Apr 30, 2014

13 cases in the system, at least 11 on calendar today and Belisle's private attorney negotiates an offer with Luke Brownfield?

Fortuna Police Lieutenant Matt Eberhardt told LOCO when Sandra Belisle was arrested yet again, in february 2014, that because Belisle had seven pending felony cases for similar crimes, they were able to add on the enhancement charges.  “Belisle has a very extensive criminal history,” Eberhardt said. “Multiple pending matters. She continues to victimize people and businesses….Victims are wanting to see some justice….She is obviously manipulating the system because she is on release and continuing to commit crimes while out on release.”

I was in Courtroom 1 when Judge John Feeney read the 11 cases. When I searched the public computers, she had two recent criminal cases in 2014; five from 2013 and two from  2012. She also had 4 other cases including some traffic cases.

She was charged with  forgery, driver's licenses that did not belong to her, then fictitious checks and buying and receiving stolen property; then burglary; petty theft. More of the same which escalated to transporation/sales of marijuana, posession of ammunition, and more of the burglary, petty theft, stolen property forgery.

Most recent cases included auto theft and several of the above charges. I have the charges for each case but they would fill up an entire post.

The case is being prosecuted by Luke Brownfield. At the last hearing, her attorney Kathleen Bryson asked for time to meet with Mr. Brownfield. Stated health issues for Belisle and her mother. Mr. Brownfield at that time said he did not see a resolution. It seemed from the exasperated look that Mr. Brownfield and the Court had gone through this being dragged out before.

Days go by.

Today, Ms. Bryson said that she met with Mr. Brownfield and "an offer had been made." now she needed time to file motions for a "better offer". Same reasons of health issues for Belisle and her mother.

Whether Ms. Belisle has health issues or not, she has 13 cases in the system. She is not the only repeat offender. Remember the post on Shiloh Chase. There are others.

There is a difference between protecting rights, giving chances but there are people who know the system and abuse it.

To be fair, not all repeat clients are Ms. Bryson's or any private attorneys. This case is just 1 of many egregious examples.

But when you see people in custody telling their public defender or private attorney what they could plead to or how to try their case, you have a problem.

And now Mr. Brownfield is negotiating with someone who has had 13 cases.

At what point is it time to say No.

9 cases, 11 cases, 13 cases , when do you get to say enough already!

Now that the title has got your attention, check out the Sandra Belisle case. It inspired the title today.

It is one of those wonderful "gems" I discovered while sitting in court one long afternoon waiting for cases to be called. As the Justice (slowly) Turns in Humboldt has a few classics that keep repeating. Or if you prefer the Young and the Clueless or All My Clients.

In Humboldt County, I think baliffs, court staff, attorneys and Judges need a VIP lounge room for breaks while they wait because there is certainly not a lack of crime here and most afternoons are long. Vending machines with repeat offenders supplying the free coffee and soda in between breaks.

Too bad the no food and drink rule was put was place when flying liquid spilled all over the 2nd floor. Behind every rule in the courthouse is a story.

David Anderson and Jason Warren court dates update. Warren death penalty sought; Anderson human trafficking, sex offenses and more

Jason Warren's case is scheduled for Jury Trial on October 6. Pre-trial is on August 6. There are other dates but as Alternate Counsel Glenn Brown said in today's hearing in Courtroom 4 with Judge Dale Reinholtsen. The hearing today was to set dates, "we will have a better idea of the status of the case" by August. There are two cases, both being tried by Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. Warren is being represented by Kevin Robinson and Glenn Brown in one case and Mr. Brown in the second case.

The defense estimated 6 months or more for the trial, including jury selection. Mr. Gallegos thought while it could take 6 months, that he thought 4 months was more realistic.

The case for David Anderson who is being represented by Ben McLaughlin was on for Trial Confirmation Hearing in Courtroom 1. The case is being prosecuted by Luke Brownfield. Judge John Feeney said both cases, including the first one against Mr. Anderson (which was dismissed due to failure to provide adequate discovery) were on calendar this afternoon. This was because there were some records subpoenaed that were the same as in the previous case.

Mr. McLaughlin provided a Trial Confirmation Statement to the Court this afternoon. May 12 is still the date for Jury Trial. "The only issue that might throw a wrench is that we were provided 1108 evidence a week or so ago and our investigator is working on it."

Mr. McLaughlin thought the defense will be ready by the date but since May 12 is only 4 days short of the 60 day deadline for trial; he suggested to the Court that perhaps a "402 hearing on the 1108 witness could be heard before jury selection."

Here are links and information on on 402 and 1108 codes:


402.  (a) When the existence of a preliminary fact is disputed, its
existence or nonexistence shall be determined as provided in this
   (b) The court may hear and determine the question of the
admissibility of evidence out of the presence or hearing of the jury;
but in a criminal action, the court shall hear and determine the
question of the admissibility of a confession or admission of the
defendant out of the presence and hearing of the jury if any party so
   (c) A ruling on the admissibility of evidence implies whatever
finding of fact is prerequisite thereto; a separate or formal finding
is unnecessary unless required by statute.


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
   (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.

Other posts on this blog about this case:



HCSO warns public of scam artist wanting to bilk them

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wants to warn the public regarding a telephone scam. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office today has received approximately five separate complaints today from citizens, who all basically stated the following:

 A male subject called them stating he is with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or the Humboldt County Courts and they have a warrant for their arrest with a bail of $2,500.00. The caller attempts to get a payment from the intended victim. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wants to advise the public that this person is not associated with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or anyone else in law enforcement or Humboldt County Courts. The Sheriff’s Office does not call citizens and demand they send in money to avoid arrest.

 The Sheriff’s Office would like to continue to remind callers to not send money, money orders, provide credit card information, checking account information or any other personal information to people over the phone or on line.

Heroin, Narco and Marijuana discovered when deputy checks on man's welfare

 On 04-30-2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was patrolling in the Manila area when he saw a green Honda Accord parked in the gravel lot on the south side of Manila Park. The deputy saw the adult male occupant was laying low in his seat, so the deputy exited the patrol car to check the man’s welfare. As the deputy approached the Honda he could see the male through the back window. As soon as the male saw the deputy approaching, he reached for a black cigarette box in the passenger seat. The deputy saw the male stuff a plastic baggie that contained a white powdery substance into the cigarette box to conceal it from the deputy. The deputy recognized the white powder as a controlled substance. When the deputy asked the male for identification, he verbally identified himself as David Charles Wilson, 33 years old.  Wilson told the deputy he did not have any identification with him. The deputy could smell the strong odor of  marijuana in the vehicle as he spoke with Wilson. When he asked Wilson about it, he said he had a medical card for the marijuana.

The deputy had Wilson exit the vehicle and the deputy detained Wilson. The deputy searched the cigarette box that he saw Wilson stuff the plastic bag containing white powder into. The bag contained approximately 6.3 grams of cocaine.  The deputy located a second plastic bag in the same cigarette box which contained approximately 2.5 grams of heroin.  The deputy also located four boxes of sandwich baggies like the ones that contained the drugs on the floor board of the car. Under the driver’s seat the deputy located a digital scale,  and another cigarette box which contained 19 Narco pills.
 In the trunk of the vehicle the deputy located approximately 1.5 pounds of processed marijuana with a medical card for Wilson taped to the box the marijuana was contained in.

Wilson was arrested possession of a controlled substance and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail was set at $25,000.00

Daughter pistol whips 74 year old father

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 11:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a woman, who identified herself LaDonna Dee Dellera, 48 years old, from Ettersburg. Dellera told the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher she shot at her 74 year father with a .357 magnum revolver and pistol whipped him. Deputies and medical personnel responded to the 1300 block of Harrow Road, Ettersburg. While enroute, the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a call from a neighbor of Dellera, who said the 74 year old victim was at their residence. He was not shot, but did have head injuries.

Deputies met with the victim who told them he owns the cabin on Harrow Road, but his daughter lives in the cabin, and he resides in Fortuna. When he arrived at the cabin today, she came at him with a chrome handgun in her hand. He believed she fired the gun at least once into the ceiling of the residence, and then attacked him by kicking him several times. As he backed out of the residence, she fired at least one more round in his direction.  Deputies saw he had fresh lacerations on his head and face, and his shirt was torn. The victim declined medical attention.

Deputies contacted LaDonna Dellera at the cabin where the assault occurred. She was waiting for the deputies outside her home on the deck. She told the deputies she and her father got into an argument. She admitted to firing a .357 handgun into the ceiling of the cabin after her father walked aggressively towards her. She admitted to striking him in the head with the handgun and striking him with her hands and feet. She also admitted to firing two rounds in his direction as he left the cabin towards the front of his truck. She denied trying to shoot him, only scare him.

Deputies recovered the handgun and saw evidence consist with the weapon being fired.

LaDonna Dellera was arrested for assault with a firearm, and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked. Her bail is set at $100,000.00.

Man with warrant for arrests calls in about man who jumped into Humboldt Bay

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 10:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a pay phone in Johnny’s RV Park, King Salmon. The male caller told the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher he just witnessed a man jump into Humboldt Bay. The caller said the man was walking a black lab on the beach, when the man suddenly yelled, “Lisa, I can’t live without you”, and jumped into the water. The caller told the dispatcher the black lab ran off after the man jumped into the water. The caller witnessed the man dive under water and watched him, waiting for the man to surface.  The caller said the man was under water for two or three minutes and failed to resurface. The caller then decided to call 911 to get the man help. The caller refused to wait for deputies or give the dispatcher his name. The caller said he had warrants for his arrest, which is why he would not provide his name to the dispatcher.

 Deputies and the United States Coast Guard responded to the King Salmon area and searched for the man  who allegedly jumped in the water. A United States Coast Guard Helicopter also arrived and assisted in the search efforts. Searchers could not find a man in the water. They could also not find the caller, any witnesses or the black lab the caller had described.

76 Gas Station in McKinleyville robbed

On 04-30-2014, at approximately 2: 57 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the clerk at the 76 Gas Station, located at 2698 Central Avenue, McKinleyville. The clerk reported he had just been robbed and the suspect had left on foot running southbound on Central Avenue. Deputies arrived at the gas station in less than two minutes of the call and searched the area for the suspect.

After searching the area, deputies met with the 26 year old male clerk. He told the deputies he was seated behind the counter when the suspect came into the station. The suspect was wearing a mask over his face, a ball cap over the mask and a light colored jacket with a dark hoodie. The suspect appeared to have a light beard under the mask and appeared to be a white male adult.  The suspect demanded money from the register and told the clerk to do it quickly.  The clerk never saw a gun, but felt the suspect may have had one due to his behavior.

Right after the suspect fled the store, another former store employee walked into the store and witnessed the suspect running southbound on Central Avenue.

Deputies reviewed the stores video tape and saw the suspect was wearing a light windbreaker with dark strips on it. He also was wearing a black hat with a white triangle type symbol on the left side of the hat face.

The clerk was not injured in the robbery.

McKinleyville man arrested for growing marijuana on Karuk Tribe's ceremonial grounds

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call
From Karuk Tribal members who reported they located a man trying to grow marijuana on their Ceremonial Dance grounds located off Camp Creek Road, Orleans. The tribal members were detaining the man waiting for Sheriff’s Deputies to arrive.

When deputies arrived they met with the Tribal Members and the 38 year old male suspect from McKinleyville. The tribal members told the deputies they found the man attempting to cultivate numerous marijuana plants on their Ceremonial Dance grounds.  Deputies determined the land where the Dance Grounds were located, is owned by a person who resides out of the area. The Tribal members were allowed to use the property for their Ceremonial Dances.

When interviewed, the suspect told the deputies he was in the process of purchasing the property and it was in escrow. The suspect told the deputies he was growing the marijuana for medical reasons and had a medical marijuana recommendation. The deputies told the suspect he was trespassing, as he did not own the property yet, and was out of compliance for medical marijuana based upon their investigation. Deputies located and seized 615 growing marijuana plants, which were approximately two feet tall and all being grown in plastic pots. The suspect was directed by the deputies to clean up the grow equipment on the site. Deputies are seeking a warrant for the suspects arrest for trespassing, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

More details on the Hydesville bust; marijuana, $3,000 cash rifles and a loaded semi-auto handgun found

On 04-29-2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant on a residence in the 3000 block of Johnson Road, Hydesville. The search warrant was obtained after the Sheriff’s Office received numerous complaints  from parents, teachers and school administrators about the marijuana grow.  When deputies arrived they detained a 28 year old female, who was walking up to the residence. Deputies learned the female had just walked her child to school and was returning to the residence where she lived.

The female told the deputies she lived in the residence with a male and her two year old daughter  and both were in the home. When deputies served the search warrant they located the male, Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old in the home. They also located the two year old child in the master bedroom of the home where dried marijuana and an assault rifle were located.

 The couple told the deputies the marijuana was a medical marijuana grow.

Deputies continued their search of the property and residence. They located 176 growing marijuana pants approximately 2’ tall being grown indoors in a detached shop area. They also located four pounds of processed marijuana and approximately ten pounds of drying marijuana plants, approximately $3000 cash, scales,  along with a Russian SKS and Mac-90 Assault rifle, two high capacity magazines, and a loaded 40 caliber semi-auto handgun.

Deputies called the Humboldt County Planning Department and Child Welfare Services who both responded to the residence. The Planning Department determined the electrical wiring was unpermitted and notified P.G. &E. to respond to the scene.

Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, child endangerment, illegal possession of an assault rifle, armed in the commission of a felony and illegal possession of a gun magazine. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00.

Deputies interviewed, identified and released the 28 year female and will be seeking a warrant for her arrest with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and seeking the same charges as Carr.

Thad Greenson's Crime Fighters in NCJ's latest issue a must read

Thad's recent article, UnSealed was good. His Crime Fighters, in the latest issue, is a fair and balanced article and has profiles and statistics. If you do not have time to attend debates, watch videos online; this article will give you a glimpse into each candidate.

Follow it up with your own research.

I don't know if it was Thad's excellent editing and reporting or a conscious choice by certain candidates not to personally attack their opponents and instead focus on their strengths. Going forward the latter would be a refreshing change.

Love the cover NCJ!

Operating Engineers and Bear River Rohnerville Rancheria endorse Ryan Sundberg

 Supervisor Ryan Sundberg  has been endorsed by Operating Engineers and Bear River Rohnerville Rancheria.

Apr 29, 2014

Not Broadway Motel but Pine Motel where pellet gun was used, victims knew each other

According to EPD's Sgt. Steve Watson, the victim said they knew each other. He added that  is unclear exactly what at this time,  but there is some kind of past history between the two women. The victim had been told not to return to the property

Another first for Patrik Griego, restitution for emotional distress requested in child molestation case

Mr. Patrik Griego, who does both civil litigation and criminal defense, has done it again. Mr. Griego said that in California, a victim of a crime such as rape or murder has to file civil litigation to get restitution for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. In California, the exception is that if the crime is child molestation, then you can request restitution for non-economic damages in a criminal case which includes emotional distress.

Patrick Griego represents Jane Doe who was molested by her uncle. On behalf of Doe, Mr. Griego is seeking restitution for past and future emotional distress in a criminal case. According to Mr. Griego, this is the first time he is aware that such a request is being made in Humboldt.

The charges against Brian Clark were for a felony: sex offense. Count 1 and 2 Lewd or Lascivious Act with victim under 14 years, Count 3 Indecent Exposure and Count 4 Annoy/Molest a Child under 18 years.

According to Mr. Griego's testimony, the molestation occurred from ages 4 to 14.

The case was heard in Courtroom 1 by Judge John Feeney. Luke Brownfield prosecuted the case. Defendant's attorney is Russ Clanton and Mr. Griego represents the victim.

Today there was a sentencing and restitution hearing and instead of Mr. Brownfield, Jason Sheets was representing the People. The Defense filed a motion today to oppose restitution.

Judge Feeney announced his tentative decision for a 3 year supervised probation and 180 days in jail for Clark.

Then he heard from the attorneys. Mr. Clanton said he did not object to probation; he did object to the incarceration. Mr. Clanton said that Clark made "an error in judgement. He has received significant punishment. He will be a registered sex offender."

Mr. Clanton went on to comment on how this case affected Clark's economic status and that Clark had voluntarily entered the NARUM sex offender program. And that he had offered the victim restitution and needed to be out of custody to earn money. He also asked if Judge Feeney would remove the no alcohol condition that probation recommended.

Mr. Sheets asked the Court to follow the recommendations of probation.

Judge Feeney sentenced Clark to the the 3 year formal supervised probation and a 180 days in jail. Clark received credit for 22 days. Judge Feeney did not remove any conditions of probation. He said that Clark could not "associate with a female under 18 years unless accompanied by an adult. and that he have no contact with Jane Doe and cannot harass her.

Mr. Griego then spoke about how he arrived at the amounts they were seeking for restitution. $600,000 for the 10 years of molestation and another $36,000 for expenses. He cited a case and summarized reasons for the request submitted in writing.

Mr. Clanton countered with a theory that Jane Doe had pre-exisiting problems and that it could not be proven that Jane Doe's problems were directly because of Clark's behavior.

Judge Feeney did not make a final decision on the restitution today. He will issue a written ruling.

Mr. Griego was successful in getting the DA's office to dismiss a case against Adam Laird , who worked for the EPD when the alleged assault occurred. He works for Janssen Malloy LLP, the firm that is well known for successful civil litigation including  the firm’s jury verdict case in 2010, Lavender vs. Skilled Healthcare LLC.

Mr. Griego has been honored by multiple state and national legal organizations, including awards for both California and National Trial Lawyer of the Year. These include : 2011 Public Justice National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award,  2011 Consumer Attorneys of California Attorney of the Year Award, 2010 Northern California Super Lawyer,  2009 California Lawyer of the Year, 2009 Street Fighter of the Year and  a Superb 10/10 RATING from AVVO.

HCSO serves 1 warrant in Hydesville and then responds to Hoopa/Orleans area for another marijuana grow call

From Lt. Steve Knight, HCSO:

 A warrant was served at a residence in Hydesville about 8:30 am today in the 3000 block of Johnson Road.  DTF and HCSO . The officers arrested one person that I am aware of, that was Christopher Michael Carr, 27 years old. He was arrested for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, child endangerment, illegal possession of a gun magazine, possession of an illegal assault weapon. Total of Six felonies. His bail was set at $50,000.00.

The officers left the Johnson Road marijuana grow and responded to the Hoopa /Orleans area for another marijuana grow, so Lt. Knight will have a complete press release tomorrow. The area law enforcement went to did not have cell information.

Victim shot with a pellet gun near Broadway Motel

On 04/28/14 at approximately 7:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to a report of an assault which had just occurred at a motel near the 2400 block of Broadway.  The victim said she was waiting for a friend in the driveway of the motel when the manager, identified as Tina Nash, walked from the office area and pointed a rifle type gun at her.  The victim said she heard what appeared to be a pellet gun shot and immediately felt a sting on her chin.  The victim ran away from the scene and called police. 

The victim initially denied medical aid, but was later treated and released from the hospital for a small wound to her lower jaw and lip.  Nash was arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon.  The pellet gun was seized as evidence.

General jury selection in Bodhi Tree case to start soon

General jury selection in the Bodhi Tree case may start as early as later this week or the beginning of next week.

As explained and reported previously, jurors are being questioned for hardship prior to general jury selection. Some jurors have confidential matters and there are also motions on evidence that are confidential so the courtroom is closed for those matters.

The courtroom is open for certain parts of the selection process now and the above information was mentioned by the Judge Reinholtsen to jurors and public this morning.

There is only 1 DA who is truly for the People

There is only 1 DA candidate who believes: “We have to be mindful how the decisions we make affect lives”;  “The DA’s office is not the prosecution arm of law enforcement, we are the system of checks and balances”; and “People should not be able to buy their way out of crime.”

There is only 1 DA candidate with no party affiliation. Only 1 DA candidate who gave up guaranteed party endorsements, money and volunteer support that comes with the party approval.

There is only 1 DA candidate that has brought together diverse people who have not worked together before this election.

There is only 1 DAcandidate who is presently an active prosecutor in the criminal justice system with a full caseload and full-time job. There is only 1 DA candidate who has prosecuted under realignment and given specifics on how this affects sentences.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has management and business experience in the private sector.

There is only 1 DA candidate who did not leave the office but stayed when the going is tough.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has been criticized, put under the spotlight, and has risen above the clamor to stay focused on her job and the race.

There is only 1 DA candidate who has not polarized this community pitting Democrats against Republicans; growers against non-growers, rich against poor; Eureka against Garberville.

That candidate is Elan Firpo. We need a DA who is truly for the People.

Alleged pitchfork perpetrator Darling in court today with 5 cases, released on OR days before recent incident

Paula Sue Darling was in court today and 5 cases were on the court calendar this afternoon in Courtroom 5. This is Judge Hinrich's courtroom but today visiting Judge Arvid Johnson was presiding. Roger Rees for the People and Kevin Robinson was appointed as counsel for Ms. Darling.

 The most recent case Darling is charged with felony, assault. Count 1 is Inflict Corporal Injury on a Spouse and Cohabitant and Count 2 is Assault with a Deadly Weapon other than Firearm.

A quick glance on the public access computers shows two cases for which she was arraigned on 4/3/14 and released on 4/6/14 on OR. She has failures to appear and bench warrants on at least 1 of these cases. Charges were misdemeanors.  Assault and battery, vandalism, possession of a controlled substance.

Two other cases she had conditional probation foira 1 year. Was found guilty in September 2011 on a DUI and Drug Offense. Various charges of reckless driving, possession of controlled substance, possession of marijuana over 28.5 grams, possession of controlled substance paraphenelia and failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility.Public Defender represented her in 2011.

Today's update:

She was denied release on OR today. She does have a couple of aliases today and started her court proceeding by identifying herself as Paula McKee. She was not feeling particularly Darling today.

But the savvy court staff informed the visiting judge and the hearing proceeded While Mr. Robinson was receiving and looking over the paperwork for the 3 cases she was arraigned on today and while the Judge was mentioning that there were petitions to revoke probation, Darling was impatient in wanting to see the documents. Mr. Robinson calmly spoke with her and thankfully for her, entered her not guilty pleas and a time waiver.

While Mr. Robinson had requested she be released on OR with a supervised release program, Mr. Rees objected and asked that the Court follow the recommendations of supervised release but no OR and that this was for the protection of the victim and the community.

The Judge agreed with Mr. Rees.

Background info:

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville.  When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand.  Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.
Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes

"Your Voice, Your Future" conference presented by the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California

If you have not already heard about it or registered, there may still be time to attend "Your Voice, Your Future: Climate Change on the North Coast Global Events, California's Vision, North Coast Choices."

It is taking place May 2, Wharfinger Building in Eureka. The introduction, recommencement and closing remarks will be given by Paul Hagen, Environmental Lawyer, Isola Law Group, Arcata. Other presenters include Amos Tripp, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe; Scott Bauer, Senior Environmental Scientist, Coho Recovery, Coastal Conservation Planning, California Department of Fish and wildlife and Cris Carrigan, State Water Resources Control Board's Office of Enforcement.

Online registration is closed so call (415) 538-2508 to see if space is still available.

Community effort supporting Sara's Garden and the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation

Ran into Julie Fulkerson, Mayor of Trinidad She gave me a poster about a Silent Art Auction on May 3 that will benefit Sara's Garden and the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation.

The viewing of paintings, photographs, sculptures, pottery and jewelry and bidding can be done 5/2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 5/3 10 a.m to 8:30 p.m. The location is listed as 5th and F, which I assume is the empty storefront, the former home of Plaza Design. It is in the building owned by Dan and Jayne Ollivier, both big art patrons and supporters. Next door to the Sewell Gallery.

Bids on many items start at $5. Music provided by Marimba One.

Julie said that artists came forward to donate on their own and the outpouring of support was very generous.

For more information, call (707) 845-1125.

Apr 28, 2014

The human face of the criminal justice system that goes unseen

Drug busts, plea deals, high profile cases that make headlines. The media covers those but the daily grind of following a case from start to finish is not something that entices a reporter or reader. Usually.

The human face of the criminal justice system are the addicts, the mentally ill, the abused, the poor, the ones who do not have the support of family or friends yet survive and succeed.

This last week, there have been at least two success stories that were very heartwarming. This happened in two courtrooms this week, as I waited for yet another case to be called.  The case I was covering was grinding its way through the painstaking slow criminal justice procedures; dates being reset, resolutions being discussed.

I like to follow the life of the case. It is one of the reasons I do this regular court beat. It gives a view into the reality of the criminal justice system.

One of the Judges said that people end up in the criminal justice system for many reasons. For some it is a wake up call and they turn their life around. Others find themselves back time after time.

The Judge commended the man who stood silently and had successfully met all the requirements asked of him. He thanked the Judge, the prosecutor and his attorney for giving him a chance and believing in him. They smiled, genuinely happy for him.

Over and over again, you see people in custody  not taking seriously the consequences of their actions, just nodding their head to a plea deal so they can get out, showing no remorse.

There are individuals who chose to walk away from the past, take responsibility and succeed against all odds.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome". --Booker T. Washington

Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund endorses Elan Firpo

Press Release:

The Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund (HCLDF) enthusiastically endorses √Član Firpo for District Attorney. The HCLDF is committed to the protection of civil liberties for all residents of Humboldt County and feels that Ms. Firpo is the candidate that would best protect those liberties guaranteed in our State and Federal Constitutions.

The HCLDF was founded in 2011 and is made up both conservatives and liberals. While the membership may differ on matters of legislation, we are united in our unwavering defense of civil liberties because we believe them to be the cornerstone of our democracy.

The office of District Attorney plays an unparalleled role in both the protection and violation of our cherished liberties. Few public officials hold such power to take away one's freedom as a prosecutor does. We urge all citizens who share our concern for protection of the freedoms we hold so dear to join us in working to elect √Član Firpo as Humboldt County's District Attorney.

For more information or to offer your support to the Defense Fund go to www.hcldf.org or visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/hcldf/

Ms. Firpo's response:

"I am honored to add the endorsement of the Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund to the other endorsements that have been entrusted to me by diverse Humboldt County constituents," said Ms. Firpo. "Civil liberties is one of the cornerstones of my personal beliefs. I want the Humboldt County District Attorney's office to stand up for the rights of all people equally".

Golden Harvest open for dinner 1 night only, also benefit for Firpo campaign

Sean Balassa, besides cooking fresh, organic food is an enthusiastic Elan Firpo supporter.  On May 2, the Golden Harvest Eureka location will be open for dinner.

In addition to the full menu, Sean is cooking three of his favorite dinners: Fresh Pasta Alfredo, Chicken Tacos Supreme and NY blackened steak. Sean will be donating part of the night's income to Elan Firpo's campaign.

Check out the Golden Harvest facebook page for more information and make reservations for May 2nd.

Marijuana, cash and Chevy Impala taken in home invasion robbery on Fickle Hill Road

On 04-27-2014, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a Home Invasion Robbery that occurred in the 12000 block of Fickle Hill Road, Arcata. Deputies responded to the residence and met with three victims, a 28 year old male, a 36 year old male and a 33 year old female.  The two males lived at the residence, and the female was visiting when the Home Invasion occurred.  The victims reported being tied up for several hours before freeing themselves. The victims also reported there were four suspects who were armed with AR-15 type assault rifles. The suspects were all in their twenties,  they all wore masks and were described as two white males, a black male and an unknown male whose face was completely covered with a clown mask.  The suspects stole marijuana, cash, and the female victims white Chevy Impala, which deputies located at approximately 9:40 p.m. near the intersection of Butler Valley Road and Fickle Hill Road.

The victims had no idea who the suspects were. No one was injured during the robbery.

Apr 24, 2014

HCSO still searching for missing woman whose ATM card was last sighted on March 11

 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives are still searching for Jacqueline Joanne Sullivan, 39 years old.  Detectives spoke with Sullivan's landlord who told them she texted him ten days prior to moving out of her  apartment and told the landlord she was leaving the area. Detectives have also learned that Sullivan’s ATM  Card was used in the Coalinga, California area on March 11, 2014. At this point there has still been no sighting of Sullivan or contact with family members who are worried about her welfare.

 Detectives also learned the license plate on the truck she is driving is a 2002 Toyota Tacoma, grey with a  shell, is California Plate 6EYT307, not 7M50504 as originally reported. The 7M50504 is an old license  plate for the same truck.

Apr 23, 2014

Councilmember Mike Newman report on League of California Cities’ Legislative Action Day

Council Member Mike L. Newman joined nearly 200 city officials from throughout
California in Sacramento on April 23 for the League of California Cities’ Legislative Action Day. The
annual event gives city officials an opportunity to visit the state Capitol and meet with their legislators to
discuss issues of importance to California cities.

“It was an honor to be in Sacramento today to represent the City of Eureka. The League’s annual
Legislative Action Day is about building and maintaining relationships and exchanging information with
our state lawmakers. I was able to meet with Assembly Member Chesbro, Assembly Member Bonilla and
Assembly Member Gomez, and attended the League’s briefings on priority legislation, the state budget
and economic development,” said Council Member Newman. “I returned to Eureka with information of
value for the city.”

The event kicked off Wednesday morning with a budget and policy briefing led by League First Vice and
Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara, League Executive Director Chris McKenzie and League Legislative
Director Dan Carrigg. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) provided a keynote address to the
gathered city officials Wednesday morning. The morning session wrapped up with a news conference at
the state Capitol covering legislation by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla of Concord that would create
new regulations for massage therapists and massage therapy establishments that stop the proliferation of
illicit massage and provide true public safety protections.

League First Vice and Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara’s remarks focused on fostering legislative
relationships and promoting economic development. “Through strong relationships with legislators, we as city officials are able to make our voices heard. California cities need new options for infrastructure investment
and economic development. We’re calling for new tools, authority and funding to facilitate investment in both state and local infrastructure to help spur job growth and economic opportunity for all Californians.”

Following meetings in the Capitol with their legislators, city officials participated in a legislative forum that
featured a panel on job creation, economic development, water, transportation funding, redevelopment,
economic development and AB 2280. League Immediate Past President and Pasadena Mayor Bill
Bogaard moderated the panel that included Assembly Member Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood),
Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), and California Transportation Commission Commissioner and
California Alliance for Jobs Executive Director Jim Earp.

Transient with outstanding warrant for controlled substance gets arrested for meth

 On 04-22-2014, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was patrolling in downtown Garberville when he saw Michael Lee Russell, 27 years old, a local transient. The deputy was aware Russell had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The deputy contacted Russell on the sidewalk in front of the Lone Pine Hotel, where he arrested him. After placing Russell under arrest, the deputy asked him if he had any sharp items in his pockets before the deputy searched him. Russell told the deputy he had methamphetamine in his pocket.
The deputy located over 5 grams of methamphetamine, a scale and $100 in cash in Russell’s possession. Russell was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession for sale of a controlled substance, along with the arrest warrant. His total bail is set at $80,000.00.

A Supervisor who gets it

I first met Ryan Sundberg in 2010 at a candidate forum in Willow Creek. Ryan is polite, professional, and does not have to raise his voice to make an impact; his words do.

I asked the 5th District candidates a question about jobs and affordable housing. Ryan’s answer that day has earned him my vote and loyalty. You don’t have to explain to Ryan what it is to struggle to maintain a roof over your head or obtain housing, why it is so hard to get or maintain a job; he gets it.

The same thing applies to business matters. Ryan knows what it is like to build a business, especially without access to funds and loans; what a small business goes through just to make every day expenses, often living paycheck to paycheck.

It is that life experience that makes Ryan stand out. Issues like the GPU that are so bogged down in bureaucrat-speak that most of us need a decoder. One should not take a position on something they do not fully understand.  Ryan can talk about such subjects with expertise yet in language that explains the impact to the average voter.

In 2010, Ryan was the newcomer. He is knowledgeable about his District and the specific issues that needed to be fixed. Ryan has lived in the area all his life. So has his family. On June 3rd, chose Ryan; his experience and community relationships benefit you on a practical level.

Apr 22, 2014

Domestic dispute results in man being assaulted with a pitchfork

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville.  When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand.  Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.
Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes

Allison Jackson gives letter to Rex and Estelle, item #2 pulled from Closed Session

Allison Jackson, a partner in the Harland Law Firm, dropped off a letter to County CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes, Board of Supervisor Chair Rex Bohn and Vice-Chair Estelle Fennell this morning. It relates to the item below which is scheduled for this morning's meeting.


2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9 subd.(d)(1); Eel River Disposal and Resource Recovery, Inc. v. County of Humboldt; Humboldt County Superior Court Case No. CV110352.

The litigation mentioned in I 2 is not existing, it had a final decision and ruling. If it is to be discussed, it should be during open session, Ms. Jackson told me.

When it came to closed session, County Counsel Wendy Chaitin said "There was no need for item # 2." No other reason was given. When asked for a reason, Chair Bohn did not respond except to say that they were in closed session. Vice-Chair Fennell asked County Counsel to respond, Ms. Chaitin responded with the same "There is no need". She further added that "Whether it will be brought back later or not" is not something that would be determined at the current time.

This is the second time I have observed County Counsel be defensive when called on legal matters. County Counsel is supposed to watch out for the legal interests of the County. I think the public deserves a response.

Ms. Jackson just did a favor for the Board of Supervisors.

I am not aware if the other Supervisors were given copies of the letter. Traci D'Amico, deputy clerk of the. Board of Supervisors, was handed the letters given to Rex and Estelle sometime this morning before closed session.

I would like to personally thank Supervisor Fennell for her diligence in transparency. In her letter, Ms Jackson informed the Board of reasons that item #2 was "improperly agendized" and that discussion of it would be a violation of the Brown Act.

In her letter, Ms. Jackson cites Government Code section 54956.9 subd (d) (1)stating that any other action that the Board wishes to take concerning the final order after hearing of both the trial and apellate courts must take place in open session and after being properly agendized.

Ms. Jackson states in her letter that "closed sessions are forbidden by the Brown Act unless they are expressly authorized under the Act. The Act's provisions authorizing closed sessions are construed
narrowly by the courts due to Proposition 59,  passed by the voters in November 2004. Under the "pending Litigation" exception, only matters  "actually pending" may be taken up in closed session and then only a discussion of issues is permissible where discussion of those issues in open session would prejudice the agency's position in the litigation.

Ms. Jackson said, There is nothing 'pending' regarding this lawsuit. The litigation has been concluded. The litigation has been concluded. There is no appeal or reconsideration available to the County. There is only compliance with the Court's order. The Board must comply with the Order. Any discussion regrading compliance with that Order must take place in open session since there is nothing left pending in the litigation since the litigation has concluded.

It started with the headlines and just fizzled; Miller ordered to pay restitution to Sally Arnot

It started with  Misty Dawn Miller and Brian Anthony Arriaga being in the headlines and then just fizzled. Arriaga's cases had been dismissed earlier due to lack of evidence. 

Miller was sentenced yesterday in Courtroom 1 by Judge John Feeney. Luke Brownfield is the prosecutor in this case for the People. Heidi Holmquist represented Miller.

Before Miller was sentenced, she sat in the courtroom with her husband and looked through the probation report given to her by Ms. Holmquist. And when her case was called, she talked briefly with Ms. Holmquist. Miller had made bail since the last court hearing.

Judge Feeney said his tentative decision was to follow the recommended orders by Probation which was three years of formal supervised probation.

Ms. Holmquist said that the only part Miller was concerned about was the expense of the Alcohol and Drug programs. "She does not have a problem with doing the programs, she doesn't have the funds."

Judge Feeney said that items #21 and #22 were "critical to Ms. Miller's success".  He did not grant a funds waiver. There was an attempt by Ms. Holmquist again addressing expenses. Judge Feeney stressed again that if Miller wanted probation she needed to complete the programs and pay for those programs. At this point, Miller indicated yes and Judge Feeney made his decision final about granting her three years of formal supervised probation.

He ordered her to stay away from a specific address; and among the fines and restitutions she was ordered by the Court to pay,  was $396 to Sally Arnot

Background info:

These are 2 of several posts on this case that I have reported on from start to finish.




Residential burglary victim awakens to find flat screen TV missing and two men drive away

On 04-20-2014, at approximately 4:25 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a residential burglary which just occurred in the 2400 block of Cypress Avenue, Eureka. Deputies responded to the residence and met with the victims. The 57 year old male victim told the investigating deputies he and his 77 year old mother were asleep in his home when the man saw flashlights in the hallway. He thought his mother had awakened so he asked her if everything was O.K. the victim got up and walked down the hallway and saw his front door was open. The victim then saw his flat screen television was missing from the living room.  He looked outside his home and saw two males wearing dark clothing attempting to put his television in the rear of a vehicle. The vehicle was parked on the north corner of Cypress and Cedar Street, Eureka. He witnessed the two males put his television into the rear seat of their car and drive away. He could only describe the car as a dark colored two door sedan.

 The victim searched his home after calling the Sheriff’s Office and saw nothing else was missing. Investigating deputies could not find any signs of forced entry. The deputies saw where the television had been and items were knocked over as if the suspects left in a hurry with the television. The victim told the deputies the front door must have accidentally been left unlocked.

Apr 21, 2014

Motorcyclist collison on Broadway results in death

On April 20, 2014, at approximately 12:35 AM, a Eureka Police Department
officer on patrol was driving northbound in the #2 lane of Broadway Street just
north of Wabash Avenue when he was passed by a blue and white Honda
motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed in the #1 lane of northbound
Broadway Street. The officer estimated the motorcycle was travelling in excess
of 80 MPH as it entered the 30 MPH zone there.

The officer broadcast his observations of the reckless motorcyclist to Dispatch
but did not take any enforcement action out of concern it would only prompt the
rider to further increase his speed.

As the officer continued driving northbound, he saw the rider lose control of the
motorcycle at around the 1000 block of Broadway. The rider fell off his
motorcycle and struck the raised curb at West Grant Street and Broadway. The
motorcycle continued north and collided with a closed garage door at 939
Broadway, breaking through the door.

The rider suffered fatal injuries from his collision with the curb and was
pronounced dead at the scene. EPD Traffic Unit officers were called to the

scene and assumed the investigation. Members of the Eureka Volunteer Patrol
(EVP) also responded to assist with traffic control and scene security.

The name of the motorcyclist is being withheld at this time pending notification of the family.

Man steals box from donation box at Safeway for Children Hunger Program

On 04-20-2014, at approximately 2:00 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy on patrol drove through the rear entrance of Safeway, 2555 Harris Street, Eureka. As he drove in, he saw an adult male standing near the northwest exterior wall. As the patrol car approached the male, he  immediately turned his back, as if concealing something. The deputy exited his patrol car and asked the male what he was doing. The deputy saw the male was holding a clear plastic donation box. The deputy identified the man as Patrick Sean Riley, 54 years old from Briggs, Idaho.

The deputy asked Riley where he obtained the box, Riley told him from his work. The deputy saw Riley appeared to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Riley was detained by the deputy, who requested additional deputies respond and check with Safeway to determine if the box was stolen from inside the store.

The deputies contacted store employees who informed them the box was a donation box from inside Safeway. The boxes are located at the checkout stands on the counter so the public can donate. The money was being donated to the “Children Hunger Program”.   All the proceeds are donated to local charity.  The Safeway employees pointed out the spot where the donation box was stolen from. There was an outline on the counter where the box used to be.  The employees recognized Riley as recently purchasing a twelve pack of beer after milling about the store. The deputies reviewed a video tape with the Safeway employees, which showed Riley stealing the box. After reviewing the tape they saw that Riley intentionally knocked the clear plastic box off the counter when he purchased the beer, then hid the box in a plastic bag,  and then walked out of the store with it.

Riley was arrested for petty theft, possession of stolen property and public intoxication. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail is set at $25,000.00.  The stolen donation box was and contents were returned to Safeway.

Apr 19, 2014

Ongoing investigation in the large marijuana bust at the McKinney Industrail Warehouses in Fortuna; constant complaints from public

On 04-16-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Humboldt Drug Task Force assisted by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant at the McKenny Industrial Warehouses, 100 Airport Rd in the unincorporated area Fortuna California. During the service of the warrant agents located Robert Weese, 27 years old, from Fortuna, tending to a commercial, for profit, marijuana grow containing 1547 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding. Agents also located unpermitted and potentially dangerous wiring and a marijuana drying room. Weese was placed under arrest for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. His bail was set at $25,000.00.

Agents then served search warrants on two additional units at the same location. Agents determined both units contained commercial, for profit, marijuana growing operations. Agents again located marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding. In the second one unit agents located and seized 558 growing marijuana and in the third unit agents located 726 growing marijuana plants.

On 04-17-2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m. agents and deputies returned to the McKenny Industrial Warehouses, at 100 Airport Rd, and served a search warrant on a fourth storage unit. Agents located and seized 1376 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from vegetative, to budding.

Based off information obtained through the investigation surrounding the incident, agents served search warrants at several residences throughout Humboldt County. Those locations included the 2500 block of Dennis Ct in Fortuna, 2900 block of College Ave in Fortuna, the 1900 block of Scenic Drive in Fortuna, the 7200 block of Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, the 900 block of Hunts Drive, McKinleyville, and the 1800 block of Sutter Road, Fortuna. During the searches at the above listed locations officers’ located and seized 25 pounds of dried marijuana, two firearms, hash, hash lab equipment , fiduciary records, indicia of ownership and responsibility.

The units at McKenny Industrial Warehouses, located at 100 Airport Rd are individually metered for PG&E, and plumbed for water. The Sheriff’s Office has served warrants at this location in the last 12 months, and continually receives complaints from the public regarding the odor of marijuana emanating from the buildings. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that it is a felony in the state of California to profit from the sales of marijuana.

The investigation is ongoing; however, agents have identified several additional suspects involved in the case, and will be seeking arrest warrants for those suspects.

Possible homicide involving a firearm in Southern Humboldt

On 04/18/2014 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received information regarding a possible homicide involving a firearm that occurred in the Southern Humboldt area. The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating this allegation with the assistance from the District Attorney Investigator’s Office, Department of Justice (DOJ), Arson Task Force, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Benjamin Jasper Carter is wanted for questioning in association to this investigation. Carter is described to be a white male, age 33, 6’3”, 180 lbs, brown hair, and blue eyes. Carter’s head may be shaved bald and he may have a goatee and mustache. Carter has multiple tattoos on his chest, back, arms, legs, and neck. Carter is associated with a black GMC truck, CA license 6R68046. The truck has a blue tailgate with an Oakland Raiders design and front end damage. Carter is believed to be armed and dangerous. If seen, do not approach and contact law enforcement.

Wes Chesbro endorses Ryan Sundberg

Another big endorsement for Ryan Sundberg.

Apr 18, 2014

Hoopa Council interviews Maggie and Elan at Council meeting last night

They held off on making an endorsement until they had heard from all candidates.

Ryan Sundberg endorsed by the Hoopa tribe

Supervisor Ryan Sundberg has been endorsed by the Hoopa tribe.

"I am very proud of the relationship we have created between the County and the Tribe. I look forward to accomplishing even more together in my next term," said Supervisor Sundberg.

Apr 17, 2014

Impact of the drought and marijuana industry on local rivers

Scott Bauer of the California Fish and Wildlife Department will present on the impact of the drought and marijuana industry on local rivers tomorrow during a meeting of the Humboldt County Workforce Investment Board.

The meeting is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Annex of the Humboldt County Board of Education. There will also be discussion about federal workforce training funding and how it has been used to re-train workers laid off from their jobs in Humboldt County.

Statistics and Sex Offender's registration compliance sweep information, Eureka outnumbers other locations

Since March 24, 2014, a multi-agency sex offender’s registration compliance sweep has been occurring and is continuing, led by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of Eureka Police Department, Arcata Police Department, Humboldt County Probation, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the US Marshall’s Office in Humboldt County. The sweep is paid for by the Child Sexual Predator Program (C.S.P.P.) Grant. The operation was an effort to confirm the address the sex registrant provided to law enforcement was in fact the address that they resided at. The officers have checked on 327 separate registrants to date, to confirm the address is actually where they resided and were in compliance with the law.  All sex registrants are required to register in person with the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over their residence address. The registrants must also comply with the several registration requirements, such as updating their registration annually and informing law enforcement when any changes have been made to their address or registration information. Failure by a sex registrant to keep law enforcement notified of an address change or registration information is a crime per 290.18 of the California Penal Code and can be punished as a felony or misdemeanor.

The Sheriff’s Office will be obtaining arrest warrants for those found to be out of compliance.

To date 327 registrants information provided to law enforcement were checked. The following were the results of those checks: 271 found to be in compliance, 27 out of compliance, 10 were currently in custody, 14 were unable to be contacted at the residence listed,  3 provided addressed that could not be located and 3 were deceased.

There are a total of 508 sex registrants in Humboldt County. There are currently no registered sexually violent predators listed in the county.

Registrants who are excluded from being listed on the internet were required to file a form with the Department of Justice. Those registrants had to meet certain requirements to be excluded. The information can be found under the California Penal Code section 290.46e .

The following is a list of locations where sex registrants are currently residing.

Alderpoint: 2
Arcata: 24
Bayside: 3
Blue Lake: 4
Bridgeville: 6
Eureka: 220
Ferndale: 3
Fields Landing: 9
Fortuna: 36
Garberville: 1
Hoopa: 25
Hydesville: 3
Kneeland: 2
Korbel: 2
Loleta: 6
McKinleyville: 40
Myers Flat: 4
Orick: 5
Phillipsville: 3
Redway: 5
Rio Dell: 13
Samoa: 4
Trinidad: 5
Whitethorn/Shelter Cover: 3
Willow Creek: 5

You can learn more information on Megan’s Law Website

One Mckinleyville armed robbery suspect identified

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the armed robbery which occurred on 04-15-2014 and has identified the driver of the vehicle.  She is identified as Candice Keshan Swain, 25 years old who is a transient.  She is described as Native American, 5’ 4” tall, approximately 145 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes.

The lead investigating deputy is still actively working on identifying the second female who was the one identified by the victims as holding the knife. She is known as, “ Sonya “.

Sonya is described as Native American,  approximately in her 30’s, heavy set,  about 250 to 300 pounds, dark short hair pulled into a bun, was last seen wearing dark clothing and in possession of a 4” to 6” blade knife. She is possibly from the Hoopa area.

A be-on-the-lookout to area law enforcement has been issued for Swain who is wanted armed robbery.

Attempted Murder suspect from Sonoma County arrested in Weott

 On 04-15-2014, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the 16000 block of State Highway 254, Weott in regards to an unwanted subject. While enroute to the call, the female caller told Sheriff’s Office Dispatch the unwanted subject was Juan Luis Ayala Jr., 20 years old from Modesto, California, and he was wanted for attempted murder from Sonoma County. Sheriff’s Office Dispatch confirmed with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office that Ayala was wanted for attempted murder and vehicle theft. Dispatch also learned from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office the weapon used was a hammer.

When Deputies and California Highway Patrol Officers (C.H.P.) arrived at the residence where Ayala was at, the female caller met them outside. She told the deputies she did not want Ayala at her residence and Ayala was willing to surrender peacefully. Deputies entered the residence and took Ayala into custody without incident.

C.H.P. located the vehicle Ayala stole, a black 2000 Ford Echo in the South Fork High School parking lot. The vehicle was stored and Ayala was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail is set at $500,000.00.

Well-known and loved Hoopa community leader Marion McCovey to be arraigned today; was booked for marijuana cultivation, child endangerment and other charges

Today in Judge Mariyln Miles Courtroom 2, at 1:30 p.m., in addition to Marian Earl McCovey, Sr, two other defendants were arraigned. The co-defendants are Marion Earl McCovey, Jr and  Romeo Blue McCovey.

Mr. McCovey, Sr is well-known in the Hoopa community for his work with the Hoopa Youth Center, Hoopa Tribe Recreation Department, he coached youth in basketball,baseball and was formerly employed with the Klamath United Trinity School District.

The charges for each defendant include both felonies and misdemeanors. Jackie Pizzo is prosecuting this case for the People.

All three defendants were present in the courtroom, they are not in custody. Mr. McCovey, Sr is being represented by Jeffrey Schwartz. Judge Miles appointed the Public Defender Casey Russo  to represent Mr.McCovey, Jr and the Conflict Counsel supervising attorney Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis to represent Mr. Romeo Blue McCovey.

The charges against each defendant were read by Judge Miles with the appropriate code and then  stated as following: for Mr. McCovey, Sr. are Count 1 marijuana cultivation, Count 2, marijuana for sale, Count 3 child abuse and Count 4 contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

For Mr. McCovey, Jr and Romeo Blue McCovey the charges are the same. Count 1 is cultivation of marijuana, Count 2 marijuana for sale and Count 3 contributing to the deliquency of a minor.

Each defendant entered a not guilty plea and a general time waiver. Each defendant was allowed to remain out of custody on their own recognizance. Intervention is scheduled for June 17 at 3 p.m. and Preliminary Hearing on June 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Before the arraignment, the defendants were in the hallway and they sat quietly. Their demeanor was very respectful and polite to people around them. In court, their behavior was the same.

Background on case from Hoopa Tribal Police Department press release:

On 12/11/2013 the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department ended a five month long marijuana investigation after serving a search warrant at a residence located on Mill Creek Road In Hoopa CA.

At the Hoopa residence Officers located approximately 11 lbs of marijuana and several firearms. One suspect was arrested at the residence identified as Marion McCovey Sr age 56. McCovey was transported and booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for H&S 11358 Cultivation of marijuana, H&S 11359 Possession of marijuana for sale, H&S 11357 c Possession of marijuana over an ounce, PC 182(a)(1) Conspiracy, PC 273a(a) Child Endangerment and PC 272 Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Two juveniles who were at the residence at the time of the search warrant were placed with a family member. This is an ongoing investigation and more arrests are anticipated.

Fortuna Airport Road bust Day 2: 2500 plants , more search warrants, 1 arrested

In addition to yesterday's bust, on  day 2, now up to  2500 plants , more search warrants, 1 arrested. All the press is covering this story so I am not in a rush to update the information or post the press releases.

Apr 16, 2014

Yurok Tribe endorses Elan Firpo for District Attorney

The Yurok Tribe endorsed Elan Firpo for Humboldt County District Attorney at its regular council meeting in Klamath, CA, on Thursday, April 10.

“The Yurok Tribe’s court and justice system is growing, and we are looking forward to furthering our collaborative effort with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office, which will benefit our tribal members,” said Yurok Tribe Chairman Thomas O’Rourke, Sr.

"It is a great honor to be endorsed by the Yurok Tribe," said Elan Firpo. "I intend to live up to this vote of confidence by strengthening the link between the DA's office and the tribes and Rancherias as we make this a safe place to raise our families."

The Yurok Tribe is the largest Indian Tribe in California with 5,989 tribal members. Several initiatives to benefit Yurok tribal members and surrounding communities are currently under way, including the construction of a visitors’ center, hotel and casino and a fiber optic high speed internet system.

From DA's office to Clanton Law Firm, now Ben McLaughlin has his own practice

Ben McLaughlin just started his own practice about a month ago. He will be taking cases as a criminal defense attorney as well as family law and some personal injury in the future.

Congratulations Ben!

Human trafficking with a minor, new count added to David Anderson case

At the pretrial hearing today for David Anderson, a new charge was added and it was human trafficking involving a minor. This is Count 8. Penal code 236.1 (c)

Anderson's attorney Ben McLaughlin did have a response. He said he was concerned that these "new charges are intended to make evidence inflammatory and prejudicial" towards his client.

He said while he did not have basis to oppose this afternoon, he will research. The court allowed the People to file the first amended information.

Rhett August out on cruz waiver not in court for sentencing today, defense requested continuance

Rhett August, who was released to his mother, and at the last court hearing was supposed to enter a dual diagnosis program was not in court for sentencing today.

This was to happen in Courtroom 1. August is being represented by Ben McLaughlin. Luke Brownfield is prosecuting the case.  Today Mr. Russ Clanton was Mr. August's new lawyer.  Mr. Clanton asked to approach and after that private discussion between the Judge and counsel, a request to continue was granted. Next court date is May 21 at 2 p.m.

Apr 15, 2014

Ride home from the casino results in robbery

On 04-15-2014, at approximately 11:45 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from two adult female victims who said they had just been robbed at knifepoint. Deputies responded and met with the victims in the 4900 block of Dows Prairie Road, McKinleyville.

When the deputies arrived, the victims told the investigating deputy they were gambling at Blue Lake Casino when they met up with two females. The victims knew one of the females and asked for a ride to McKinleyville. The two females agreed to give the victims a ride to McKinleyville. While enroute the two females told the victims they needed to make a stop at a residence in Trinidad and drove there first. In Trinidad, the front passenger exited the vehicle, and another female got into the passenger seat. The driver then told the victims she would now drive them to McKinleyville. While enroute to McKinleyville, the driver drove the victims onto Dows Prairie Road.  The driver stopped the car in the 4900 block of Dows Prairie Road.  The female who just got in the front passenger seat of the car in Trinidad, then turned around and brandished a knife at the victims, while demanding money from them. The victims gave the suspect their money and a cell phone. They were then able to escape the vehicle and run into the brush and hide. After the vehicle left they called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies searched the area for the suspects’ vehicle, a 1995 Red Mitsubishi Eclipse, and located it parked at Moonstone Beach. Deputies also located a female in the vehicle who told them it was her car, but she was not involved in the robbery. The victims were brought to the scene and confirmed the female the deputies had detained was not one of the suspects. Deputies are currently working to identify the two female suspects. No one was injured in the robbery.

Failure to stop and suspended license leads 4 pounds of heroin bust

On 04-11-2014, approximately 10:00 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy stopped a newer Chrysler four door sedan for exceeding the posted speed limit and failing to stop at a stop sign in the Myrtletown area of Eureka. When the deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle and explained the reason for the stop, the driver told the deputy he did not have a driver’s license. The driver verbally identified himself as Mario Martinez Torres, 20 years old , from Perris, California.  A DMV records check revealed Torres driver’s license was suspended. The deputy arrested Torres for driving on a suspended driver’s license. The deputy noticed both Torres and the male passenger were very nervous and evasive when they spoke with him. The deputy questioned, identified and released the male passenger in the vehicle who was an18 year old male adult, and also from Perris, California.

The deputy notified the Humboldt County Drug Task Force about the traffic stop and the vehicle. The Humboldt County Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, which they served on 04-14-2014. During their search of the vehicle, they located hidden compartments and over four pounds of Heroin, valued at over $200,000.00.

Charges of transportation of a controlled substance and possession for sale of a controlled substance are being sought against Torres and the male passenger.

Judge Feeney tentatively rejects Workman plea deal; final decision is the same, case to go to jury trial

Courtroom1, 3 p.m., Judge John Feeney announced his tentative ruling in the Elmy Workman case. This was a continued sentencing hearing. Judge Feeney tentatively rejected the plea deal. Ms. Workman is being represented by Neal Sanders; District Attorney Paul Gallegos for the People and Allison Jackson representing the victim and family.

It was only after Ms. Jackson stepped in that the plea deal was questioned and ultimately defeated.

While the victim, her family and friends have been at every court hearing; this was the first time Ms. Workman's family was in the courtroom.

Before he announced his decision, Judge Feeney went through all the documents he had received and reviewed before making his decision. "I put a great deal of thought before rejecting the conditional plea," he said.

"I have a lot more information now than when this case was transferred here for commencement for trial," said Judge Feeney. He then announced his tentative decision to reject the plea.  Judge Feeney than elaborated on the reasons why he made the decision. "One of the letters I received from a Ms. Smith characterized the case as a confused and convoluted situation." Judge Feeney indicated he was in agreement with that assessment. This case did not have "unusual circumstances" he said.

Judge Feeney said that he did not think there aggravation or provocation that required the kind of response from Ms. Workman and that while Dr. Renouf's evaluation indicated some mental health conditions, that they had no bearing on her actions. He also said Ms. Workman showed no remorse.

Mr. Gallegos did not comment on the tentative decision and Ms. Jackson said she would only if the Judge changed his tenative decision. Mr. Sanders addressed the court but basically tried to argue what he had already submitted on his client's behalf; he did try to address a couple of issues such as the remorse but the only new only information he gave was that the final outcome of the case would affect his client's immigration status.

After hearing Mr. Sanders response, the Judge made his decision to reject the plea deal final in this case.
That plea was withdrawn, a not guilty plea was entered, time waiver entered and dates were set. Pre-trial on June 30; Trial Conference on July 7 and Jury Trial on July 21.

The victim spoke to me before the hearing today and explained how Ms. Jackson got involved. She was told of the plea deal on a Friday and told to think it over. Over the weekend, she alleged that Ms. Workman's family and hers were at a public restaurant and she alleged that Ms. Workman's family was rude to her family. She did not want the plea deal. She arrived on Monday to talk to Mr. Gallegos and found out the case was set in court that day to discuss the plea deal. She expressed to Mr. Gallegos she did not agree to the plea deal. She said she spoke to him for hours, even made him late for court. She made a statement at that hearing. Through a mutual family friend, they contacted Ms. Jackson to advocate on their behalf.

Apr 14, 2014

Orick Chamber of Commerce forum for 5th District Supervisor and DA candidates reveals Coastal Commission surprise

The Orick Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for the community to meet with the two 5th District Supervisor candidates and the 4 candidates for Humboldt County District Attorney.

Present were Sharon LaTour candidate for 5th District Supervisor and Ryan Sundberg, who is the current 5th District Supervisor and incumbent.

Three DA candidates Allan Dollison, Maggie Fleming and Arnie Klein were present.

The 4th DA candidate, Elan Firpo could not attend last minute because she needed to prepare for the Bodhi Tree case tomorrow morning. That case has been going through the initial stages of the jury selection process and motions in limine.

In a prepared statement she sent with her campaign manager, Ms. Firpo said that her job must come first and that she had planned to be in Orick previously but those events were rescheduled and that she will visit in the future. She said she would answer questions via Facebook.

All 4 DA candidates were present this afternoon at a rotary lunch/forum in Fortuna.

In response to a question about the General Plan Update, 5th District candidate Sharon LaTour said that Governor Jerry Brown is supporting more staff be added to the Coastal Commission. This led to an uproar and vocal dismay from members of the audience.

An enthusiastic group of approximately 20 people were present this evening. The event was moderated by the Donna Hufford, executive director, Orick Chamber of Commerce.

Each candidate gave an opening statement.

Ms. Latour spoke about collaborative leadership. Mr. Sundberg gave specific answers and spoke about projects specifically related to Orick.

Mr. Klein emphasized as he has in other debates in the past that he would be a DA for the People, not beholden to anyone. He spoke about making changes that would benefit the community and used  Hoopa as an example stating that someone would not have to come to Eureka for a DUI. He spoke about those that are harming the environment and that he would offer a 6 month amnesty period where people could bring their land "up to code" at cost to themselves. Mr. Klein spoke off the cuff and at one point, his passion was noted by the moderator.

Ms. Fleming in her opening statement spoke about her experience, her community involvement and qualifications for DA.

Mr. Dollison talked about this being an open race for the first time. Current District Attorney Paul Gallegos is not running for re-election. In his opening statement, Mr. Dollison spoke specifically about what was wrong under Paul Gallegos' regime and what needed to be fixed. He was very classy, including the fact that all 4 of the DA candidates had worked in the DA's office simultaneously at one time.

Upon arrival, audience members had been given paper to write questions and these were asked by the moderator. They went back and forth between Supervisors and DA candidates.

In a question about funding and recruting talent, Mr. Klein responded with, "If the Board of Supervisors does not give me what I want" that he would shame them outside the courthouse. Ms. Fleming said she would go to law schools and recruit and fund additional posts with grants. Mr. Dollison said before recruiting talent, he would fix the funding and resources so that the work environment is such that staff would be retained.

A question was asked to 5th District Supervisor candidates if they were aware how many permits had been issued last year in the County for building and how many open spaces were requested to be developed.

Mr. Sundberg answered with, "76 permits were issued last year countywide and 1 or 2 open spaces."
Ms. LaTour responded with, "I visited a long range planner today. " She then claimed that the state required certain amount of land to be set aside and alleged that numbers had been adjusted in the GPU.

The next question was about what was good about the GPU and what needed fixing? It is in response to this question that Ms. LaTour revealed the Coastal Commission plan. She was taken aback by the very visceral reaction from members of the audience regarding the Coastal Commission. She continued her comments by saying, "This is good news". "More staff means (they will) be more responsive" and "you get to do what you want with your land."

Mr. Sundberg said, "There are a few things ee (Board of Supervisors) have been accused of; one is throwing away years of input." He said they would have scratched and started fresh if that was the case. "I have heard earlier that we made a mess. From my point of view, we are cleaning up a mess. If we would have just put a rubber stamp on the GPU, the only place you could do business is where there is infrastructure." Mr. Sundberg went on to say that when he sits down and explains his vote to people that have been upset, they understand why he voted the way he did.

The next question was to the DA candidates and they were asked about Mr. Gallegos' prosecution of the owner of the Eureka Inn for failure to pay the Transient Occupancy Tax and why this could not have been handled in bankruptcy court?

This led to a lighthearted moment in the debate where Mr. Dollison said he was not at the office at that time, Ms. Fleming had a similar response and Mr. Dollison joked, "Let us pass that onto Arnie."

They all smiled and then Mr. Klein responded, "Just because we can, we should not bankrupt the Eureka Inn and put these people out of work. Just to gratify someone's ego."

Mr. Dollison agreed with Mr. Klein adding, "We should not throw resources to prosecute struggling businesses; it is about priorities and said that the case belonged in civil court."

Ms. Fleming said that it was unfair to other businesses paying taxes and that one solution was to set up restitution.

The last question was about whether the DA's office should get more funding and where it would come from and another highlight of the evening was the lighthearted Sundberg and Klein showdown.

Mr. Sundberg said, "I do think they should get more money." He talked about the deficit in funds and how tough it is to "dole out money" and that each department gets to submit proposals. "Arnie can squeeze the turnip under my desk" to which Mr. Klein responded, "I am a lawyer; I can do it."

Two new deputy Sheriff's get tips and get official this morning

Sheriff Mike Downey  did a swearing in ceremony at 9 a.m. this morning in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility Conference Room for two new deputy sheriffs.  Deputies Ben Filippini,  Hydesville, and Marcus Walker,  Arcata,   

Walker is an Arcata High School graduate and Fillipini graduated from Ferndale High School. They both attended and graduated from College of the Redwoods Police Academy. They were members of the 112th Police Academy. 

Mayor Frank Jager, Supervisor Rex Bohn and Chief Andy Mills, who stopped by briefly, left and then returned were present along with Sheriff's staff and family members.

When introducing family members, Fillipini mentioned Uncle Frank. 

Sheriff Downey told the deputies what his expectations were; he compared the witnesses present today to the witnesses in a marriage ceremony. Sheriff Downey told Walker and Fillipini that they were making a commitment to the County and that he would do all he could to support them and provide them the tools to succeed but their success depended on them.

Looking at their family members in the audience, he gave the new deputies the benefit of his many years in law enforcement and one important tip was that they continue to balance their personal life with work. That they should continue interests outside work that they believe in and to not allow the job to consume their life.

Apr 12, 2014

Good Samaritan calls Sherriff's office about missing woman from Weott

 On 04/12/2014 at approximately 2 PM, missing person Shannon Paige Sundberg was located by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.  A citizen had phoned the Sheriff’s Office and stated that they were traveling behind the vehicle that was associated with Shannon Sundberg. The caller stated the vehicle was last seen traveling south bound on Highway 101 in Eureka taking the Humboldt Hill exit. A Sheriff’s Deputy was in the immediate area at the time of the call and located Sundberg parked in her vehicle at the Humboldt Hill Vista Point. Paige was contacted and did not require any further assistance from the Sheriff’s Office.

Keith Taylor was contacted by David Prendergast whose wife Jackie is supporting Maggie Fleming

Upon Keith Taylor's request, I am now updating this post to say that he will not confirm or deny that David Prendergast contacted him. However I stand by original post and title which stated exactly who contacted him which was written after my first conversation with him.

I know Keith from a previous job and did it once. I also told him this is very unfair to Allan who is being smeared by someone who does not have the guts to do it himself publically.

In the second conversation Keith said that no other campaign had approached him because I flat out asked if if  Maggie's campaign had asked him for his endorsement.