Press "Enter" to skip to content

Showdown with the Sheriff

Sheriff Matt Kendall was in court last Friday represented by Ukiah Attorney Duncan James. The Sheriff was seeking approval to hire Duncan James as his legal counsel due to a conflict of interest. County Counsel Christian Curtis, arguably the cause of the conflict, was present to explain why Duncan James should not be appointed. One of Curtis’s concerns — that James would run up a bill — seems to be supported by the 52 page (!) brief that was filed on behalf of the Sheriff’s request for independent counsel. 

Only page one of the brief was available online at print time. The AVA has the full brief on order at a mere 50¢ per page, a handsome price that the courts extract in order to make public documents available to the public. 

The brief begins with a statement from the Sheriff that following his appointment he began having difficulties with CEO Carmel Angelo and Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams. The “difficulties” culminated with threats to hold the Sheriff personally accountable if he goes over his structurally underfunded budget, which he is certain to do. And the Board’s stated intent to merge the Sheriff’s IT department with the rest of the County’s computers. 

This is a fight the Board of Supervisors should not be in and one the Board can’t win. The law seems clear to everyone except County Counsel that the Sheriff can’t be billed for overtime or other necessary expenses needed to fulfill his constitutionally and statutorily mandated public safety duties — including maintaining his own IT department, something that is understandable, especially in light of confidentiality requirements and the current Grand Jury report taking County IT to task for a long list of ongoing deficiencies. 

On Friday, Presiding Judge Ann Moorman wanted proof that a conflict existed. County Counsel Curtis, Duncan James and Sheriff Kendall all agreed a conflict existed. But Judge Moorman wasn’t satisfied. Had the Board of Supervisors voted to acknowledge the conflict? No, they had not. Judge Moorman stated that her reading of the law required a vote by the Board of Supervisors affirming a conflict existed. Knowing the Board was scheduled to meet August 3, Moorman told Curtis she wanted him back in court on Wednesday, August 4 with the results of such a vote. Curtis demurred that the agenda for August 3 had already been published. Not one to entertain lame excuses, Moorman said she was making it a court order that the Board vote to decide if a conflict exists or not. 

Which explains why an amended agenda was hastily issued late Friday afternoon with a closed session item for existing litigation, the dispute between the Sheriff and the Board, with the newly assigned case number. 

In addition, a second closed session item was added to allow the Board to decide which of four out-of-county law firm alternatives to Duncan James ought to be selected instead. 

County Counsel appears to be under the naïve assumption that Kendall can somehow be persuaded to accept someone other than Duncan James as his attorney. That won’t happen. Kendall was clear on that point at the last Board meeting.

What is to be hoped is that cooler heads will prevail and the Board of Supervisors will emerge from Closed Session to say that no conflict exists, that they are rescinding the threat to bill the Sheriff for budget overruns or to merge his IT department with that of the County. At the Board’s last meeting on July 20 three Supervisors signaled a clear interest in extricating themselves from the mess County Counsel and CEO Angelo has led them into. Only Supervisor Williams persisted in badgering the Sheriff in an attempt to shame him into accepting a structurally unbalanced budget imposed by CEO Angelo. 

It’s clear that a conflict exists, something County Counsel acknowledged on July 20, finally advising the Board that the Sheriff was entitled to legal counsel even to respond to the questions being posed by the Board. 

In light of that, it seems likely at this point that even if the Board backs away from its previous threats, Sheriff Kendall will insist on independent legal representation prior to even considering any agreement to let bygones be bygones. 


  1. izzy August 4, 2021

    When is the Chief Executive Officer going to be held accountable for anything?

    • stevie August 4, 2021

      When she retires with a fat pension.

    • jane doe August 5, 2021

      …for that matter when will Ted Williams be held accountable?

      • Stephen Rosenthal August 5, 2021

        When, or if, he’s not re-elected.

  2. Lazarus August 4, 2021

    It was a struggled to watch “The Sups and the Sheriff Show” yesterday. I did find it laughable that the IT argument was dismissed as a simple bookkeeping error. If so, whoever should be held accountable for such an egregious error.
    Clearly, the BoS is concerned, they appeared to want a kiss and make-up moment. But from what I saw, Sheriff Kendall is not in the mood for romance…
    Be Well,

  3. Sick of lies. August 4, 2021

    Micromanage much BOS? POS. On and on, over and over again the selfish simple minds fight. Not willing to give up their egos for practicality or function. If it’s not about me and I can’t control it it ain’t going to happen is the Mantra of the CEO. Anyone ever bothered to take a look at the county and the list of lawsuits that are headed with Mendocino County being sued. The list is enormous in the hundreds and includes former Sheriff, current Council of different sorts for the county. Current Sheriffs, judges, local lawyers all clamoring for their cheddar Duncan James what a joke. He makes more money than God. And the worst thing about it all as you pay for all this Council and you’re really hope you’re getting your day in court but they decide all that s*** before you even get there. Then they convince you that that’s in your best interest to settle. Fail to evaluate the laws. Smile n wave…welcome to Mendoshitshow County.

  4. Friends of Spyrock August 4, 2021

    No wonder they can’t solve the missing persons cases. It would cause them to, “go over budget”!
    1 case could be solved easy, but S.O.
    Won’t even take or return a phone call to the P.I. working the Chris Giauque case. Why is that.? A feather in your cap and no money out of pocket! “”
    Read it! Maybe if Sheriff Kendall had gone to school with Chris’ Mom; he’d
    Call in the F.B.I. on this case also.
    Funny how one of the bad guys wife worked at the Same Bank With a
    “Retired” LEO from Willits.
    Know any of the bad guys?
    Everybody says the same thing about them, “oh they wouldn’t do that, they’re family men”!
    Charles Manson had a family also.
    CHRISREWARD.ORG. $400,000 REWARD. Maybe the S. O. Should solve it & collect the reward money for their budget. Some Deputy could
    Help solve this case; unless, well,
    They don’t want it solved!? Why would that be? Ask the Ladies at the Bank. Or drive to Shelter Cove & get
    The answer.
    08/09/2003. Chris Giauque killed
    At 8500 Simmerly rd. Spyrock, California. Cowards kept his body,
    Or hacked it up with machetes, sent pieces into a chipper/shredder; or it was door #3. I was told they fed him to the hogs. Funny, one of the bad guys raised hogs, ever look into that LEO’S?
    Ever search the travel trailer he was killed in; for his blood? Or the little man’s blood from Ft. Bragg when his arm was cut from wrist to elbow?

  5. Sick of lies. August 4, 2021

    Friends of Spyrock…
    I tried to contact Mendocino County a while back about another cold case. I believe there’s some really valid information that’s been overlooked. It could be solved after 20 + years. They did nothing when this case could be solved for the family members. Nobody at the SO is willing to do anything unless its drooped in their lap, a photo op or if they did nothing they would look bad. Cry me a river of crime…its canoe time at this point!!!

    • Friends of Spyrock August 4, 2021

      Sick of Lies; Thank you for responding.
      Good Luck with your case also
      Wish the old days were still here, when Cops really cared and solved
      Murder Cases. This one is easy. Victim’s;
      New Bride of 2 weeks conspired with a 6’3 ” BIG DUMMY” ; who’s told so many lies he can’t remember what they are. Called the new Bride of Victim on her cell phone to let her know, ” its done”. When confronted with cell records, he was all, ” duh that # doesn’t ring a bell!”
      Cops just let it go!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *