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Additional Titles


It's off to Jail For Chicken Rescuer

Man Arrested For Saving a Stray Chicken

Cops Pounce on Man For 'Stealing' a Stray Chicken

Man Told To
Stay Away From
Chicken or

Speckles Returned
to Roost After Arrest

"Speckles" The


Other Taft Articles:

Enemy Within Strikes at Josephine County's Home Rule Charter

"Pancake Juries" Bow to Authority Figure

Retired Police Sgt. Faces 35 Years For Not Producing Drivers License

Sheriff Dave Daniel Plays While The Public Pays


More Taft




By Investigative Reporter
John Taft

March 31, 2004

GRANTS PASS, Or. -- Nick groggily looked out a window to see several beams of light bobbing, probing, and ripping holes in the night around his home. The time was about one o�clock on a Wednesday morning the 24th of March, 04. Nick went to a door and stepped outside into the night air of 40 degrees. He wasn�t his normal self due to the doctor prescribed medication. Nick is a diabetic. His attire was more fitting for a Florida beach at high noon. He was wearing only his red Speedos, a bikini type underwear. The wielders of the flashlights were Josephine County (JoCo) sheriff deputies. Nick estimates there were five deputies prowling on his property. They were on a chicken patrol looking for a hen named Speckles. They knew Nick had the hen, as he had admitted to anyone interested that he had rescued the hen. The reader may wonder why deputies would be out looking for a chicken in the wee hours of the night. Shouldn�t they have been patrolling the roads of Josephine County looking for drunk drivers and making the county safe for the taxpayers?

The Chicken Swat Team goes into Action

Deputy Matt Tripp filed the police report on the chicken caper and was accompanied by Deputies Mike Burke, John Justema, Jeff Michael, and Sean Rarey making up the chicken swat team. I phoned Tripp and left a message that I had some questions about the chicken bust. Tripp sounded like a high school kid on his message machine. I was surprised to learn he was between 32-35. Unfortunately, he chose not to return my call. Tripp had called the Gombos home several times, and when he arrived after midnight he seems to have had a vendetta against Nick. Tripp wanted the chicken and Nick wasn't willing to give the hen up. Wasn�t it a free-range chicken with no particular owner? Wasn�t it in possible danger from predators? Wasn�t Nick being a good Samaritan and helping a bedraggled looking chicken? Nick believed he was doing the right thing. What do you do if you�re Deputy Tripp and the guy won�t give you the bird? You arrest him, of course. A deputy manacled his wrists tightly reducing the blood to Nick�s fingers and hands causing them to become numb. The deputies ignored his complaints of pain. These deputies are macho guys; they apparently don�t worry about some mundane future problems for a bloke who�s a diabetic. The five deputies escorted Nick down the long 200-foot drive over � minus sharp edged rocks that can cut skin on bare feet and draw blood. Again Nick told the deputies that he�s diabetic and cuts on the feet don�t heal. These are top of the line Josephine County Chicken Deputy Sheriffs trained to kill and destroy. Each man on the chicken swat team is reported to wear a special badge on his uniform with a crowing rooster. Was Nick abused and manhandled by Josephine County deputies on their chicken patrol? Photographic evidence of abrasions and scrapes does appear to substantiate the fact that Nick was recently subjected to a rough physical encounter.

Man�s Inhumanity to Man

The Nicholas Gombos story is a prime example of man�s inhumanity to man. These deputies obviously had no compassion for Nick. They ignored the threats their actions could pose to his health. The fact is JoCo deputies removed Nick from his home around 1:30 in the morning` with no clothes or shoes. It�s reported that Sheriff Daniel said deputies asked Nick�s wife if she wanted to get his clothes and she was uncooperative. �So Nick went to jail in his Speedos.� That is absolute nonsense. It seems the sheriff was caught in his Speedos with this story and is attempting to hide behind a feather duster. I have talked to both Nick and his wife. If the deputies wanted Nick to have shoes and clothes there was nothing stopping them from getting the clothes or allowing Nick to dress. There were five deputies with bulletproof vests and packing guns there to arrest Nick. This was a big operation for the deputies. If the five of them couldn�t handle one diabetic they should try a fried chicken joint for employment. At least one deputy had been wandering around in the home. Compare this mentality to that of the Gestapo. Would the Gestapo of Nazi Germany of the 1930s and 40s handle a Jewish person or political enemy in this manner? Documented cases show that the Gestapo came in the darkness of night to take their victims away. This mentality does not die but is alive and well, existing in human consciousness ready to be released when there is lack of human kindness and compassion. The previous paragraph shows that this anger was focused on Nick Gombos in his encounter with Josephine County sheriff deputies. Give a man a badge, uniform, gun, and power, and if he doesn�t have a strong moral character he can easily turn into a monster. Nick was taken into custody and is now caught up in the whirlwind of a malfunctioning criminal justice system. The great chicken caper shows that former county District Attorney Tim Thompson was right when he wrote in a letter to the editor of the Grants Pass Daily Courier warning the public that Dave Daniel didn�t have the qualifications to be a sheriff.

But Baby it�s Cold Outside

When they got to the recently installed electric gate at the end of the drive, Nick was cold, miserable, and his feet hurt. The gate was locked; the deputies had climbed over to gain access to Nick�s property. Now they wanted the touch pad numbers to open the gate. Nick wouldn�t give them the numbers. This reportedly threw the deputy into a rage. He grabbed the top of the gate and violently pushed it back and forth forcing an opening, and Nick was forcibly pushed through the small space to a waiting patrol vehicle. It�s a thirty-minute trip or more to the jail in Grants Pass. Nick was still in his Speedos, and no shoes and lying barefoot across the seat in handcuffs. When they arrived at the jail in the black and white police taxi, a macho deputy came over and asked. �Do you have any needles or knives on you?� The question is stupid because the guy is naked except for the very tight and brief Speedos. Where would he conceal such items? Nick wouldn�t give a yes or no answer. The processing deputy said, �Okay we�ll leave you in the car.� Nick told them fine. They shut the door and again opened it in about ten minutes and took him into the jail in his underwear. Nick described that walk as horribly embarrassing. In about 20 minutes a jailer took his Speedos away and gave him jail clothes.

JoCo Deputies Wake Judge at Midnight for Chicken Search Warrant

Deputies went to Judge Gerald Neufeld�s home at midnight and woke him to sign a search warrant. It was reported in the Grants Pass Daily Courier that Judge Neufeld wondered why they had to wake him at midnight to sign a search warrant for a chicken. Apparently nothing stops the JoCo Sheriff�s Office Chicken Swat Team. Interestingly, who ever wrote the warrant can�t spell. Under the judge�s signature it says Circuit Court Jude. Maybe they meant Dude.

DA Hot to Fry Chicken�s Good Samaritan

District Attorney Clay Johnson in the name of the State of Oregon has brought two charges against Nicholas Gombos. Count 1 - Interfering With A Peace Officer. Count 2 - Theft In The Third Degree. Michael Sanchez OSB # 95159 signed the complaint. What a waste of taxpayer's dollars. The DA�s office claims to be short of funds to prosecute criminals. It seems they would rather prosecute a respectable family man than real criminals. Nick and his wife own a home and have some assets. This may explain why a citizen of substance in Josephine County is at risk and treated like a dangerous criminal, and the criminal takes a plea or isn�t prosecuted. These predators in the DA�s office may believe they can get some money out of Nick that they can�t get from an indigent criminal. Interestingly, the deputies found Speckles the hen, and in catching her reportedly injured another hen�s wing. Speckles was returned to where she was found, and the DA is gung-ho to prosecute Gombos. And we know why. It appears to be all about ego, money, and a conviction.

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Who�s Next on the Sheriff�'s and DA�s Menu?

The great chicken adventure could easily have qualified for an episode out of Mayberry, USA with Andy Griffith and his deputy Don Knotts the swaggering, slapstick, incompetent Barney Fife. It seems the Josephine County Criminal Justice System is little more than a long running comedy skit providing nicely feathered nests for Sheriff Dave Daniel and District Attorney Clay Johnson and staff. Johnson is ready to prosecute and retire on the golden egg he�ll get every month from taxpayers. This chicken prosecution is now in progress. Speckles the chicken is off the platter, but DA Johnson wants to fry Nick Gombos and serve him up as a delectable example of his culinary arts. Johnson has too much money in his budget when he�s willing to use it to pay for needless frying of respectable taxpaying citizens. The sheriff and DA are unfortunately prime examples of arrogance and waste of taxpayer resources by public employees. At most this was a case for small claims court. There would be no cops and no prosecution. A judge would have decided the chicken ownership. When a judge is woken at midnight to sign a stray chicken warrant, the sheriff sends out the 1 a.m. chicken squad, and the DA wants to do a chicken prosecution, this is a touch of insanity. In this case, if insanity is like the flu they certainly have contracted a serious case of chicken flu in the criminal justice system here in Josephine County, Oregon. Maybe they�ll find out that their great chicken adventure isn�t so finger licking good after all.

� 2004 John Taft - All Rights Reserved

Nick Gombos and Kathy web site and E-mail

DA Clay Johnson (541) 474-5200
Sheriff Dave Daniels (541) 474-5123

John Taft former president of Josephine County, OR. Taxpayers Association is presently an investigative reporter for the US-Oregon Observer and He has had many years of broadcasting, news writing and reporting experience. He also has written a popular conservative newsletter for a taxpayers organization to inform the public on taxing issues. John can be reached at John's Web site:



"The great chicken adventure could easily have qualified for an episode out of Mayberry, USA with Andy Griffith and his deputy Don Knotts the swaggering, slapstick, incompetent Barney Fife. It seems the Josephine County Criminal Justice System is little more than a long running comedy skit providing nicely feathered nests for Sheriff Dave Daniel and District Attorney Clay Johnson and staff."