Feb 29, 2016

"Take Lord Receive", Fr. Eric's favorite song, which I hope gave him comfort during his last moments

This was Fr. Eric's favorite song. Our choir learned it especially for him.

I gave a copy to his twin sister and mentioned it to his other family.


I chose this link because it has lyrics and an opening that describe more eloquently than I could Fr. Eric, his life, his priesthood, and how even as he was being tortured and murdered, he accepted and kept his faith.

"I will not lose my house over your drug use"

An evidentiary hearing took place this afternoon in the Gary Lee Bullock case.

Video surveillance from St. Bernard's Church, google maps, church blueprints, audio of four phone calls made by Bullock to his grandmother, his wife, Stephanie and his mother, Carol Bruno and step father, John Bruno were admitted into evidence.

A snippet of the phone call with Bullock pleading to his grandmother to bail him out on Jan 7, 2014 was played.

Bullock is heard telling his grandmother he needs her help. He asks her to bail him out and she tells him she does not have the money. He tells her to get out, he needs $120,000 and that she should put her house up.

That is when she says, ""I will not lose my house over your drug use." She says no to him several times in the selection we heard. "If I let you out, you will go back to drugs." Bullock says he won't. She says she has heard that before. Then she says "You killed somebody." He responds, "No, I didn't. I 'll explain it to you."

The dates for the four audio exhibits, Numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6   are January 7, 2016, February 16, 2014, and February 24, 2014.

Although, exhibit number 7, the interview of Bullock at the Eureka Police Department with EPD Detective Ron Harpham and DA Investigators Wayne Cox and  John Burke was identified, how much of that the jury will hear will be decided on March 7, 2016. Defense is objecting to the entire interview, is fine with select portions. Both attorneys will present arguments on March 7, 2016 as well as other motions in limine will be heard that day.

Video recording made from surveillance cameras all over St. Bernard's property, one inside the church, the rest exterior covering the grounds, the rectory, the church, the bathrooms and other buildings which was shown at the preliminary hearing was played, identified and admitted into evidence. The video covers the times between midnight and 7 a.m. on January 1, 2014 and was prepared by DA Investigator Martin Perrone who specializes in computer crimes for the D.A's office.

Evidence Code 402:

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.

Jury selection and evidentiary hearings start in Gary Lee Bullock case

Jury selection started today in the jury trial for Gary Lee Bullock.

Judge John Feeney met privately with attorneys, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Issac and Kaleb Cockrum as well as DA Investigator John Burke before court was opened to the public this morning.

Bullock dressed in a white shirt and gray slacks silently next to Mr. Cockrum, occassionally glancing at the audience.

Two family members, including Bullock's brother in law and two people who knew Fr. Eric Freed came, one had to leave before court opened. The other is a parishioner who has attended most of the court hearings in the last two years.

A jury panel originaly scheduled for an attempted murder case in Courtroom filled out the first hardship questionnaire. Those that were not excused will fill out the long questionnaire this afternoon and be asked to call after 5 p.m. tomorrow. Amother jury panel will fill out the hardship questionnaire tomorrow morning.

402 or Evidentiary hearings will be held this afternoon with DA Investigator Burke, DA Computer Specialist Martin Perrone and former Eureka Police Detective Todd Wilcox, who now works for the Humboldt County Sheriff's office. Tomorrow Sgt. Jesse Taylor from Garberville and Department of Justice's Kay Belchner are supposed to testify.

Trial is expected to conclude by or before April 18, 2016.

In January 2014, Bullock was arrested for the murder of St. Bernard's pastor Fr. Eric Freed whose body was discovered before New Year's Day mass in 2014.

The jury trial will be in session five days a week; Monday to Thursday full days from 8:30 to 4 and Friday mornings from 8:30 until noon. There are a few days in March and early April that the trial will not be in session.

Count 1 murder with three special allegations: infliction of torture, murder committed while engaging in first degree residential burglary and murder committed during carjacking. Count 2 and 3 are both first degree residential burglary. Count 4 Vehicle theft. Count 5 arson of inhabitated structure. Count 6 is carjacking and Count 7 is Torture.

Homicide suspect Larry Tracy pleads guilty morning of jury trial to lesser charge

For the murder of Stevie Leonie Bailey, Larry Tracey plead guilty to Count 2 assault with a deadly weapon other than a fiream with the special allegation of causing great bodily injury. He also admitted to a prior conviction of a serious felony.

Larry Tracy will be sentenced on March 18, 2016.

The jurors for that case,will now join the Bullock juror panel.

Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department Press Release:

On June 6, 2012 at about 10 am, a female came to the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department requesting assistance.

An Officer contacted the female at the front entrance of the Tribal Police Office. The officer noticed she was bleeding from her right shoulder area and was complaining about pain to her back. The officer requested an ambulance respond to provide treatment for her injuries. Upon interviewing the female victim, it was disclosed she had been stabbed by her friend in a trailer park a short distance from the Hoopa Police Dept. She ran from the location of the incident, after being stabbed,  to the police department to get help.

The victim was transported to Mad River Hospital to be treated for her injuries where she is in stable condition.

After the victim was transported to the hospital, officers interviewed available witnesses who came to the police department to check on the victim.

At about 10:31 am, officers contacted the suspect Larry Sidney Tracy, 48, of Hoopa, at his residence. Tracy was taken into custody without incident. Tracy was transported to Humboldt County Correctional Facility to be booked and held for attempted homicide.

Feb 28, 2016

Congratulate our own Cassandra Hesseltine on her recent appoint as FLICS President

Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission Executive Director Cassandra Hesseltine was recently chosen as the President of FLICS (Film Liaisons in California Statewide).

She is too modest to announce it. If you are at the local Red Carpet Gala this evening, congratulate her.

Freedom of speech works both ways

Freedom of speech works both ways.

Ryan, Virginia and Estelle to Rex : Off with your head, well hair

Fellow Supervisors Virginia Bass, Ryan Sundberg and Estelle Fennell shaving Supervisor Rex Bohn's head.

Rex did this to raise funds for the daughter of a county employee going through cancer treatment.

"Because we care", started at 2 p.m., ends at 5 p.m. at the Loleta Fireman's pavilion.

May God's forgiveness and strength be with us but also Gary Lee Bullock and his family

I wrote this two days after we lost Fr. Eric.


I wrote this 3 weeks after Fr. Eric's death. It was published a couple of weeks later.


Here is a song by Scott Soper. Starting tomorrow, I hope that this gives me strength and peace.


Forgiveness does not mean forgetting . We each feel what we feel and we each are valid in our feelings and where we are in our journey.

Forgiveness right after Fr. Eric's death was one step, forgiveness in the last two years waiting was a second step, and the journey continues.

Healing is what I pray for Fr. Eric's family, for all of us whose lives he touched.

I pray for Judge John Feeney, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Issac and Gary Lee Bullock's attorney, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum.

I pray for all law enforcement and investigators involved in this case.

I pray for Gary Lee Bullock, his family, especially his children.

Forgiving in this situation won't make anyone perfect. This is one situation, but one big step.

Five arrested in one day special op in Garberville

On February 25th 2016, Sheriff's Deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office conducted a one-day special operation in Southern Humboldt communities.  The goal of the operation was to address several identified locations that were believed to be associated with criminal behavior.  Sheriff's Deputies also focused on maximum enforcement in downtown Garberville, which included foot patrols and high visibility strategies.  Several local probationers were contacted and searched pursuant to their probation terms.  In addition to issuing citations for observed violations, Deputies arrested the following people for various charges.
· Thomas Leonard Lusk Sr., 07-18-60, possession of a controlled substance
· Perter Stanley Novak, 09-21-76, possession of a controlled substance / paraphernalia
· Jennifer Inez Heald, 08-26-83, possession of a controlled substance
· Christopher Tabor Sanders, 08-07-68, possession of drug paraphernalia / probation violation
· Michael James Campos, 07-21-68, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of over an ounce of marijuana, and probation violation  

The Sheriff's Office will continue with maximum enforcement operations and high visibility patrols for Southern Humboldt communities in the coming months.  If you would like to report criminal behavior, or know of a residence or location that you suspect is involved in illegal narcotics, or other forms of criminal activity, you are encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff's Office Garberville Station at 707-923-2761.    


Ship Ahoy at the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center this Friday

Old Town Eureka’s second parklet will officially open to the the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday March 4th at 3:00 p.m. Designed and built by local wood artisan, Joey Kovali, from Branch Ranch Building Company.  The parklet has a unique boat shape which embraces the character and history of Victorian Old Town Eureka and its seaport.

The cornerstone of Humboldt Bay Tourism Center is TASTE, our all-local tasting room located at the corner of 2nd and G Streets in Old Town Eureka. We pour local beers, wines, ciders, and kombucha- by the glass, the bottle or a tasting flight. Our trained staff recommend and serve oysters, cheeses, meats, breads, and desserts that are all hand-crafted locally. The parklet will provide guests an opportunity to enjoy all that TASTE has to offer in an unique and inviting outdoor setting.

Humboldt Bay Tourism Center was founded in 2013 as an innovative approach to visitor services in Humboldt County. Our goal is to connect tourists and locals with the very best our region has to offer. The Center offers a curated selection of area tours and adventures - from river rafting to horse-drawn carriage rides to oyster farm tours. Visit TASTE at Humboldt Bay Tourism Center to get in-depth information about local lodging, dining, and activity options.  They are open 7 days per week from Noon through 9pm.

Listed above is a press release regarding the ribbon cutting ceremony for the second parklet in Old Town.

I just spoke with Jon O'Connor and took this photo yof the construction going on today.

Two more McCoveys arrested and booked in jail

On Saturday, 02-27-2016, at about 9:30 PM, a Sheriff's Deputy in the Hoopa, Ca. area was attempting to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation.  The Deputy attempted the traffic stop on Hwy 96 near Marshall Lane.  

The vehicle yielded to the shoulder of the road, and the Deputy made a driver side approach to the vehicle.  As the Deputy approached the driver side door, the vehicle rapidly accelerated away.  The Deputy was attempting to retreat back to his patrol vehicle when he observed the fleeing vehicle had turned completely around and was travelling toward him at a high rate of speed.

The Deputy was narrowly able to escape being struck by the fleeing vehicle as it passed by within only a few feet of him.  The Deputy attempted to follow the vehicle, but discontinued his efforts a short time later when he lost sight of it

While leaving the area, the Deputy received information from Yurok Tribal Police, who indicated that same vehicle had recently fled from one of their Officers.  During that previous incident, the Officer was able to identify the driver as, Charles A. McCovey, age 40, of Hoopa, Ca.

Sheriff's Deputies were able to locate a residence for McCovey, and when they arrived they located the vehicle that had just fled from them.  They also saw a male subject running from the driver side of that vehicle, into the nearby residence.  Deputies eventually located the subject hiding in the backyard area of the residence.  The Deputy was able to identify the male subject as the same male who was operating the vehicle which fled from him earlier.  The male was formally identified as Charles A. McCovey.

While arresting Charles A. McCovey, another male subject exited the residence to protest the arrest.  That male was identified as Justin McCovey, age 31 , of Hoopa, Ca.  Deputies learned Justin McCovey had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest.  He was also arrested.

Both Charles A. McCovey, and Justin McCovey were taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and booked.  Charles A. McCovey was booked for evading a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting an officer, and probation violation.  Justin McCovey was booked for his outstanding warrants.

Feb 27, 2016

CHP releases details about SR 96 collision, impairment not a factor

On February 27, 2016 at approximately 8:00 a.m., 34 year old Stormy Joy McConnell of McKinleyville was driving her silver 2000 Nissan Frontier southbound on SR-96, north of Trinity Valley Farm (MM 3), at an unknown speed.  46 year old Toni Rae Peters of Crescent City was properly restrained in the front passenger seat; a 9 year old male juvenile from McKinleyville was seated in the rear passenger area.   For unknown reason, Ms. McConnell lost control of her vehicle, drifting in an easterly direction, and crossing the northbound lane of SR-96.  The Nissan then traversed over the roadway edge and down the hillside where it collided with an oak tree.  It was daylight, cloudy and the roadway was wet from earlier rains (not raining at time of collision).

Emergency personnel from the Willow Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Salyer Fire Department, and Hoopa Ambulance responded to the scene to provide emergency medical care. 

Ms. McConnell was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Ms. Peters and the 9 year old male juvenile were transported to Mad River Community Hospital with moderate to major injuries.  It does not appear impairment was a factor in the collision, however;  CHP continues to investigate the collision.

Feb 26, 2016

Covering a trial where I was on the crime scene moments later; coverage from a perspective you will not get anywhere else

Two years and almost two months later, jury selection is expected to start this Monday in the jury trial for Gary Lee Bullock charged with the brutal murder and torture of St. Bernards former pastor Fr. Eric Freed. Bullock also faces charges  of attempted arson of the rectory.

I will be there every day starting this Monday when the courtroom is open to the public. The trial will be in session full days, Monday through Thursday and until noon on Fridays.

Most of you have read My Words in the Times-Standard, my coverage on this case and personal reflections.

This was the trial that started my daily court coverage. This was the experience that has allowed me to understand jury trials and the effect on all involved: attorneys, law enforcement, defendants and loved ones.

I always do detailed coverage of court proceedings. The legal proceedings are not the whole story.

While other media may attend court proceedings, chances are no one will be there every day. While other media can report what happened at trial, they cannot give you a personal insight into Fr. Eric, how this has affected his family, his friends and all of us who knew him.  I can say with confidence, that I saw Fr. Eric every single day and was one of the fortunate ones to spend time with him one on one outside the church.

I am the one who has kept in touch with his family for the past two years on a regular basis.

This is not about Gary Lee Bullock, it is about the man whose life was taken suddenly, who touched so many in the community, especially the Catholic community, HSU and the Japanese community. I will be honoring Fr. Eric by personal posts. Some of you cannot understand the loss we feel but it will give you some idea of our loss.

This is not a case where I need to rely on testimony for certain events and evidence. I was one of three people to see Fr. Eric last on New Year's Eve. I was on the crime scene, arriving moments after
Bullock drove away in Fr. Eric's car on New Year's Day.

Although another parishioner had arrived a few minutes before me, she was in another building on church property. I was the first one to walk the pathway near the rectory, see the broken window, the odd symbol outside the bathroom and the morning paper still lying on the steps.

As I have explained before, some of these were signs of people camping on the property. Usually, I threw paper on the steps outside the rectory or put it right outside the door of the rectory, I did not that morning. I wanted to set up for New Year's mass. I was joyfully looking forward to mass.

The words that I said jokingly to Fr. Eric New Year's Eve, "You can sleep in a few extra minutes, Fr. Eric, I will have everything set up" took on a whole new meaning later that New Year's Day morning.

He smiled. He and other priests know they can depend on me.

I have been stoic for the past two years. I stopped attending church and being so involved regularly for a few months now. I have been there for everyone else. I have not had a chance to mourn Fr. Eric.

Today, I end with the strenna that Fr. Eric wrote for 2104.

"To be happy, be thankful.

To be thankful, have faith.

Faith is understanding that all is God’s.”

$75,000 bail for man arrested with suspended license and 9 pounds of processed marijuana

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, at approximately 9:24 p.m., Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff’s observed a vehicle with its license plate light not working, pass their location. Deputies pulled the vehicle over and contacted the driver, 30 year old Kaleb Severe, of Fieldbrook. It was discovered that Severe had a suspended driver’s license.
Deputies could smell an overwhelming odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and could see marijuana bud in the back seat. A search of the vehicle revealed about 9 lbs of processed marijuana bud. Severe was arrested for possession of marijuana, transportation of marijuana for sales, and driving on a suspended license. He was taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the above charges. Severe’s bail was set at $75,000.

