also had a pro-active solution: "It is always good to suggest an alternative, and I think that most office manager tasks do not need to be done by an attorney, Few Co offices or private businesses have an attorney for an office manager.  I wonder if Phi Smith-Haynes office could provide some temporary help.  Also I think that they could authorize overtime as an alternative to a raise."


Original post:


Feb 21, 2015 


Why is an Assistant County Counsel who is retiring, cost the County and taxpayers money in litigation being given a raise for doing her job?

At their Jan 20, 2015 meeting the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted  unanimously to direct CAO Hanes to enter into agreement with Frank DeMarco of the Hanson Bridgett Law Firm to be interim County Counsel. County Counsel Wendy Chaitin's retired and January 20, 2015 was her last meeting.
From the February 24 meeting, agenda item #5 is:
Temporary Increase in Compensation for Assistant County Counsel (4/5ths Vote Required) That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5, 2015, whichever occurs first.
This brilliant idea is a suggestion by Frank J. DeMarco, Consultant Interim County Counsel.
Listed below are the recommendations in a letter to the Supervisors which is an attachment on the agenda.
RECOMMENDATIONS:
That the Board of Supervisors, by not less than a four-fifths vote and pursuant to Section 7 of the Humboldt County Salary Resolution, approves a temporary increase in compensation of 22 salary ranges for Assistant County Counsel Carolyn Ruth, effective February 24, 2015 and continuing until appointment of a new County Counsel or June 5,2015, whichever occurs first.
SOURCE OF FUNDING: General Fund
DISCUSSION:
On January 23, 2015, County Counsel Wendy Chaitin retired from county service. As a result of that
retirement, the Board of Supervisors retained the services of experienced outside counsel to provide
specified contractual advice and guidance. In order to minimize expenditures, retained counsel does
not provide daily onsite management of the office. Daily onsite management is being performed by
Assistant County Counsel, Carolyn Ruth, with the guidance and advice of retained outside counsel. In the absence of a full time county counsel, the Assistant is performing additional duties such as preparing the 2015/16 annual budget and in communication with retained counsel is performing a full range of law office management duties.

So we hired an outside consultant to replace Ms. Chaitin and now we have to pay extra to the assistant County Counsel because she has to assume some extra work that the consultant cannot do?

Supposedly, Ms. Ruth is supposed to retire this June. There is concern by some members of the community that this is a move to get Ms. Ruth the permanent position of County Counsel.

Julie Williams, had this to say about the proposed raise: "In my personal opinion, as a concerned citizen, "It is highly inappropriate to give Ms. Ruth a raise at this time. Merely by looking at her record and the excessive costs to taxpayers for her advice on land use decisions and land use litigation. Ms. Williams cited the Tooby ranch litigation as an example.

In her professional opinion, representing the North Coast Home Builders, Ms Williams said, " We would have deep concerns about Ms. Ruth and her unprofessional behavior and attitude to property owners across  the spectrum,; not just towards local developers who gets permits. It is due to her cohorts which include the former planning director and some former Supervisors that the GPU has been too time consuming and costly". Ms. Williams used an example the time Ms. Ruth cited to the Supervisors a state statute as a basis for the County to adopt an emergency tpz ordinance. "Trouble is, in her staff report to the BOS, Ms. Ruth changed a comma to a period, omitted several lines and told the Board to move forward on the tpz ordinance. We have deep concern that even though Tuesday's agenda item says the increase would be temporary in nature, sometimes things happen and it is our fear that this could be a potential move to keep Ms. Ruth on staff permanently which we would oppose. She has turned in her resignation."

Feb 23, 2015

Man allegedly enters residence armed with knife and destroys property

On 02-23-2015, at approximately 3:22 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who reported a disturbance at a residence in the 800 block of Mountain View Drive, Benbow.
Sheriff’s Deputies responded and met with a victim who reported an unwanted person inside the residence.  The suspect was identified as Jacob Sherman (age 45).  The victim stated Sherman had entered the residence without permission, was armed with a knife, and started destroying property.  Upon the deputies arrival, Sherman barricaded himself inside the residence and refused to come out.  The victim told the deputies that Sherman threw kitchen knives and other items at the victim during the altercation.  Officers from the California Highway Patrol were then dispatched for assistance.  After a standoff of nearly an hour, sheriff’s deputies were able to convince Sherman to exit the residence.
Sherman was taken into custody and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and resisting arrest.  Sherman was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was his bail was set at $50,000.

Fire at Lone Pine Motel possible arson?

On 02-23-2015, at approximately 8:03 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911call regarding a vehicle fire at the Lone Pine Motel, 912 Redwood Drive.  Personnel from Cal Fire and Garberville Volunteer Fire Department were also dispatched.  Upon their arrival they were able to successfully extinguish the fire and their efforts likely prevented additional property damage.
A Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched and met with the owner of the vehicle who reported that unknown suspect(s) intentionally set the vehicle on fire.  Evidence at the scene confirmed that it does appear the vehicle was intentionally set on fire.  During the investigation, the deputy was told there are multiple witnesses who have information about the suspect(s) identity, however they have not come forward.


Redway murder suspect Jason Armstrong jury trial set for May

Today in Courtroom 1, Redway murder suspect Jason Armstrong had a disposition reset hearing scheduled today. Public Defender Heidi Holmquist is representing Armstrong and DDA Kelly Neel is prosecuting the case.
The case is scheduled for jury trial in May.

HCSO Press-release:

On 10-22-2014, at approximately 12:15 a.m. , the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a citizen who reported hearing a gun shot and discovered a man had been shot at the Dean Creek Resort, Redway. Citizens at the scene attempted lifesaving efforts on the victim, while medical and law enforcement responded. When deputies arrived, the suspect, identified as Jason Armstrong, 40 years old, from Dumas, Texas met with deputies. as they arrived. Medical personnel tended to the victim, who was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Detectives and the Humboldt County Coroner's Office were summoned to the scene. Detectives learned the 41 year old male victim and the suspect had been in a brief verbal argument earlier in the evening. The victim was residing in a room at Dean Creek Resort and Armstrong was staying in a nearby cabin at the resort. They did not know each other prior to the argument. After the brief argument, the victim and Armstrong parted ways. Armstrong went to victim's room to settle the argument, believing it was not over. Armstrong was carrying a semi- automatic handgun. Armstrong confronted the victim on the back patio of the room and brandished the handgun at the victim. While brandishing the handgun, the victim attempted to disarm Armstrong. During the brief struggle over the weapon, Armstrong strong shot the victim once in the chest.
After shooting the victim, Armstrong walked away and unloaded the weapon near his cabin. When deputies arrived, he walked up to the deputies and surrendered without incident. Armstrong was arrested and transported to Eureka where he was interviewed by detectives. He was then booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on one count of murder. His bail was set at $1,000,000.00.

Anthony "Creeper" Burgess jury trial on April 13

This afternoon in Courtroom 1, Anthony "Creeper" Burgess was arraigned on information. He is being represented by Ms. Heidi Holmquist. DDA Roger Rees is prosecuting the case.

I was the only one at the preliminary hearing.

Previous posts on this blog:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/02/creeper-burgess-evades-gang-charge-but.html?m=1

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/02/is-creeper-part-of-eastside-local-gang.html?m=1

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/01/100000-bail-set-for-creeper-aka-anthony.html?m=1

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/01/creeper-aka-anthony-manuel-burgess-has.html?m=1








Dollison on the Docket on LOCO features not guilty by insanity and it's impact on Gary Lee Bullock's change of plea

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/feb/23/dollisons-docket-insanity-defense-legal-farce-or-i/

Back in November 2014, I did a post on the same topic. Based on the delays in this case, here we are couple months later, and my hunch proved true.

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/11/will-fr-erics-murderer-go-for.html?m=1

Will Fr. Eric's murderer go for California's Insanity Defense aka the McNaghten rule?

The following is from the site shouselaw.com.  The title on the page is "California's Insanity Defense The McNaghten Rule"

The legal defense of insanity in California law means that you cannot be found guilty of a crime if you were legally insane when you committed it.1 Under California's insanity defense, you are considered legally insane if you either

Did not understand the nature of your criminal act, OR
Did not understand that what you were doing was morally wrong.2
This definition of legal insanity is known as the “McNaghten (sometimes spelled M'Naghten or McNaughten) rule.”

You can plead not guilty by reason of insanity at your arraignment hearing. For the insanity defense to work, you will then need to prove that it is more likely than not that you were legally insane when you committed your crime.

If you can convince the jury at your California criminal jury trial that you are not guilty by reason of insanity, then you will be committed to a state mental hospital instead of being sent to prison.

Another link: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/the-m-naghten-rule.html
---------------------------------
There is a gag order on the case. It is my understanding that usually you enter a plea of not guilty due to insanity and the Court appoints a professional to do an evaluation.

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

There is a difference between not guilty by reason of insanity and being incompetent to stand trial. I do not think the insanity defense will fly because Bullock was calculated in his moves before he entered the rectory, he methodically planned the break-in, he fooled the police and after the crime, he tried to burn the rectory, then fled and hid Fr. Eric's car. He escaped and ran from his crime.

Gary Lee Bullock's defense attorney, Kaleb Cockrum may be investigating the possibility by using a different section of the law so  that is all done in a way that reports do not have to be turned over in his effort to provide his client the best defense.

Kaleb is a good and caring attorney and will go to bat for his clients. I have known him for a few years.  This case is not something I am just reporting on though, it is very close to my heart.

A psych evaluation can take months, already this case has faded for most people, other than those of us directly affected by it. And, time is only beneficial for the defense.

HSU student takeover over and residency on campus ends

 In October of last year, HSU’s controversial firing of INRSEP (Indian Natural Resources Science and Engineering Program) director Dr. Jacquelyn Bolman inspired students, faculty, staff and Tribal members to participate in the largest demonstrations on HSU campus since the Vietnam War Era. At the end of the Native American Activism Conference on Martin Luther King Day, Humboldt State students announced plans to reside in the Bolman Forum (formerly Native American Forum) until a variety of demands were met.
   
    The 35 day residency has opened a platform at Humboldt State University for meaningful participation by students and local Tribal governments regarding the education of Native youth at the State University level. In a February 12th correspondence following the announcement of the residency, Gerald Jones from the Pacific Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs acknowledged that “Student protests at HSU may provide an opportunity for us to partner to promote Indian Self-Determination (25 USC 450 et. seq./25 USC 3109),” an integral aspect of Federal Indian Policy since the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. The demands of the protesters are in line with Article 15 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.”

    The demonstrators have been in dialogue with Humboldt State University President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher’s administration to secure dates during which the protester’s nine demands will be negotiated. The list of demands outlines measures that upon implementation will promote equitable opportunity for students of color, which has diminished at the university during recent decades.

In preparation for mediations scheduled between the students, President, and key members of Humboldt State University administrators on March 3rd, the Unified students have decided to suspend the round-the-clock demonstration as an act of good faith, acknowledging President Rossbacher’s “commitment… to working with Native American students and tribal nations regarding definitions of student success, the characteristics of appropriate student support programs, the historical and future plans for program funding, the utilization of space in the Native American Forum, and clear plans for how this space will be used in the future.” Students expect the Forum to be respected as an Autonomous Center for Indigenous Learning.

While much of the focus surrounding this developing act of protest has centered around issues of Native American Education, Unified Students of Humboldt is a coalition of concerned students of Color and their allies, committed to promoting direct dialogue between students and administration to represent all pertinent perspectives. Support from the wider Humboldt  and Tribal communities whom the University serves reveals a latent desire for involvement in local education from the larger community.