Courts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Orr Pleads in Shooting of Phillipsville Woman

Posted By on Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 9:55 AM

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A 60-year-old Southern Humboldt man faces 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter stemming from the April 25, 2015, killing of a woman in Phillipsville.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Earl Orr pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm to cause death, accepting responsibility for the shooting of Jessica Hare, 47, of Phillipsville. According to the release, Orr shot Hare while “drunk and belligerent” and had no memory of the killing when contacted by police.

Orr is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 22 in the case, but is in line to receive a 14-year term stipulated as a part of the plea agreement.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Murder Arrest Made in 2015 Garberville Beating Death

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 5:45 PM

Preschern
  • Preschern
More than a year since a Georgia man died after being severely beaten in Garberville, police have arrested someone for his murder.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced today that Raymond Earl Preschern was extradited from Oregon on a warrant for the murder of Khanh Lam and booked into the local jail on Aug. 19.

On July 18, 2015, sheriff’s deputies were called to Garberville’s Jerold Phelps Community Hospital where Lam was in critical condition, unconscious from a possible assault. Through their investigation, deputies learned Lam, 37, had been involved in an argument with a female in downtown Garberville after attempting to remove a child from her car. During the argument, four men allegedly confronted Lam, who took off running. The men, who had dogs with them, gave chase, according to the sheriff’s office.

“At some point during this incident it was reported by a witness that Lam possibly fell while he was running and received a head injury from falling to the ground,” a sheriff’s office press release that followed the incident stated, adding that witnesses called 911 after finding Lam lying unconscious in the 700 block of Locust Street. Lam was transported out of the area to be treated for a brain injury but was ultimately taken off life support by his family.

A forensic pathologist ultimately determined that Lam died of blunt force trauma that was inconsistent with a fall, morphing the investigation into a homicide case. It’s unclear at this point what led detectives to Preschern.

See the full press release from the sheriff’s office copied below:


Ramey Warrant Arrest - Case 201503461

On July 6, 2016 Raymond Earl Preschern was arrested by the Portland Bureau of Police in Oregon on a Humboldt County Superior Court Ramey warrant for the murder of Khanh Lam. Preschern was extradited and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on Friday, August 19, 2016.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
Previous (7/28/15):
On Saturday, July 25, 2015 an autopsy was performed on Lam’s body at the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office by a Forensic Pathologist. The results of the autopsy were Lam’s injuries were not consistent with a fall, as previously reported by witnesses. Cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Lam’s death as a homicide.
Previous (7/20/15):
On Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 12:48 p.m. a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy responded to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville, regarding a possible male assault victim, who had arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Hospital staff told the deputy that the male victim, who had been identified as 37 year old Khanh Lam was unconscious with a severe head injury and was in critical condition. Lam was flown to an out of area hospital for treatment, because of his injuries.
Deputies and CHP Officers then responded to a possible location where Lam was injured, which was located in the 700 block of Locust Street, Garberville. Deputies spoke to witnesses who reported that Lam was involved in an argument with a female subject and attempted to remove her child from a car. At some point during the argument (4) four males subjects confronted Lam. According to the witnesses Lam took off running and the (4) male subjects, along with their dogs started to pursue Lam on foot. At some point during this incident it was reported by a witness that Lam possibly fell while he was running and received a head injury from falling to the ground. When witnesses found Lam lying on the ground unconscious they dialed 9-1-1.
On Sunday, July 19, 2015 at about 5:00 p.m. a medical doctor informed the Sheriff’s Office that Lam is currently on life support and has no brain activity. Lam’s family has been notified and is consulting with medical staff on their decision to take Lam off life support. Lam is from Atlanta, Georgia.
The Sheriff’s Office is considering this a suspicious death investigation and is asking for the public’s help if anyone witnessed this incident. They are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or Detective Jennifer Turner at 707-268-3642.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Mike Downey, Sheriff


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Crescent City Man Gets 7 Years Under Felony Murder Rule

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 9:42 AM

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A 32-year-old Crescent City man was sentenced Tuesday to serve seven years in state prison stemming from a home invasion in 2013 that left his accomplice dead. But no one is arguing that Samuel Hawken actually killed Josh Sherer.

