Aug 18, 2018
I had some observations about the change of plea and Marci Kitchen pleading as charged. I reached out to an experienced attorney, whose analysis in several cases has been very helpful and insightful.
"Defendants rarely, if ever, plead to the sheet. (Plead to the sheet is pleading as charged.) The reason? If you go to trial and get convicted of everything that is the equivalent of pleading to the sheet. There is no benefit to the Defendant, i.e. it is the worst case scenario for the Defendant."
"The only potential incentive for the Defendant in pleading to the sheet is you are getting a sentence recommendation either from the DA or more frequently from the Court. The DA could say enter a plea by pleading to the sheet but it is very rare that ever happens, because again pleading to the sheet, gives the Court maximum sentencing option. If the DA was mandating a plea to the sheet then the Defendant would want a guarantee of a sentence. That will come either from the DA or more likely the Court."
Seating arrangements for victims, families and law abiding citizens while Marci continues to get the Humboldt Superior Court kid glove treatment
If Marci Kitchen is in Humboldt, why wasn't she present Friday when her plea form was submitted to the Court? It may have been a last minute development but if the families knew the evening before, then there was enough time for Marci Kitchen to be present in court.
So now, there is another hearing Monday for her to enter change of plea. Will sentencing be scheduled Monday or will there be another hearing set for Humboldt Superior Court's favorite defendant?
Why are seats being assigned in this case for a change of plea? Limited seats because the case is assigned to the smallest, criminal courtroom.
Standing in the courtroom is suddenly an issue? This wasn't done in the Jason Warren case, the Gary Bullock case or the Juan Ferrer case. If any case warranted seating arrangements and a lecture on security issues, it should have been the Jon Goldberg case with all the daily drama in the courtroom audience from the victims' family and supporters. Standing in the courtroom is a security issue every day with the people acting out at the Courthouse.
The families, friends and supporters for Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas have been well behaved despite this case dragging on for so long and the tragic death of two young girls. There is a lot of interest in this case and Faith Tsarnas' family is traveling from Southern California.
The Humboldt Superior Court should show some sensitivity and have decency to move this case to a larger courtroom. The jury room is also an option. There will still be the need for seating arrangements but there will be more room.
Will Marci Kitchen even show up? The defendant seems to be getting treated leniently while the victims and the public have to follow more rules than Marci has since July 2016.
The defendant and her prior private attorneys and are responsible for dragging this case out for so long and the special treatment Marci Kitchen received.
The private attorneys created the situation that led taxpayers to foot Marci Kitchen's bills. They did nothing of consequence except making sure that Marci Kitchen got to travel and they made as much money as they could.
The defendant did not turn herself in for two months after Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas were found dead. She has shown no remorse for her actions. Despite all this, the victims, the families, the community members have been respectful. To insult the community by bringing up security when the case may resolve is disrespectful.
Conflict Counsel only took this case over in March has done a better job of representing their client while respecting the court procedure and moving this case along. Judge Kaleb Cockrum was only assigned tot this case at the end of April 2018. The Humboldt Superior Court Judges that handled this case before him set this lax tone with Marci Kitchen.
The only time Marci Kitchen did not get her way was when Visiting Judge Graham Cribbs denied her motion to travel on March 12.
"The Detroit Metro Times reported that state Rep. Bettie Cook Scott used racial slurs, including “ching-chang” and “ching-chong,” when referring to her opponent, state Rep. Stephanie Chang, during a recent Democratic primary."
Despite his defense counsel's pleas for leniency, defendant Marcos Abel Vasquez, age 25, of Ukiah, today had his ticket punched -- again -- for a 72-month return trip to state prison.
Aug 17, 2018
"I looked him up on Facebook and found some really nasty videos one of which he was threatening to kill the the owner and all of the employees where I work."
I am familiar with Brad Houghton. He rants like this all the time. For a while, he was at St. Bernard's Church. Recently, he has been screaming and ranting all over Old Town, near the Courthouse. By his own admission to me, drugs have been an issue in his life. He is well known to many. He can be very scary. He can be crude.
Glad to see after several posts on Joshua Cooley, the public outrage, the next hearing will be public
Before the DA's press release today, there have been several posts on this blog about Joshua Cooley, his record and about his placement. Thank you Nic Rig for your tireless effort and information in the comment section since my initial post.
Working on those posts was not easy since there was no public record or minutes accessible regarding this placement. Glad to see that the August 23 hearing will be public.
A review hearing for the jury questionnaire was scheduled in the Marci Kitchen trial this afternoon at 3 p.m. Instead a white plea form was submitted by defense. Marci Kitchen was not present today therefore the change of plea scheduled for this Monday, August 20 at 3:30 p.m.
Both families declined comment on specifics of the plea until Monday. I did not publish the specifics of the plea yesterday. Marci Kitchen will plead to all charges.
Yesterday's post with charges in this case and CA law regarding penalties for those charges is linked below.
Preliminary hearing for Ralph Horn charged with three counts of sexual battery by restraint rescheduled
Intervention was scheduled for Ralph Horn on August 15. Preliminary hearing was set for August 20. Both hearings continued.
Intervention is September 6. Preliminary hearing scheduled for September 12.
Aug 16, 2018
Count 1 is vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence while being intoxicated (Jane Doe 1) ; Count 1 has two special allegations: fleeing the crime scene and multiple victims.
Count 2 is vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence while being intoxicated
(Jane Doe 2)
Count 3 is DUI; Alcohol while causing injury with two special allegations: great bodily injury resulting in brain injury and paralysis and multiple victims.
Count 4 is Hit and Run with Injury/Death.
Marci Kitchen is the one case that Humboldt is most interested in and the community deserves to know if there is a major change so they can chose to be there.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a review hearing for Marci Kitchen. Will it be just that or is Marci going to enter a plea tomorrow or next week or soon?
After his preliminary hearing, Ray Christie was held to answer on the remaining three felony counts of cruelty to an animal. Arraignment on information is on August 30.