After 22-years with the Watsonville Police Department, Lieutenant Darren Thompson served his last day yesterday. Thompson is resigning from the department, after being elected Sheriff of San Benito County. He is set to be sworn in to the position on January 3rd. Thompson grew up in Santa Cruz, and currently lives in Hollister.
A California appeals court has ruled in favor of a Santa Cruz grower, who was awarded 1-million dollars in 2008, regarding a case of pesticide drift. The decision by the 6th Appellate District court in San Jose lets stand the award, which was given by a lower court. Larry Jacobs, president of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, had sued Western Farm Service, over the presence of their pesticides on his organic dill farm in Wilder Ranch State Park. Western Farm Service, which is now part of Colorado-based Crop Production Services, had argued that it had not violated any law in applying the chemicals. However, the 6th Appellate Court ruled that damages could still be sought, and the decision, if not further appealed, could open the door for other lawsuits.
A 21-year-old man accused of kidnapping and robbing a los gatos family in 2009, has been given a court date. Jyler Raines has been ordered to return to court on January 11th, to face charges that he kidnapped, assaulted, and robbed a family of 3. The family was held at their Hidden Springs Lane home, and were robbed of vehicles, jewelry, and firearms. Raines is alleged to have committed the crime along with Maurice Ainsworth. Ainsworth escaped custody for 5-hours last month, after assaulting a sheriff’s deputy. The 2-are expected to appear in court together.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing for its annual survey of floriculture in the country. Flower-producers from 15-states will be asked to provide information, including 8-hundred businesses in California. All floriculture operations that produced more than 10-thousand dollars’ worth of flowers this year will be asked to provide information on their production, sales, and the number of workers employed. By law, the data is confidential, and the survey is expected to run from late December through mid-February.
A court date has been set to schedule a preliminary hearing for 3-alleged gang members accused of homicide. Jose Meza, Angel Antonio Moreno Torres, and Joel Sanchez are due back in court on January 10th. The 3-are accused of killing 20-year-old Richard Campos in Watsonville in 2009. A 4th suspect has pleaded guilty to charges in juvenile court, and is expected to testify against the 3. The delay in the 2009 case was due in part to the fact that Torres has been serving time in Oklahoma for robbery. He was recently transferred to Santa Cruz County, and the 3-remain in custody.
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