DA, Probation, Law Enforcement, Courts and the DHHS-Fail to Protect the Public
In this weeks North Coast Journal, Thadeus Greenson wrote a very good article which documented the now “un-sealed” probation reports from 3 of the areas more recent and notorious alleged murderer’s. This article illustrates the very points the Examiner has been trying to make; the local criminal justice system is broken and fails to keep citizens of Humboldt safe.
In the case of Bodhi Tree (alleged murderer of Christina Schwartz and Allan Marcet) his probation report read, in part, “Given his mental illness, proclivity to drink, and anti-social mentality, he should be supervised very intensely…”. The report concluded that Tree presented a high risk of reoffending, particularly of committing violent offenses.
Regarding Gary Bullock (alleged murderer of Father Eric Freed), his probation report read, “It is recommended that Mr. Bullock be referred to the County Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Programs for outpatient treatment…”. Bullock was ineligible for this type of program (because he was convicted of Marijuana Cultivation), so the DA’s Office reached a plea agreement under which it dismissed the felony charge and Bullock pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to three years’ probation but was not ordered to undergo an alcohol and other drug assessment or enroll in treatment.
In the case of Vincent Sanchez (alleged murderer of Richard Storre and Lance Henry) his probation report read, “Sanchez) would appear to be in danger of future criminal activity without substance abuse and mental health intervention.” He was sentenced to time served with 3 years probation.
Humboldt County Probation Chief Damiano was interviewed by Thad Greenson. In the article, he is reported to have said, “The challenge is we’re dealing with human beings,” he says. “You can’t make a horse drink the water. You put them into positions to drink the water and hope.”
Although Damiano is partially correct, his statement is the worst form of “passing-the-buck” possible. Although Probation deals with “human beings”, they have the capability and the duty to ensure that the convicted criminals they are supervising either “drink the water”, or face CONSEQUENCES. Damiano’s department is short-staffed, and the caseload for probation officers is overwhelming. But that’s where the public and their leaders need to step in and demand more accountability and a more effective/better staffed department! While Sheriff Downey and Chief Mills play their smoke and mirror show regarding jail releases, the real problems regarding accountability, treatment and rehabilitation in this county are woefully ignored.
It’s time for the Citizens of Humboldt to take a page out of Chet Albin’s book and tell their elected officials, “We’re sick and tired of the crime element here!”. But also we need to take it one step further and ask them to take a critical look at law enforcement, probation, the courts and the local correctional system so that we can have effective rehabilitation. In the case of those who won’t “drink the water”, there needs to be consequences such as jail or prison time so that we can be protected from their continued criminal activity.
For more information, see this weeks North Coast Journal:
Previous Crimewave Posts in the Examiner: