By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – April 30, 2022
A miscarriage of justice continues in what I can only call “malicious prosecution.”
The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors appointed undersheriff Randy Waltz to the vacant Sheriff position when Erik Apperson unexpectedly resigned, last year. The newly appointed Sheriff announced his candidacy in January of this year.
Tuesday, May 3, Waltz will be arraigned on three felony counts relating to campaign residency and voter fraud violations when he declared his candidacy for the Sheriff position.
District Attorney Katherine Micks has exceeded her zeal in seeking justice on the domicile issue of where and when: WHERE did the Sheriff live and WHEN did he live there?
I identify this prosecution as selective and malicious. There have been several residency issues of elected who may have resided across a demarcated line. Some have been ignored…some have been prosecuted.
In 2021, the District Attorney received 2100 misdemeanor and felony complaints. DA Micks acted on 1699 of those law enforcement complaints; that translates to about a 20% declination rate. In a recent interview with Micks in her campaign for re-election, I asked her what are the criteria for selecting cases to be prosecuted. Katie Micks stated the Office only takes cases they can prove and prevail on.
Is justice being served in the Waltz case?
I think not.
Waltz decided not to submit his paperwork AND shortly thereafter, resigned from his appointed position. His resignation has created a vacuum effect.
I mean no disrespect to the current DN Sheriff Administration but conditions have dangerously deteriorated. Unwittingly or not, this prosecution has actually compromised law enforcement in Del Norte. Garrett Scott will hopefully be appointed Sheriff by the BOS after he runs unopposed June 7. In the meantime, conditions are chaotic.
The Board of Supervisors on a 4-1 vote appointed Waltz Sheriff last June. Hemmingsen, Howard, Short and recently- deceased Berkowitz voted to appoint Waltz Sheriff. If those four failed to do their due diligence in ascertaining residency requirements, those four, and by extension the County, are culpable.
This case reeks!
Both Judges McElfresh and Cochran have prudently recused themselves from the Waltz case. A visiting judge from San Mateo will oversee the arraignment.
I plan to be at Waltz’ arraignment and I ask you to join me in the audience in Division 2 on the Superior Court, May 3 at 1:30 pm.