Humboldt County D.A. hires away Tim Stoen

Attorney, prosecutor, frequent candidate to be second in command
The Press Democrat, Dec. 20, 2002

UKIAH — A well-known Mendocino County attorney and a contender in the past state Assembly race will become the second in command at the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office in January.

Tim Stoen, 64, who gained national attention as the legal adviser to the notorious Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple in the 1970s, will leave his current job prosecuting white-collar crime in the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office on Jan. 3.

Humboldt County District Attorney-elect Paul Gallegos offered Stoen the job this week.

Gallegos is scheduled to take office Jan. 6.

“It gives me an opportunity to pick up the best ideas and implement them, and it’s a wonderful challenge,” Stoen said.

Gallegos said Stoen’s experiences in different legal disciplines made him a good choice to become the next assistant district attorney.

Stoen, a Stanford Law School graduate, has worked for the District Attorney’s Office in Mendocino and San Francisco counties at various times since 1965.

He also has experience in corporate and environmental law, and headed a program that provided legal services to the poor.

Stoen narrowly lost his bid in the Republican primary in March, when Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown won the election and became the Republican candidate in the 1st Assembly District race.

Stoen also lost races for state Senate and for Congress in the past 12 years.

He is known as the legal adviser to Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple in the 1970s.

Jones moved his church from Indiana to Mendocino County in the 1960s, and later to San Francisco and Guyana.

Stoen split with Jones and launched a legal battle to gain custody of his 6-year-old son, whom Jones refused to turn over when Stoen returned to the United States from Guyana.

The boy died along with about 900 followers in a forced mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.

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