The Judy Black Case – Exploitation Is Not Good

exploitation |ˌekˌsploiˈtāSH(ə)n| noun

1 the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work: the exploitation of migrant workers.

2 the action of making use of and benefiting from resources: the Bronze Age saw exploitation of gold deposits.

3 the fact of making use of a situation to gain unfair advantage for oneself: this administration’s exploitation of the fear of crime.

Here on May 11th I reflect on the effort to Recalling Sheriff Antinoro that ended one short month ago today.

Doing so I consider:

The stunned reaction in the community the day the petition was filed.

The instant polarization in all corners of Storey County.

The Team Gilman henchmen unleashed on the community to cajole 594 signatures from election weary residents.
The tedious signature verification process.

The “Recall Campaign”, unleashing a relentless torrent of clumsy letters, each one more remarkable than the last.

The $160,000 gushing from TRIC, Lance Gilman and Kris Thompson.

Kris Thompson’s ravings on the Highlands Chat Group.

The stunned look on the faces of Pat Whitten, Austin Osborne, Jessie Fain and other County officials gathered at the courthouse with the million dollar parking lot as Vanessa Stephens read the election results.

The jubilant cheer erupting from the crowd of Antinoro supporters as the election results were announced at the Delta Saloon.

The plea of Kris Thompson insisting we become happy shining people holding hands and pretend none of this actually happened.

It was like a bad dream you just couldn’t wake up from. And here we are.


I moved back to the Comstock I July of 2016 after a 32 year absence. I watched the 2014 election from Placer County and saw second hand the effort to discredit Sheriff Antinoro in the 2014 election cycle. I did so through the clear words of Angela Mann when The Comstock Chronicle was an actual journalistic endeavor and not a pathetic Comstock Mining Company/TRIC Public Relations pom-pom it is today. I read about the endless dissection of the handling of the Black case with all the accusations of mishandling the investigation.

Two weeks after the election I sat through the Judy Black hearing as District Attorney Langer made her case against Brett Black. Sitting through the first day of the hearing and seeing the gruesome pictures of Judy Black’s corpse, I was struck by the picture of her naked torso displayed on screen for all to see. I remember flashing on the “anonymous” smear letter containing the leaked coroner’s report and thinking, “I wonder if Lance Gilman would have hesitated for a New York second sending this picture of Judy Black in his hit piece if he had access to it?”.

Let’s be honest about the facts. Sheriff Antinoro very well may have made critical errors in his investigation at the scene. He may have been in error in not arresting Brett Black that morning. He very well may be guilty of sticking to his guns, unwilling to acknowledge a mistake, and making matters worse by digging his heels in the sand. The case could and has been made he made mistakes in his handling of the Judy Black investigation.

As wrong as Sheriff Antinoro may have been, Lance Gilman’s exploiting the tragedy of Judy Black to exact his vendetta against Sheriff Antinoro is so much more wrong.

Disgustingly. Sickeningly. Vastly. More. Wrong.

Anyone with a functioning moral compass should hold these acts as contemptible. Yet some consider Lance Gilman as he sees himself; the benevolent benefactor generously dispensing milk and honey into cups overflowing for all who dwell in our silvery slice of heaven.

To exact retribution against Sheriff Antinoro by exploiting this woman’s personal tragedy in such a recklessly inhuman manner speaks to the heart Lance Gilman’s character. As Storey County residents we must ask ourselves: does this man place the needs of the county and the well being of it’s citizens ahead of his own self-interests?

As I work on  a couple of pieces digging into TRIC and Mustang I hope to bring this point into question;  Who does Lance Gilman serve?

Stay Tuned.

2 thoughts on “The Judy Black Case – Exploitation Is Not Good

  1. Excuse me, but I have to take issue with your comments about Sheriff Antinoro’s handling of the Black case. I would hate for your readers to not have the complete story, which would definitely affect their opinions.

    I believe that Antinoro didn’t arrest Black the morning of his wife’s death, because he saw no reason to do so.
    1. Black had no evidence of being in any altercation with his wife, that would include pushing her down the stairs. He was completely examined at the hospital for Judy’s hair or skin samples being under his fingernails. There were none. Nor were there any marks on him where Judy might have grabbed, scratched, or punched him.
    2. In referencing the damage done to Judy’s head, there was no blunt instrument or murder weapon that was ever found.
    3. There were no blood sprays or specks on the wall at shoulder height, that would indicate where Judy could have been hit in the head with an object.
    4. Elderly people routinely die from deaths on stairs. These deaths can be extremely bloody.

    Now, after the fact, did Black go back to his former home in San Diego? No. Did he take up with the woman his former employee testified in court, with whom he was having an affair? No. (Word is that she is his ex-wife whom he quit seeing after he married Judy.) Did Black flee the country to a nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.? No.

    I’ve been told that Antinoro reversed his decision from “Accidental Death,” to “Possible Homicide” because there would have been a greater expense to the county if D.A. Langer tried to bring charges based on the Accidental Death decision. Also, that Antinoro changed his decision so that the truth would be brought forth, and with that, Black would be cleared in a court of law. I’ve never heard this from Antinoro; it’s just what I heard on the street.

    It’s my belief that Antinoro did not bungle the investigation in any way, shape or form, and that Black will be cleared. As Mr. Toll stated in his reporting on the Preliminary Hearing, the evidence presented was not cross examined for truthfulness or validity, it was just brought forth in an effort to bring the case to trial. Had Black’s attorney been able to argue for his client, I’m sure the conclusions people have been making based just on the evidence at the hearing would be different.

    JMHO,
    TJ Snodgrass

  2. As always, a cerebral and on point comment from TJS.

    I put forth the ‘critique’ of Antinoro as an olive branchish gesture to the folks who have called me out on my blatant support for the Sheriff. As in, ‘you could make the case’.

    Indeed, the case has been made ad nauseam by Team Gilman.

    Rest assured, that support has not weakened.

    If anything it has become more resolved. Based on my conversations with Sheriff Antinoro yesterday, I remain more convinced than ever that this case proves the system, with all it’s warts, works.

    More on this to come.

    Stay Tuned.

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