Sun. May 26th, 2024

NOTE: May 19, 2017 – has picked up on this case and even credited Crescent City Times with filing this report.

May 17, 2017  – The Del Norte District Attorney’s Office announced that Nolan Bruder (20) of Crescent City was sentenced this afternoon by the Honorable William H. Follett to the low term of three years, with all but 240 days (at half time in county jail) suspended in favor of a grant of probation for Rape of an Intoxicated Person.  The victim in this case was Bruder’s sixteen year old sister who he gave high-potency marijuana “dabs” to smoke after she repeatedly resisted his sexual advances until she reached the point of no longer recognizing him as her brother.  Bruder pleaded guilty earlier this month.

In the wake of the case involving Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, the Legislature changed the law to make such crimes ineligible for probation.  Bruder benefited from the fact that his crimes pre-dated the change in the law and allowed Judge Follett to grant him probation.  “In a lot of ways, this case is more egregious than Brock Turner.  This defendant took advantage of a position of trust as this victim’s big brother.  He knew she didn’t want to have sex with him.  She told him that repeatedly.  So he got her stoned on dabs he gave her until she didn’t even recognize him in order get what he wanted,” said Del Norte District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.

At the sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla argued that Judge Follett should follow the Probation Department’s recommendation to send Bruder to state prison for six years.  She quoted from the legislative history section of the amendment to the current law requiring that probation now be denied on such cases:  “Under this interpretation of the law, a perpetrator at a college party who chooses to forcibly rape a conscious victim will go to prison.  However, a different perpetrator at the same party who chooses to watch and wait for a victim to pass out from intoxication before sexually assaulting her may get probation.  Whether penetration is accomplished through physical aggression [force] or predatory behavior is a distinction without a difference.  Both perpetrators seek prey that are vulnerable; disadvantaged by his/her capacity to resist.”

Judge Follett noted that the victim in this case took her own clothes off and was not unconscious.  The legislative changes and the policies behind them, however, apply equally to situations where a victim cannot consent due to intoxication or due to being unconscious.  Judge Follett also questioned whether there was sufficient evidence upon which a jury could convict Bruder, even though Bruder had given a video-taped confession following the disclosure of the crime by his sister.

Judge Follett believed that the “stigma” of this conviction along with mandatory sex offender registration requirements would sufficiently deter this Defendant and others in the community.  “I could not disagree more,” said Trigg.  “The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence.  That is not the message I want to send to our community,” said Trigg.

Del Norte Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Richard Griffin investigated the case.

63 thoughts on “People v Bruder”
  1. Whats wrong with our system? You have people self medicating going to prison. Someone steals something goes to prison. But child molesters/rapist get a slap on the hand and another chance to go ruin more lives. First offence – castrate them. Second offence – kill them on the spot. THAT’S JUSTICE. OUR SYSTEM NEEDS TO PULL THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR ASSES.

  2. Mr. Wlm. H. Follett should himself go before a judge and jury to review with justice and ethics and morality, the decision on this case of RAPE. They, the brother and sister, are both victims.
    On Probation? Are you kidding me? Keep him out of my town. Get him and HER some major counseling that HE should pay for- continually. And a sagway here, who do you suppose he voted for president?

    This is deplorable.

  3. This is absolutely ridiculous that someone would get such a lenient sentence for this crime. This judge needs to be fired!! Prayers for the victim of this haneous crime.

  4. This is easier then common sense. He violated another human being. Send him to jail! 6 years is nothing in comparison.

  5. I am a Public Health student and standing up for those less fortunate is the foundation off being a Public servant, but thus judge did not do his job at protecting those that have been assaulted and mistreated. Not only should this young man be sentenced for the lewd act against his own sister, but he also administered medication without a license with a premeditated intent to sexually assault a girl. Throw this judge off the bench and put him under investigation.

  6. HOW can you let this kid off?? What if he had done this to a 5 year old? I wonder why the judge doesn’t think this is a disgusting act? Let’s give this victim some real justice.

  7. This judge is not close to honorable! Rape is rape and deserves life! Especially in this case. 6 years would have been a joke but this is a mockery of the justice system. Get this guy off the bench now before he let’s another rapist off the hook!

  8. tenia que ser un hombre, cobarde usando su poder como juez para ser daño, pobre niña, ni el perdón de Dios merecen ninguno de los dos… (Per Editor….which my rough English translation is… He had to be a man, cowardly using his power as a judge to be hurt, poor child, nor deserve God’s forgiveness neither.)

  9. What if that was his daughter, niece, granddaughter, etc?! Would he be that nice to the “poor boy” then? How can anyone have any sympathy for someone who would do that let alone to their own sister? Yet the judge is concerned about how a real sentence would effect HIM?…I am in disbelief that something like this would happen before or after the Brock Turner case.

  10. According to friends and family members present at the sentencing, the information being reported about Nolan Bruder is based on a biased press release written by Dale Trigg, District Attorney. Mr. Trigg was not even in the courtroom at the time of sentencing. The information he included in his press release was cherry-picked and taken out of context. He also left out very critical facts regarding the incident, and statements made to the court by the victim herself and numerous family members. All of which are not included in this post. However, Judge Follet expressed serious concern about a guilty plea to a crime that he had doubts about whether it could be proved at trial. Judge Follet had the defense attorney explain the reasoning behind a guilty plea to a defensible rape charge. Nolan Bruder’s attorney said that a lot of time was spent trying to convince Mr. Trigg to agree to a plea bargain to two other counts charged in the complaint but Mr. Trigg would not listen to reason. The defense attorney went on to explain that Nolan Bruder was steadfast in his decision to forego a jury trial because he did not want to put the victim nor his family through such a humiliating spectacle. The defendant fell on the proverbial sword, to spare the victim and his parents any further pain and embarrassment that a trial would cause. Judge Follet recognized this dilemma and rightly considered it, among other relevant facts. The sentence given was fair in light of the unusual circumstances. The victim pleaded with the court not to send the defendant to prison. She expressed her forgiveness and her continued love and support for him. As did many other family members. Judge Follet did not justify the sentence based on the fact that the victim was conscious and took her own clothes off. A comment to that effect by the Judge was uttered during an exchange between the Deputy District Attorney and the Judge regarding the dissimilarities between the Brock Turner case and Nolan Bruder’s case. Mr. Trigg’s rendition of the facts and the reasoning behind the Judge’s decision was anything but an accurate picture.

    1. Still seems like a mucked-up boy regardless. And some weird dynamics in that family (drugs? incest? feeding drugs to lead to incest?). Any insights/guidance are appreciated.

    2. He raped her while she was incapacitated. Many, many, victims of violence, abuse, and screwed up relations try to protect their abusers – especially youth. This event did not happen in a vacuum. He didn’t “mistakenly” give her drugs and rape her. The judge’s job is to protect the public and determine justice for the crime. No matter what folks wanted – nobody got justice- especially the next girl.

  11. At the very least the boy should be in a detention center with psychological care. What he did is reprehensible. The judge completely lacks any understanding of how crimes deserve a comparable punishment.

  12. Found what I’m 99% sure is the poor girl’s Facebook page. Now that we know what we know, the cover photo is creepy. Poor girl. Prayers for her recovery and what is probably a pretty dysfunctional home she’s been in.

    1. Why would you even look for it? Doesn’t the girl deserve privacy? She removed her fb account months ago so no, you didn’t find her. You should be ashamed for trying to out her – Dale Trigg already threw her under the bus.

  13. The difference between Bruder and Renner? Both had victims asking for leniency for the defendant. Both had “repentented”. Renner had a Judge who read the Probation Recommendation and saw justice served. The victim was not outed by the District Attorney. The family named the victim on the record in open court, additionally, the facts haven’t changed, just the narrative the family wants portrayed. Look at court records if you want the facts, not the spin the family is now putting in the media to protect their son. The DA’s office works for justice for victims, even when they can’t for themselves.

    1. whoever wrote this well your mindset is questionable. there is a big difference between the bruder case and renner. RENNER PREYED UPON 5 YEAR OLDS…who grew up and prosecuted…and yeah it is good you are anonymous…my bet is you work in DA OFFICE…..

  14. This is how pathetic our justice system has become. And it sickens me. Judge follett is and always has been a pathetic excuse for a judge. Maybe now some will see this and realize that what was said about him all along was true. He should feel ashamed with himself but he won’t, he is arrogant and if some would follow who he has passed down longer sentences to over the years will see exactly how racial he is.

    1. Why would you try to throw people onto his account? What is wrong with you? Leave him and his family alone.

  15. You should be ashamed of yourself Mr. Follett. I refuse to give you the respect your position normally commands of me. As a victim of rape, you continue to delegitimize women and legitimize male dominated rape culture. I’m sure your mother is very proud of you. Too bad the people that you are sworn to protect are not. The most courageous thing you can do now is resign.

  16. It seems to be a horrible decision. The justifications I’ve read seem irrelevant. The rape of an intoxicated minor by a predatory adult who engineered the intoxication, where the victim must have felt violated enough to report the rape against all social taboos, and the assailant confessed on tape. It’s hard to come up with a more perfect example of a winnable case.

  17. Crescent City, PLEASE include a photo of Judge Follett so people know who he is when they see him around town! Google did not produce any results.

  18. I’m glad to see that there is a judge that can be fair and impartial and able to make a good decision not based on popularity. This judge and this devastated family have my full support and understanding. The sister being only a few years younger…if she was unable to recognize him…maybe he was unable to recognize her. I also stand in support of both Nolan and his sister who’s lives are forever changed because of a choice to use a substance that most of you want legalized.

    1. Are you kidding?? Her life is ruined because her brother drugged and raped her, you moron. That makes him a victim? Are you from West Virginia?

  19. uh oh, there will be a new judge coming at next election…this one made national news reads… and

    1. I retract my statement. I stand by the Judge and his decision. what is egregious about Dale Trigg’s release is he shamed the victim, the family, and wasn’t even in the court room. He did this intentionally to make himself look like he is this great protector when in fact his whole motive is to run for judge. BEWARE. UNLESS YOU WERE IN THE COURT ROOM YOU DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS.

      1. Two questions, no snark intended:

        1. Were you in the courtroom?
        2. What are the facts that changed your mind?

          1. If you got information, share it, if not, don’t mention it. Saying you got info but can’t share it, so just trust me is not going to cut it. Sorry.
            We all know dirty politics and dirty family secrets. Nothing is going to shock us in the internet age anyway.

            1. yo wombat661 I promised I would not write an article about the particulars and the information was shared…based on that I cannot give the particulars…it is not a matter of shock factor…it is a matter of integrity and character in keeping my word…so…sorry if those things are not important to you…that’s all.

          2. I don’t understand how the answer to the first question would reveal anything sensitive. It’s a yes or no.

            What doesn’t seem to be in dispute is that the judge pointed out that the victim removed her own clothes and was not unconscious. If she was intoxicated to the point of not recognizing her own brother, she could not consent to having sex. Even if she had consented in the past, she did not consent in this instance.

            Apart from any other detail of the case, the judge was out of line to bring these things up and should never be allowed to preside over a sexual assault case again.

            If her brother, having been explicitly and repeatedly rejected by the victim, gave her drugs with the intent to bring her to a point of intoxication where she no longer recognized him, he committed rape. Full stop.

            Are these things factual so far? If not, which parts are wrong? If they are accurate, there would have to be truly extraordinary mitigating circumstances.

            I can understand if you are withholding details in order to protect the victim and her family – not everything should be public business. I also appreciate your offer to explain privately (although I don’t see how telling people one at a time is more discreet than posting on a public forum). However, it is unreasonable to expect people to accept your word without further information.

      2. Thank you for speaking my mind so clearly. All this angst and anger and ideation to protect this poor innocent girl–none of you were in the court room. None of you know the facts or the family. You are reacting out of assumption and after reading a highly biased newspaper article by a man who is using this case and these poor people to his advantage to politically slingshot himself into a postition as judge. Shame on you Dale Trigg. You have proved you are also a predator!!!

      3. Dale Trigg moved out of the area so how will he be running for Judge in Del Norte County? Your response sounds like it was forced upon you by the powers that be. Were they? You state you were told you could not explain or make further statements about the new facts you believe you were given. Was there a political gag placed upon you? Look at our County’s history with corruption. “No Law North of Klamath” and “Behind the Redwood Curtain” are two phrases long associated with Del Norte County. I’m sad to see another victim of the County’s good ol boy’s threats. This is NOT the only case Follett has ruled poorly on! Throw a Good Ol Boy into the mix and see who isn’t charged and who is attacked. I am speaking from personal experience in family court. Follett needs to go! He should NOT be allowed to go quietly as he hopes to do! He is hoping to evade prosecution by the current agency’s investigation. He should not be allowed to run away from his crimes! He was paid a high salary for years because he was held to a higher standard. What exactly are this County’s standards? We have to clean up this County!

  20. This ‘judge’ should step down from trying any other cases. It is disgraceful and disgusting that Follett perpetuates Rape Culture with a slap on this rapists wrists.

  21. This judge should be removed immediately!!! We do not want ignorant people in such positions!! Disgusting ruling! This judge is NOW officially hated and dispised by ALL intelligent women!!!

  22. How about the fact that incest in itself is illegal, and that she is a minor? What about the parents, are they not outraged at this?

  23. This sentencing is utterly shameful. Shame on you Judge Follett! The fact that you have a confession from the perpetrator and he admits to drugging her should stand on its own, who cares that she took her clothes off by herself? She was not of sound mind and probably did not have the where-with -all to even know what she was doing she she was under the influence of some drug. This Judge should be stripped of all his duties and not be allowed to make decisions in such cases ever again. This is a disgrace. The victim will now not trust the people she thought she could count on to look out for her best interests. Her self esteem and confidence are ruined because she did not get any vindication for this terrible act that her brother committed.

  24. I find it bizarre that not a single photograph of this judge exists on the internet. Google is speechless. It seems as though he is hiding from the public.

    1. You can go online and find out what he looks like. White male in his 70’s, Gray with glasses 5’10″ish 180ish.

  25. I would like to see a photo of Judge Follett. I’ve always wondered what the devil looked like. Thank you.

  26. What a pathetic excuse for a judge. He deserves to be disbarred and publicly humiliated.

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