Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grand Jury disbanded

From page A1 | March 08, 2013 | 31 Comments

An order dated Feb. 22 and signed by Judge Steven Bailey discharged the entire 2012-2013 El Dorado County Grand Jury.

According to the court order, the Grand Jury fell below the minimum of 12 active jurors and was thus discharged. No annual report had been made and there was no time left to select new members before the next Grand Jury is selected.

Ray Van Asten, the foreman of the Grand Jury, said he was bound by statute on saying why the members of the jury resigned, noting that anything that happens in the Grand Jury chamber is considered confidential. “We fell under the maximum number of jurors required,” he said, noting that was all he could really say.

Grand Juror Kirk Smith echoed the sentiment, adding that he had joined as a “matter of service” and to “serve the need for oversight,” and that being a member had “not been about payment.” He added that he was “sorry it happened” regarding the discharge.

“By statute, (the Grand Jury) expires in June,” explained Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury. Given the time it would take, she said, to mail out summons for replacing members or to get volunteers — the county uses a hybrid system to fill the Grand Jury — to interview for a foreperson and to train the Grand Jury, the group would “not accomplish anything in the time left.” She noted that some of the members had not resigned, but that new members would not be able to take part in interviews for matters that had already been under investigation, which is also set forth by a statute. “Literally, they would have to start over,” Kingsbury said.

With no options left, the Grand Jury was discharged. The selection process for the 2013-2014 Grand Jury will, however, begin in May with summons being sent out and advertisements made. The process will be “up and running shortly,” Kingsbury said. The new Grand Jury will be overseen by Judge Douglas C. Phimister, as Kingsbury makes it a practice to rotate the judges overseeing the Grand Juries.

As the Grand Jury is no longer empaneled, Kingsbury’s intention is that the information that had been collected will be passed on to the next Grand Jury, “who (will) then need to do independent analysis” on the information, she said. They can then determine what to do with the information, if anything. Given the circumstances, no annual report will be made this year.


Discussion | 31 comments

  • InformedMarch 08, 2013 - 8:02 am

    14 jurors resigned at one time. 4 previously quit at one time. You forgot to mention that in your article. The community should be asking what caused that. This article was completely watered down. Judge Bailey was removed from his post, not rotated out. Dig a little deeper Mt. Democrat.

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  • EvelynMarch 08, 2013 - 8:15 am

    THIS is the article on the disbanding of the Grand Jury published by "The Lake Tahoe News" on March 1st.

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  • RaulMarch 08, 2013 - 8:20 am

    This story came out in the Lake Tahoe News last week. They covered it much more in depth than the Dumpacrap. Names mentioned in thier story include Ron and Daddy Briggs, Baily, The DA, accusations of mistrust, illeagal activities by certain GJ members, secret meetings with former Supervisor Sweeny and a member of the GJ who "poisoned" the group, Etc,Etc etc. You know, Buisiness as usual on Fair Lane.You can be assured that Joe Harn is somewhere in the mix with his lapdog Rafferty. The good ol boys win another one. Lets honor those memebers of the Grand jury that would not disgrace thier position and integrity by providing a cover up for the questionable deeds of certain elected officials

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 08, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Time to disband the Grand Jury until further notice and then replace it with something that isn't under any elected politician's or Gob's supervision. Until then it is pointless and powerless. There has been so much swept under the rug in this county regarding the Gob's corruption that the carpets are as high as Pyramid Peak.

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  • observerMarch 08, 2013 - 9:37 am

    El Dorado County scandals always conveniently vanish into thin air. We don't talk about them; they didn't happen. Magic. Vested interests protecting vested interests = the GOBs at work & at play ........ and the GOBs network includes lots of unelected people.

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 08, 2013 - 9:50 am

    observer - UFOs, chemtrails, bigfoot and cold fusion always conveniently vanish into thin air. We don't talk about them; they didn't happen. Magic. Vested interests protecting vested interests = the GOBs at work & at play ........ and the GOBs network includes lots of unelected people . . . something about proving a negative . . . blather . . . “they” . . .

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 9:54 am

    The Grand Jury disbands. What juicy criminality did they come across that resulted in their being sent home? Or, maybe they were just inept and not up to the task. When will we know the rest of the story? Crime or ineptness.

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 10:02 am

    And, now going to the national scene. Fox News recommended yesterday impeachment of the president over the supervised release of undocumented immigrants. Sorry, never going to fly. However, if Fox News really wants to impeach the president, I suggest his impeachment over his failure to follow international and federal law to investigate and prosecute war crimes -- additionally his failure makes him an accessory after the fact. Now, this would make a real impeachment case. But, again, won't fly because no one is interested or cares about war crimes. Simply, no impeachments in our future.

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  • DB SmithMarch 08, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Colonel, the Bummer should have released them to Sheriff Joe in Arizona rather than just out into the streets. Did you say something about supervised?

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 10:19 am

    DB, I was repeating what was said on Fox News when they called for impeachment. I see that Sheriff Joe fell down and broke his arm. Guess the Deputy Sheriff will be in charge until he gets out of the hospital.

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 10:24 am

    Ashley Judd is moving forward with her run against Senator McConnell in Kentucky. McConnell has already put out ads noting that Judd has been naked in movies. I await Judd putting out ads alleging that McConnell has been naked in the Senate. Wonder how she got the photographs?

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  • DB SmithMarch 08, 2013 - 10:30 am

    When I think of Ashley Judd I immediately think of her soul sister Janeane Garofalo. Yuck and double Yuck!

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 10:30 am

    Oh, another comment about impeachment over war crimes. The House and Senate impeach, and given that many House and Senate members knew about the war crimes and did nothing, the impeachment would put them in the frying pan too. See how the rule of law gets perverted through conspiracy.

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 10:34 am

    DB, I wasn't aware of a connection between Ashley and Janeane? Were they in a movie together?

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  • James SmithMarch 08, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    The article in the Lake Tahoe paper alludes to the issue, but neither of these so called newspapers really wants to investigate. I think everyone knows that 14 people don't resign all at once unless there is a major corruption issue.

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  • sunshineMarch 08, 2013 - 1:32 pm

    To shine a little more light on the subject -This seems to correspond with the time Supervisor Mark Neilson was investigated by the Grand Jury for violation of the Brown Act. All of the information that the Grand Jury acquired for trial was handed over by the Grand Jury foreman to Judge Riley. Then Judge Riley quickly went on vacation and could not be reached when the court could not find the Grand Jury information for prosecution. The presiding judge threw the case out. It does take a lot of GOBs to protect GOBs

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  • James E.March 08, 2013 - 6:43 pm

    I remember Supervisor Mark Neilson. I saw him numerous times walking on Main Street. Very well dressed -- would have been home on 45th and Madison in NYC. Perhaps dressed by Paul Stuart at the 45th and Madison store. He died while on vacation in Japan. Big secret as to cause of death??

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  • observerMarch 09, 2013 - 8:16 am

    Foaming is not as ignorant as he always pretends to be.

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  • R SmithMarch 10, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    Unlike many of the Mountain Democrat’s editorials, the story by the Democrat of the Grand Jury’s disbandment was rather sheepish as compared to the same story by the Lake Tahoe News. Many of the Democrat’s editorials take delight in shredding the county’s citizens who volunteer to serve on district boards and committees. Much of the editorial information is wrong, out of context, half baked and contains a large load of self-serving pudding cooked up in the office of the county auditor. With all these kudos from the “Oldest Newspaper in the West”, why would any citizen volunteer to do their civic duty? We now see that this same question has visited the Grand Jury (GJ) and produced a mass resignation. The scuttling of the GJ could not come at a more critical time for the citizens of the county. In February members of the GJ visited a few of the Fire Departments in the county in search of the truth which they evidently found. Sometime during these encounters they felt the need to apologize for the anguish caused by misinformation and down right lies provided to them by unnamed county officials. They did so and a report from them would soon be forthcoming. Since then come the GJ resignations and the demise of the GJ along with the report. One could only hope that an investigation into the resignations and the disbandment of the GJ, undertaken by a new GJ, under a new overseer, would find that there was no wrongdoing in this case and thereby restore the public trust.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 11, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    I would quietly and quickly bring in the same investigators who were used in the Tahoe Police Officer's arrest for corruption charges, I would then interview the members of the GJ as to what actually happened and why. I would have it taken to the Federal Courthouse in Sac in front of a legitimate functioning Grand Jury without local interference. This is how it should be done, this is how you clean up a county. After this the civilian Grand Jury locally may be able to resume if not supervised by any elected Gob politician or their representative.

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  • Walking TallMarch 11, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Frank, you assume that anyone wants to clean up the corruption and investigate the wrong doing here in river city...not The GOB's are being reborn and promoted as fast as the old one leave with their retirement money. Gee see a pattern here and to think that the new Sheriff was going to clean up, well he has as he is making his GOB money just like the DA and the list goes on. The names have changed but the game is the same, so no wonder why the GJ stopped their investigation as they were getting close to the truth about the supes. We all knew that no one would ever be held accountable and the beat goes on....

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 11, 2013 - 3:42 pm

    They don't call this "Corruption County" for nothing. Having seen it first hand and witnessed it over some decades and loudly spoken up about what I saw and what was needed to change it, I can talk a little about it. There are times when it comes crashing down on the empire they, the Gob's, have built and sometimes they get away with a huge retirement and a quick moving trip out of state. It took a number of years to build the corruption, as it will to dismantle it. Like termites, the woods around here seem full of these Gob's and their associates and every time you look under a board a few more come crawling out, but people aren't as blind as it was years ago and from what I see, there are more people who know a little more now and their patience is running out. I can guess the Grand Jury discovered the same, which is just as well they resigned, because it would have to go to an outside agency for any action anyway, the political players in the county have to be disqualified from any local corruption cases, which in turn makes a local GJ pointless for now as it has been in the past.

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  • EvelynMarch 26, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    "Opinion: Harassment among El Dorado County grand jurors" - HERE

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 26, 2013 - 10:05 pm

    Evely, in your opinion, do you believe in the context of "GOB network" that foreman, Ray Van Asten might be considered part of the "GOB network" (whatever that is). I know that term is terribly imprecise and may be "in the eye of the beholder". But foreman, Ray Van Asten= GOB?

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 26, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    LINK - Monday, October 24, 2011 - Ray Van Asten running for EID Div. 1

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  • EvelynMarch 27, 2013 - 2:48 am

    I know nothing about him.

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  • victimMay 22, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    Judge James Wagoner threatens to arrest people acting under the First Amendment right to file Grand Jury Complaints. see his punishment RE: "2009 couple." From what I can see, when official complaints with prima facie evidence of local corruption, the "advisory Judges" are there to intervene on behalf of the corrupt. El Dorado County has gained their policy from cold war USSR soviet policy to rule with a heavy hand and violate the rights of citizens. Member of the Grand Jury who acquiesce to this open corruption should be imprisoned, but we know that will never happen. It's unfortunate that sick little evil minds can ruin lives in order to silence complaints. But EDC citizens vote for them so they must like it.

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  • RE EditorialMay 22, 2013 - 4:21 pm

    Another shill reporter going to grow up as a yes man for the local corruption! How do they look in the mirror? What do they see?

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  • Counsel of Judicial PerformanceMay 22, 2013 - 4:23 pm

    Somebody simply file a complaint to against the advisory judge for dismissing jurors. There will be an investigation, and if any wrong doing occurred the judge will be punished. Anybody can file the complaint and and the more the better!

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  • 22, 2013 - 4:26 pm

    The EDC grand jury has already seen a judge intimidating witnesses and was punished yes file a complaint on this! It is in the San Francisco jurisdiction, and they hate red neck racist civil right abuser types like these judges.

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  • Grand Jury off to rocky start | Twain Harte TimesAugust 30, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    [...] up with in their report. Assuming, of course, that the grand jury isn’t disbanded like the grand jury in El Dorado County earlier this [...]

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