Apparently the DA is Not a Fan

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reisig-2009 Daily Democrat Reports in Column: “Reisig and the county are said to be discussing taking some kind of action against Greenwald.”

For those who missed it, Jake Dorsey’s swan song last week at the Daily Democrat was a hit.  He managed to, at the same time, both praise and criticize the Vanguard and Jeff Reisig.

The biggest news perhaps was buried in the middle, in which Mr. Dorsey wrote, “Here’s what I don’t understand: Reisig and the county are said to be discussing taking some kind of action against Greenwald.”

 

For what, you might ask?  Apparently the DA’s Office is unhappy about our story which suggested that the DA’s Office may have inflated crime data on grant applications in an effort to ensure that the DA’s Office and the county received grant funding for a number of programs.

Writes Mr. Dorsey, “Davis writer and perpetual thorn David Greenwald has used his army of interns to full advantage to publish a damaging story against the Yolo County DA’s Office and DA Jeff Reisig.”

While Mr. Dorsey calls the story, “damning,” he criticizes the Vanguard by warning people that they must “consider the source.”  ” Greenwald doesn’t like Reisig and how he runs his portion of the county’s justice system. He sees corruption and a kind of overzealousness in Reisig, chasing cases while running roughshod over important facts, all in the pursuit of convictions.”

Dorsey continues, “Also, questions come up while reading the story that leave gaps. The largest gaps come from the fact that Greenwald did not talk to anyone within the Yolo County justice system in order to write this story. Certainly no one at the DA’s Office, who likely wouldn’t return his calls anyway.”

This is certainly, at least, partly true.  In a conversation with Chief Deputy DA Jonathan Raven back in February, he informed me that the DA’s Office had no interest in providing comments to the Vanguard.  Both his words at the time of our conversation and the inaction of the DA’s Office has forced me to rely on official statements from the DA’s Office, their prosecutors, and other county officials to fill in the gaps.

In fact, we are well aware of the complaints about the original grant story, some of them have some merit, others appear to be closer to spin.  However, if the DA’s Office feels wronged in this process, perhaps they ought to re-think their strategy of not speaking to us.  They are, in fact, the only government body in this entire county that does not respond to press inquiries from the Vanguard.

And if people want to suggest we have gone exclusively after the DA’s Office, we have certainly gone after the City of Davis, UC Davis, the Sheriff’s Department, as well as individual officeholders in this county. The only one of them that does not communicate with the Vanguard is the DA’s Office.

But the worst part of this story, from their standpoint, is that, for the most part, we got it right.  Off the record, we were told by several former Deputy DA’s and other employees, none of whom are former candidates for DA, that they were regularly pressured to increase crime figures in grant applications.  We are looking further into that angle of the story.

But I think we need to go back and look at this quote again because it is, frankly, chilling: “Reisig and the county are said to be discussing taking some kind of action against Greenwald.”

Did Mr. Dorsey get it right?  Is the DA’s Office going to use the chief power of law enforcement to attempt to silence a critical voice?

They want to go after the Vanguard or myself, fine.  We have a First Amendment in this country, and their actions would frankly only prove our criticisms and concerns to be correct.

To his credit, Jake Dorsey reacts to this news with a bit of disbelief.

“Really?” he writes.  “If Reisig were DA in a larger county, such as Sacramento, Greenwald would not register on the man’s radar. A story like the grant story would be significant, and should be addressed, but to turn around and then attack the writer?”

“That’s some petty stuff. Not to mention unprofessional, if it is true,” says Mr. Dorsey.

He continues, “Reisig shouldn’t waste his time, or the county’s, by trying to even the score somehow with Greenwald. Take the lumps, keep doing your job. Woodland City Manager Mark Deven has a lot of experience there; perhaps they should talk.”

Mr. Dorsey also writes, “However, this would be par for the course for Mr. Reisig. Here is a man who should, by all accounts, not be bothered by a single writer lobbing shots at him without talking to him. However, he is “The Silver Bulldog,” as I was once told, a man with a certain level of ruthlessness to him – not an evil trait, but a neutral one, showing a persistence in achieving his goals.”

This is the part I do not get.  Mr. Dorsey sees a “certain level of ruthlessness to him” – which he views as not an evil trait, but rather a persistence in achieving his goals.

But he qualifies the statement, “That’s a trait Yolo County should be glad to have in its chief prosecutor, the man who commands some control over how law enforcement operates in this county, but only as long as it stays pointed at the criminals.”

I do not see it that way.  What I see is a man who holds one of the single most powerful offices, certainly, in this county.  He has the power to change people’s lives in fundamental ways with the decisions he makes, in terms of what crimes to charge and what crimes not to charge.

From the time he took office, we had really received on a regular basis, I would say once a month, complaints from people that innocent people were being charged and sometimes convicted with rather severe crimes.

An incident that rings in my mind actually predates Mr. Reisig, and that is Khalid Berny.  We wrote about his story in early 2007 . He was a farmer down in Clarksburg and he was charged with allowing his goats to roam at large.

From what we were able to gather, they got free, maybe caused some destruction to his neighbors’ property and animal control came out and cited him.  Now, usually this would be treated like a violation, and a citation would be issued.  In this case, he was charged with misdemeanor crimes for the goats getting free.  Because there were 170 goats out, they charged him with 170 misdemeanors which would have meant, if convicted, he could have faced sixty years in prison for allowing his goats to go free.

Now that is just absurd, and he eventually hired the right lawyers and the county dropped the charges. 

The problem that we faced with reacting to cases like these is we generally found out about them after the individuals were tried, convicted, sentenced, and they were looking to appeal.

So in January of this year, following a year in which we saw the shooting of Luis Gutierrez by Sheriff’s Deputies and the conviction of Ajay Dev who was sentenced to 378 years, I came upon an idea, why not monitor court cases from the start?

So we brought in our “army of interns” to monitor court cases.  From where I sit, the project has been an amazing success, we have the capacity to sit and watch trials and to monitor entire cases through the court system.

Things are worse than I thought.  Not all of this is on the DA’s Office.  It does not help that California’s sentencing laws are so draconian and take all discretion or nearly all discretion away from the judges who have actually listened to the case.

It does not help that, in the minds of most juries, the fact that people are arrested is evidence of guilt and their defense lawyers generally have to prove innocence, rather than cast reasonable doubt.

The comments on Dorsey’s DA article have disappeared, and that is too bad, as they were instructive, at least to me.  There seems to be a presumption of hate on my part.  I have never even met the man, there is no personal hatred.  I simply disagree with the way that he runs his office and the portion of the Yolo County Judicial System that he oversees.

I would actually much prefer having a dialogue with him, but that has never been a possibility.  I think he and his employees would find that if they explain their thinking, while we still may disagree at the end of the day, at least I would be able to understand their point of view.

Right now I do not.  I do not understand his office’s decision to charge a man with possession of pruno, which according to everyone involved has never been charged before, in a case where probation recommended probation.

I see cases where the strongest evidence appears to exist against one individual, such as the Ornelas case or the recent Solis case, but because one of the suspects turns state’s evidence, they end up charging another individual who could well be completely innocent of the charges.

I see cases charged where there are no clear crimes committed, I see cases charged in which there is no clear evidence linking the individual charged to the crime, and I see a lot of cases where the DA attempts to turn what is, at most, a minor crime into major charges.

The DA is certainly not the only culprit in the system, which itself is flawed.  Rules of evidence and expert testimony are flawed.  Understanding of the science behind eye witness testimony, confessions, interrogation techniques and even forensic science, is flawed.

We see numerous cases across the country where the convicted are exonerated after years of incarceration, but the chilling fact is that most of those are based on DNA evidence, and most cases do not have DNA evidence available to determine whether the individual involved was guilty or innocent.  How many other cases have put innocent people behind bars for years?

None of this is the fault of our DA.  It is the legal system itself that is severely flawed.  But that is why we launched this project and have become a thorn in the DA’s side.

DA Reisig has a choice going forward, because we are not going to go away.  He can either make his peace with his critics and accept that being a public officeholder opens him up to scrutiny, or he can prove us right and attempt to use the law to suppress our right to free speech and our right to criticize the government, which right is embodied in the right to free speech.

In the 1970s epic Star Wars, the hero Obi-Wan Kenobi said to his evil adversary, just as he was about to be defeated, “You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

It is a line that resonates against tyranny and oppression.  The implied use of government, particularly government authority, to put down free speech is exactly what the framers sought to prevent through the First Amendment.

Moreover, oppression does not work in this time of instant communications and social networks.  If the DA attempts to use government power to suppress our criticism, it will only prove us right.  He cannot win – at least in that way.

Jake Dorsey got his column right.  He concludes, “Hopefully, though, Mr. Reisig will simply let this roll off his back and be the bigger man.”

It is good advice.  Responding to criticism only validates that criticism.

However, I do extend the invitation to Jeff Reisig to sit down with myself and others in the community who are critical of him to hear our concerns and to explain his point of view.  It would be a good learning experience, for all involved. 

Until then, I intend to remain a thorn in his side.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

 

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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59 thoughts on “Apparently the DA is Not a Fan”

  1. jake wallace

    Greenwald, here in Calaveras county officials have been fortunate that antagonists have lethal accidents.

    Just look at bldg inspec whistle blower, Steve Weber, who blew his brains out in sac county in his brand new corvette (2007) while the plaintiff in a civil suit against bldg head, Ray Waller.

    One fatal gun shot wound that was not self inflicted and the case vanishes.

    Reisig continues to conceal that the BOS & Yolo state court knowingly appointed now Sac probation chief, Don L. Meyer, out from under a fabricated felony investigation filed on behalf of state foster youth in Calaveras.

    Hendersen ignored compelling evidence of the criminal scheme and Jeff Reisig is more than capable of maintaining the obstruction/concealment.

    Reisig is nothing less nor more than a criminal, a dangerous criminal, with special powers and access.

  2. Roger Rabbit

    Not sure why you are trying to give Vader a bad name by comparing him to Reisig? At least Vader was good in his younger years.

    Reisig is a cowardly little man that hides in fear behind the power of his office and the government. He can only fight from his office of safety and by using others to do his dirty deeds so he can claim his hands are clean. He will never address his flaws and mistakes since that might lead to someone really looking at him which would lead to finding even more damaging evidence.

    Imagine having a job which gives you immunity for your actions, allows you to trade money for favors under the cover of political contributions, having the entire press willing to print any story you give them, being able to spend tax payer money at will under the cover of public safety, having your own armed police force that has to do what you tell them or be fired, being able to start a criminal investigation on anyone you dislike and then leak the investigation to the press and even arrest the person so they have an arrest record and then drop the charges without justification or explanation and then being guaranteed your job for four years no matter what you did and then after four years if no one runs against you, you automatically get 4 more years – you can see how that could give some a “God complex”.

    If there is one person that should be watched, questioned, scrutinized and challenged, it is surely a person with that much unaccountable power.

    The fact that DA Reisig is even trying to come after you shows what a Un-American, unethical and tyrant of a person he is.

    May the force of the people wise up and see Reisig for what he is and continue to question and put pressure on him to stop his tyrant behavior.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “However, I do extend the invitation to Jeff Reisig to sit down with myself and others in the community who are critical of him to hear our concerns and to explain his point of view. It would be a good learning experience, for all involved. Until then, I intend to remain a thorn in his side.”

    There is a saying that goes something like this – “Better to keep your mouth shut and allow people to wonder if you are stupid than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The DA cannot afford to say the wrong thing, and he has no obligation to speak to the press.

