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Eight people were killed and 35 injured Sunday evening when a charter bus bound for a casino flipped over and rolled into a ditch off the side of a two-lane highway north of Sacramento. Among the injured was the bus driver, Quintin Watts, 52, of Stockton, Calif., who, hospitalized in critical condition, was arrested Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Robert Kays, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said in a telephone interview that given the severity of the crash, “and from observations of erratic driving prior to the collision from a witness who was an off-duty officer, we felt we had probable cause” to arrest Mr. Watts. Mr. Kays said California records showed that while Mr. Watts had a valid commercial driver’s license, he did not have a valid certificate to transport passengers in a chartered vehicle. website editor's note: Matt Smith was lead investigator on this case Al Smith was lead attorney

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The family of a Colusa man who died from injuries when a building he was helping demolish fell on him will receive $1.35 million to settle a wrongful death case, according to Colusa County Superior Court records. Because the settlement involves at least one minor child, it has to be approved by a judge. A hearing is set for May 7, one day after the third anniversary of Daniel Kesterson's death. Kesterson, 57, was helping take down the abandoned warehouse at 15 Fifth St., owned by Hoblit Rental Partners. A related company, Hoblit Motors Inc., also is a defendant. "My client is happy to have resolved the case without putting her children through a trial," said Matt Smith, a Sacramento lawyer who represents Kesterson's widow, Amber, and her five special needs children. 

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While Proposition 64 made the possession and use of recreational marijuana legal, there isn’t anywhere an individual can legally buy it -— yet. In order to sell recreational marijuana, a vendor must be licensed by the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which, according to the proposition, will begin issuing licenses by Jan. 1, 2018, and the permitting process will probably begin later rather than sooner. “One of problems right now is that you’re able to possess it, but not purchase it,” said Matthew Smith, a Sacramento defense attorney. “The agency that the state has set up (the Bureau of Marijuana Control) — none of their budget this year is allocated to recreational marijuana. All of it is for medical marijuana. What that means is that the permitting process, from my understanding, won’t be in place until Jan. 2018. Only legal place to purchase it is at a dispensary for medical marijuana patients.”



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A Colusa Superior Court jury believed Cathy I. Mendoza was only defending herself when she shot and killed Jose Villarruel Guadalupe Saavedra on Aug. 30. After deliberating less than three hours, the eight-man, four-woman jury, handed down their decision that Mendoza was “not guilty” of second-degree murder, but “guilty” of using a short-barreled shotgun.Judge John H. Tiernan set June 17 for sentencing. Several of her friends and family breathed a large and loud collective sigh of relief after the verdict was read.“Thank the Lord,” Mendoza exclaimed, following the verdict. Acting on her attorney’s advice, Mendoza declined to comment
Website Editors Note: Matt Smith was lead investigator on this case. Al Smith was lead 

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