Yuba City DA investigated for arson will retire
Carl Adams, whose long career as Sutter County district attorney was tarnished at the end by a sex scandal, announced Tuesday he will retire on Nov. 15.
Adams, 65, said he chose that date because it is the end of the county pay period and it will allow him to enjoy the holidays with his family.
California's longest-serving district attorney, Adams touted his community accomplishments during his retirement announcement in his office. He pointed to many plaques on the wall.
He declined to discuss any issues related to Sarah Garibay, who said she had a relationship with Adams.
The district attorney was identified in a search warrant as a possible suspect in a July arson at Garibay's Yuba City home.
"I've made mistakes," Adams said. "In terms of the office, there are some decisions that I made that were hard decisions that going back I might like a second chance at. I've certainly made mistakes in my personal life, but that hasn't affected the office as much.
"There are things where I know I've made poor decisions, but in general, looking at my career, I think I have been the district attorney as well as I could do that, not just do the job, but fit the role."
Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for state Attorney General Kamala Harris, had no comment about the status of Garibay-related investigations.
Adams became Sutter County's district attorney in July 1982. He was never challenged for re-election.
"The district attorney is highly visible in the community, and because of that the district attorney is able to contribute to things and do things that help make the community better," Adams said. "I was called to this career, and I was led to run for district attorney. I always thought part of the obligation was to try and use the title and my time and my ability to improve things around me beyond just doing the job well."
Adams was a deputy district attorney in Yuba County in late 1981 when he was asked to run for Sutter County district attorney.
"I went home, and my wife and I prayed about the decision for a couple of days," Adams said. "I finally felt leaving the safety of being a deputy and a trial lawyer and being a lawyer in the trenches, but I had been led by God to become a politician and run for office and to take that step."
Sarah Garibay was charged in 2010 as an accessory in the death of Hyo Deoung Shin, a Yuba City physician who was having an affair with Garibay, when she first met Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams.
The District Attorney's Office dismissed charges against Garibay in exchange for testifying against Jeffrey Wayne Clay, who was also sexually involved with Garibay, according to Appeal-Democrat archives. Clay was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
According to a Yuba City Police Department affidavit into an arson investigation on Garibay's home, she told police she and Adams began a sexual relationship in January or February, nearly two years after Adams' office granted Garibay immunity in connection with Shin's death.
Police said Adams, 65, initially denied having an affair with a woman whose home was gutted by arson in July. However, the affidavit says, when confronted with phone records, Adams acknowledged the affair.
The affidavit names Adams as a potential suspect in the July 21 arson on Southpointe Drive.
The fire is suspected to have targeted Garibay, who claimed romantic involvement with at least three men, including the 65-year-old veteran district attorney. She told investigators that three men, including Adams, had "recently expressed jealousy or anger towards her," the affidavit says.
According to the affidavit, Adams' behavior in the days after the fire raised suspicions with police investigators. Police said Adams showed up the next morning — something that had never happened before at a fire scene investigation, they said.
Adams sent an email to a police detective on July 22 describing "pour patterns" at the fire scene and encouraged police to speak with Garibay. Police noted that Adams "has never involved himself in an investigation in this manner," the affidavit says.