Mar 31, 2016

City of Eureka to have pre proposal meeting on April 5 regarding RFP for homeless services

The City of Eureka issued an RFP for Homeless Services on Friday, March 25, 2016.
The pre-proposal meeting to address questions and provide information will be held in
Room 207 at Eureka City Hall on April 5, 2016 at 2 p.m.
If you are interested in submitting the RFP for Homeless Services but can’t attend the
pre-proposal meeting, please e-mail City Manager and any
additional information will be provided to you.

The deadline for
submitting the RFP is April 22, 2016.

Key witness in Jesus Garcia alleged gang related homicide has a memory loss on stand regarding three suspects she previously identified

On Wednesday, the preliminary hearing continued for the four suspects in the Jesus Garcia homicide. It is expected to continue all week, today is a court holiday.

On Monday and Tuesday, EPD Detective Ron Harpham finished testifying. The People's first witness, Caroline Snow, had a memory loss on the stand on Tuesday and could not identify the three suspects she previously said were at her apartment, the night Jesus Garcia-Romero was stabbed. Nicholas Leigl is the only suspect placed at the crime of scene by her.

On Wednesday, Detective Harpham was recalled by the People and cross examined by defense attorneys. He was on the stand the entire day. He testified to the testimony of civilian witnesses, including Snow.

On Friday, People's expert witness, Paul Sprague will testify.

All defendants are being represented by private attorneys. Mario Nunez is being represented by Mr. David Celli, Joe Olivio III by Mr. Manny Daskal, Joe Olivio Jr by Ms. Christina Allbright and Nicholas Leigl by Mr. Michael Acosta.

Deputy District Attorney David Christensen started his questioning of  Det. Harpham by stating, "you heard Caroline Snow testify yesterday about her not remembering/identifying the three other males."

Detective Harpham indicated yes regarding Snow's testimony in court. He then reiterated that Snow had previously identified Nunez, Olivio Jr, and Olivio III.

"Did she see one of them with a knife?" asked Mr. Christensen.

"She saw one of them with a knife," said Det. Harpham.

 February 11, 2015,  was the first time Det. Harpham met Snow. "I was working at my desk and a POP detective was at 1819 A street with a probationer name named Timmy C." Det. Harpham said that the C was short for a Laotian last name. "They called me or I heard her name on the radio and I responded to that location because I needed to talk to her. I parked at Del Norte and A, a full block away from the target house and asked her to come to my car." Det. Harpham said he thinks she was escorted to his car by a POP detective.

Det. Harpham said his objective was to "try and convince her to come down and tell her side of the story." Det. Harpham did not arrest Snow, she went in the car with him to EPD, where he interviewed her.

DDA Christensen asked Det. Harpham, "What were you asking her about? Did she know you were asking about the Jesus Garcia homicide."

Det. Harpham said yes.

Det. Harpham gave Snow's address, where she was living, the night Garcia-Romero was allegedly stabbed. "She knew the victim," said Det. Harpham. "He was a person who frequently stayed at her house. She referred to him as son. She called him Smiley because he did not like being called Jesus for some reason."

"Michael Grant aka Tank was the apartment," said Det. Harpham. "She said Jesus was trippin out that day. Both (Tank and Jesus) were acting wierd and trippin out. She didn't say scared. I relaized that later in the conversation. She opened the back door to let Nick in and saw the other three men come in; she realized why Jesus and Michael Grant were trippin out"

"She didn't say what Jesus was doing. Michael Grant was helping her take down a bunk bed to help her move. Nicholas Leigl had called. He came over that night shortly afterwards; sometime around/after 10 p.m. When Nicholas Leigl got to the apartment, he knocked on the back door. She opened the door and let him in. He came in and looked concerned. Seconds later, three guys came in."

"She ided the three men. Earlier, she said she knew of Nunez and Olivio, Jr. The packet of photos I was going to use for ID was laying on my desk." Det. Harpham told her he had photos for her to look at, "She looked down and said that's them." Det. Harpham said "she was very scared to make IDS."

"She was very demure and emotional," said Det. Harpham.

"How did she appear?" Mr. Christensen asked Det. Harpham.

"She was crying," said Det. Harpham.

She told Det. Harpham, "Little Joe had the knife."

Mr. Christensen asked, "What happened next?"

"She had a fear response, so she tried to stall. The person she knew as Oso, he said he was Miguel."

At this point, Mr. Christensen went over the nicknames that were being used and who they referred to:

Oso=Joe Olivio, Jr
Little Oso or Lil Joe =Joe Olivio III
(adult) Smiley=Mario Nunez
Lil Smiley/Smiley=Jesus Garcia
Drama-Nicholas Leigl
Tank=Michael Grant

"She headed back to the back bedroom with Tank and Leigl followed her. It was seconds later she heard a scufffle outside. She was the first one out the door. She didn't see the other three men. She saw Jesus Garcia bent over like he was stomach sick," said Det. Harpham.

At this point Joe Olivio III smiled at his dad, Joe Olivio, Jr. He did this a few times during the testimony. Nunez just glared at me or started blankly. Leigl sat quietly.

"Tank too over and was going to make him go to the hospital," said Det. Harpham. Leigl was still there. "Jesus left with Tank and Nicholas Leigl." Snow did not see anyone put in the car, said Det. Harpham.

Mr. Christensen then questioned Det. Harpham about his interview with Grant.

"I was contacted by Sgt. Travis Braud. He had arrested Michael Grant for felon in possession and he was in jail," said Det. Harpham.

"Was any consideration given to Michael Grant," asked Mr. Christensen.

"Yes. Michael Grant said he knew the story but would not talk unless he got something," responded Det. Harpham.

Det. Harpham spoke with Ms. Kelly Neel, who was the assistant DA at that time, Sgt. Braud and Sgt. Bill Nova. The deal made with Grant was that "no report would be filed by the time he was to be arraigned Monday, that he would spend the weekend in jail and be cut loose." Det. Harpham said that Grant was never promised that charges would never be filed against him.

"Tank said he was at the apartment. He got there at 5 p.m. He was helping her break down some bunk beds. Jesus Garcia told him someone wants to kill both if us. Tank said he did not know why for sure but he had some assumption. Tank said to Jesus Garcia we will be safe if we don't let anyone in the house. Caroline got a phone call from Nick sometime after 10 p.m. Shortly, after Nick arrived at the back door."

"Tank told Caroline Snow, make sure Nicholas Leigl is alone. He was in the back room. He heard Carolinr and Nick come in. He heard scuffling sounds. He came out of the bedroom and said WTF is going on? He heard Jesus say "over here" by the bathroom. Then he saw three men he recognized in the hallway leaving. he knew the three men as Smiley, Oso and Oso' son."

Grant said he chased after them. He saw them get into a small, black car, different than the black Volvo Leigl was driving. He went back to "Jesus and Jesus either said, 'they got me' or 'he got me'."
Grant asked Garcia who and "Jesus said Oso." Grant said that he saw the stab wound and blood and that Garcia argued about going to the hospital but eventually Garcia left with Leigl, he was sitting in the back seat of the Volvo. This was sometime after 11 p.m.

Next. DDA Christensen asked Det. Harpham about his interview with Marissa Lawson. Det. Harpham located Lawson from phone records and text messages with Snow.  She was at Snow's apartment the evening of the incident. She has a friend named "Leonard or Lonely or Lone Rodriguez".

During cross examination, Mr. Daskal asked if Grant saw Garcia being stabbed and Det. Harpham said Grant initially gave him a summary and that later in his conversation with Garnt, he learned that Grant did not witness the stabbing.

Dr. Super told Det. Harpham that "all wounds occurred in a horizontal or vertical position, not fetal or sitting position.

Mr. Acosta said that both accounts by Lawson and Snow were based on what Grant told them. Det. Harpham responded that Lawson knew from other sources, including Rodriguez. Mr. Acosta also asked how in an eight bedroom house, did the scuffle occur seconds later. He hinted that the assailants knew exactly where Garcia was in the house. Mr. Acosta also brought up Grant's prior conviction for embezzlement and stabbing, these records were something  Det. Harpham was not unaware of until Mr. Acosta mentioned them.

Previous post (with all previous coverage);

Lookout for Andrew Barnes wanted in connection with Myrtle and West incident last night

On 03/30/16 at about 10:51 p.m., an officer with the Eureka Police Department began following a red Ford Explorer known to be connected to a wanted felon.  The officer activated his emergency lights near Myrtle and West streets and the driver stopped and immediately fled from the vehicle on foot.  

The officer stayed with the vehicle and detained the passenger, Shad Sovereign, 34 of Eureka.  Officers set up a perimeter and searched the area with police K9, Vex, but were unable to locate the driver.  Officers found a loaded firearm with the serial number removed inside the vehicle.  

Sovereign was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  His charges include felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and parole hold.

The driver, Andrew Barnes, 27 of Eureka, remains at large.  Barnes has been identified as a suspect in the recent armed robberies.  Fortuna Police has an active arrest warrant for his involvement.  Barnes also has a felony parole warrant and multiple fresh charges are pending from last night's incident.  

If you have information on the whereabouts of Barnes, please call the Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4044.

Shad Sovereign

Andrew Barnes

Mar 30, 2016

New religious freedom bill could give small business owners the right to anull any gay marriage

Early April Fools! Gotcha.

Sacramento threatens to fine Caltrans up to 5.23 million a day for drilling in violation of state law


Sacramento County is threatening to fine Caltrans millions in taxpayer dollars for drilling hundreds of wells over a period of decades in violation of laws aimed at protecting groundwater, records show.

The county set the possible fine at as much as $5.23 million per day to locate and follow proper procedures for a fraction of the wells — the most extreme measure thus far in a long-running jurisdictional spitting contest. The county says the state should have obtained permits, licenses and inspections for 523 narrow wells drilled from January 1990 to May 2014, according to a notice of violation obtained by CalWatchdog.

First law student steals laptop, then forges and alters guilty verdict slip; he has not received the law degree

Mad River Union's cartoon on Arcata activism could apply anywhere

This cartoon from Mad River Union can apply anywhere in Humboldt; actually anywhere in the nation.

Easter Miracle on Easter Sunday when Supervisor Sundberg helps a family who recently became homeless

A facebook post from a Mckinleyville citizen illustrates the difference it makes when you have Supervisors invested and living in their communities. I have similar information about Virginia, Rex and Estelle but they don't publicize it, I don't usually, unless a citizen does.

Supervisors don't stop working at 5 p.m. Something the public forgets, sometimes.

"Just wanted to brag a little bit about our Supervisor Ryan Sundberg...he is a guy with a big heart and someone who was willing to go the extra mile...even on Easter Sunday.  Last Friday I met this nice local couple with two kids who became homeless when the house they were renting was condemned.  One of our local Churches had a Senior couple who offered them a recent year RV in excellent condition for a very low price.  The couple had a stable income...but if they paid for the RV they would need help making space rent for a month or two.  My husband and I own an RV park in Trinidad and that's how I met this family.  Our Park is full with a waiting list.  This family was the kind of sweet people who need a hand criminal record...and are members of this Church.  I  wondered could these people qualify for this Housing First program's funding or some other resource?  I ended up private messaging Ryan on Easter Sunday...he responded immediately...and even got ahold of his DHHS staff on Easter Sunday!  I contacted this family and they were in tears they were so grateful.  Ryan just emailed me confirming that this family qualified for DHHS's Cal Works funding....which turned out to be an Easter miracle...And please join me in thanking our Supervisor Ryan Sundberg who once again went over and beyond the call of duty!"

Federal government seeks death penalty in Rodney and Vincent Ortiz case

I will have more on this  in an update.

Three suspects arrested for alleged theft of mail, credit cards and meth

On 03-26-2016 at approximately 9:15 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported theft of mail in the area of the 16100 block of Ridgeview Road in Willits, California.

The caller reported that the occupants of a burgundy mini-van had stolen mail from their mailbox. The caller provided the Deputies with a direction of travel for the suspect vehicle.

As the Deputies responded to the area they observed two large piles of mail alongside the roadway which had already been discarded by the suspects.

The suspect vehicle was stopped by another responding Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy in the 2000 block of Muir Mill Road.  It was occupied by Kiera Shed (driver), Justin Maxfield and Bradley Maxfield.

Inside the van were items of mail, credit cards, stolen checks with forged signatures, two methamphetamine smoking pipes and a prescription bottle containing a schedule IV controlled substance known as TRAMADOL.

Shed, Justin Maxfield and Bradley Maxfield were arrested for possession of stolen property, forgery, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, grand theft and petty theft.

They were transported to the Mendocino County Jail where each was to be held in lieu of $15,000.00 bail.

The investigation is ongoing as discarded as items of mail continue to be processed and additional victims are identified and contacted.

Huge decision from U.S. Supreme Court that can have impact on Humboldt defendants

Defendant argued that she was deprived of her right to hire her own counsel because government seized her assets, pre-trial.

Held:That violated her 6th Amendment right to Counsel. It was a 5-3 decision.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2015

 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus LUIS v. UNITED STATES CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT No. 14–419. Argued November 10, 2015—Decided March 30, 2016 A federal statute provides that a court may freeze before trial certain assets belonging to a defendant accused of violations of federal health care or banking laws. Those assets include (1) property “obtained as a result of ” the crime, (2) property “traceable” to the crime, and (3), as relevant here, other “property of equivalent value.” 18 U. S. C. §1345(a)(2). The Government has charged petitioner Luis with fraudulently obtaining nearly $45 million through crimes related to health care. In order to preserve the $2 million remaining in Luis’ possession for payment of restitution and other criminal penalties, the Government secured a pretrial order prohibiting Luis from dissipating her assets, including assets unrelated to her alleged crimes. Though the District Court recognized that the order might prevent Luis from obtaining counsel of her choice, it held that the Sixth Amendment did not give her the right to use her own untainted funds for that purpose. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

Held: The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded.

564 Fed. Appx. 493, vacated and remanded.

JUSTICE BREYER, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE GINSBURG, and JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, concluded that the pretrial restraint of legitimate, untainted assets needed to retain counsel of choice violates the Sixth Amendment. The nature and importance of the constitutional right taken together with the nature of the assets lead to this conclusion. Pp. 3–16. (a) The Sixth Amendment right to counsel grants a defendant “a fair opportunity to secure counsel of his own choice,” Powell v. Alabama, 287 U. S. 45, 53, that he “can afford to hire,” Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered v. United States, 491 U. S. 617, 624. This Court has 2 LUIS v. UNITED STATES Syllabus consistently referred to the right to counsel of choice as “fundamental.” Pp. 3–5. (b) While the Government does not deny Luis’ fundamental right to be represented by a qualified attorney whom she chooses and can afford to hire, it would nonetheless undermine the value of that right by taking from Luis the ability to use funds she needs to pay for her chosen attorney. The Government attempts to justify this consequence by pointing out that there are important interests on the other side of the legal equation. It wishes to guarantee that funds will be available later to help pay for statutory penalties and restitution, for example. The Government further argues that two previous cases from this Court, Caplin & Drysdale, supra, at 619, and United States v. Monsanto, 491 U. S. 600, 615, support the issuance of a restraining order in this case. However, the nature of the assets at issue here differs from the assets at issue in those earlier cases. And that distinction makes a difference. Pp. 5–16. (1) Here, the property is untainted, i.e., it belongs to Luis. As described in Caplin & Drysdale and Monsanto, the Government may well be able to freeze before trial “tainted” assets—e.g., loot, contraband, or property otherwise associated with the planning, implementing, or concealing of a crime. As a matter of property law, the defendant’s ownership interest in such property is imperfect. For example, a different federal statute provides that title to property used to commit a crime (or otherwise “traceable” to a crime) passes to the Government at the instant the crime is planned or committed. See 21 U. S. C. §853(c). But here, the Government seeks to impose restrictions upon Luis’ untainted property without any showing of any equivalent governmental interest in that property. Pp. 5–10. (2) This distinction does not by itself answer the constitutional question because the law of property may allow a person without a present interest in a piece of property to impose restrictions upon a current owner, say, to prevent waste. However, insofar as innocent funds are needed to obtain counsel of choice, the Sixth Amendment prohibits the court order sought here. Three basic considerations lead to this conclusion. First, the nature of the competing interests argues against this kind of court order. On the one side is a fundamental Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel. On the other side is the Government’s interest in securing its punishment of choice, as well as the victim’s interest in securing restitution. These latter interests are important, but— compared to the right to counsel—they seem to lie somewhat further from the heart of a fair, effective criminal justice system. Second, relevant, common-law legal tradition offers virtually no significant support for the Government’s position and in fact argues to the con- Cite as: 578 U. S. ____ (2016) 3 Syllabus trary. Indeed, there appears to be no decision of this Court authorizing unfettered, pretrial forfeiture of the defendant’s own “innocent” property. Third, as a practical matter, accepting the Government’s position could erode the right to counsel considerably. It would, in fact, unleash a principle of constitutional law with no obvious stopping place, as Congress could write more statutes authorizing restraints in other cases involving illegal behavior that come with steep financial consequences. These defendants, often rendered indigent, would fall back upon publicly paid counsel, including overworked and underpaid public defenders. The upshot is a substantial risk that accepting the Government’s views would render less effective the basic right the Sixth Amendment seeks to protect. Pp. 11–15. (3) The constitutional line between a criminal defendant’s tainted funds and innocent funds needed to pay for counsel should prove workable. Money may be fungible, but courts, which use tracing rules in cases of, e.g., fraud and pension rights, have experience separating tainted assets from untainted assets, just as they have experience determining how much money is needed to cover the costs of a lawyer. Pp. 15–16. JUSTICE THOMAS concluded that the rule that a pretrial freeze of untainted assets violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel of choice rests strictly on the Sixth Amendment’s text and common-law backdrop. Pp. 1–12. (a) The Sixth Amendment abolished the common-law rule that generally prohibited representation in felony cases. “The right to select counsel of one’s choice” is thus “the root meaning” of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 548 U. S. 140, 147–148. Constitutional rights protect the necessary prerequisites for their exercise. As a result, the Sixth Amendment denies the Government unchecked power to freeze a defendant’s assets before trial simply to secure potential forfeiture upon conviction. Unless the right to counsel protects the right to use lawfully owned property to pay for an attorney, the right to counsel—originally understood to protect only the right to hire counsel of choice—would be meaningless. Without pretrial protection for at least some of a defendant’s assets, the Government could nullify the right to counsel of choice, eviscerating the Sixth Amendment’s original meaning and purpose. The modern, judicially created right to governmentappointed counsel does not obviate these concerns. Pp. 1–5. (b) History confirms this textual understanding. The common-law forfeiture tradition provides an administrable rule for the Sixth Amendment’s protection: A criminal defendant’s untainted assets are protected from government interference before trial and judgment, but his tainted assets may be seized before trial as contraband or 4 LUIS v. UNITED STATES Syllabus through a separate in rem proceeding. Reading the Sixth Amendment to track the historical line between tainted and untainted assets avoids case-by-case adjudication and ensures that the original meaning of the right to counsel does real work. Here, the incursion of the pretrial asset freeze into untainted assets, for which there is no historical tradition, violates the Sixth Amendment. Pp. 5–9. (c) This conclusion leaves no room for an atextual balancing analysis. Pp. 9–12

. BREYER, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion

Want your roads fixed? Tell Board of Equalization what you think of their recent decision

Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg is at CACOG conference. Supervisor Sundberg is the chair for HCOAG and he is attending the conference with Marcella Clem, HCOAG's executive director. Expenses are being paid by the State of California for the conference.

Bill Higgins, Executive Director, California Association of Councils of Governments sent this out :

Fix Our Road Coalition:

As you may have seen, yesterday the Board of Equalization voted to reduce the excise tax on gasoline by 2.2 cents, bringing the total reduction in the excise tax per gallon to over 11 cents over the past three years.  This action further underscores the need to stabilize this revenue source and to pass new revenues to fund transportation.  Following is the statement we put out in response.

Press Release:

– The Fix Our Roads coalition including, cities, counties, labor, business, and transportation advocates, issued the following statement in response to the Board of Equalization’s (BOE) vote today to reduce the excise tax on gasoline by another 2.2 cents. This brings the total reduction in the excise tax per gallon to over 11 cents over the past three years:

“The BOE’s action will reduce transportation funding by another $328.2 million and will mean continued cuts to our chronically underfunded transportation infrastructure at both the state and local level.  Declining gas tax revenues have left us with tens of billions of dollars of backlogged maintenance and little funding for new congestion relief projects. 

“In fact, the anticipated reduction in transportation funding is a key reason the California Transportation Commission just last month cut $754 million in project funding. This means that a total of 225 shovel-ready projects may lose funding, hitting every region of the state. Taken together, the impact of losing these projects could mean a $3.1 billion reduction in economic activity and over 16,000 jobs that would not be created statewide.  

“The annual BOE action to “true up” the excise tax fluctuates wildly year to year and underscores how difficult it is to deliver transportation projects without a stable, long term funding source. 

“Today’s action further underlies the urgent need for the legislature to act, now, to stabilize this revenue stream and support new, stable, long-term transportation revenues.”

Background on the BOE’s Decision Today

The BOE’s action today affects the state’s “gallonage tax” or portion of the gas tax which is intended to replace the state’s sales tax on gasoline shifted to transportation by the voters in 2002. In 2010 as the result of a series of gas tax state budget maneuvers this portion of the gas tax must equal what the sales tax on fuels would have generated and thus is adjusted by the BOE every year.

In 2014, the BOE reduced the excise tax by 3 cents; in 2015, it was reduced by an additional 6 cents; today’s action means that the reduction for this year will be an additional 2.2 cents. 

Last August the Fix Our Roads Coalition laid out a set of policy principles it believes should guide the negotiations to not only stabilize this revenue stream, but also generate new revenue to maintain our existing transportation systems. First and foremost, California needs a long term funding package to address the billions of dollars of backlogged transportation needs on both the state and local systems. The Coalition’s policy principles also couple any new revenues with needed accountability provisions to ensure new transportation dollars go to transportation projects only.

The deferred maintenance on the state highway system is pegged at $59 billion. The funding shortfall to maintain the existing local streets and roads system is $78 billion. And California motorists are today spending an average of $762 annually just to fix repairs caused by poor road conditions.

No media to cover Measure Z meeting today?

Supervisor Rex Bohn is there, Police and Fire staff, community members including Joel Canzoneri, County staff including Emily Jacobs.

No media in the Board of Supervisor Chambers. Channel 3's Sierra Jenkins was in the building so she may have covered the meeting.

When I walked in, Sheriff Mike Downey was being questioned by Measure Z Committee members about Trinidad and Blue Lake being covered by additional deputies. That got put in need, not a must.

Closed courtroom in Bullock case while closing instructions for Bullock case are being finalized

This is not unusual but since many people have been attending the trial, I want to do an update.

Mar 29, 2016

"You made a choice one day to go where you wanted to go. We tried to help you. You made harsh choices. You chose your own self over everything. You wanted to get high and say fuck everything else."

Gary Lee Bullock's wife in a phone call, days after he was arrested tells him, "You could have chosen to do things differently."

She is now his ex wife. Due to this case, she has left Humboldt County with her two daughters. Someone who knew the family well told me that Bullock's daughters adored him, looked up to him, until this happened.

John Bruno, his step father statement in a jail call in June 2014 says, , "You made a choice one day to go where you wanted to go. We tried to help you. You made harsh choices.  You chose your own self over everything. You wanted to get high and say fuck everything else."

His own brother let him stay in a motel he owned. The family helped him, supported him and tried to get Bullock to quit drugs. His wife tried to get him to get help, mentally, emotionally and physically.

He was offered a phone call that night to call someone and get home. He was directed to shelter in Eureka and could have gotten a ride to the Rescue Mission that night. He did not ask.

The choices Bullock made cost Fr. Eric his life, his family, friends and parishioners, who are also Fr. Eric's family, a community, Bullock's own family and friends.

Choices Bullock made thinking only of himself cost a lot more people everything. He seems to still be in that mode. He is still alive. Fr. Eric does not get that choice.

"In all the hours of recordings you heard, does he ever talk about what Fr. Freed lost.?"

In three responses to questions posed by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac during cross examination, Gary Lee Bullock's step father John Bruno slightly changed his responses after the lunch break. In one instance he answered, something like that about Bullock ingesting PCP; in another he said no to something Bullock had told him in a phone call from the jail and the last one about discussing insanity as a defense, Bullock's attorney, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum objected.

After the defense rested, the People presented DA Investigator John Burke as a rebuttal witness and played four jail phone calls for the jury.

The calls had the exact statements that John Bruno denied flat out or said he could not exactly recall or was not allowed to answer. Bruno told Mr. Isaac twice that he was aware that the jail phone calls were being recorded.

In the last phone call played from September 17, 2014, Bullock tells his mother "drugs change you." He goes on to say, "It changes you. It made me evil."

These are some of the other statements that the jury heard:

Bullock: "When you take PCP, you get freaked out, Dylan gave me PCP."

Bullock: "I don't really care. It is what it is. I'm not going anywhere soon."

His mother responds and tries to console him, "Gary, we are doing everything we can to help."

Bullock: "I have lost everything?"

His stepfather responds, "You made a choice one day to go where you wanted to go. We tried to help you. You made harsh choices.  You chose your own self over everything. You wanted to get high and say fuck everything else."

Mr. Isaac asked DA Investigator Burke, "In all the hours of recordings you heard, does he ever talk about what Fr. Freed lost.?"

Domestic violence victim flees residence to meet deputies, alleged suspect arrested

On 03-28-16, at about 1:20 PM a female adult called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and reported that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend. The victim had fled the residence and met deputies elsewhere.

After interviewing the victim and collecting evidence, the deputies went to the suspect, Karl Barth's, residence. Barth was not at the residence and deputies were not able to locate him.

On 0329-16, at approximately 9:00 AM deputies located Barth at his residence. Barth was subsequently arrested for felony violation of Domestic Violence (273.5 PC), as well as violating terms of his probation (1203.2 PC).

Barth was lodged at the Mendocino County Jail where he is being held in lieu of $50,000.00 bail.

Defense rests, people present rebuttal, closing arguments in Bullock April 4

Defense rested with the testimony of John Bruno. People presented DA Investigator John Burke ad rebuttal. He will be cross examined Monday by Mr. Cockrum. Defense may present surrebuttal. Evidence expected to conclude by noon on Monday.

Closing arguments at 1:30.

Jury back 10:30 Monday. While trial is dark rest of the week, Judge Feeney and attorneys will go over closing jury instructions tomorrow.

People will be allowed to question Bullock's step father about Bullock's prior drug use and "issues with family"

Gary Lee Bullock's stepfather's testimony was interrupted shortly after 11 a.m., attorneys talked briefly with Judge John Feeney, then jurors and John Bruno left the courtroom and attorneys presented brief oral arguments.

The jurors were sent home at 11:30 and asked to return at 1:30. A 402,hearing was held and John Bruno was questioned by the attorneys.

Gist of final ruling by Judge Feeney was that the prosecution can ask Bruno about Bullock's prior record as long as it is something he personally observed or Bullock told him.

In his arguments, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac told Judge Feeney, "I want to explore that Gary has a long history with the family, he was in prison in Texas, still engaged in drugs after that. It shows his consistent problems have been drugs not sanity."

During attorney discussion and questioning of Bruno, Sempervirens was mentioned, later clarified Bullock was admitted to Singing Trees and he walked out before completing treatment.

Mr. Isaac also referred to phone testimony, between Bruno and Bullock where they discuss using insanity as a defense.

I will update this post later with complete details of the evidence hearing, and do a separate detailed post Bruno's afternoon testimony later. Aside from Officer Crnich's testimony, this was the most crucial testimony of the afternoon.

In three responses to questions posed by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac during cross examination, Gary Lee Bullock's step father John Bruno slightly changed his responses after the lunch break. In one instance he answered, something like that about Bullock ingesting PCP; in another he said no to something Bullock had told him in a phone call from the jail and the last one about discussing insanity as a defense, Bullock's attorney, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum objected.

After the defense rested, the People presented DA Investigator John Burke as a rebuttal witness and played four jail phone calls for the jury.

The calls had the exact statements that John Bruno denied flat out or said he could not exactly recall or was not allowed to answer. Bruno told Mr. Isaac twice that he was aware that the jail phone calls were being recorded.

Before the jurors left this morning for a break during Bruno's testimony, two female jurors cried as they heard Bruno talking a call from the Sheriff's office, his surprise that "Gary" was involved in the death of Fr. Eric Freed, he had watched on the morning news and turning his step son in to law enforcement.

Bruno said the family tried to get Bullock help with drug rehab, his wife tried to get an appointment to see if he was bipolar. That appointment, ironically, was the morning Bullock killed Fr. Freed. Frustrated with arrests and repeated drug use and how it was affecting the family, especially concern for Bullock's wife Stephanie and two daughters, John Bruno asked Bullock at one point, "When is this going to stop?"

Woods aka Robert Sutherland calls Humboldt County Cannabis Ordinance as "forests being trashed by newcomers"

The County of Humboldt has begun preparations for a new lawsuit against its citizens. In a case filed February 26, County officials are preparing to advance their plan to promote large environmentally destructive marijuana grows through a recently passed ordinance. A broad coalition of Humboldt citizens, along with the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project (HUMMAP), will defend environmentally respectful practices.
 “Make no mistake,” said Fred Bauer of Shelter Cove. “Our Supervisors have modeled their new ordinance on the one drafted by California Cannabis Voice Humboldt, a group of huge growers. Our forests are being trashed by newcomers in a frenzy to cash in. Humboldt County has sat on its hands.”
Charley Custer noted that Hummap seeks to reduce the per-parcel environmental footprint of the County’s highly rushed plan. “For example, Hummap sees that commercial generators should not be allowed back in the woods, where they cause wildfires and fuel spills, not to mention horrendous noise.” The Supervisors have claimed such generator use is not a significant problem. Custer works with the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights.
Hummap proposes that large grows should not receive rubber-stamp approval without serious environmental review. The County proposes that grows up to 10,000 square feet in size receive no discretionary review. Hummap insists this figure be bumped down to 3,000 square feet. “Without this change most grows in Humboldt County can be approved without even the next-door neighbors being able to say they don’t like the generator noise,” commented Ben Schill, a Phillipsville resident.
The Supervisors also have set up an incentive program to get growers to move to sites having fewer negative impacts, but such sites require prime agricultural soils that are in short supply. Nonetheless, they are giving growers who want to move four times their previous grow size as incentive. This unnecessarily large incentive increases adverse impacts, and encourages large grows.
 “The Supervisors are promoting destructive greed grows,” charged Robert Sutherland of Hummap. “So, shouldn’t the Supervisors disclose who gave them money, and whether their own family members are deeply involved with marijuana profits? It’s disturbing the Supervisors are unwilling to meet reasonable environmental standards to settle this. It’s another waste of taxpayer money, and an egregious insult to the majority of citizens who want a better future for our county,” he said.
Formal settlement talks are scheduled for April 4, but the County Counsel has refused to present any counter-proposal to the public, strongly suggesting they choose to go to trial. Hummap is represented by the firm Greenfire Law of Berkeley.

"Did you feel responsible for what happened to Fr. Freed? We find out security guard was also a St. Bernard's parishioner

The defense in the Gary Bullock jury trial had the following witnesses today: Officer Corey Crnich, who was one of two officers that spoke with Bullock on the St. Bernard's church property; Mr. Tim Clark, the security guard, who called the police after hearing howling at St. Bernard's church and the same security guard that asked Bullock to leave early am of New Year's Day, before Bullock broke into the rectory, former Deputy District Attorney Luke Brownfield who is now a Deputy Public Defender and Bullock' step-father John Bruno.

Officer Crnich said Bullock set off no red flags, did not ask for a ride and repeatedly asked for directions to the Rescue Mission, giving the impression he was heading there.

This is the first time we found out that the security guard was also a St. Bernards parishioner. He was private security that night , not at the church.

When he heard the news next day, he said, "it blew my mind". He said he felt responsible for what happened to Fr. Freed. "I wish I had done more."

The security guard was sympathetic because he thought Bullock was homeless. He told the prosecution, "he fooled me."

Bullock's step father will take the stand after morning break. John Bruno's testimony continues into the afternoon session.

In his testimony, Bruno said that Bullock claimed to be reincarnated and he was Archangel Michael. Bullock also said he was going to heal his mother, who has Lyme disease. He refused water saying it was tainted. Later he only ate some of the chicken offered saying it was not a,part of his new diet.

Instead of EPD Detective Jon Liken,Mr. Cockrum used Mr. Brownfield's testimony about A shaped branches found near Fr. Freed's car that Bullock parked near his parents' residence.

Mar 28, 2016

Jury selection continues in the Kailan Meserve case this week

On March 21, motions in limine started and until last Wednesday, individual jurors were questioned privately. The trial for Kailan Meserve is taking place in Courtroom 4 with Judge Timothy Cissna.

Monday,  jury selection continued with individual questioning of jurors and on Wednesday, March 30, it is expected to be w an open courtroom to select 12 jurors and then alternates. The trial is only in morning session. Thursday is a court holiday.

On Wednesday, nine jurors were missing at roll call.

I am following the case and will be covering it once the trial starts. So far, I am the only one who has covered this case from arraignment until now.

Link to previous post (that includes all previous coverage):

Larry Tracy sentenced for assault and causing great bodily injury to Stevie Bailey

Larry Tracy was supposed to be sentenced this afternoon in Courtroom 4. That was continued  until March 29 and he was sentenced to 12 years.

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.

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.

In Phase 1 of Bullock trial , is Mr. Cockrum going for voluntary intoxication?

This is a good link with good information. As Mr. Isaac said in his opening, the difference between me and Mr. Cockrum in this case is intent.

Alleged altercation with a baseball bat leads to son being suspect in death of his father

Synopsis: On 3-28-2016 around 03:30 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a reported altercation between a father and son that resulted in the death of Sanford Sternick.  Sternick was 58 years of age.

MCSO Deputies responded to the location where they located and confirmed the death of Sternick from what appeared to be blunt force trauma.  The decedent's son, Jewel Dyer, 25 years of age, was detained at the scene.

The Sheriff's Detective Unit was called to the scene to conduct an investigation into Sternick's death.  A witness indicated Dyer claimed there was an argument in the early morning hours between he and his father.  That argument lead to a physical altercation, which resulted in the father suffering blunt force trauma about the head.  A baseball bat, located at the crime scene, was believed to have been used during the altercation.

