Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hello Severity, Good-Bye Leniency


The Mendocino County of Board of Supervisors is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey A. Aaron as Mendocino County Public Defender. Mr. Aaron joins the County of Mendocino from the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Central District of California, where he served as Directing Attorney, managing the Eastern Division office and litigating complex criminal matters, including federal death penalty cases, habeas corpus petitions, and appeals in the Ninth Circuit. He is an alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law.

Dan Hamburg, 5th District Supervisor, and current Board Chair, stated Jeffrey Aaron brings decades of experience as a federal, state and county public defender to Mendocino County. Along with his skills as a litigator, he will emphasize the professional development of his staff attorneys. We are fortunate to be able to bring him to county service.” 

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Aaron stated: “I’m a career public defender with over 25 years of experience in both state and federal public defender offices. I am delighted to come to Mendocino County, and to share with a new office the unique combination of passion and professionalism that characterizes public defenders.” 

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441. 

Carmel J. Angelo 

Chief Executive Officer 

Jeffrey Aaron

Mendo’s new Public Defender Jeffery Aaron has yet to make his debut at the courthouse in Ukiah, but the place has been running smoothly without him, and the District Attorney told us that he, David Eyster, had already met Mr. Aaron and thoroughly approved of the choice. 

Now, does this make a defendant shudder or what? Wouldn’t we rather see the District Attorney and Public Defender pawing the ground like a couple of bulls getting ready to charge, rather than pumping hands and clapping each other on the shoulder? 

Mr. Aaron came to us from a position as a federal public defender. 

Having never been in a federal courtroom we can’t say with authority if it’s true or not, but we’ve been told (by criminal defendants and friendly defense lawyers) that federal public defenders work so closely with federal prosecutors that they go hand-in-hand, like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum to get the job done. Kinda like having two prosecutors. 

“Federal Public Defenders in the Age of Inquisition,” a 2013 Yale Law Journal essay, concludes that Federal PDs are generally impotent against, if not complicit with prosecutors, in the adversarial system of our judiciary at the fed level, and have been getting steadily worse since 1963 when a case called Gideon v. Wainwright was decided, making sure the defense lawyers would get paid and could afford services like private investigators; and that they are absolutely powerless against the sentencing severity, which in federal courts is controlled by the prosecutors, not the judges. David E. Patton concludes that federal defendants were better off before Gideon v. Wainwright when they had either an unpaid, ill-equipped lawyer, or none at all. Mr. Patton says most of today’s defendants would gladly go back to pre-1963 standards if they could. 

It would appear that federal defense lawyers know all too well where their money’s coming from, and who they’re really working for – which is to say not the defendant. 

Reality Winner, the whistleblower from the NSA, must surely wish she could go back to such happy days when even if “The Fonz” and Eddie Haskell somehow got through law school on a cheap bribe or a rich name; well, even then, it’s hard to imagine such odious pricks as we have today dispensing “advocacy to the indigent” and other sentiments worthy of emolument… Winner’s federal prosecutors were bragging that the over five years she was sentenced to last week was the “stiffest in history” for her piddling transgression. (I’d hardly call it a crime, more like a lack of religious zealotry for the current status quo.) 

The misnamed Ms. Winner must surely wish she could go back to Happy Days, when even if “The Fonz” and Eddie Haskell somehow got through law school on a cheap bribe or a rich name; well, even then, it’s hard to imagine such odious pricks as we have today dispensing “advocacy to the indigent” and other sentiments worthy of emoulment... 

The Gideon case also provided for training of federal public defenders– and again, this must make a criminal defendant shudder with apprehension. Would you want your adversaries to train your only hope of winning against them? 

Another conclusion Patton makes is one we were already well aware of, and that is that only about 2.7% of all cases go to trial, and that, in essence, if not in fact, “reflects the sad acceptance of a system thoroughly unmoored from its adversarial foundation.” 

Mr. Patton writes, “increased prosecutorial power” – and Patton gives the reader of his essay many examples – “disproportionately impacts poor people and minorities and greatly diminishes the egalitarian process [and] demonstrates how we have moved from an adversarial to an inquisitorial one.” Nothing would be more to DA Eyster’s liking than such an arrangement – nor any other prosecutor, for that matter – like at the federal courts; for the DA’s office to enjoy these advantages over the PD’s office. This may give us a hint as to why our excellent DA is so delighted with the appointment of Jeffery Aaron. 

Nothing to do but wait and see. 

Assistant DA Rick Welsh did not wait and see, though. His last day was Friday. The former Assistant DA said he was tired of waking up without his wife, who is a school teacher in Orange County, and chose not to give up her job to accommodate her husband’s career. No replacement yet, for that post, but the long-vacant job of Chief Deputy DA – last held by Jill Ravitch, who is currently in her third term as DA of Sonoma County – has been taken over by former Del Norte County DA Dale Trigg. 

Mr. Trigg is a big guy, he kind of reminds me of Hamilton Berger in the old black and white Perry Mason series on TV. Mr. Trigg strikes me as the kind of guy who can pin Mr. Aaron to the mat as soon as the referee blows the whistle – but, of course, courtroom brawlers are not wrestling celebrities: those guys all go into politics and run for the governor’s mansion, not some little out-of-the way public defender’s office. 

Now, we are not condemning the new public defender without a trial. 

That would hardly be just. We want to give him at least the same chance he would give his clients – that is, take a cursory look at the evidence against him, give our professional assurance that his case is hopeless, and advise him to plea to the sheet. As critics of the legal system, it’s the best we can offer. 


  1. james marmon August 30, 2018

    I wonder if the new PD will demand more mental health and substance abuse treatment for his clients through the newly passed P.C 1001.36 Mental Health Diversion Program. By doing so the courts will finally get a good look at our failed system. DA Eyster may have to stop covering up for Angelo’s privatization fiasco and look into whether or not he should press charges against our current providers, the Shraeders, and whoever else they’re paying off.

    We learned from Kemper’s latest report that the Angelo/Schraeder operation is basically “only” providing crisis services, out of county inpatient care, and a whole bunch of administration. In Kemper’s report we got a glimpse to who they’re doling out all the money to, but no mention of what we get in return. What we do know, based on the Schraeders own dashboards, is that since privatization the amount of 5150 hospitalizations per year has grown by 600%, from 117 hospitalizations per year in 2012 to nearly 700 hospitalizations per year in 2017. We’ve come a long ways, babe!

    Prior to the passage of Measure B (aka “the Allman Tax”) it was other people’s money they were blowing, and as long as the majority of the money was being distributed among the local non-profits nobody cared. But now, taxpayers are being asked to supplement “other people’s money” with “their own money” because law enforcement, the jail, and courts are being overburdened with mentally ill and substance abuse users needing treatment. Eyster and Allman are forced to just turn them out back on the streets time after time as evidenced by the AVA frequent flyer list.

    I guess if Eyster wanted to charge the Schraeder Cartel with a crime, he would have to find that there was intent, bilking taxpayers out of millions of dollars a year is a serious enough crime to look into, at least in my opinion.

    James Marmon MSW

  2. Joe Hansem August 31, 2018

    Well, the federal courts operate in a different world from state courts where the stakes are usually much higher and where becoming a staff member with either side is highly competitive and the atmosphere is much more professional than it is in many Mayberry like state courts. A result of this is that the US attorneys generally don’t file frivolous or weak cases the way some of the hacks and flunkeys at some county DA offices do. A good example of this and the professional culture of federal courts can be seen in the Maddoff and Manafort cases etc. So that Aaron served in such a capacity represents an impressive credential.

    The question is why did he leave such a prestigious and well paying job for lower paying county position here. He retired and wanted to transition into a less stressful work and living arrangement or for some other reason, like being forced out? As the staff lead for the eastern section of the LA based Central District he was in charge of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where he had to have been in charge of a staff of hundreds, but now he will be running a small office of a dozen attorneys and another dozen support staff. And the word is he is already griping about the low pay which is at least $35K less than what he earned there. Guess he didn’t read the “fine print”.

  3. james marmon August 31, 2018

    Dale Trigg left Del Norte County under a dark cloud. He resigned just one day after this article came out. His handling of the case mentioned below is just one of many cases the folks of Del Norte were unhappy about. They had their pitch forks out.


    “What brought up the curiosity over the District Attorney’s Code of Ethics? It was a recent Press Release by the district attorney’s office that named an underage victim by identifying who and how she was related to the defendant. Unconscionable.”

    He cited in another article that he left because of pay, I wonder how much Eyster is paying him.

    Dale Trigg resigns as DA

    “Currently, I make over $17,000 less than my ADA, who also gets over forty paid days off per year between vacation, holidays, illness and administrative leave. I have taken about half of that personal time away from the office in all three of my years combined. I will not earn what my ADA does today until January, 2023 if I am elected to a third term in office. Of course the ADA salary will also increase between now and then, so I will never catch up.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Social Worker V
    Del Norte County

    • james marmon August 31, 2018

      Guilty until proven innocent – Judy Ranger’s Story

      “I believe our current District Attorney, Dale Trigg has done a fine job in convicting child molesters/abusers since he took office. It’s too bad that his office inherited the Ranger case because he was Bryan’s Ranger’s Public Defender for a short time before being elected. He cannot be involved with the case due to this conflict of interest and therein enters the California State Attorney General’s office in the form of Joyce Blair email address:, in the event you feel compelled to send her a message by the time you finish this series.”

      “On Page 3 at Line 15-17 there is a quote from a Dr. Roy, hired and paid for by Child Welfare Services, that makes conclusions about Mr. Ranger’s wife, Judy. What is not mentioned about Mr. Ranger’s wife is that Dr. Roy became annoyed with Judy Ranger and completed the MMPI text for her. It is also not mentioned that Dr. Roy, in his report, gave an unsolicited opinion of what he thought about people who were Fundamentalist in their religious beliefs.”

      “To those who believe the Rangers are innocent, this shows the extent to which the system can go in oppressing and destroying families.”

      James Marmon MSW
      Former Social Worker V
      Del Norte Child Welfare Services.

    • james marmon September 1, 2018

      Jon was a associate of mine, he really went after meth dealers, he even helped open and operate a recovery home for drug addicts. What has “Eyster the Shyster” done outside operating the “Mendocino Shakedown” “buy a misdemeanor program.” I know Jon as an honorable man. He is currently working as a Child Protection Case Manager for the Yurok Tribe. Give them hell Jon.

      Check out Jon for yourself.

      James Marmon MSW
      Former Social Worker
      Del Norte Child Welfare Services.

      • james marmon September 1, 2018

        Jon was set up by Meth dealers with the help of current DA Katherine Micks who was his deputy at the time, and had aspirations to become DA herself.

        You’ve come a long ways baby!

        Drug Warrior DA Failed to Dismantle a Huge Meth Operation in His District

        Jon Alexander, a former meth addict, turned his life around, becoming the county’s top prosecutor on a “Death to Meth” platform.

        “Alexander had support during his State Bar trial, with numerous members of Del Norte County legal and law enforcement communities testifying to his good reputation as an elected DA. While he may have had shortcoming and might have committed some errors, they said, none of his misdeeds warranted criminal actions.”

        The Meth dealers wanted Jon gone, and they won that battle.

        • james marmon September 1, 2018

          Just to set the record straight.

          Filed April 30, 2014



          The OCTC filed an NDC on May 15, 2012, alleging seven counts of misconduct in three matters. As summarized below, the hearing judge dismissed the first two matters due to a lack of clear and convincing evidence of culpability, but found serious misconduct in the third matter.
          In the first matter, the NDC alleged that Alexander violated rule 5-300(A) in July 2009 by lending $14,000 to Linda Sanford, the Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Del Norte County (the Sanford case). In addition, it charged that he committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption in violation of section 6106 by failing to disclose this loan to the courts or to opposing counsel in various criminal proceedings. The hearing judge dismissed the Sanford case after trial, concluding that Alexander’s long-standing friendship with Sanford brought the loan within the exception provided by rule 5-300(A) when “the personal or family relationship between the member and the . . . official . . . is such that gifts are customarily given and exchanged.” The judge also found that Alexander’s failure to divulge the loan to the court or to opposing counsel in several cases where Sanford was involved as a probation officer did not violate section 6106, since the evidence did not prove that he “made the loan with the intent to obtain some advantage from Sanford.”
          In the second matter, Alexander was charged with acts of moral turpitude arising from his failure to recuse himself or to inform the superior court in a criminal proceeding that George Mavris, a defendant’s attorney, was concurrently representing Alexander in a pending disciplinary matter and had previously loaned him $6,000 (the Mavris case). In a criminal proceeding, Alexander joined with Mavris in moving to dismiss the criminal charges against the defendant. The hearing judge dismissed the Mavris matter, finding that “[a]rguably, respondent should have disqualified himself . . . to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with respect to his official duties. But there is no clear and convincing evidence that his failure to do so affected his ability to impartially perform the discretionary functions of his office.”
          In the third matter, Alexander was charged and found culpable of multiple acts of misconduct arising from his ex parte communication with a represented defendant, Michelle Taylor (the Taylor case).
          Alexander is appealing the culpability findings in the Taylor matter, but asks us to adopt the hearing judge’s dismissals of the Sanford and Mavris cases. OCTC did not seek review of the dismissals of these two matters, which we adopt. Accordingly, we discuss only the Taylor matter.

  4. james marmon September 1, 2018

    To be fair, the real reason Dale Trigg left Del Norte County is because of his prosecution of Chris Renner, a very prominent local public figure who liked little boys. He was done politically after that case.

    DA: Chris Renner Sentenced to 12 Years in Child Sex Abuse Case

    “The court considered approximately 40 letters of support written for the defendant and the presence of several dozen community members who appeared at the sentencing hearing on his behalf. The defendant’s supporters included many prominent community members, including lawyers, medical professionals, business owners, counselors, a former supervisor, a supervisor-elect and a former judge. “One of the general objectives of sentencing provided by the California Rules of Court is achieving uniformity in sentencing. Any other defendant, who did not have this defendant’s money and resources, who could not hire a very skilled private attorney to represent him and who did not have all of these influential community members in court backing him up would not get six years with these facts. This defendant should be treated no differently,” Trigg argued to the court.”

    • james marmon September 1, 2018

      He was already on the hot seat for going after another well liked ChoMo, Joey Young, Del Norte Human Resource Director.

      Joey Young was arrested late Sunday night on suspicion of violating a criminal protective order issued to keep him away from the juvenile he’s alleged to have had a sexual relationship with; Young, the Del Norte Human Resources director and ex-cheerleading coach at Del Norte High School, was booked and released on charges of criminal contempt, annoying or molesting a child under 18 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor; Del Norte County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Bill Steven said that anyone arrested on those nonviolent misdemeanor charges would have been booked and released; “He got the same treatment anybody would with those charges,” Steven said.

      Del Norte DA: Disappointed with sentencing in case

      “I am disappointed with the sentence in this case,” Del Norte County District Attorney Dale Trigg said. “I started my sentencing argument by focusing the court’s attention on the California Rule of Court that states that the general objectives of sentencing include punishing the defendant and deterring others from criminal conduct by demonstrating its consequences. I do not believe that this sentence accomplishes either objective.”

      • james marmon September 1, 2018

        Joey and I did not see eye to eye on a lot issues when I was a Del Norte County Employee.

        County faces $7M lawsuit
        April 9, 2007

        Marmon had worked for Del Norte County since 2003 and resigned earlier this year.

        Now serving as a social worker in Mendocino County, Marmon acknowledges a troubled past that includes a non-violent felony larceny offense 35 years ago and a misdemeanor 17 years ago the most recent offense. He also points to achieving high school, counseling, bachelor’s and master’s degrees since then.

        Department director Gary Blatnick, named in the lawsuit, declined to answer questions about the department’s background checks. Calling the issue a personnel matter, Blatnick referred questions to Joey Young, an analyst with the personnel division of the Del Norte County Administrative Offices.

        I suppose if you’ve got something to hide, it could be considered intrusive, Henion said of the checks, adding that Marmon resigned voluntarily and his work record at the department included no disciplinary actions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *