12.26.2007

TS 12/18/2007 Anti-establishment publicity stunt

TS Anti-establishment publicity stunt 12/18/2007

The grand jury's recent indictment of Dave Douglas and Tony Zanotti reminds me of my experience as a member of a grand jury.

In 1980-81, I had the opportunity to serve as vice-foreman of the Humboldt County grand jury. During that year, then-District Attorney Bernie DePaoli had us review a criminal case and issue indictments. As the facts unfolded concerning the case, it became obvious to me that the grand jury had been used inappropriately.

It was my experience that the DA can allow the evidence to be presented in such a way as to get whatever outcome he desires from the citizens who comprise the grand jury. They are, as I was, untrained in the law and susceptible to influence by the district attorney. We all thought Mr. DePaoli was a great guy and trusted him and his opinions. That certainly proved to be a mistake.

While I do not know the details of the current grand jury deliberations, I suspect another grandstand play that will result in thousands of dollars spent on a case that cannot be won and should not have been brought to court. Didn't we go through this with the Pacific Lumber case?

I think we've had enough of our district attorney's anti-establishment publicity stunts. I hope the county can afford to wait, and that the DA's office can survive until the next election.
Chuck Childers

Eureka

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