Jason Warren Never Should Have Been Released
Rose nailed it in her column today.
Drawing from this morning’s Times-Standard, she wrote:
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna released Warren from custody in late August on a Cruz waiver, part of a plea agreement that had him facing six years in prison with the stipulation that an assault change would be dropped if he showed up for his Sept. 7 (court date).
A Cruz waiver is part of a plea deal, usually requested by a defendant in custody or a defense attorney, that releases the defendant prior to sentencing. A prosecutor can oppose the waiver, but the decision to release a defendant is ultimately up to a judge.
Jason Anthony Warren, 28, was arrested on a warrant related to his failure to appear for sentencing hours after the Sept. 27 hit-and-run that killed Humboldt State University geography instructor Suzanne Seemann — the mother of two young children and wife of Humboldt County official Hank Seemann. She died at the scene. Her running partners, Eureka residents Jessica Hunt, 41, and Terri Vroman-Little, 50, were severely injured.
”It was the right decision for that time,” Gallegos told the Times-Standard last month. “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish to God we had opposed it, and I wish the judge hadn’t released him.”
Mr. Gallegos’ office didn’t oppose Mr. Warren’s release one bit. Not so much as a single word or whisper. Judge Cissna waited for the prosecuting attorney’s response– and hearing none– made his ill-fated ruling.
If the District Attorney’s Office had objected to Warren’s Cruz waiver release as they should have done, three citizens of our community would still be alive today.
It was an epic fail that lacked a whole boatload of common sense at the lowest level.
Jason Warren, a parolee, never should have been released. Period. And everyone knew that. Even Dorothy Ulrich’s mother said those very same words after learning her daughter had been brutally killed.
Mr. Warren wasn’t a mystery. Having a long antisocial and violent history stretching back to his juvenile days and into adulthood, he was well known to the Courts, the District Attorney’s Office, Defense Counsel, Law Enforcement, the Jail, Probation and Parole Officers, and the rest of the players on the block.
His behavior and crimes were well documented over a lengthy period of time. Everyone knew exactly who he was and what he was capable of. Bordering on sociopathy with no feelings of remorse, guilt, responsibility, or having a wit of conscience towards his crimes or victims, and with a serious substance abuse problem to boot, Warren was one dangerous cat.
Granted his unnopposed Cruz waiver and released– without so much as supervision or monitoring– Warren was more or less allowed to run amok. He likely murdered three people as a result of his newly found and unexpected freedom. Not that he cared.
Not only did the Superior Court and the District Attorney’s Office act irresponsibly in his case and the interests of public safety, their complacent and indecisive error turned out to have deadly consequences.
Simply put, our public servants just weren’t paying attention to what they were doing. They dropped the ball. Too little, too late is aptly correct.
It never, ever should have happened. It was a terrible and tragic mistake. The public should be made aware of it, and they should be duly concerned and outraged so it doesn’t happen again.
Rose’s Watchpaul piece, ”Too Little, Too Late“.
Scott Grant Go-Forth’s Times-Standard article, “ District Attorney’s Office Opposing Cruz Waivers Following Hit-and-Run Homicide” is here.
And Allie Hostler’s excellent Two Rivers Tribune story– with the background of Jason Warren– can be found here.
(Posted by Skippy Massey)