Brown held on $100,000 bail
By Sam Williams
Brown was free after filing a $40,000 bond following his arrest on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Brown was taken into custody after the Lassen County District Attorney’s office executed a search warrant on his residence and discovered evidence of the allegedly fraudulent photograph.
Lassen County District Attorney Bob Burns asked the court to impose the bail beyond the bail schedule due to public safety concerns, the seriousness of the offense and flight risk.
The $100,000 bond applies to the original drug possession charges in Brown’s case from June 2005 and is in addition to the $40,000 bond he posted last week after being arrested for his participation in the scheme to present the allegedly fraudulent photos to the court.
Burns said the defendant came to the court with “unclean hands” and “tried to pull the wool over all our eyes … now he wants the assistance of the court.”
According to Burns’ pleading, “The defendant in the case at bar has, while out on bail, committed extremely serious new offenses — to wit, subornation of perjury and associated charges — by which the defendant sought to undermine the integrity of the judicial process … the defendant, seeking to escape the probable prison consequences of his drug-dealing conduct … provided a fraudulent photograph and an offer of perjured testimony to the court in an effort to overturn the court’s ruling against the defense … in the spectrum of felonious conduct, it is difficult to imagine a crime with a more grave effect … than the defendant’s deliberate effort to debase the very system that guaranteed his status as ‘innocent until proven guilty.’”
Brown’s defense attorney, David Williams, argued Brown was not a flight risk and didn’t pose a danger to public safety.
The judge agreed with Burns.
“There’s some pretty flagrant stuff going on here,” Dier said as he granted Burn’s motion for increased bail. He ordered the amount to be $100,000 and ordered the bailiff to take Brown into custody immediately.
Williams, Brown’s defense attorney, told the court he had contacted the state bar association and discussed the case with them. He said the bar advised him to withdraw from the case due to a potential conflict.
As a witness in the case, Williams’ testimony regarding the photograph could be damaging to Brown, a development that creates a legal conflict.
Burns said the investigation continues, and Terry DuPriest, the witness who allegedly gave the allegedly fraudulent photograph to Williams to present the court, had been arrested.
The district attorney said in unraveling the matter, he might want to call Williams as a witness in the matter.
“I suspect Mr. Williams might be right at the front of the line of witnesses in that case,” Burns said.
Burns told the court Williams was wise to withdraw from the case given these new developments.
Dier wanted to appoint the public defender’s office to represent one of the Browns, but the public defender’s office said it couldn’t accept any new cases due to a staffing shortage and declined the appointment. Burns agreed the public defender’s office was understaffed.
Dier appointed two local attorneys to represent the couple in the case — Bill Ballew, who will represent Richard Brown, and John Lawson, who will represent Terri Brown.
Evidentiary hearing reopened
Williams withdrew the allegedly fraudulent photograph presented to the court on Nov. 29, which depicts the defendant’s truck on a tow trailer with clearly visible mud flaps from evidence.
According to the district attorney, that photograph was taken Thanksgiving evening when the pickup truck was towed from the DePriest’s residence to the defendant’s residence.
Another photograph presented to the court on Nov. 29, also depicts the Browns’ pickup with mud flaps. A city of Susanville employee reportedly took that photograph on June 14, 2005 — two days after the Browns’ arrest. The authenticity of this photograph has not been questioned.
Williams presented a third photograph, allegedly taken by another of his clients on June 10 — two days before the Browns’ arrest. The Browns’ pickup truck has mud flaps in that photograph.
Dier said he was in the same position he was in at the Dec. 5 hearing. He said if the new photographs submitted by Williams are genuine, they have some bearing on the case and should be considered.
Williams said the photographs raise questions about the testimony of four local law enforcement officers from three different agencies who testified under oath that the Browns’ truck did not have mud flaps on June 12, 2005, when the Browns were arrested on felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and transportation of a controlled substance — methamphetamine.
Burns said he expects more charges to be filed against more people as the investigation continues.
Burns said he expects the case to return to court after the first of the year.
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