He Should Have Stayed In The Deli

Apologies to Mr. Jayson Kain of Albion and Minne­sota, a bi-coastal pot person whose travails were described here last week. But something got lost in translation; Mr. Kain’s “appetite” for marijuana had nothing to do with his desire to deploy cannabis as a weight control agent. His argument was that he sim­ply smoked a lot […]

Weed Whackers Win One

The whisper came from behind me. “How might one have an opinion on the facts witout having heard the facts?” I looked up from jotting down Judge Henderson’s opinion to see the defense lawyer smiling. Henderson’s opinion had been to the effect that “I find it hard to believe [defendant] wasn’t involved, even though there […]

Give Us The Dope Or We’ll Take Your Kids

Every time a judge denies a motion to suppress evidence, the judge is saying to the cop, “Good job, your methods are perfectly legal, no room for improvement; keep up the good work.” As in… The Confidential Informant had smelled marijuana at 9057 East Road, Redwood Valley, a property rented by John Rule. The informant […]

Judge Lehan Speaks

Note: Before I left my assignment at the Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg I asked Judge Jonathan Lehan for an interview. The judge agreed to answer written questions in writing. Here’s how it turned out. * * * How much does the court generate in abalone fines and fees? State Fish and Game Department? […]

Getting Away With Murder

It was a perfect early afternoon in May when a young Mexican couple saw the car under the overpass with the man holding a knife to a terrified woman’s throat. The young Mexican couple got back on Highway 101 and sped south to the Cloverdale Police Department. They told the Cloverdale police that a man […]

Guns, Germs & Steel

James Stephens, felon, up on charges that he was in possession of a .22 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun, nar­rowly missed four more years in state prison because, apparently, he’s a non-violent felon and he wasn’t in actual possession of what the DA characterized as “weapons.” A .22 and a shotgun were merely in […]

La Familia In Boonville?

The Mexican drug cartel La Familia went down last week, big time, with kingpins arrested in 19 states and 750 pounds of meth seized and Michoacan, the birthplace of most Mendocino County immigrants, much in the news as headquarters for much of the mayhem associated with the international drug trade. In Boonville, the Tapio-Soto familia […]

The United Nations’ Mendo Grows

Mendocino County natives take for granted some­thing outsiders consider intoxicatingly glamorous, adventurous, and outrageously profitable — the pirate’s dream of going to Mendoland and growing a fortune in weed. The image that many of these 09ers have is of a summer frolicking in the redwoods and ferns, plenty of recreational drugs, reggae festivals, skinny-dipping in […]

Court Case Updates

Aaron Vargas is the young man who shot and killed Darrell McNeil in Fort Bragg last year for what Vargas said was McNeil’s predatory child molestation of not only Vargas but other Fort Bragg-area children. Vargas’s trial for murder will begin the last week of September. Attorneys on both sides seemed to anxious to get […]

The Hoyle Trial Fiasco: Case Dismissed

District Attorney Meredith Lintott had a problem. His name was Peter Hoyle, a well-known and controversial Ukiah cop with 33 years anchoring Mendocino County’s thin blue line. If Hoyle hasn’t arrested every crook in the county down to their grandchildren it’s only because they weren’t home when he came calling. Lots of people say that […]

All In The Family

Bullet-headed, barrel-chested, built like a brickworks, and with his head shaved and sporting a big, bushy Fu Manchu mustache, Special Agent Peter Hoyle, a 33-year police veteran, much of it with the Ukiah Police Department, was called to the stand. If Hoyle had karate-chopped the witness chair to kindling no one would have been surprised. […]