Mendocino County Today: January 20, 2013
by AVA News Service, January 19, 2013
FOSTER FATHER Accused In Baby's Death Had Drug Arrest
By Tiffany Revelle
The foster father accused of beating a five-month-old baby girl to death in December while she was in his care was in Mendocino County Superior Court Friday to schedule a future appearance.
Wilson L. Tubbs III, 38, faces a charge of child abuse resulting in death, which carries the same weight as murder, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.
He had on Dec. 2 brought the baby girl, who had months earlier been taken from her mother, to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital not breathing and blue, and with bruises on her face and head.
Tubbs, the girl's foster father, initially claimed the infant was injured when she fell from a changing bench onto a hardwood floor in his house, and later admitted he slapped and violently shook the baby, the Fort Bragg Police Department reported previously.
Mendocino County Public Defender Linda Thompson, who is representing Tubbs, asked the court to set another court date next week to prepare for the preliminary hearing.
Thompson said that rather than having a typical preliminary hearing where the district attorney makes a case to show that the defendant should be bound over for trial for the crime, the hearing might take more than a day because she plans to make her own case in Tubbs' defense.
"I may be putting on medical evidence and (calling) other witnesses," Thompson said, and asked the court to give her adequate time to contact expert witnesses.
No autopsy report was yet available, according to Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira, who is prosecuting the case.
Records about the case released earlier this week by the Mendocino County Counsel's Office and Health and Human Services Agency contain a Live Scan criminal background report that, while the foster parents' names are redacted from the form, shows a clean result.
The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested Tubbs in July 2010 on suspicion of illegally possessing a controlled substance and possession for sale. He allegedly had 20 generic hydrocodone pills and eight Valium pills, according to Sequeira.
Tubbs entered a diversion agreement with the court, whereby his case would be dismissed with no criminal charges on his record as long as he completed a yearlong drug diversion program, according to Sequeira.
As part of the arrangement, Tubbs on Nov. 9, 2010, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of possessing the hydrocodone, Sequeira said, and the misdemeanor charge of Valium possession was dropped. Tubbs' sentence was deferred for a year on the condition that he completed the drug diversion program, according to Sequeira, who also noted that such a program didn't exist on the coast, so coastal residents took an online course to complete the requirements.
A year later on Nov. 9, 2011, the court found that Tubbs had complied with the terms of the agreement and successfully completed the diversion program, and the case was dismissed.
Sequeira said that while the felony would not have gone on Tubbs' record because of that, the arrest and subsequent diversion agreement would still show up if someone were to "run his rap sheet."
Tubbs is due in court for a pre-preliminary hearing date on the child abuse charge at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Courtroom B of the Ukiah courthouse. (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
ONCE UPON A TIME there was serious movie criticism. There was Pauline Kael. There was Dwight Macdonald. There was even Andrew Sarris if you were a highbrow clear up on top of your head.
Pauline Kael, Dwight MacDonald & Andrew Sarris
A READER WRITES: Mick LaSalle has been reviewing movies in the Chronicle forever and clearly knows which side his bread is buttered on. Do you think there is “objective” film criticism? LaSalle surely knows Jessica Chastain is a Mill Valley girl and would not fail to root for the home team. I've heard there's a TV series called Homeland, which glorifies the post-9/11 military-industrial state every week. The entertainment industry also knows where its bread is buttered.
INTERESTING PIECE on Tule elk by Linda Williams in a recent issue of the Willits News. Hunted to the very brink of extinction, and only saved from total extinction by a Los Banos rancher who harbored mating pairs, the impressively large beasts are thriving in the Sherwood Valley west of Willits, and are also doing well in Potter Valley, Covelo, and Laytonville. There's also a herd in the Sinkyone, as I discovered the last time I hiked through there with my late friend Alexander Cockburn. We had to pause on the trail for nearly an hour before an irritable bull elk moved out of the way. If I'm not mistaken, wild turkeys were introduced, or re-introduced, in the early 1970s. They're everywhere now, but as large as Mendocino County is there aren't many areas large enough to contain too many more Tule elk, but long may they thrive.
IS ARGO A GOOD MOVIE? No. Is it watchable? Kind of, but that's setting the bar pretty low. Mick LaSalle at the Chron loved it, and he's a reliable guide to bad movies. If LaSalle likes it it's probably bad but it's also probably watchable, entertaining enough without you storming out of the theater to demand your money back. Which is still a low standard. All these movies come with an imperial assumption, that our imperialism, unlike British, French, Chinese, and other imperialisms, is good imperialism. If you think imperialism has been good for America you probably are predisposed to enjoy movies like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. You would have believed that we weren't in Iran for their oil, we were there to liberate them from the burkah-brains. I know an Iranian car mechanic in San Francisco, an older man, who I asked once where he was from because I suspected he was from either there or Iraq from his accent. “Persia,” he said. I asked him if he'd been a Mossedegh man. He wouldn't say, so I assumed he'd left Iran with the fall of the Shah. He did say, “The problem with Iran is too many stupid people.” I said his adopted country had the same problem, and we laughed and left it there. Mossedegh, some of you will know, was a secular nationalist and a democrat who nationalized Iran's oil and was duly overthrown by the CIA acting in concert with the British. Mossedegh was replaced by the representative of the ancient Kingdom of the True Aryans or some bullshit like that who set up a murderous police state which was eventually overthrown by the ayatollahs who took Americans hostage when their supporters successfully stormed our embassy. This all happened in the Carter years. Argo's the story of a successful joint CIA-Canadian operation to smuggle six embassy people out of Iran. I haven't spoiled the movie for you because most people know the story. Check that: Most people used to know the story. You really can't assume what people know anymore, and there are no honest move critics writing in the English language.