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Mendocino County Today: December 12, 2012

Tubbs

THE DA has charged Wilson L. Tubbs III, also known as Josh Tubbs, with child abuse resulting in death, according to spokesman Mike Geniella, a charge of murder. According to DA spokesman Mike Geniella, "Police were summoned to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital at 1:11pm, Dec. 2 for a report that the five-month-old girl had been physically abused, and learned that the infant had arrived at the hospital in respiratory distress and with bruises on her face and skull, according to the FBPD. She was flown to the Oakland Children's Hospital by REACH helicopter because of the nature of her injuries. Tubbs told police he had stepped away into another room while changing the baby's diaper the night before, when he heard the baby crying and came back to find her lying on the floor with the changing pad on top of her, according to the Fort Bragg Police. He allegedly told officers he thought his large dog may have run past the changing table and knocked the changing pad and the baby onto the hardwood floor, and that the infant got a bump on her forehead from the fall. But a Dec. 4 examination at Oakland Children's hospital revealed the infant had two skull fractures and bruises on her face and head, according to the Fort Bragg Police Department. The doctor, a child abuse specialist, told police that in her opinion the infant had been physically abused, and “in no way could the fall from the changing pad have caused the injury as reported by Wilson Tubbs,” according to Fort Bragg Police statement. The doctor also reported the baby had no brain function at the time. On Dec. 5, the hospital reported to the Fort Bragg Police that the infant had died from her injuries. The Fort Bragg Police continued to investigate with help from DA's Office, which sent investigators to re-interview Tubbs Saturday. Tubbs reportedly told the investigators he got upset with the baby and had slapped and shaken the girl forcefully, causing her injuries. The case was presented to the DA's Office for review Monday, when the complaint was filed and a warrant was issued for Tubbs' arrest. Officers found Tubbs at 4:50pm, Monday in the 1000 block of Oak Street and arrested him. He was booked at the Mendocino County Jail on $500,000 bail. The baby was not living with her parents, and had been placed by Child Protective Services with family members who apparently included Tubbs.”

THIS IS THE KIND of news no one wants to read, and it also begs major questions, assuming Tubbs is guilty. Did CPS thoroughly check him out before they turned the baby over to the Tubbs family? Was the infant turned over to Tubbs simply because it was easier than placing her in foster care? Did CPS know that Tubbs had a meth arrest in his recent history? It's never been possible in this County to hold CPS accountable for their blunders, and their blunders have had major human consequences. (One case I wrote about still angers me. The level of pure incompetence and straight-up racism in that one was absolutely shocking.) The juvenile court judge is supposed to evaluate CPS's job performance, but my experience in writing about custody cases over the years has been that CPS, thanks to the judge, never suffers the consequences of their mistakes, and that some of the actual “workers” are so goddammed stupid and insensitive the thought that they're intervening in people's lives would scare the bejeezus out of the general public if the general public knew. Which is why the general public doesn't know — “confidentiality” protects the child, you see. And you can't communicate directly with his or her majesty the judge because, you see, that's “ex parte” or informal and, if permitted, might divert his or her holiness from their ability to be just and fair. Meantime, all out class warfare against people wholly unable to defend themselves. Because CPS deals almost exclusively with the poor and the doomed, they're allowed to do their work in the dark. But, but, but what are you saying here, Mr. Negative? Are you saying that our juvenile judges let them slide? Yup, that's been my experience. Maybe CPS is smarter and more humane than they were ten years ago, but I doubt it.

DALE GIERINGER OF CA-NORML WRITES: Reported Drop in CA Marijuana Arrests: Less Than Meets the Eye — Reported marijuana arrests dropped sharply as California's new decriminalization law took effect in 2011, but the apparent decline is deceptive because it doesn't count thousands of minor possession offenses that are no longer reported under the new law. Newly released data from the state Criminal Justice Statistics Center show that misdemeanor arrests for marijuana possession plummeted 86% from 54,849 in 2010 to 7,764 in 2011. However, these figures don't include citations for possession of less than one ounce, which used to be counted as misdemeanors up through 2010 but are no longer counted under the new law because they have been downgraded to infractions. Because infractions aren't reported in state criminal arrest statistics, the total number of possession offenses in 2011 is completely unknown, and may even be greater than it was in previous years. Meanwhile, by far the bulk of marijuana enforcement expenses are due to felony arrests for sales and cultivation, which are estimated to cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars per year. While felony arrests declined from 16,585 to 14,092 from 2010 to 2011, the lowest level since 2006, this hardly marks a dramatic change, as felony arrests have ranged between 12,000 and 17,000 for the past twenty years. Possession of marijuana was technically a misdemeanor prior to 2011, with possession of one ounce or less punishable by a maximum $100 fine and court expenses, not imprisonment. Under the new decriminalization law, petty possession has been downgraded from a misdemeanor to an infraction, but penalties remain the same, the only difference being that offenders are spared a criminal record and a court appearance. Aside from saving the cost of court appearances, the new law therefore has had minimal effects on users. "Until felony arrests are significantly reduced, it remains premature to assert that California has entered a new era in marijuana enforcement," says California NORML director Dale Gieringer. Last year, the state Assembly rejected a bill by Tom Ammiano to reduce felony penalties for cultivation. "Until more dramatic legal changes are made, California will continue to waste too much money on the unwinnable war on pot," says Gieringer. California's war on cannabis enters its 100th year in 2013. California NORML is sponsoring a conference to mark the occasion this Jan 26th-7th at Fort Mason in San Francisco: www.canorml.org/100years.

ANOTHER GIANT STEP FORWARD FOR MANKIND

A READER WRITES: “Judging from this morning's NPR, California Republicans are learning to say “Latino community” instead of spics, greasers, wetbacks and beaners. These are hard lessons for some people. You may recall Lyndon Johnson's efforts to say “negro.” Closest he could get was — somewhat famously “niggra.”

Osterhoudt

THIS JUST IN: On Tuesday, The Board of Supervisors announced that they’ve hired an expensive San Francisco criminal attorney named William Osterhoudt to advise them in their response to the federal subpoena. According to Osterhoudt’s website he is a 1968 graduate of Hastings law school, then he became a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, providing indigent criminal defense to persons charged with federal crimes prior to and during the advent of the federal defender program. He continued to act as an Assistant Federal Public Defender through 1971, when he entered private practice in San Francisco. “During his 40 years in practice, Mr. Osterhoudt has acquired extensive trial experience in cases ranging from ‘white collar’ or business-related matters, RICO, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, false claims, banking and savings and loan violations, criminal copyright infringement, narcotics, and gang-related homicide and conspiracy allegations and international extraditions, to state and local homicide, assault and drug prosecutions, and vehicle code violations. He has been lead counsel in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in the state courts of California and Nevada. Outside of California, he has tried cases in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and has handled federal appeals in the Second, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. He maintains a substantial appellate practice in the California Court of Appeal with its various appellate districts.”

“AND VEHICLE CODE VIOLATIONS”? With Osterhoudt’s extensive criminal defense experience in federal crimes, it’s hard to avoid the implication that the County may be anticipating criminal charges from the feds, not just how to decide which marijuana records to run through the copy machine.

6 Comments

  1. James Marmon December 11, 2012

    I worked for Mendocino CPS for the past 5 years. I was hired as a Social Worker V, the highest class posible in Mendocino County because I had a Master’s Degree in Social Work and previous experience in other counties, I was terminated earlier this year for questioning authority and going outside the chain of command with my concerns.. The “Agency” is a mess.

    I hope that the acting DHHS Director, Bryan Lowery/ hasn’t ordered any records altered regarding this child. I have proof that he has altered child welfare records before, and I also have proof that he ordered me to alter records and sign docments under penalty of perjury. I had a State Personnel hearing in Sacramento earlier this year and all this is documented.

    • Lacey July 25, 2014

      Are you available to talk. My kids were just taken from me in ukiah ca???

  2. Michele Ferrari December 12, 2012

    I have ties to this child, she was the half sister to my adopted 5 year old son. As a former foster parent from Lake County, it is appalling to me that there was either no background check done, or his history was simply over looked.My husband and I had to go through a very stringent background check, take parenting classes, and had daily visits from our social worker for the first couple weeks (which tapered down to weekly visits from that point on.) Needless to say, my son is devastated that he lost his baby sister. As for the parents of this beautiful little girl, how in the world can CPS justify to them the need to remove her from their care (there was no violence on the parents part and that was not the reason for her removal) and place her with a known meth user? Meth equals unstable and violent behavior. It is incomprehensible to me!

    This Saturday, my son will be attending his sister’s memorial to say goodbye. How tragic is that? To be 5 years old and have the knowledge that someone did something to hurt your baby sister and now she is dead. Mr. Tubbs needs to held accountable, as does his wife, and CPS.

  3. James Marmon December 12, 2012

    All decisions made at CPS are all political. The facts and/or good social work do not guide the decision making process. The reason this child was moved into that home was motivated by politics I guarantee you. Mendocino County Social Workers have little say about a child’s care or safety. Several years ago the Mendocino County made a paradigm shift from the “Social Worker recommends” to the “Agency Recommends.” I have a letter from then Deputy Director Becky Wilson written to me in 2010 in which she states they made the shift to protect social workers in court because social workers were being “torn apart on the stand by the attorneys.

    I imagine the child’s attorney wanted her moved or it would have never happened. In our county, CPS is afraid of the children’s attorneys and very seldom cross them. In other counties, social workers are held responsible, and yes they are torn apart on the stand if they are incompetent and not doing their jobs right.

    I worked there, it is a mess, and I was terminated for complaining about staffing, the paradigm shift, and other issues regarding breaking the chain of command with my concerns. Unfortunately, I knew this day would come, and maybe somebody would finally listen to me. I have stacks of documentation that I sent all the way up the chain of command including the Board of Supervisors. They will have to investigate this death, I hope they remember everything I warned them about.

  4. Lacey July 25, 2014

    Can I ask you a few questions. My kids were just taken by cps on Wednesday in Ukiah. I’m beside myself.

  5. Delilah Smith September 9, 2014

    Please I need someone to ask somethings to I have been trying to get my children back for a year now cps is being unbelievable and I have no clue what to do. My 2 daughters are 11 and 14 they have perfect attendance my 14 year old is a 4.8 gpa student I am a good mother I love my kids but am being treated as though I have been the worst possible mother ever. Now they are talking adoption please I am so scared I do not think I can take losing my little girls for good what do I do? ?

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