    I would also add, DMG, your object should not be to be a “thorn” in the DA’s side, but to question the fairness of the legal system. As you have pointed out, much of the problems with what goes on at the Yolo County Courthouse have nothing to do with the DA per se, but have more to do with the legal system itself and its inherent weaknesses/biases/conflicts of interest/injustices.

  4. Rich Rifkin

    [b]DAVID:[/b] [i]”In fact, we are well aware of the complaints about the original grant story, [u]some of them have some merit[/u], others appear to be closer to spin.”[/i]

    Have you addressed those meritorious complaints in the Vanguard? If not, perhaps this thread would be a good place to do so.

    I read the original piece–and was impressed by it–and I read all of the comments (up to my own at the time), but I don’t recall you backing off from any part of it. If you did, please point me to that. Thanks, Rich.

  5. PatLenzi

    I am bothered by the apparent fact that the district attorney of any county is even contemplating action against a person reporting on actions of public officials.

    If Jeff intends to uphold the Constitution of the United States as well as that of California, as is what his Oath of Office states, then he should look to support and uphold the entirety of both the state and federal Constitutions – free speech included. Suppressing the voice of critics and punishing any press agencies (newspapers or bloggers) who criticize his office smacks of paranoia and gives credence to those who question him. You seemingly must have something to hide if you won’t let anyone speak against you, Jeff.

    Although I have not lived in Yolo County for over a year and a half, but I do read this blog now and again to see what is going on in the area. I am disappointed that the elected DA has not fully taken advantage of his position to make the office more open and accessible to the public he serves.

    I have always thought of Yolo County as an open place for citizens to speak freely. Apparently not so. How sad.

  6. wdf1

    Well, you can feel flattered that Reisig reads at least parts of the blog. Even nicer if you could include some quote from Reisig implying that fact as part of promotional materials for the Vanguard.

  7. kathryndruliner

    First, Reisig should fire whoever is writing his public announcements for him. Then he should fire every Deputy DA who did not score at least a B in Constitutional Law. Oops, that may apply to him. It appears that the DA’s office does not understand the most important principal upon which our government was founded: The First Amendment — especially protected is freedom of the press and even higher is that related to Political Speech. But this from an office where one of the high level supervisors bragged to me about almost flunking Constitutional Law. Scared yet? This is the largest law firm in Yolo County and charged with enormous authority, your money and tremendous power. Worse yet, incumbents almost always win.

  8. kathryndruliner

    And I have to ask, E Roberts Musser, what is your agenda? You are a family law attorney yet you claim to be a litigator. You always side with the DA, yet you do not explain why. What is your source of income? What kind of cases do you now handle? It sounds like your family law experience was your own personal case. That is vastly different from litigating either a civil or criminal case in front of a jury. For anyone who does not know, the California State Bar has a website where you can see when an attorney was licensed and where they went to school. State bar of California attorney search.

  9. Superfluous Man

    Kathryn,

    “It appears that the DA’s office does not understand the most important principal upon which our government was founded…”

    The premise for which this “appearance” is founded is weak at best. At this stage, we have Dorsey’s unsubstantiated “rumor has it” and that’s about it (unless you know something I don’t). That said, I think it would be foolish of Reisig to go after Greenwald or the Vanguard, beyond setting the record straight. If he disagrees with Greenwald, go ahead and refute the claims or just forget about it, assuming there’s any truth to Dorsey’s statement.

  10. Roger Rabbit

    [quote]That said, I think it would be foolish of Reisig to go after Greenwald or the Vanguard, beyond setting the record straight. If he disagrees with Greenwald, go ahead and refute the claims or just forget about it, assuming there’s any truth to Dorsey’s statement. [/quote]

    What would be the motivation to lie or make something like this up? Lots of people want to say prove it or it is just a rumor or there is no proof, how about what is to be gained by the person saying something against Reisig and what is the motivation to make something like this up?

  11. Roger Rabbit

    [quote]Reisig , does a great job ! [/quote]

    True in some ways, he does good at promoting himself, he does good at putting out misleading press releases, he does good at threatening and intimidating those that speak against him, he does good at keeping his actions hidden and concealed so no one really knows what he does and he does good at hiding his unethical actions.

    So I guess you are right, good comment Avatar.

  12. Superfluous Man

    Rabbit,

    “What would be the motivation to lie or make something like this up? Lots of people want to say prove it or it is just a rumor or there is no proof, how about what is to be gained by the person saying something against Reisig and what is the motivation to make something like this up?”

    There needn’t be a motivation to lie or fabricate something, none of which I have accused Dorsey of doing, for the implication/statement to be inaccurate. There may be proof, in which case I would like to hear it prior to running with the notion that Reisig appears to be doing this or is in fact doing that. What one person claims to have heard through the county grapevine isn’t much to rely on. Do you know how reliable the source is?

    With regard to what those shedding light on issues or deriving conclusions that don’t paint the DA’s office in the best light, I haven’t accused them of making anything up. Some have asserted that these “sensational” stories garner more hits on David’s site and thus provide an ulterior motive for his extensive and usually critical coverage of the DA’s office. If the DA stories= increased readerships and increased readership= more $/recognition, then a nexus exists re stories critical of the DA’s office and some worthwhile gain. To be clear, this is not my opinion, but you can see how one might find motive there, right?

  13. Adam Smith

    All,

    Why in the world would any of you spend time worrying about hearsay from Jake Dorsey that is derogatory to Reisig. He, like David, has an ax to grind, and therefore, their commentary about the DA is has to be taken as speculative and unreliable until we see Reisig actually retaliate. At this point, there is no proof that anything untoward or improper is happening.

  14. Roger Rabbit

    [quote]Do you know how reliable the source is? [/quote]

    I do not know what his source is. I have not seen Dorsey run any negative or axe to grind reports on Reisig in the past. I would think the Editor verified the story before allowing it to run in his paper (although he never verifies Reisig’s releases). The fact that Dorsey did not write such a piece until he was leaving implies he believed it or why would he waste his time. If it was not true, most would think Reisig would have come out immediately and denied it, since he has not the inference is it is true.

    I to would like to here the source, but many have seen what happens to people that cross DA Reisig, so finding someone who is willing to come out will not be easy. That is the point of Mr. Reisig’s bully behavior to instill fear in those that would dare oppose him, it works. So people are fearful to come forward and then people can say prove it and the cycle continues.

    Dorsey had and has nothing to gain by saying this, the editor would surely confirm some facts before running the story and since Reisig did not deny it, that is enough for most reasonable people to reach a conclusion.

    Where are all these people that say prove it when Reisig does his press releases? No one ask him to confirm his facts, no one dares questions the Almighty? people just sit around and take it as truth. Not what I would call an informed and educated republic.

  15. Plankton

    Hey Dave, I’ve heard that the DA’s office has threatened a number of other people with prosecution for exercising their First Amendement rights when they’ve been critical of “the office”. AFAIK, they’ve never done anything except leak the rumor. The MO’s been the same across the board. IMO, It’s completely consistent with being a bully. On the other hand, maybe Resig thinks it’s against the law to criticize him, or a DA’s office.

  16. kathryndruliner

    Superfluous Man: Think Edward R. Murrow. First Amendment encouages debate and debate encourages finding the truth. As long as Reisig stays quiet and intimidates those around him from speaking, that defeats those principles. Even if the source is merely a rumor it should be discussed. Isn’t that how Watergate and the other major political scandals that turned out to be true started?

    I am sure if I had time to scan the penal code I could find something to charge Reisig with (had I the power) for threatening a news source with interference with economic advantage or liberty for publishing a negative “rumor”.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    Rich: We’re still looking into some things. The one point that we made that appears to be untrue is the distortion on the numbers for people on probation, which we reported were inflated threefold. It appears that for whatever reason, Yolo County is one of only six counties to report felony and misdemeanor probation as one statistic, and therefore their reported number is accurate. However, then they compare the combined number and claim that we have more numbers of probation per thousand than other counties, and that’s misleading at best. Still working on it and there will be a future report that clarifies some issues.

  18. bachha

    wasn’t there a post here from kathryndruliner yesterday addressing to Elaine? I was really interested in hearing Elaine’s response to that. Maybe I am mistaken.

  19. E Roberts Musser

    bachha: “wasn’t there a post here from kathryndruliner yesterday addressing to Elaine? I was really interested in hearing Elaine’s response to that. Maybe I am mistaken.”

    If there was, I didn’t see it.

  20. Superfluous Man

    Rabbit,

    RR “I do not know what his source is. I have not seen Dorsey run any negative or axe to grind reports on Reisig in the past. I would think the Editor verified the story before allowing it to run in his paper (although he never verifies Reisig’s releases).”

    As you noted, they infamously do not always verify sources and check facts. Regardless, Dorsey did not state unequivocally that Reisig or anyone at his office is seriously considering taking some action against David.

    RR “The fact that Dorsey did not write such a piece until he was leaving implies he believed it or why would he waste his time.”

    That he believed what part, the rumors that the DA’s office was considering taking some unspecified action against David? I think, if anything, Dorsey’s mentioning the rumors and offering up his advice to Reisig was to be taken as “If the rumors are true, Mr. Reisig, be the bigger man and focus on your job…not the Vanguard.” In other words, Dorsey wasn’t certain as to the validity of the rumor, gossip or whatever you want to call it.

    RR “If it was not true, most would think Reisig would have come out immediately and denied it, since he has not the inference is it is true.”

    No, not necessarily. You’re assuming that only one possible reason can explain Reisig’s decision to remain silent and not refute David’s piece on this issue (b/c Reisig’s in the wrong) when in fact there are others. For example, isn’t it possible Reisig heeded Dorsey’s advice and just let this roll off his back?

    RR “Dorsey had and has nothing to gain by saying this, the editor would surely confirm some facts before running the story and since Reisig did not deny it, that is enough for most reasonable people to reach a conclusion.”

    Again, as you previously acknowledged, they don’t always verify facts prior to running a story. Whether or not Dorsey has something to gain is irrelevant, what’s relevant is this: Dorsey never confirmed that Reisig was taking action (or planning to) against David…he said he heard a rumor of sorts and Dorsey addressed the hypothetical situation in which Reisig was going to/did take some action against David.

    It may be enough “proof” for you and others, but not for me. It’s just hearsay.

    RR “Where are all these people that say prove it when Reisig does his press releases? No one ask him to confirm his facts, no one dares questions the Almighty?”

    I’m not sure if this comment is directed at me, but I often question the press releases and actions taken by the DA’s office, as well as other governement entities.

  21. Superfluous Man

    Kathryn,

    “As long as Reisig stays quiet and intimidates those around him from speaking, that defeats those principles.”

    Perhaps you and I disagree with his decision to remain silent, but that’s his right. Who is he intimidating, David?

    “Even if the source is merely a rumor it should be discussed.”

    I agree, discussing it is fine by me. The thing is, some are going on as if Reisig was in fact discussing or contemplating taking some legal action or some other action against David, when that has not been verified in the slightest. Dorsey didn’t even specify as to which department or what level in the County this rumor originated, circulated, etc.

    “I am sure if I had time to scan the penal code I could find something to charge Reisig with (had I the power) for threatening a news source with interference with economic advantage or liberty for publishing a negative ‘rumor’.

    Based on Dorsey’s passing comment in his editorial?

  22. Don Shor

    wasn’t there a post here from kathryndruliner yesterday addressing to Elaine? I was really interested in hearing Elaine’s response to that. Maybe I am mistaken.”
    There was. I removed it because I considered it a personal attack by one blog participant on another.

  23. Don Shor

    Hi bachha,
    I saved the text of the post. I don’t have any problem with the general question, but the way it was asked could be construed as a personal attack. So maybe we can compromise:
    To summarize, kathryndruliner asked ERM what her professional background is and what agenda, if any, she has here. ERM is welcome to describe her professional credentials and reasons for posting on the Vanguard if she chooses.
    Thanks for your comment,
    Don

  24. JakeDorsey

    Hey all. Sorry I didn’t get to read (and reply to) all the comments on my column’s Topix thread before it was killed out. I’ll try to reply to things here.

    To clear up the part about the “rumor”: I admit, the information was third-hand. Then-reporter James Noonan said he was told by someone in county government that Reisig and the county were discussing retaliatory options against Greenwald. I have no evidence that’s actually taken place, but James knows his stuff (he’s graduated on to the Napa Valley Register as their county reporter), so I trusted it.

    However, as also pointed out, I qualified my statements so readers would know I was unsure of the validity. On that score, Superfluous Man’s points are solid.

    My column boiled down to a warning: “Hey man, just let it slide. You can take it.”

    To the point about me possibly having an axe to grind versus Reisig: Nah. Now, an axe to grind against what I saw as an old boy’s club in Yolo County? Yes, but I was barely a 1-inch folding knife, not an axe. Reisig is someone I see as part of that club, but as Greenwald points out, he’s necessarily hamstrung within the criminal justice system.

    To the point about Reisig’s “ruthlessness:”

    This might be more semantics than anything else, coming not only from an editor, but from someone who’s a “people kill people” kinda guy.

    I would, as a county citizen, want an elected DA to be willing to use whatever legal means necessary to prosecute a suspected criminal. I would want him or her to be a bit of a cold, calculating soul. The people being prosecuted could be just as cold and cunning (the lawyers definitely are).

    I would also want him to know when he’s in the wrong, and I’d want him to be as sure of a person’s guilt as possible before going full-tilt. I would also want the DA to be careful of being such a victim’s advocate, too — he represents a county population’s interests, not those of a single victim. (Perhaps that’s just the skeptical journalist in me, seeing more than one perspective on a story.)

    As to the idea Jim checks those facts:

    Man, I wish. Jim read over every column I wrote before it was put in the paper, but checking facts is something that there’s rarely time for at The Democrat. Reporters, as best they can, check their own facts. I helped when I could. Essentially, if there was something I or a reporter was unsure about, it was left out.

    Last, to my criticizing Greenwald:

    That’s me being a “traditional” journalist. Greenwald’s not someone who purports to be even-handed about a story; he’s a man with passions, agendas and dang it, he wants results. That’s not a bad thing at all; this nation was founded in the context of a partisan press and I like the existence of such information/news outlets. Especially ones such as the Vanguard here, which try to make convincing, fact-based cases for the points they’re trying to make.

    Again, though, it’s partisan. Greenwald’s picked a side and could pick his facts (though I have no evidence he did that in his big DA grant story). Readers should keep in mind that perspective.

    Thanks again to everyone here for commenting; I’m glad my last one got some eyes on it. Hopefully, Reisig’s were among them. If you’ve got any other questions, please let me know.

    I can be reached at dorsey.jake@gmail.com.

  25. E Roberts Musser

    Don Shor: “Hi bachha,
    I saved the text of the post. I don’t have any problem with the general question, but the way it was asked could be construed as a personal attack. So maybe we can compromise:
    To summarize, kathryndruliner asked ERM what her professional background is and what agenda, if any, she has here. ERM is welcome to describe her professional credentials and reasons for posting on the Vanguard if she chooses. Thanks for your comment, Don”

    Thanks Don, for clearing up the mystery. For Kathyrn Druliner’s edification, I am an attorney – Bar #164299. My area of practice is elder law (especially financial elder abuse/consumer law); family law; homeowner’s association law. I have practiced a tiny bit of criminal law. I am a volunteer attorney and only lawyer member of the Yolo County Multidisciplinary Team; Vice-Chair of the Yolo County Commission on Aging; Chair of the Yolo County Triad Task Force; Chair of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission; Bd member of the Center for CA Homeowners Association Law. I am also a part-time columnist for this blog. I have also been a volunteer attorney for Senior Legal Hotline and the Yolo County Legal Clinic. My JD is from McGeorge School of Law. I also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Math and a Master’s Degree in Applied Math. I have been an 8th grade math teacher, junior college math instructor, a computer software consultant, and a systems analyst, before becoming an attorney.

    I have no agenda or at least try not to, and frankly that is why I totally irritate many people! I often play devil’s advocate on this blog, to challenge the assumptions and biases of many of the arguments. Too often they are not based on logic, but rather on someone’s hidden agenda/political bias. I try and base my opinions on 1) logic; 2) facts; 3) ethics. More often than not, there is “my side”, “your side”, and “the truth” is somewhere in the middle.

    Some have accused me of being a “Polyanna”, a “prude”, “stupid”, “uncivil” or some other names we won’t mention! Personal attacks, to me, just proves the person doing the attacking has been “hit where it hurts” bc s/he cannot come up with a cogent argument in their own defense.

    Miss Druliner, does that answer your question satisfactorily, or do you need more information? What “agenda” do you think I have?

  26. E Roberts Musser

    jake dorsey: “However, as also pointed out, I qualified my statements so readers would know I was unsure of the validity. On that score, Superfluous Man’s points are solid.”

    Yes, Superfluous Man’s comments were not “superflouus”, but right on the money!

  27. E Roberts Musser

    JakeDorsey: “Again, though, it’s partisan. Greenwald’s picked a side and could pick his facts (though I have no evidence he did that in his big DA grant story). Readers should keep in mind that perspective.”

    Excellent point and one that I strongly agree with!

  28. E Roberts Musser

    kathryndruliner: “It appears that the DA’s office does not understand the most important principal upon which our government was founded: The First Amendment — especially protected is freedom of the press and even higher is that related to Political Speech.”

    First of all, Jake Dorsey admits his retaliation article was THIRD HAND HEARSAY. Second, there is nothing in the law that requires someone to speak if they don’t want to. Thirdly, sometimes “silence is golden” or at least the smarter political strategy. And since the DA’s position is a political one – he is VOTED INTO OFFICE – there are political considerations he has to think of. If you don’t like the way Reisig is doing his job, why don’t you challenge him in the next election?

  29. kathryndruliner

    I apologize if I sounded hurtful in my prior remarks re E Musser. Sometimes in my rush and impatience I do not edit as I wish I had. Having said that: as to Ms. Musser’s credentials’s, while noteworthy, I submit do not qualify her to be the legal expert she purports to be on this blog. Being a math educator and scholar of whatever level have nothing to do with the law. Neither does having been a systems analyst. In fact, before I went to law school I was asst. vice president of CalFarm Ins. Co. in charge of 100 people and that made me nothing of an expert in the law; although I sure knew how to run a model office when we installed a completely new insurance system. She cited numerous boards and committees; well I also have them. I have served as judge many times for high school, college and law school students in state and federal court moot court competitions, some national. For these, you have to be invited. She has has done a “tiny” amount of misdemeanor trials. I have done between 100 and 200 jury trials, depositions in complex multi milliondollar civil litigation, federal criminal defense trial (known for a while, maybe still, as the only one that ever won) as told to me by the u.s. marshalls) in federal court. And if you want to compare McGeorge stats, look in the library under Who’s Who in Outstanding Graudates in Colleges and Universities 1990 edition under the name Kathryn Kohlman and you will find my credentials. I do not like to see people mislead the public be they Rush Limbaugh or well meaning but over valued (due to a law degree) and under qualified as to the facts. People should refer to jury instructions, on line under CalCrim, rather than Wikepdia or a 1954 Movie you saw. Do you not think reisig laughs when he reads this stuff?

  30. kathryndruliner

    superflous man: David’s best protection is the publication attributed to Reisig whether true or a falsehood based on rumor. If he were to die in a wierd auto accident tonight I would be the first one to take the case for no fee.

  31. JakeDorsey

    [quote name="E Roberts Musser""]First of all, Jake Dorsey admits his retaliation article was THIRD HAND HEARSAY.[/quote]

    Whoa, whoa. No retaliation here. I was poking fun at Reisig with my opening statement, but I wasn’t retaliating.

  32. E Roberts Musser

    To kathyrndruliner: You made my credentials an issue, not me. You asked, I answered, and I thought I was pretty polite about it.

    What, because I am an attorney I am not allowed to have an opinion contrary to yours? Only freedom of speech for the select few? How exactly does that work? What are the rules for that sort of freedom of speech?

    And exactly what did I say that you find is so-o-o-o INCORRECT?
    *Reisig has no obligation to speak to the press?
    *That Reisig doesn’t have to speak if he doesn’t wish to?
    *It might be wiser for him to keep his mouth shut?
    *That his job is political, so he has to be careful what he says?
    *Jake Dorsey’s article was third hand hearsay?
    Please enlighten me as to which one of these statements is incorrect…

    How have I misled the public? Enlighten me…

    What facts have I gotten wrong? Enlighten me…

    Where on this blog do I purport to be a “legal expert” as you put it? Enlighten me…

    Also, you never answered my question as to what you thought my agenda was. Please enlighten me as to what you think I am thinking…

  33. E Roberts Musser

    Jake Dorsey: “Whoa, whoa. No retaliation here. I was poking fun at Reisig with my opening statement, but I wasn’t retaliating.”

    “retaliation article” was only an identifying label. I did not mean to imply YOUR WERE RETALIATING AGAINST REISIG. I should have been more careful in my wording by saying “the article in which Mr. Dorsay alluded to the possibility of retaliation by Reisig’s office” or something of the sort. You can see why I tried in shorthand to get it down to two words, but in the process may have given the wrong impression of what was meant. Thanks for the correction – and my apologies for not being more explicit as to what I meant.

  34. E Roberts Musser

    kathryndruliner: “And if you want to compare McGeorge stats, look in the library under Who’s Who in Outstanding Graudates in Colleges and Universities 1990 edition under the name Kathryn Kohlman and you will find my credentials.”

    Just for context, I was raising a newborn, a five year old and an eight year old as a single mother with no assistance and knowing no one here in CA, returning constantly via airplane to court in VA for 3 1/2 years to complete an extremely messy divorce, all while going to law school. The night before I took the LSAT, I had just been served a summons to court in my divorce case, in which my ex husband’s lawyer tried to pull a fast one. I also had extreme health issues while going through my divorce and while I was to law school. I don’t know what your life experiences were going through law school, but mine were extremely rough. Life happens. We all don’t necessarily have the same advantages.

    IMHO, what law school someone went to doesn’t necessarily make them “smarter” than the average bear… Ever heard of “street smarts”?

  35. Superfluous Man

    Jake Dorsey,

    “I have no evidence that’s actually taken place, but James knows his stuff (he’s graduated on to the Napa Valley Register as their county reporter), so I trusted it.”

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I’m not doubting Noonan heard that, but rather the source from which the rumor (sorry, don’t know how else to refer to it at this point) originated. We’ve all played the telephone game and are aware of how pieces of a comment/story can be lost or distorted and non-factual tidbits added when passed from person to person.

    If Noonan told you that he spoke to someone at Yolo County Counsel and that person claimed someone at the DA’s office contacted County Counsel with regard to taking action against David…then the rumor would gain more validity, IMO. At this point, we neither know the source (such as what department or level of superiority) nor how far removed the source is from the alleged “retaliation” comment’s origin.

    One more thing, Jake, why did you leave? Leaves some to wonder if there’s a correlation between your departure from the Democrat and the feathers that you may have ruffled within the “Good Old Boy’s Club”…if I can play conspiracy theorist for a moment

  36. E Roberts Musser

    I’m sorry, but a thought just popped into my head. The back and forth between kathryndruliner and myself is beginning to sound like the discussion in Congress between Robt Byrd and Paul O’Neil about who grew up poorer. LOL! Oh, if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at!

  37. Superfluous Man

    Kathryn,

    “David’s best protection is the publication attributed to Reisig whether true or a falsehood based on rumor. If he were to die in a wierd auto accident tonight I would be the first one to take the case for no fee.”

    I’m not sure if I follow you here, aside from taking the hypothetical case. What does that have to do with my question re: Reisig’s silence, purported intimidation and the possibility of criminal charges being brought against the DA?

  38. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “Where on this blog do I purport to be a “legal expert” as you put it? Enlighten me…”

    Perhaps she feels you come off as being the foremost authority on matters relating to criminal law on this blog, which may explain why she inquired as to what your practice area is. I cannot recall an instance when you’ve claimed to be an expert in any one area.

    ERM,

    “IMHO, what law school someone went to doesn’t necessarily make them “smarter” than the average bear… Ever heard of ‘street smarts’?”

    I agree with your statement. However, I believe she went to McGeorge as well and was using that as a basis for comparing merits, accomplishments, etc, seeing as you two have JD’s from the exact same school…my guess anyway.

  39. kathryndruliner

    ERM: Taking your q in order: 1) opinion not allowed (freedom of speech) sure; but debate also allowed, that is this 2) what is so incorrect? since Artz verdict 8/27 as I have followed this blog — too many to mention but few: Reisig has no obligation to speak to press. He is elected public official charged with corruption (i.e. “where is shooter” solis case, Brady violation: Artz and Solis, increasing bail on false allegation, dui claiming 2nd victim dead, etc., no obligation but why hide if he has explanation? 3) 3d hand hearsay: this is court objection, Reisig is not in Switzerland beyond the reach of subpeona subject to imprisonment by untested rumor– that is reason for hearsay rule 4) how have you mislead: example but not only one I have seen is in Solis comments – definition as legal expert re aider abetter, accomlice and felony murder being same with source being Wikpedia and a 54 movie. Bad sources when CalCrim is best source for public and they are different laws. Ex: accomplice requires corroboration and felony murder is completely different 5) Your agenda: Now it is more clear – you are member of multi disciplicary board of Yolo County. If anything like Sacto county that is made up 95% of law enforcement including DAs then you must be DA and cop oriented or you’ll be replaced.

  40. kathryndruliner

    ERM: cont’d 6) Law school was also burden for me as I had 5 month old daughter and no college degree, paid my own way thru last 2 years of catholic high school and first 2 years of university before I ran out of energy working full time and school full time. Accepted as special admit at mcgeorge. LSAT: I was 5 mos. pregnant, took no review course (was in Ins. Bus. and didn’t know 3 hour test nor that there were review courses) but scored in 97th percentile. Not claiming brilliance, just born to be lawyer I guess. I could never be a math teacher.

  41. kathryndruliner

    Superfluos Man: Admit it was non-responsive comment. I was just saying that mere rumor protects one who publishes something about a public figure from retaliatory action.

  42. E Roberts Musser

    To kathryndruliner:
    1) You admit I have right to free speech and can express my opinion on this blog freely.
    2) Reisig has not been officially charged with corruption. DGM has posed some questions, and has even admitted to getting at least one item wrong.
    3)Third hand hearsay may also be a court objection, but it describes accurately Dorsey’s claim of possible retaliation. He heard it third hand from someone who heard it from someone who it heard it from someone, not directly from Reisig. Third hand rumor is hardly reliable.
    4)I never once claimed to be a “legal expert” as you claim (sm: “I cannot recall an instance when …[ERM]… claimed to be an expert in any one area.”), and have every right to use whatever source I choose so long as I state the source. As you point out, this blog is not the courtroom. Many bloggers use Wikipedia, including dgm, as a quick point of reference. Perhaps you need to better understand the give and take in this or any blog, which is quite informal in nature, much like a conversation with a neighbor.
    5)There are currently no members of the DA’s office or law enforcement on Yolo County MDT except one animal control officer. I would suggest you get your facts straight before accusing another lawyer of having an “agenda”, and failing to excercise their own independent judgment as required by our ethical canons.
    6) I paid my own way and was raising THREE kids, and fighting a divorce long distance, with severe health problems. I took no review course for LSAT either. I’m glad you scored in the 97th percentile. I can’t even remember what percentile I scored in, nor do I care. I don’t keep score against other lawyers – I’m not that insecure. I have a bar license the same as you. I do not purport to be an expert in criminal law, and never have. But I am still entitled to express an opinion last time I looked at the U.S. Constitution.

    Now have we finished with this silly line of discussion?

  43. E Roberts Musser

    SM: “Perhaps she feels you come off as being the foremost authority on matters relating to criminal law on this blog, which may explain why she inquired as to what your practice area is. I cannot recall an instance when you’ve claimed to be an expert in any one area.”

    I don’t know why she would think I “come off as being the foremost authority on matters relating to criminal law on this blog”. As you pointed out: “I cannot recall an instance when …[ERM has]… claimed to be an expert in any one area.” Very rarely do I even say I am an attorney (I usually use logic in my arguments rather than resorting to a legal argument – it’s the mathematician in me!) I didn’t say I was an attorney in this entire discussion until Ms. Druliner made it an issue. I thought my original comments about Reisig were pretty benign. I reread them several times to figure out what Ms. Druliner was so angry about. Seems as if she just doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t detest Reisig. Such venom could not have served her well in the courtroom, I wouldn’t think. I’ve been a trial attorney for a brief time, and judges don’t like to be crossed. She might want to try a different strategy…

  44. Roger Rabbit

    Reisig does not have to talk, but David contacts the DA’s Office before issuing any of his articles and ask for comments.

    Would it be asking too much from an elected official to simply deny the rumor? Unless if Reisig denies it then someone proves it true that would be evidence that he is a liar. So by saying nothing he cannot be called a liar or a tyrant for doing something so childish and vindictive. Geez, I wonder why Reisig remains silent? Does his silence serve the people or himself?

    Politicians learn fast, ignore the public and make them get proof on you, since most times if you lie well and don’t have too many witnesses, it will always be just your word against their word, which equals no proof so you will have nothing to worry about and you can lie all day and not one will ever be able to prove it.

    Reisig’s Playbook:
    – Never respond to questions or give interviews
    – Have other people do your press releases and give vague quotes that sounds good but cannot be proven a lie
    – If someone messes with you, start a criminal investigation so you put their credibility in question
    – Call people that question you conspiracy nuts and accuse them of being ex-employees
    – Have others do your dirty work to keep your hands clean and then pay those people back with promotions, endorsements or refuse to file charges on them

    Very successful practices and very hard to prove otherwise.

  45. Superfluous Man

    Rabbit,

    “Reisig does not have to talk, but David contacts the DA’s Office before issuing any of his articles and ask for comments.”

    Okay, what’s your point?

    “Would it be asking too much from an elected official to simply deny the rumor? Unless if Reisig denies it then someone proves it true that would be evidence that he is a liar. So by saying nothing he cannot be called a liar or a tyrant for doing something so childish and vindictive”

    In my opinion, no. It would be great if we lived in a world (or county) in which all elected officials were held accountable and forced to address credible allegations of all types. He wouldn’t have to “deny” it per se, there are ways of addressing David’s piece without denying or admitting anything. Watch the news, politicians are adept at this, perhaps Reisig is not? It could be that County Counsel has advised him, acting as his (DA office’s) counsel, not to publicly address David’s findings while they sort this out.

    A politician’s number one priority is to get reelected, nuff said. Even if David’s findings prove to be wildly miscalculated and inaccurate, what good does it do Reisig to respond, politically? The answer is no good whatsoever. I think Reisig believes that the County, by and large doesn’t read the Vanguard or doesn’t consider its reporting all that well rounded or without bias. Thus, there is no point for him to address David’s article, when only a “vocal minority” is even making an issue out of it.

  46. kathryndruliner

    SM:
    When I was applying to McGeorge in 1986 all I knew was that Lincoln was cheaper but non ABA accredited, thus you could only practice in California. I found out that McGeorge had a limited number of positions for people with College credits equal to an AA degree and unique and significant work experience. At the end of the first year such special admits had to take what is called a “baby bar” (one day bar exam, rather than 3 days) to make sure money is not being wasted. The experience was awesome for me. All I really knew about law school was that I had always wanted to be an attorney. I am not obnoxious unless I encounter ignorance and corrupt power. I analyze rather than argue the law. Most court staff and judges and juries love me. Nuff said. No response needed to ERM. I do not blog. No time. Only here because of what I saw and could not believe happened just over the river from where I live.

  47. Superfluous Man

    Kathryn,

    “When I was applying to McGeorge in 1986 all I knew was that Lincoln was cheaper but non ABA accredited, thus you could only practice in California. I found out that McGeorge had a limited number of positions for people with College credits equal to an AA degree and unique and significant work experience.”

    Really, I guess the ABA has since abandon that as an option.

    “At the end of the first year such special admits had to take what is called a ‘baby bar’ (one day bar exam, rather than 3 days) to make sure money is not being wasted.”

    That’s a less cynical assessment of certain admissions policies, which require students to take the ‘baby bar,’ if they don’t meet certain academic standards (ie-hold a bachelor’s degree). One way of looking at it is that they snatch up your money and once you matriculate you will eventually either: (1) realize you can’t hack it and drop out; (2) just fail out; (3) can’t pass the “baby bar” and thus cannot proceed any further with your legal education, under the existing conditions; or (4) make it (I think the attrition rates are pretty high for these folks, though). It’s no loss for law schools who accept seemingly anyone who applies, given they get your money and if you don’t cut it, oh well.

    I don’t see that as a policy that has the JD candidates’ best interests in mind, entirely. However, I guess it’s better to know you can’t hack it one or two years in as opposed to three to four or post-law school when you’ve failed the bar 5 times and hating life.

    Anyway, I don’t believe the “baby bar” requirement is the law school’s decision, but one mandated by the State Bar of CA.

  48. kathryndruliner

    I agree that it is the state’s requirement. However I will never disparage McGeorge or any system that takes all comers, lets their performance speak for itself, and then rewards that effort.

  49. kathryndruliner

    Furthermore, as to the nefarious financial motive, McGeorge gave me a free ride (performance based), sure they wanted to keep their stats up for years 2 and 3. So they were not after MY money.

  50. JakeDorsey

    Sorry I’m slow on the replies: This account’s linked to my old work e-mail, which no longer exists!

    ERM: No sweat! Just making sure I’m understood. Shorthand really does get folks into trouble (boy do I know that).

    Superfluous Man: If I remember correctly, James did hear it from somewhere inside County Counsel, but I’m reaching for memories. No worries about calling it a rumor.

    As for the move:

    My wife, who worked as a sports copy editor at The Sacramento Bee, was hired as a sports copy editor/page designer at the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., in late August. Though she’s a California native, our families (and friends) are in Washington state, so we have been trying for several years to return. We just got lucky with the timing.

    Initially, I was not going to apply for another open position at the Herald, but in the end I did, and they hired me as a news copy editor/page designer in mid-September.

    To be honest, I was tempted to call Reisig’s office the day after I was done at The Democrat and say something along the lines of, “Yeah, retaliate! Do it, man! Spill some major ink! Know where I am? I’M OUTSIDE YOUR JURISDICTION! I’M IN GOD’S COUNTRY NOW, MAN! WOOOOO! FREEEEEDOOOOOOOM!” Alas, I chickened out, and yes, I am happy to be back home.

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