So is HUMMAP going to follow through on their intent to sue the County on the commercial medical cannabis land use ordinance

As of 10:30, HUMMAP had not filed the lawsuit.

After filing, they still need to serve it on the County, properly. As of 3:30, the County had not been served.

North Coast Journal did a follow up after my post. Other than confirming the notice of intent, Robert "Woods" Sutherland did not comment further. Times-Standard either didn't ask any questions of Sutherland or get no comment.  Is Kent Sawatsky funding this lawsuit? Is he a member of HUMMAP?

Woods still hasn't contacted me. Mr. Sawatsky called me and he said, "no comment."

Threatening to sue or suing the County because you disagree with a decision or interpret law differently is not helping the taxpayers. Maybe the taxpayers need to sue these groups who take money, time and resources away from productive causes.

Previous posts:



Gov. Brown wants to put more felons on the street, going to appeal decision in favor of California District Attorney's Association

Just who is Governor Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris representing and defending?

Not law abiding citizens. Prop 47 has been a disaster. Brown wants to reduce prison population but where is the funding for services, rehab, probation and protection of the public.

This is the same Governor who does not seem to be in the same rush to appoint a Judge where there is a vacancy like Humboldt County. He can also approve funding for additional Judges.

Simply releasing people on the streets with no plan, no support does not reduce incarceration. If they fail, they are back in the criminal justice system.

Low risk offenders do escalate. You don't need statistics. Look at the repeat arrests.

The link below has one of the best coverage on this issue.


Feb 25, 2016

Public may soon be able to view Humboldt Superior Court case management system from home; this is one of the many future changes under the leadership of new Court CEO

Humboldt County Superior Court CEO Kim Bartleson started in October 2015. In just four months, there have been some visible changes and others that the public will be seeing in the future. She comes to Humboldt County with 22 years of experience as a CEO in Washington State.

As someone who spends a lot of time and daily at the Courthouse, within days of Ms. Bartleson taking over, the most obvious changes I saw were in staff morale and information to the public. Even with last minute changes, the electronic calendars are more up to date now. Unlike her predecessor, Ms. Bartleson is very accessible and helpful.

I asked Ms. Bartleson for an interview about these changes and what else we can expect under her leadership.

Clarifying further on what District Attorney Maggie Fleming told me, Ms. Bartleson explained that Jason Warren and some concerns about the facility he was housed at after his conviction for two murders and two attempted murders. Citing the penal code, Ms. Bartleson explained to me that when Warren was transferred here for the homicide case. he was serving a sentence on an older case in a prison facility. Had he not been brought back, the paperwork for the homicide case when he was transported from Humboldt County jail would have accompanied him. After his recent conviction, Warren was sent back to the original facility and he is in transit to the facility where he will serve out his life sentences for the murders of Suzanne Seemann and Dorothy Ulrich and his sentences for the attempted murders of Terri Vroman-Little and Jessica Hunt.

Late last year, changes were implemented with one court hearing all felony cases and one court hears all misdemeanor cases and the other courts hear jury trials. This change was implemented the reduce the backlog of jury trials. Whether a case has a full day trial or half day depends on the caseload.

According to Ms. Bartleson, "As of right now, there are 366 criminal jury trials set. Between the time period of 9/25/15 – 12/25/15 there were 626 criminal jury trials set."

Ms. Bartelson said that she is working on improving and changing the way some things have been done in the past to increase efficiency in Humboldt Superior Court. "I am working on restructuring, on staff assignments, cross training the staff and working on getting the public access to the clerk's office back to the hours of 8:30-4."

Even though the hours were cut due to state funding, Ms. Bartleson feels with the restructuring, it is possible to achieve that goal.

Presiding Judge Joyce Hinrichs took the lead and asked staff to submit ideas. One of those ideas that has been implemented in the last couple of weeks is that there is a person from Court Operations from 8 to 8:45 a.m. and 1 to 1:45 p.m. available to answer questions from the public regarding their cases, what courtroom they need to be at, help with the calendars. "I want staff to be part of the solution and not opposition. I have good staff."

Ms. Bartleson said she is trying to figure out "a way that when you get a ticket and you get out of court, you can pay that right away to staff available on the 2nd floor." Consolidating space spread out throughout the facility to make it more efficient is something she is working on a regular basis.

Ms. Bartleson said that "we are in the beginning of improving the current case management system, SUSTAIN, which is not an ecourt system. It was put in place to facilitate streamlining. Statewide some courts have switchd to other case management systems which do not require physical records. Electronic records and electronic filing is possible and we are researching what system will be best for our needs."

The public will only have access to case management information that is permitted to be available to the public. The new case management system will be implemented within the next two to three years.

Ms. Bartleson said that she met with staff this Monday and they are working on workflow mapping. This will help with training, it will also help people define people and the work they do within their classification. "I'm all for people getting paid for what they do."

"Humboldt County has 100,000 less population than where I was before," said Ms. Bartleson. "The issues we are working through here are issues I have worked through before. Washington law is different than California law."

"As jury commissioner, I will be presenting a process in two weeks to the Judges for people who ignore jury summons," said Ms. Bartleson. "Initially, they get a letter with another date. The part I need to present and get approval from Judges is that if they ignore that letter, an order of cause could be issued."

All of the second floor is court space, not just the courtrooms and  is off limits to cameras and recordings unless a media request is approved. Ms. Bartleson said she understands the challenges that media and the Judges face with last minute arraignments or dates but that her staff works diligently to process these requests as quickly as they can.

Media access and court rules are based on Court rule 1.150. They can be changed by the California Supreme Court.

The County has made a request under Measure Z funding for $50,000 to move the law library. The real estate unit of the Judicial Council has to approve any change in court facilities. Once the law library is moved, it will be converted to a space where non-jury cases and low risk hearings can be held where transport is minimized. In the short-term, the jury room which has a bench can be used as an extra courtroom. By doing this space will no longer be an issue when the funding for an extra judge is up for consideration.

The money for Visiting Judges comes from dollars earmarked to Humboldt County for that purpose by the Judicial Council. Governor Brown has until 2018 to appoint a judge to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Bruce Watson. Ms. Bartleson hopes that appointment will be sooner.

There are currently seven vacancies in Court Operations and eight staff positions that have been frozen due to the budget.

"We need more court certified interpreters locally," said Ms. Bartleson. "When there is an unique language need, we have to bring interpreters out of the area." Ms. Bartleson would like to save on these travel expenses and reduce expenses in this area. One suggestion she has is for local schools and colleges to offer this training as a part of their curriculum. More Spanish interpreters are needed; Hmong and sign language interpreters have to be brought from out of the area.

"If the Governor's budget passes, there is $30 million allocated to technology," said Ms. Bartleson. "Humboldt County will make an application for a pilot program to try video interpreting."

Oct 6, 2015

Kim Bartleson hired as Humboldt County new Court Executive Officer

The recruitment and interview process to select a new administrator has concluded and the Superior Court has named Ms. Kim Bartleson as its new Court Executive Officer/Jury Commissioner.

Ms. Bartleson is scheduled to begin her duties on October 26, 2015. She comes to the court with 22 years of experience as a court executive in Washington state.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Ashford University, and she is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.

 “Our court is moving forward with ongoing operational and organizational changes that the judges and court managers have developed and approved.  We are looking forward to Ms. Bartleson’s leadership,” stated Presiding Judge Joyce Hinrichs.

“I am looking forward to working with the judges and staff.  The operational changes that the court has started implementing will improve case processing, decrease backlogs, and facilitate improved access to justice for the citizens of Humboldt County,” stated Ms. Bartleson.

All four suspects in Jesus Garcia homicide arraigned, preliminary hearing set in March for now, continuance expected

A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled for Mario Nunez this afternoon. Intervention had been set for March 1; Preliminary hearing for March 7.

Setting for Preliminary hearing was scheduled this afternoon for Nicholas Leigl and Joe Daniel, Jr.

Arraignment was continued twice from February 11 until this afternoon for Joe Olivio III to obtain private counsel. He told Judge Joyce Hinrichs he was not able to retain private counsel. Public Defender Mr. Owen Tipps was appointed to represent Olivio III. A 10 day time waiver was entered. Mr. Tipps indicated that by intervention, he would be able to inform the court if he can confirm as counsel.

Nunez was not in court today, his appearance was waived by his attorney, Mr. David Celli. Ms. Christina Allbright, who represents Joe Olivio, Jr. said she could not be present for the current preliminary date. Her client entered a waiver for both the 10 and 60 day requirement.

Mr. Michael Acosta, who represents Leigl, has not waived time.

Intervention is set for March 1. Preliminary hearing is set for March 7.

DA has not made a plea deal with any murder suspect in 14 year old Jesus Garcia's homicide

Yesterday, the TS article stated , "the last of the four suspects expected to enter a plea to a murder charge."

I checked with Deputy District Attorney David Christensen and there has been no plea deal made with any of the murder suspects.

In just a month, EPD volunteer abatement team gets nearly 40 abandoned vehicles off Eureka streets

With just over a month of volunteering, the newly formed EPD abatement team has already towed numerous abandoned vehicles off city streets.

From Chief Mills twitter account:

@Eureka_Police volunteers have abated almost 40 cars and motor homes this month. #cleanupeureka #volunteer #joinepd https://t.co/sbwmZwNWea

Search for runaway juvenile results in arrest of 44 year old for meth and heroin

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, at approximately 11:56 p.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a motel on the 1600 block of 4th Street, Eureka, in an attempt to locate a runaway juvenile Deputies received a tip that a person of interest in finding the juvenile was staying at the motel. The person of interest is on probation with a search clause.

Deputies responded to the motel, confirmed the person of interest had rented a room there. Deputies then responded to check for the runaway juvenile at the room. Deputies knocked on the room door, announcing their identity and purpose. The door was opened by 44 year old Kip Branson, who said the person of interest had left. When questioned about the runaway juvenile, Branson declined that anyone else was inside. Pursuant to the terms of the person of interest’s probation, deputies entered the room to check for the runaway juvenile. Branson became argumentative and aggressive with deputies, so for their safety, they detained him in handcuffs while they searched the room. The search revealed approximately 52 grams of suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Branson was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. During a further search at the jail, 6 grams of suspected heroin was located concealed on Branson’s person. He was booked for possession of controlled substances.

Feb 24, 2016

Kade Chandler, alleged suspect in Highway 36 accident which resulted in two deaths, remains out of custody

Kade Chandler was scheduled this afternoon for status of custody in Courtroom 5. He was not remanded and he did not have to post bail. He was released on OR.

Feb 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees is prosecuting the case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release:

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

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

Preliminary hearing for Dale Stanridge, local Jehovah Witnesses elder, charged with recurring sexual conduct of a minor child

Dale Standridge's case was scheduled for disposition and reset this afternoon. His preliminary hearing for February 3 was continued at the request of the defense.

Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads is prosecuting this case for the People. Public Defender Ms. Kelly Neel has been appointed to represent Standridge.

Preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 27.

Nov 16, 2015

$100,000 bail for Dale Standridge charged with recurring sexual conduct of a child under age 14

Dale Standridge who had bail set for $100,000, posted bail and appeared out of custody for his arraignment this afternoon for the felony charge if PC 288.5 a.

It is alleged in the complaint filed by the District Attorney's office that in Count 1 covering the period "from June 23, 2007 to June 23, 2013,"Standridge engaged in "three or more lewd and lascivious acts with Jane Doe," who is under the age of 14, while residing with the child.

According to one source, Standridge, who is 48 years old, is the owner of Sharp Auto graphics in Eureka.

At first, Mr. Greg Rael, a private attorney was going to make a special appearance, then the Public Defender's office was appointed for Standridge who indicated he could not afford a private attorney.

Stanridge entered pleas of not guilty, waived time. Intervention is set for January 20 at 3 p.m. Preliminary hearing is set for February 3 at 8:30.

288.5.  (a) Any person who either resides in the same home with the
minor child or has recurring access to the child, who over a period
of time, not less than three months in duration, engages in three or
more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child under the age of
14 years at the time of the commission of the offense.

Only three attorneys for seven co defendant case with alleged marijuana for sale and timber operations without a license charges had 215 paperwork

A disposition and reset hearing was scheduled this afternoon in a seven co-defendant case with alleged charges involving marijuana for sale and timber operations without a license.

The preliminary hearing for this case set for this morning was vacated yesterday. The new date set was scheduled for March 10.

Only three attorneys, Mr. Allan Dollison, Mr. Neal Sanders and Mr. Glenn Brown had the 215 paperwork for their clients yesterday in court.

Jan 28, 2016

Bench warrant and $50,000 bail issued for one MIA in 7 co-defendant alleged marijuana and timber operation case

Out of seven defendants, two showed up and signed 977 forms in court yesterday. Four others had previously submitted 977 forms. Only Devon Greer was missing in action. He is being represented by Public Defender Owen Tipps. A bench warrant was issued by Judge Joyce Hinrichs with $50,000 bail.

Intervention is set for February 10 and Preliminary hearing for February 24. Roscoe Littlefield was represented by Mr. David Celli instead of Mr. Benjamin Okin.

Nov 10, 2015

"We do have a logging plan", do the charges against Timothy Littlefield Sr, Roscoe Littlefield and 5 other co-defendants have any muscle?

The arraignment for Timothy Littlefield Sr, Roscoe Littlefield and five other co-defendants was finally completed today.

One of the co-defendants, Robert Keller, represented by Conflict Counsel's Mr. Marek Reavis was arraigned at the last court hearing, entered a time waiver and signed a 977 form so he was excused from today's hearing.

Timothy Littlefield, Sr. is being represented by Mr. Russ Clanton, Hayden Taylor by Mr. Neal Sanders, Roscoe Littlefield by Mr. Benjamin Okin, Logan Blackshire by Allan Dollison, Speak Keller by Alternate Conflict Counsel's Ms. Jennifer Dixon (who subbed in today for Mr. Glenn Brown as he is busy with the Jason Warren case), and Devon Greer by Public Defender Mr. Casey Russo.

All co-defendants entered pleas of not guilty, waived the 10 and 60 day requirement. Mr. Sanders and Mr. Clanton reserved the right to demurrer, on behalf of their clients. Judge John Feeney said that all co-defendants could file 977 waivers if they wished.

A disposition and reset hearing is set for January 27, 2016 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 5.

Deputy District Attorney A.J. Kamada is prosecuting this case.

After court, Littlefield Sr, told me, "We do have a logging plan." I told him I could cover what was said in court or in legal documents filed, and perhaps he should talk to his attorney before commenting about the charges to me, at least at this stage.

Nov 6, 2015

Roscoe Littlefield and Timothy Littlefield charged in a seven co-defendant case involving marijuana cultivation, timber operations without a license and 4 other counts

Seven co-defendant case had an arraignment scheduled to take place in Courtroom 5 this afternoon which includes Roscoe Littlefield and Timothy Littlefield,Sr. The arraignment was postponed until November 10 at 2 p.m. so private attorneys could be confirmed as counsel for 4 co-defendants, including Littlefield Sr who said he was going to try and retain Mr. Russ Clanton, who is representing his son Timothy Littlefield, Jr in another case.

Private attorneys Mr. Allan Dollison, Mr. Ben Okin and Mr. Neal Sanders will be asked by the Court to see if they can represent three co-defendants.

The offices of Public Defender, Conflict Counsel and Alternate Conflict Counsel were appointed for three defendants this afternoon but only one of them signed a 977 waiver, was arraigned and is excused from the November 10 arraignment. Conflict Counsel's Mr. Marek Reavis is his attorney.

Six counts, three felonies and three misdemeanors are alleged in this case for each co-defendant. The incident for which these seven men were being arraigned occurred "on and about July 21, 2014" according to the complaint. Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads was present for the People.

Count 1 is possession of marijuana for sale, a felony. Count 2 is cultivating marijuana, a felony. Count 3 is allowing a place for preparing or storing a controlled substance, a felony. Count 4 is Timber operations without a license, a misdemeanor. Count 5 is Timber operations without a harvest plan, a misdemeanor. Count 6 is Misuse of Timberlands, a misdemeanor.

Littlefield Sr, has been featured on Pot Cops. http://hoggardfilms.com/portfolios/pot-cops/
He also lost a lawsuit against Humboldt County and the Court of appeals ruled that the seizure and destruction of  over1,500 pounds of marijuana was lawful. http://www.kmtg.com/node/2890

California law on frivolous lawsuits, is this why we have not heard a peep from Jason Singleton?


Is this why we haven't heard from Jason Singelton lately?

California law on frivolous lawsuits and malicious prosecution:


Recently acquitted in double homicide, Arreaga still has preliminary hearing scheduled for possession of drugs in jail

Jason Arreaga who was acquitted yesterday after his second jury trial for the deaths of Harley Hammers and Angel Tully, still has an intervention hearing scheduled for February 29 and a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 7.

This case from 2015 is for alleged posession of drugs, marijuana, in jail.

Woods never contacted me back; HUMMAP sues county's cannabis ordinance, the lawsuit Sawatsky was going to fund?

I reported recently about Humboldt County's odd couple.


Woods never contacted,me back.HUMMAP decided to file the lawsuit against the County mentioned in emails in the February 17 post. Previous emails in the post below indicate Kent Sawatsky was going to fund this lawsuit. Same attorney mentioned in those emails is the one filing this lawsuit.

I contacted all the Supervisors and County Counsel Mr. Jeffrey Blanck.

Mr. Blanck said no comment, at this time.

ADVOCACY PROJECT, an unincorporated
ROES 1 THROUGH 10, inclusive,
 Real Parties in Interest.
(Public Resources Code § 21167.5)
California Environmental Quality Act
Notice is hereby given pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21167.5 that the
Petitioner listed above intends to commence an action challenging the above-captioned
Respondents’ actions in adopting Humboldt County Ordinance Number 2544, entitled the
“Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance” (“Ordinance”).
The petition will seek the following relief: interlocutory and permanent injunctive relief
restraining Respondents from taking any action to implement the Ordinance; a judgment
determining or declaring that the adoption of the Ordinance by Respondents was illegal and is
therefore null and void; a judgment determining or declaring that Respondents abused their
discretion when they failed to comply with CEQA and that the Ordinance must be set aside
unless and until Respondents comply with CEQA; a writ of mandate ordering Respondents to
prepare an environmental impact report or a legally adequate mitigated negative declaration
injunctive relief against Respondents restraining them from taking any actions toward
implementation of the Ordinance; an award of attorney fees and costs of suit, including but not
limited to the costs of reproducing the administrative record; and for such other and further relief
as the court may deem just and proper.

The attorney for HUMMAP is Rachel Doughty.

Feb 17, 2016

Anti marijuana Kent Sawatsky to fund a lawsuit for HUMMAP? Woods and Sawatsky Humboldt County's latest odd couple?

Public watch dog Kent Sawatsky has threatened action before before against Judge Bruce Watson but no follow through.

In the past, he has been very vocal about being anti cannabis, particularly chewing out the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for the Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance.

These are just two quotes from two of my posts:

"We currently have the highest capita of criminals in U.S. with crimes such as tax evasion and money laundering": Kent Sawatsky

"Weed greed and children do not mix" : Kent Sawatsky

Mr. Sawatsky is willing to fund a lawsuit but has to become a member of HUMMAP and allegedly he wants his involvement kept quiet until this is official.

Except his potential plan hit a hitch.

Not all HUMMAP members are thrilled with this potential alliance.

These are emails from some of the HUMMAP members. I have removed their email addresses.

On Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 4:28 PM, Christopher Larson wrote:
IF KENT SAWATSKY BECOMES A MEMBER I WISH TO RESIGN. THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY ALLIANCE. Sorry my key stuck. Also i don’t think it’s right that Woods alone sees all members responses, effectively giving him censorship and resulting in a very strange organization. I’ve enjoyed working with most of you and hope to continue to do so, but I’m no longer comfortable with being represented as a HUMMAP member.

Best regards,
Cristo Larson
> On Feb 11, 2016, at 11:34 AM, Robert Sutherland wrote:
> Colleagues,
> Today I am printing out and signing the contract with Rachel Doughty, to continue research on the ordinance issue. Most of you who replied are in support of this action. I will mail it to her tomorrow morning.
> The agreement is between Hummap and Doughty and me and Doughty. In order for the funder, Kent Sawatzky, to be included within the attorney-client privilege, he must be a member of Hummap. I therefore am here soliciting any objections to his membership. Respond quickly because he is awaiting word from me on this before he mails his check to Rachel. Hummap has no real standards for "membership" that I am aware of. My way of treating it has been to include anyone who is not fundamentally opposed to our vision statement, which I try to distribute freely. Not all of them have attended Hummap meetings, though that helps. Kent does not want his membership to be high profile, so please respect his wishes. He has already met with some of you.
> Also, I request that if any of you who have had any of the following info about the ordinance at any point to provide details to me for Rachel:
> 1. Any mention of baseline.
> 2. Contact with Steve Lazar or the attorneys and staff about the ordinance.
> Best regards, Woods.

