District Attorney Overcharges Man in Yolo County Who Commits Suicide Awaiting Trial

Eric Pape holding his baby niece. Courtesy photo.

On Friday night, Eric Pape, 26, a UC Davis student and resident of West Sacramento, committed suicide after facing felony battery charges for over a year.  His family told the Vanguard that the weight of the pending trial became too much for him and pushed a fragile man to end his life.

They believe the charges were inappropriate from the start.  On January 13, 2017, Mr. Pape, who had suffered from anxiety and depression, attempted to end his own life.  He was taken to Sutter Davis and placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold (per Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150) where he was denied his anxiety medication for over 24 hours.

Whether it was due to heavy drinking or symptoms of withdrawal from being denied his anxiety medication, Mr. Pape began to have a panic attack which hospital staff interpreted as acting aggressively toward ER staff at the hospital.

There are a number of accounts of what took place, but according to the statement given by the nurse to police, Mr. Pape began acting aggressively toward staff – cussing and refusing to follow demands.  He began to hyperventilate and started pacing back and forth.

The nurse described Mr. Pape as grabbing him by his arm.  The nurse, a 28-year-old male, grabbed Mr. Pape and attempted to restrain him against the wall.  He said that, during the altercation, Mr. Pape struck him in his right arm, causing his right shoulder blade to dislocate.

Other hospital staff at this point came to his aid and they placed Mr. Pape in restraints for several hours.

Mr. Pape, who had been taken into the hospital over a holiday weekend, was eventually discharged on the Monday, a holiday.  He began to see a therapist and, according to his family, had started to improve.  For a while it seemed like there was hope.  However, that changed when he ended up arrested in April.

Mr. Pape, the youngest of five, came from a modest background and did not go to college immediately following high school.  He ended up working and he managed to save up enough money to put himself through De Anza Community College and eventually UC Davis as a psychology major.  These events all began toward the end of his junior year at UC Davis.

By all accounts, the time between being charged, going through a preliminary hearing and the constant postponement of his trial took a toll on him.

His mother, Patty Pape, told the Vanguard she believes that all the delays in his trial was “part of the pressure” that mounted on Eric Pape.

“His life was on hold until this was resolved,” she said.  She believed it could have been resolved quickly had the DA simply not pursued criminal charges in this matter, which she didn’t believe were appropriate in a case like this.

There were a number of reasons for the delays in his hearing.  The nurse who had been injured in the conflict had moved to Alabama and was uncooperative with defense efforts to have an investigator talk to him and also defense efforts to obtain the nurse’s medical records.

Mr. Pape was facing a felony battery charge, but also facing paying for six months of lost wages (even though some contend the nurse didn’t stop working for that long) and medical bills.

The nurse had described his injuries as a torn labrum and a fracture to the humeral head.  He said “his shoulder lacks mobility and continues to have pain when he attempts to move his shoulder in certain ways.”  He told police investigators that “the injury has caused a ‘terrible impact’ to his family.’”

For their part, the defense questioned the severity of the injury and whether a punch to the arm by someone pushed against the wall could have dislocated the shoulder of a 28-year-old man.  They had the opinion of an orthopedist that this level of force could not have caused that injury and the defense suspected he had prior injuries and possibly a surgery to the shoulder that contributed to the severity of the injury.  Medical records, belatedly received, seem to back that up.

Family members describe the fact that the felony hanging over Mr. Pape’s head had a huge impact on his life.  It was described as troubling, and the trauma mounted each time they ended up postponing the hearings – even as he understood that he needed his defense team to get all of the information in order to fight the charge.

Patty Pape told the Vanguard that she believes “the employee mishandled the situation,” in her opinion.  “The DA wouldn’t back down on the charges.”

She said, “These aren’t just numbers, they’re people that have needs and rights.  My son is not a criminal, he had severe depression.  He needed help, not felony charges that ultimately led to him committing suicide.”

The district attorney’s office filed charges against Mr. Pape in April 2017.  Mr. Pape not only was suffering from severe depression leading to his initial suicide attempt, but he had no prior criminal record.

The case was initially handled by Deputy DA Jay Linden, however, when Mr. Linden was occupied in a murder trial recently, Supervising Deputy DA Ryan Couzens took over during the settlement conference.  Mr. Couzens told the defense that the only plea deal they would offer was essentially the existing felony charge.  Neither Mr. Couzens nor Mr. Linden ever offered anything other than a felony in an agreement.

Ms. Pape said, “The plea deal that was offered was so punitive, it was excessive.”

The defense believed that, given his lack of prior criminal history and the circumstances under which the battery took place, this should have been handled as a misdemeanor case.

During the preliminary hearing, Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher asked the court to consider not holding Mr. Pape to answer, based on “the medical records which indicate that there was another cause, that it wasn’t Mr. Pape’s force, that it was, in fact, Mr. Fuller’s force that caused the injury to his shoulder.”

In a Penal Code section 17(b) motion, they argued to Judge Dan Maguire in the preliminary hearing to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, but he turned down the request at that time, not having sufficient information about the 5150.

Judge Maguire stated: “The real question for the Court… is what’s going on with Mr. Pape and why in here?  Is there a 5150?  If so, what’s it all about?…  I don’t have any of that information, so I can’t reduce to a misdemeanor without knowing the story respecting Mr. Pape.”

Defense and family members question why the DA didn’t do a proper investigation into his background and the injuries in this case before filing felony charges on Mr. Pape and making him go trial.  One theory as to why this continued to be pursued is that the victim in this case wanted a felony.  It even mentions this in the police report that the victim wanted to pursue criminal charges from the start and wanted to be compensated for his injuries.

Even though it seems unlikely that the charge, even if upheld, would result in jail time, a felony conviction by itself would have been problematic for Mr. Pape.  He wanted to go to graduate school.  His mother said he wanted to work with children and possibly be a teacher.  A felony would stay on his record and impact his career opportunities and ability to get assistance and even housing.

His mother said, “He was not in his right mind to have assaulted anyone during his time at Sutter Hospital.”  He was said to feel very badly that he had hurt someone.

His mother and others described him as someone looking to reform the system and someone looking “for a way to advocate for the underserved.  His whole premise of going into psychology was to work with people who were in prisons and lower the recidivism rate.  To try to be that one little voice that would say that we need programs to help people who are incarcerated to leave and feel like they can be a part of the community.

“But because of what happened, he felt no other way out,” Ms. Pape said.  “He felt backed into a corner.”

With this hanging over his head, he started to wonder if all his work was worth it.  His mother described him as someone who wanted to work with kids and help people.  Now he was faced with a real possibility that he wouldn’t be able to work with kids at all or possibly even attend graduate school.

“He didn’t need to be treated like a number,” she said.

Patty Pape told the Vanguard, “He felt the pending trial was too much.  He felt worthless.  It was too much for him to bear.  He was very depressed.”

When he was initially released from the hospital, he worked hard to turn things around.  He started seeing a therapist and working hard in school.  However, during the  long and drawn out process, he began to decline.  He started drinking again.

“A lot of it had to do with that’s how he was coping with the stress of the trial,” she said.

His mother called this excessive.  “It was unnecessary to take him to trial.  This was a DA not looking at the person but looking at the crime.  His mental health was already fragile.”

She said, “I’m not the only mother whose son has committed suicide because the DA felt every single person needs to be treated as an example to the public.”

—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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  1. Tia Will

    I believe there are two distinct but overlapping issues here. Our society has chosen to spend less on mental health care relative to the amount that we spend on incarceration. We chose to do away with an inpatient system of health care in favor of an out patient care system which then never materialized on the scale needed. We use our jail and prison system to house those whose mental health problems drive them to commit acts the rest of us deem unacceptable. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes not. None of this is the fault of the current DA.

    However, as Jeff Reisig himself said, he can use his discretion. What he chooses to do in terms of charging is up to him. I believe that he has repeatedly shown extremely poor judgement. Sometimes on the side of over charging. Sometimes on the side of under charging allowing truly dangerous individuals to remain free.

    I believe that we have a better alternative for the first time since 2006 in Dean Johansson.

    1. Howard P

      I’d point out that had he been in custody at the time (last Friday), he might well be alive… yet being in custody, awaiting trial, flies in the face of some arguments often made by some who bemoan his passing, and are looking to blame others… be it specific individuals (see title of article), justice ‘system’ inc. law enforcement, society, insurance companies, etc. … yet, him being ‘free’ was as proximate a cause of his passing, as the charges, in my opinion.

      His passing is indeed, a tragedy… my thoughts go to his family and friends… also thinking of one of John Donne’s ‘meditations’, which begins, “no man is an island…” and ends with ‘ask not for whom the bell tolls…’

      I say this, as being close to a ‘source’ who was his friend, and knows more details than said here… my source is ‘bummed’…

      1. Tia Will


        You are making the assumption that he would more likely have not committed suicide had he been in custody. This is not necessarily true. People incarcerated can and do complete suicide. #1 way of completion in custody is by hanging. This is an area of knowledge for me since my partner’s job is suicide prevention for those who are incarcerated.

        1. Howard P

          Disagree… I have real knowledge from a source on this particular matter… you are not, as far as I can tell… a young man is dead… and you spout theory/other situations?  Your right, of course, to do so…

  2. Ken A

    If this was “overcharging” I’m wondering what David thinks the charge should be when you hit someone so hard that you dislocate their shoulder and they can’t work?

    I feel for this guy and feel for the family, but we can’t let violent people just walk away from the problems they cause and say “he has mental illness” ot “he was drunk”…

    P.S. My Dad was telling some people the story about the time he dislocated his shoulder and a woman heard him and said that the pain of dislocating “her” shoulder was right up there with childbirth…

    1. David Greenwald

      It’s questionable that his punch inflicted the injury. There is, as reported, evidence of pre-existing injury. The guy needed mental health treatment – not punishment or the threat of punishment. He had no criminal record. No history of violence towards others. This appeared to be a one-time incident and out of character.

      But Tia makes a good point as well – you have a guy on a 5150 hold. Apparently he hadn’t even seen the counselor or social worker yet. They have a nurse rather than trained personnel confronting an agitated individual and trying to restrain him. That seems like a recipe for problems as well – caused by the poor quality of the mental health system.

    2. Patti Pape

      Please reread David’s very accurate accounting of what happened and recognize that my son was never, as you characterize him, violent. Quite the opposite.

      1. Ken A

        As I said in my first post “I feel for this guy and feel for the family” I had a cousin take his life and it in one of the hardest things a family will ever deal with. Based on some posts it sounds like the title should be “DA does not charge a nurse who framed a guy saying he hurt him in the job so he could get workman’s comp.”

        I don’t know anyone that has framed another guy, but in my younger days I knew a few guys who got hurt snowboarding or mountain bike riding on the weekend and made it to work on Monday where they had a “job related injury” that was covered by workman’s comp.

  3. Tia Will


    You have omitted two points. According to the reporting, there was dispute about the cause and effect of the injury and the nurse’s ability to work. Also, no one is saying the violent should be allowed to “just walk away”. The issue is how best to bring this case to a conclusion that meets both the needs of the mentally ill individual and those of the injured party.

    The nurse, understandably wants monetary compensation. The mentally ill individual wants and needs treatment. It is a societal fault that we are failing abysmally to meet the needs of both. Please explain to me how charging a felony will help to meet the needs of either or make our society safer.

    1. David Greenwald

      Tia – something that didn’t make it into the article at one point prior to the suicide attempt in January 2017, he attempted to get into IOP program because of his depression, but his insurance denied him the coverage and he didn’t have the money for it. So he went untreated and ended up attempting suicide in January 2017.

  4. Keith O

    District Attorney Overcharges Man in Yolo County Who Commits Suicide Awaiting Trial

    The Auther of this piece thinks the District Attorney Overcharges Man in Yolo County Who Commits Suicide Awaiting Trial

  5. Tia Will


    The Author of this piece thinks the District Attorney Overcharges Man in Yolo County Who Commits Suicide Awaiting Trial”

    A medical professional with 35 years experience including hundreds of mental health/depression/suicidality assessments and two children who suffered from severe and life threatening mental illnesses and recovered due to adequate insurance covered treatment plans agrees with him.

    Who gets treated, who gets harmed or neglected should not depend on one’s ability to pay out of pocket. It harms the individuals involved. It harms those who may be injured incidentally along the way.

    Once again, I would like to hear an explanation of how charging a felony in a case where mental illness is clearly in play, helps either the patient, the victim or makes our community any safer. When someone can explain this to me, I would certainly consider changing my opinion.

      1. Ken A

        I was surprised when David went with the “District Attorney Overcharges Man in Yolo County Who Commits Suicide Awaiting Trial” headline (and photo of the guy with a baby).  Knowing David (and Tia’s) “implicit bias” would have expected a “Vote for Johannson if you want to save the lives of people overcharged by the current District Attorney” headline (with a photo of the guy holding a puppy)…


        1. Howard P

          Somewhat snotty, and border-line disrespectful of the family, and friends, some of who have posted, less than a week after his (Eric’s) passing… I’d even consider using the T-word to describe that post.

        2. Alan Miller

          Somewhat snotty, and border-line disrespectful

          I find using a recent tragedy such as this for attempted political gain much more so, and I say that withstanding the family cooperating in such and my leaning in the J over R direction.

      2. David TW

        That’s an odd response, Keith O. You “forgot to say” you are solidly in the Reisig camp so your view might be driven your implicit bias!


        1. Howard P

          David… given what the family and friends of Eric are dealing with, less than a week after his passing… why do you ‘go there’?   If it’s about the election, or one-ups-manship, you’re approaching the T-word… at least I can claim to be consistent with admonishing folk on this.

          I suggest the possibility that the author/editor/moderator consider deleting this whole thread… inappropriate for the family and friends dealing with a tragic event.

          It is clearly not about Eric…

          1. David Greenwald

            Howard – I spoke at length to a number of family members yesterday. His mother actually reached out to me and Dean. The overwhelming sense is that they don’t want his death to be an empty one. He believed very much in criminal justice reform and working to fight recidivism. His mother thanked me this morning for the story and told me that this gave her healing and hope. I think it’s important to recognize that people respond to tragedies in different ways.

        2. Howard P

          Your 11:24 post is noted, and I defer to Eric’s family and friends… as to this thread… out of respect… will contact you ‘off-line’…

      3. Tia Will


        “….solidly in the Johannson camp so your views might be driven by your implicit bias.”

        There is nothing at all “implicit” about my bias. My bias is based on my disagreement with both the philosophy of the current DA and specific decisions that he has made that I feel either wasted tax payer money that would have been better spent on dangerous individuals or cases in which I believe Jeff Reisigs judgement ( or discretion as he said) have placed our community at risk.


    1. Howard P

      So, Tia… would you like to clarify? As to ‘type’/magnitude of the “crime”/incident? Just with this particular matter?

      I would like to hear an explanation of how charging a felony in a case where mental illness is clearly in play, helps either the patient, the victim or makes our community any safer. 

      I can think of a number of very well publicized ‘incidents’; where mental illness is/was clearly in play… MH issues = no felony charges?  No matter what?

      Consider clarifying your thought… I would like to hear an explanation…




      1. Tia Will


        I never think in terms of “no matter what”? For me there are always options and alternatives.

        I do not pretend that this is an easy issue with a one size fits all answer. To understand my thinking, one must first understand that my goal is community safety with rehabilitation when possible and confinement in  the safest setting when not possible. It is never punishment or revenge no matter how emotionally satisfying that may be to some. Deterrence is often stated as a goal. I would assert that deterrence is not demonstrated to be achieved for individuals with severe mental illness as they are not stopping to rationally think through the consequences of their actions prior to the commission of a crime.

        With that in mind, I would say is the following should always be taken into consideration:

        1. Was the crime intentional and not related to active mental illness?  If yes, then I think that a felony charge would be reasonable for a serious crime.

        2. Was the crime intentional and related to active mental illness. I think that the proper course is to have the individual hospitalized at the state facility where security is at least as good as within our prison system and the individual has a better chance of being treated for their illness. Unlike what many believe, it is not easy to be released from state hospitalization following a serious crime.


        3. If there is an reasonable option for a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge for a first time offender, where known mental illness is involved, I would err on the side of charging the misdemeanor with a diversion through a mental health program instead of having to be charged with a felony and convicted first.


  6. Patti Pape

    Thank you Tia. That is what I am looking for also. I have contacted the DA’s office and have yet to receive a reply. The justice system is broken and needs to be fixed. In the conversations I’ve had with Dean I believe that he will use his discretion as a leader in the DA’s office to fix the system.  I am stunned by the judge’s comments and failure to act as well.


  7. PhilColeman

    We don’t have any ability to divert the suicide victim to an appropriate mental health treatment facility. At least the “system” does not. Nowhere in this abbreviated story is there mention of what the family did, or did not do, to gain treatment. Kudos to Tia, who in a remarkably candid comment concedes the obvious; Reisig can’t be blamed for society’s failure to properly fund a mental health system. But as the column intends, we’ll blame him anyway.

    Suppose we support the notion this case was overcharged. The probable cause standard for charging a criminal act is fully achieved and Reisig must also be mindful he’s supposed to serve “The People,” and there are several victims here.  So, Reisig charges a misdemeanor battery. Yipee. That’s the answer!

    The irony–had anybody thought this through– is that nothing changes with the plight and agony of this particular defendant. The fellow continues to remains free from custody and needed care, he still is anxiety-ridden over his prolonged pending criminal charges. Time-wise, his potential for self-destruction is increased with a misdemeanor charge. The misdemeanor trial court docket is even more crowded than for felonies. Another irony an injustice, had the defendant been in custody, he’d get a quicker trial and resolution to his anxiety.

    Long court delays. Nobody disputes this is a problem. If you want a court trial, you wait seemingly forever. It’s much worse in other jurisdictions. Reisig does not have any authority or funding capability to add additional court rooms and staff. He’d surely do it if he could, it would make his job (and Johannson’s) a lot easier. But we’ll blame him anyway. And Reisig had no role or responsibility in the irrelevant Workers’ Comp dispute. Shall we blame him for that as well?

    Some feel that electing Mr. Johannson DA will somehow reduce the sad stories as described here. But we’re never specifically told how. If Mr. Johansson has a viable plan to find or divert the necessary hundreds of millions of dollars to create quicker access to courtroom relief and a dynamic mental health care system, let’s hear about it. If Mr. Johannson comes up with credible program for this long festering problem, Reisig will vote for him.


    1. Eric Gelber

      I agree that the DA can’t be blamed for the tragic sequence of events here, notwithstanding his evident poor judgment in overcharging. Even from the facts related here, there are plenty of red flags, and likely blame to spread around, including: inadequate access to voluntary mental health treatment; lack of training and expertise of hospital emergency room staff to treat individuals experiencing acute mental health crises (e.g., withholding of medication, ability to safely apply physical restraint); the hospital’s/employee’s decision to press charges; and the DA’s decision to pursue criminal charges at all under the circumstances.

    2. Tia Will


      he still is anxiety-ridden over his prolonged pending criminal charges. Time-wise, his potential for self-destruction is increased with a misdemeanor charge”

      Respectfully, as I usually find your comments about police and legal matters very insightful, I take exception to this one. Is it really your claim that there could be no increased anxiety regarding a charge that could affect your lifelong educational opportunities and career opportunities ( a felony) and one which would be very unlikely too, namely a felony? Really. I have been at that stage in life and know for certain that I would have been much more stressed facing a felony than a misdemeanor charge. But neither of us was this young man and so should not be claiming that we know what would have played out had he quickly pled to a misdemeanor charge and not had the whole thing hanging over him for a prolonged period.

  8. Bennett Reeber

    This young man was in my class this quarter at UC Davis. He was a bright, quiet, and helpful individual who contributed to class a lot. Who knew he was dealing with such terrible issues imposed on him by A DA with no heart. My heart hurts so much to know he isn’t with us.

    1. Howard P

      My heart hurts so much to know he isn’t with us.

      My ‘source’, a long-time friend of Eric, feels likewise… I feel for your loss as well… all I can offer, however weak it is, is that as long as Eric is in your memory, part of who you are, he is ‘with you’… but not in the manner you’d desire… do not mean to trivialize his passing… just offering a possible way for your ‘healing’… it is a true loss…

    2. Tia Will


      I am so sorry for the family, and all who knew this young man. I only have one word of relative comfort. I was at the Yolo County Health Council meeting this morning. The meeting included a presentation on the current efforts to improve mental health care accessibility in all areas of Yolo County including Woodland, Davis, and West Sacramento. It is a long, tedious, painstaking, and very complicated process with many people from many different agencies involved. There are many individuals representing all aspects of public health and policing taking part is this process. Hopefully we will start to do better in managing the mental health care of the members of our community proactively rather than simply reactively as has often been the case in the past.

