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Mendo’s All-Time Chomo


Matthew McCarthy had been scheduled for jury trial seven times and always managed to get out of it because he was reluctant, to say the least, to have the two girls he’d been molesting take the witness stand and tell the jury all the foul things he’d done to them. And here he was again saying he wasn’t ready to go to trial.

Previously, the Spy Rock perv had fired his lawyer, Vashad Dewan, of the Office of the Public Defender, on the eve of trial. That time McCarthy had convinced the judge he was able to handle the case by himself. This time, on the morning of the trial, he said he had hired a private lawyer, Monty Hansen, and the case couldn’t go forward until Mr. Hansen had had time to prepare.

The District Attorney, David Eyster, was against any more delays. He had gathered all his witnesses, some from out of state, one from the hospital, and was ready to go forward. A motion to continue, Judge John Behnke noted, requires two days written notice, and His Honor hadn’t gotten one until 9:00 that very morning. Not only that, but Mr. Hansen was not even there yet. Hansen was running late, and the jury was downstairs waiting. The judge was not happy. He had McCarthy’s Faretta waiver (of having an attorney) before him.

The reason for the last minute change of plan, McCarthy said, “was because last Friday the DA offered [him] 35 years to life in exchange for guilty pleas to the charges, and [he] finally realized he could not do the trial himself.”

Hansen finally bustled in and said much the same thing, pointing out that McCarthy would be cross-examining his own daughter (one of the victims). McCarthy’s family had contacted Hansen after McCarthy called them from the jail, and Hansen had come on Saturday “to ascertain if we were compatible and I could work with him. Mr. McCarthy’s family came over [to Santa Rosa] and presented the funds” for Hansen’s retainer “and I can’t imagine how he [McCarthy] could pick a jury or cross witnesses. And he has a prior 288 [child molestation conviction] so he couldn’t possibly take the stand himself, and I believe he is going to alienate the jury. He has a Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and the case would be a poster child for appeal if he’s convicted under these circumstances.”

DA Eyster said, “Even if he’s not skilled at self-defense, he has the right to defend himself, and that trumps his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. And he knew his exposure, so the fact that he all of a sudden realized the seriousness of the charges is not true. This has gone on for months and months. Today is the seventh trial setting for this case and we have people here or en-route from out of state. It’s gamesmanship at this point, judge. He’s always said he can handle this, so the reason he gave is bogus; he’s trying to avoid going to trial. The defense wants an eighth setting — and who knows if the new lawyer will ask for a ninth or tenth? If this goes on we’ll lose witnesses, and that’s the hope of the defense: He doesn’t want to face a jury.”

Judge Behnke read some case law on a defendant’s request to withdraw his pro-per status, then noted that last May on the eve of trial McCarthy initiated a Marsden motion to fire Mr. Dewan, and when that was denied, Dewan being a capable attorney, McCarthy then filed the Faretta waiver, saying he understood he would get no special treatment from the court. It was an interesting legal question and the courtroom began to fill up with idle lawyers hoping to see some new legality forged.

Judge Behnke said, “The defendant’s prior convictions were discussed and he indicated he understood that the court advised he shouldn’t represent himself, and he signed and dated all that. The court is pretty much convinced that the firing of his public defender was a tactic to delay his trial, which I’m sure the defendant will deny, then he continued to seek delays.”

McCarthy interrupted the judge to deny it was a delay tactic, but Behnke didn’t seem to hear.

“He was then granted the right to represent himself over my strong objections to the contrary. He was told at that time that there would be no further continuances, even though one more was granted, and now we have these witnesses and they have a right to a timely trial, as well. Witnesses are supposed to be given warning that a continuance is pending and in this case there has been substantial hardships for the victims and witnesses…”

Behnke read some more case law, disproving Mr. Hansen’s theory of the case becoming a poster child for appeal, and particularly he noted a similar case where the appeals court overturned the trial court's decision, and then the Supreme Court sustained it.

McCarthy interrupted often but the judge kept reading, first Mr. Dewan’s brief on the defendant’s right to represent himself, concluding that “it’s a very dangerous thing to do, nevertheless they have a right to self-representation and must be given that right if they appear to be coherent and cognizant of the risk. Nothing says they must be skilled in self-defense, so Mr. McCarthy was allowed to proceed with the Faretta waiver and again that was nine months ago.

“The first time on the eve of trial he wanted to represent himself, and now on the day of trial, he says he wants a lawyer. It’s just not right to the alleged victims, and in this case it’s become a mockery of timeliness; if he was going to do this why didn’t he do it earlier? I’m not going to continue this trial again. If Mr. Hansen wants to participate in some way, that’s fine, but I’m not going to substitute him in. It has become a hardship on some of the witnesses as the charges happened some time ago.”

The freshly arrive defense attorney, Hansen, said he wasn’t properly prepared. “This case is complicated and with the amount of exposure — well, I don’t want to risk my license.”

Behnke said the motion was denied (to substitute in Hansen, who picked up his briefcase and left). “Let’s bring up the jury.”

The next day at 10 am the jury had been picked, despite McCarthy’s many bids for sympathy, telling the jurors he didn’t know what he was doing, and the mean old judge wouldn’t let him have a lawyer. At first McCarthy showed up in his red jail overalls, but was later persuaded to change into civilian attire, Behnke having noted that 269 jurors had been summoned, “a massive use of public resources,” child molesters being very difficult to pick juries for, and ready or not, the trial was going forward.

At about 10:30 on Wednesday DA Eyster began his opening statement.

“On September 22, 2014, a call came into law enforcement from [Jane Doe No. 1], saying that she and her mother, being homeless, had lived with the defendant in Westport in order to have a roof over their heads, and that from the time she was 13 until she was 17 she lived there.”

Even the outline of what Eyster thought the testimony would prove was too vile to print in a family newspaper, but in short, the victim would tell how she was molested and raped continually throughout this time, as McCarthy would come into her bedroom and rape her, and take her to his marijuana grow on Spyrock Road where he not only abused her in a camp trailer there, but he forced her to work as a trimmer, and general laborer, clearing brush because she was not allergic to poison oak, and gave her drugs to improve her endurance on the job.

Eyster also mentioned the second victim, Jane Doe No. 2, the defendant’s own daughter, who was about the same age and didn’t live with them, but who he would molest and rape when she came to visit. Then Eyster mentioned that the jury would also see videos of the defendant having sex with his dog, one count of bestiality being included in the charges.

Larry Nasser may be the national chomo champ, but nobody’s accused him of raping his dog.

When Eyster finished, McCarthy was asked if he wanted to present an opening statement. McCarthy said he wanted time to think about it. Also, he didn’t know how to go about addressing a charge of felon in possession of a firearm without the jury finding out he had a prior 288 (child molestation conviction).

Judge Behnke let the jury go until 2:00 pm and appointed a lawyer, Macci Baldock, to advise McCarthy. Over the lunch break, Ms. Baldock convinced McCarthy to take the deal Eyster had offered him on Friday, the 35 years to life plea bargain, and she would ask the court for a “certificate of probable cause” which McCarthy could then use to seek an appeal to Behnke’s decision to go ahead with the trial without substituting in Mr. Hansen.

Apparently, this route will also help McCarthy at the time of sentencing, as he will be able to point out how considerately he saved the victims from the trauma of taking the stand to tell the sordid story in open court. The plea was accepted at about 1:45 and when the jurors came back at 2:00, Behnke thanked and dismissed them.

The sentencing options have a floor of 25 years to life, and a ceiling of 35 years to life, and will depend of the probation office’s pre-sentencing report. At any rate, McCarthy’s was a clear case of the folly inherent in representing yourself in court, although it may prove a useful means of postponing the inevitable, McCarthy wasn’t able to bring it off.


  1. David Eyster January 31, 2018

    One clarification, Mr. McEwen, if I may. There is no floor and ceiling on the stipulated state prison sentence as you have attempted to describe above. The defendant plead guilty to four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on children under the age of 14 years, admitted those counts involve two victims, and admitted a prior conviction in 2001 for the sane crime on a third child. The sentence to be imposed on March 9th will be 35 years to life. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Get out the broom. Good riddance to a child predator ….

    • Bruce McEwen Post author | January 31, 2018

      My mistake. I’m no lawyer. I heard you talk about a ceiling and a floor, with the judge, and defense counsel. Forgive me, if your legal acrobatics confused a mere layman, like me.

      • David Eyster January 31, 2018

        You continue to hold your own in the tough world of courtroom reporting. To paraphrase Mark Lundholm, I wasn’t judging, I was just saying.

        • Eric Sunswheat February 1, 2018

          SF DA reportedly is going to get eligible Prop 64 revised Cannabis convictions, misdemeanors erased or dropped from felony to misdemeanor, at no cost to those so affected, starting with the misdemeanors.

          Mendo DA Eyster? He strutted his feathers, running around the state to inform other DIstrict Attorneys about the new law, but is a strictly cash bagman when it comes to ignoring the public, and no help at all, one could surmise from the inaction of his office.

          • David Eyster February 1, 2018

            Pray tell how your comment relates to the original topic that addressed protecting children from a serial monster and his successful prosecution. I trust you can appreciate that there are some things in life, Heaven forbid, more important than marijuana? Try to stay focused on those other important things at least some of the time, Mr. Sunswheat.

        • Judy February 2, 2018

          One of McCarthy’s victims was a friend of mine and I thank you for putting a stop to the circus this monster was creating in court.

  2. Eric Sunswheat February 1, 2018

    Okay DA Eyster wants to deflect the matter that he insists on piling on more financial burden to subjects of past court proceedings, to correct the Prop 64 legal record of a conviction, a record that otherwise has little or no legal standing, except as a slanderous stain that cannot be challenged, except under Eyster’s courthouse tyranny to not cooperate.

    Just as, Mr. Eyster determined in wrongful death investigation from available evidence, that the County jail house unlicensed medical neglect and jailer beating death, of mental health patient Steve Neuroth was self inflicted as suicide by extreme methamphetamine toxicity, a fact found to be questionable in Willits courthouse sworn testimony deposition during late Fall 2017, now being adjudicated, circumstances of which may have prompted the Sheriff to initiate what turned out to be passage of Measure B Mental Health funding sales tax.

    So let’s focus on the case legal carcass, of the child molester monster that the District Attorney is crowing about, and invites discussion.

    • james marmon February 1, 2018

      Eric, at least he didn’t use the term “nonsensical” to describe your comment, that is one of his favorite words when he knows he can’t win an argument or he is trying to protect other County Agency Heads, such as the good sheriff or Bryan Lowery of HHSA, who has been out on paid administrative leave for well over a year.

      He is still on the HHSA flow chart as second in charge.

      • james marmon February 1, 2018

        From Private Messenger (Facebook)
        11/20/2011 7:42PM

        David, sorry to bother you at home, but I need you to read this; I will be sending a copy to the Grand Jury and Attorney Gerneral’s Office, this is just the tip of the iceburg. Letter to D.A. Eyster regarding altered sworn testimony.pdf

        David Eyster
        11/21/2011 9:08AM

        I have forwarded your information to my chief investigator. My inclination, for the moment, is to wait and see if the Grand Jury is interested in engaging. The Attorney General’s Office is not viable.

        • james marmon February 1, 2018

          On this case, “Eyster the Shyster” was protecting both the good sheriff and Lowery. Those two teenage girls were kidnapped by sheriff deputies. The girls also reported inappropriate sexual behavior by the deputies regarding the issue of prostitution. It was in my written testimony, but got deleted.

          My written testimony may have been deleted “locally” but it is still stored in the CWS/CMS “cloud.”

          Shyster /ˈʃaɪstər/ is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, sometimes also politics or business.

          • james marmon February 1, 2018

            What really pissed me off at him was not his infamous “buy a misdemeanor” program, even though he un-friended me over my expressing my disgust for him and his program, but it was how he minimized Family and Children Services’ culpability in the death of “Baby Emerald”. I attended everyday of that trial, and had access to thousand’s of pages of the mother’s Child Welfare file. I also housed the mother for several months in a RV parked in my yard. The County of Mendocino never even sent her or Emerald’s grandmother an apology letter, nothing.

          • james marmon February 1, 2018

            Tubbs gets state prison term for baby’s death

            “Sequeira said the DA’s office decided to charge Tubbs with felony child abuse causing death instead of a murder charge because of the potential for a similar prison sentence while avoiding some of the complications of a murder trial, including the need to show intent to kill and implied malice.”

            “Sequeira cited trial testimony of medical experts who said the infant’s injuries were among the most horrific they had seen. Medical examinations disclosed 57 bruises over her face and head, two skull fractures, and massive bleeding in her brain.”


  3. Judy February 2, 2018

    I hope those 35 years to life are at the very least as horrific as what McCarthy put his victims through. This is one case that makes me hope the rumors of what happens to scumbags like this in prison are true. Hope the animal rights prisoners get their turns at him also.
    I know his victims will be able to rest easier knowing he is locked up and not able to hurt anyone again.

  4. George Dorner February 5, 2018

    Mr. Eyster, I hope you can ensure that this scumbag’s reputation precedes him into prison, so that a proper welcome awaits him.

    • Judy February 5, 2018

      I think somehow they always find out…but it would be nice if someone could give them all a “heads up” so they will be expecting him.

  5. RICHARD SNODGRASS May 11, 2018

    Bruce I wish you would do some reporting about the small town intrigues of the Lake County Justice System.

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