Three years after voters chose her to be Sonoma County district attorney, Jill Ravitch launched her re-election campaign Thursday night, hosting a fundraiser attended by as many as 250 supporters that included elected officials and community leaders.
Madeleine Melo of Fort Bragg, widow of the North Coast’s most prominent recent victim of gun violence, spoke out Thursday night in defense of gun ownership at a public forum convened by Rep. Mike Thompson.
Rep. Mike Thompson said the public forum on gun violence prevention that he is hosting Thursday in Santa Rosa will be a wide-ranging discussion of the divisive issue rekindled by last month’s tragedy in Connecticut.
Two members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors failed to push through a proposal to repeal the county’s guidelines on medical marijuana cultivation and possession. After listening for nearly two hours to medical marijuana lawyers, patients and advocates lambast the lack of outreach on the repeal effort, the board voted 5-0 to set it aside.
Lance Janssen hasn’t led a charmed existence. The Healdsburg man has a long criminal rap sheet, dating back to the late 1980s, and has spent much of his adulthood in jail and prison. It looked like he was going away for life when he committed his third ‘strike’ offense: Fleeing police last year through Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa with a loaded handgun under the seat of his motorcycle. But fate finally smiled on the 45-year-old ex-con.
The diversion of state prisoners to county supervision has changed the culture in Sonoma County’s jail, making it more violent, while forcing the early release of petty criminals, Sheriff Steve Freitas said Wednesday.
Attacks on correctional deputies have increased 72 percent since the dramatic shift was instituted 12 months ago and fights between inmates are increasing, he said. However, he said he could not immediately provide specific data on the specific numbers of such incidents.
At the same time, the influx of more serious felons serving longer sentences has required the jail to release those convicted of lesser offenses on electronic home confinement, Freitas said.
Over nine months ending in September, the jail released 231 people eligible for detention alternatives who were serving time for such offenses as drunken driving, drug use and theft, Freitas said.
Court-appointed lawyers and investigators defending six Santa Rosa gang members tied to a 2008 Jenner beach murder submitted bills to Sonoma County totaling more than $520,000. The money, divided among 11 attorneys and three investigators for the Asian Boyz defendants, was in addition to full-time salaries paid to some of the lawyers under contract with the county to represent poor people. The costs were driven up, in part, by the more than two years it took then-District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua to decide whether he would seek the death penalty.
Eighteen months after leaving public office, Sonoma County’s former top prosecutor has returned to the legal arena, albeit on different terms. Stephan Passalacqua, district attorney from 2003-2011, appeared in a Santa Rosa courtroom this week as the defense lawyer for a man accused of drunken driving. He’s delved into business law with a focus on real estate, wine and water issues, and picks up the occasional criminal case.