"THE MATRIX" JUSTICE SYSTEM IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY: Why Drug Offenders Don't Spend Time Behind Bars
News Channel 3 investigates the justice system in Humboldt County as it relates to drug offenses. On Thursday June 14th we showed you video of a man shooting up heroin captured by Eureka Police. The officer who arrested him told News Channel 3 he was mad at the system for letting offenders out of jail so fast.. We wanted to know why.
"Yeah why don't you bring your stuff up here,” booms officer Drake Goodale’s voice on a recorded cell phone video. It shows known heroin addict Omar Cornett shooting up behind the Eureka library.
"We're frustrated, if the DA’s office would do something,” Goodale said in a previous interview. He arrested Cornett after taking the video, but for him that wasn't good enough. He wanted to see something done about the fact these offenders get booked into jail, then turn around and get released.
Lt. Dean Flint of the Humboldt County Jail said he shares in the Police Department’s frustrations.
He sees drug addicts slip through the system every day.
And Chief Harpham's police department wants to see more action taken to prosecute this type of crime, but the District Attorney's office says they're doing everything they can. DA Paul Gallegos says the problems we see locally are because of statewide prison realignment.
There is a complicated “Matrix” system in place at the jail to figure out who gets booked and who doesn’t because the jail is overcrowded. If they're too many people in the jail, the matrix system won't let them book lesser offenses... like a misdemeanor drug charge.
Meaning someone like Omar Cornett could get caught shooting up heroin, and not see anywhere inside of the Humboldt County Jail.
Lt. Flint says the Matrix system is set to be reviewed by judges again in a few weeks.
News Channel 3 is continuing to investigate the issue and the frustrations expressed by all branches of our local justice system.