A crop of what will undoubtedly be some of my favorite stories of the entire month all seemed to occur on the very first day of 2013. I can only assume this bodes well for the rest of the year.
- In the early morning hours of Jan. 1, a teen was arrested on suspicion of burglary. Police say a woman saw him fleeing from her bathroom window. The best part, however, is what he was found with: several pairs of her underwear along with pairs belonging to another woman/women.
Samurai swords: the new weapon of choice?
I love reading about old cases here in Santa Cruz County. One of the most interesting cases I’ve been reading about lately has to do with a form of psychotherapy invented here in Santa Cruz called neurolinguistic programming.
One of the founders, Richard Bandler, apparently became swept up in drug use and before long, found himself on trial for the murder of a prostitute and student named Corine Christensen. He was eventually acquitted, but the whole sordid story behind it is fascinatingly weird. Mother Jones had a good account back in 1989.
Incidentally, in a few weeks it will be the 25th anniversary of Bandler’s acquittal. I’m trying to find out where the key players are now.
Does anyone remember this story? Were you living locally at the time?
This case has also, perhaps unsurprisingly, garnered a lot of conspiracy theories....
In case the self-proclaimed “homeless hacker” Christopher Doyon had fallen off your radar, never fear.
He’s back, sorta, thanks to a profile in the tech geek website Ars Technica.
The piece details his adventures from hacking the county’s websites to getting hit with federal charges, to then skipping bail and leaving local attorney Ed Frey to foot the bill.
Read the entire thing here.
Incidentally, Linda Lemaster — who was sentenced to community service last week for an illegal lodging conviction — said during her trial that she was stayed at the courthouse past dark to take care of Doyon during the Peace Camp 2010 protest.
While heading to the city this past weekend, I chuckled at the large signs posted on Highway 17 near the Summit touting “Herbs, $125 an ounce” flanked by the green crosses that signify medical marijuana.
A co-worker also spotted it and got a chuckle. Apparently though, a lot of people weren’t laughing at the signs. In fact, county officials made Santa Cruz Mountain Herb owner Daniel Hwang remove the signs this week.
County supervisors said the signs violated local ordinances pertaining to advertising of medical marijuana.
My colleague Christina Gullickson has put together a “bucket list” of the top 10 things to do in Santa Cruz County before you die.
Check it out here. I think I’ve done half of them. How about you?
Today I learned that in California, there are civil grand juries that are unlike anything I’m used to.
In California counties, the Civil Grand Jury serves to “scrutinize the conduct of public business of County government.” Basically, it’s watchdog group comprised of 19 members who serve for a period of one year from July through June 30 of the following year. The jurors investigate the operations of the various officers, departments and agencies within the government of their respective county. Each grand jury determines which officers, departments and agencies it will investigate during its term of office.
The Santa Cruz County Civil Grand Jury issued its report for the 2011-2012 term today.
I was fairly baffled by this, with good reason, perhaps, since this seems to be a uniquely California thing.
According to some reports, such as the not-for-profit Grand Jury Foundation, “No state has authorized grand juries the range of civil investigative authority that the institution has at its disposal in California. No statutory authority exists for a grand jury for California State government.”
We have grand juries in New York state but they serve a completely different purpose. In my home state, “No person can be put on trial for a crime prosecuted in the Supreme or County Court until after a grand jury has found a bill of indictment.” The grand jury hears evidence in a case and determines whether there’s sufficient evidence to hold the person to the charges and take the case to trial. In California, this process is accomplished by holding a preliminary hearing. Preliminary hearings are held sometimes in some New York courts, but it’s rare, and it’s a little different than here in California. Back there, a preliminary hearing is usually heard before a judge even before an arraignment.
So there ya go. You learn something new everyday. It’s been so interesting to me to learn all of the various, nuanced differences between the legal systems in various states.
The author takes a photo of the only banana slug she's seen since moving to Santa Cruz.
I’ve still only seen one banana slug in real life, and it was very exciting. It was in November at Big Basin State Park.
I am highly amused by the fact that the UC Santa Cruz mascot is the banana slug and find it far funnier than any of the mascots at my alma maters: Willie the Wildcat, a hawk and a Spartan.
There was also a time in my childhood when I wanted to be an entomologist. Given all of these facts, I couldn’t help but laugh when I spotted a piece on Boing Boing today that’s all about the banana slug — its reproductive process, to be exact. Apparently they are hermaphroditic!
The piece that Boing Boing references, written by Cassandra Willyard, can be found in full on The Last Word on Nothing.
Please note: these pieces both discuss sexual anatomy of the gastropod variety.
More on the banana slug can be found in the research of UC Santa Cruz PhD candidate Brooke Miller.