Mr. Sawatsky called me back. Regarding Judge Watson, he said that the Judge resigned in December. He wanted to bring some issues to the public's attention about Judge Watson's alleged improprieties.

"I have funded the investigation of a lawsuit," said Mr. Sawatsky. "My concern is that the environment is not being protected under the mitigated negative declaration. For us to protect the environment, it may be necessary for me to join the organization."

At this point Mr. Sawatsky said he is just "exploring this and has no intention of anticipated legislation."

I am waiting to hear from Woods.

Jonas Semore's jury trial for the alleged homicide of man dropped off at Mad River ER confirmed for March

Jonas Semore had a trial confirmation for his jury trial scheduled for this afternoon.

The co-defendant in this case, is Nicholas Johnson, who was recently arrested in a standoff with law enforcement, after allegedly shooting at Humboldt County DA investigators. Johnson had an intervention hearing this afternoon. Johnson's preliminary hearing scheduled for March 8  was continued at the request of the defense. New intervention date is March 21. New preliminary hearing date is March 28.

Dates were confirmed for Semore and his jury trial is set to proceed on March 7. With full days, the trial estimate is two weeks.

For the first time, Semore smiled and acknowledged his family, particularly his mom, as he left the courtroom. His family has been there to support him at court hearings.

Jan 14, 2016

Jonas Semore jury trial for alleged murder of David Ganfield dropped off at Mad River set for March 7

Mr. Russ Clanton was confirmed as Semore's counsel in December. Today, there was a trial confirmation hearing scheduled in Courtroom 5. Semore withdrew his time waiver today.

Jury trial is now set for March 7 at 8:30 a.m. and Trial Confirmation is February 24 at 2 p.m.

Dec 18, 2015

Jury trial for suspect in death of man dropped off at Mad River ER postponed since he is in between attorneys

The jury trial for Jonas Semore, one of  two men, charged in the homicide of David Ganfield was scheduled for December 21. That trial date has been rescheduled to February 8, 2016.

The reason being he is in between attorneys. He was represented by Ms. Kathleen Bryson, who withdrew from the case in December 17. Judge John Feeney granted that motion.

On December, Mr. David Celli was present with Semore in court. Whether his office will represent Semore will be confirmed on December 22.

There is pre-trial and confirmation of counsel scheduled for December 22 at 2 p.m. and Trial Confirmation on January 14, 2016.

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees is prosecuting the case.

Oct 26, 2015

Jonas Semore charged with the death of David Ganfield who was dropped off at Mad River ER has jury trial postponed to December

Instead of his jury trial today, Jonas Semore had a disposition and reset hearing this afternoon in Courtroom 5.

Semore pulled his time waiver this afternoon. New jury trial date is December 21, Trial Confirmation is December 7 at 2 p.m. and Pre-Trial is on November 30 at 2 p.m.

Sep 9, 2015

Jonas Semore arraigned today for the murder of David Ganfield, jury trial set for October 26

Jonas Semore was scheduled for arraignment on information in Courtroom 1 this afternoon at 2 p.m. The compliant filed by the District Attorney's office charges Semore with Count 1 Murder and a special allegation of using a deadly and dangerous weapon during the alleged commission of the crime, a bat.

He is charged with the murder of David Ganfield. The co-defendant is still at large.

Jury trial set for October 26.

I was the only one to cover the two day preliminary hearing. Links below.

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees is prosecuting the case. Ms. Kathleen Bryson is representing Semore.

Previous posts:


Charles McCovey held to answer on all charges, arraignment for jury trial on March 18

Charles McCovey had a preliminary hearing scheduled today. It was held in Courtroom 4. He was held to answer on all charges.

Arraignment on information for jury trial is March 8.

Feb 9, 2016

$100,000 bail set for Charles McCovey charged with assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a peace officer, resisting an executive officer and resisting arrest

This afternoon, Charles McCovey was arraigned for the February 4 incident in Courtroom 5. Judge Joyce Hinrichs set bail at $100,00.

McCovey is charged in Count 1 assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm with a special allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on his alleged victim; Count 2 Resisting an Executive Officer;
Count 3 Restricting /Obstructing a Peace Officer and Count 4 Resisting arrest. Counts 1 and 2 are

Deputy District Attorney David Christensen is prosecuting this case. Public Defender Mr. Owen Tipps was appointed to represent McCovey. Not guilty pleas were entered, time was not waived.

Intervention is February 16 at 3 p.m. Preliminary hearing is February 24 at 8:30 a.m.

HCSO Press Release:

On Thursday, February 4, 2016, at about 11:53 p.m. deputies responded to Marshall Ln. at Big Hill for a report of a stabbing. The suspect, Charlie aka “Little Charlie” McCovey, was attempting to assault a neighbor when the 26 year old male victim heard the neighbor yelling for help. The victim ran to the neighbor’s residence and located an IMA adult standing on the porch of the residence. An altercation ensued and McCovey stabbed the victim, causing a large laceration. The suspect then fled the area. Deputies searched the area and were unable to locate McCovey. McCovey is said to be from Oregon and sometimes stays with relatives in the Hoopa area.

McCovey should be considered dangerous and armed with a large knife. He is described as an Indian male adult, about 5’9”-5’10”, thin build with a goatee. He was last seen wearing a grey hoodie, blue jeans, and black/blue Jordan tennis shoes. McCovey is believed to be 19 years old. The victim’s wound is not life threatening.