Hawken pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to a press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office.

Hawken and Sherer broke into a residence on the 6100 block of Walnut Drive on Dec. 1, 2013, to confront some people who lived there. Once inside, Sherer began fighting with a 46-year-old resident there, jumping on top of him and hitting him with his fists.

Sherer pepper sprayed the man and, during the fight, Hawken joined in and struck the 46-year-old several times with a baseball bat before fleeing the scene. A 47-year-old neighbor, who lived in a trailer on the property, then came to the 46-year-old’s aid, grabbing Sherer and restraining him until police arrived, according to statements from the sheriff’s office at the time.

When deputies arrived, Sherer was unconscious and not breathing. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. According to the district attorney’s office, an autopsy determined his cause of death to be asphyxiation.

While it’s clear Hawken didn’t physically kill Sherer, he was charged with his murder under what’s known as the felony murder rule. A legal doctrine, the felony murder rule holds that if someone is knowingly committing certain felonies — including burglary — and someone dies during the crime, that person can be charged with their murder as the death was a foreseeable result of the underlying felony.

“When a person engages in a dangerous, provocative act and a death results, he or she may be held criminally responsible even if the actual killing was at the hands of another,” Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming said in a press release.

See the full press release copied below:



NEWS RELEASE
AUGUST 16, 2016

On July 1, 2016, Samuel Hawken, 32 years old of Crescent City, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and to assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and stipulated to a 7-year prison term. He was sentenced August 16, 2016.

The convictions stem from an incident on December 1, 2013, when Mr. Hawken and Josh Sherer, 32 years old of Eureka, went to a residence in Eureka to confront the people who lived there. Mr. Hawken brought a baseball bat while Mr. Sherer carried pepper spray. The two attacked the homeowners, who fought back. Mr. Hawken ran out of the home while Mr. Sherer was caught and held down until police arrived. Humboldt County Sherriff’s Deputies discovered upon their arrival that Mr. Sherer was unconscious from being held down. He was later pronounced dead; an autopsy revealed asphyxiation as the cause of death. District Attorney Maggie Fleming explained that, “When a person engages in a dangerous, provocative act and a death results, he or she may be held criminally responsible even if the actual killing was at the hands of another.”

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UPDATE: Eureka to Discuss Police Video Case Tonight, has Already Spent Thousands on Appeal

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 3:18 PM

Police dash cameras capture loads of footage. But who should get to see it? - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Police dash cameras capture loads of footage. But who should get to see it?

UPDATE:
The Eureka City Council made no report out of closed session Tuesday night, indicating it has not yet made a final decision on whether to petition the California Supreme Court to review an appellate court ruling ordering the release of a police video of officers arresting a juvenile in 2012. The city has until Aug. 28 to challenge the appellate court's ruling.

PREVIOUSLY:
In closed session tonight, the Eureka City Council is slated to discuss a recent appellate court ruling upholding a Humboldt County judge’s order to release a police video of officers arresting a juvenile suspect back in 2012.

Meanwhile, records turned over to the Journal this week in response to a California Public Records Act request indicate the city has already spent at least $7,683 unsuccessfully appealing Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson’s ruling. On May 20, 2015, Wilson found the public’s interest in seeing footage of the 2012 arrest of a 14-year-old outweighed any privacy concerns, and granted a Journal petition that sought the video’s release.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Court Doc: Mom is Suspect in Fortuna Hit and Run; Showed Signs of Intoxication

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Marcia Maelinda Kitchen, who also calls herself Marci Marz. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Marcia Maelinda Kitchen, who also calls herself Marci Marz.
An initial CHP investigation indicated the mother of one of two teenage girls who died after a July 12 hit and run crash was the driver and that she showed signs of intoxication shortly after the collision, according to a search warrant affidavit.

“At that point, however, there was no evidence establishing her as the driver of the Jeep and a chemical test to determine her level of intoxication was not sought,” states the document, which was made public today.

Described as one of two “parties of interest” by the CHP, the investigation also indicated Marcia “Marci” Kitchen “concealed the Jeep behind her residence immediately after the collision and has since made attempts to dissuade her son from providing a statement to law enforcement,” according to the document.


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Eureka 'Evaluating Options' After Court Ruling

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 2:59 PM

The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car.

The city of Eureka is “evaluating its options” with regard to this week’s appellate court ruling that it must release a police dash camera video capturing the controversial arrest of a 14-year-old suspect.

In its published opinion released late Tuesday, the California First District Court of Appeals ruled that the video in question cannot be considered a confidential police officer personnel record as the city claimed. Consequently, the court upheld a May 21, 2015, ruling by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson, which granted a Journal petition seeking release of the video and found the public’s interest in the release of the video outweighed any privacy concerns.

In a press release issued this afternoon from the office of City Manager Greg Sparks, the city states that its interest in fighting release of the video was “not to quash transparency but to ensure that the right of privacy of police officers in their personnel records was not eroded.” The press release then quotes Eureka City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson lamenting the court’s ruling.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Arrest Video Can't be Kept Confidential, Appellate Court Rules

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 2:58 PM

The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car.

A Eureka police video depicting the arrest of a 14-year-old suspect can’t be considered a confidential personnel record and must be released to the public, an appellate court has ruled.

The court’s unanimous decision upholds a May 21, 2015 ruling by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson, who granted a Journal petition seeking release of the video, finding the public’s interest in seeing the video outweighed any privacy concerns.

The city of Eureka, which objected to the video’s release, along with Humboldt County counsel, appealed Wilson’s ruling, arguing that he erred by not affording the video the protections granted to police officer personnel records. Because the Dec. 6, 2012 arrest led to a citizen complaint and was used as a part of an internal affairs investigation into one of the arresting officer’s conduct, the city argued the video was a part of the officer’s personnel file and should consequently be barred from release.

But in its 12-page ruling authored by Presiding Justice Barbara Jones, the court dismissed that argument, finding the video was not generated as a part of an internal affairs investigation or a record relating specifically to an officer’s advancement, appraisal or discipline.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Eureka Seeks Dismissal of PalCo Marsh Lawsuit; Plaintiffs Look to Make it a Class Action

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 11:46 AM

A camp on the waterfront. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • A camp on the waterfront.

The city of Eureka is asking a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit brought by 11 people challenging the city’s May 2 eviction of the PalCo Marsh homeless encampments.

Meanwhile, Peter Martin, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, has informed the court he intends to turn the case into a class action suit, which could bring in additional plaintiffs and increase potential liability for the city.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tribes Threaten Lawsuit Over Klamath Flows

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 9:23 AM

A look at the four Klamath dams slated for removal.
  • A look at the four Klamath dams slated for removal.

The Karuk and Yurok tribes have both put the federal government on notice that they intend to sue, alleging the feds have violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to ensure adequate water flows for Coho salmon on the Klamath River.

Citing a disease infection rate of 90 percent for juvenile salmon last year, spurred by low flows and warm water temperatures, coupled with historically low salmon run projections, the tribes said they felt they had to act.

“We cannot stand by and do nothing while our salmon hover over the brink of extinction,” said Yurok Chair Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. in a press release. “We will not continue to watch water managers jeopardize the fate of our fish and our river.”

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Appellate Court Hears Police Video Arguments

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 1:30 PM

The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car.
  • The dash camera in a Eureka Police Department patrol car.

Can police videos recorded on body-worn and patrol car dash cameras by considered confidential police officer personnel records and hidden from public view?

That’s the question three justices with the California First Appellate District spent about a half an hour wrestling with in a San Francisco courtroom Thursday. It was clear from their questions that the justices felt deeming the video footage as personnel records would represent an enlargement of the protections currently applied under the law, an enlargement that could have a host of consequences. The arguments touched on everything from California’s open records laws to the very purpose of recording police interactions.


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