Thank you for covering the story about the search for justice on Howard Street in Eureka ("What Happened on Howard Street," Aug. 27). It was painful to read the statement from the chief investigator for the DA, that, "based on the status of the evidence, we would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial." It sounds too much like what happened with the justice for Josiah Lawson effort, only this time a grand jury wasn't involved.
A trial contains no guarantees, and using the excuse that they would be "unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't inspire confidence in the system. Doesn't the fact that the victim is Black and a minor, and the alleged assailant white give extra weight to the effort to find justice? The scales of justice have been demonstrably out of balance for the Black community and here is a chance to restore some trust. Was the evidence submitted by the Sheriff's Office that flimsy? The investigators follow professional standards before submitting a case to the DA, right?
Rather than rejecting the opportunity to pursue justice, why can't the DA ask the sheriff to revisit the investigation, providing guidance, if needed, about what it is they are looking for in order to go forward? Given the number of on-the-record disruptions occurring on Howard Street, and the frustrations experienced by the neighbors and law enforcement, a vigorous effort to use our justice system would be constructive.
The investigator's statement rejecting the case sounds like a verbal shrug. Sadly, it underscores the notion that some of us matter more than others when it comes to which cases will get the full attention of the law. All of us expect and deserve more from our public servants.
Sheila Evans, Eureka
What has happened to the Achane family on Howard Street is outrageous — thank you for featuring this travesty of justice. It is unsurprising and disappointing to hear of the broken wheels of justice in Humboldt. Although I campaigned diligently for District Attorney Maggie Fleming, during her tenure I have been disappointed repeatedly: allowing a homeless, significantly developmentally delayed adult to be tried by a judge disqualified by prior acts, accepting an inadequate competency determination, and ultimately condoning an arguably excessive sentence of hard time at San Quentin! In another case, a freshly released ex-con seriously assaulted a tiny, homeless 3 year old. The Sheriff's Office did its job, but the DA's office was dismal — the guy was on multiple parole violations out of Mendocino County but, immediately released, he then proceeded to commit multiple violations of a Humboldt restraining order related to the baby assault and was not arrested, and more than a year later, this child assault case remains in limbo. In both these cases, all involved were white and homeless.
I hope a powerful lawyer will represent the Achanes against the county and that a justice agency with authority over the DA will investigate the multiple mishandlings. Justice requires timely due process and law enforcement for all, no matter the color of their skin, their poverty, their age nor their intellectual challenges.
Hilary Mosher, McKinleyville
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