Jul 21, 2016

Jury trial for former Miss Hoopa, Kayla Brown, confirmed; case may still resolve if negotiations are successful

A setting was scheduled today for Kayla Brown, former Miss Hoopa in Courtroom 5.

Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett was present for the People. Ms. Kelly Neel appeared on behalf of Brown's attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin.

Trial confirmation is on October 3 at 2 p.m. Jury Trial is October 17 at 8:30 a.m.

There are still negotiations about offers going on between the two parties.

un 24, 2016


Jury trial for former Miss Hoopa charged with four counts of alleged abuse including abnormal sexual interest in children vacated

Jury trial date scheduled for June 27 for former Miss Hoopa, Kayla Brown's, case, was vacated today at trial assignment. A future date for setting has been scheduled for July 20.

There has been an offer made in the case and so there is a possibility that the case may resolve.





Apr 11, 2016


Jury trial for former Miss Hoopa Kayla Brown charged with four counts of alleged abuse including abnormal sexual interest in children postponed until early summer

Trial confirmation was scheduled today at 2 p.m. for Kayla Brown. The defense filed a motion to continue. People consulted with the victim and family and did not object.

The April 25 trial date has been vacated and the new trial date is June 27.

Only the victim's family members were in court this afternoon.

Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett was in court for the People. Ms. Rebecca Linkous, appeared on behalf of Mr. Ben McLaughlin who is Brown's defense attorney.

Jan 4, 2016


Former Miss Hoopa's conditional plea rejected, case to proceed to jury trial with original charges






Former Miss Hoopa, Kayla Brown was supposed to sentenced this afternoon. Judge John Feeney had accepted a conditional plea on December 4. The victim's family, particularly her mother, changed her mind. The People asked the plea be rejected.

After Judge Feeney announced his tentative decision to reject the plea deal, there were arguments presented by both attorneys, District Attorney Maggie Fleming for the People, Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett, who prosecuted the case, was present in court as well.  Mr. Ben McLaughlin was present with his client. The final decision was that the conditional plea was rejected.

 New jury trial date with original charges is scheduled for April 25, 2016. Trial confirmation is April 11 at 2 p.m.in Courtroom 1.

The People and the Court cited that the original plea deal did not reflect the conduct alleged in this case. The victim's family wanted to be present on December 4 but could not be there, they had a requested a special setting that had been denied, said Ms. Fleming.

Judge Feeney acknowledging the difficulty for both families, said that he had mentioned that the plea was conditional, he reminded defense that he had been hesitant to accept the plea last month, that he took two breaks and hesitantly accepted the plea deal because he understood the resolution was acceptable to both parties were in agreement. Judge Feeney said that a preliminary hearing had been waived in this case, so he did not have a transcript but since he accepted the conditional plea, he had time to review, reflect and learn more about the case through the probation report.

He said the charge of PC 236 of false imprisonment did not reflect the alleged criminal conduct in this case.

Judge Feeney referred to page 19 of the probation report which stated that the "charges to which Ms. Brown plead to do not reflect the alleged criminal conduct."

Mr. McLaughlin advocated passionately twice to Judge Feeney to get him to change his tentative decision. He told Judge Feeney that the negotiated disposition had been arrived after discussion over three to four months. The victim's family agreed to that resolution. "I don't know how the family's emotion affected the DA's office. I am blinsided by this"

"Homosexuality is a taboo issue in the society she lives," said Mr. McLaughlin. He said he was not insulting any culture and that is what he had been told. He said his client had suffered public humiliation, that due to sexual orientation she could no longer participate in tribal ceremonies.

Referring to his sentencing memorandum, Mr. McLaughlin mentioned that Brown was "a sexually immature person struggling with her sexuality, she found a person who accepted her.I am not saying that the conduct was okay."

Ms. Fleming told Judge Feeney that the People accepted the plea last month because it was the victim and her family chose that negotiated disposition at that time, instead of going through a jury trial.

"Plea bargains should ultimately reflect the conduct of the individual, this plea did not reflect the conduct in this case," said Ms. Fleming. "

"This is not about emotion, " said Ms. Fleming. "It is about the criminal justice system honestly reflecting on a decision. We only agreed to the plea due to the victim's desire not to have a trial."


Dec 4, 2015


Judge Feeney initially hesitant, accepts conditional plea from former Miss Hoopa Kayla Brown for false imprisonment and degrading, immoral conduct in the presence of a child with limited sex offender registration

Former Miss Hoopa, Kayla Brown, entered a change of plea this morning in Courtroom 1. After taking two breaks to review the declaration of the arrest warrant which the defense stipulated to as a factual basis and reviewing a psychiatrist's report on Brown, Judge Feeney said that he hesitantly accepted the plea deal.

"I am hesitant to accept the conditional plea," said Judge Feeney. Acknowledging that plea deals are a part of resolving some cases, Judge Feeney expressed concerns about the amended counts being supported by the declaration for the arrest warrant, the victim's feelings and the limited sex offender registration for just five years.

Deputy District Attorney Zachary Curtis was in court for his colleague DDA Brie Bennett today, who has been prosecuting this case. Mr. Ben McLaughlin was present with his client Brown.Judge Feeney asked if Mr. Curtis had seen Dr. Jessica Ferrente's 288.1 report. Judge Feeney was also informed that DA Maggie Fleming was aware of the deal and Mr. Curtis told him that there had been extensive discussions with the victim and family members, "it is not the preferred disposition but my understanding is that they will go along with it."

Mr. McLaughlin told Judge Feeney that according to Dr. Ferrente's report, Brown was at a very low risk to reoffend.

Mr. McLaughlin told Judge John Feeney that as a part of the agreed disposition and plea, "The People move to amend the information and add Counts 5 and 6." Brown agreed to plead to Count 5 PC 236 which is false imprisonment, without force, fear or coercion. Although she plead to this as a felony, it is a wobbler and can be charged as a misdemeanor. Mr. McLaughlin told Judge Feeney that charge "will be reduced and dismissed eventually."

Count 6 is PC 273 (g) which is Lewdness or Drunkness in the presence of a Child. Judge Feeney when taking the plea, said "Degrading, immoral conduct in the presence of a child."

"The People are not requesting additional jail time, " said Mr. McLaughlin. The plea deal is for five years probation, Brown has to register as a sex offender but Mr. McLaughlin said that the plea deal was that only for the duration of probation. He added that she may petition for early termination of probation. "Neither offense she is pleading to requires registration but we agreed due to the negotiated plea. The probation officer would be aware but she would not be required to register on Megan's law"

DDA Zach Curtis added that the People had requested a stay away order.

In October, 21 year old Kayla Brown, was arraigned and charged with four counts of alleged sexual abuse against a minor victim under the age of 16 years. Count 1 Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children and arranging a meeting for that purpose PC 288.4 (b); Meeting a Minor for lewd purposes.

The complaint alleges that, "a felony was committed by Kayla Muriel Brown, who did unlawfully and motivated by an unnatural and abnormal sexual interest in children, arrange a meeting with Jane Doe, a minor and a person defendant believed to be a minor, for the purpose of exposing the genitals and public and rectal area of Jane Doe and defendant and to engage in lewd and lascivious behavior and did go to the arranged meeting place at and about the arranged time."

Count 2 Sexual penetration with a foreign object; [289.(i)  any person over the age of 21 years who participates in an act of sexual penetration with another person who is under 16 years of age shall be guilty of a felony]

Count 3 288.3 (a) [288.3.  (a) Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit an offense specified in Section 207, 209, 261, 264.1, 273a, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 289, 311.1, 311.2, 311.4 or 311.11 involving the minor shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for the term prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense]

Count 4 PC 647.6 (a) which is child molestation/annoying a child.


 Counts 1 to 4 were dismissed by the People after Brown entered her pleas of guilty.

Brown waived her preliminary hearing in September 2015. Mr. McLaughlin told Judge Feeney that this was because "we were in the midst of negotiations."

Judge Feeney advised Brown that after the probation report, the plea could be rejected and this was just a conditional plea at this time.

Both the victim's family and friends as well as defendant's family members and friends were in court today, as they have been for every hearing. Sentencing is on January 4 at 4 p.m. in Courtroom 1.


Nov 18, 2015


Resolution expected in case for former Miss Hoopa charged with four counts of alleged abuse including abnormal sexual interest in children

This afternoon at 2 p.m. a hearing was scheduled to set a jury trial date for former Miss Hoopa, Kayla Brown, who is charged with four counts of alleged abuse against a minor female victim under the age of 16.

Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett is prosecuting the case. Mr. Ben McLaughlin is representing Brown.

Today, a jury trial date was supposed to be set. Brown has signed a 977 former, a waiver of personal appearance for certain hearings and was not in court. Her family was not present either. The victim's family was present.

Mr. McLaughlin told Judge Joyce Hinrichs that "I am fairly certain there will be a resolution."

DDA Bennett agreed that there is an anticipated plea and said she had spoken with the victim and the victim's family last night.

"I will counsel my client to accept the offer," said Mr. McLaughlin.

Next court date is December 4 at 9:30 a.m.

Oct 28, 2015


Former Miss Hoopa arraigned for four counts of alleged abuse including abnormal sexual interest in children

21 year old Kayla Brown, former Miss Hoopa, charged with four counts of alleged sexual abuse against a minor victim under the age of 16 years was arraigned this afternoon. Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett is prosecuting the case. Mr. Ben McLaughlin is representing Brown. Today, Rebecca Linkous appeared on behalf of Mr. McLaughlin in court.

DDA Roger Rees appeared for his colleague, Ms. Bennett. Ms. Linkous said that the defense is "in active negotiations" with Ms. Bennett, case may resolve. Next court date is November 18 for setting.

Brown was arraigned on  with four counts. Count 1 Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children and arranging a meeting for that purpose PC 288.4 (b); Meeting a Minor for lewd purposes.

The complaint alleges that, "a felony was committed by Kayla Muriel Brown, who did unlawfully and motivated by an unnatural and abnormal sexual interest in children, arrange a meeting with Jane Doe, a minor and a person defendant believed to be a minor, for the purpose of exposing the genitals and public and rectal area of Jane Doe and defendant and to engage in lewd and lascivious behavior and did go to the arranged meeting place at and about the arranged time."

Count 2 Sexual penetration with a foreign object; [289.(i)  any person over the age of 21 years who participates in an act of sexual penetration with another person who is under 16 years of age shall be guilty of a felony]

Count 3 288.3 (a) [288.3.  (a) Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit an offense specified in Section 207, 209, 261, 264.1, 273a, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 289, 311.1, 311.2, 311.4 or 311.11 involving the minor shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for the term prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense]

Count 4 PC 647.6 (a) which is child molestation/annoying a child.


Sep 22, 2015


Former Miss Hoopa charged with alleged abuse of female minor waives preliminary hearing

Today, a  preliminary hearing was scheduled for Kayla Brown, the former Miss Hoopa charged with alleged abuse of a minor female victim.

Brown was in court with her attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin and members of her family.

The victim and her family were not in court but present in the building.

Visiting Judge Thomas Breen was calling the calendar today in Courtroom 8.

DDA Brie Bennett is prosecuting the case.

Brown waived her right to a preliminary hearing today. She also waived time for arraignment.

Discussions about a possible resolution are occurring and the case may resolve before arraignment.

Arraignment on information is scheduled for October 28 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

No other media was in court this morning.



Aug 17, 2015


Preliminary hearing for Miss Hoopa charged with 4 counts of alleged abuse of a minor victim including abnormal Sexual Interest in Children delayed again

Today, there was an intervention scheduled for  Miss Hoopa Kayla Brown. Brown is Humboldt's first alleged female abuser with first female underage victim. Charges include abnormal sexual interest in children.

Kayla Brown is charged with four counts. Count 1 Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children and arranging a meeting for that purpose PC 288.4 (b); Count 2 Sexual penetration with a foreign object; [289.(i)  any person over the age of 21 years who participates in an act of sexual penetration with another person who is under 16 years of age shall be guilty of a felony]; Count 3 288.3 (a) [288.3.  (a) Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit an offense specified in Section 207, 209, 261, 264.1, 273a, 286, 288, 288a, 288.2, 289, 311.1, 311.2, 311.4 or 311.11 involving the minor shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for the term prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense] and Count 4 PC 647.6 (a) which is child molestation/annoying a child.

The alleged victim is under 16 years of age. 

Intervention hearings take place in a closed courtroom. This case ended up being called before 3 p.m. but I was outside waiting to get dates and so was the victim's family. DDA Brie Bennett who is prosecuting the case spoke privately with the victim's family. Ben McLaughlin is representing Brown  along with Rebecca Linkous but Mr. David Celli appeared on behalf of Mr. McLaughlin today.

Preliminary hearing was scheduled for September 26 but it has been delayed yet again. The new intervention date is September 14 and the new preliminary hearing is September 22.


Previous post:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/i-do-not-want-to-speak-to-whether.html?m=1

Jun 12, 2015


Former Miss Hoopa charged with alleged sexual abuse of female minor, family still unable to retain a lawyer

The preliminary hearing for Kayla Brown has still not occurred. First, her private attorney Jeffrey Schwartz declared a conflict. Then, another private attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin made a special appearance twice but still has to be retained and paid by Brown's family. Today, a 2 p.m. hearing was scheduled for Confirmation of Counsel in Courtroom 1. Mr. David Celli appeared for Mr. Ben McLaughlin and asked Judge John Feeney to continue the matter for another week. This is the third continuance and I did not see Brown's family in the courtroom.

June 24 at 2 p.m. is set for Confirmation of Counsel in Courtroom 1.

DDA Brie Bennett is prosecuting the case. DDA Zach Curtis who is the other prosecutor handling all CAST cases appeared for the People and did not object to the continuance. The victim's family and supporters were present and they talked with Mr. Curtis outside court.

Last post with other links/background on case:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/05/still-no-preliminary-hearing-for-former.html

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