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Timothy Pearce on Glenn Sunkett

I wrote a story this week about how Glenn Sunkett--the Oakland man convicted of orchestrating a brutal home invasion on the coast two years ago--has been trying to fire his court-appointed attorney for presenting what he says was a wholly unprepared defense during his trial last summer.

Sunkett, who's claimed innocence since his arrest in September 2008, has so far been unsuccessful.

I'd tried contacting county jail Commander Timothy Pearce for the story to respond to complaints Sunkett (and his lawyer) made about how Sunkett has been treated at the jail. Pearce didn't catch me before deadline, so his few brief comments didn't make it into the print version of this story; I've included them below.

First, Sunkett's allegations: He says he's been shackled 24/7 since November, even while he takes a shower; he says he's been kept in isolation since last March for unexplained reasons; he says his food has been poisoned; he says a jail guard told him he'd be the one to put a bullet in Sunkett's head if he tried to escape.

Pearce declined to discuss any of Sunkett's complaints, saying he expects Sunkett to sue the jail in the near future. ("I'm waiting to be served," he said.) Pearce may be right. Jeffrey Fletcher, a private attorney from Sacramento who's helped Sunkett on his case, detailed the above allegations in a letter to Pearce and other county officials last December. Though he requested a meeting with those officials, Fletcher said recently that he never heard back from anyone. Yet Fletcher also said his "assignment" with Sunkett was temporary, so it's not clear who would do the suing, as Sunkett's only attorney, at the moment, is Linda Thompson, who Sunkett is not exactly wild about.

Pearce did say Sunkett was a "security risk," yet charges brought against the inmate for an alleged escape attempt last September were dropped by prosecutor Jill Ravitch (who successfully prosecuted Sunkett for the home invasion) during a preliminary hearing. For this reason, Pearce said, Sunkett gets a beefed-up security detail whenever he's transported to a court hearing (in one instance, a wing of the courthouse was closed down for fear of what Sunkett was planning).

"We don't do that for everybody," Pearce said. "You have to earn your way there."

Sunkett, meanwhile, is clueless as to why everyone thinks he's planning a Wild West-style escape.

One Comment

  1. Trent Foster March 17, 2010

    I cant say that I am exactly thrilled with our jail, except for the fact I have been able to keep out of it for some number of years now, I had an incounter there with the CO”s at one point, and must say that the commander Tim pearce hadled this matter with grace and the appropriate measures were taken.
    It is understandable that when a prisoner is in custudy and claims of escape are brought forth, that all precautionary measures be taken seriously!
    After all this is a man that allegedly was using a blow torch on a victim, and the blow torch and other instruments of a “Pulp fiction” scenario were found in his closet. taking into consideration that a rental car was used and they tracked him with the GPS device lends not much to his defence! None the less he is innocent until proven guilty, and stranger situations have happend upon circumstance.
    A friend of his could have done this ?
    Before I continue understand this was a differnt administration both DA and Sheriff,
    and the only reason I have had not to deal with them is that I have not been in trouble to the point were I have needed extended representation or incarceration.
    In short I try not to break any laws!
    Now with the Public defenders office, Linda Thompson has a passion for her job, has it been swayed in the past from prejudicial miopic views is not my call, but I do know that to try to fire a Public defender is a moot point, I had three I believe what is called a “Marsden hearing” to fire the one I had.
    He was as useless as car jack on a skate board, and could have better served justice to read a John Grisham novel than represent me.
    It appeared that he saw that I was guilty, and justice best be served if he fell asleep! And he did just that, the only thing he didnt bring to court was cookies, milk. and a blanket.
    He in fact interrogated me worse than the police.
    I have not seen him around so I am assume that he is gone, and this would best serve our county, and Mr Hamilton. For the job of a defence attorney is to defend the accused, court should not be akin to a gladiator match.
    The main point here is Mr Sunkett is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers, then if convicted has a chance at appealls, justice is not allways served and upon many circumstances is perverted.
    Do not get me wrong the DA’s office has a job to do along with law enforcement, and I am sure that for the most part the Public defenders office does a fine job.

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