By Linda Sutter
Prior to the criminal proceedings of a case in the Del Norte County Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Zocchi made the following comment, ” When the officer called in the incident he described the female as white, there is nothing to validate she is black.” WOW, maybe he should talk to President Obama, who is white.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that Alice Brown is a mixture of white and black. Her facial features nasal width, mouth width, eye width and facial width clearly demonstrate her heritage, however her skin is of light olive color where uneducated people could simply state she is white.
Alice Brown mistakenly took the Hiouchi Information Center as a rest area. The prosecutor Zocchi showed the members of the jury a sign with a picture of a tent erected and a red line drawn through the tent. Also a seasonal sign that said the center was closed for the season. But the parking lot was not closed nor were the unlocked restrooms.
However, on December 20th, 2014, Alice Brown drove into the parking lot and slept in her car. She did not erect a tent. There were NO signs posted upon entry that said, “No overnight camping, violators will be prosecuted per California Code of Regulations 4451.” In contrast there are numerous signs that the Parks and Recreation Department have posted up and down South Beach on Highway 101, that clearly state, “NO OVERNIGHT PARKING OR CAMPING VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED.”
On December 21, 2014 Ranger Joel Aaron Leachman (referred to as Ranger from here on out) started his patrol of the park areas prior to seven a.m.. He stated he commonly and routinely checks the Hiouchi visitor area because he believes people don’t want to pay $35.00 for camping and he can catch them in the act early in the morning camping or sleeping in their car at the Hiouchi visitor center.
Ranger sees Alice Brown’s car and announces he is Park Services Police.
Alice Brown wakes up from a dead sleep and says, ” Who is this?”
Ranger states he is the police and asks for her identification. Alice Brown explains to the officer that her identification is in the front of the van. She then gave Ranger her name and license number verbally. The officer tells her to step out of her vehicle, because he needs to “see her” and he needs to see inside of her vehicle. Alice Brown informs Ranger that she is in her pajamas and has to change her clothes and could not open the back of the van from the inside because the handle was broken.
Ranger returned to his patrol car to radio the sheriff department and his supervisor telling them that this woman was refusing to identify herself, (when clearly she had verbally identified herself and given him her license number so he could run a check on her license) and refusing to let him into her car.
During his conversation with his supervisor he stated that he was going to use force on her window and break the window if she did not come out of the car. (Oops did Ranger forget to tell his boss she was getting dressed? Oh my.)
Ranger also informed his supervisor that he was planning to arrest her for resisting an officer, but he had not informed Alice Brown she was going to be arrested if she did not comply with his orders. This probably would have been a good time for the Ranger to run Alice Brown’s license plates but it is not clear whether he actually did that.
Afterall Ranger was in fear of his life since on December 20th, 2014 three cops in New York City had been shot and killed.
Defendant Alice Brown got out of her vehicle and begin to open her car door to the front of the car to attain her drivers license. However, and understandably, Ranger had no idea why she was trying to get back in her car. Ranger told Alice Brown not to open the car door, at this point she should have complied because from his perspective he did not know why she was getting into the car, and officer’s have been killed on duty from those types of actions.
Ranger ran and tackled her to the ground screaming “GET DOWN! GET DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!” It was at that point in time that Ranger stated she was under arrest and not before.
Ranger in open court stated, ” You were under arrest for delaying and resisting a peace officer when I used force to place you on the ground.” Ranger made clear to the court that resisting arrest meant that Alice Brown did not present him with a physical identification, and delayed arrest when she was getting into her clothes. Ranger made clear to the court that Alice was resisting arrest, which she had not been told by the officer she was under arrest, until she opened her front car door.
This is very informative information for the public to learn, that, you are resisting an arrest when you don’t give a physical identification to the officer, upon his immediate request, and if he asks to search your car, you have no civil rights in that either, unless you want to be arrested for resisting arrest. Please keep in mind two things.
1. Ranger has less than 5 years as an officer.
2. Resisting arrest is commonly used by rogue officers because when the law was written and passed in California, it allowed vague interpretations in the law. Resisting arrest also includes delaying or obstruction of a peace officer and there are so many definitions of that it is unreal. All you have to do to get arrested is look at an officer the wrong way and it will fit under the guidelines of resisting arrest, or Penal Code 148.
DAY 1 – MARCH 4TH
During Jury selection Prosecutor Zocchii was going to make sure that no one on the jury had experienced homelessness or an arrest and had 5 people excused because he thought that they would have empathy for the defendant. Ms. Brown excused 4 people. She misunderstood the Judge, and wanted to excuse another person but was not allowed to.
Ms. Brown wanted her sister to be able to testify, however Zocchii stated to the court he didn’t think Ms. Brown’s sister would have anything relevant to say to the court, so Ms. Brown has no witnesses. That was reasonable because of the relevance issue.
During this process Alice Brown informed the court she had pictures to use as exhibits, Zocchii said she needed to give him a copy. During Court Recess Ms. Brown went to the District Attorney’s office to allow them to copy the photo’s. The district attorney office refused, telling her she had to do it with her own money. Keep in mind, Ms. Brown is homeless, but managed to utilize the law library copy machine which charges 20 cents per copy.
Jurors that were removed were the following;
Lexi Cox because her husband was retired Fish and Game.
Ms. Katherine Ducart, because her husband is the warden of Pelican Bay State Prison. She appeared angry when she was asked to leave.
VanCrough because he is Law Enforcement with close ties.
Ms. Melissa Delany because she had been homeless in the past.
Haro was excused pre-emptory.
Ms. Olson who had been arrested years ago.
Mr. Miller pre-emptory. Ms. Wells, pre-emptory.
Mr. John Ward because he believes everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
Mr. Roy Kelly excused because past prison guard.
Ms. Wells-Bristol for rolling her eyes during questioning of jurors, and Addison Echart.
APPOINTMENT OF A PUBLIC DEFENDER
Alice Brown consulted with one of the Del Norte County’s Public Defenders to find out about representing herself. Together they requested the video and audio recordings and Alice received them.
Alice Brown is now representing herself in pro-per and really should have tried another attorney. But, currently the only attorney who was worth his salt in our county is now a judge presiding over this case. Del Norte County does not have anything to offer the public who cannot afford attorney’s and appoint attorney’s who do as little as possible in defending their clients. Even if Alice could afford an attorney, there are so few who take pride in their work, but happily take the money from their clients.
LESSON NUMBER ONE AS A PRO-PER
Do not get up in front of the jury and present your side of the story as it is prettttty much likely to be incriminating. Understand the local court rules, and procedures as well as the time frames for filing motions.
Alice Brown has no legal experience. This was very taxing on her, the judge, the jurors, and the prosecuting attorney during her opening statement as well as throughout the eight hour day in court.
For Alice Brown’s opening statement, she admits she spent the night at the Hiouchi Information Center by mistake. She further admits and exploits her lack of understanding in law of the search and seizure 4th amendment, and then brings in the 8th amendment of Cruel and Unusual punishment to homeless people.
WALLLA, BOOM. Do you want to hand out your own sentence too?
If you have clearly stated to the Judge that you do not intend to testify, which is your legal right under the 5th amendment, DON’T TESTIFY AT THE COUNSEL TABLE. Whaaat?
If you are planning to be your own attorney, you need to act like an attorney, don’t use the word “I.” As your own attorney you are talking about the person you are representing. Example, ” What was Ms. Brown’s response when you asked her for her identification.” Do not say, “When you asked me for my identification what did I say?” How confusing is that?
Finally, have your questions prepared and technically written precisely, or your going to lose the attention of your audience – the jurors. Eventually the glazed over eyes will tell their story and you have lost any credibility in representing yourself.
Before ending this day one court room drama it should be noted that during what is referred to as a sidebar, (where the District Attorney and Ms. Alice had to approach the bench and hash things out) while the Judge’s back was turned as well as the attorney’s, I observed Ranger who was looking at some of the jurors laughing and there was a young female juror making eye contact with him as though she was telling him with her eyes, “Yeah, I got your back.”
5 P.M. THE COURT RECONVENES TOMORROW MORNING MARCH 5TH
DAY 2: MARCH 5TH
Before Court started this morning a hand note describing the juror incident was given to Bailiff Shine to read and determine whether it needed to be brought to the attention of Judge McElfresh. Before the Jurors came in Honorable McElfresh pointed out to the Defendant and Prosecuting attorney the note he had received from Linda Sutter describing possible misconduct of Juror and Witness Ranger.
Prosecuting Attorney Zocchi started yelling in the court room, “LINDA SUTTER HAS HOSTILITY TOWARD THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND HAS WROTE LETTERS TO THE NEWSPAPER.” Making implications that Linda Sutter was a liar even though she is a law abiding citizen who is retired from law enforcement and is not a homeland terrorist like DA Zocchi portrays. DA Zocchi wanted to make Linda Sutter take an oath and be questioned regarding the note that was privately given to Bailiff Shine.
Linda Sutter refused to take an oath without proper legal representation and the mere possibility of getting set-up by the District Attorney’s office. The Jurors were brought in and questioned as well as the Ranger.
Zocchi tries to paint a picture of hostility of yet another woman when he is the one who is projecting his own hostilities toward women. It should be noted that his prior employment with another county ended with his suing the county for sexual harassment which was settled out of court.
Court adjourns for lunch and returns at approximately 1 p.m.
Zocchi turns to Bailiff Shine prior to the Jurors coming in and says, “I am telling the judge I will take care of this.”
Judge McElfresh enters the room and Zocchi begins again, “Your honor it has been brought to my attention that Linda Sutter is shaking her head during testimony and I don’t want this to impact the jury and I am asking you to exclude her from the court room.”
BAM…REALLY? IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE FART THAT SLIPPED OUT. The Clerk Amanda was the one who initiated the complaint to Zocchi. Sounds like someone needs to pay more attention to their job then what Linda Sutter is doing.
Judge McElfresh responded, “I have a clear view of the courtroom and Miss Sutter is the only one here and I have not seen that behavior.”
Assistant DA Zocchi’s job is to paint the worse picture imaginable. And he did. Congratulations for suppressing another woman down to the ground. After all, that is so typical of the actions of a misogynist. Alice Brown does not have the law on her side because she is; incapable of representing herself adequately, because she is poor, and because the Public Defenders who are employed by the county are not worth their salt.
The verdict is in.
The jury found her guilty in 20 minutes on two charges: She will be dealing with an infraction for California Code of Regulations 4451 which is not less than $100.00 and not more than $1,000 for camping at a spot that is clearly devoid of signs stating NO CAMPING; and the punishment for Penal Code 148(a) resisting arrest is more than likely some jail time.
Sentencing will be on March 12th.
The only logical solution to this inane scenario is for NO CAMPING signs to be posted. Until then, for these and other reasons we encourage poor tourists to stay safe and stay away from Crescent City/Del Norte County.
Now, how much did this cost the taxpayers?