Humboldt Justice With John Chiv: Stiglich Makes a Plea

John Chiv covers the local legal system for his blog. He shares his observations on some of the more high profile trials with us in our Humboldt Justice guest column.

In a surprising development, a defendant in a well-known Humboldt homicide case entered a plea of guilty today to several counts in exchange for the count of voluntary homicide being dropped.

John Chiv, courtroom watcher and local blogger, was there to follow the legal proceedings. He writes,


John Chiv

Trial of Judson Stiglich in the death of Ryan Robinson:

A trial readiness was scheduled in the Judson Stiglich case this afternoon. Stiglich is charged with the death of Ryan Robinson, whose sister Stiglich was dating at the time of the alleged homicide. Instead it became a hearing to enter a plea for three cases.

He is not eligible to serve the jail term locally. He pleaded guilty to possession of meth as a misdemeanor in the new recent case, admitted violation of probation and in the felony case, Count 1 for voluntary manslaughter was dismissed. He plead to possession of marijuana for sale, firearm enhancement, unlawful possession of firearm, possession of stolen property, and amended new count was added for possession of a controlled substance.


Judson Stiglich

The stipulated term is six years in prison.

Both, the Stiglich family and friends as well as Robinson family and friends were in court. When the plea was accepted, two of Robinson’s family members sobbed.

Ryan Robinson’s mother and the mother of Ryan Robinson’s girlfriend and his son spoke in court today.

“I would like to say I appreciate this opportunity,” said Margaret Robinson. “I didn’t know the outcome to this until today. We were expecting to go to trial. The Count 1 that is being dismissed is why we are here today.”

Visiting Judge David Flinn told Mrs. Robinson, “dismissal of a count by the People and plea acceptance by a Judge is not finding the person innocent. The People have a high burden of proof. This is just a determination of the outcome. Is that comfort?”

Mrs. Robinson shook her head and indicated yes.

Ryan Robinson’s girlfriend’s mother did not state her name. Looking at Stiglich in court, she said, “I don’t  understand why he had to kill him. Why couldn’t he have shot him in the leg? My grandson will not see his father.”

Stiglich entered a time waiver for sentencing and an Arbuckle waiver. The case has been referrred to Probation for credits and fines. Both sides will be submitting letters to the Court.

Gary Bullock’s trial also takes a small step forward. Read about it on Chiv’s blog here.




  • Such an unhappy situation, but I think this was the best way to handle it, given all the givens.

  • I don’t understand. He is getting away with murder!
    All the charges against him plus all the previous trouble he has been in all he gets is six years in jail. There is people in jail serving a lot more years than that for growing marijuana. This guy MURDERED a young man!

  • Our system is so flawed it’s just plain sad.Everyone is afraid to challenge the system so just got with it even if it’s wrong.When something is broken,we fix it.

  • Voluntary manslaughter dis-fucking-missed?!? Speechless

  • Who is responsible for accepting this? Let me get this straight… they prioritize “possession of marijuana for sale, firearm enhancement, unlawful possession of firearm, possession of stolen property, and amended new count was added for possession of a controlled substance” over killing someone? Get your priorities straight!!! If i’m not mistaken, the whole idea of controlling firearms, drugs, etc., is to take away the initial steps that might lead to killing. When you kill someone THAT is the main problem!

    Why is this visiting judge David Flinn involved, and who put him up to this? And what could it mean to say that dismissing the charge does not find him innocent? Does it mean that now we can try him for voluntary manslaughter or murder? Or is immune forever from that charge?

  • Did I miss something? Three people. One woman and two men. This one shot the other one. Both this one and the woman said it was because the other guy drew a gun on him. Investigation did not prove otherwise, did it? Was there more? Did somebody change their story? Was there another witness I missed? How are they supposed to prosecute this guy for manslaughter, let alone murder, when all they can show is self defense and the other crimes for which he’s being sentenced?

    You need to be able to PROVE someone is guilty. There’s no proof this wasn’t self defense. You can’t lock someone up and throw away the key for defending themselves. Out of all the crazy and unfair and immoral stuff that comes out of our “justice” system these days, this one was handled the way we are supposed to handle cases.

    You can’t lock someone up for murder because you don’t like him, or just because you don’t believe him, or because someone died and so the one who did it automatically has to be convicted for it. In this country we are innocent until PROVEN guilty.

    In FACT, in this country, even when you CAN prove someone guilty, if you abused his rights to do it, he WALKS. That’s the United States. Remember?

    That’s NOT callous to the victim and family. That is the Constitution, and the cops just cannot always come up with the evidence to righteously convict someone. In this case, the killer and the woman MIGHT have been lying, but there’s no PROOF, regardless of suspicion, or they certainly would have brought it into evidence and used it in court. The judge even explained this to the family of the victim, that this does NOT mean he’s innocent, but that WE cannot PROVE him guilty.

    So, right, maybe we don’t like the guy, but justice WAS served. Just think if it had been someone we do like, who we believe. We’d be glad enough for this outcome then, right? In our courts it can’t be about personal feelings and suspicions or EVEN that there are bereaved people involved. We can’t be yelling about our constitutional rights AND still yelling about it when they have been respected.

    C’mon. It’s a miserable thing. No one likes that someone was killed. It shouldn’t have happened, and maybe the stuff they were involved in and other stupid choices made it more likely, but that does NOT prove it wasn’t self defense.

    And, Laura, they did not prioritize the other offenses over the killing. They can PROVE those. So they can convict him of them if he pleads guilty or is found guilty. But they cannot prove the killing wasn’t self defense, so they’re saving EVERYBODY all kinds of grief and money by admitting it and sparing us the trial where all this would very expensively be shown and the result would be the same.

    • Thank you for that, helps clarify a confusing story for those of us unfamiliar, and for reminding us there are always 2 sides to a story…

    • Hi nines, I didn’t know that the manslaughter charge was so in doubt… so hard to prove. I went to the link in this article, to the updated article about the original arrest, and it didn’t say anything about the victim having a gun and threatening the shooter with it. All i knew was that original story and what is printed above in this report.

      I admit i did wonder why the girlfriend’s mother would say, “Why couldn’t he have just shot him in the leg?” I mean, why would anyone shoot anyone anywhere if they were just having an argument, and why would the law just breeze past that shooting as if it were nothing? You can see how that missing piece of information made for the appearance of a very lax justice system. The claim that the other guy was threatening with a gun sure does make a difference. And i guess the deceased was found with this second gun in his hand, or with his fingerprints all over it, or something like that?

      I guess the “well-known Humboldt homicide case” wasn’t known well enough by me. A link to a more informative backstory on this might be helpful. Thanks for your perspective, nines, and defense of justice.

      • Hi, Laura. I think the whole business was reported here in dribs and drabs, or maybe I got more information from John’s blog, but the legal details on this sort of thing tend to stick in my mind. If I remember correctly, the guy that got killed was someone a lot of people really liked, and was the brother of the woman. The guy who killed him, this guy, was her boyfriend.

        Both the accused and his girlfriend, sister of the victim, said the victim drew a gun on him first, and that’s pretty strong testimony against voluntary manslaughter in court. It seemed to me that the cops were making a big effort to get the evidence against this guy.

        I think, also, there was first an attempt to cover up the killing, and so I don’t know what condition any of the physical evidence might have been in. I’m just pretty darn sure no DA would give up a conviction for this killing if there were enough evidence to do it.

        I don’t know any of the people involved and am just going off my memory of the reporting and the reactions to it. And thanks for your response.

        • Thanks, nines. That all sounds right. No time to go into it, i will have to trust that it will all work out right.

        • Nines, your comment explaining why the plea deal was reached was an excellent summary. Thank you for noticing the detailed coverage of the cases.

        • I’m not sure where you are getting your information but never once did anyone say that the victim drew a gun on anyone. If you read the testimony and maybe attended the court hearings you would know he only said he had a gun in his car never once did the sister or Judson say that the victim which was Ryan DREW a gun on anyone.

          • And yet the victim’s own mother suggests “Why couldn’t he have shot him in the leg?”

          • Margaret Robinson

            I am Ryan’s mom. That’s the truth! Ryan didn’t have a gun the night ,Jud shot him down! My daughter never said he did! I am not surprised that things turned out this way for now. All I really know is that what we sow we shall also reap. Jud knows Ryan wasn’t a threat and will live with that the rest of his life.

          • Only Times Standard and I covered the preliminary hearing. You are correct in my coverage, there was no testimony that Ryan Robinson actually drew a gun. However it was Jennifer Robinson’s testimony that her brother said “I’m going to fuck you guys up” and her testimony that her brother was going to get a gun. The families and people close hear testimony selectively. When we report, we are willing to have our work matched against a court transcript and we use our names.Maybe the inference of drawing a gun was inferred from another media report, comments who knows? With the only witness torn between her family and what actually happened that night and her i dont recall certain details testimony at the preliminary hearing, this was the best outcome. The Judge explained why the plea deal was reached. Taking this to jury could have resulted in a not guilty verdict.

      • Margaret Robinson

        Ryans girlfriends mom stood up and said what she said because there is no evidence that Ryan had a gun! Her asking “why?” is not saying that Ryan deserved any physical harm done to him.

  • omg i am so offended by the results of this he should be thrown in prison with the key thrown away i know the victim and his family his girlfriend and his child and it was not self defense he fucking murdered a very sweet man that didnt deserve it his girlfriend was my best friend for years when we were young and this is a tragic situation and it keeps getting pushed aside he is going to rott in hell anyway when he dies but he needs to be punished now too for this evil act i cant even believe the legal system in humboldt its sickening……

  • If the case went to jury trial, he would’ve probably got a not guilty verdict and been out sooner. I just wish everybody would understand that justice WAS served and actually let RYAN REST IN PIECE.

    • Ryan is the father of my son. Everyone has the right to their opinion. Bottom line is it did NOT have to come to this. It was cold murder and he deserves to be put away so he doesn’t hurt anyone ever again. There was not JUSTICE. But no matter what; Ryan will rest in peace knowing he is loved and will NEVER be forgotten. Ryan is put to rest in his favorite place in the world which is definitely what you would call paradise!

  • I agree ryn should of not got killed may he rest in piece.
    2. He maid a mastake unfortunately 3am is not a good time to go to eneybodys house and threten eneybody.
    3. May he rest in piece
    4. I feel bad for both sides ryn cause he died and jud also cuz if it wasnt for ryn he wouldnt be in jail for 6 years i mean prison bad situation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *