Aug 8, 2015

A sunny Humboldt day and furry celebrities want to know why you are not at Woofstock!

It is a sunny day and unless you were passed out from training to run for the Humboldt Bay Marathon tomorrow, the furry celebrities want to know why you are not at Woofstock!

Aug 7, 2015

Alleged Sohum home inasion suspect Bret Swortzel's jury trial delayed again, new date August 17, defense may still file for another continuance

Bret Swortzel's jury trial has been delayed yet again. This time his attorney, Mr. Michael Acosta gave a motion to District Attorney Maggie Fleming and Judge John Feeney in court while this case was called during trial assignment this morning.

Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads, who is prosecuting this case, was present in the courtroom. Ms. Fleming is present on Fridays for the trial assignment calendar. Ms. Fleming said that the People oppose the defense motion and even though no courtroom would be available next week, she said the People would request this case "trail on a day to day basis."

She said that the defense motion to continue was late and that the reason given was new discovery, the DNA report, but that had been provided on July 7 and that the defense had that information for 30 days.

Ms. Fleming told Judge Feeney that the victim, Deborah Morton was present with her attorney Ed Denson in court and that "she wants this matter resolved". Ms. Fleming also said that she would not be able to contact any other witness to discuss this continuance request.

Mr. Acosta said that his client was prepared to enter a time waiver. Judge Feeney brought up the fact that according to the court minutes, Swortzel had enetered a limited time waiver and that "instead of trailing day to day" that his tentative decision was to continue the trial to August 17.

Mr. Acosta said that discovery was not the only reason for his request for a continuance. He said the People had added other charges and that there was a transcript from the co-defendant, Seth Morton preliminary hearing and that there was "conflicting testimony of witnesses."

"If you wish for a more lengthy continuance, you can file it in the home court, Courtroom 4," said Judge Feeney.

Ms. Fleming said the preliminary hearing transcript is a court document and that she could not provide it and that Mr. Acosta had to request it from the Humboldt County Superior Court.

There is a restraining order that Swortzel have  no contact with the two victims in this case.

The link to the last post (includes other coverage of this case);

Kailan Meserve's preliminary hearing for alleged charges of sexual battery, kidnapping to commit crime, forcible oral copulation and 14 other counts now scheduled for Aug 19

Today, a preliminary hearing was supposed to commence for Kailan Meserve but the only courtroom available was Courtroom 5 with Visiting Judge Charles Irvin.

Mr. Clanton said that he would have to discuss the matter with his client since this was supposed to be a special set with Judge Marilyn Miles in Courtroom 2. He also wanted to discuss some other matters with the Deputy District Attorney prosecuting this case, Ms. Brie Bennett.

Once they returned to the Courtroom 1, Mr. Russ Clanton, who represents Meserve, told Judge John Feeney, that his client was going to exercise his peremptory challenge for Judge Irvin and that his client wanted the case to be heard by a local Judge.

If you have a case in Superior court in California, and you believe you cannot get a fair and impartial hearing or trial from the judge, commissioner, or referee assigned to your case, California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) § 170.6 gives you the right to disqualify him or her without having to show a reason. This is called a peremptory challenge. 

Judge Feeney then asked Meserve if this is what he wished to do and explained what a 170.6 is and Meserve indicated that is what he wished.

The time estimate for the preliminary hearing given was 3 hours and the District Attorney plans to call only 1 witness. Mr. Clanton said his client is "revoking time." Judge Feeney said that "there is conflicting case law whether time waiver can be withdrawn" but it was withdrawn.

Both parties asked that the preliminary hearing be set in 10 days and the new date is August 19 at 8:30.

Jul 13, 2015

Kailan Meserve posted bail which was set at 2 million, is out of custody and out of town; preliminary hearing rescheduled

Former Arcata City Council member Dave Meserve was with his son Kailan Meserve and other members of his family were in court this morning as well.

Kailan Meserve is charged with 17 counts including threats to commit crime resulting in death, first degree burglary, forcible oral copulation (several counts), sexual battery, kidnap to commit robbery, penetration by a foreign object and assault with a deadly weapon. A criminal protective order has been served on him.

At the last court hearing, bail reduction was denied and the District Attorney's office had requested that bail money be posted with proof that it was obtained by legitimate means.

In May, the defense wanted Meserve to wear an ankle monitor and attend a detox program in Washington. Sometime between the last hearing and now, Kailan Meserve made bail and all that was said this morning was that he and his family travelled out of state.

Due to courtroom unavalibility, a special set of August  7 in Courtroom 2 to commence preliminary hearing or do a disposition and reset hearing was set and stipulated by both parties. This was mentioned during the morning calendar to Judge John Feeney but the dates were set this afternoon in front of Judge Joyce Hinrich.

Previous posts:

Pierce Mortuary funeral home records at historical society after closure; Sanders Funeral Home purchases Paul's Chapel

One of the oldest funeral homes in Eureka, Pierce Mortuary has had signs for sale up for a while. Pierce Mortuary was at the 7th and H location since 1875. Service Core International, the company that owned Pierce Mortuary also owned Chapels in Arcata.

Sanders Funeral Home, Eureka's only full service funeral home, has been operating since 1906. The owner purchased Paul's Chapel, a few months ago. The building that housed Pierce Mortuary is closed, that license has been cancelled. Several old records that were found while it was being cleaned. Sanders Funeral Director Megan McAllister told me that some of those records had been given to the Humboldt Historical Society.

As a longtime local business, Sanders Funeral Home is accommodating any one that had "prior arrangements with Pierce." Letters were sent out to everyone who had such arrangements with Pierce, said Ms. McAllister. There are three options that previous Pierce clients have: they can either keep their arrangements with Sanders; transfer the arrangement to another funeral home; or cash out their policy.

For more information, call Sanders at (707) 442-2941 or go to

Humboldt Superior Court sends press reease about seeking permanent CEO and interim CEO

I already reported this on August 4:

August 4 post:

Former CEO Kerri Keenan resigned effective July 31. An interim CEO, Mike Tozzi, from Stanislaus County, is presently handling her duties until someone is hired. Recruitment for the position is expected to start shortly.

A few minutes ago, the Humboldt Superior Court sent out a press release on this saying that process has already begun. Mr. Tozzi has 30 years of experience as CEO in the Superior Court of Stanislaus County.

Humboldt County Superior Court Presiding Judge Joyce Hinrichs said "we are excited to move forward under Mr. Tozzi's interim leadership, and we look forward to finding an excellent successor CEO who will lead our court into the future."

The Stanislaus County Superior Court was nationally recognized for the handling and management of media during the Scott Petersen case.

Judicial Council of California issues formal response to my post about Kerri Keenan

This is the formal response from the Judicial Council regarding my post on former Humboldt County Superior Court CEO Kerri Keenan:

"The Judicial Council does not comment on personnel and personnel-related matters.  The Humboldt Superior Court has hired Mike Tozzi as interim Court Executive Officer to replace Kerri Keenan, who retired, and tasked him with conducting a review of court operations, including management and staffing structure, budget and spending, and technology.  The Judicial Council will provide assistance if requested."

The Judges will not be able to respond for the same reason and I did not expect them to and I preferred a response from the Judicial Council.

It seems from the observations I have made in the last couple of days that the interim CEO is seeking input. Will that result in a change in rhe Humco Wild Superior Court culture in court administration management. And by administration, I don't mean the Judges. Will staff, attorneys, the Judges and the public see positive changes? Just a new CEO won't change things. All management positions need to be scrutinized.

Aug 6, 2015

Sheriff Downey to be on Channel 3 tonight, will he agree with the Deputy Sheriff's organization or refute their claims regarding Measure Z funds promises?

If you have not read the Humboldt Consequential's latest post, " you should.

This is the comment I left on that post.

John Chiv says:
THC, it is the Humboldt Deputy Sheriff’s Organization that is whining, not the Humboldt County’s Sheriff’s office. They may or may not speak for all deputies and all Sheriff’s employees. LOCO basically ran another article stating the same points when these guys protested at Rex’s campaign announcement.
I have great respect for the brave men and women that work for HCSO. In this case, I agree with THC and support the Supervisors. They used the Measure Z for what people voted it should be used for. HDSO is a union and like all unions does not understand economics; they do get entitlement. Pensions, pay raises are not the privilege of a few when others are struggling in the same economy. Unions need to be abolished. They are no longer about protecting workers, they are about a bunch of bureaucrats getting paid to create division and dissension. We should give the raise to the few HDSO whiners with the money we get from firing all the paid union reps.

There are some other points that need to be made and questions asked of the Humboldt Deputy Sheriff's Organization "protestors." It seems they think only top deputies deserve raises and their excuse is that this is so they can hire experienced staff from other agencies. When you are making $120 k plus, you can afford to pass a pay raise or two. As for people who have left, one such former employee, Deputy Bang Cao, the one who got shot in the line of duty, did so to move closer to his family, among other reasons. So what are the reasons others have left? Some may have been injured and can no longer work on the job. An inside source told me that Sheriff Downey will be on Channel 3 tonight, what will he say? Why doesn't the HDSO name the people who have left so we can check and see the facts for ourselves.

"It's Game Over," a survivor-led non profit organization joining the battle to end sex trafficking in Humboldt and beyond

Yesterday, I ran into Lost Coast Brewery's owner Barbara Groom. We chatted informally about a lot of things, beer, small businesses, local businesses, my blog among other things. I shared with Barbara some of my articles on this blog including covering the David Anderson human trafficking case extensively. 

Our conversation led to Barbara sharing with me that there had been a woman who spoke at the Humboldt Convention Visitor's Bureau yesterday. 

What is listed below are two excerpts from an email this woman sent and it included some of the links in my post yesterday about exploitation of women. 

"Thank you for taking a moment yesterday to hear me speak out regarding Sex Trafficking in Humboldt.  I know, it's sobering and shocking.  I don't expect the HCCVB to be involved directly, but I felt we all need to be aware of what's happening in our community.  As I mentioned, I would like the hoteliers to be aware too."

"BTW law enforcement is aware and starting to get involved, although EPD doesn't have funding for vice. Chief Probation Officer, William Damiano came to a sex trafficking awareness workshop (on his own time)  that was held for 150 county workers (mostly health services).  He says local law enforcement department heads will be meeting on 8/19 with The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services to develop protocol required by recent state regulation. It's a Closed meeting."

Their facebook description is as follows:

It's Game Over Inc is a survivor-led nonprofit organization in the making, joining the battle to end Sex Trafficking in Humboldt County and beyond

Barbara did not ask for credit, Bill Damiano does not even know about this post. Since this is on facebook, it is not something that is a private or closed page. Whoever started this is not a victim, clearly someone who is a survivor and more importantly, she is a leader empowering others.

Making this community a safer place for all, especially women, is a cause we all can support.

To all the Americans who want a better life, don't vote for Hillary Clinton. You're not going to get it,", my favorite quote from the Republican Presidential debate so far

Best quote of the Republican Presidential Debate so far, from Lindsey Graham, "To all the Americans who want a better life, don't vote for Hillary Clinton. You're not going to get it."

Local lawyer offers an affordable law center in Eureka starting this September

M.C. Bruce, a local attorney with an office at 512 I Street, in Eureka is starting an affordable law center and the public will get a preview at this September's Arts Alive, which will include a live band and flyers explaining the services.  "The center will offer services twice a month to begin with," said Mr. Bruce, "probably  on Wednesday Sept 9 and  Wednesday Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m."

 The center will also be accepting appointments for Tuesday but not walk ins.

"The intent is to offer to the public assistance in preparing Judicial Council forms," said Mr. Bruce.  "The customer will sit down with an attorney and prepare the form together with the lawyer.  However, the lawyer will not represent the customer in court.  The idea is that the Judicial Council form will be filled in correctly.  For an additional fee we can copy and file and serve the papers."

"This is an attorney-assisted service.  The idea is that the public will have access to help by a laywer in preparing the forms--even those forms the Self-Help Center does not handle.  This is not a place where you come in and we hand you the forms and say 'good luck,'  The attorney will work with the customer in filling out the form so that the customer knows the form is filled out correctly.  The paralegals who are doing this work in Humboldt at present are actually violating the law, as they will usually give legal advice while filling out the form.  Under California law, only an attorney can give the public legal advice."

Other services, such as preparation of motions which are not covered by Judicial Council forms, will also be offered.  Payment is with credit cards or cash only, no checks.

M.C. Bruce worked as the family law facilitator in Del Norte County and helped thousands of persons in that capacity.

Willow Creek search warrant results in 400 pounds of processed marijuana and over 2,000 marijuana plants being found and alleged water diversion and illegal grading issues

On 08-05-2015 at 9:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services with a search warrant at a parcel of property located off Sabertooth Road, Willow Creek. Officers located over 2,000 growing marijuana plants on the property and approximately 400 pounds of processed marijuana.

When officers arrived on the property they detained 12 subjects. Approximately 8 additional subjects fled the property into the woods and ran away. Officers located (8) eight water diversion issues and (9) nine illegal land grading issues on the property. The (12) subjects were identified at the scene and were later released.

This case is still under investigation and arrest warrants are anticipated through the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office in the near future for several suspects.  

Larry Doss and Nick Angeloff to run for harbor district positions

Larry Doss for District 1, Nick Angeloff District 2,  and Susan Rotwein for District 5 will all have filed papers by the end of the day as harbor district candidates.

Humboldt Republican chair Annette DeModena said she is happy to see candidates that will develop the harbor, bring jobs to Humboldt County and be good stewards of the environment.

 Larry Doss, a Republican, is well known in the business community and he may look familiar from those Ming Tree ads on your TV. The current incumbent for that seat is Aaron Newman, who plead guilty to poaching in October 2014.

Angelhoff was active in east west railroad issues and president of the Rio Dell Chamber of Commerce. The current incumbent for that seat is Greg Dale.

Susan Rotwein is a retired nurse and a Democrat and part owner of Captain Zach's crab house.

Larry Doss

Susan Rotwein's run was announced a day ago, this is the press release and photo:

Susan Rotwein, owner of a McKinleyville retail/wholesale seafood business and a commercial fishing boat, will contest the District Five seat on the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation & Conservation District board of commissioners. The election will be held November 3.

In announcing her candidacy, Ms. Rotwein said, “The Harbor Board lacks a long-range plan that focuses on jobs. Once put into action, such a plan can increase District revenue which, in turn,  can strengthen its recreation and conservation programs. 

“Instead the Harbor District has gone heavily into debt over the cleanup of the pulp mill and has devoted much of its attention to seeking grants for revenue.”

She added, “The District’s plan should begin by getting the harbor dredged for ocean-going vessels; by examining closely all the modes of transportation in order to create the most efficient mix; and restoring the fishing fleet infrastructure by working with the private sector to build a new cold-storage plant. And, the Board needs greater transparency in its affairs and meaningful communication with the citizens its serves. The time for all this is now.”

Ms. Rotwein is contesting the seat now held by Patrick Higgins.

A graduate of Humboldt State University, she has lived in the Fifth District since 1981 and has served on both the Trinidad Planning Commission and City Council. 

She is married to Zach Rotwein. They live in Trinidad with their son, Sam, a senior at San Jose State University, and daughter, Grace, a graduate student at Washington State University in Seattle. 

Susan Rotwein

Aug 5, 2015

Will a cannabis ordinance benefit women, recreational and medical users or is it just about money and votes?

Except for Linda Stansberry's article, I do not see any local discussion or coverage of exploitation of women by the "weed", "marijuana", "cannabis" industry.

Critics will point to the lack of articles. Duh, read the one below, do you really think abused women are going to speak freely?

Before passing the CCVH or any ordinance, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Just as the issue of will CCVH type ordinance benefit a mom and pop grower, recreational or medical users?

Big, slick money and campaigns don't want to talk about these sticky issues. Any politician, local or statewide that brushes such concerns asides is ignoring the rights of those that cannot lobby or woo with money.

Do women matter? Do the rights of medical marijuana users on whose backs profit is being earned by greedy exploiters matter?

These are just some links.

Article from

May 29, 2013

Photo: North Cascades National Park/Flickr
By Suzanne Hurt
California Health Report
California’s growing marijuana industry is having an unforeseen consequence: An increasing number of young women in the business are facing exploitation in the state’s remote northern redwood country.
Lured by Humboldt County’s rugged beauty and a dream to live off the grid by growing weed, young travelers of both sexes are showing up with eyes full of dollar signs and heads full of Rastafarian days clipping buds.
Some don’t run into any problems, while others are drawn by the pot trade’s element of danger. But many women are surprised to find violent and volatile working situations are often part of the industry. A small emergency shelter is now an important stop on the women’s flight out of these domestic violence cases in the notorious Emerald Triangle.
“A lot of the activity that goes along with growing is like gang activity. It’s a similar mindset,” said Dawn Watkins, executive director of Women’s Crisis Shelter in Southern Humboldt, or WISH. “The reality is, it can be very dangerous. It’s very violent and it’s very controlling and it’s very dangerous to get into.”
Male violence against women is nothing new in the area. WISH has been operating for 25 years in the little town of Garberville. But now there are more women traveling through or camping in the area, and violent encounters are growing.
“We have definitely seen increasing numbers of people asking for help,” said Watkins, 44.
WISH’s nine-bed house provides shelter for an average of 140 women and 60 to 75 children annually. Roughly another 100 women get other services but never stay in the house. More than 90 percent of the cases involve current or recent domestic violence, Watkins said.
Until late last year, the nonprofit was run by a staff of one. Mary Balletta worked as the organization’s director and case manager for 11 years. She handed over the reins to Watkins in November with plans to retire. But she’s still providing client case management as Watkins adjusts to her new role and they seek funding for another staffer.
Together, they run the shelter in a three-bedroom house and meet with non-resident clients in other places – a cafe, a car, the fruit stand, etc. Each year, the shelter houses about 10 to 15 women escaping violence encountered in the cannabis trade.
Garberville, population 913, is a former logging town set in a lush valley on the south fork of the Eel River. About 200 miles north of San Francisco just off Highway 101, the tiny enclave is surrounded by steep hills and thick redwood forests home to a thriving arts community, a sustainable living movement and a large number of home-based businesses. While some make candles and weave wall hangings from locally spun yarn, others make a living growing pot in a region the BBC dubbed the marijuana heartland of the United States.
The cannabis industry is pumping a lot of cash into the community. Unfortunately, life is far from idyllic on some pot farms, and victims of violence are also being churned out into the community.
Helping women in these situations involves unique challenges. Many farms are in remote wooded areas reachable only by dirt roads. Communication is limited. The women are isolated and often living in substandard conditions in shacks, buses and vans without power or telephones.
In nearly half of the cases, the violence is perpetrated by a husband or boyfriend. In one case, a 33-year-old woman and her husband were growing pot and raising three children on a marijuana farm miles from Garberville. Her husband had a drinking problem, and was getting more violent. One day, he became extremely violent and threw the car keys into the woods. “Michelle” fled on foot with only a cell phone, climbed into a tree to hide and called Balletta.
“Still to this day, the scariest call I got,” said Balletta, who drove out with the sheriff in tow and searched the area until the woman stepped out of the woods and onto a paved road as night fell.
The average shelter stay is 35 to 40 days, but people can stay up to six months. Michelle stayed six months, won custody of the children and divorced the man with Balletta’s support. Balletta provided clothing vouchers, connected her with legal services, supported her through the court system, helped her find housing and provided job readiness services.
The bulk of other cases involve single young women aged 18 to 26, who may travel to the area and are lured to farms by promises of work, money and, often, romance. The women are hired for trim work, which involves cleaning freshly harvested pot and preparing it for sale.
Men managing the farms can be paranoid over the threat of raids or people stealing the plants. Women’s cell phones may be taken away and they may not be allowed to leave until season’s end. Some are forced off farms at gunpoint without being paid. Women may be beaten or psychologically controlled. Sometimes, what started as a casual hookup or dating scenario turns into demands for sex and even assault, Watkins said.
“It may have been fun at first. But it becomes clear they really don’t have a choice,” she said.
Most of the women and men are using hard drugs or alcohol, and about 85 percent of the crises are precipitated by substance use, said Balletta, a certified drug and alcohol counselor.
Last year, a state forest fire crew found a disoriented 23-year-old Southern California woman dubbed “Karen” wandering a back road in nothing but a sarong. Balletta took her to the emergency room, where they determined the traumatized woman had been slipped a date-rape drug and raped. She had been cooking, cleaning and gardening on a pot farm for three months and wasn’t allowed to go into town.
One of the young guys running the farm attacked her. She ran off but was afraid to seek help from neighbors, who were the pot growers’ friends. She thought she’d just be taken back to the farm, Balletta said.
WISH took her to a trauma care center, got her counseling with a rape crisis team and provided her with a safe, quiet home for three months while she began recovering. She was given food, clothes and transportation to services such as the district attorney’s office victim witness program. She reconnected with her family and arranged to go home.
While women who survive violence are often afraid to seek help, the WISH staff has found there’s even more pressure on women in the pot industry because the culture promotes secrecy to protect the farms and their way of life.
Women make an average of seven to 10 attempts to leave. Safety planning with women on pot farms also takes a unique twist. The WISH staff asks women where they can hide camping equipment, what they can pack to stay warm and how many nights they’re willing to spend in the woods before they can get to safety, Watkins said.
But the most crucial service they provide for clients, even those not staying in the shelter, is talking with them face to face, listening to their stories and offering validation and support without judgment, she added.
“I feel like that’s the heart of what we do. They’re spinning in their heads with all the things they think they should do. And they just look at me. And I tell them, ‘You don’t have to make a decision right now.’ People who have been through trauma can get really overwhelmed by seemingly simple, everyday things,” Watkins said. “We sit down and work through this emotional stuff that’s dragging them down. And the more we do this with them, the more they are able to do that themselves. That support – it’s immeasurable what that can do for people.”

DDA Trent Timm scores another win; this against well-known local DUI lawyer Manny Daskal

Guilty as charged on both counts and the special allegation and the prior dui. 

Newly hired DDA Trent Timm scores another win. This victory against Manny Daskal, one of the longest known local DUI lawyers who represented Kristina Babauta.

This is DDA Trent Timm's third win since he was hired in February this year.

According to her facebook page, Kristina Babuata is a glassblower at Renegade Glass Productions.

DA's Press-Release(just in):

Guilty as charged was the jury verdict announced today in Humboldt Superior Court in the case of the People versus Kristina Babauta. After an 8-day trial before Judge Marilyn Miles, Babauta, 31 of Redway, was convicted of driving under the influence, refusing a chemical test and storing an open container. Because the allegation of a prior DUI conviction was also found true, the defendant was sentenced to serve 20 days in jail and fined more than $3000.   The case arose from an April 2013 vehicle stop by the California Highway Patrol on Highway 101 near Richardson Grove.   The case was prosecuted by Deputy D.A. Trenton Timm and defended by Attorney Manny Daskal.

Previous posts:

It's back, EPD's most wanted

Arrest made by EPD for alleged theft of stolen trailer

On 08/05/15 at about 7:19 a.m., an Officer with the Eureka Police Department observed a male attempting to push a couch on a trailer over a cement barricade towards a camp near the foot of Del Norte Street.

The Officer made contact with the male who stated he found the free couch near the corner of 6th and Broadway and borrowed his friend’s trailer so he could transport it.  The Officer ran the VIN on the trailer and determined it was registered to a sporting goods store near 5th and A Streets in Eureka.

Eureka Police Dispatchers made several calls and were able to make contact with the responsible for the sporting goods store.  The responsible party responded to the scene and determined that the trailer had been stolen from their business.

Due to the time delay between the Officer making contact with the male and determining the trailer was stolen, Officers had to allow the male to leave.  The identity of the male is known and charges for possession of the stolen trailer are pending.

What is the real story behind Humboldt Superior Court ex CEO's resignation?

The recent abrupt resignation of Superior Court CEO Kerri Keenan raised a red flag for me. I have been following some cases and looking into some of my own observations and other concerns shared confidentially. Tips have to be substantiated, evidence needs to be gathered, and sources need to feel free to talk. I held off on the post because no one wanted their name used. Some of my  own observations are the high turnover of employees ubder Ms. Keenan's reign, the stressful work environment I observe daily and why certain management have retired early and left.

I tried to meet with Ms. Keenan but she put off  meeting with me and then abruptly resigned.

I tried to meet with Presiding Judge Joyce Hinrichs since the Judges are the CEO's boss to see if they were aware of any allegations and concerns about Ms. Keenan. Judge Hinrich's schedule has been very busy. I have been waiting a few months and did not publish anything.

It is very difficult to get answers when the procedure is to contact the local adminstration, against whom concerns have been raised, who have access to files you need for evidence, where there is no oversight of that administration, and fear of retaliation by sources.

There is one specific case that I wanted to talk to Ms. Keenan
 about and I will I be doing a future post on that case soon.

A very reliable source told me Ms. Keenan is being investigated by the Judicial Council of California. I contacted the Judicial Council yesterday. Initially, they asked if I was referred to them by the Humboldt Superior Court. I explained why I contacted them directly. They were going to get back with comment later today.

The reason I am doing this post now is that one person has decided to risk coming forward.

There is another investigation by federal agency, the EEOC, done on a complaint filed by Paul Landrum, an employee of the Humboldt Superior Court. He alleges some of the same concerns others have mentioned. I will have more information on that as well.

I think the public deserves some answers about why Ms. Keenan left so abruptly. And, I think there needs to be some oversight of the Humboldt Superior Court from someone other than the Judges and Court administration.

According to one source, there was no follow up from one media outlet they approached a while back. I hear a lot of blabbing from unions and liberals about worker's rights and worker's work conditions. It takes guts to stand up to a powerful system. Now is the time for Humboldt County Unions and certain blog commenters to stand up for the working person or shut up.

Local lawyer says that it will be difficult to prove the alleged $100,000 embezzlement charge against former court operations manager

Nothing much happens with this case except disposition and reset hearings continuing over and over, this time the next court date is September 10 in Courtroom 4. It has to be heard by a Visiting Judge since it involves a former court operations manager.

I started following this case from the beginning of this year and there have been several hearings this year.

DDA Jackie Pizzo subbed in for her colleague Mr. Roger Rees in Courtroom 7 today. Cervantes is represented by Conflict Counsel's Mr. Kaleb Cockrum and today's hearing was before Visiting Judge Richard Kossow.

Mr. Cockrum asked that a discovery motion that had been filed by the Public Defender "be withdrawn without prejudice."

According to Mr. Cockrum today, the DA's office has provided all the discovery. He needs time to go over it with his client. Will the next disposition and reset actually result in a trial date?

A lawyer who has often made observations and given me feedback on certain local cases and has been right every single time. These are his observations on the Cervantes case.

Cervantes is with charged with a felony and alleged $100,000 embezzlement but she is someone with no record, a stable residence and no violence in her history. Anyone with a similar charge and record would also be out of custody. That lawyer also said" the provable loss in this case will never even approach 5 figures in my opinion. It is very difficult to prove what they are alleging against this woman."

Previous posts:
(this link has other links to coverage on this case)

Aug 4, 2015

"If you want to create more jobs, you create an environment in which entrepreneurs will thrive." from Economic lessons even a liberal can grasp

Excerpt from the link above:
“The key point to understand is that an economy is a kind of operating system. This means that if you want the economy to “do” something — such as create more jobs — you have to go about it the way the operating system is designed to work. Otherwise you cannot possibly succeed.
Think of it this way: our cell phones have operating systems built into them. There’s no Republican way to make a phone call with your iPhone, and no Democratic way to do it. There’s no conservative approach to checking your email with a BlackBerry or an Android, and no liberal approach to doing it. You just do it the way your cell phone’s operating system requires.
It’s the same with an economy. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of economic operating systems: a free-market economy and a command economy. In a free-market economy, the government sets the rules and enforces them, but otherwise stays out of the way and allows individuals and businesses to call the shots. In a command economy, the government’s role is so large that it not only sets and enforces the rules, but also calls the shots.
Because each country — unlike each cell phone owner — designs its own economic operating system, no two economies are precisely the same. So our country’s free market is somewhat different from Canada’s, which itself isn’t quite the same as Germany’s, Poland’s, France’s, Australia’s, and so forth. Still, in all free-market economies, the government makes and enforces the rules, and then gets out of the way. Likewise with command economies: left-wing communist economies differ somewhat from right-wing fascist economies, but once again, the similarities are more important than the differences. In all command economies, you do what the government tells you to do, or you get your brains kicked in.
Entrepreneurs Create Jobs
In a free-market economy like ours, it’s the entrepreneurs who create jobs. They do this by starting new businesses, and by expanding businesses that are already up and running. If you want to create more jobs, you create an environment in which entrepreneurs will thrive. They’ll take it from there, because creating jobs by starting and expanding businesses is what thriving entrepreneurs do.
Think of it this way: if you want more milk, create an environment in which cows will thrive. And just as it makes no sense to say you want more milk but oppose cows because they’re smelly, dirty, and leave their droppings all over the place — it makes no sense to say you want more jobs but oppose entrepreneurs because when they succeed they often wind up with more money than the rest of us. You cannot have it both ways.
Entrepreneurs thrive when they are confident about the future. Every time an entrepreneur makes a decision to start a new business, or to expand his business by launching a new product or service, he or she is putting his own money — and his employees’ futures — on the line. So an entrepreneur wants to know what taxes he’s going to pay in the years ahead. He wants to know what his costs will be for high-priced expenses such as his employees’ health care. He wants some certainty that the regulations in place when he launches that new product or service won’t change six months later and destroy his investment overnight. And an entrepreneur wants some confidence that the overall economy will be sufficiently robust to provide customers who’ll buy that new product or service and by doing so enable the entrepreneur to earn back his investment and make some profit besides.

HCSO maintains commitment and investment of Deputy in Eel River area despite loss of funding; a shout out to Deputy Matt Tomlin

This is a photo I took for my blog previously. To the left is HCSO Undersheriff William Honsal and to the right is Bryan Hall from the Eureka Rescue Mission.

Just ran into Undersheriff  Honsal at the Courthouse. I decided to share something that he mentioned in our informal chat., He wanted to give a shout out to  HCSO's Deputy Matt Tomlin. Some may also know Deputy Tomlin as Coach Tomlin, St. Bernard's Athletic Director. The tribe used to fund the position of Eel River Deputy and this year, they decided not to fund the position. HCSO has continued to have Deputy Tomlin to cover that area. Undersheriff Honsal said "we wanted to maintain our commitment and investment in that community which we feel is very important." The tribe is open to re-funding that position in the future. Deputy Tomlin ":made a lot of connections in that area and wanted to preserve those relationships." In addition to being the Eel River Deputy, he also is the Humboldt Hill Deputy and covers half of Eureka and So Hum when necessary.

Humboldt County Superior Court gets an interim CEO

Former CEO Kerri Keenan resigned effective July 31. An interim CEO, Mike Tozzi, from Stanislaus County, is presently handling her duties until someone is hired. Recruitment for the position is expected to start shortly.

Logan Bremer "racks up another charge" while he is in jail for allegedly beating up another inmate right in front of a correctional officer

Logan Bremer is in jail and has racked up another charge, a misdemeanor, in addition to his two felony cases and one  case in which his probation could be revoked pending the outcome of these other cases. One of those felonies is possession of marijuana while he is in custody at the Humboldt County jail.

When I saw Bremer in Courtroom 1 yesterday, I wondered did his August 5 hearing get moved up? I was covering the Lockhart and Swortzel cases so when I saw his attorney Mr. Michael Acosta today, I asked him. Mr. Acosta said, "he racked up new charges. At first, it was horseplay, then he beat up an inmate in front of the CO.

Bremer was arraigned yesterday on the complaint filed by the District Attorney's office. The compliant alleges Count 1 Assault, Count 2 Battery, Count 3 resist/obstruct/ delay a peace officer or emergency technician.

The inmate that Bremer allegedly beat up is Shayne Maupin.

Bremer's significant other and I assume his young child have been in court for every hearing. There are people who take advantage of their time in custody, try and change the direction of their lives, and try and get another chance. It starts with a better attitude.

Bremer needs to chill with the bad ass attitude in court and take seriously the charges against him and think of his loved ones and their future.  It is his choice whether he just hwants to be known as another criminal with tattoos who makes headlines over and over again.

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Logan Bremer's girlfriend, his mother and two other supporters were in court today. Bremer is represented by private attorney, Mr. Michael Acosta. DDA Kelly Neel was in court today instead of DDA Roger Rees.

Mr. Acosta told Judge John Feeney that the "People have not come down from their offer of 15 years." Outside the courtroom he told me that the 15 years was "instead of life."

Mr. Acosta reiterated that there were "995 issues that he would be filing". This time his girlfriend blew a kiss as he exited the courtroom. His mom left the courtroom in tears.

Jul 11, 2015

Home invasion suspect Logan Bremer jury trial delayed yet again

A disposition and reset hearing was set for August 5 at 2 p.m. after Logan Bremer's attorney Mr. Michael Acosta made an oral motion that was granted by Judge John Feeney on July 10. DDA Roger Rees was present for the People.

"A large amount of discovery" was one of the reasons provided by Mr. Acosta.

May 29, 2015

Home invasion suspect Logan Bremer may not go to trial due to "995 issues"? Blows a kiss to his "boo" as he exits court

Logan Bremer's arraignment was continued from this Wednesday and completed today in Courtroom 1. He is being represented by Michael Acosta, Benjamin Carter's attorney.

Bremer did not waive time. Mr. Acosta hinted at "mostly 995 issues" today.  Trial Confirmation is on July 8 at 2 p.m. and Jury trial is on July 20.

As he exited the courtroom, he blew a kiss at his "boo."

Mar 12, 2015

Home invasion suspect arrested after citizen tip

On 03/12/15 at about 11:49 a.m., an Officer with the Eureka Police Department observed Logan Bremer, 32 of Eureka, driving a vehicle near Wabash and Summer Streets.  The officer knew Bremer was a suspect in a home invasion robbery on 03/03/15 in the town of Harris and had felony warrants.

The officer attempted to get in the position to make a traffic stop but Bremer was able to elude the officer.  Several citizens noticed Bremer driving recklessly and pointed officers towards the vehicle.  Officers located the vehicle unoccupied near the 1100 block of E Street.

Officers set a perimeter and were again assisted by several citizens who pointed officers towards Bremer and a male passenger.  Bremer was taken into custody near the 1000 block of G Street.  The passenger, Daniel Fidler, 41 of Fortuna, was found nearby and also taken into custody.

Bremer and Fidler were transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  Bremer was booked on his felony warrants for home invasion, burglary, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Fidler was booked on fresh charges of violation of probation and possession of methamphetamine.

The Eureka Police Department thanks the citizens who assisted in locating the vehicle and suspects.

Aug 3, 2015

Swortzel's bail increased to $225,000, his attorney says motions not an issue because no one has offered to post his bail

At the last hearing, defensec request for alleged home invasion suspect Bret Swortzel was denied.

Today, the DA asked Judge Timothy Cissna for two motions, one was for source of bail and the other to increase bail.

Judge Cissna looked at the charges and with the strikes against him and prior convictions, his total bail is noe $225,000.

His attorney, Mr. Michael Acosta said source of bail was not an issue, and that his client had not attempted to make bail and no one had offered to post bail. Mr. Acosta tried to argue that the DA's motion was a little late in the game.

One of the victims, Deborah Morton was present in court with her attorney Ed Denson.

DDA Jackie Pizzo subbed in for DDA Stacey Eads, the prosecutor in this case.

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DA wins motion, David Lockhart's preliminary hearing for gross vehicular manslaughter now on Sept 15

Judge Miles granted the DA's motion for continuance in the David Lockhart case and he was not released from custody.

New preliminary hearing is on September 15.

Jul 31, 2015

DA's motion for continuance in gross vehicular manslaughter case continued for input from victim's family; defense counsel tries to negotiate Lockhart's release to agree to DA's continuance

The District Attorney's office  filed a motion to continue in the David Lockhart case. That motion was to be heard yesterday afternoon at 2 p.m. There was also an intervention hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. today in Courtroom 2 that was vacated after the matter was continued to August 3rd at 2 p.m..

Mr. Russ Clanton, who represents Lockhart addressed the Court yesterday and told Judge Marilyn Miles, "We tend to accommodate continuances if there is no prejudice. In this case, we oppose because he is in custody and will remain there for 30 days while the officer is on vacation. We would reconsider, if People will reconsider custody status and release Mr. Lockhart."

Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo responded that, "While number of members of the victim's family were present, Mr. Patrik Griego who represents the family, was not informed of this motion until she contacted his office that day. I don't think the issue of Mr. Lockhart being in custody is prejudice, more inconvenience."

Judge Miles then said that current dates will remain and the matter is continued until the "People properly notify the victims' family." She said she would not make a decision without their input.

Judge Miles also handed some papers to Mr. Clanton that no one was aware had been subpoenaed but were in the file with a sticky note with this name. There was also clarification on the record that there had been no attempt to subpoena the officer, just that he is on vacation.

The current preliminary hearing date is August 6.

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Jul 3, 2015

David Lockhart charged with gross vehicular manslaughter in 101 incident hires private attorney and wants a change in custodial status

David Lockhart is charged with a felony: homicide with the count of gross vehicular manslaughter and death of multiple victims.

When he was arraigned in May, he was led away in cuffs in front of the victim's family and friends. "What a difference this new DA has made," is what one of the victim's friends told me outside court that day. They are very pleased with DA Maggie Fleming and her office's handling  of the case. 

The Baker family, who lost their loved ones, have hired award winning and top criminal defense attorney Patrik Griego to represent them. Mr. Griego was also in court with the family.

A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled for July 2. Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo is prosecuting the case and Conflict Counsel's Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis had been appointed as Lockhart's attorney. Lockhart has retained a private attorney, Mr. Russ Clanton. In local cases that are recent, Mr. Clanton is represented Timothy Littlefield and Judson Stiglich.

Mr. Clanton tried to get another hearing on Lockhart's custodial status saying his "ciircumstances had changed." Judge Marilyn Miles informed him that OR/ Bail was denied on May 29 and that just because Lockhart gets a private attorney, he does not get another chance for OR/Bail and that he was charged with a serious crime of vehicular manslaughter but Mr. Clanton could file a motion for "change of circumstance." An intervention hearing is scheduled for July 30 at 3 p.m. and the Preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 30. 

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Welfare check leads to discovering deceased in Albion

On 08-01-2015 at 10:57 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a welfare check at a residence located in the 32000 block of Navarro Ridge Road in Albion, California.

At the location, a neighbor concerned for the two residents tried to contact them and was unable to do so. The neighbor peered through windows and observed what they believed to be the two residents deceased.

Deputies arrived and gained entry into the residence due to the circumstances of the situation.

A 77-year-old white female adult was found to be deceased and an 80-year-old white male adult was found to be suffering from life threatening injuries.

The 80-year-old white male adult was treated by medical personnel and subsequently transported by air ambulance to an out of county hospital.

Sheriff's Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau responded and assumed control of the investigation of the incident.

The name of the 77-year-old white female adult is being withheld pending contact with her legal the next of kin.

On 08-02-2015 the 80-year-old white male adult died as a resulted of his injuries and his name is being withheld pending contact with his legal next of kin.

Sheriff's Detectives are continuing investigations but initial evidence at the scene suggests this incident was a murder suicide.

Uri Driscoll Humboldt's third district Supervisor

I suggested that he should run and spoke with Uri after that post and he said he was considering it.

Allan Dollison told me that Uri confirmed he has decided to run for third district Supervisor.

Uri just confirmed.

"I plan file papers shortly. I look forward to bringing together ideas and ultimately solutions for addressing our challenges and enhancing the many qualities of our North Coast communities.
Deep down we all know that real solutions come from a wide spectrum of perspectives. My job will be to bridge those perspectives."