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Mendocino County Today: May 8, 2013

LESS THAN A YEAR after giving their popular and competent CEO Ray Hino the boot for trying to avoid bankruptcy, the Coast Hospital Board is now looking for a “permanent replacement” to fill the CEO job which was taken over by Wayne Allen, the then Chief Financial Officer who promptly filed for bankruptcy, when Hino left. According to the agenda notice for the Hospital Board’s Wednesday, May 8, Board meeting, “Closed Personnel Session pursuant to Government Code §54957 to consider interview process/appointment of candidates for the position of permanent CEO of the District.” It will be interesting to see who applies for CEO of a public hospital that is currently in bankruptcy proceedings. We doubt that Mr. Hino will re-apply.

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ON APRIL 30, 2013, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies cited three (3) employees of separate licensed alcohol beverage retailers for selling alcoholic beverages to minors. The actions were a result of a compliance check operation conducted on business's that sell alcoholic beverages to the public.   The compliance check is referred to as a "Minor Decoy Operation" in which a minor (a person under 20 years of age) is sent into establishments (under the direct supervision of law enforcement investigators) and attempts to purchase alcoholic beverages. Those individuals who sold alcoholic beverages to the minors are cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor, a violation of 25658(a) B&P. A first time violation could result in a fine or community service. In addition the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control may take administrative action against the business's liquor sales license.  The following alcohol beverage retailers sold to a minor decoy:  1. Diggers bar in Willits, Ca.  2. Boomers bar in Laytonville, Ca.  3. Dan's Grocery in Covelo, Ca.    The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are conducting the compliance checks throughout Mendocino County to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.   Funding for this compliance check operation was provided by a grant from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

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STARTLING SIGHT near Philo late last week. A flatbed trailer with more than a hundred gro-bags on it, camouflaged gro-bags. Brazen? Not anymore, especially when we annually see Ukiah billboards advertising bulk turkey bags.

HOW'S THE DOPE business? Long-time growers complain that there's a Mendo glut, and you can't make any real money unless you can get your marijuana to the major urban markets, which means hauling it down 101, running a gauntlet of cops looking for, well, to be blunt about it, ethnic minorities and doofus young dudes who fit the stoner profile — long or longish hair, generally unkempt, middle of the night, tail light out, smoking the bazooka as they go. It's startling how many people are nailed this way. The savvy people get a couple of old guys, put them in a Winnebago with their golf clubs and a Romney bumpersticker to haul south. Ever see a Good Sam handcuffed beside the highway?

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JOHN WESTER WRITES: “Your May 1 edition of the AVA arrived today here in San Diego May 4. (The day of the Kent State shooting by the way.) I usually got the AVA three days after publication a year or so ago before the UPS in Petaluma started messing with your fine publication. Maybe the complaints finally got through but I'm not holding my breath. In an unrelated matter, in Off The Record a few weeks ago you told a story about an elderly Chinese woman on a crowded bus asking a homeless man to remove his belongings from the seat beside him so she could sit down. You wrote that she asked him ‘Preeze.’ Twice. I think you may have that backwards. Perhaps I'm wrong but its been my experience that the Chinese have problems pronouncing the ‘r’ when it is at the beginning of a word, but not the ‘l’. There is a town in the mountains east of San Diego called Julian that had a bar dating from the late 19th Century called the Rongbranch, not the Longbranch, the Rongbranch. There are two stories about the origin of that name. One, told by the apologists, claims that the bar was located at a fork where one road led down the mountain to Santa Ysabel on the way to San Diego while the other was a dead end, the ‘wrong’ branch. The other story, more likely I think, is that Julian once had a sizeable population of Chinese who worked the gold mines discovered in the late 1800s (the only reason Julian came to be) and that the rednecks named the bar the Rongbranch because the Chinese couldn't pronounce ‘Rongbranch’ (not that they would have been allowed inside to drink) but they would have had no trouble pronouncing ‘Longbranch.’ I had a friend I met soon after he emigrated from China to the US who used to say ‘loom’ instead of ‘room.’ But perhaps the lady in your story did say ‘preeze.’ If she did, she might have been putting the guy on. — Regards, John Wester, San Diego

I'M NOT all that savvy an ethnologist and I'm increas­ingly deaf, but I heard it as “preeze.” The speaker could have been Japanese, I suppose, but this lady I pegged as an exhausted Chinese who really needed a seat after a long day on her feet.

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SUSPECT IN UKIAH MURDER ARRESTED IN MEXICO

Hernandez
Hernandez

A man suspected of killing his neighbor in Ukiah and fleeing to Mexico nearly 13 years ago is in custody after being arrested in Mexico, the Ukiah Police Department reported. According to the UPD, Jerred R. Hernandez, 32, was arrested in Ensenada by Mexican Police and later booked into the San Diego County Jail for the murder of Michael Williamson in 2000. The suspected homicide was discovered Aug. 2, 2000, when UPD officers and firefighters from the Ukiah Fire Department responded to the 100 block of Carolyn Street for a report of smoke. After extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered the body of Michael E. Williamson, 44, in a bedroom of the house, which was owned by his parents, who were out of town at the time. Investigators determined Williamson had suffered "severe blunt trauma to his head," and that the fire had been set in an attempt to conceal evidence. Several items were also stolen from the residence, including jewelry, credit cards and personal checks belonging to the victim's parents. After collecting evidence and witnesses statements, investigators identified Hernandez, then 19, as the suspect. According to the UPD, Williamson was a recovering drug addict and had been mentoring other addicts, including Hernandez, who lived on the same street. The UPD reports that following Williamson's homicide, Hernandez fled to Santa Rosa after using his brother Nicolas' name to withdraw money from his brother's bank account. Hernandez then reportedly went to Southern California and finally to Mexico, where he has relatives. Law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, continued searching for Hernandez, who was featured on the television show America's Most Wanted last year. On Monday, UPD detectives Rick Pintane and Sgt. David McQueary interviewed Hernandez in the San Diego County Jail in connection with the charges of murder, arson, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary, and arranged for his transportation back to Ukiah. "We are extremely fortunate to have located and arrested Hernandez," UPD Chief Chris Dewey said. "This was one of our department's most lengthy and complex investigations and I am glad to bring into custody a person we suspect of committing such horrific crimes." Dewey said Hernandez will be brought up to Ukiah in the next couple of days, likely by bus. His arrest was a result of a collaboration between the UPD, the FBI and the Border Liaison Program, the FBI Legal Attaché Mexico City, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Baja California State Police.

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CHINESE ECSTASY: On 04-26-2013 the Humboldt County Drug Task Force was contacted by an Agent with the Homeland Security Investigation Unit (HSIU) regarding a package that they had intercepted. The Agent with HSIU relayed that the package was being shipped from China through the United States Postal Service to a residence located in the 4900 block of Airstream Avenue, Arcata. The package contained 106 grams of MDMA also known as Ecstasy. On 05-03-2013 at about 10:30 am the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Drug Task Force and HSIU conducted a controlled delivery of the 106 grams of MDMA to the residence located in the 4900 block of Airstream Avenue, Arcata. After the delivery of the MDMA, Officers served a search warrant at the residence. Officers detained 5 suspects at the residence. During their investigation officers learned that Bradley C. Remington age 20, who was one of the five subjects detained was the suspect that had ordered the narcotics from China. Remington was on felony probation for assault with a deadly weapon with a search and seizure clause. Officers learned through their investigation that Remington’s residence was located in the 4900 block of Valley East Blvd, Arcata. Officers then went to Remington’s residence to conduct a probation search. Officers located 10 pounds of processed marijuana in Remington’s residence. Officers placed Remington under arrest for possession for sales of a controlled substance (MDMA), possession of marijuana for sales and for violation of probation. Remington was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. The other four suspects at the residence were released at the scene. This case is still under investigation by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigation Unit. Anyone with information on this case or related drug activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at 707-444-8095 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Tip line at 707-268-2539. (Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department Press Release.)

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PUBLIC DEAL-MAKERS

Editor,

Public Defenders are a joke.

This letter is for anyone being misrepresented by the Public Defender's office. I say misrepresented for many reasons:

They practice no law, they just cut deals with the District Attorney's Office. They feel as if that's the only thing that was to be done and has to be done to remove you from their overwhelming caseloads. I can just guess it's anywhere from 50-100 cases per attorney ranging from minor misdemeanors to major felony cases. In my mind this tells me there is never enough time for anyone's case. I've been locked up for 90 days. I never gave any statement. I've never been asked if I was even there or asked my side of the story. I only spoke with my public defender for 20 minutes the whole time I've been here. I was in jail when he came to make me an offer of five years, 85% of a straight commitment to prison. Remind you, I have not been asked anything about my involvement in this case. I asked him if the judge knew about how you and the District Attorney's Office just make deals with each other. My next question was, why do we have judges if all the court does is allow this to take place every day. I told him, No thank you for the prison time. Prison is no help to most people. Prisons breed hate, anger and violence. I am trying to be to better my life. I ask for help. So he leaves.

Two more weeks go by. I called him every day trying to express my concerns about my freedom and my life. I do that because my life depends on how well this man does his job because I can't afford five grand for any lawyers around here. I can't get him on the line all week. So now it's time for a preliminary hearing. It's a District Attorney landslide. My public defender has no clue what to say or do. He just watches in awe as the DA asks over 200 questions. He asked maybe ten if that. Then he asked me if I have any questions. Of course, I don't. I don't even understand anything about court proceedings. To top it off, when I put my head down the judge bound me over for trial in a felony court case.

I noticed that my public defender had no socks on, which is no big deal really, because I've been places without any socks on but only when I was in a rush or totally unprepared. I am only guessing that he didn't prepare for this hearing whatsoever. I am not a lawyer or anything close to it. I can barely write and spell. I can tell that this is a preliminary hearing which just wasn't right at all. Now I am on for three serious felony counts. Thanks a lot.

Ten questions. Really? That's all you could come up with? After how many years at law school?

Okay enough is enough, right? I've seen enough. My faith has been ripped away from my from trusting relationship with the Public Defender's office. So I delay any more court proceedings to try and obtain a real lawyer, one who might ask a few more questions! Once again, I can't afford a lawyer because my family is not rich. I can't afford one single lawyer out there to even look into my case for under five grand. I've written many different firms. Not one wrote back.

This seems to me a sorry state of affairs because here I sit concerned for my life and my children's lives, crying for help in every direction possible. My only weapon is a stamped envelope and my ability to write a letter. I put over 100 letters out there since I've been locked up.

That takes me to my next point. I decided to write my Public Dealmaker/Defender. I wrote to him stating my concerns about my case and how I need him for this and that. I told him I got evidence that will help my case; that my sister has evidence that will help. I asked him to please take my case a little more seriously and come and see me because there are things we need to go over. I tried to pump him up come and get them excited about life, to kind of motivate him. It was a four-page letter. The best I could do for someone in my shoes. I finally got him on the line. Now he knows I am upset with them! He started out by saying, Wow, I am glad you called because I was just on my way to see you at the jail. He said, I have some good news. "Really?" I thought. Sweet. He said he might be able to get my case dropped. I heard that and thought Bleep-yeah! He said that some case was won some time last week that will help us get your case thrown out. I tried to get some questions, but he's a busy guy and has no time for people in jail, "I guess."

He closed by telling the that he would be in jail to see me on Monday if not Tuesday.

Monday came, Tuesday went by, and no, you didn't come to see me. So I called at 10:30 Wednesday morning. "Damn," I got a hold of him. He said we have court today at 1:30. I'll see you there.

Okay, I still haven't been able to ask him one of the 100 questions I have written down in the 90 days I've been sitting in this county jail. So when I got to court I asked him, Hey -- did you read my letter? I really need you to read that letter that I wrote to you. He said, Oh, that was for me? I said, yes, it was addressed to you! He said, I've been too busy. Too busy. So, does that mean you are too busy to pay enough attention to my case? I told him next that I needed him to come out to the jail and spend a couple of hours discussing my case with me. Once again he blows smoke up my ass and says, For sure, Thursday. Well, I spent all day Thursday trying to get him on the line. Mind you, I am in jail and can only use the phone whenever they let us out of our cells. He never showed.

Now it's Thursday night and I am mad as hell writing out my frustration at a man who plain and simple just doesn't care. And he is way too overbooked to take my case seriously. I can see why it's much easier to just make deals with the District Attorney than practice any actual law.

In most cases, the deal isn't offered as a resolution until right before court, so they don't have to get to jail or ever have to sit and talk or even have to hear a person's story. They would rather see you in court where you can't talk to them for long because these there are court proceedings going on. They never have to get involved other than, Let's take this offer because if not they'll give you 20 years if you don't. So basically the District Attor­ney backs up what the Public Defender's office is doing by scaring you with aggravated of many years in prison.

So all the Public Defender's office has to do is say, Look, it's either 20 years or five years at 85%. Scare tactics that work very well. Nobody in their right mind is going to gamble against that. They just trust the loyal servant of the Defender's office guy and accept the prison as an answer.

Don't get me wrong. People deserve to go to prison. But people also have the right to have a fair and equal chance to a trial by a jury or judge. They also have a right to have effective counsel or one that's not too busy. And if one is too busy then one should get one that is not too busy because it's not fair to the poor people who can't afford a lawyer. It's a crying shame that you're better off rich and guilty than poor and innocent.

So my advice to anyone is to never give up. Make those sorry as Public Defenders work for you because otherwise you will end up paying for them in the long run. They are working for you! You pay them their fees. Never allow them to not make time for you. Call them and demand that they make time for you because our lives are important. It wouldn't hurt them to put forth a little more effort to make you a better offer or to collect evidence on your behalf.

If you are one of those people, please go to the phone and demand that these people do their job to the best of their abilities. Make them work, because if you don't do anything it won't change and they will continue to railroad us to prison on their terms without a case in the world.

You know how good these people sleep at night? They sleep just fine because they don't give a shit. You should take this very personal when someone tries to just send you off to prison. Most of the time the Public Defender's office and the District Attorney know very little about the person they are sending to prison because they just don't care. Why would they want to care? That involves feeling. Why invoke feelings? It would make someone think too much about the cases and things would be too complicated. Just send them to prison. That's a better way, a much better remedy. If that remedy works for you, then sit there in prison and lick your nuts because this shit just ain't right, no matter how you look at it.

Will someone please help me? Tell me something can be done. There is no excuse for the Public Defenders who don't practice law. You guys are a sorry excuses for lawyers. To even think you help anyone is joke. I'll give you nothing because you have done nothing for me. Maybe you guys someday will find a way to get people a fair chance at winning their case or even getting some people the help they need.

You guys know there are many alternatives to prison. How about that? Alternatives. You mean we don't have to just let them make deals that involve prison terms? Wow! We can help people? Yeah, it should be the best part of your job! Get involved. Find out what people's problems are. Find out how you can help them. Don't just allow them to get sent to prison. I mean, you can determine which ones deserve a chance. At least fight for those. Don't just allow bad law to be practiced because you're scared that the District Attorney might not invite you to their social parties anymore. Have backbones and practice what you learned at the school you went to.

Oh wait — you're all working for the District Attorney's office anyway. Oh, what's that? You're trying to be a District Attorney? Oh, that's what this is. I get it. Or wait, I don't get it at all. Can someone please help explain how this madness ever helps anyone? Maybe it helps one in a hundred cases when it's like one of the District Attorney's family that happens to be in trouble or a really an important person who got in trouble.

And definitely help the people with the most money. We can make the most from that because money is the most important thing, not people's lives or their freedom or their well-being. Straight up: you're in it for the money. Very rarely will you find a Public Defender or District Attorney person doing their job to help people. If you do happen into one of these few, give them a hug and tell them thanks because that's what these jobs need to be about: helping people, not just sending people to prison or jail and that's it.

It hasn't been working, but they continue to be blind and stubborn, never willing to look past their own lives to see to it that people get the help they need.

I am writing this letter mostly because I need advice and help because I am being misrepresented by the Public Dealmaker's Office and so are many people in this community. There has to be something we can do. Anyone with advice, feel free to write to me at this county jail. Don't be afraid. I could really use the help and advice. Any advice will be appreciated to the fullest extent.

My final thoughts are this: Make sure the Public Dealmakers work for you. Don't be scared to speak up when you see them not doing their job. Feel free to make a point to the Bar Association at 415/538-2000. File a Marsden Motion which allows you to have a hearing in court about your ineffective counsel. This battle is only going to be won if everyone helps each other and understands that this is wrong. Do not allow them to just cut deals with the District Attorney. It's about evidence and facts, not just Let's make a deal. Remember, there is a judge. Allow the judge to make a ruling because if we just take deals, it doesn't ever involve a making a ruling. They just go with what was recommended by the District Attorney. So please don't allow them to push you around. Take a stand. If you happen to work for these offices, please look at what's going on. If you see things that seem wrong, it's your job to speak out. Don't just allow them to get away with not practicing law. Please don't take this as a personal attack toward any of you. But if the rock hit, my bad. Then do a better job. Make a difference. Help someone today.

No thanks, dealmakers. — William Jackson 72209-D2, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah 95482

One Comment

  1. Wraith7b May 8, 2013

    Dear AVA,

    Thank you for existing and reminding us in the Ukiah Valley and the greater Mendocino County what “real” journalism looks like. Its a breath of fresh air compared to the rank and stagnant sh%* the Ukiah Daily Journal puts out.

    Wraith

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