Jun 18, 2016

Second Humboldt Hill suspect hires top private attorney and will turn himself in between 3 and 4 p.m. today

Colt Tuel, the second suspect in the Humboldt Hill shooting incident will be turning himself into the Humboldt County Sheriff's office this afternoon between three and four p.m. The Humboldt County Correctional Facility has been notified.

He is being represented by one of tbe top local private attorneys, Mr. Michael Robinson. I just was in contact with Mr. Robinson to confirm this news.

His brother Brock  who surrendered yesterday  will be represented by private attorney David Nims of Jannsen and Malloy.  It is anticipated that Colt will be held in HCCF, with bail set at $500,000., pending a court arraignment either Tuesday or Wednesday this week. 

Excise tax on commercial cannabis cultivation on agenda for Board of Sups meeting this Tuesday

Excise tax on commercial cannabis cultivation, ordinance on aggressive solicitation on this Tuesday's Humboldt County Board of Supervisor's agenda.

Female driver on 299 arrested for vehicular manslaughter, CHP investigating, DUI not a factor

On Thursday, June 16, 2016, at 6:09 pm, 21 year old Adrian Pollock of Eureka, CA, was driving her 2008 Dodge pickup eastbound on SR-299 at the East Fork Campground, just west of Willow Creek.  Her passengers were her two young children, her husband, her friend, and a hitchhiker.  For reasons still under investigation, Ms. Pollock lost control of her vehicle in a left hand curve and ran off the south roadway edge of SR-299.  The pickup overturned and the hitchhiker, seated in the right front seat, was fully ejected and sustained fatal injuries.  All surviving occupants were transported to Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata with minor injuries.  The children were properly seated in child passenger safety seats and were uninjured.  Ms. Pollock was subsequently arrested for vehicular manslaughter and booked into the Humboldt County Jail. 

The identity of the deceased passenger is withheld pending notification of family.

DUI was not a factor.  The roadway was not closed.  The vehicle was not impounded.  The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Area is investigating this traffic collision.

Jun 17, 2016

Hoopa Valley Tribe Chair issues statement on Ray's rodent infestation issues

The Hoopa Valley Tribe was notified of an extensive rodent infestation in a building it leases to Ray’s Food Place grocery store, which is owned by C & K Market, Inc., on June 10, 2016. In response, Tribal Chairman Ryan Jackson issued a statement to the Hoopa Valley community on Facebook on June 11, 2016, calling the conditions identified in a report by the Indian Health Service, “wholly unacceptable.”

Members of the Tribal Council personally participated in on-site inspections of the facility on Tuesday, June 14. These representatives participated in order to assess the ongoing eradication efforts by Ray’s Food Place and to ensure that any structural or maintenance issues that are the Tribe’s responsibility are immediately addressed. Several relatively minor maintenance issues were identified and are being remediated.

Since being notified of the rodent infestation, the Tribe has also met with representatives of Ray’s Food Place by phone and in person in order to resolve these issues and ensure the safety of the Hoopa Valley Tribe community. In addition to valuing its 40-year business relationship with Ray’s Food Place, the Hoopa Valley Tribe is also very concerned about losing the only grocery store within its community. A key issue discussed in these meetings was whether it was possible to eradicate the rodent infestation without temporarily closing the grocery store.

However, yesterday, the Hoopa Valley Tribe received Official Inspection Report Number DAOEMHKZO from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Division of Environmental Health, which indicated many of the rodent infestation issues had not been resolved despite significant efforts by Ray’s Food Place to do so. After discussion with representatives of C & K Market, Inc. and government to government consultation with the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health, the Hoopa Valley Tribe decided to support the county’s recommendation that the store be closed immediately because the rodent infestation presents an eminent threat to public health and safety. The Hoopa Valley Tribe informed C & K Market, Inc. of its decision early yesterday afternoon.

Speaking today, Chairman Jackson said, “The Hoopa Valley Tribe is firmly committed to ensuring the safety of tribal members and the entire Hoopa Valley Community and has mobilized all the resources at our disposal to address and resolve this issue.” In addition to addressing any structural or landscaping issues that may have contributed to the problem, the Tribe is currently reviewing options to ensure community access to fresh food and other groceries, including opening a temporary shopping facility as well as exploring the possibility of declaring a state of emergency in regards to food access.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe continues conversations with Ray’s Food Place owners, C & K Market, Inc., about continuing their grocery store operations in Hoopa once the rodent infestation is eradicated.

This weekend three residents of McKinleyville/Dows Prairie will receive massive, complimentary dumpsters for their homes thanks to Mckinleyville Community Watch

This weekend  three lucky residents of McKinleyville/Dows Prairie getting massive, complimentary dumpsters for their homes. 

Aaron Ostrom, founder of McKinleyville Community Watch, said "I came upon three dumpsters." Someone donated three large dumpsters and asked Ostrom to put it to good use in the community.

Among the many community oriented things, MCW members do is cleaning up trash in McKinleyville. "We put the word out there for those in need and vetted the requests."

The three candidates can really use them," Ostrom told me.  "They all have great stories and they are all very thankful for this opportunity." 

One is a woman "with back problems" who struggles to keep her property clean; another resident is also an elderly man with similar issues in maintaining his property; the third recipient are children looking after a property of their mother, who lives out of town, and they cannot afford to clean up costs to get the property presentable again.

The dumpsters were delivered today and will be picked up Monday, said Ostrom.

Aaron Ostrom (with Senator Mike McGuire in October 2015)

One of two Humboldt Hill shooting suspects turns himself in to HCSO


On 6/17/16 at approximately 1 p.m., suspect Brock Tuel, accompanied by a family member, arrived at the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in. Tuel was taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for attempted murder, burglary, and negligent discharge of a firearm. His bail was set at $500,000.

Earlier post:


City of Eureka ordinance proposed to require business licenses and fees for vacation dwelling units

DEPARTMENT: Development Services, Community Development Division
PREPARED BY: Kristen M. Goetz, Senior Planner
 Robert C. Jensen, Assistant Planner
PRESENTED FOR: ☒Action ☐Information only ☐Discussion
1. Waive reading, read by title only, and adopt Bill No. 911-C.S., approving the Text
Amendments modifying Eureka Municipal Code Chapter 35: Finance, Revenue, and
Taxation, Chapter 155: Zoning Regulations, and Chapter 156: Coastal Zoning
Regulations, regulating vacation rentals within the City; and
2. Waive reading, read by title only, and adopt Bill No. 910-C.S., approving the Text
Amendments modifying Eureka Municipal Code Title 8 Chapter 5: Transient
Occupancy Tax, and Title 10 Chapter 5: Zoning, regulating vacation rentals within
the City.

☒No Fiscal Impact ☐Included in Budget ☐Additional Appropriation
More Livable Eureka Community; Safe, Clean, Beautiful and Enjoyable/Livable and
Sustainable Community
At the June 7, 2016 meeting, Council introduced the ordinances to amend the Eureka
Municipal Code to regulate Vacation Dwelling Units (VDUs) within the City.
The amendments will provide a uniform and comprehensive set of standards for the
development and operation of VDUs. The regulations are intended to provide the
opportunity for vacation dwelling units to operate in a safe, legal capacity within the City,
while at the same time minimizing disruptions to neighborhoods, and preserving the character of residential and commercial districts. The ordinance will also ensure that all
vacation dwelling units are operating with a valid Eureka business license and paying all
applicable taxes and fees.
Staff recommends the City Council:
1. Waive reading, read by title only, and adopt Bill No. 911-C.S., approving the Text
Amendments modifying Eureka Municipal Code Chapter 35: Finance, Revenue, and
Taxation, Chapter 155: Zoning Regulations, and Chapter 156: Coastal Zoning
Regulations, regulating vacation rentals within the City; and
2. Waive reading, read by title only, and adopt Bill No. 910-C.S., approving the Text
Amendments modifying Eureka Municipal Code Title 8 Chapter 5: Transient Occupancy
Tax, and Title 10 Chapter 5: Zoning, regulating vacation rentals within the City.

EPD invites community to strategic planning meeting on June 23

At the Jefferson Project 10th and B from 5 to 8 p.m.


Press Release:

The Eureka Police Department invites the community to drop-in for a strategic planning workshop on Thursday, June 23rd from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Jefferson Project in Eureka.  We are seeking the public's input for a path forward as we plan for the next five years.

This workshop will be the last step in the strategic planning process.  Previous steps included an internal assessment of the department by all employees and an online survey open to the public.  The goal is to create a plan and report on it annually.  

Come share your ideas and input with us.  Come anytime between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the Jefferson Project, 1000 B Street in Eureka.  

Two men sought in alleged shooting in Humboldt Hill area

On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at about 5:30 p.m., Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs responded to a shots fired call in the 2100 block of Chad Lane in Humboldt Hill area of Eureka. It was reported to Deputies three to six suspects fled the residence in a black SUV.
Upon arrival, Deputies contacted two male victims. Victim #1 was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries sustained from being assaulted by one of the suspects. Victim #2 had a graze wound on his arm from a bullet fired through his bedroom door. Victim #2 did not require medical attention. Victim #2 told deputies he heard someone shouting his name from another part of the residence and went to the closed bedroom door. Deputies were told the suspects attempted to force their way into the bedroom and fired a single shot into the door, grazing Victim #2’s arm. Victim #2 told the suspects he was calling the cops.
Victim #2 then exited the bedroom and saw suspect Brock Tuel assaulting Victim #1 on the floor. All three suspects then fled the residence in a black SUV. The victims told Deputies the suspects were looking for a specific person and had personal issues with the victims.
Suspect #1 was positively identified as 26 year old Fields Landing resident Brock Stan-Bono Tuel.
Suspect #2 was positively identified as 24 year old Eureka resident Colt Giovanni Tuel.
Both are wanted for attempted murder, burglary, and negligent discharge of a firearm.

$26, 800 and marijuana discovered in Ukiah traafic stop

On 06-12-2016 at approximately 12:20 AM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office completed a traffic stop, due to a vehicle traveling at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, in a 65 mile per hour zone. The vehicle was stopped at Highway 101 and Lake Mendocino Drive Ukiah, California.

When Deputies contacted the driver (Carlos Larios) and front passenger (David Monroy) of the vehicle they could smell the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

During a search of the vehicle a small amount of marijuana was located along with $26,800.00 in US currency.

After the investigation was completed both Larios and Monvoy were placed under arrest for 11359 H&S [Possession for Sale-Marijuana] and 11370.9(A) H&S [Proceeds over $25,000.00 Acquired for Drug Transactions].

Larios and Monvoy were transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they were to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.

Ukiah man arrested for alleged domestic violence battery on his wife

On 06-10-2016 at approximately 10:22 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute. Deputies contacted a 30 year-old female in the 1300 block of North State Street Ukiah, California.

The 30 year-old female stated on 06-10-2016 at approximately 10:20 PM she was physically assaulted by her husband, Hugo Barajas.

During the altercation Barajas grabbed the 30 year-old female by the face and then by the right forearm and wrist causing pain and injury. The 30 year-old female had visible injuries to her face and right wrist.

During the investigation Deputies located Barajas and placed him under arrest for 273.5 PC [Felony Domestic Violence Battery].

Barajas was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.

POP bust includes ties to man who fled the scene after he and two others allegedly stole marijuana from Derek Payton who just plead to the death of Eliot Walin

On June 16, 2016, at about 9:30 a.m., detectives from the Eureka Police Departments Problem Oriented Policing Unit and Criminal Investigations Section served a Search Warrant on the 1000 Block of Hodgson St. in Eureka. This Search Warrant service was in response to numerous complaints of suspected illegal activity associated with this residence.

During their search, detectives located marijuana growing both indoors and outdoors on the property. A loaded 9mm handgun, approximately 12 lbs. of processed marijuana, 254 marijuana plants, Suboxone strips, and 1.5 grams of methamphetamine were seized as a result of the warrant service.

Douglas Camilli, 61 of Eureka, was arrested for: Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Marijuana Cultivation, Possession of Marijuana for Sales, Possession of a Controlled Substance (X2), Possession of Paraphernalia and Felon in Possession of Tear Gas.

Keenan Putansu, 53 of Eureka, was arrested for Marijuana Cultivation, Possession of Marijuana for Sale and Possession of Paraphernalia.

Due to health and safety concerns with the wiring, the power to the residence was disconnected by PG&E.  

Douglas Camili Jr, was supposedly one of the three men alleged to have stolen marijuana from Detek Payton and his roomate, the night Eliot Walin was killed.

DA prosecutor issues a statement on the Jason Daniels' verdict: "We are disappointed with the verdict. We put forward as much evidence as we were allowed"

Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett gave me this comment regarding the Jason Daniels' verdict this morning.

"We are disappointed with the verdict. We put forward as much evidence as we were allowed. I am very grateful to the victims for reporting these crimes and working with us. I hope this result does not discourage victims from coming forward, regardless of their life circumstances."

Jun 16, 2016

EPD's newest police officer who also adds to the growing EPD female cop ranks

From EPD facebook:

We are proud to introduce Eureka's newest officer, Brittany Grout. Officer Grout graduated today from the College of the Redwoods 117th Basic Law Enforcement Academy.  Congratulations!

Humboldt and Santa Barbara top counties for exporting cut flowers throughout North America

Senator Mike McGuire officially recognized the month of June as California Grown Flower Month during a presentation to the State Senate this morning.
“Today, we are recognizing California as America’s best source for high-quality cut flowers,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “The industry has blossomed since its inception back in the late 1870s. California flower farmers and distributors generate thousands of jobs and are worth $12.2 billion and a little known fact is that Arcata, in our own Humboldt County, is the largest producing region of fresh cut tulips in the United States.”
Senator McGuire, a big fan of fresh cut flowers himself, presented each of his fellow State Senators with a Stargazer Lily bouquet, which was originally bred in Arcata on the North Coast.
Humboldt and Santa Barbara counties are at the top of the list for exporting cut flowers throughout North America. Humboldt County flower farmers are known for growing hundreds of varieties of tulips, lilies, and irises. The largest cut flower farm in the United States, Sun Valley Floral, proudly calls Humboldt County home.
“California growers account for 75 percent of all domestically supplied cut flowers in the nation and the Golden State’s flowers meet the strictest growing standards in the world,” Senator McGuire said. “The industry is booming and blooming.”
Following Senator McGuire’s presentation, the Senate voted to pass SCR 146, which recognizes the month of June as California Grown Flower Month.

Jason Daniels, ex HCSO deputy found not guilty on all counts

In less than 9 hours, a 7 man, 5,women jury found Jason Daniels not guilty on all counts.

None of the jurors waited to talk to the attorneys. Jason Daniels declined to comment to the media there, TS, KIEM, Mad River Union and myself.

Family members hugged each other. After the first not guilty verdict, Steven Betz put his arm around Daniels and hugged him and then again, after the final verdict.

His wife was crying as the not guilty verdicts were read in court.

Verdict in for sexual assault case for ex HCSO deputy Jason Daniels

It's lunchtime so verdict will be read at 1.

Preliminary hearing date for suspended HSU football player accused of forcible rape continued again

There was an intervention hearing yesterday for suspended HSU football player, Raul Sierra.

The DA's office filed for a motion to continue and the new preliminary hearing date is July 11.

May 31, 2016

Preliminary hearing for suspended HSU football player Raul Sierra postponed to June 23; Manny Daskal joins as co-counsel for defense

The preliminary hearing for Raul Sierra was scheduled to begin today. Courtroom 1 was "dark" today. Courtroom 5 was to have a Visiting Judge but due to a death in the family, that Judge could not be here this week, as planned.

Courtroom 2 has the Charles Kesselring trial going on in the mornings. That left just Courtroom 4 to handle the preliminaries today and Judge Cissna also started the Jason Daniels jury trial.

Judge Cissna and Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads were informed by Sierra's attorney, Beorn Zepp that Mr. Manny Daskal is joining as co-counsel for the defense.

After discussing the schedule that was conducive to all the attorneys' schedules, the victim and HSU Sgt. Janelle Jackson, the new preliminary hearing date was scheduled for June 23 at 8:30 a.m.

Intervention is June 15 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom 5.

Sierra has a job and is not in Humboldt anymore. He looks very clean cut with a shave and haircut. He was accompanied by a woman, who seemed to be his girlfriend.

The victim was also present in court, along with Victim Witness advocates and a friend.

Mar 14, 2016

Preliminary hearing for suspended HSU football player charged with forcible rape by use of drugs continued at defense request, Sierra out of custody

Raul Sierra, former HSU football player, charged with forcible rape, made bail and is out of custody. He appeared in court this morning for a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for today, with his attorney. He looks nothing like his booking photo having a shaved head and no beard.

Judge Watson filled in today for Judge Joyce Hinrichs in Courtroom 5. She will be gone for two weeks. Deputy District Brie Bennett is prosecuting the case. Beorn Zepp represents Sierra.

The defense filed a motion to continue. They were asking for 60 days. The People and the victim who was in court, opposed the continuance. Ms. Bennett said "if there was good cause", and the Court granted the continuance that it be short, not more than 30 days. People has just waived 10 days, and today, they waived time.

Mr. Zepp told Judge Watson that there was "discovery pending,", his investigator had a "lot to do" and there would be "an associated counsel." Sierra had previously waived time.

Judge Watson granted a 45 day continuance. Intervention is April 6 at 3 p.m. and Preliminary hearing is April 20 at 8:30 a.m.

Jan 27, 2016

Raul Sierra suspended from HSU, his alleged victim sobbed in court

Raul Sierra was denied release on OR by Judge Joyce Hinrichs after hearing from Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett and Sierra's attorney Beorn Zepp. A referral has been made to Probation for a Supervised Release report.

Zepp gave letters of support from Sierra's family in San Diego to Judge Hinrichs. Zepp said Sierra has been suspended from HSU since his recent arrest.. He asked for reduction in Sierra's bail, which was denied. He then asked for a referral for  supervised release.

"Mr. Sierra had been cooperating with the system" since he was initially contacted last year, said Zepp. He said his client had no other criminal history and has never been in trouble before and has a good record at HSU.

DDA Bennett opposed Sierra's release. Ms. Bennett said the victim was in court and had told told her that she would feel safer if Sierra was in custody. Sierra had been served with a protective order.

Zepp countered, "Even before the order was issued, he avoided contact with the victim."

After the court hearing concluded, as Sierra was walking back to custody, the alleged victim, a young blonde woman, was sobbing.

Jan 26, 2016

HSU football player Raul Sierra pleads not guilty to charge of forcible rape, preliminary hearing scheduled for March 14

Raul Sierra was arraigned this afternoon in Courtroom 5. He plead not guilty and has retained a private attorney Beorn Zepp.

An OR/Bail hearing is scheduled for January 27 at 2 p.m., Intervention is on February 29 at 3 p.m. and preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 14.

Jan 25, 2016

HSU's Raul Sierra was charged with felony, forcible rape with use of drugs on December 18, 2015

An arrest warrant was ordered on December 30, 2015.

Count 1 alleges that "on or about November 7, 2015" Raul Eduardo Sierra IV was charged with rape by use of drugs."

Victim's family members wipe away tears as David Lockhart pleads to lower term for vehicular manslaughter

David Lockhart's jury trial was scheduled to start this morning in Courtroom 4.

Yesterday, the attorneys met with Judge Timothy Cissna in a closed courtroom briefly to discuss offers and a possible plea.

This morning, after DA Maggie Fleming and Deputy DA David Christiansen met with family members of the victim and their lawyer, Mr. Patrik Griego, the attorneys met privately with Judge Cissna.

Court was then opened and Lockhart plead to a stipulated term of 16 months to Count 1, vehicular manslaughter and one year consecutive for the allegation, causing great bodily injury to John Doe.

By agreement, Lockhart was sentenced to the lower term of 16 months for Count 1.
Mid term is two years and upper term is four years.

Judge Cissna went over the plea, the rights Lockhart would give up, possible restitution and fines and advised Lockhart that the sentence was set, could not be greater or lower at sentencing.

Lockhart will serve time in state prison and be on post release community supervision for three years, after release.

Sentencing is July 1 at 8:30 a.m.

Mar 24, 2016

Jury trial confirmed for David Lockhart charged with the death of Hannah Baker

Trial confirmation was scheduled this afternoon for David Lockhart. Jury trial confirmed for April 25. Trial assignment April 22.

Mr. David Celli was present with Lockhart, who is out of custody. Mr.David Nims subbed in for Mr. Patrik Griego, who represents the Baker family. Deputy District Attorney David Christensen is prosecuting the case.

Nov 19, 2015

David Lockhart arraignment for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence causing the death of Hannah Baker

David Lockhart was arraigned this afternoon in Courtroom 5 for Count 1, vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of Hannah Denise Baker. There is a special allegation that Lockhart caused great bodily injury or death to John Doe.

Through a family friend, I was told John Doe is out of the hospital.

Lockhart was held to answer to the same charges after his preliminary hearing.

Lockart  is out of custody. He was in court with two supporters/family members. The victim's family and friends were present with their attorney, Mr. Patrik Griego and some were wearing shirts with Baker's photo.

Lockhart entered not guilty pleas, denied all special allegations. Mr. David Celli appeared on behalf of his office, Mr. Russ Clanton is representing Lockhart.

Deputy District Attorney David Christensen is prosecuting the case.

The defense requested a jury trial based on the availability of Mr. Clanton's schedule and he has other trials in January. Through their attorney and reiterated by the People, the victim's family wanted the trial set within 60 days, which would have been on January 11.

However, Lockhart had waived time and since Mr. Clanton is not available, a jury trial date of February 18 was scheduled. Trial Confirmation is on February 4 at 2 p.m. and Pre-trial hearing is scheduled for January 21 at 2 p.m.

Nov 5, 2015

David Lockhart held to answer for charge of gross vehicular manslaughter and death of multiple victims

David Lockhart had a preliminary hearing scheduled this morning. He was held to answer on the charges and arraignment on information is on November 19.

There is only one victim in this case, Hannah Baker. John Doe, who was taken to the hospital, survived.

Sep 11, 2015

Preliminary hearing for David Lockhart charged with gross vehicular manslaughter is rescheduled for October 8

David Lockhart, is chared with a felony: homicide with the count of gross vehicular manslaughter and death of multiple victims. Yesterday, there was an intervention hearing in Courtroom 2 and the preliminary hearing for September 15 was vacated and a new date of October 8 was scheduled.

The Baker family, who lost their loved ones, have local  attorney Patrik Griego to represent them.

Deputy District Jackie Pizzo has been handling the case for the People. Mr. Russ Clanton represents Lockhart.

The District Attorney's office filed a stipulation and order on September 2 for independent analysis of a controlled substance.

Previous post (with other links and coverage):


California Highway Patrol press release:

On November 12, 2014, at approximately 1730 hours, a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, driven by 48 year old David Lockhart of Weott, CA, was traveling south on US-101, north of Garberville. A 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV, driven by a 24 year old resident of Rio Dell, CA, was traveling north on US-101, north of Garberville. For reasons still under investigation, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup made an unsafe turning movement and traveled across the center median, into the northbound traffic lanes of US-101, while still traveling south.  The Silverado pickup subsequently collided head-on with the Suburban SUV in the #2 lane of northbound US 101.

Drivers of the both vehicles as well as the passenger of the Suburban SUV suffered major injuries as a result of the collision.  The driver of the Suburban SUV later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at Jerold Phelps Community Hospital. The names of the Driver and Passenger of the Suburban SUV are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County Sheriff, Cal-Fire, Garberville Volunteer Fire department, and Redway Volunteer Fire department all responded to the scene. This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol - Garberville Area.

Drug impairment does appear to be a factor in this collision.  At the time of the collision, airbags in both vehicles deployed, and all occupants were properly safety-belted.

EPD Sgt Patrick O'Neill graduates FBI National Academy

On June 10, 2016, Eureka Police Sergeant Patrick O'Neill graduated the 264th session of the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia.  The academy consisted of 213 men and women of law enforcement agencies from 47 states, the District of Columbia, international countries, military organizations, and federal civilian organizations.  

According to a FBI press release, "The FBI National Academy offers ten weeks of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training for selected officers having proven records of professionals within their agencies.  On average, these officers have 19 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions."

Sgt. O'Neill is a 21 year veteran of the Eureka Police Department who has held a variety of assignments.  Upon his return he will be assuming the duties of Detective Sergeant in charge of the Criminal Investigative Section, his second tour in this position.  The Eureka Police Department is extremely proud of Sgt. O'Neill and his accomplishments and look forward to the insight he has gained during his time at the National Academy.

$150, 000 damage in early morning fire on I street in Eureka

Humboldt Bay Fire
News Release

533 C St.
Eureka, CA  955

On June15, at approximately 2358 hrs. Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a residential structure fire at 1822 I Street. One of the occupants smelled smoke inside and saw fire coming from back of the residence. She awoke the other occupant and they both fled down the stairs out of the residence.
The first arriving units found heavy fire coming from all windows with some of the flames impinging on a garage located on a neighboring property. Crews attacked a well-established fire with large hand lines. Due to the age and design of the structure, the fire had penetrated into concealed spaces in the walls ceiling and attic area making the fire very difficult to extinguish.  Crews were pulled from inside the structure after a minor collapse of a porch to the rear. After 30 minutes crew were able to knock down the fire enough to go back inside and fully extinguish the fire.
All of the contents are a total loss and the structure received heavy charring and damage to 90% of the interior.   .
3 engines 1 truck and 2 chief officers responded to the fire along with2 fire support volunteer and Eureka Police officers and support volunteers for traffic control. Arcata Fire Protection District provided 1 engine for assistance at the scene.
Loleta Fire and Samoa Peninsula Fire provided coverage of Humboldt Bay's jurisdiction.
Red Cross was contacted and provided housing for the family.
No injuries were reported
Damage is estimated at $150000
Content loss is estimated at $25000
Minor paint charring damage of $500 was estimated for the neighboring garage.
One of the families dogs was lost in the fire and later found dec

Jun 15, 2016

Santa Clara DA choses to not have Judge Aaron Persky preside over new sex case


If you want regular updates on the Courthouse, bookmark this blog

If you like the running updates, and like staying informed as to what is going on in the courthouse or on a particular case, (and many of you do), bookmark and subscribe to my blog or Follow me on Twitter at @wordsworth318 .... you’ll be in the know. If you usually come in via LoCo’s ‘Elsewhere’ LoCo isn’t going to be linking the updates, so you’ll have to wait for their end of the day one general link. I’m also linked at watchpaul, SamoaSoftball, Eric Kirk's SoHum Parlance, and on occasion on Kym Kemp's RedHeaded Blackbelt.

KMUD and KGOE also feature me occasionally.

Daniels' jury sends in three notes for readbacks, one after another while court is in process of the first request

Second note from Jason Daniels jury at 2:50.

Court reporter was still working on readback, first request.

As the court was reading and instructing the court reporter of the second request, they sent in a third note.

In addition to Ruby Loureiro's testimony, they want readback of EPD Officer Ryan McElroy's and Jane Doe #1's testimony.

Jason Daniel's jury asks for readback of Jane Doe #1's friend's testimony

First note from jury at 2:20 p.m. asking for readback of Ruby Loureiro's testimony.

She is Jane Doe #1's friend who was detained with her the night of the alleged assault.

$105,000 bail for alleged domestic violence suspect

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at about 10 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a disturbance at a residence on the 2200 block of Fern Street in Eureka. It was reported to deputies a male had assaulted a female and had fled the residence.
Deputies searched for the suspect, 22 year old Isiah Martin Nevarez Beacham. Eureka Police Department (EPD) Officers responded to assist. Officers searched the nearby area and Sequoia Park. Beacham was detained by EPD Officers at Wood and P Streets.
Beacham was arrested by HCSO and taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for domestic violence and two felony warrants for domestic violence. His bail was set at $105,000. The female victim received minor injuries from the incident.

Owner of Eureka Natural Foods is no longer an Eureka Rotary member

Rick Littlefield, owner of Eureka Natural Foods, who was recently arrested for his fifth DUI, is no longer an Eureka Rotary member.

Defense wants to have it both ways"

Rebuttal highlights:

"Defense wants to have it both ways, don't believe her, she is a liar but she can be trusted to be groomed as a confidential informant."

"You know the sad truth is that people have unrealistic views on how survivors are supposed to act."

"If they cry, they are lying. If they don't cry, they are lying. If they tell the same story, they are lying. If they don't tell the same story, they are lying."

"Jason Daniels fell prey to two desperate opportunists"; defense calls alleged victims con

Defense closing highlights:

"Jason Daniels fell prey to two desperate opportunists"

"How do you defend yourself against accusations when you work in isolation?"

"Jason Daniels cannot be the fall guy..."

"This is an all or nothing case, either you believe Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 or not."

"This is really a case about unchecked power."

Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett started her remarks to the jury with, "These two women told you exactly what happened to them. Think of all they have gone through. "

Ms. Bennett stressed the point to the jury that the two alleged victims in this case had told their story over and over again to law enforcement, investigators and in front of strangers in open court.

"They have endured parts of cross examination and talked about parts of their life and most people would not want to talk about and they talked about the impact on their lives."

"Much of the facts of the case are not under dispute. You know where the defendant met them. Each of them took the stand. Ruby is the only witness in the country, presently."

"You know they are telling you the truth and did not deserve what the defendant did to them."

"I am going to talk about the law, its dry, I apologize, but it is important."

Using a power point representation, Ms. Bennett went over key concepts and certain jury instructions. This was effective since Judge Timothy Cissna had just read the same law minutes ago.

Ms. Bennett started with reasonable doubt. "This is what I have to prove. In this case, each crime has a number of elements. You have to believe I have proved each element beyond a reasonable doubt."

Jury instruction #226 on what to keep in mind when evaluating witness testimony is the first jury instruction she asked the jury to pay attention to; then jury instruction # 301, single witness testimony: "the testimony of only one witness can prove any fact"; then she mentioned jury instruction #1190, which is more specific to sexual assault cases: "conviction of a sexual assault crime may be based on the testimony of a complaining witness alone."

"Sexual assault takes place usually in private," said Ms. Bennett. "In this case you just don't have one witness, you have Ruby Louriero and DNA evidence."

The last jury instruction Ms. Bennett mentioned was jury instruction # 3517 about verdict forms.

"Because of the lessers in this case, it can get very confusing, so please pay attention to this instruction."

People's closing highlights:

"The defendant is a trained officer, in charge of supervising others, the defendant is trained how to testify, he used his training to pick these women."

"This is really a case about unchecked power. He didn't follow those checks, he thought he was above that. Please hold him accountable for what he did to these women."

Closing arguments over in Jason Daniels' case, jury started deliberations at 11:15

Two very powerful closing arguments by both the People and the defense and an excellent rebuttal argument by DDA Brie Bennett.

Jury has several options of lesser charges. They started deliberations at 11:15.

The jury has several options for each count for lesser charged. Judge Timothy Cissna went over the law in detail, including what was needed to prove each charge in his closing instructions.

Check back later for detailed, updated posts on closing arguments around 8 or 9.

In a surprise twist, Sohum home invasion suspect pleads out before jury trial

There were talks yesterday but then the trial seemed a go, he is pleading right now in Courtroom 1.

Sentencing July 7. I am covering Daniels closing but will have details later.

Swortzel plead to first degree burglary, admit special alegation that persons were presentvwhich makes it a serious, violent felony and he can only get 15% of credit served; he waived credit for time served upto sentencing. He admitted to a "strike prior" and two "prison priors."

Maximum prison exposure is ten years, with no credits.

Jun 14, 2016

Families of victims express frustration over third continuance for Kade Chandler preliminary hearing

The defense asked for yet another continuance for the preliminary hearing for Kade Chandler.

Chandler is being represented by Mr. Manny Daskal and Mr. Benjamin Okin. Chandler had pteviously signed a 977 waiver form and was not present for this hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees told Judge Hinrichs, "The People are not opposing the motion" and that "a meeting date had been set to go over discovery issues."

Eight people representing the various victims were present. Mr. David Nims spoke on behalf of the victims, saying that while the families realize the need for the continuance, " the frustration is that some of these discovery issues were apparent iin April." Mr. Nims said that the families were hoping these would have been resolved in May. He said this was the third time the preliminary hearing had been continued.

A disposition and reset hearing was set for June 27 at 2 p.m. At that time, if there are any "issues to litigate", a hearing date will be set.

Feb 22, 2016

Kade Chandler arraigned for last year's Hwy 36 accident which resulted in the death of two women and injury to a third male

This afternoon Kade Chandler was finally arraigned this afternoon in Courtroom 5.

The original incident occurred in February 2015.  Chandler was 20 years old at that time.

Chandler is charged with Count 1 gross vehicular manslaughter, Count 2 gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and special allegation of great bodily injury.

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees is prosecuting the case.

Courtroom 5 was packed with family and friends of the three victims and their lawyers.

Ms. Elan Firpo represents the third victim in the accident, Bradley Thuemler. Mr. Patrik Griego represents the families of the two women, Savannah Kiana Kindred and Kendra Paige Leialoha Lewis. who died in the crash. His colleague David Nims was in court today for the arraignment.
The two women were members of the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe.

Private attorneys Mr. Benjamin Okin represents Chandler. Mr. Manny Daskal was also in court on behalf of Chandler and requested discovery.

Pleas of not guilty to all charges and special allegations were entered by Mr. Okin on Chandler's behalf. Chandler stood quietly next to Mr. Okin in court. He was dressed in jeans and a striped shirt.

There was discussion about his custody status because Chandler appeared out of custody and people wanted remand this afternoon. DDA Roger Rees also explained why it took so long to arraign Chandler.

"The People are asking the Court to remand Mr. Chandler and to set bail according to schedule," said Mr. Rees.  He said Chandler failed to negotiate a turn and was intoxicated with a combination of cocaine, opiates, marijana and alcohol. "As a result two people lost their lives." One of the women was 20 years old and the other barely over 20 years old, said Mr. Rees.

"Mr. Chandler's conduct puts entire community at risk," said Mr. Rees. " The reason Mr. Chandler is here today instead of an arrest warrant is because the People have kept in touch with Mr. Okin. As a courtesy to him and his attorney, we allowed him to appear out of custody."

Mr. Rees said that the reason arraignment took so long was that before charges could be filed, "significant investigation was done" which included investigation by the California Highway Patrol's Multi-Disciplinary team, DNA analysis and because the individuals were not wearing seatbelts, seating positions had to be determined. The report took a long time.

Judge Hinrichs acknowledged that while there were public safety issues, an arrest warrant contained declarations under penalty of jury and provided information to the Court which would be helpful to make a decision on custody status.

Mr. Okin asked for OR with terms and conditions and said this was a year later and his client was not a flight risk.

"The People were put in a position to charge prematurely than dismiss; the People took the time to gather evidence," said Mr. Rees. "The community should not be punished."

Chandler remains out of custody for now. Judge Hinrichs allowed him to leave "on OR today" with terms and conditions of no alcohol, that he could be subject to chemical testing and search and seizure without an arrest warrant and if he was insured with a valid license, he could only drive to work between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. She referred Chandler for a supervised release report from probation.

His custody status will be addressed on February 24 at 2 p.m. Intervention is currently set for February 29 at 3 p.m. and Preliminary hearing is set for March 3 at 8:30 p.m.

Press Release:

On June 9, 2015 the law offices of Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer & Firpo filed a personal injury lawsuit in Humboldt County Superior Court on behalf of Bradley Thuemler. 
The suit alleges that on February 21, 2015, Kade Chandler lost control of his vehicle and crashed on State Route 36 while driving under the influence of alcohol. Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer & Firpo represent Bradley Thuemler, a passenger who was seriously injured in the incident. The incident also resulted in the death of two female passengers, Savannah Kiana Kindred and Kendra Paige Leialoha Lewis.
Bradley Thuemler seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Kade Chandler.

CHP press release:
On February 21, 2015, at approximately 10:45 p.m., Kade Chandler, was driving his 2005 Toyota Tundra eastbound on SR-36, east of Swimmers Delight.  Due to Chandler’s level of drug/alcohol impairment and traveling at an unsafe speed, Chandler failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and allowed his vehicle to run off the north road edge and where it collided with a large redwood tree before overturning down an embankment. 
As a result of the collision, Chandler and passenger Savannah Kindred were ejected from the vehicle and sustained major injuries.  An additional unrestrained female passenger (name withheld pending notification) succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Passenger Bradly Thuemler, who was restrained at the time of the collision, suffered moderate injuries.    Chandler and Kindred were transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital.  Kindred was transferred via air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  Thuemler was transported to St Joseph Hospital.
Chandler was subsequently arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.  He was released to Redwood Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries. 
Emergency personnel from the Carlotta Volunteer Fire Department, Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department, City Ambulance, Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol responded to the scene. 

Alleged Sohum invasion suspect's trial in which co defendant is victim's son a go

Finally, no more continuances. Bret Swortzel was supposed to start his jury trial yesterday. That was put over until this morning.

Deputy District Attorney DA Stacey Eads is prosecuting the case and Mr. Michael Acosta  The alleged victim, Deborah Morton, whose son, Seth Morton is also charged in the incident is being tried separately.

The case is proceeding to trial and jury selection starts tomorrow in Courtroom 1.

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); http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2015/07/defenses-request-to-lower-bail-for-bret.html

"That was never supposed to happen, you grabbed me by my throat"; Mckinleyville stabbing suspect cries in court as ex leaves with another woman

"Do you wish to have an attorney appointed for you?" Judge Joyce Hinrichs asked Michael Smith.

Smith, crying, said, "I don't have an attorney."

Judge Hinrichs explained to him that if he could not afford an attorney, she would appoint one for him.

While Judge Hinrichs was explaing the CLETS protective order to Smith, he asked his attorney, "Am I allowed...". Mr. Reavis shook his head and comforted Smith who was crying through the arraignment.

As he left the courtroom and was being taken back to the jail, he looked at the back of the courtroom and said, "That was never supposed to happen. You grabbed me by my throat." Two women, one of whom was Jane Doe exited the courtroom in a hurry.

The male victim was a neighbor trying to help Jane Doe. People assumed that the fight over Jane Doe was between an ex and present boyfriend.

Before court today, from observations, the woman accompanying Jane Doe could be a friend or could be her current girlfriend/partner.

Jun 14, 2016

Mckinleyville stabbing suspect Michael Smith charged with assault, battery and false imprisonment; arraignment this afternoon

Michael Smith aka Michael Shawn Smith was arrested Friday by HCSO Detective Todd Fulton and booked into the jail at 4 p.m. He had not been released as of Monday evening. He was booked for PC664/187(a), attempted murder.

This afternoon at 1:29 p.m. Smith is expected to be arraigned in Courtroom 5. He is charged with a felony in Count 1 Assault with a deadly weapon on David Lee Watkins; the weapon being a knife. Special allegation for Count 1 is "personally inflicting great bodily injury" On Watkins. Count 2 is False Imprisonment by Violence, another felony; victim Jane Doe and Count 3 Battery on a non cohabitating partner, a misdemeanor.

Conflict Counsel's Mr. Marek Reavis was appointed to represent Smith. On Smith's behalf, Mr. Reavis entered not guilty pleas; did not waive time; he did "waive bail/OR without prejudice."

Smith was served with two CLETS protective orders. Intervention is on June 20 at 3 p.m. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 27 at 8:30 p.m.

Jun 10, 2016

DOB of suspect in Mckinleyville stabbing being confirmed, name is Michael Shawn Smith, from Ohio

Just spoke with Undersheriff William Honsal. HCSO is trying to get confirmation on the suspect's date of birth before sending out a press release.

The suspect name that HCSO was given is Michael Shawn Smith, from Ohio.

"Just after midnight, deputies responded to 1908 D Avenue in Mckinleyville to a report of stabbing," said Undersheriff Honsal.

"The initial response was for domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they found a male victim in front of the residence. They called for medical assistance and the victim was transported to the hospital, where he is recovering from injuries."

Jun 10, 2016

Victim in Mckinleyville stabbing was neighbor trying to help in dispute, condition unknown

This is all I have at the moment from Undersheriff William Honsal.

A press release should be out within the hour.

Thanks Hank Sims!

First, LOCO links my blog with a cool title like Chiv'd.

Today, what a surprise when I looked at Elsewhere and saw CHIV'D: Chiv's Jason Daniels coverage.

While that is efficient and convenient, you will still have to click over to read my creative headlines for jury trials.

I really appreciate LOCO linking other media sources under Elsewhere, especially the local ones.

Assemblyman Jim Wood's bill addresses Caltrans, rural internet connectivity and better access for all

Assemblymember Jim Wood’s (D-Healdsburg) Broadband Map Act, AB 1549, has undergone significant amendments expanding the scope of the bill, helping to ensure all Californians have access to modern communication technology.

AB 1549 would create a centralized database detailing where conduits available for fiber-optic cables are laid throughout the state.  Recently, the bill was amended to require Caltrans to notify local broadband providers when they plan to open a trench capable of housing conduit.  If there is no interest from private companies, Caltrans will install a conduit for future use.

“We need better connectivity in our rural communities, bottom line,” said Wood.  “In past decades the public sector invested heavily to deliver copper telephone lines and electricity across the country.  This is a drop in the bucket compared to those investments, but it will make a world of difference for our communities in this 21stCentury economy.”

AB 1549 proposes three major policy changes in an effort to incentivize internet providers to deliver better connectivity in currently underserved rural communities.  First, it requires Caltrans to notify local internet providers when it is opening a trench that could house conduit.  Laying conduit in an already open trench dramatically decreases the cost of expanding the fiber-optic network.

Second, if private providers express no interest, AB 1549 would require Caltrans to lay its own conduit that could be accessed at a later date.  This builds the basic infrastructure for future expansion and better connectivity.

Finally, AB 1549 now requires Caltrans to keep a central database mapping where conduits and fiber cables have been laid.  Currently this location data is scattered among dozens of companies and agencies, making the creation of a comprehensive broadband access map nearly impossible.

AB 1549 passed smoothly out of the Assembly and met no opposition in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee today. Asm. Wood confidently looks forward to the bill's continued progress in the upcoming Senate Appropriations Committee.