September 10, 2016

Exceptional Police Work

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 12:13 pm

irvine-pd-patchAt a time when citizens throughout the United States are being propagandized by various media including the skews media to ridicule and deride law enforcement officers, it was not only refreshing but also inspiring to see the Los Angeles Times newspaper run its six-part series entitled ‘FRAMED – She was the PTA mom everybody knew.  Who would want to harm her?

The series highlights the exceptional and insightful work of the Irvine, California, Police Department.  It is worth noting that the Irvine officer who was first assigned the call was an experienced police officer, not a rookie.  The article rightly raises the question:  Would the outcome of this case have been different if a less experienced and less patient patrol officer had been the first to respond?

The series was written by LA Times staff writer Christopher Goffard.  Goffard’s bio states, “He shared in the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s Bell coverage …”  Attentive readers may recall the Kootenai County connection to the Bell scandal which the LA Times reported and for which it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The entire six-part series can easily be read in half an hour.  It’s worth the time.

September 9, 2016

Report: ‘Bringing Calm to Chaos’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:17 pm

farook-malik-copyOn December 2, 2015, Islamic terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, attacked Farook’s office holiday party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and wounding 22. Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with area law enforcement on the same day.

Now the US Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Police Foundation have released a 162-page critical incident report entitled ‘Bringing Calm to Chaos — A critical incident review of the San Bernardino public safety response to the December 2, 2015 terrorist shooting incident at the Inland Regional Center.’

It is a ‘lessons learned’ report that focuses specifically on the San Bernardino incident.  However, it has much broader applications to the range of active shooter and hostile events generally.  The report discusses leadership; command and control; planning and response; investigations; community engagements, relationships, and public information; and responder and victim welfare and mental health.

September 8, 2016

So … Did You Get the Message?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 3:00 pm


After Windstorm 2015, the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management was justifiably criticized for its failure to timely and uniformly notify county residents of relevant storm-related information.  One county notification system, HipLink, was supposed to provide text messages via landline and cell phone to subscribers.

HipLink didn’t work, but our whizbang Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said they’d fix it.  We didn’t hold our breath.

According to this Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper article online dated September 4, 2016, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office was supposed to send a test message of the “fixed” text and cell phone messaging system.

Since Windstorm 2015 we have subscribed to the County’s HipLink notification and the City’s NIXLE notification system.

We’re curious.  Did anyone receive the Wednesday 10 a.m. test message promised by the Sheriff’s Office?

We’ve received no test messages from either system.  Ever.

September 2, 2016

North Idaho Fair General Manager Resigns

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:37 pm

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA PostOpenCdA has been told that on September 1, 2016, Dane Dugan, the General Manager of the North Idaho Fair submitted his resignation to the Fair’s Board of Directors.  Dugan has reportedly left to pursue other opportunities.

If Dugan has in fact resigned, then the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners should quickly agree to seek a forensic audit of the North Idaho Fair’s financial records.

Apparent conflicts between the Fair’s annual external audit and Kootenai County’s own internal audit had prompted Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon to recommend the forensic audit be conducted after this year’s Fair ended.

With Dugan’s apparent departure, OpenCdA urges the Fair Board to join in the request for a forensic audit.  Because Dugan had also been receiving an income from the Fair Foundation, we hope that the Fair Board Foundation will also voluntarily submit all its financial records for inspection during the same forensic audit.

This is an opportunity for the Fair Board and the Fair Foundation to ensure their financial records are truly squeaky clean.  It will allow the North Idaho State Fair to proceed with a clean record toward improving next year’s North Idaho State Fair.

September 1, 2016

The ‘Co-equal’ Remedy

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 1:51 pm

HillaryFSBMany months ago I was discussing with a friend the unlikely success of Donald Trump’s and Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential runs.   Neither appeared likely to be even close to becoming his respective party’s nominee out of the conventions.

At the time however, I commented that if either Donald Trump or Senator Sanders would be his respective party’s nominee in the 2016 presidential election, my hope was that the other would also be his own party’s nominee.   Goofy as that sounds, I was serious.

My rationale was that if either Trump or Sanders was destined to be elected and inaugurated President of the United States, it would force our bicameral Congress to sober up, set aside partisan differences,  and take seriously for a change its duties to the country.   That would include using all of its various Constitutionally enumerated powers to minimize the damage either President Trump or President Sanders could do if unchecked.  That was precisely what the framers of the Constitution sought in creating three co-equal branches of government. (more…)

August 25, 2016

A Reasonable Recommendation

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:16 am

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA Post[


On July 29, 2016, Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon recommended that the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners authorize and fund a forensic audit of the Fair Board’s financial records.  His recommendation was that the audit should be done after this year’s North Idaho Fair has concluded.

His recommendation was both reasonable and appropriate given the findings reported in the Kootenai County Internal Audit Final Report, June & July, 2016, concerning the North Idaho Fair processes.  OpenCdA endorses that recommendation wholeheartedly. (more…)

August 6, 2016

CRS: Prosecuting Offenses Against Congress

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 9:29 am

CRS copyWhat if someone lied to Congress while testifying under oath?  Or what if someone intentionally interfered with Congressional oversight required by law?  These are explicitly offenses against Congress, not just offenses against the United States.  How would Congress begin the process to investigate and then prosecute the offender?

Recently, some members of Congress concluded that Hillary Clinton had intentionally lied under oath to Congress.    In one such hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz was clearly unfamiliar with the process for initiating an investigation to determine the nature and extent of Clinton’s lies under oath.  Chaffetz seemed surprised that the Feebs couldn’t just plunk their magic twanger and start an investigation into Clinton’s deception.

Recognizing that some, many, most, or all members of Congress might be knowledge-deficient when it comes to prosecuting offenses committed against their own institutional body, the CRS published a two-page CRS Legal Sidebar entitled Prosecution of Criminal Offenses Against Congress.  It was released to Congress on July 26, 2016.

August 2, 2016

Read and Decide for Yourself

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 11:46 am

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA PostOn July 26, 2016, our local skews paper, the Coeur d’Alene Press, published an article headlined ‘Audit of fair raises red flags.’   The article is available online for those who care to read it.

Then two days later on July 28, the Press published the Kootenai County Fair board’s response in an article headlined ‘Kootenai County Fair board responds to audit concerns.’  That article was not published online.

As a service to readers, OpenCdA is linking to the complete Kootenai County Internal Audit – Final Report – North Idaho Fair Financial Processes – June & July, 2016.  It is not some tedious tome.  It is readable and equally important, understandable by those of us with no accounting background.  Counting the one-page executive summary and the one-page table of contents, it is 24 pages.

The County’s audit report is well-organized and succinct.  Each  condition the audit team observed is reported.  The remedial recommendations are also reported.  And finally, the responses of the Fair Board accompany each condition and set of recommendations.

In short, by reading the Internal Audit Final Report, readers will have a far more complete understanding of why in late May 2016 the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners ‘… directed the Clerk’s internal audit team to review the Fair’s financial practices as soon as possible.’  It is likely readers will also have a much better understanding of why the Commissioners recommended the addition of two Fair Board members who have ‘deeper financial expertise’ that the existing Fair Board members.

We also suggest that readers read two sets of meeting minutes.  The first is captioned ‘Minutes of Meeting – Fairgrounds – April 19, 2016, 3:00 p.m.‘  The second is captioned ‘Minutes of Meeting – Internal Audit Committee, May 31, 2016, 11:00 a.m.‘   Both sets of minutes are relevant to the Audit Report, but equally important, they provide voters with some insight into the official conduct of elected County officials.

July 29, 2016

Setting a Good Example

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 3:41 pm

Questions copy copyOur July 23, 2016, post entitled Unanswered Questions or Unquestioned Answers? properly suggested that one of Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh’s go-to conflict attorneys, Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas, had apparently decided that the public didn’t need to know any more about the drowning death of Coeur d’Alene High School student Reginald J. Nault.

Now, contrast the Douglas-McHugh information drought with the good example of openness by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in his release and online publication of  the decision letter sent Friday to the Adams County Prosecutor and attorneys for the Yantis family. The public can view the letter and investigative file on the Attorney General’s website (ADDENDUM on 07-30-2016:  For those who prefer not to read, see two of the video summaries in today’s Idaho Statesman.  AG Wasden   Sheriff Zollman)

Most people that followed the investigation into death of Council, Idaho, rancher Jack Yantis at the hands of Adams County Deputy Sheriffs also know that the Yantis family has filed a civil damage claim against the County.  AG Wasden is clearly aware of that.

AG Wasden was also aware of the keen and continuing interest in the investigation by the Yantis family and neighbors in Council.  Wasden could have stonewalled them for information by making them submit an Idaho Public Records Law request.  He could also have used the “make ’em pay dearly” legislatively-approved practice of charging applicants for the time and above-the-page-limit copies to see public information.     He did neither.

AG Wasden’s decision letter made it very clear that his office’s charge “… was to review this matter for the sole purpose of determining whether criminal charges should be filed against the two Adams County Sheriff’s Office employees involved in the shooting of Jack Yantis.”

AG Wasden’s letter then went on to say, “The OAG’s duty in conducting that review did not include determining whether any person or entity should be held liable in a civil action…”  In other words once the criminal charging decision had been made by AG Wasden, his office had no obligation to keep the investigative results quiet just to protect Adams County or any individuals from civil liability.  AG Wasden was free to post the investigative information (with certain lawful and required redactions) for all to see.  To his credit, that’s exactly what he did.

OpenCdA thinks Boundary County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Douglas ought to do exactly the same thing with the investigative material developed during the Reginald Nault death investigation.   We also think our local and regional skews papers ought to join with OpenCdA in this suggestion.  But we won’t hold our breath for any of this to happen.  The already-lumpy Kootenai County rug is likely to get lumpier.

Deputies Won’t Be Charged in Yantis Shooting Death

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:45 am

19117510-mmmainIdaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden reported today that there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against the two Adams County deputy sheriffs who shot and killed Council, Idaho, rancher Jack Yantis on November 1, 2015.

Here is a link to today’s Idaho Statesman story with more details.

Here is a link to all OpenCdA’s posts about the shooting.

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