Allison Jackson – Rebuild The Broken DA’s Office – October 15, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

In 2003, the year Paul Gallegos began his first term as District Attorney, the Department of Justice reported 394 violent crimes in Humboldt County. If that seems like a lot, fast-forward to 2009 when that number had risen to 541—an increase of 37 percent. During that same period, the overall rate for violent crime in the state declined by almost 20 percent.

But I want to talk about something more than numbers. I want to tell you what this looks like on the ground.

Here’s an example. In July, a man named Michael Coen was arrested for attempted murder. This was not his first brush with the law. He’d been sent to prison for eight years for an assault that left a man in a coma. This was before Gallegos was elected.

Coen was paroled in 2007, but in March 2008 was picked up for participating in a gang. No charges were filed, and instead the new offense was treated as a parole violation.

In July 2008, he was arrested for his involvement in another beating that resulted in serious injury. Again, no new charges were filed by Gallegos, and again the offense was treated as a simple parole violation. Coen was out in five months.

December 2008 found Coen arrested yet again—this time for driving under the influence and running from the police. Gallegos charged the DUI but then pled it down to a less serious offense. Once again, it was treated as a parole violation.

Back out on the streets in May 2009, Coen was immediately rearrested for participating in a gang. Again, no charges. Another parole violation; another brief stint in jail.

Coen was released again in August 2009.  The following month, he assaulted two men, breaking the jaw of one man who happened to be a serviceman home on leave from Iraq.

Even though Coen was already on parole for felony assault, even though he had five prior parole violations, Gallegos plea bargained this new case and agreed to Coen’s release in November 2009.

Three months later, Coen was arrested again. The charges this time—robbery, carjacking, illegally possessing a weapon, and participating in a gang. The case was referred to the DA, but for some unexplained reason, it was never charged. At all. Even though the investigating officer reported Coen admitted his involvement. He remained out on the street until he was picked up a few months ago for allegedly attempting to kill a man.

This is one example. There are many more. This year alone there have been 29 felons on parole found to be in possession of firearms. The DA charged only six of those. One parolee, picked up three times for being in possession of a firearm before he was charged. That was when he was found with a loaded Glock in his waistband after being stopped by the CHP.

This is where we are. This is what eight years of Paul Gallegos have gotten us.

If elected, as your next District Attorney I will close the revolving door of plea deals that returns violent criminals to our streets to offend again and again.

I will evaluate cases personally to make sure they are properly charged. I will prioritize cases and see that deputy prosecutors have the resources and leadership they need to succeed.

I will repair the damage done to the Victim Witness Program, and re-establish special victims programs, such as those that previously supported victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child and elder abuse.

I will re-establish a true environmental crimes unit that addresses real issues and doesn’t waste our time or your money on vanity cases and political grandstanding.

I will be accessible. People trying to contact the DA’s Office will no longer get a telephone tree, a full voice-mailbox and no return call. That has gone on too long and is flatly unacceptable.

On the strength of my experience and reputation, I have earned the endorsement of law enforcement throughout Humboldt County: Sheriff’s Deputies, Arcata Police, Eureka Police, Fortuna Police and our Correctional Officers. I have the support of the current Sheriffs of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties. They know I’ll do the job to keep our community safe,  They know that when they arrest people and we can prove that they’re guilty, I won’t let them go.

Work with me to rebuild our District Attorney’s Office. Vote Allison Jackson for District Attorney. A New Day, A New DA. Thank you.

Allison Jackson, a former prosecutor, is a partner in the Harland Law Firm. For information about her campaign, visit AJforDA.com.

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13 Responses to “Allison Jackson – Rebuild The Broken DA’s Office – October 15, 2010”

  1. Clarification

    Ms. Jackson has endorsements of law enforcement labor unions not police departments or the Sheriff’s Department. Just clarifying.

    #11152
  2. Al

    Allison Jackson has run a wonderful campaign championing herself as the DA who will fight for victim’s rights and as a calm and collected individual. Here’s what the lawyers and courthouse personal, both liberal and conservative, who were around Allison when she last practiced criminal law 6 ago have been saying.

    1. Allison only took cases to trial in which there was overwhelming evidence (full confessions). She dumped hard cases on other deputies so as not to tarnish her record. She tried one case had some minor complications and lost (to Paul Gallegos of all people). A person without courage should not lead a prosecutor’s office.

    2. Allison has a very short temper. As we watch her debate, she seems to be very soft spoken and collected. That is not the Allison Jackson that practiced criminal law 6 years ago. There is something inside her that when she does not get her way, causes her to erupt in anger and at other people. Do not be fooled by the commercials or what she tries to pass off at the debates. She does not have the temperament to be the elected DA.

    3. Allison has picked and chosen certain cases to try to convince you that the DA’s office is under plea bargaining cases. A DA must evaluate a case based on all the facts, the strength of the witnesses, and the applicable laws. Unfortunately, the combination of the three does not always add up to a conviction at trial. In those instances, an elected DA should and needs the courage to plea-bargain a case, regardless of the popularity of that decision. Allison, who only took easy cases, never learned how to do that. To my knowledge, she’s never even tried a murder case.

    While in civil practice, she did get involved by advising the families in a murder case outside of Humboldt County. She convinced the families of the victims that the case was worth more than the plea bargain the DA in that county has worked out of 10 years, 8 months (serving 5 years, 4 months). That DA’s office made several attempts to talk to Allison about the case and the some of the severe weaknesses in its evidence but she was too blind to listen. To appease the families and the bad advice that Allison was dispensing to them, that DAs office tried the case to jury ended up with a manslaughter convictions and a sentence of 6 years, 8 months in prison (serving 3 years, 4 months). Prior to trial, the defense offered 16 years, 8 months in prison (serving 8 years, 4 months). Point being, she lacks the experience to evaluate a case because she wear narrow blinders that jurors, made up of the community, do not.

    4. Allison has the endorsement of all law enforcement unions. She does not have the endorsement of all the individual law enforcement officers. Many individual law enforcement officers are voting for Paul Gallegos even though the old boys network in the law enforcement frowns upon it. Ironically, the endorsement of police officer’s unions has been the kiss of death for most DA candidates (I am not sure why that seems to be true). Where are Allison’s former DA colleagues’ endorsements? I doubt there are any. Not even Terry Farmer endorses Allison even though Farmer lost his 20-year career to seat to Gallegos.

    If there were a better candidate running against Paul Gallegos, I would vote for that person. In this case, there is not. Vote Gallegos and let’s hope someone more legitimate runs against him in the next election.

    #11256
  3. Jay Moller

    I am a criminal defense attorney who has been working with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for the past 28 years trying to reach just and fair resolutions of criminal charges. While I mainly do appeals, including death penalty appeals, and have argued eight cases before the California Supreme Court and dozens of others in state and federal appellate courts, I have also represented hundreds of local citizens.
    In all my 28 years practicing in Humboldt County, I have never interacted with a more out-of-control, angry prosecutor than Allison Jackson. She is the only prosecutor who has ever yelled at me (over the phone), and that was about some silly case involving the accidental hitting of a dog by my client’s car. She threatened dire consequences if my client did not plead guilty. He did not plead guilty and was going to trial when the judge dismissed the case or diverted it or reduced the charge to a traffic infraction (I forgot which, except I remember we won.)
    My experience of Ms. Jackson is that she has no sense of justice or understanding that an accused may actually be innocent or have an excuse or explanation that mitigates the crime. If elected, I expect her intransigence to lead to unnecessary trials and more not guilty verdicts, after putting innocent people through hell and conscientious jurors through expensive and time-consuming jury trials that don’t lead to convictions.
    I support Paul Gallegos, who has a well-demonstrated sense of justice, whose office has rightly focused on violent and serious crimes, not petty ones.
    And for Ms. Jackson to suggest Paul is too lenient on marijuana crimes is disingenuous, as the office has prosecuted hundreds of cases in Arcata and throughout the county where the suspects were caught growing more than their medical needs.
    Sincerely, Jay Moller

    #11298
  4. Andrew Isaac

    I am a former Humboldt County Deputy D.A. I support Ms. Jackson in the coming election. Every single one of my former Humboldt colleagues with whom I have spoken about this election supports Ms. Jackson. I have been practicing since 1979. I have served as Army JAG officer, a civilian criminal defense lawyer, a plaintiff’s civil rights lawyer specializing in police misconduct, and as a prosecutor of sex crimes and homicides. I am currently supervisor of the sex crimes unit in the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office, and my caseload includes gang homicides and domestic violence homicides. I have personally, over a period of years, watched Ms. Jackson prepare, present and win numerous complex and difficult cases. I have seen how witnesses and victims come to trust her and depend on her. I respect her empathy, energy, intelligence and ethics. I do not think she is perfect. She does not walk on water. She is the better candidate for
    Humboldt District Attorney. There’s an endorsement for you, Al, whoever you are.

    #11299
  5. Al

    Andrew Isaac is backing Allison Jackson. That would be a surprise considering that is who Allison Jackson dumped most her hard cases upon but not a surprise given the bad blood between Paul Gallegos and Andrew Isaac. Perhaps Mr. Isaac’s looking for the ADA position. If Andrew Isaac were a candidate, he would probably have my vote. But not Allison. Not ever.

    #11302
  6. Garth

    If Ms. Jackson wants to talk about plea deals that go wrong, she need not go further than one of her own.

    Back in ’97, when she was a Deputy DA, she pled out the case: CR972027M (People v. Yohan Lopez). Lopez a few months previously copped a prior for having a concealed weapon. That should have been a red flag to Jackson, that he can be armed and dangerous.

    In the case before Jackson, Lopez was caught with pot by the Eureka Police. During his arrest, Lopez fought back violently, injuring Officer Ron Harpham. The case included charges of felony violation of 243(c) (Battery on a Peace Officer) which carries a sentence of up to 3 years, 8 months in State Prison. Alison Jackson negotiated a plea agreement with Lopez on September 19, 1997 which dismissed that count.

    Jackson also reduced the felony violation of Resisting an Executive Officer 69PC, which also is punishable by up to 3 years in State Prison. She plead it out for a violation of 14B of the Penal Code, Obstructing or Resisting a Public Officer, a misdemeanor. The result was that Lopez served 8 days in the county jail for this and was not given any more jail time.

    Lopez also plead guilty to a violation of 11357(b) Health and Safety Code (Misdemeanor violation of Possession of Marijuana -Less than an Ounce), punishable by a $100 fine. He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service as part of the deal.

    So, in September of ’97, Alison Jackson puts back on the streets a person who is violent, known to illegally carry a concealed weapon, and who has violently assaulted a police officer. He could have been sent away for 6 or more years.

    But just a few months later, on January 5, 1998, Lopez encounters 18 year old Ryan Dunn in a Eureka Figueiredo’s. Lopez had had a previous dispute with Dunn. As the Times-Standard reported, Lopez saw Dunn at Figueiredo’s, left the video store and retrieved his firearm. He then lay in wait for Dunn to emerge from the store and gunned him down.

    Lopez fled before he could be prosecuted and was only apprehended in 2007, when DA Gallegos’ investigators hauled him in from Stanislaus County. Gallegos put veteran prosecutor Arnie Klein on the case (CR980099) and the conviction was obtained. Lopez was sentenced to life without possibility of parole. He will never menace society again.

    Alison Jackson’s botched plea deal of Lopez resulted in the murder of Ryan Dunn just 3 months after she dismissed a serious felony charge against him and lowered a second serious offence. She left it for Paul Gallegos’ team to put him away for life.

    #11315
  7. firefly

    The Pauliticos are continuing to make stuff up, treating speculation as fact, just as they do on all the blogs. Re Isaac: “wants to be ADA?” “bad blood?” Not. “what the lawyers…are saying…”? sez you. If Allison’s not perfect, she’s still miles ahead of Gallegos. He is a joke, a liar, and keeps on putting his politics and ambitions ahead of his duties as the DA. Allison will do a professional job, will treat the victims and the defendants fairly and will try cases based on their merit, not on their politically correct symbolism. Allison has matured. Gallegos has not.

    #11317
  8. Garth

    Firefly, make a search of the Cases cited. It’s all in the public record.

    #11347
  9. Bob

    Garth. It is the DA that makes those calls Your point is that Farmer made a bad call on a guy with no prior record? Ok. I guess you can blame all of Paul’s employees for his really bad decisions which have been consistent for eight years. Go Jackson. Time for a change.

    #11352
  10. While protesting Mazzotti’s in Arcata, my life was threatened twice; Gallegos did nothing, Mazzotti’s supports him. During a civil suit, my life was threatened by a minion of the Petitioner. Again, Gallegos did nothing. Instead, he admitted a perjured declaration which covered up, and assisted, the Petitioner’s criminal act of practicing law without a license; violating Cal Prof Rules of Conduct Rule 1-300 and Bus and Prof Code 6125 (CP100272). I had admitted several complaints to the Board of Trustees of the Law Library, of which Gallegos is a member, describing the Petitioner’s illegal behavior. Due to Gallegos failure to address the crime and his perjured declaration to cover it up, my right to access the county law library to research redressing my grievances against Gallegos’, and others’, misconduct was abrogated, as a result. I have admitted seven plus personnel complaints against Gallegos and his staff, receiving nil response, though required by law. DA is for District Attorney, not Defense Attorney.

    #11499
  11. Al

    Mr. Benson,

    Don’t worry, with Allison in charge, you’ll be arrested, thrown in jail, and have to go through trial to prove your “innocence”. Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

    #11709
  12. Al,
    Your advisement is well received. I am concerned with the allegations that Ms. Jackson is tough; even, maybe, vindictive. If she could reserve her tenacity for violent criminals, I would consider it a win for the People. Child abuse, domestic violence, and street violence are epidemics in Humboldt that produce real victims that suffer physically and emotionally. Mr. Gallegos is, either, negligent or incompetent in prosecuting these crimes and criminals know this. I pray that, when Ms. Jackson assumes the Office, she will prioritize according to damages; and recognize that Cannabis is a liberty interest that is a very attractive nuisance in Humboldt. My biggest fear is that she will begin prosecuting more Cannabis cases, which I deem unconscionable, in order to appease local law enforcement and their zeal for claiming the People’s property. I may not make any friends with this statement, yet, if I had to choose protection for children or protection for growers; I would choose protection for the children. Cannabis farmers can afford good attorneys; abuse victims, generally, can not.

    #11721
  13. [...] Allison Jackson submitted her op ed piece. [...]

    #13018

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