Caleb Hinke appears in Sixth Judicial District Court remotely via videoconference from the Humboldt County Detention Center on May 26 due to continued pandemic restrictions.
Caleb Hinke appears in Sixth Judicial District Court remotely via videoconference from the Humboldt County Detention Center on May 26 due to continued pandemic restrictions.
Caleb Hinkle, age 19, was recently sent to serve two consecutive prison sentences on drug and ex-felon firearm possession charges after having opportunities to avoid the original felony conviction and prison in Sixth Judicial District Court. 

Hinkle appeared in court last week before Sixth Judicial District Judge Michael Montero via virtual video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a probation violation hearing in one case and sentencing in another. 

Hinkle apologized for his actions and said he feels like a fool for screwing up the opportunities that had previously been offered to him. 

He asked to be given an opportunity to participate in the Humboldt County Adult Drug Court program after he previously told the court he would rather just take a felony on his record at 18-years old than participate in substance use treatment. 

“I don’t want to waste my life any longer than I have or be the addict I am with minimal life skills and a felony at 19 years old,” said Hinkle. I need help and will do whatever I can to become the man I want to be. I feel like I have enough sobriety to be a good candidate for drug court and I feel like drug court would have the help and support I need to boost me into something like that.” 

Humboldt County Alternate Public Defender Maureen Macquillan told the court that her client has grown up and “seen the light.” She said she has seen his demeanor change in working with him and asked that he be reinstated on probation with the opportunity for substance use treatment. 

“We all know Caleb, he can be difficult and has gotten in a lot of trouble as a young man and has realized it is time to grow up and I know that this court has given similarly aged young men the opportunity to participate in drug court and have ended up doing very well after a rough start,” said McQuillan. 

Humboldt County District Attorney Michael Macdonald expressed concerns about Hinkle’s ability to cooperate with drug court, lack of respect for authority and his approach to court obligations and not abiding by the rules.

Macdonald agreed with a recommendation by the department of parole and probation to revoke Hinkle’s probation and send him to carry out the underlying prison sentence. 

Montero addressed the “long road” that Hinkle, his family and the court had gone down throughout his court cases. 

“I remember having a hard time giving you a felony conviction at 18 but you insisted that you didn’t want anyone to provide you with that help,” said Montero. “I do recognize and appreciate that your request has changed but your circumstances have changed too, not only do we have a probation violation in  the underlying case but we have new charges in which you were arrested for seven counts, of which due to plea negotiations you agreed to plead guilty to two.”

Montero said despite the plea, the court may take into consideration the circumstances of Hinkle’s most recent arrest, which included charges of drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, three counts of ex-felon in possession of a firearm. 

“That’s a lot at your young age and gives the court a lot of hesitation and pause to try and figure out what might be best for aptly a very young man,” said Montero. “It appears to be that in a very short time the offenses for which you are being arrested have escalated exponentially. The crimes get significantly bigger when you’re an adult.” 

Montero ordered that Hinkle’s probation be revoked and he carries out the underlying 12-32 months in prison with 149 days credit for time served on the unlawful use of a controlled substance felony charge. 

Hinkle pleaded guilty to the charge last August after being arrested in March. He was then sent to complete a 6-month regimental discipline (boot camp) program to allow him to avoid the felony conviction. He was sent back after two months due to the failure to comply with program requirements. 

After returning back from the boot camp program in December, Hinkle told the court that he was not interested in completing the drug court diversion program and that he just wanted to accept the felony on his record so he could begin working and adulthood while being home with his family for the holidays. 

He was granted the release from jail and given a suspended prison sentence of 12-32 months with 65 days credit for time served and if he successfully completed 36 months of probation, he would have avoided serving the prison sentence. 

Hinkle was arrested on the new charges in March 2020 and pleaded guilty to one count of ex-felon in possession of a firearm, a category B felony and count two, injury to or destruction of property, a gross misdemeanor. 

On the category B felony charge, Montero ordered that Hinkle serve 12-48 months in prison with no credit for time served, to be served consecutive to the underlying sentence in the first case. He was ordered to pay a $3 DNA collection fee, $25 administrative assessment and $250 public defender fee. 

On the gross misdemeanor destruction of property charge, Hinkle was ordered to pay a $1 fine per plea negotiation recommendations and restitution of $3,892 to the Humboldt County Detention Center for a door he damaged.