By Roger Gitlin – EYE ON DEL NORTE – February 21, 2022
Del Norte Sheriff Randy Waltz finds himself in an interesting predicament this election cycle. Waltz is a candidate for his own four year term after assuming the remainder of former Sheriff Erik Apperson unexpected resignation last year.
On Feb. 4, Legal Process Server Donna Westfall was attempting to serve Measure A Citizen’s Oversight Committee (COC) member Jessica Curry a Writ of Mandate at her home. Ms. Curry was made aware of the Service from an email sent earlier from COC Chairperson Steven Lyons. During mid-morning on the date in question, Curry exited her property moved to the deck of her home and in a reported hostile manner yelled at Ms. Westfall to remove herself from the property.
Curry did so while brandishing a rifle!!
Ms. Westfall was compliant AND was unarmed during the exchange.
When I brought this to Sheriff Waltz’ attention, he defended Curry’s carrying a weapon, stating carrying a weapon was not against the law, felony or misdemeanor to brandish a weapon on one’s property. Penal Code 417 seems to be at odds with Sheriff Waltz’ interpretation.
Penal Code 417 states no one can brandish a weapon while in a state of anger or perceived hostility. The process service could most certainly be considered hostile. Trespassing complaints were filed by Curry and a counter-complaint by Westfall in preventing her from performing her duties as a Legal Process Server was submitted. There’s reportedly an investigation on-going and perhaps the Sheriff will reveal the outcome during this election cycle.
Two facts remain immutable: Curry was made aware of the impending service; Westfall was unarmed.
Is it prudent to approach an unknown, unarmed person at one’s property in a hostile, agitative manner with a rifle or pistol in your hand?
I would surmise Ms. Curry was way out line in assuming she was being ” threatened ” by the actions of an unarmed process server. The results of Jessica Curry’s action could have been tragic with just the slightest of verbal escalation.
Sheriff Waltz should not lightly skim over this Feb. incident. Deputy Sloan has yet to admonish Ms. Curry but was quick to warn Ms. Westfall not to trespass on the Curry property. As a final observation, there WERE no signs of NO TRESPASSING and to date, there remain no signage on the Curry property of NO TRESPASSING.The questions beg to be asked and answered:
Is Measure A Oversight member Jessica Curry fit to serve? AND what role does the Sheriff service in defusing explosive situations like the one noted above?