    3. Patti Pape

      Bennett, I hope that you will contact me offline and I can provide you with the details of his memorial and burial this weekend. I want you to know that there is no possible way his passing was in vain. We will move mountains because, as JFK said, “There are risks and and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”


  9. Howard P

    A modest proposal… let the incident lie, as to the “topic’, and let’s move on to a discussion (different article) of what we can do on the mental health front, and dealing with prosecution protocols, and leave Eric and his family and friends, out of it… the incident is indicative of serious issues and of what can be/should be done better… but feels like a campaign piece… very inappropriate, in my view.

    Unless, of course, folk need to go through that phase of grief (on-line) known as ‘anger’… my source knew Eric and was a friend… he’d be entitled, as would his other friends, and the family… don’t know why others are feeling the grief for Eric… am strongly considering that many have “other motives”…




    1. Tia Will


      the incident is indicative of serious issues and of what can be/should be done better… but feels like a campaign piece… very inappropriate, in my view.”

      I could not disagree more. I believe it is the duty of the members of a community to look at issues as they arise and see what could have been done better. In an election season, it is our duty to not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that issues are not there, but rather to thoroughly assess all positions including those of the candidates to determine what changes if any should be made, or if we are already on the optimal path and to vote according to our individual conclusions.  We cannot do that if we pretend this is “not the right time”.

      1. Howard P

        So, do I understand you correctly Tia, that you lay this at the feet of the incumbent DA, and this would not have happened if the challenger had been DA?  If the challenger had been DA, Eric would be alive and getting all support he needed?

        How will Johannson reform the mental health system, provide availability to care?  Really?

        How much responsibility does the incimbent have for the MH system to date?

        Not buying it…

    2. Howard P

      Like you, Alan, I was/am more and more inclined to ‘J over R’ (nice alliteration, given Nishi) as time goes on.  Even before this… this incident means ‘nada’ in that inclination, one way or the other… yet others seem to want to turn this into a campaign issue, rather than a tragedy… whatever…

  10. Tia Will

    I am having a very hard time separating a very bad outcome from a campaign issue when the two are clearly related. I feel the same about stating that it is the “wrong time to discuss gun safety” right after a mass shooting.

    I know there are people who believe this to be disrespectful. I disagree. What I find disrespectful is to “leave it alone” until a more “suitable time”, which usually also coincides with a time when there will potentially be less impact from bringing the case to light. To me, waiting is disrespectful to those whose lives were lost. I would feel differently if the family wanted to wait. Otherwise, I think the most respectful and likely most effective times is immediately after the event.

  11. Keith O

    In other words if the mud is being slinged against the candidate one supports than it’s uncalled for but if it’s being slinged against his opponent than it’s okay.

    1. David Greenwald

      You don’t see a difference between criticism for someone not standing for a flag salute (when his religion precludes it) and criticizing how someone conducts their official business in their office?

      1. Howard P

        I cannot think of any religion, or denomination that would have an objection to standing… I can think of many that would have problems repeating the words… just ask a Friend whether ‘standing’ is a problem…

        And Keith, why would he stray off-topic, as you have… the story you refer to is an allegation… apparently not supported with demonstrable facts…

    2. Tia Will


      No. You do not understand me correctly as is often the case when we put words into each others mouths. I was very direct and very specific about the differing but overlying issues involved in this complicated case and said so directly.

      If you go back and read my first post I was very clear about what I did not feel was Jeff Reisig’s fault and what I did think was his responsibility. I said absolutely nothing about what would have happened if Johansson had been DA and since you are fluent in English, I am sure that you already know that.

      What I have stated and will stand by is that Jeff Reisig, in my opinion has a long history of over charging cases which has been layed out previously by a commenter on a previous thread who presented the statistics on charges, trials and failure to convict as compared with other counties. I also have stated a case in which I believe major harm was done by allowing a known criminal to walk free for months in our community. To me there is a pattern of poor judgement. Obviously I cannot know the Dean Johansson will prove to have better judgement. But I do know from forums and personal conversations involving both of the candidates that Dean’s vision for how to achieve safe communities is much more in alignment with my own perspective of prevention and proactive community engagement than is Reisigs “lock them up and throw away the key” attitude.

    3. Tia Will

      In other words if the mud is being slinged against the candidate one supports than it’s uncalled for but if it’s being slinged against his opponent than it’s okay.”

      Nope. In a previous post, which by the way, you either read or responded to without reading, I clearly stated that I did not appreciate the negative campaigning from either side. I mentioned specifically that I did not approve of the  publicity surrounding either ” bullying”, or” friendly reminders”, about the placement of campaign signs which came from Johansson supporters. Maybe you forgot about that ?

  12. Jeff M

    Having lost a grandfather, a sister and two brother in-laws to suicide, I believe I have the right to point out that is is the worst of behavior for any family of a suicide victim to blame anyone other than the person that committed the act.

    I am sorry for the loss the family is enduring.  Truly I am.  Not a day goes where I don’t feel the holes in my heart for my loved ones that chose to stop living.  But the blame game is frankly disappointing and concerning.  Please seek help as it is an indication that the tragedy is being processed in unhealthy ways.  I mean that in care, not in conflict.

    However, the Vanguard should be ashamed exploiting this family tragedy for political purposes.  At least we now know that the Vanguard agenda comes before any consideration of reasonable morality.  We now know that this is a political mouthpiece of a certain worldview and not a true community blog.

      1. Jeff M

        A claim of overcharging when there are no other reasonable options… why would you go there?  To blame the DA in this tragic case… even inferring blame is beyond the pale.

        You should be honest with yourself and your readers… this was a politically-motivated hit piece.  There are certain lines that should not be crossed, and this is one you messed up on.

        By the way, there is a lot of bipartisan support for increasing our mental health facilities.  However, I believe the conflict will be the social justice left, and maybe some libertarians, opposing involuntary commitment.  The ACLU will likely have a field day with cases they deem unfair.  When are people a danger to society and when are they a danger to themselves?  Today all we have is reactionary measures.  But even then we cannot even seem to stop a well-documented violent mental health case from acquiring weapons.   How can we anticipate it?  In my four cases nobody in the family had a clue with three, and were helpless to save the fourth from what we expected.

        I would support a state tax to build some facilities and to require the court along with a doctor’s order to involuntarily commit people that are deemed to be a danger to society or themselves.  But it would be a sh_t-show of new lawsuits protecting the rights of people to be forced into treatment outside their wishes or approval.  Especially in the case where it can only be determined by a doctor and judge that people are only a danger to themselves.

        Too bad you did not couch the politics on this and focus on the real challenge.

        1. Robert Canning

          Jeff M. says: “I would support a state tax to build some facilities and to require the court along with a doctor’s order to involuntarily commit people that are deemed to be a danger to society or themselves.”

          We don’t need new laws for this.  The Lanterman-Petris-Short act allows exactly what you advocate for.  The 5150 hold is 72 hours for assessment. A 14-day hold can be imposed and requires a due process hearing. The problem is not the legalities but the lack of inpatient mental health beds – which you allude to. There is an ongoing need for crisis services so that people “in the thick of it” can get help. Too often a 911 call is placed and the police are sent to deal with a difficult situation.  We shouldn’t have to put our peace officers in this difficult situation.

        2. Tia Will

          when there are no other reasonable options”

          When there are no other reasonable options. Nowhere has it been demonstrated that there were no other reasonable options. That is simply you opining just as David was doing by calling it “over charging”. It is purely subjective which is correct until such point as a lawyer weights in with what the “reasonable options” would have been.

        3. David Greenwald

          “A claim of overcharging when there are no other reasonable options… ”

          Are you kidding? Judge Maguire would likely have reduced it to a misdemeanor himself at the time of the prelim if he had the information on the nature of the 5150 hold. They had plenty of alternatives, they didn’t attempt any of them.

          “You should be honest with yourself and your readers… this was a politically-motivated hit piece. There are certain lines that should not be crossed, and this is one you messed up on.”

          Not at all. These are the kinds of cases we have been covering for ten years in the court system.Usually they don’t end in suicide obviously but they are cases that are overcharged or perhaps criminalized unnecessarily and could be better handled in other ways. This one was a mental health case. Reisig likes to tout his neighborhood court, but neighborhood court takes cases that no one else would ever prosecute and he puts them in the system. At the same time, he has never expanded to a whole host of other cases that don’t need to be in the court system. No one covers these cases but us. No one knows about them. But they define Jeff Reisig’s tenure as DA, imo. We’ve been covering these for a long time, long before there was a DA’s race.

        4. David Greenwald

          Robert: “We shouldn’t have to put our peace officers in this difficult situation.”

          In this case, we put an untrained nurse into this position, which led to the physical encounter.  To me this is not a criminal act, this is a guy having a mental health crisis in the moment.  And the DA is responsibility for criminalizing the incident rather than allowing the mental health system to treat it.  Once he was stabilized, he went into an IOP program.  That would seem to be the solution here.  But by keeping pending criminal charges on him, it re-traumatized him each time he appeared in court.  It added to his anxiety and it eventually was too much for him.

    1. Howard P

      Thinking… which paragraph, Keith?  I originally thought the third… perhaps was wrong… hope you weren’t saying ‘hear, hear’ to the first…

  13. Ellie White

    Eric was in my class this quarter. I’m so upset right now. He was so bright, well-read, knew all the answers to the questions our instructor would ask, calm and reserved in his manner, but still participated in class. He was in my group for one of our activities in class and he was one of the few people who had actually done the readings. I wish he had made it to graduate school. He would have loved it. Such a loss… for his family, for our class….

  14. PhilColeman

    “Judge Maguire would likely have reduced it to a misdemeanor himself at the time of the prelim if he had the information on the nature of the 5150 hold. They had plenty of alternatives, they didn’t attempt any of them.”

    The first bold-print phrase is conjecture but probably true. The subsequent bold print “theys” is the system. It was definitely not the responsibility of the DA, quite the opposite in fact.

    The district attorney does not devote investigative effort to further the cause of the defendant he just charged with a crime. This defendant was represented by legal counsel, “they” had the legal obligation to research and argue all these post-event arguments we see after this tragedy. Why didn’t “they?” They were much too busy with all the other theys, and understaffed.

    In a system deliberately designed to be adverserial in the often futile quest for ultimate justice, it creates innumerable instances just like this one. The adversaries (and in an election year, their supporters and advocates) just point fingers at one another, incessently. Elect either DA candidate, both of them, or nobody at all, the fundamental problem of judicial disfunction is still there.

    Now I still believe there is an Easter Bunny, but suppose we had a DA campaign where a candidate said, if elected, he/she would create a commission of all vested parties in that local judicial system. Get some state and federal grants. The DA would lead the commission and say, I’m ready to make concessions for the greater good of us all, let’s stop fighting a moment and find common ground on process and procedure that’s a waste of public funds and time. We’ll still fight and represent our client, but under rules we all agree on that increase the efficiency and effective representation for all of us.

    I’d vote for that person.

    1. Tia Will


      The district attorney does not devote investigative effort to further the cause of the defendant he just charged with a crime. This defendant was represented by legal counsel, “they” had the legal obligation to research and argue all these post-event arguments we see after this tragedy.”

      I would also vote for the person you described. But let’s admit that we live in the current world. Jeff Reisig says that he has “discretion”. Given that, why is it not his responsibility to seek for the most just outcome, not just that which will give him the highest number of “wins”?  He could, by his own words, choose less punitive, more just outcomes based on “discretion”….. but he does not.

  15. Tia Will


    Disagree… I have real knowledge from a source on this particular matter… you are not, as far as I can tell… a young man is dead… and you spout theory/other situations? “

    It looks as though we both have “real knowledge from a source” with regard to this matter. My partner of ten years is a PhD psychologist whose specific niche, for which he speaks nationally and in Canada as a respected teacher and author, is in self harm prevention in the setting of incarceration. Are those credentials good enough for you to tell that I am not just “spouting theory”?

    I try to be very, very clear when something is within my area of expertise, an associates area of expertise, or whether it is simply my opinion. Suicides can and do occur within our institutes of incarceration and the most common means is by hanging. This happens to be fact, not me spouting.

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