By Linda Sutter
U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges, prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and seize property, to bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly force in certain situations.
But what happens when these people with badges decide to abuse their power of authority?
What’s worse, what message does the public receive when the District Attorney abuses his power of discretion?
This may be the case here in Del Norte County. This year three Correctional Officers from Pelican Bay State Prison have had serious charges pressed against them, however, one got acquitted due to ineffective representation by the People, and the other two officers got their hands slapped with misdemeanors.
Matthew Honeycutt was tried earlier this year for slitting the throat of a civilian, at a local bar. The other off duty officers who were on the scene partying with him and who work for the County didn’t even bother calling 911, but instead made a stealth choice to dial the non-emergency sheriff department number in attempt to cover up the seriousness of the crime.
During prosecution, which was led by Assistant District Attorney Katherine Micks, the defense plead to the jury, “Mr. Honeycutt was on ‘HIGH’ alert because he works at a prison, and only defended himself.”
Hmm, very interesting. What I don’t understand, and what was not presented to the people, if Honeycutt is on such a “HIGH ALERT” because he works at the prison, what was he doing out drinking in a bar? And if Mr. Honeycutt was so “HIGHLY ALERTED”, you would think he would pose a danger to society and the bar would be the last place someone like him should be.
Additionally, Mr. Honeycutt, was well versed in self-defense, and had a reputation of physical abuse on the mother of his child, which the district attorney’s office was aware of, and chose not to let the cat out of the bag. They allowed the defense to paint a picture perfect portrait of poor Mr. Honeycutt.
VERDICT: NOT GUILTY, BY THE JURY.
Case number 2. Matthew Yates. Another golden boy at Pelican Bay state Prison, SERT TEAM, who got caught on VIDEO stealing money from the alleged Drug Lord’s wallet. District Attorney Trigg could not find a felony charge, so Matthew Yates will be going to trial for a misdemeanor.
A crime was committed while this man was on duty, under the color of authority. He took advantage of pocketing a little cash. This leads one to believe if Yates felt so comfortable about stealing money from a wallet during a drug bust, who else is doing it. It might suggest this is common practice in Del Norte County among peace officers. But since Yates is a Correctional Officer, his crime is not severe to the District Attorney. Not only that, but our District Attorney feels that it is not the public’s right to know what was on the Federal Bureau Investigation report.
Something smells fishy and it is not the harbor.
Case Number 3. This is a doozy. Richard Bruce White, yet another upstanding correctional officer from Pelican Bay State Prison. Richard Bruce White allegedly gets injured at Pelican Bay State Prison, and his doctor, Joseph Meyers, takes him off duty for a number of months. In the meantime, Officer White is doing a little handyman work for the good doctor in his office while collecting Workers Compensation benefits, to the tune of $84,000. And, also White allegedly received from Doctor Meyers over 2400 hydrocodone pills within a period of 10 weeks. The District Attorney’s office filed three separate charges, however, Richard White agreed to testify against the doctor and so he received a misdemeanor charge with three year’s probation and to pay some restitution which has not been determined.
So the question that needs to be asked, is it mere coincidence that three law enforcement individuals who blatantly disrespected the law because they are the law should get off with a slap of a wrist?
Or, is the District Attorney demonstrating disparity and favoritism because these criminals have badges?