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Steve White

There is a hearing next week regarding the defense motion to remove the local DA from the case.

The Attorney General's "Friend of teh Court" brief says the motion should not be granted.

The brief is signed by some long term prosecutor in the Attorney General's office. Gerald Engler.

To me, it's incredible that anyone can argue against ensuring fairness as this man does. Basically, his brief says, unless the defendant can prove the bias on the part of the DA, can prove he will not be treated fairly, (of course, that was proved when the charge was file as far as most of us can tell) he has to accept the DA he has.

Engler makes a bunch of legalistic arguments, but never tries to say it's fair for that local DA to keep the case. Incredible.

Thanks very much for giving us this disturbing news.



Steve White

Maybe it's just my computer, but the link to the Amicus Curae brief filed by Engler of the DOJ has stopped working.

Does anyone else have trouble getting that link to work. It was the word "here" at the very end of the article above.


Just posted by Sheriff Rod Mitchell

Recent television broadcasts about the boating collision that took Lynn Thornton’s life
have left many good citizens apprehensive about the adequacy and fairness of the
subsequent investigation. I have heard those concerns and they do resonate with me.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department must operate unencumbered by doubt. Lynn
Thornton’s loved ones and local citizens alike must be able to trust that we are fully
open to inspection - in spite of unfortunate stereotypes of rural communities.
On August 20th, 2007, I contacted the Office of the Attorney General and I requested
that his Department of Justice (DOJ) conduct a review of the investigation done by my
staff and members of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Marine Services Unit. Unofficial
approval was granted the following day and I received official approval of my request
on August 22nd, 2007. I look forward to the outcome of the DOJ’s review and I am
committed to accepting all of their findings.
It is typical for law enforcement agencies to protect case evidence until it can be
scrutinized in court. In a rural county like ours, it is crucial that our small jury pool is
not influenced by un-vetted information from the media before jurors can be
empanelled to view the evidence and the examination of witnesses under oath. I will
release the DOJ’s findings to the public for review the instant that I am confident that it
will not interfere with any local jury selection process.
Rodney K. Mitchell

Tell The Truth

Mr. Mitchell:
The only reason you are doing anything at all is to make it appear that your department is doing "the right thing." You are not fooling anyone for one moment. I do feel bad for the honest employees in your department - they're stuck working with the Perdocks and Hopkins of the world. These guys are putting themselves above the law. EVERYONE, ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE I have spoken with who has heard about this or seen the TV coverage is dumbfounded at the blantant denial of Perdock and Hopkins! It just simply defies logic. If you really want to do the right thing, then tell the truth!!! You know how these jerks covered up to save Perdock's ass, and guess what? So does everyone else! The real truth will come out & these guys are going to run out of lies and stories. Just wait and see!


The fact that anyone on the sailboat was ever charged shows this as a blatant coverup by the offocials involved.
If you are riding your bicycle thru a parking lot sober or not, and a speeding car runs you down are you going to be charged .... I don't think so.
The Driver of the powered watercraft is obviously guilty of reckless driving no matter whether the other boats lights were on or not. Even if the lights were on and the driver were stone cold sober there is no way he could have gotten out of the way. And @ 50 MPH the driver of the powerboat had obviously overdriven whatever lights he had on the boat.


Thank you for all of the coverage and support.

A friend

I am a friend of the people who love Lynn Thornton and the pain that these people had to go though when they lost her was great and this department is running from the blame. It is unbelievable that Predock can sleep at night. The lost of life of a remarkable Mother, a remarkable friend, a remarkable person and Bismarck Dinius is the only person being blamed who just happened to sitting at the wheel of a sailboat that could no way have gotten out of the way of a powerboat going that fast no matter who was sitting there. You people really need to just come clean and think if this was your Mother, your friend, a remarkable person in your life and their death was being treated this way what would you do, how would you feel. This cover up needs to end so the people who love Lynn can maybe sleep better knowing justice is served. And maybe Perdock will sleep better at night knowing that someone else didn't take the blame for his Error.


I would be interested in knowing if Mr. Perdock has gotten an insurance settlement for his boat.


WE were sued by Mr. Perdock in a property disput some years back. This family seems to be sue happy as a lot of people are nowdays.


If Mr Mitchell can not control his 2nd in command how can he be trusted to control the rest of the dept or does he?


to the concerned citizen above...

most of the idiots that work under mitchell have been with the department 20+ years. what kinda control do you think he has?

anyone ever wonder why people dont stay? it isnt always about money....some peoople get smart and leave for their sanity or before their reputations are demolished by the evil that lurks behind those badges!!!!

Richard, USCG licensed skipper

There are a few other laws that were broken but not mentioned:
The latter applies regardless of propulsion. Since the sailboat seems to have been struck from behind, it was "being overtaken" by the power boat.
The most important factor, as many have pointed out, is the UNSAFE SPEED of the power boat.
I, too, have had the experience of telling this story to people, and they are aghast that the power boat operator has not been charged.

As a minor side issue, everyone says that Perdick was traveling 40-50mph;
even HE says he was going 40-45mph.
My question:
are speedboat speedometers set for MILES PER HOUR or are they set, in nautical custom, for KNOTS?
If it was set for knots, he was admitting to a speed that is 15% faster---46-53mph, which is consistent with observers who estimated his speed at 50mph.

Consider this:
If I were driving through Lake County at 50mph on a 55mph-limit road (i.e. NOT EVEN GOING THE SPEED LIMIT) in a fog at night, with very limited visibility, and crashed into a car that was entitled to be there, and killed an occupant, and Deputy Perdick was the officer on the scene, what do you think he would say about ME?

The developments in this case are an outrage to common sense and an affront to our laws.

I think the Lake County DA deserves that same treatment as the North Carolina DA in the Duke case, who was removed from office, disbarred and, I believe, is facing criminal charges himself.

Captain Jack

BOTTOMLINE - If the roles were reversed and Bismarck Dinius was driving the powerboat and Perdock was behind the wheel of the sailboat, assuming all other facts remain the same, would they really be debating whether or not the running lights were on? My guess is no. They would still find Dinius at fault because that's what crooked cops do. This entire case is a sham. How can someone be charged with manslaughter when they are runnover?




Call in the US Coast Guard and let them judge the case.

Candice Strickler

What's a safe speed Mr.DA? DOH

The “safe speed” rule, which states that a boat operator should at all time maintain a speed that allows them to stop the vessel “within half the distance of forward visibility.”

Safe Boater

It doesn't matter if the sailboat's lights were on or off. Given the conditions (lots of background lights on shore and the slow speed of the sailboat) it's extremely unlikely that it would be possible to recognize a sailboat's running lights from more than a couple hundred feet away. The powerboat was covering 66-75 feet PER SECOND. At that speed, there is NO WAY the powerboat would have recognized the lights in time to take evasive action. Reckless speed killed Lynn Thornton.


I live in the Bay Area and have a summer place at the Lake all the locals were led to belive that the sail boat driver was at fault and drunk. When I told them all the facts they were horrifed But it is Lake county

Greg Lovekamp

This should be a very simple case that is dismissed early. Being at the helm of a sailboat does not make one necessarily the "skipper" of the sailboat. The skipper is the individual responsible for the boat. It is unlikely that Mr. Weber relinquished control of his boat to Mr. Darius if he was onboard; more likely he said "hey, do you want to drive?" That would make Mr. Weber still the skipper and still reponsible for his boat's actions. Mr. Darius cannot, therefore, be held accountable.

On the other hand, the laws of waterways hold the operator of a powerboat responsible for their wake (and any damage it may do). It is only logical that would extend to any damage directly inficted by the hull itself. In short, all maritime law is written such that no one is responsible other than the boat causing damage.

Both parties (the sailboat and the powerboat) may have indeed contributed to the accident. As such, each can be held accountable to their contribution to such damage. The sailboat, moving slowly, will cause significantly less damage than a powerboat moving very quickly will. Contributory negligence would then place the greater burden on the powerboater.

It is infathomable to me that a DA would try to pursue this case. It could easily have been forgotten with no one charged. Officer Perdock should have been charged, but this wouldn't have become a major case if he hadn't been. As it is, it blatantly shows a district legal system that is flawed.

donald W

I do hope the DOJ will look at all the facts and interview people not only fromt he Sheriff's office but witnesses. Perdock needs to step up and take his medicine. He is arrogant and aloft. His whole family thinks they are above the law and can get away with anything. There are enough good people moving into this area to put a stop to the "Good Old Boys" Thank you Mr. Noyes for keeping an eye on this--just look into some more of the problems here in the Lake County court system if you have time you will find more dirt.


recently I had a conversation with a woman who knew a John and Bev who owned a home on the shores of Buckingham. (Lake co) She personally knew these people and one early evening John took his daughter out to water ski. He was approach by the sheriff patrol and advise to stop. His daughter ski back to the shore.
He his wife and daughter were then approached by an angry sheriff and Bev (wife)who stands less than 5 ft. became angry with the sheriff....the sheriff then threaten to file assault charges on Bev and John, and threaten to take everything John had. Days later John recieved letters from the DA office...then had sleepless nights...didn't know what to do....John went missing he was found 2 days later in his truck on top of the hill in Clearlake Riveria. He shot him self in the head. This story was not in the Record Bee only the fact John's truck and body found on top of the hill in Clearlake Riveria

Justice in Lake County

The DA's office is infamous for charging people with no or shaky evidence...investigation is a word that is taboo for the Chief investigator for the DA's department..It's about money, not justice...it is about scape-goats and the us and them in Lake County.

Justice comes in the form of 'who you know' Not in the form of equal justice under the law.

Hopkins, his predecessor Luck, John Flynn (using the term loosely, the chief investigator for the DA's department) Have the same mantra...ignore the facts, and evidence if it does not conform to their predisposed theory.

Jerry Brown, if you are truly a man that believes in justice...re-investigate this case, do not rely on the fiction that the DA is basing his case..and consider this, how many other innocent people in Lake County have been railroaded through the justice system? How many other reputations destroyed, families hurt, tax payer money wasted?

How high does the body count have to get before someone has the courage to take that first step?

Nifong has been mentioned, and the analogy is quite accurate. DA Hopkins LIED...there are witnesses that saw the reckless nature of Perdock's boat, and saw lights on..

Even IF they did not believe these witnesses, why were they excluded from the report? The same reason Nifong excluded the DNA evidence from his...it didn't fit with the 'case' they desired to have.

When the public cannot trust their leaders, then a true leader should step down...because even with the obvious limitted shared IQ,of our 'Leaders' it is clear that future juries in Lake County are going to be wary of ANY case that the DA brings it.

Congradulations Hopkins, you have crippled the legal system in Lake County in a very public way; and at some point those that are truly guilty and a risk to the safty of citizens may walk from very real crimes because, once proven to be a liar, everything you do will be suspect.

Please, Channel 7, continue to keep this case alive...the good people in Lake County, and that includes many in Law Enforcement want our county to be a place of honest justice.


Interesting they are reviewing not the facts of teh case but the way the investigation was handled...sounds like a sham.

someone oughta do the right thing and resign.

A lakefront homeowner

Somewhere it was stated that the first thing Perdock said to the sailboaters was "You didn't have your f***ing lights on". What he probably meant was "I didn't see you". But he was building his defense from the very beginning. It seems that this "fact" of the missing lights would have been well known to the fellow deputies/friends of Perdock who investigated the crash and it would have been a very simple matter for one of them to simply flip the running light switch on the sailboat to "off" to substantiate Perdock's claim that the lights were off. But even so, night boating on Clearlake is very dangerous whether or not running lights are on or not. The many lighted docks and shoreline residences make it extremely difficult to see whether a "light" is on a boat or a dock or wherever. Not until you are real close to the other "light" can you really see what you are looking at - making it just too dangerous to be out on the lake in the dark traveling at 40-45 MPH or RPM as he is claiming he meant to say. Perdock is clearly at fault for this accident - without him and his 385 HP speedboat, the accident would not have happened at all.

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