By Donna Westfall – October 19, 2017 – In Wednesday’s October 18th sentencing saga set to start at 9 am in Courtroom 3, (Traffic Court), it didn’t convene until 10:30 am. At that point, Bryan Ranger submitted a Marsden Motion to get his attorney fired for doing a very, very, very poor, inadequate job. Long story short, the public was escorted out of the room so that they could not listen to the Marsden Motion. By noon, several of us left for lunch only to learn that the motion was denied by Judge Spinetta.
Court reconvened at 2 pm. Four of the children were allowed to read their letters. When they couldn’t because they were sobbing, a woman named, Elizabeth, read them. Essentially, they wanted the court to know the impact of this on their lives.
Copies of the letters should be forthcoming since the Probation Department holds these things open to the public for the next 60 days, then the file is sealed.
To backtrack, Bryan Ranger, was arrested, held in jail for four years, went to trial on multiple counts of rape and lewd behavior without one shred of forensic evidence. He was found guilty in short order. It was pretty reminiscent of the McMartin Preschool sex scandal.
Before all of this happened, the Ranger parents thought they had a nice, strict, fundamentalist Christian family. But, their oldest daughter, Mercy, wanted a different type of life. Threats were made by Mercy, Marcus Nash and Walter Throop to Bryan and Judy Ranger to sign over parental rights of Mercy to Sasha Upton or face the loss of their family and Bryan’s imprisonment.
Randall South, raised in Del Norte County and a frequent visitor made these first hand observations:
“Several red flags went up in both the trial and sentencing which raised concerns if it was a fair trial.
If I had been on the jury, there is no question in my mind that I would have freed Bryan just for having to sit in a jail for four years without a trial.
His public defender vigorously suppressed evidence that would have exonerated Bryan.
A Judge is supposed to be neutral, impartial, not take sides and I found Judge Spinetta to be very biased. He didn’t seem to know the laws on sentencing and kept conferring with the Prosecutor, which made me think he was incompetent. The constitution states you are entitled to an elected Judge to preside over your case. Judge Spinetta was appointed to this case from the assigned judges pool. Typically people end up in the pool if they are not electable. I’ve learned firsthand that in California there is no oversight on assigned Judges and for that reason more effort needs to be made to insure the state doesn’t stick people with a non-elected judge. I really believe that the California state legislature is allowing unqualified people to be assigned as Judge.
Finally, I say may God have mercy on your soul if you have to appear in a California court and in particular in Del Norte County. They’re out to get Bryan Ranger. They looking to kill this guy.”
As far as the Marsden Motion to fire his Public Defender, Bryan had that right to ask, but the Judge felt the trial evidence was presented fairly on both sides and his motion to fire Attorney Cater was denied. Bryan asked for a continuance. That was denied.
Bottom line, Bryan faces over 100 years to life in prison, no possibility of parole and will be on the sex offenders list. However, Bryan’s Motion for an Appeal is automatic and a new attorney will be provided if he cannot afford one.
After court Bryan was able to relate in a phone call to his wife, Judy, that he will be taken to San Quentin and can only correspond by mail for the first few months. As of Thursday, October 19th 11 am, he is no longer in Del Norte County Jail. He will not have phone calls for a couple of months. Then, he will probably be sent to another facility. He encouraged his wife, Judy, to continue to pray for their enemies, for their children and for everyone’s safety.
The Dr. Phil show has expressed an interest in this case, and the producer wanted to know if they could bring their film crews up and interview Bryan. Commander Bill Steven said the producer had not called him yet and wondered if they were still interested. I told him that they are still interested. Back on October 2nd, Commander Steven said he would run the subject by County Counsel to find out if any modifications on the time allowed for visits/interviews would be made for the film crew since they would be coming up from the Los Angeles area. There was no feedback from either Cmdr. Steven or County Counsel Cable. The subject of interviewing Bryan at the Del Norte County Jail is a moot point since he is no longer in the county.