‘Recent Attacks on Adrian’s Competence and Character Don’t Sit Well With Me,’ Says Letter Writer

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Letter to the Editor

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m a Humboldt County resident and one of many prosecutors and police officers who has publicly endorsed Mr. Kamada. My reason: When I worked with him in the District Attorney’s Office in 2018, I knew him to be hard-working, hard-hitting, and unflinchingly honest. Even then, he had the makings of an excellent District Attorney. I told him as much at the time, and was thrilled when he told me that he’d decided to run. 

Given what I know of him, the recent attacks on Adrian’s competence and character don’t sit well with me. In fact, Ms. Fleming herself had assigned him a caseload that included some of the office’s most serious cases. It’s hard to fathom why she would have given those cases to an incompetent attorney. 

He was also one of only a few attorneys in the office she entrusted with search warrant review – I was another. Because of this duty, Adrian had to become well-versed in issues related to informant confidentiality, since these frequently arise in search warrants. (The people we prosecute often don’t play nice with snitches.) 

And after reviewing the memoranda published by Lost Coast Outpost, it astounds me that anyone with experience as a prosecutor would claim that Adrian violated discovery requirements. In simple terms, the informant statement couldn’t have helped the defense case and could never have been used by Adrian at trial. Because of that, the statement didn’t need to be disclosed. 

Why? To begin with, the statement was based entirely on thirdhand conversations, which made it inadmissible as hearsay under Evidence Code section 1200. Additionally, the statement implied that Tanner had committed other murders, which made it inadmissible propensity evidence under Evidence Code section 1101(a). And the statement was anything but exculpatory. In sum, the statement fell outside of the Brady-line of cases that have interpreted constitutional due process, and outside of Penal Code section 1054.1, which defines a prosecutor’s statutory discovery requirements. 

But since the issue of prosecutorial ethics has been raised, I think it only fair to discuss two cases the office charged in the brief period that I worked there. In the nearly ten years that I’ve spent working as a prosecutor in three different counties, these are the only two cases I’ve seen that were completely unprovable the moment they were charged. 

The two cases were eerily similar. In both cases, the undisputed evidence the office had when the cases were charged showed that the “suspects” – both young men without significant records – used force only while they were being strangled by their “victims.” In both instances, the young men told law enforcement that they were in fear for their lives when they acted, and in both instances, there was no evidence showing that either young man was lying. 

Even in California, we all have the right to do what those young men did: Defend ourselves against unprovoked, deadly force. As prosecutors, we’re supposed to know the law. This includes understanding the right to self-defense. And we’re not supposed to bring charges unless we have “probable cause” to believe that the person is guilty. In cases like this, a responsible decision to charge potentially life-altering felonies could not be made unless we had evidence disproving self-defense. In both cases, we didn’t have that evidence. 

Now, mistakes happen, but what happened next was no mistake: In both instances, I brought my concerns about the charging decisions directly to the elected District Attorney. In both instances, the elected District Attorney decided to continue with the prosecutions. While both cases were ultimately dismissed for insufficient evidence, one of the young men spent at least part of that time in custody, waiting for the elected District Attorney to get better acquainted with his right to defend himself against deadly force. 

Now, Ms. Eads isn’t the elected District Attorney, but she has hitched her wagon to Maggie Fleming’s legacy. Because of this, Ms. Eads insists that nothing’s rotten in the County of Humboldt. But charging decisions like these say otherwise; the violent crime statistics over the last eight years say otherwise; and the streets in Eureka say otherwise. 

In the next two weeks, you will have a big decision to make. You can either vote for a continuation of the ideas and policies that brought you the last eight years, or you can vote for change. On June 7, please join me in voting for change. 

Sincerely,

Josh Rosenfeld

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meme
Member
meme
3 months ago

You obviously haven’t seen what a dirty campaign he is running. There is no need for that. We are compelled to stand up for the far better candidate.

Radio Head
Guest
Radio Head
3 months ago
Reply to  meme

With some of the positions you have taken, your credibility is not in good standing with me either.

Farce
Guest
Farce
3 months ago
Reply to  Radio Head

Right? It’s funny but if I don’t really know the candidates I just look to see what commenters are supporting which candidate…mostly to see who I should vote AGAINST! Lol

local observer
Guest
local observer
3 months ago
Reply to  meme

are you going to still be around commenting after the election? it seems as if you are being paid to comment or have a hat in the game.

Radio Head
Guest
Radio Head
3 months ago
Reply to  local observer

Yep. I have ‘observed’ the same.

Nooo
Guest
Nooo
3 months ago

Thank you… I think. With innuendo flying everywhere, it’s hard to know what is what.

local observer
Guest
local observer
3 months ago

the simple fact that both ends of the local political pendulum are in support of Kamada is enough for me to vote for him. usually it’s always divided into two teams. its a crazy moon when EPIC and Arkley are on the same team.

Nooo
Guest
Nooo
3 months ago
Reply to  local observer

EPIC because he handled his assigned environmental cases with some success and with Arkley I suspect it is personal. All these endorsements seem too personal, too political and too directed at the narrow interests of the endorsers. If an environmentalist and a right wing moneymaker agree on a candidate, it is because they feel they can have leverage with him and not the other candidate. Which would actually be plus for the other candidate. It seems the typical way politics works in Humboldt Co- it’s all personal. But competence will end up being more important than politics becauseeverything a DA does can and will be challenged in court. A candidate might be endorsed because they will be less effective, not more. It’s just impossible to pin down. I’ve read that Kamada caused errors in some big cases but then the Kitchen case was an offensively light penalty too. It’s just too messy.

Last edited 3 months ago by Nooo
local observer
Guest
local observer
3 months ago
Reply to  Nooo

politics in Humboldt is like 3rd grade math. keep in mind that EPIC is also a moneymaker by suing and extorting people like Arkley.

daniel Edrich
Guest
daniel Edrich
3 months ago
Reply to  local observer

Epic?
A shadow of itself.
Environmentally there is nothing more important than our coastal wetlands- which have been diminishing for decades now due to an irrational fear of a benevolent plant and Epic has been an ethical coward the entire route.
Still mum. Expletive.

Josh R.
Guest
Josh R.
3 months ago

Roger,

As you very well ought to know, there is a significant difference between what a defense attorney wants to know and what a defense attorney is entitled to know under Brady and PC 1054.1. Can you please point to which specific category you believe mandates disclosure?

As it happens, Mike Galli – who literally wrote the book on search warrants for the California District Attorneys’ Association – agreed with my analysis.

As for your attacks on my character and motivations, you really should be better than that. This entire election should be better than that. Unfortunately, it seems not to be.

For what it’s worth, I think that it is majorly irresponsible – and borderline unethical – for prosecutors to make incorrect public statements about the law. My choice was to either allow this to pass unchallenged or take a stand against it. I made my choice.

Josh

Last edited 3 months ago by Josh R.
BonnieD
Member
Bonnie
3 months ago
Reply to  Josh R.

Thank you, Josh. That hit piece on Kamada didn’t sit well with me, either. Adrian definitely has my vote.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bonnie
Roger ReesD
Member
Roger Rees
3 months ago
Reply to  Josh R.

And completely ignoring my points about his other ethical issues doesn’t make them go away. But keep picking at that straw man.

Josh R.
Guest
Josh R.
3 months ago
Reply to  Josh R.

We must be using different dictionaries. In mine, exculpatory evidence is defined as evidence tending to show that the defendant is either not guilty or should receive less serious punishment. Oddly, that is the same definition found in the Brady line of cases.

But maybe I’m wrong. If so, why isn’t the defense bar raising a hue and cry about Adrian’s ethics? Shouldn’t they be warning Humboldt about the dangers of someone holding that office who withholds exculpatory evidence? Where are they, besides largely endorsing Adrian?

The reality is that Adrian was fired because he told the boss that she was wrong, and didn’t do it in a particularly conciliatory way. As a result, she fired him, which she had every right to do.

And she has every right to tell the voters in Humboldt that she believes that he’s too hotheaded and stubborn to succeed her. But she doesn’t have the right to invent ethics violations that aren’t really there.

Last edited 3 months ago by Josh R.
RogeryorogerD
Member
Rogeryoroger
3 months ago
Reply to  Josh R.

Roger, get some sleep man. This election has got you all upset. It will all be ok

Josh R.
Guest
Josh R.
3 months ago
Reply to  Josh R.

Now I’m confused. On the one hand, you’re accusing Adrian of cutting ethical corners in his zeal to go after a suspected serial killer. On the other, you’re accusing him of being someone who is going to get rid of serious cases to appease his defense attorney buddies. Which is it?

And you’re right, I haven’t done what Adrian did, and I have never once claimed that his actions were routine or best practices. But I’ve also never been in the situation he was in, where an investigating agency left a gun at a murderer’s house during the service of a search warrant and then refused to fix its mistake – or even acknowledge that it had made one. That’s a tough position to be in; particularly when you believe that the guy you’re prosecuting is a serial killer, and you don’t want him to get the ol’ “Count One, Open” Humboldt County offer that more often than not amounts to a wink and a nod for felony probation.

But accusing someone of having a lapse in judgment that merited firing is one thing; accusing that person of committing an ethics violation is something else entirely. Since that is the hill that you seem to be determined to die on, please provide the readers here with the following:

(1) Any court case or ethics opinion from the California State Bar that supports your assertion that Adrian committed an ethics violation. You have access to Lexis Nexis, so that shouldn’t be a challenge for you.

(2) The steps your office took to report Adrian’s “ethics violation” to the State Bar. I can see no record of discipline on his public State Bar profile. Was that because you guys didn’t report it or because you reported it but the State Bar disagreed with you? If you didn’t report it, please explain why you didn’t think that it was important to report an unethical prosecutor to the State Bar? Did you at least report it to the courts? If so, did they make a finding of an intentional Brady violation?

(3) The disposition of any criminal charges your office brought or referred to the AG’s Office for a violation of Penal Code section 141, which criminalizes intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence. Surely, given the high ethical standards of your office, you must have considered bringing these charges against Adrian?

Last edited 3 months ago by Josh R.
RogeryorogerD
Member
Rogeryoroger
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogeryoroger

Guess Roger and Eads and Maggie were wrong

CJP
Guest
CJP
3 months ago

It is not his competence I’m worried about, it’s his ethics and attitude.

Farce
Guest
Farce
3 months ago

Only thing good about Maggie was that she was not Gallegos. Eads sounds like she is basically a repeat of Maggie. If anything got better w/ Maggie it’s only because Gallegos made it so bad. Change is good, especially in a disappointing DA office. I’d take a chance and vote for almost anybody who is not proclaiming that the status quo is wonderful- it’s not! Also Maggie before she was DA prosecuted the heck out of my friend for a minor weed grow…she was relentless and ornery about a small indoor grow while some murders and other violent crimes were literally not being prosecuted. Yeah- I remember stuff…Eads wants to run as Maggie II then she gets the baggage. And I still have not heard any answers about Ead’s work on the Marci Kitchen case/debacle/travesty…