Other Voices: Are we really safe in our community?
I am furious about the lack of support and justice Nevada County is capable of lending.
On Aug. 16, while I was on duty at work, an extremely angry woman threatened my life and held a gun on me. The sheriff’s office tracked her down, and hours later they had her in custody, only to post bail a day and a half later. She was charged with criminal threats and brandishing a weapon.
I stood in her line of fire in shock and disbelief after doing everything I could to help her. My existence in this life was in her power, and a fraction of a second, a slip of a finger, was all it would have taken to leave my four beloved children motherless.
Several different legal persons reassured me that she more than likely would not post bail; they described her as looking like an angry person on drugs with erratic mood swings and as a possible flight risk, due to her not being registered in California but rather in Oklahoma. Me being a single mother, I had to return to work the morning following her release, living in constant fear and easily startled now, waiting for her to return. After all, if she had been so angry already and has created a record for herself, how angry is she now?
My argument is that this incident happened to me, yet I have no rights. I received a subpoena and upon check-in, they placed me in a private waiting room. They informed me that the district attorney at some point would see me. They later informed me that she pled to the bargain given, and I could go. They had settled the case without my voice. I never even entered the courtroom. I had no say in the courtroom. It is as if it were someone else’s case. I had given the sheriff a report after my assault, which turned out to have a very important discrepancy in it. This is the extent to which they allowed me to participate.
As it turned out, she pled “no contest” to the “felony criminal threat” with 60 days maximum jail time and probation. They dropped the charge of “misdemeanor brandishing a weapon.” She did not just expose the gun and wave it around, which would be brandishing; she aimed and held the gun on me after threatening my life twice, which is an assault. I feel the charge was inaccurate for the crime committed. The charge was not only reduced beforehand, they dropped it altogether, making this crime appear as if there weren’t a gun involved at all. In addition, to think she aimed the gun through a parking lot full of high school students stopping by before school, letting them witness, deeply disturbs and sickens me. Where is the concern here?
I must say, I surely do not feel too protected by my community, in my community. When a person not registered in this state can walk up to you, tell you they are going to kill you, aim their gun at you while laughing, put undue fear in your life and receive no gun charge, maybe I’m in the wrong state.
Oh yes, I forgot. Nevada County is notorious for plea-bargaining to avoid trial. Therefore, “Injustice Shall They Serve.”
I would like to acknowledge Loletta from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program Center. She is the only one who went out of her way to try to help me understand anything with “this” case. Thank you for your help Loletta.
Cindy Clark lives in Penn Valley.
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