Aug 29, 2015

People's witnesses' in Semore case bring back flashback of Tree trial; difference being the defense in this case actually raises issues about credibility, investigation and a favor to a witness

Ms. Kathleen Bryson, who represents Jonas Semore started her cross examination of HCSO Investigator Greg Musson on Wednesday and it continued to Thursday. Reading from reports and transcripts, Ms. Bryson over the two day period raised some questions about the credibility of the group of people at the house the night David Ganfield was attacked.

"Dan Reynolds never said he cleaned anything up," Ms. Bryson stated. She brought up Rebecca Hamline's extensive criminal history, which includes alleged new charges she is facing. Musson acknowledged Hamline's "extensive record." Ms. Bryson pointed out that Semore was arrested May 17, almost three weeks after the attack on Ganfield. However, it was three months after that arrest that Hamline spoke to law enforcement and Hamline first claimed Semore had confessed to her about being the one that hit Ganfield with the bat.

Ms. Bryson pointed inconsistencies in Hamline's testimony; for example Hamline claimed that search warrants were served on May 12, which was incorrect. Ms. Bryson asked Investigator Musson that Hamline also told him that she went to prison for 10 years. He said yes but she did not for that long. "So she lied?" said Ms. Bryson.

"Hamline wanted a deal for a testimony?" she asked Investigator Musson. He said nothing was promised to Hamline. Then Ms. Bryson read a statement Hamline made to Musson when he spoke to her. "I need to get home to my kids and this is the best I could come up with." Again, Investigator Musson said that he did not work for the DA's office so he could not offer Hamline a deal. Ms. Bryson then said that the implication was that he would pass on the information Hamline gave to the DA's office. Investigator Musson did not dispute that last statement.

Ms. Bryson then asked Investigator Musson that during the course of his investigation, he learned that Randy Cook did not  like Semore and "was jealous of him." Investigator Musson responded, "that is correct."

Ms. Bryson brought up a statement by Dan Reynolds to Investigator Musson where he told Investigator Musson that Semore came back to the house at 2 a.m. with another male and "three unknown subjects" and these were the five men he believed he saw. This challenges the time that law enforcement believes Ganfield was attacked.

Then bringing up the fact that the donut story is what made Investigator Musson believe Hamline was credible, which Investigator Musson again said yes to because "that information was never released to the public", Ms. Bryson said, "Unless Mr. Semore told someone and she could have heard it from the grapevine." Investigator Musson responded, "Yes."

"Are you aware of Randy Cook's record?" Ms. Bryson asked Investigator Musson.

"He has got an extensive criminal history, drug problem and stealing," responded Investigator Musson.

"Are you aware of his violent history?" asked Ms. Bryson.

"I don't think it's applicable," said Investigator Musson. "I don't think Randy Cook was involved in giving him a ride."

"You thought his story was bullshit?" asked Ms. Bryson.

"Yes," said Investigator Musson.

Ms. Bryson got Investigator Musson to admit that Cook lied to him on at least two occasions. She quoted Detective Musson from a report/transcript, "Cook has proved himself to be a big fat liar over and over again."

"None of the people you talked to witnessed the assault," asked Ms. Bryson.

"That's correct," said Investigator Musson.

"Did Sarah Jones tell you she was friends with Ganfield and she frequented the Reynold's house?" asked Ms. Bryson.

"Correct," said Investigator Musson.

"So Randy Cook, Sarah Jones' boyfriend knew Ganfield?" said Ms. Bryson. "Are you aware of Sarah Jones' criminal record?"

"I did not run a rap but she won't win citizen of the year," quipped Investigator Musson.

"Are you aware that she has a history of dishonesty, stealing and forged checks?" said Ms. Bryson.

Then Ms. Bryson pointed out that Investigator Musson spoke to Sarah Jones almost two months after the attack. And he looked at his report and confirmed that was correct.

"She had a warrant one of those days that wasn't dealt with," said Ms. Bryson.

At first Investigator Musson tried to play that off,  then acknowledged that Jones was cited and released despite a warrant.

"Were any other favors given?" asked Ms. Bryson.

"I don't believe anyone else was awarded that opportunity" said Investigator Musson.

"Did Sarah Jones tell you about her mental illness, post traumatic stress order, that she had terrors during the day, that she attempted suicide after April 28? asked Ms. Bryson.

"Yes," said Investigator Musson.

"Sarah Jones, Randy Cook and Jeremy Cringle were all using meth that day," said Ms. Bryson. Investigator Musson confirmed this was true.

"Sarah Jones was good friends with Mr. Semore and his family" said Ms. Bryson. "Sarah Jones did not hear distinct voices, she didn't see assault, she didn't know if Mr. Ganfield could have thrown the first punch in this alleged assault?"

"That's correct," said Investigator Musson.

Ms. Bryson then asked Investigator Musson if he said this about the case, "This case is like a virulent case of herpes."

"Absolutely," said Investigator Musson.

When Ms. Bryson asked about Rick Webster's criminal history, Musson again responded, "he won't win citizen of the year."

At this point, Visiting Judge Arvid Johnson said, "I think we can stipulate the entire group of people at the house were not the kind that you find at a bible study at church."

Investigator Musson smiled and said, "that's correct."

It was during the defense cross that Rick Webster was identified as Ganfield's uncle. Ms. Bryson brought up a statement Webster made to Investigator Musson that Ganfield paid Semore a debt of $50 for meth that Webster owed Semore and Ganfield told Semore  not to bother his uncle anymore.

Ms. Bryson also stated other quotes in an interview conducted by Investigator Musson such as, "Mr. Ganfield had done a lot of people dirty" and "Mr. Ganfield had a lot of enemies."

Ms. Bryson brought up that Reynolds told Musson after Ganfield was taken to the hospital, he did not see any blood. Ms. Bryson again mentioned that both Jones and Hamline "wanted consideration of a deal."

"Are any attempts being made to find Nick Johnson?" asked Ms. Bryson

"Yes," said Investigator Musson.

Aug 28, 2015

California Senate Appropriations committee guts AB 266 or historic cannabis progress?

http://m.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2015/08/27/california-legislature-were-regulating-medical-marijuana

Article:

Today the California Senate Appropriations Committee advanced historic medical cannabis regulations with a last-minute twist: nothing was in the bill.

Assembly Bill 266 was gutted and amended to read: “It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana.”

jerry_brown.jpg
    But for the first time, the Governor’s Office weighed in with language of its own that may become the text of a last-minute bill that passes the Senate by September 7, and makes it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

    Senate Appropriations voted 5-1 this afternoon to gut, amend, and advance AB 266, according to sources in the capital.

    We’ve looked at some of the governor’s draft language, and it mirrors much of existing language in Sacramento calling for a fully functional, albeit highly regulated medical cannabis industry. 


    Personal and caregiver medical marijuana rights go untouched, but everything else is considered commercial and requires one of about twelve different types of licenses. 

    Californians would get tested products and organic certifications. Cities could ban pot activity. Licensees would need both local and then state approval for a license. 

    Farms are capped at one acre, or 20,000 square-feet. Deliveries would be allowed, but only if tied to a physical dispensary. Farmers could process or extract, but can’t retail pot. Retailers could extract or process their own products, but couldn’t own the farm. Transporters would be separately licensed and independent.

    The governor’s draft language deletes certain layers of bureaucracy and trims expenses. A General Fund loan would pay for the $20 million program’s startup costs, and would be paid back through licensing and taxes.

    Capital watchers report a flurry of meetings to reconcile AB 266 with other medical cannabis regulation bills this legislative session. 

    Lawmakers are under renewed pressure to craft basic, clear guidelines for the state medical cannabis system, with just 438 days before Californians are likely to return to the polls to vote on adult-use legalization. 

    Witness claims that minutes before thumping sounds from the living room, Semore asked her to hold onto his pistol and was talking on the phone in hushed tones

    The second witness to testify in the Jonas Semore preliminary hearing was HCSO Investigator Greg Musson. It was his testimony and cross examination that started Thursday and continued until Friday and had colorful quotes like "This case is like a virulent case of herpes."

    Investigator Musson was the lead investigator in this case. He received a report on April 29, 2015. His investigation led him to speak with inmates at the Humboldt County jail. He spoke with Rebecaa Hamline, who had submitted a form to speak with investigators. He received that request on August 3rd. Through further investigation, it led Investigator to "suspicion that Jonas Semore and Nicholas Johnson were involved."

    Semore
    Johnson

    The address where the incident occurred was referred to as "650 C. Way" in McKinleyville. On May 12. Investigator Musson went to that location and "discovered numerous locations, door, door jam, photo frame that appeared to have blood evidence. There appeared to be blood droplets on the countertop, what appeared to be blood on top of the photo frame, red substance on desk which appeared like an attempt had been made to clean it up."

    An evidence tech swabbed these areas. A Dan Reynolds owned the house and lived at the house. Other living at that house were identified as July Seipp, Sarah Jones, her boyfriend Randall Cook (known as Randy), Kita Rojas, Tim Christie, Rick webster and "transient population that comes and goes."

    Investigator Musson spoke to Jones. She told him that "on April 29, her boyfriend Randy Cook, July Seipp, Jeremy Cringle, not sure if Dan Reynolds was there or not, and Mr. Semore were present (at the house). Jones said that Mr. Semore was there to conduct a business transaction, buy a truck from Mr. Seipp, that did not occur. Jones heard Mr. Semore make phone calls, "he was talking in hushed tones, talking about a potential disagreement with Nick and that Nick and Ganfield were en route to the residence."

    Jones said that Semore gave her a pistol to hold on to when he picked her up that night. Later on that night, Jones claims Semore told her to "keep an eye on his shit. This was 15 minutes before the assault took place."

    Jones told Musson "she heard a whacking/beating noise several times. She was scared." Seipp, Cook and Jones stayed in the room and they heard moaning noises from the living room area. "She said she was scared so she stayed in the room, everyone stayed in the room."

    Investigator Musson said that evening, a half an hour before the beating, Cook and Jones were out with Semore and "Mr. Semore told Jones to go the roundabout to tell Nick to wait. She was stopped on her way and went back to the bedroom." Jones said that she did not see Johnson or Ganfield that night.

    Investigator Musson spoke to Cook.

    DDA Roger Rees: "Do you believe he is a truthful person?"

    Investigator Musson: "He is not."

    When asked about Deputy Gagnon's testimony about what Cook told him by DDA Rees (Investigator Musson was allowed to be in court as the lead investigator and there had been no motion to exclude witnesses at start of trial), Investigator Musson said that :It was a lie."

    Investigator Musson said that Cook denied being at the house that night when the assault occurred and said that he went to his girlfriend's house after dropping Ganfield off at the hospital.

    Investigator Musson talked with Reynolds and Rick Webster. Reynold told him that after the beating took place and they discovered Ganfield was hurt, they went to the house through the back door, pounded on Jones and Cook's door and said "this guy needs help." According to Reynolds, Semore, Johnson, Cook, Jones, Webster and he were all at the house.

    Reynolds said he was in the driveway talking to "Sam, a female who drove him home and saw five unidentified men go into the living room. He heard thumping sounds and saw all five exit the house. He did not get an opportunity to ask what happened."

    Webster, who lives in a trailer at the residence, said he heard moaning sounds from the house. Webster claims that other than being contacted by Reynolds and Cook, he did not see anyone.

    Prior to this case, Investigator Musson said he had no contact with Hamline or Semore. Through his investigation, he learned that Hamline and Semore "have been longtime friends". Investigator Musson did not "investigate that connection."

    Investigator Musson said "we believe that the incident happened around 11 or 11:30 on April 28." On  the morning of April 29 in the early am hours, Hamline met Semore in McKinleyville, and in her words it was "to pick him up to conduct a drug deal." Hamline claims that Semore told her an incident occurred earlier where he had been detained by law enforcement. He mentioned "graciously provided a donut to the Deputy after he had been detained."

    DDA Rees asked if he thought Hamline was a liar.

    "I can;t testify to her being a liar but due to her extensive record, she is a thief" and Investigator Musson said he initially questioned her story.

    DDA Rees asked what made Investigator change his mind.

    Investigator Musson responded that the donut reference did. "That information was never released to the public."

    Investigator Musson said that Hamline told him another convesration took place between Semore and her, three days after Ganfield was attacked. Hamline claims Semore confessed to her that "Ganfield had been beaten with a baseball bat, it happened in the living room, he told her only two people were in the room, himself and Ganfield."

    "According to Hamline, Semore said, "There was 2 people, me and him." According to Hamline, Semore said that he hit Ganfield with a bat. "Nick wouldn't let it go and it needed to be dealt with ASAP."

    Hamline said that Semore told her that when Ganfield walked into the house, he was hit with the baseball bat. Hamline said Semore said there were no witnesses to the assault but that people were around the house. " The  weapon has not been recovered, said Investigator Musson but the autopsy conducted by Dr. Super, for which Investigator Musson was present, lists cause of death as being "hit in the head by blunt force." Investigator Musson said that Ganfield's injuries included "blood clot in the brain."

    In his investigation, Investigator Musson heard several rumors about why Ganfield was attacked. Webster, known as Uncle Rick to Semore owed him $8,000 was one rumor; another rumor was drug money owed; another rumor of a $50,000 debt; another rumor that Ganfield had beat several women and one woman was a relative of Johnson's; yet another rumor that Ganfield had "ripped off a bunch of heroin from the 18th street gang"  and other rumors about alleged fights that Ganfield was involved with, one where Johnson was present, another where "Holly Daviidson Moon, her boyfriend and someone else" were present.

    As the investigation proceeded, Investigator Musson learned that Reynolds had seen Semore and "three unknown males leave the house with a fishwhacker or a smaller bat."

    Through video from Blue Lake casino, a silver BMV which Semore and Johnson were seen exiting and entering Blue Lake Casino briefly on the night of April 28  was a car identified by a Samantha Martinez, the woman who dropped off Reynolds at home that night and she mentioned "five to 7 people" in the driveway and the "boxy silver BMW" following her out of the driveway going towards the Pump and Play."

    Shoes Semore was wearing were collected by Detective Todd Fulton. "There was a smudge on the right outside of the shoe." The Department of Justice tested the substance and it was positive for blood. The type is still to be determined and DOJ is "still testing" said Musson.

    A man dropped off in front of Mad River ER ends up being a homicide case

    On the night of April 28, 2015, HCSO Deputy Dennis Gagnon was assigned to the Mckinleville area. Around midnight, he was giving his canine partner a break, he was "right in front of the ER entrance at Mad River Hospital. An unknown person drove up in a small sedan, went in, people came out and took a person inside in a wheelchair." Deputy Gagnon spoke with the person who drove the car. Later he learned the identity of the man taken into the hospital, it was David Ganfield.

    Deputy Gagnon left the hospital after speaking with hospital staff who told him, "Mr. Ganfield had extensive injuries."  Deputy Gagnon, the first People's witness for the preliminary hearing for Jonas Semore, testified in response to questions by Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees.

    Deputy Gagnon learned that the driver of the sedan and Ganfield had come from the Blue Lake area. He located the sedan at the gas station at Blue Lake Casino around 1:30 a.m. No one was inside the sedan, he went into the gas station. He talked with the clerk, who pointed to the area where the slot machines were and "pointed to a male subject and said he came from the car."

    Deputy Gagnon identified that "male subject" as Semore in court. Semore did not agree to talk to Deputy Gagnon. The driver Deputy Gagnon had seen at the hospital entered the gas station and spoke to Semore. He told Deputy Gagnon that he had been given $ 20 by "an unknown male and female" to drive Ganfield to the hospital and that this conversation took place at the Patriot gas station in the Blue Lake area. Deputy Gagnon said the driver's name was Randy Cook (also known as Randall Cook).

    Cook told Deputy Gagnon that he did not know Mr. Ganfield and he did not know the unknown man and woman, After dropping Ganfield off at the hospital, Cook said he went to a house in Blue Lake, he "lent his car to this chick" and he was at the gas station near Blue Lake Casino to get his car back.

    Deputy Gagnon took photos of both Cook and Semore's hand and the car was towed for evidence. Deputy Gagnon said he saw some discoloration on the passgenger's seat which he thought was blood. Deputy Walker who was also on duty that night took custody of the sedan. Deputy Gagnon then went to the Patriot gas station to "locate the unknown male and female and investigate the crime scene." He spoke to "a female subject named Aubrey" and asked her if she had seen Cook. She said she had not seen Cook that evening and was not aware of any disturbance. She was not sure what time she had arrived at the gas station but she had been there. Deputy Gagnon asked her if she had" any guests at her home and she said no." Her home is where Cook saiid eh had met the unknown man and woman. "She did not indicate whether she had seen Randy Cook ." Deputy Gagnon returned to the Blue Lake Casino gas station and spoke to Deputy Walker.

     Deputy Gagnon said that Deputy Walker told him that "Mr. Semore had purchased a donut and brought it over to where Deputy Walker was waiting for the tow truck. At some point Deputy Walker noticed some discoloration on Mr. Semore's shoe, which he thought was blood. He was unable to collect the shoe."

    Ms. Kathleen Bryson, who represents Semore then conducted her cross examination of Deputy Gagnon. She asked Deputy Gagnon about an injury of Ganfield's left forehead. Deputy Gagnon said he did not recall. Ms. Bryson showed Deputy Gagnon two photos, defense exhibits A and B,  Deputy Gagnon looked at one phot and described "a cut/laceration on the forehard" and estimated it as "an inch long, left of center". Ms. Bryson asked about swelling. Gagnon acknowledged some swelling and said that "hospital staff was concerned about the swelling inside Ganfield's head."

    Ms. Bryson said that he had written 2:30 in his report when he arrived at Blue Lake Casino, Deputy Gagnon said he did not list time, she made him check his report, no time was listed. Ms. Bryson then got Deputy Gagnon and he said he did not swab Cook's hand for blood and did not take any clothing into evidence.



    Previous posts:

    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/08/nick-would-not-let-it-go-and-it-had-to.html
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/08/nick-would-not-let-it-go-and-it-had-to.html


    Welfare check in Covelo results in arrest for meth

    On 08-27-2015 Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies responded to a residence in the 78000 block of Frazier Lane in Covelo, California for a welfare check on an adult female at the request of a family member.

    Deputies contacted Lance Halverson at the residence during the call for service.

    A records check on Halverson discovered an active felony arrest warrant out of the State of Wyoming for possession of methamphetamine.

    Inside the residence Deputies discovered multiple scales, packaging equipment, drug paraphernalia and approximately 5 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

    Halverson was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail for possession of methamphetamine for sale.

    Halverson was also to be held on a no-bail status pursuant to the Wyoming warrant.

    Cunha and Hamline preliminary hearing concludes, Court comments "evidence is pretty slim"

    A preliminary hearing was held for James Cunha and Rebecca Hamline, starting Thursday,concluded today on Friday. According to Mr. Allan Dollison, who was appointed to represent Hamline, "there were two counts. As to Count 1, the Court reduced a possession of stolen property, to wit a cell phone, to a misdemeanor. The complaint failed to allege and the people failed to prove a value over $950. As to Count 2, identity theft, the court held both to answer. The Court commented at this stage evidence was pretty slim and said these cases are extremely difficult to prove. "

    The case is being prosecuted by DDA Roger Rees but since he,was busy with the Jonas Semore preliminary hearing on Thursday, DDA Jackie Pizzo handled the preliminary hearing.

    Mr. Neal Sanders was appointed to represent Cunha.

    Arraignment on information for jury trial is on 9/16 at 2:00 pm in Courtroom 1.

    Key witness in Judson Stiglich case has medical issues, current jury trial date vacated

    The jury trial for Judson Stiglich is scheduled for August 31. The People had filed a motion to amend information and a new case to revoke Stiglich's probation. Today in court, the People said they intend to file a second amended information.

    Today, during trial assignment calendar, defense asked that the current jury trial date be vacated because they received additional discovery, there were new filings on amended information and a new case. Stiglich entered a time waiver, which he had previously withdrawn. Mr. Clanton said the matter "could resolve."

    Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads said the People "ask that the current jury trial not be vacated, that it trail for a week. The Pople are prepared to proceed, we have new evidence." MS. Eads said that "while the matter has the potential to resolve", one of the primary witnesses has number of medical issues and is not getting better with time."

    A date for setting and to address above issues is set for September 3 at 2 p.m.

    No other media source was present in court for this development.

    Aug 27, 2015

    "This case is like a virulent case of herpes"

    After a two day preliminary hearing featuring an array of Humboldt's frequently booked and colorful quotes attributed to HCSO Investigator Greg Musson such as "This case is like a virulent case of herpes", Jonas Semore was held to answer to the murder charge in the death of David Ganfield. Visiting Judge Arvid Johnson was the Judge for the preliminary hearing.

    DDA Roger Rees is prosecuting the case.

    Ms. Kathleen Bryson is representing Semore. Defense investigator is Mr. Adam Laird. Ms. Bryson's cross revealed a sneak preview of the jury trial.

     This case brought back flashes of the Bodhi Tree trial where the People's witnesses' criminal records and self-admitted drug use was brought up during cross. Investigator Musson acknowledged that a few times quipping, that he/she "would not win citizen of the year."

    DDA Rees also acknowledged that point. Judge Johnson's off the cuff comment was the best. "I think we can stipulate that the entire group of people at the house are not the kind you would find at a Bible study at Church."

    There were moments like that during the preliminary hearing where the entire courtroom broke into a smile. While Mr. Semore's family was present, others who maybe related to the victim were not present today but a Victim Witness Representative was there.

    Arraignment on information is September 9 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

    Aug 26, 2015

    Now this ladies and gentlemen is what we in Humboldt call a classic case of conflict

    Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District agenda tomorrow, under New Business,  Item 11 b is Consideration of renewal of Coast Seafoods Company Tideland Lease.

    District 2 Harbor Commissioner Greg Dale manages Coast Seafoods.

    This conflict of interest, will it continue after the upcoming election?

    "Nick would not let it go and it had to be dealt with"; some details around David Ganfield's murder emerge in the preliminary hearing

    Jonas Semore, one of two men arrested for the death of David Ganfield, started his preliminary hearing today. It was full of twists and turns with testimony from several people involved that night.

    Allegations of alleged drug activity, drug money owed and women allegedly beaten by the victim; including a name recently in the headlines, Rebecca Hamline, who allegedly said Semore confessed to her that he had beaten Ganfield with a baseball bat. An autopsy was done on Ganfield by Dr. Super and he said cause of death was being "hit in the head by blunt force."

    Hamline (along with James Cunha) was recently charged with Receiving Stolen Property and Identity theft.

    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/i-was-in-court-when-he-was-recently.html
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/cunha-gets-told-to-stop-talking-in.html
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/08/loco-commenters-and-frequently-booked.html

    Also involved is Randy Cook, a name frequently on LOCO's Booked report from the Humboldt County Jail reports.

    However, during cross-examination, Semore's attorney Ms. Kathleen Bryson, poked a few holes in Hamline's credibility and story. Ms. Bryson implied that Hamline snitched on Semore, a friend of hers, to cut a deal with the DA's office. Investigator Musson denied that he made any such promise to Hamline. Ms. Bryson quoted Hamline saying, "I need to get home to my kids and this is the best I could come up with."

    Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees presented two HCSO witnesses today, Deputy Dennis Gagnon and HCSO Investigator Greg Musson.

    The preliminary hearing continues tomorrow.

    I will be posting details of the preliminary hearing after it concludes.




    Jury trial date of September 14 set for Rio Dell police officer Kevin Harralson's case; People's offer rejected by defense

    After the defense rejected the People's offer during a disposition and reset hearing today in Courtroom 5,a  jury trial date of September 14 has been set for Kevin Harralson. Trial conformation is September 9.

    Kevin Harralson, is the Rio Dell officer that was arrested and charged with two counts of battery on the mother of his child PC 243 (e) (1) and one count of exhibiting a firearm, PC 447 (a) (2).

    Harralson is charged in Counts 1 and 2 with PC 243 (e) (1), a misdemeanor. PC 273.5. corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant or fellow parent is a felony.


    Deputy District Attorney A.J. Kamada said the "People's offer was to plead to Count 1 or 2 and plead to Count 3." Mr. Michael Robinson, who is representing Harralson, said that they reject the offer and asked for dates to be set.

    Mr. Robinson complimented DDA Kelly Neel, who provided him with prompt discovery and said that discovery was complete. Ms. Neel is leaving September 21 to join the Public Defender's office and when Mr. Robinson inquired who would be handling the case now, DDA Kamada indicated he was the prosecutor on the case.

    Mr. Robinson told Judge Joyce Hinrichs that "a lot of evidence has been made public. If the People offer that evidence," he would be filing an motion objecting to that under California evidence Code 1108.

    No other media was present in court.

    From shouse law websiste:

    In general, under Evidence Code 1101 EC, so-called “character evidence” is not admissible in aCalifornia criminal jury trial to show that a person acted in accordance with his/her character on a particular occasion.1
    What this often means for a criminal defendant is that the prosecutor may not introduce evidence of bad acts you committed in the past—criminal or otherwise—in order to show that you committed the crime with which you are being charged.2

    From leginfo.ca.gov:

    1100.  Except as otherwise provided by statute, any otherwise
    admissible evidence (including evidence in the form of an opinion,
    evidence of reputation, and evidence of specific instances of such
    person's conduct) is admissible to prove a person's character or a
    trait of his character.

    1108.  (a) In a criminal action in which the defendant is accused of
    a sexual offense, evidence of the defendant's commission of another
    sexual offense or offenses is not made inadmissible by Section 1101,
    if the evidence is not inadmissible pursuant to Section 352.
       (b) In an action in which evidence is to be offered under this
    section, the people shall disclose the evidence to the defendant,
    including statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of
    any testimony that is expected to be offered in compliance with the
    provisions of Section 1054.7 of the Penal Code.
       (c) This section shall not be construed to limit the admission or
    consideration of evidence under any other section of this code.
       (d) As used in this section, the following definitions shall
    apply:
       (1) "Sexual offense" means a crime under the law of a state or of
    the United States that involved any of the following:
       (A) Any conduct proscribed by Section 243.4, 261, 261.5, 262,
    264.1, 266c, 269, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 288.5, or 289, or
    subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2 or Section 311.3,
    311.4, 311.10, 311.11, 314, or 647.6, of the Penal Code.
       (B) Any conduct proscribed by Section 220 of the Penal Code,
    except assault with intent to commit mayhem.
       (C) Contact, without consent, between any part of the defendant's
    body or an object and the genitals or anus of another person.
       (D) Contact, without consent, between the genitals or anus of the
    defendant and any part of another person's body.
       (E) Deriving sexual pleasure or gratification from the infliction
    of death, bodily injury, or physical pain on another person.
       (F) An attempt or conspiracy to engage in conduct described in
    this paragraph.
       (2) "Consent" shall have the same meaning as provided in Section
    261.6 of the Penal Code, except that it does not include consent
    which is legally ineffective because of the age, mental disorder, or
    developmental or physical disability of the victim.
    
    
    
    1109.  (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (e) or (f), in a
    criminal action in which the defendant is accused of an offense
    involving domestic violence, evidence of the defendant's commission
    of other domestic violence is not made inadmissible by Section 1101
    if the evidence is not inadmissible pursuant to Section 352.
       (2) Except as provided in subdivision (e) or (f), in a criminal
    action in which the defendant is accused of an offense involving
    abuse of an elder or dependent person, evidence of the defendant's
    commission of other abuse of an elder or dependent person is not made
    inadmissible by Section 1101 if the evidence is not inadmissible
    pursuant to Section 352.
       (3) Except as provided in subdivision (e) or (f) and subject to a
    hearing conducted pursuant to Section 352, which shall include
    consideration of any corroboration and remoteness in time, in a
    criminal action in which the defendant is accused of an offense
    involving child abuse, evidence of the defendant's commission of
    child abuse is not made inadmissible by Section 1101 if the evidence
    is not inadmissible pursuant to Section 352. Nothing in this
    paragraph prohibits or limits the admission of evidence pursuant to
    subdivision (b) of Section 1101.
       (b) In an action in which evidence is to be offered under this
    section, the people shall disclose the evidence to the defendant,
    including statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of
    any testimony that is expected to be offered, in compliance with the
    provisions of Section 1054.7 of the Penal Code.
       (c) This section shall not be construed to limit or preclude the
    admission or consideration of evidence under any other statute or
    case law.
       (d) As used in this section:
       (1) "Abuse of an elder or dependent person" means physical or
    sexual abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation,
    abduction, or other treatment that results in physical harm, pain, or
    mental suffering, the deprivation of care by a caregiver, or other
    deprivation by a custodian or provider of goods or services that are
    necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
       (2) "Child abuse" means an act proscribed by Section 273d of the
    Penal Code.
       (3) "Domestic violence" has the meaning set forth in Section 13700
    of the Penal Code. Subject to a hearing conducted pursuant to
    Section 352, which shall include consideration of any corroboration
    and remoteness in time, "domestic violence" has the further meaning
    as set forth in Section 6211 of the Family Code, if the act occurred
    no more than five years before the charged offense.
       (e) Evidence of acts occurring more than 10 years before the
    charged offense is inadmissible under this section, unless the court
    determines that the admission of this evidence is in the interest of
    justice.
       (f) Evidence of the findings and determinations of administrative
    agencies regulating the conduct of health facilities licensed under
    Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code is inadmissible under this
    section.
    




    Last post:


    Rio Dell police officer posted bail, was out of custody and has retained private attorney Mr. Michael Robinson to represent him.

    He was dressed in blue slacks and black pants for court. He had posted bail. People did not serve him with a protective order. His attorney asked the case be moved from Courtroom 3, early resolution to Courtroom 5, home court for a disposition and reset on August 26.

    Mr. Robinson said they anticipate a jury trial. Only KAEF TV and I were in court. Channel 3 showed up later in Courtroom 2 looking for this case, where I was covering the Phoenix Campbell-Loya jury trial.

    Mr. Robinson said his client waives time, because there is an extensive discovery, he requested the disposition and reset hearing in 60 days, said he anticipates motions and a jury trial.

    Mr. Robinson requested the case be moved out of early resolution court and be moved to the home court. The defense also stipulated to a CAST agreement.

    The victim was not present but victim witness representative was in court.

    DDA Kelly Neel filed the complaint and is the prosecutor on the case.

    Previous posts:

    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/06/rio-dell-police-officer-charged-with.html
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/06/rio-dell-police-officer-arrested-for.html


    Judson Stiglich jury trial next Monday in question due to DA filing amended information and a petition to revoke

    A trial readiness was scheduled today for the Judson Stiglich case. He is charged with the death of Ryan Robinson. At that time, Stiglich's was dating Robinson's sister.

    DDA Stacey Eads is prosecuting the case. Mr. Russ Clanton is representing Stiglich. Family members for both Stiglich and Robinson families were present.

    In court today, Mr. Clanton said he would be filing a motion to continue given the new petition to revoke probation that was handed to him in court and the DA's amended information on the homicide case which he just received this morning.

    Both attorneys spoke with the families before court.

    The matter to continue and other "matters" will be addressed at trial assignment this Friday.

    No other media was present in court.

    Previous post:

    johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/motion-to-continue-filed-by-da-in.html
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/datescremain-set-for-judson-stiglich.html
    (has other links in previous posts)



    Aug 25, 2015

    Humboldt County has a plan for matching funds for construction if the proposal for the new Humboldt County Corrections Re-entry and Day Reporting center goes through

    On today's Humboldt County Board of Supervisors agenda, under the Probation Department heading, item # 9 talks about a proposal for a new Humboldt County facility.

    Approval of Agreement with Criminal Justice Research Foundation and Approval of
    Supplemental Budget in Budget Unit 294 (4/5 Vote Required)
    9.
    That the Board of Supervisors approve the Consultant Agreement with Criminal
    Justice Research Foundation to develop Humboldt County's proposal for a
    Humboldt County Corrections Reentry and Day Reporting Center under Senate
    Bill 863; authorize the chairperson of the Board to sign two copies of the
    Consultant Agreement; authorize the Clerk of the Board to forward two copies of
    the Consultant Agreement to Probation Attention: Ellisha Hardison, Legal Office
    Business Manager; and approve the Probation Department Supplemental Budget
    request to increase the Contract Services line of Probation Public Safety
    Realignment Budget Unit 294 (4/5 vote required).

    I think this new facility is a great idea. A new facility will be able to house offenders by risk level, level of crime and it could be even more of a rehabilitation facility. The new jail expansion facility has been discussed before at a press conference and was reported by several media. The discussion has come up again. So this item is not new "news."

    In this case, the cost of to staff and run would be less expensive compared to the cost of the booking fees, court fees, attorney fees, housing and other expenses that taxpayers pay for repeat offenders and others who are released due to lack of jail space, only to commit a new crime. 

    You do not need a consultant to see what releasing people who do not want to change costs the taxpayers. That is why crime headlines drive blog traffic and sell newspapers. There are people who want to change, get an education, re enter into society. They should be housed separately so they are around supportive people with the same goal. That cost is an efficient use of investing into people who want to change and leave their criminal past behind.

    Read this link under that agenda item: http://humboldt.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=259a2bf2-206d-4c68-af9c-13c5e971954a.pdf

    Point to pay attention to:

    There is no financial impact to the County General Fund; all expenditures will be covered by increased revenues from realignment.

    There has been concern raised over at the Humboldt Consequential blog http://thclive.net/2015/08/25/expansion-of-the-humboldt-county-jail-is-it-worth-the-cost/
     about the cost of constructing the facility taken from an article in the Times-Standard http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20150823/county-to-hear-public-response-to-cannabis-cultivation-ordinance. That is a good question.

    I was curious myself. I contacted a couple of Supervisors and Supervisor Virginia BAss got back to me. Supervisor Ryan Sundberg will be getting back to me as well.

    "The county intends to pursue the issuance of certificates of participation for $1 million. If the county decides not to go that route we currently have 1 million available in the criminal justice fund that could be applied to the project. The county has also identified $500,000 cash contribution from the Humboldt County Community Corrections Partnership. That accounts for the 1.5". This is a point Supervisor Bass 

    She said she would get back to me about the other 100,000." I reached both her and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg after they had left for day and they were only able to talk for a few minutes. They are going to check and get back to me.

    Today, Supervisor Sundberg got back to me. "Below is the language from the resolution attached to the agenda item that explains where the funds are coming from for the project:

    The County intends to pursue the issuance of Certificates of Participation to fund this project and currently has $1 million available in the Criminal Justice fund that could be applied to the project if COPs are not issued. In addition, the County has identified $500,000 cash contribution from the Humboldt County Community Corrections Partnership (HCCCP). The total county cash contribution for this project is $1.5 million.

    The $500,000 is from AB109 funds.

    The last $80 K or so will be part of the contingency. This is a small amount when dealing with a $20 million construction project. In other words, we don't know if we will need that, or if it would be a general fund payment or if another grant source would open up and pay it."
    I wrote aboout the Humboldt County Community Partnership 
    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/local-grants-available-to-reduce-crime.html



    Murphy's market grand theft embezzlement suspect arraigned, jury trial set for October

    Today, arraignment on information was scheduled this afternoon in Courtroom 2 for Michael Noriega.

    Noriega is charged with grand theft embezzlement and possession of a controlled substance, heroin. These are the same charges as the preliminary hearing. DA Maggie Fleming was in court for the People. Newly hired DDA Dave Christensen was in Courtroom 2 observing with Ms. Fleming.

    His attorney, Mr. Casey Russo, from the Public Defender's office said his client is not waiving time.Trial Confirmation is at 2 p.m.  September 22, Trial Readiness is 1 p.m. on October 14 and Jury Trial is October 19 at 8:30 a.m..

    On August 12, Noriega, the man charged with grand theft embezzlement at Murphy's Market was held to answer on all charges after a preliminary hearing.

    Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett prosecuted the preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, she presented two witnesses, Murphy's Market Controller and Director of Human Resources, David Breisacher and APD Officer Vincent B'Oconnor.

    Noriega was suspected of embezzling after discrepancies showed up on a computer report and his usage of the safe transaction feature on the Sunnybrae location was reviewed. He is being represented by 


    Previous post (with background):

    http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/08/murphys-market-grand-theft-embezzlement.html


    Heroin, Meth, hash, cash and marijuana in POP bust on I street

    On 08/25/15 at about 10:26 a.m., Detectives with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) served a search warrant at an apartment on the 100 block of I Street in response to numerous citizen complaints.

    Inside the apartment, Detectives located 21 grams of Heroin, 24 grams of Methamphetamine, and 220 grams of Hash all packaged for sales.  Scales, over $1,000 in cash, and a Butane Honey Oil extraction lab were also located inside the apartment. Two people were contacted inside the apartment and arrested.

    Caleb Hanevik, 37 of Eureka, was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sales, possession of Methamphetamine for sales, and possession of Marijuana for sales.  Lynzi Mcintire-Morgan, 22 of Eureka, was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.





    Pysch evaluation ordered for suspect charged with stabbing her husband

    A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled this afternoon a 2 p.m. for Lindsay Kaminsky. At the last hearing on August 13, the defense requested yet another continuance stating a confidential reason.

    A funding order was just signed today to get a psych evaluation for Kaminsky. Her husband was not in court for the first time today. Intervention is set for September 24 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom 2. Preliminary hearing for September 30 at 8:30 a.m. Her attorney Mr. Daskal said "I think we have a,resolution" when preliminary hearing date was set.

    DA Maggie Fleming was present for the People.

    Lindsay Kaminsky is charged with corporal injury, assault with deadly weapon, great bodily injury and stabbing her husband with a knife. 

    She previously had preliminary hearing scheduled on August 13.Her attorney Mr. Manny Daskal asked for a continuance that day stating the reason was confidential and asked to approach the bench. The People did not object to the continuance. DDA Brie Bennett was going to handle the preliminary hearing for her colleague Ms. Kelly Neel. 

    Glenn Kaminsky, the husband and alleged victim in this case was in court.


    Previous post (with other links):

    $747,781 federal grant given to California to help small businesses boost trade

    The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) today announced that California received a $747,781 grant from the federal government to help small businesses boost trade and export abroad.

    “California is already a global economy and today’s announcement bolsters the state’s efforts to help more small businesses become international exporters,” said GO-Biz deputy director Brian Peck. “GO-Biz will use the funds to help small businesses participate in activities like foreign trade missions and access foreign markets through trade promotion initiatives.”

    The grant is part of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program which awarded grants to 40 states and territories to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses. California has received STEP funding in previous years but this is the first year that funds were awarded directly to GO-Biz – the state’s lead entity for international affairs and economic development. GO-Biz will work with other partners including the California Community Colleges international trade program - the Centers for International Trade Development (CITD), California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA), the LA Chamber of Commerce and BizFed in providing grants to qualifying small businesses and trade promotion programs. GO-Biz and CITD will partner to administer the STEP Program.

    Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, announced the grant award at a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday. She was joined by GO-Biz deputy director Brian Peck, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Gary Toebben and other community & business leaders.

    "Exports are a central part of America's economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18% more. Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion.  SBA's STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA's STEP program ensures that America's small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

    The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. The grants help states assist small businesses with export related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

    In addition administering the STEP grant, GO-Biz welcomes hundreds of foreign delegations each year, oversees the California-China Trade Office in Shanghai, administers the state portion of the EB-5 foreign investor visa program and regularly sends state officials abroad to strengthen economic ties with our international partners.

    For additional information on the STEP program and the FY 2015 awardees, visithttps://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oit/resources/14315.

    Assault near homeless camp in Garberville

    On 08-24-2015 at 8:30 p.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies contact a 54 year old male assault victim at Jerold Phelps Hospital in Garberville. The victim stated he was assaulted by two suspects at the homeless encampment near the Veteran’s Park in Garberville.
    The victim relayed the two suspects were accusing him of being a thief during the assault. The victim said he was struck numerous times in the head, hands, back and legs with baseball bats. The victim received abrasions on the top of his hands, knees and feet from the assault. Preliminary X-rays at the hospital showed possible fractures in the victim’s hands. The victim also received a laceration on the back of his head from the assault. The victim is in stable condition.
    The victim was only able to describe the suspects as:
    Nickname, “Lunchbox”, wearing a Grateful Dead tie-dyed T- shirt.
    “Lucas”, slender in build and appeared to be on heroin.

    Aug 24, 2015

    Newly hired DDA joins the Humboldt County District Attorney's office

    Today, Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced the hiring of Deputy District Attorney Dave Christensen.  Mr. Christensen has 11 years of experience as a prosecutor in his 20-year career, including work in the Inyo County and San Joaquin County DA’s offices as well as in Idaho. He will be assigned a felony caseload.  Thanks to Measure Z funding, the District Attorney’s Office is in the process of recruiting additional needed clerical staff, investigators, and deputy district attorneys.



    Mental health evaluation for woman who flashes Judge in court

    No, it did not happen in Humboldt. We do have our comic relief here sometimes, but so far, nothing quite so risque.

    You can click on the link if you want watch the TV coverage and read the article.

    ws/local/Woman-Flashes-Judge-in-Broward-County-Courtroom-322438482.html

    Nick Angeloff kicks off Harbor District campaign on August 26

    Nick Angeloff, candidate for the Second District seat on the Humboldt Bay
    Harbor, Recreation & Conservation District board of commissioners, will
    launch his campaign with a rally in front of the Samoa Cookhouse at 12:15
    p.m., Wednesday, August 26.
    About the economic importance of the harbor, Angeloff says, “The harbor is
    the economic engine of the district and, for that matter, one for the entire
    county. Our harbor can move 10 million tons of freight annually, yet we
    continue to operate at less than 10 percent, a failing grade in my assessment.
    If we continue to ignore the harbor, we will lose our Army Corps of
    Engineers’ dredging. This would preclude shipping by making the harbor
    entrance much more dangerous and would discourage growth of our fishing
    fleet. Our economic future is at stake.”
    The rally will precede the monthly luncheon meeting of the Humboldt Bay
    Harbor Working Group at the Samoa Cookhouse, at which the commander of
    the Coast Guard station will be the guest speaker.

    Alleged acccidental shooting victim uncooperative with law enforcement

    On 08-23-2015 at 10:20 a.m. Deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Davenport Lane Fieldbrook, regarding an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound to a 43 year old male. When deputies arrived on scene they learned from medical personnel that the victim stated he accidently shot himself in the abdomen with a small caliber handgun. The victim was associated with a 1987, brown, Mazda pickup truck.

    Deputies searched the area where the victim told medical staff he had shot himself. Neither deputies nor medical staff was able to locate the firearm. Deputies responded to the local hospital where the victim was transported by ambulance. At the hospital deputies attempted to interview the victim for the exact location where the firearm was located. The victim was uncooperative towards law enforcement on the exact location of the firearm. The victim just said, I know my rights, I’m not saying anything else. The victim had emergency surgery and is currently listed in stable condition.

    The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in this case. If anyone locates a firearm in the Fieldbrook area, please do not touch the firearm, which may be still loaded. The public is advised to contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately if they locate a firearm.

    Election office snafu with Harbor District candidate paperwork?

    From a news tip, I have heard that Elections office screwed up. The Harbor District candidates are required to have 25 registered voters' signatures for each candidate so now the Harbor District candidates that have already filed need to re-submit paperwork 60 days before the election.

    I called the Election office and spoke with Kelly Sanders. It is not the election office that "messed up". The signatures are to be submitted to the Harbor District. Were they aware of this criteria? Yes.

    I spoke with Patricia Tyson, director of Administrative Services, at the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District. She sent me an email with the response she gave me on the phone. This is from the Harbors and Navigation Code Appendix 2, Section 14.

    Candidates for board of commissioners A candidate for election to the board of commissioners shall be a resident and qualified elector of the proposed district, and shall qualify for election by securing a nomination paper proposing his candidacy signed by no less than 25 qualified electors of the district who reside within the division within which the candidate resides.
    At the first election for commissioners, all candidates shall file their nomination papers with the county clerk of the county, not more than 65 nor less than 50 days before the day of election, and all candidates for commissioners at any subsequent election shall file nomination papers with the board not more than 85 nor less than 60 days before the day of election."

    September 11 is the deadline.

    Convicted of shooting in 2003, sentenced for vandalism and criminal threats and previous DUIs, Jason Atkins now arrested for alleged DUI and corporal injury to spouse/cohabitant

    From LOCO's booked:

    JASON DOUGLAS ATKINSAPDFRESH ARRESTPC242DUI,VC14601.2(a),PC273.5(a)Friday, Aug. 21
    12:44 a.m.

    On The Record 8-28-11
    By The Times-Standard
    POSTED: 08/28/11, 12:01 AM PDT

    The following people were sentenced in Humboldt County Superior Court:

    * Jason Douglas Atkins, making criminal threats and vandalism. Sentenced to 14 days in county jail, 50 hours community service and three years probation, and fined $470. Judge Marilyn Miles.


    Humboldt County DUI charges filed - 10/24/2013

    By Times-Standard
    POSTED: 10/24/13, 12:01 AM PDT 
    The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office recently announced that it has charged the following people with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Violation Date, Name, Age, City of Residence):

    07/12/2013 Jason Douglas Atkins 34 Eureka

    Shooters sentenced

    Two men who went on a drive-by shooting spree earlier this year have received the maximum sentence of seven years in state prison.

    Christian Johnston and Jason Atkins, both 24, were convicted of shooting at occupied residences during the five-hour episode on March 12. No one was injured.

    Defense attorneys argued for leniency, stating that both men were alcoholics and were under the influence when they committed the crime.

    The case got caught up in the ongoing controversy over the job performance of District Attorney Paul Gallegos. Leaders of a fledgling recall movement say Gallegos' failure to slap multiple charges on Johnston and Atkins is proof that he is soft on crime. Gallegos says the charges fit the crime.

    Aug 23, 2015

    Former Deputy District Attorney David Nims to return to Humboldt

    He will be doing civil work at one of the top local firms, Jansen and Malloy.

    Some of his friends probably know this but to others, it is news.

    He landed quite an impressive gig.

    Welcome back David.

    Who will open Humboldt's first bud and breakfast?

    If Cannabis is legalized in 2016, who will open Humboldt's first bud n breakfast?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/first-bud-and-breakfast-opens-in-seattle-488324675844

    http://www.budandbfast.com


    Humboldt Superior Court exceptions and impact on Marsy's law and transparency

    Both the Jason Warren case and the  Gary Lee Bullock cases have gag orders. Several of the last court hearings have occurred in a closed courtroom. There are last minute changes on dates and no information is available.

    Several lawyers who have practiced elsewhere in California and other states have mentioned to me that the intervention hearings at 3 p.m. in a closed courtroom are a Humboldt exception.

    Clerks, attorneys and Visiting Judges, who are not local, express surprise on what should be known as the Humboldt Superior Court exceptions, one such example is the way pleas are taken and another example is how warrants are held for one or two court hearings.

    There are some matters that are confidential, and by law, held in a closed courtroom such as a Marsden hearing. Dates and whether a Judge is being assigned is not confidential. To make matters worse, motions and other reports, normally held in an open courtroom get discussed during a Marsden hearing or similar situation in a closed courtroom, as they have been in the Jeremy Kish case. Similar situation has happened in the Jason Warren and Gary Lee Bullock case. The Jason Warren case has gone on for three years and the Gary Lee Bullock case for almost two years. The court should be closed for confidential information but reopened to discuss matters normally heard in open court.

    Some of this is probably done because the calendars are jam packed on some days.

    Court minutes in Humboldt and what is entered in the computer is often so cryptic, it is hard to get timely information.Files often are with a Judge or a clerk so one cannot have access for days. Humboldt County Superior Court Interim CEO Mike Tozzi should sit down with staff and the Judges and look at possible solutions.

    The post on the Jason Warren case and the letter the family members of the victims in that case had to write illustrates the dilemma that family members of victims are put in by these Humboldt exceptions. A gag order in these high profile cases is a good thing to ensure defendant's rights and integrity of jury pools but it is not needed in every homicide case. In Humboldt, it is overused, mostly by Public Defenders.

    The situations in the Bullock and Warren cases put Marsy's law, the California Victims' Bill of Rights Act that was passed in 2008, the freedom of the press and the community's right to transparency in competition with a gag order. And if there is a gag order, Judges in cases like the Jason Warren and Gary Lee Bullock case need to state certain information such as dates and whether there will be a continuance or lack of a Judge in an open courtroom.

    Not having enough Judges also impacts a defendant's right to have a timely preliminary hearing or jury trial. If you are in jail, that is a big deal. The State keeps cutting funding but expects the criminal justice system to function on overload. As taxpayers, there should be pressure on the State to find solutions instead of basically saying to defendants, victims, their families and those who work in the criminal justice system, tough luck.

    And if money is an issue, cut some management positions and put that money to pay those are in the front line and to make sure defendants and victims' interests rights are safeguarded.

    With recent departures from the District Attorney's office, there is a plan for upcoming trials and cases

    When former Deputy District Attorney Luke Brownfield left earlier this year, three new hires joined the office.

    Now with the recent departure of three attorneys, new hire Ms. Moksha Chattopadhya, DDA Jason Sheets and DDA Kelly Neel, I asked District Attorney Maggie Fleming, how this would impact the upcoming trials/cases they handled.

    Her response:

    "Jason (Sheets) was in juvenile so his calendar has been reassigned to Jessica (Watson) and as the juvenile prosecutor he did not have any jury trials.  Kelly (Neel) had 2 homicide cases and I am reviewing all the homicides currently set for trial to determine who is available to handle those.  I plan  to have those reassigned in the next few days so the deputy DAs assigned to them will very soon be in contact with the families of the victims.  Kelly (Neel) was also handling the domestic violence cases and now those will be distributed to all the attorneys. "