Dyer was transported and booked into the County Jail where his bail will be set at $500,000. An autopsy is being scheduled and the case will be presented to the District Attorney's Office for review.

No charges filed yet for Rick Littlefield owner of Eureka Natural Food in most recent DUI,this makes fifth arrest, 4 previous guilty pleas

Richard William Littlefield was arrested by CHP for violation of VC23152(a)/23550 on Wednesday, March 23 at 9:31 p.m.

He is out on bond and no charges have been filed for this felony yet. I am following the case. A date for bond status/possible arraignment is set for April 25, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

He has four previous cases in the system, three misdemeanors and one felony. All were guilty pleas. Three were DUIs; one in 2009 was for disturbing the peace and driving with a suspended/revoked license. This was the case in which headlines of the arrest alleged solicitation of an Old Town prostitute.

The DUIs included two from 2006, months apart and one from 2011.

Based on defense opening, could Bullock trial conclude tomorrow with closing arguments?

Based on Mr. Kaleb Cockrum's opening statement today, three witnesses are left. Court adjourned at 2:30 this afternoon.

Officer Crnich; Mr. Clark, the security guard who called the police and told Bullock to leave St. Bernard's Church; and his step father John Bruno.

If length of cross examination by both parties is an indication so far, and witnesses are done by noon, closing arguments could
start tomorrow.

The trial is "dark" Wednesday through Friday this week, with Thursday being a court holiday.

Both Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac and Mr. Kaleb Cockrum have done an excellent job with keeping the trial focused and done the same with evidentiary hearings and jury selection.

The attorneys in this trial remind me a lot of the Jason Warren trial. Mr. Paul Sequeira, Mr. Andrew Isaac, Mr. Glenn Brown and Mr. Kaleb Cockrum should teach prosecutors and defense attorneys how to win trials and juries as well as keep people's attention focused by providing relevant facts and doing a great job for their clients.

Don't panic if you hear gun fire and explosions in Ukiah this Wednesday, says Sheriff

On Wednesday March 30, 2016 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting an Active Threat training exercise at Mendocino College (1000 Hensley Creek Road in Ukiah, California) in partnership with the college and various Mendocino County public safety agencies.

The training exercise will take place from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and access to the college campus will be restricted to authorized persons participating in the training exercise for safety reasons due to simulated gun fire and explosions.

The public should remain aware that simulated gun fire and explosions will be used during this training exercise.  There will also be a heavy presence of public safety personnel and vehicles on the college campus during this training exercise.

For the past several months Mendocino County law enforcement agencies have participated in one day training sessions to update their skills in responding to Active Threat situations.

This training exercise at the Mendocino College campus in Ukiah will be used to test and evaluate those who have attended any of the previous one day training sessions.

A follow up press release will be disseminated sometime after the conclusion of the training.

Preliminary hearing for four suspects in Jesus Garcia homicide started today, should last a few days

Visiting Judge Arvid Johnson is filling in for Judge Joyce Hinrichs in Courtroom 5. She is filling in and hearing the preliminary hearing for the Jesus Garcia homicide suspects and hearing family law cases thus week.

EPD Detective Ron Harpham is still on the stand being questioned by Deputy District Attorney David Christensen this afternoon. They had to take a break and resume around 2:45 after family law cases were heard.

Detective Harpham has yet to be cross examined by the four attorneys for the four suspects. The preliminary hearing is expected to last a few days.

Preliminary hearing for four suspects in Jesus Garcia homicide delayed again

An intervention hearing for the four suspects in the Jesus Garcia homicide was scheduled at 11 a.m. this morning in Courtroom 5. The preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for March 14. Intervention from March 1 was continued and the preliminary hearing for March 7 was vacated.

Now the preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for all four suspects for March 28.

Feb 25, 2016

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.

Feb 23, 2016

Mario Nunez, suspect in Jesus Garcia homicide gets preliminary hearing date set in March, for now

Mario Nunez was appointed private attorney, Mr. David Celli, and his arraignment was continued to this afternoon. Mr. Russ Clanton appeared for Mr. Celli today and confirmed appointment of counsel. Time was not waived.

A stack of discovery was given by Deputy District Attorney David Christensen to Mr. Clanton in court today.

There are dates for other co-defendants on February 25. For now, intervention for Nunez has been set for March 1 at 3 p.m. and Preliminary hearing is set for March 7.

Feb 19, 2016

No bail for Mario Nunez, third suspect in alleged gang related homicide and death of Jesus,Garcia, arraignment continued

Mario Nunez, the third co-defendant, in the Jesus Romero Garcia homicide was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon. He also had a petition to revoke his post release community supervision.

No bail on both cases.

Count 1 murder with special allegation that he was an active gang participant at the time and the murder was committed to further activities of the criminal street gang.

Public defender offices cannot represent him, he cannot afford his own attorney, Mr. David Celli, private attorney was appointed for him.

Arraignment continued until February 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Link to other posts and background on this case: