Friday, December 31, 2010

Silencing Siobhan

As a former collegiate middle-distance runner, I have a high tolerance for pain. In fact, I only have “lost it” one time, and that was when I showed up in the emergency room with a kidney stone. (At that point, I realized that if I were tortured, I would talk.)

Thank goodness, a friend of mine was the ER doctor on call and he quickly gave me four hits of morphine, which quickly quieted me and made the rest of the morning a bit more tolerable. It was only the second time I had taken morphine, and both times the alternative was experiencing pain beyond my toleration limits.

When I was in graduate school at Auburn University, my wife worked as a counselor at a local hospital, and one of her clients was a man who was 92 years old who had been put into care because he was “suicidal.” What had driven him to such a state? The government said he was “addicted” to pain medication and denied him the drugs that that kept him from being in a state of constant pain.

Unfortunately, this man’s story is the story of a lot of people in this country who live in agony due to health conditions or have complications post-surgery that leave them debilitated. Siobhan Reynolds had a husband with a serious congenital connective disorder who seemed to be responding to treatment from Dr. William Hurwitz, who then was a highly-respected pain specialist practicing in Virginia.

Unfortunately for both Soibhan’s husband and Dr. Hurwitz, Paul McNulty was the U.S. attorney in that area and he had dedicated himself to the directives from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, which ramped up not only the Drug War but also the entire culture of lying and misconduct that now is utterly out of control at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic). One of the areas of emphasis for the McNulty-Ashcroft DOJ was going after doctors writing pain prescriptions, and Dr. Hurwitz’s high profile made him the perfect target for the feds.

Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine has documented the Hurwitz persecution here, here, and here, and Harvey Silverglate gives the case a lot of attention in his outstanding Three Felonies a Day. McNulty’s efforts to destroy Dr. Hurwitz also translated into an effort to destroy those patients who had responded positively to the doctor’s treatments, and one of those patients was Siobhan’s husband Sean.

Two years after Dr. Hurwitz was convicted by a federal jury, Sean died of a cerebral brain hemorrhage, and whether or not it was due to the fact that his debilitating pain elevated his blood pressure to dangerous levels, nonetheless he was dead and his wife blamed the feds. Unlike many people who just accept federally-sponsored injustices and just go away, Siobhan Reynolds fought back by establishing the Pain Relief Network, which became a voice in support of doctors accused by federal prosecutors of writing pain prescriptions that, according to the government, “have no medical purpose.”

Ironically, physicians do not determine what constitutes a “medical purpose.” That is done by political appointees and bureaucrats at the Drug Enforcement Administration and DOJ, even though none of them are medically qualified to make such judgments. However, they are “politically-qualified,” and they do have the power and authority to destroy the lives of others, and many of them revel in just that.

Ms. Reynolds was not someone who would be silenced. Radley Balko writes:
Reynolds coached doctors under investigation on how to fight back. She says she's never been compensated to intervene on behalf of a doctor, other than an occasional airline ticket or hotel accommodations while she was in town to help out. "I moved in with my mother," she says. She played a crucial role in getting media outlets like Newsweek and the New York Times to look at the real problem of undertreated pain. At the same time, Reynolds' passion can make her seem unreasonable and extreme. She has been sharply critical of the medical establishment for failing to stand up for accused physicians, and she has angered more than a few prosecutors, regulators, and politicians.
Unfortunately for Ms. Reynolds and for all of the people she had helped, the feds decided that the last thing they wanted was a public critic who might actually be responsible for holding federal prosecutors and investigators responsible for what they were doing and saying. When Ms. Reynolds and the Pain Relief Network decided to support Stephen and Linda Schneider, who were on trial in Kansas for (What else?) writing pain medication prescriptions that “had no medical purpose, federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway fought back by abusing the law.

Treadway unsuccessfully demanded a gag order against Ms. Reynolds and the PRN, and then sought a change of venue, which the judge in the case also refused. Undaunted, Treadway first started a campaign of harassing Dr. Schneider’s patients and then Treadway decided to seek possible criminal charges for “obstruction of justice” against Ms. Reynolds. Radley Balko writes:
Treadway then launched a grand jury investigation of Reynolds, presumably for obstruction of justice, though she told Reynolds' attorney that she would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was under way. She issued Reynolds a sweeping subpoena demanding all of her records for every case in which she has ever advocated on behalf of a doctor or patient—every e-mail, letter, and phone record, as well as Facebook wall posts and status updates. Complying cost Reynolds tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor. With help from the ACLU, Reynolds sued to have the subpoena quashed. She lost. A second judge, Julie A. Robinson, hit her with a $200 fine for contempt each day she didn't comply. Robinson also declined Reynolds' request to make the subpoena and related proceedings public, effectively imposing a seal on the subpoena, Reynolds' challenge to it, and any materials related to either.
What makes things even worse is that Treadway is demanding that the grand jury proceedings and material be kept secret. The irony should not be lost here. Federal prosecutors are notorious for leaking grand jury material when it helps their cases. For example, the reason Martha Stewart even met with federal investigators (the meeting that was ground zero for the charges against her) without counsel was because U.S. Attorney James Comey’s staff illegally was leaking grand jury material to the media in order to damage the stock price of Martha Stewart Living.

(While it is a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison for leaking grand jury material, no federal prosecutor ever has been indicted or convicted of such acts, despite the fact that this is a known and regular practice of the feds. So, Treadway is able to pursue a “Heads I win, tails you lose” strategy, given that she does not have to worry about accountability.)

The investigation has depleted the funds for the PRN and Ms. Reynolds finally shut it down. In announcing the closing of her organization, Ms. Reynolds pointed out the legal irony in a recent Facebook post:
It is important to note that PRN has been refused standing in federal court to sue the federal government in defense of the patients’ Constitutional rights; this, when the Sierra Club has been given leave to sue powerful entities on behalf of insects.
She closes with this warning:
The Drug War is a beast. I believe that the only effort that has a chance at changing the current state of affairs is the Liberty Movement, informally led by Congressman Ron Paul. (Emphasis mine)
Thus, it ends for Siobhan Reynolds. A federal prosecutor is trying to bring criminal charges against someone who simply had the courage to speak out against prosecutorial misconduct and to stand up for those patients who must suffer needlessly because, frankly, prosecutors want to boost their own careers by destroying the lives of doctors, their families, and their patients.

Ms. Reynolds did not quit because she lost courage; she quit because the government stacked the deck against her. She quit because a federal prosecutor is able to manipulate the legal system and the judges refuse to object to an obvious injustice.

Siobhan Reynolds is a remarkable person, someone who has my full admiration and the admiration of many other people. Furthermore, she has paid a real price for standing up to the feds and now has exposed just what a morally-bankrupt operation the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) really is, and the feds do not take kindly to people who reveal the immorality of federal prosecutors.

Indeed, the Drug War is a beast, but it is a beast only because of the beasts that inhabit that zoo known as the DOJ. The beasts at the DOJ demonstrate the conscience of a snake and the morality of a shark. Would be that Siobhan could have stood against them longer, but even for that brief time, she was able to get out the message that those who pursue the Drug War against doctors do not do so because of concern for patients, but because the real purpose of the DOJ is to destroy the innocent.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jacob Sullum: Maybe the Obama Administration Should Look in the Mirror

Jacob Sullum (who is a columnist for Reason Magazine article and is the editor for the article that Kerwyn and I have written on the Tonya Craft case), has a great column today pointing out just how much buck-passing goes on in government in general and the Obama administration in particular.

Jacob writes:
Two weeks ago, writing in The Washington Post, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius argued that Americans must be forced to buy government-approved medical coverage to prevent "unfair cost-shifting" by uninsured patients. They neglected to mention that the federal government mandates such cost shifting by requiring hospitals to treat all comers, regardless of their ability to pay.

Holder and Sebelius also misleadingly implied that the individual insurance mandate is aimed at addressing uncompensated care, which according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation represents less than 3 percent of health care spending. The main reason ObamaCare compels people to buy insurance is not so they can pay their own bills but so they can pay other people's bills. Since the new system requires insurers to cover everyone while forbidding them to charge sicker policyholders more, it needs to conscript people who hardly use health care so they can subsidize the expenses of people who use it a lot.

The Obama administration's refusal to acknowledge that coercion begets coercion when the government meddles in the health care market was one of the year's most memorable examples of blame shifting.
From there he goes to the latest McDonald's lawsuit (McDonald's does not help us enough in saying "no" to our children) to the TSA's excuse that they have to abuse us at airports because last year a Nigerian hid a bomb in his underwear (that did not go off, but did ensure that he would produce no future offspring).

Lest we think that our "betters" in Washington are going to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong, perhaps the litany of excuses from Jake Blues as to why he jilted his fiance (played by Carrie Fisher) will better describe the Washington blame-shifting culture:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

America's Newest Crime: "Cutting the Cheese" During Class

Camille Tilley has sent me this link, and it definitely puts things into perspective. The USA, with 5 percent of the world's population, has a quarter of the world's prisoners.

Here are some highlights (or maybe "lowlights" is more appropriate):

#1 A Michigan man has been charged with a felony and could face up to 5 years in prison for reading his wife’s email.

#2 A 49-year-old Queens woman had bruises all over her body after she was handcuffed, arrested and brutally beaten by NYPD officers. So what was her offense? The officers thought that her little dog had left some poop that she didn’t clean up.

#3 A 56-year-old woman who was once a rape victim refused to let airport security officials feel her breasts so she was thrown to the floor, put in handcuffs and arrested.

#4 In Milwaukee, one man was recently fined $500 for swearing on a public bus.

#5 Several years ago a 12-year-old boy in South Carolina was actually arrested by police for opening up a Christmas present early against his family’s wishes.

...

#8 Back in 2008, a 13-year-old boy in Florida was actually arrested by police for farting in class.

#9 The feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.

#10 A few years ago a 10-year-old girl was arrested and charged with a felony for bringing a small steak knife to school. It turns out that all she wanted to do was to cut up her lunch so that she could eat it.

#11 On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Islamic festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within three minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

And, the ultimate:

#14 A few years ago a 70 year old grandmother was actually put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for having a brown lawn.

Yes, who says that our wonderful police state is falling down on the job. Furthermore, the vast internal spy network being developed with "cooperation" between state, local, and federal authorities is sure to further stuff our prisons.

Welcome to Prison Nation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jury Nullification: Frankly, We Need More of It

While an undergraduate, I took a course in American Journalism History and found that perhaps the most important freedom of the press case in the nation's history was decided by jury nullification. In 1735, the British Crown put John Peter Zenger on trial in New York City for "seditious libel."

Zenger's attorney, Andrew Hamilton, convinced jurors to ignore the law and decide on the merits of the case, establishing both the tradition of jury nullification and the primacy of truth in libel cases. Both still stand, although both continually are under fire.

Jury nullification got a very bad name during the Civil Rights Era when southern juries often would acquit white defendants of murdering blacks, or prosecutors might even avoid indicting people at all, even knowing that they were guilty of murder. (Or, when blacks were on trial, juries would ignore the evidence and convict out of racial prejudice, as what happened in the notorious Scottsboro Boys case.)

Many people also have said that the acquittal of O.J. Simpson was an example of jury nullification, but I believe that the prosecution did a miserable job in presenting the evidence and Simpson's defense managed to establish reasonable doubt. Given that Simpson now resides in a Nevada prison, where he is likely to remain for another decade at least, the not-guilty verdict against him has lost some of its edge.

Nonetheless, despite the bad name jury nullification has received, juror and potential jurors should know that they do have the legal power to declare a defendant "not guilty" even if they understand that he or she actually committed the act for which there is a charge. This article in the LA Times deals with jury nullification issues on marijuana possession, but it seems to me that jurors need to take a much harder view on other subjects.

The recent "honest services fraud" conviction against Kevin Ring in Washington, D.C., is a case in point. Afterward, jurors said that the trial was a "waste of public resources":
"I saw it as a waste of time and money, but the law is what it is," said Andre Ruffin outside the courtroom as several of his fellow jurors nodded in agreement.
Yet, Kevin Ring is likely to spend much of his life in prison, and yet (as I read through the arguments before trial), prosecutors had to twist the law in order to justify their charges. It would have been much more effective to have had jurors send a clear message to the Department of Justice that its abusive and wrongful prosecutions need to come to an end.

But, then, we are dealing with Washington, where jurors mostly are Democrat bureaucrats who are used to demanding full obedience to them (see the TSA as an example). Thus, injustice is what I would expect from these tax-feeders.

To find out more about the legal powers that juries have, the Fully Informed Jury Association has a website explaining the rights and duties of jurors. The organization's statement says it all:
The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.
[Update, Monday, December 27]: Benjamin Shaw sent me this link of a case that cries out for jury nullification. A man read his wife's email and found out she was having an affair with a previous husband. The Oakland County, Michigan, prosecutor is trying to have him thrown into prison for five years.

This case is an outrage, but it is very typical of prosecutors today, who constantly are on the hunt for new prosecutions. Furthermore, prosecutors today don't care about intent; they just want to throw as many people into prison as possible. [End Update]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I would love to wish all of my loyal readers a most Merry Christmas. Here is a performance of Dan Forrest's "There Is Faint Music" by the University of Utah Singers. (Yes, yes, I like these people.)

So, please enjoy, have a wonderful day, and thank you for your encouragement. And to those who had to deal with false accusations this year, you can see that you have lots of friends who believe in your innocence.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Maricopa Madness, Part II

Since my last post, I have been to Pittsburgh and back, carrying a large sofa set in the back of my van. Fitting those sofa pieces into that van was a triumph of packing, one that I will carry for the rest of my days as a point of pride.

Indeed, I think the packing analogy seems to fit what is going on not only with Maricopa County prosecutors, but with American prosecutors in general. They have an institution called a court, and they have a jumbled bunch of information, and then they proceed to pack all of that information into what is called a criminal case.

Now, there are times when the information fits better than O.J.'s glove (lots better), and the case is obvious: the accused did it. There are other times when it is clear enough that the accused did it, but getting to a point of trial and a conviction takes some creativity, as the fellow and I had to employ in order to make everything fit.

And, then there are times when prosecutors engage in conduct for which the only analogy can be the venerable "I'll make it fit!" advertisement that Midas Mufflers ran many years ago on television. If anything can describe what Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and, to a lesser degree, Rachel Alexander have done in their prosecutorial tenure in Maricopa County, I think Midas ad "fits" better than anything else (to use an ironic term). Indeed, I don't have to make the case for disbarment fit at all; it is obvious to anyone who looks into this situation that these three miscreants do not need to be in positions of power and authority. They should be in jail.

What exactly did the Unholy Trinity do to have an investigator for the Arizona State Bar recommend that the man who narrowly missed winning the Republican primary for Arizona attorney general (and most likely would have won the general election) should have his law license taken away, along with his two partners-in-crime?

Thomas and Aubuchon worked together to indict and prosecute people who were political enemies of the infamous sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, as well as being seemingly vulnerable to abusive prosecutions.

The investigator's report is available here. The Phoenix New Times describes some of the allegations as follows:
A "reckless, four-year campaign of corruption and power abuse."

That's how retired Judge Charles E. Jones categorized the evidence against ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his one-time hatchet-woman, former Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon, in probable-cause statements filed today that could lead to disbarment for both lawyers.

Jones also slammed the pair's legal rampage as wasteful to the taxpayers and vindictive in the extreme.

"Motivation for much of the alleged impropriety appears retaliatory," noted Jones, "intended to do personal harm to the reputations of Judges, County Supervisors, and other county officials.

"Actions by Respondent appear intent on intimidation, focused on political gain, and appear fully disconnected from professional and prosecutorial standards long associated with the administration of justice, particularly criminal justice."
I remember when the North Carolina State Bar filed charges against Mike Nifong, charges that ultimately led to his disbarment. Like Nifong, Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander have claimed that the whole thing is nothing more than a "political witch hunt" in which the Unholy Trinity is being good conservatives who only care about law and order and good government. These are people who have scoffed at the law or who have de facto declared themselves to be the law.

Furthermore, these three were the darlings of the Christian conservatives and the hard right of Arizona. (Alexander -- with her brother -- runs a blog called Intellectual Conservative which claims to be at least somewhat libertarian, although you could have fooled me.)

No doubt, many of the Usual Suspects (Arizona Right to Life, Focus on the Family, and other such groups) will claim that the "liberal establishment" is out to get these fine, upstanding Christians. As a theologically conservative evangelical (out of the Reformed camp), I had always thought that the Scriptures told people to do justice, not to make it up as they went along.

In fact, if the standards of Old Testament Law were applied to the behavior of the Unholy Trinity, they would be facing a mob that would be preparing to stone them into eternity. One cannot lie and "do justice." One cannot knowingly bring false charges and "do justice." One cannot go on moral crusades against innocent people and "do justice."

If you want to understand just how dishonest and vindictive the Unholy Trinity really are, read about the Matt Bandy case in which Thomas turned all of his tax-funded guns loose on a 16-year-old boy with no criminal record. It is absolutely clear that Thomas really did not care if Bandy was guilty or innocent of downloading child pornography on his computer. He just wanted to look good so people like James Dobson and Gary Bauer and their allies would declare him to be a hero "saving the children."

The culture of lying and abuse that pervaded Andrew Thomas' office when he was County Attorney of Maricopa County has managed to outlive Thomas' reign of terror. As Carola Jacobson has found, prosecutors in Maricopa County really don't care about guilt or innocence or even the truth. They just wanted to win, period, no matter what the costs and no matter if the innocent were destroyed.

THAT is the legacy of Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and Rachel Alexander. I do hope they enjoy their post-legal careers and only wish that they could enjoy their tarnished years while residing in the Crowbar Motel, which is where they belong.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Maricopa Madness, Part I

When Andrew Thomas resigned as DA for Maricopa County last April so that he could run for Arizona attorney general, it ultimately set off a chain of events that has so exposed the practices of prosecutors in that place that Thomas and two of his ringleaders, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, now are facing disbarment, which in this day of the unaccountable prosecutor is an amazing thing.

Before going further, I will say that there is so much happening there, mostly bad, that I cannot cover it in this space. Furthermore, I am coming in on this story in the same way a vulture comes onto a carcass. As carrion goes, this is pretty good stuff, but as a latecomer to the utter madness that is Maricopa County "justice," I pretty much am limited to repeating what others have written.

I have written much on prosecutorial misconduct, but I must admit that I was not prepared for the brand of "justice" in the capital city of Arizona, as I figured that the city was too sophisticated and diverse to have a gang of Michael Nifongs running the show in the DA's office. Durham, North Carolina, where Nifong did his damage in the Duke Lacrosse Case, has the uneasy relationship between the city, which has a lot of relatively poor African-Americans, and Duke University, which draws a number of wealthy and white students from out of the area.

Nifong simply exploited the divide and the American mainstream media, which always tries to frame black-white issues as though it always were Birmingham in 1964 and that Reade Seligmann was the second coming of Sam Bowers. Had outside bloggers and writers not intervened in that case, it is likely that Nifong still would be the DA there today, given the complete support he had from Duke University, the Durham government, the local AND national MSM, and the local political establishment.

In the Tonya Craft case, we saw that the "justice" players in the LMJC were trying their best to play to the stereotypes that New Yorkers might have of rural Georgia justice, but I must admit that Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, and Rachel Alexander all out do Buzz Franklin, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt, Len "The Man/Racist" Gregor and "judge" brian outhouse, and that takes a monumental effort, believe me.

So, let us just say that the Terrible Trio of Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander are in some hot water, as even Arizona has its limits of outright criminal behavior by those who are sworn to uphold the law. Of course, these three legal stooges did not go quietly. No, they actually hired a private investigator to tail Colorado ethics investigator John Gleason, who investigated the officials for the state Bar of Arizona.

Yes, that's right. The Arizona State Bar hired Gleason, and then the Unholy Trinity actually tried to intimidate him by having him tailed. That alone should have been grounds for recommendation of disbarment, and I doubt it earned them brownie points with the very people who will sit in judgment over them when they have their hearings in 2011.

Bar hearings are not like regular criminal court proceedings, as they are administrative in nature. That means that the "innocent until proven guilty" standard for criminal cases does not hold.

Instead, the Unholy Trinity will be facing a group of people who will be inclined to disbar them, and it is up to Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander to try to do the impossible: convince their judges that they really don't deserve to be stripped of their law licenses.

In my next post on this subject, I will go into the outright criminal behavior of these three miscreants and demonstrate how they helped to set a standard -- make that sub-standard -- of justice in Maricopa County that meant prison for Courtney Bisbee and many other innocents.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Lord of the Small" by the Sterling Singers

[Update, December 20]: Here is the text for the anthem:

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who`ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear ChildrenThrough Mercy Filled Eyes!
[End Update]

Several years ago, my wife, Johanna, wrote a text called "Lord of the Small." Last year, she sent it to Dan Forrest, who was working on a commission to honor the memory of a 12-year-old girl in College Station, Texas, who died of cancer.

Dan saw that "Lord of the Small" fit the subject and wrote a beautiful melody for it. The result has been a piece that has been sung in churches not only in this country, but abroad, and I am thankful that God has seen to reward Johanna's efforts and allowed her to bless others with the simple theme that God does not manifest Himself in the proud and the powerful, but in those who are weak and frail and humble.

I especially am pleased that this was sung at the University of Utah, which is home to a wonderful choral program, led by Dr. Brady Allred.

(Thanks to Pastor Travis who found this video. Travis, by the way, was the ONLY pastor in the LMJC to speak out about the false accusations against Tonya Craft. I am not surprised that he is moved by the text of "Lord of the Small," as he understands that the Kingdom of God is not manifest by power and might, but by those who are weak and humble, yet bring God's message in a way that the proud and arrogant never could do.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Carol of Joy" by Dan Forrest sung by University of Utah Singers

One of my favorite contemporary Christmas choral works is "Carol of Joy," written by Dan Forrest, who also created the music for "Lord of the Small," which was written by my wife, Johanna Anderson.

The University of Utah Singers, along with the University of Utah Choir, led by Brady R. Allred, perform here.

Finals Week

We are giving final exams this week, which means I am grading and turning in grades. I hope to be finished today, so I can write some new posts.

Sorry for the inaction, but the day job calls....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maricopa County "Justice" and the Wrongful Conviction of Courtney Bisbee

Maricopa County, Arizona, has proven to be a cesspool of justice and the situation only looks to get worse. From the predations of Sheriff Joe "Pink Underwear" Arpaio to the contrived and false charges against the son of Carola Jacobson, the "justice" apparatus of that place proves to be something that makes the courtroom of Roland Friesler look to be paragon of goodness.

There are many issues I want to cover in the future about Maricopa County, including the continuing investigations into the clearly-criminal activity of former Maricopa County DA Andrew Thomas and his partner-in-crime Lisa Aubuchon. These two miscreants, who were politically allied with Arpaio, attempted to frame innocent people of crimes for political purposes, but the law might (I emphasize might) be catching up with them.

Yet, for all of the turmoil, an innocent woman named Courtney Bisbee quietly serves her prison time in Arizona, convicted by one of Thomas' henchmen in a case that every legal expert who has examined it calls a farce. She stands convicted of molesting a young teenager, although the teenager's brother has since said in a sworn affidavit that his family concocted the whole scheme for lawsuit purposes. (That also has been the motivation behind the accusations against the Jacobson boy.)

The Bisbee story is kept alive by her mother, Camille Tilley, who has proven to be quite formidable as a force against the injustice perpetrated by Thomas' people. I would urge readers to read this lengthy story in the Phoenix New Times that goes into detail about the case, and how the false accusations came about.

The other day, our pastor preached about the lies that abound in our present society, and while he mentioned the lies told by government agents, I doubt most people in the congregation that day really understood how pervasive the official culture of lying really is in government at all levels in the USA. This blog deals with only a smidgen of the lies, and I see things only getting worse.

Yet, there are some small victories. Tonya Craft was acquitted, Eric Echols is a free man, and Carola Jacobson so far has been successful in chewing up the prosecutorial apparatus in Phoenix. There is much more, and I hope that in the near future, we can say that Courtney also is a free woman.

I will be doing more on this case and on what is happening in Phoenix. For now, read about Courtney Bisbee, and then realize this is the hell where our "leaders" want to take us. And don't forget that Arizona voters almost made Thomas the state's attorney general. There is much work to be done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Disheartening Story

In today's New York Times, Nicholas Kristof tells the story of the upcoming execution of Kevin Cooper. Despite the fact that a number of federal judges have declared that Cooper was framed by police in California, and despite the evidence that someone else committed the murders for which Cooper is supposed to die, the state-run machinery of death plows on.

This is a compelling story that I am sure some readers will dismiss as "liberal" nonsense. (No doubt, Ann Coulter believes Cooper is guilty because, well, a jury convicted him, and everyone knows that prosecutors always tell the truth.)

In my view, however, this goes well beyond the guilt or innocence of one man, or even the merits or demerits of state-sponsored executions. It goes beyond the race of the victims and Cooper's race. (The victims were white and Cooper is black.)

All of these are the platforms from which political groups operate, but there is something much more important than political victories and losses, and that is Truth itself. We finally have reached the era in the United States in which truth is irrelevant.

When Duke University fired lacrosse coach Mike Pressler in 2006 after three of his players were falsely accused of raping an African-American prostitute, the then-AD of Duke, Joe Alleva (who now is at LSU), declared emphatically, "It's not about the truth." Instead, it was about the political situation, and he decided that politics trumps truth, and the president of Duke, Richard Brodhead, supported Alleva's decision.

Duke University has the motto "Eruditio et Religio," which means "sanctified knowledge." In the lacrosse case, Duke mirrored the rest of American society when its leadership sought out a lie in place of the truth, all the while claiming that the lies they were telling were sanctified.

So, if Cooper is put to death, then we can say once again that political victories mean more to Americans than does the truth. No civilization can stand upon the sandy foundations of lies, and we are going to find out the hard way that "American Exceptionalism" does not mean that Americans are excused from the consequences of the lie.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tonya Craft Drops Her Federal Lawsuit -- For Now

Yes, the word finally is official: Tonya Craft has withdrawn her lawsuit against a number of people who played a role in accusing her of false charges. However, one might notice the tiny phrase, "without prejudice," that accompanies her action.

What is going on? Some people will claim that she dropped the suit because she was afraid that court proceedings ultimately would expose her as really being a child molester. Fat chance of that being true, but the trolls and Mommie Dearest dream on.

In reality, the suit had problems, although not necessarily with the facts. First, it was hurriedly prepared and filed shortly after the "not guilty" verdict came down, and it was filed by Scott and Cary King, who had been part of the criminal defense team.

Let's be honest; neither person was ready to be filing that kind of suit, and the original filing exposed that fact. Furthermore, Tonya was not involved in that portion of her case, given that she was focused on getting back her children and getting back a bit of normalcy in her life.

Second, while I like and respect the Kings, federal suits are not their forte. These guys are good "street fighters," and I would love to have them in my corner if I needed attorneys that were willing to do battle with thugs like Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor. But they are not the right people for this particular case, and both men realize this fact.

Thus, I believe I can make the following prediction: Tonya Craft will be re-filing her suit, but there will be a number of changes, and one of those changes will be addition of an attorney who has more expertise in these kinds of cases. My sources (and they are quite reliable) tell me that you can bank on that happening.

In other words, Mommie Dearest and her friends do not yet need to dismiss the attorneys they have on retainer. Merry Christmas, and I do hope that those who are about to be sued again enjoy their upcoming "happy" New Year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tonya Craft Drops Her Suit Against Joal and Sarah Henke

The Chattanoogan today reports that Tonya Craft has dropped Joal and Sarah Henke from the federal lawsuit she filed against them and others last May. That does not surprise me at all for three reasons:
  • Tonya is not a vindictive person, and as one who has had a number of conversations and personal visits with her (including one a week ago Sunday), and I definitely believe her when she says she wants to get the issues with Joal and Sarah behind her;
  •  Tonya also has a real "fairness" gene and she clearly does not want to be engaged in the tit-for-tat actions like what Joal and Sarah did during the criminal trial and the custody hearing. This is a woman who does care about her children, and she is willing to do what it takes to give them as normal an upbringing as possible;
  • Joal certainly would be valuable as an "inside" witness to the goings on not only with the defendants in the lawsuit, but also about the roles played by Chris Arnt and Tim Deal. (As far as I can tell, Len "The Man" Gregor was added only to provide comic relief to the prosecutorial proceedings with his "boobs and thongs" outbursts as well as his head-scratching final comments about fishing lures; "judge" brian outhouse was supposed to play the "straight man" role, although he spent most of his time getting instructions from Arnt and ultimately made an utter fool of himself.)
Now, given Joal's penchant for lying under oath, I always would be wanting to discount anything that he has said. However, if he and Sarah were to play a role for the plaintiff, the outcome could be most interesting.

I say that because if the attorneys for the defense (Lamb, etc.) were to claim that Joal and Sarah were lying, then they also would be tacitly admitting that their OWN clients had lied, given that all of them were in this case together. Here is the problem: if the defense were to say that Joal was making up the allegations against Tonya out of whole cloth, then what does that say about their own clients, since they were making the same accusations against Tonya as well?!? As you can see, things would get very, very sticky.

Instead, the defense would have to make the bifurcated claim that Joal and Sarah were lying about Tonya but that their clients were telling the truth. That dog won't hunt, folks. There were too many phone calls and too much contact between Joal, Sarah, and the others bringing the charges for people to claim that Joal was lying independently.

Now, having Joal on one's side can be perilous. After all, he IS a pathological liar and while he claims to have "seen the light" in the current situation, I also know that people like Joal never accept defeat. Instead, they engage in what might be called a "tactical retreat." Furthermore, I can see him on the stand claiming that Tonya really was a child molester, but that since the courts had spoken, he had to do what he had to do.

As for the "Today Show" appearance, Tonya did well, Joal clearly equivocated on Matt Lauer's question about whether or not he believed Tonya was guilty of child molestation, and Lauer never followed up on anything important. Somehow, I was not surprised.

(The news story that was in the segment was typical of the really bad coverage "Today" gave the story last spring. with the reporter still trying to give the "both sides" approach, which was ridiculous, given what we know of the case. And if I have to watch Jerry McDonald's crocodile tears performance one more time, I'm throwing a shoe through my computer screen.)

At least this chapter is done. By the way, having met both of Tonya's children, I can say without any doubt that Tonya's daughter did not show any signs of the trauma one might expect from a child who was brutally molested by her mother. As I see it, the girl was doing what the significant adults in her life were telling her to do, and she obeyed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks and the LMJC Tactics

Julian Assange is a wanted man. Yes, while Sarah Palin wants him to be assassinated outright and others want him tried and convicted of treason (and then executed, after undue process of law), it seems that the actual "charges" against him come right out of the LMJC playbook: charge him with a "sex crime."

Somehow, I am not surprised, although I am kind of surprised that Chris Arnt has not yet claimed that Assange is wanted for child molestation in Northwest Georgia. Given that child molestation charges seem to dominate the criminal court dockets in the LMJC, what is another false charge, given that the LMJC specializes in prosecutors that suborn perjury, lie, and fabricate "evidence."

So, in this age of Political Correctness, suddenly the Swedes want us to believe that Assange is a deranged sex criminal (although the charges for which he is wanted in Sweden would bring only two years in prison upon conviction), and Interpol is looking everywhere for him. Somehow, I am not surprised.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks, "Progressivism," and "National Security"

One of the most overused terms in this age of the overwhelming state is "national security," and I always am amazed at how people who think clearly on other subjects fall all over themselves when someone manages to breach the secrecy of government agencies. Not surprisingly, when this flimsy "security" line actually is crossed, the typical response is to try to kill the messenger.

A favorite blogger of mine is Tom Kirkendall, a Houston attorney who also runs the Houston's Clear Thinkers blog, and Kirkendall's comments on the latest WikiLeaks release of hundreds of thousands of documents involving international wheeling and dealing is on the money. Before looking at his comments, however, I have a few of my own.

The Progressive Era, which really was a massive assault on the constitutional order of the former American republic, was based upon a belief that "intelligent experts" should be in charge of the daily lives of everyone else. People at the end of the 19th Century tended to understand that politicians were corrupt, governments generally wasted tax dollars, and that elected officials could not be trusted. Furthermore, while they did not like that situation, nonetheless they at least could be assured that they could live their lives apart from most governmental influence.

Progressives, however, believed that they could create what everyone else thought to be an oxymoron: "Good Government." This would be government which had permanent agencies staffed by brilliant and loyal "public servants" who could -- and should -- make decisions for everyone else. The Progressives also believed that the Constitution was terribly flawed because it gave that corrupt Congress too much authority and did not give the executive branch the free hand that was needed to institutionalize the bureaucratic state. Thus, they sought to change that state of affairs, and what we have today is the result: Bad governance by the "good experts."

(As an academic economist, I always marvel at just how the "brilliant" policy "experts" in the executive branch have managed to run the once-powerful U.S. economy into the ground, and now claim they can "fix" everything by injecting bouts of inflation. For once, I really wish that someone like Ben Bernanke, who was on the elite Princeton economics faculty before coming to the Federal Reserve System, would admit that by appealing to inflation, he has no answers at all. Instead, we get nonsense like "Quantitative Easing," which is nothing more than a euphemism for printing money.)

The arena where we most likely will see "rule by experts" is in foreign policy, and the WikiLeaks document release demonstrates just how cynical and dishonest the entire process has become. Furthermore, the release demonstrates how truly mediocre yet egotistical people have come to dominate the process, and how they put millions of people on the hook just to pad their own ego trips.

It is here that Kirkendall really presents some good insights. He writes:
To get at the value of WikiLeaks, I think it's important to distinguish between the government-the temporary, elected authors of national policy-and the state-the permanent bureaucratic and military apparatus superficially but not fully controlled by the reigning government. The careerists scattered about the world in America's intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well. The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America's unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it.

If secrecy is necessary for national security and effective diplomacy, it is also inevitable that the prerogative of secrecy will be used to hide the misdeeds of the permanent state and its privileged agents. I suspect that there is no scheme of government oversight that will not eventually come under the indirect control of the generals, spies, and foreign-service officers it is meant to oversee. (Emphasis mine)
What passes for "national security" really is nothing more than a veil of secrecy created to protect the "insecurity" of the bureaucrats and clueless, short-term-thinking policymakers who obligate Americans and others to pay for destructive schemes. Not surprisingly, in the end, the Permanent Ruling Class that the "Progressive" system has created respond by wanting to throw the messenger into prison.

(Since we don't have television reception at my home, I have not watched any of the talking heads on the various cable shows, but I am sure that the word "treason" has been thrown around carelessly by both liberals and conservatives. As I see it, however, Julian Assange simply has opened our eyes to the egotism and folly of people who believe they are entitled to make decisions for billions of people.)

As if on cue, the New York Times, which really is the Godfather of Progressivism, provides comic relief in the form of claiming that the leaks show just how skillful and brilliant the Obama Regime really is -- in contrast to the Bush administration. Once again, we see that Progressives tend to be bifurcated in their thinking, claiming that this latest release of documents falls into both the "Aren't We Brilliant?" AND "Move Along, Folks, Nothing To See" categories, and the NYT misses the larger point.

What is that bigger picture? In the post-World War II era, the "experts" that run our Administrative State not only have bankrupted this country, they have driven out productive people and productive entities, involved our armed forces in intractable wars (none of which have been declared by Congress, as the Constitution requires), put troops all over the world, and created a police state at home. Furthermore, they have managed to get away with it and have convinced Americans that any attempt to do away with this sorry state of affairs is an act of treason.

And what is the response when this folly is exposed? Yes, arrest those who have exposed it and give more power to those people who have been destroying our economy and our future.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Lords of (Lax) Discipline

[Update, Monday, November 29, 7:55 AM]: We are on the road today, driving from Chattanooga to Garrett County. I hope to resume posting tomorrow. Hope everyone had a great weekend! [End Update]

Prosecutors are different than you and me, and even different than other lawyers. Where all of the latter can be sued, investigated, hauled into court or worse for engaging in misconduct, American prosecutors are free of such worries, for they not only are protected by immunity statutes and court rulings that reflect the "I've got your back" relationship between judges and prosecutors, but also are protected by the one entity that can discipline them for misconduct: the state bar.

A recent study from the innocence project at the Santa Clara University School of Law found that prosecutorial misconduct in California was rarely reported and when it was, the California State Bar usually did nothing. After my experience with the Georgia State Bar last summer, I am not surprised at all at what the Santa Clara study revealed.

Anyone who followed Tonya Craft's criminal trial in Ringgold last spring could see that the prosecutorial misconduct by Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor was massive. These men helped to fabricate false evidence, they lied to jurors, suborned perjury, made a mockery of the proceedings, had secret (and unreported) meetings with "judge" brian outhouse, presented charges they knew were false, made inflammatory pre-trial statements, and generally made a mockery of anything we might call "justice."

After Tonya's acquittal, I spoke to one of the assistants of Carmen Rojas Rafter, the Senior Grievance Counsel of the Georgia State Bar, who made it absolutely clear that the bar had no problem whatsoever with what Arnt and Gregor were doing. "Hey," she said to me, "She was acquitted, wasn't she?"

I replied, "Yes, she was acquitted after she and her family forced to spend over a millions dollars just to fight charges that were transparently false." The assistant's answer was chilling: "Well, they (the prosecutors) were just doing their jobs."

She clearly did not like my response when I asked her if falsifying evidence, lying and suborning perjury fit into the "jobs" category of Georgia prosecutors. The assistant then hung up.

Readers should not be surprised when I say that it probably is more likely that your house will be attacked by a herd of rogue elephants than the Georgia State Bar will discipline a prosecutor. The "I've got your back" syndrome with the only Georgia authorities that do anything about prosecutorial misconduct is par for the course not only in Georgia, but also in the rest of the country.

It is human nature that when someone is given power and authority and there are no checks on that person's behavior, that sooner or later the person will abuse his or her authority. If a person can lie with impunity and never have to worry about facing punishment, then we should not be surprised when we find out that the person, well, lies with impunity.

In the case of prosecutors, we can see a pattern of self-selection of certain kinds of people into that line of work. The pay is not that good, so a talented lawyer is likely to try to find a position in a private law firm that pays better. Thus, we often see the ranks of prosecutors filled with people who are mediocre lawyers, but relish being able to bully others.

Even prosecutors who have a strong moral compass find that they will find themselves in situations in which they can compromise their ethical standards and get away with it, and the temptation to cut corners always is out there. Thus, even ethical people can succumb to the lure of winning and telling a few "white lies" in the process, and never having to worry about being caught.

Many prosecutors also have strong political ambitions. Arnt, for example, has long set his sights on higher office, and he had hoped to ride a high-profile conviction against Tonya Craft to better electoral fortunes. If that ride included lying, suborning perjury, helping to fabricate false evidence, and generally breaking the law at every turn, well, so be it. A prosecutor's gotta do what he's gotta do.

There is another problem, as the great attorney and civil libertarian Harvey Silverglate wrote in his book Three Felonies a Day: there is a "Gresham's Law" effect which especially is found in the ranks of federal prosecutors in which the liars and cheats drive out the honest people, who no longer can stomach the prospect of having to lie in order to "do his or her job." Over time, the ambitious and dishonest people rise to the top and push out prosecutors who actually believe in the Rule of Law.

A close friend who spent a year as an assistant district attorney after being graduated from law school told me that she had to get out because the mentality that permeated the office was intolerable for someone who actually cared about right and wrong. She said that she found herself seeing everyone else as a criminal and that "I was a hammer, and everyone else was a nail."

Had she stayed on, as do many prosecutors who don't have this woman's moral compass, one wonders if she would have become jaded and bitter and easily would have hidden exculpatory evidence or lied just to get a conviction. It was clear to her that she did not want to become another Chris Arnt or Len Gregor, who demonstrated during Tonya's trial what happens when prosecutorial misconduct and lies go unpunished. Had either men actually believe that he could lose his law license and maybe his freedom for lying, suborning perjury and fabricating evidence, would we have seen the proceedings turn into something that resembled a scene in "Animal House"?

In Matthew 20, Jesus tells his disciples that the ruler of the Gentiles loved to use their power over others. However, he added that his disciples were to have the heart "of a servant." in The United States of Ambition, we have corrupted the language to a point where those who lord it over everyone else call themselves "public servants" when, in fact, they are as ruthless and dishonest as those rulers of long ago that Jesus condemned.

This is the "justice" system we have today. It is populated with ambitious, dishonest people who know they won't face any consequences for lying and lawbreaking because the authorities have their backs. It is true in California, it is true in Georgia, and it is true everywhere in this country.

As I see it, only the Grace of God prevents the judicial system of this country from sinking even further into the sewer. Tonya Craft, in the end, was acquitted despite the best efforts of Arnt, Gregor, outhouse, the Georgia attorney general, and the Georgia State Bar. Every once in a while, the honest people win, and I thank God for those fleeting moments of justice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Making Sense of the Chandra Levy Murder Verdict

After Tonya Craft's defense rested during her trial in Catoosa County, the prosecution had the opportunity to present rebuttal testimony. One of the things people wondered would be whether or not Chris Arnt and Len Gregor might try the "jumping on the bus" tactic in which someone who had shared a cell with Tonya after her arrest -- albeit briefly -- would testify that Tonya had "confessed" to her that she had been molesting children.

Few things in criminal cases have less reliability and invite more prosecutorial misconduct than the "cellmate snitch" tactic. Called "jumping on the bus," what often happens is that prosecutors and police feed information to the cellmate who then testifies that the accused "confessed" to him (or her) all the details of the crime. In return, the person testifying receives benefits like early parole, or a favorable plea deal.

The practice is insidious because it invites the worst kind of prosecutorial misconduct: Prosecutors knowingly introducing perjury and playing a role in constructing testimony that they know is not true. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, and the courts refuse to put a stop to it. Award-winning journalist Bill Moushey explains how this tactic works in federal court:
In Florida, prisoners call the scam "jumping on the bus," and it is as tantalizing as it is perverse. Inmates in federal prisons barter or buy information that only an insider to a crime could know — often from informants with access to confidential federal crime files.

The prisoners memorize it and get others to do the same. Then, to win sentence reductions, they testify about crimes that might have been committed while they were in prison, by people they’ve never met, in places they’ve never been. The scam succeeds only because of the tacit approval of federal law enforcement officers.

Cocaine smuggler Jose Goyriena used "jump on the bus" testimony to help federal prosecutors put three men in prison for life, and he was set to do it again for prosecutors who promised to cut his 27 year sentence by 10 years or more.

Prosecutors knew Goyriena had bragged about his lies to cellmates, but the prosecutors didn’t reveal what they’d heard to any of the men Goyriena had helped condemn — violating one of the fundamental tenets of American justice. It was defense attorneys who finally caught Goyriena in the scam.
People remember when the murder of Chandra Levy hit the headlines almost a decade ago. Originally, the prime suspect was Congressman Gary Condit (D-California), who had engaged in an affair with Levy. While no evidence pointed to him, nonetheless the adverse publicity destroyed his political career.

This was a "cold case." There was no DNA evidence, no body, and nothing to tie the case to anyone. However, Levy's body later was found and interest in the case resurfaced. Finally, the D.C. police decided to charge Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, with the crime. Guandique already was serving time for attacking joggers in D.C., and Levy supposedly had been jogging when she disappeared, so the link seemed worthwhile.

However, police had no other evidence by which to tie Guandique to the crime. That was not a barrier, unfortunately, as police used the "cellmate snitch" practice to square the circle, and D.C. prosecutors last week got a conviction against him. According to the Christian Science Monitor:
Prosecutors Amanda Haines and Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez obtained a conviction even though they had no eyewitnesses and no DNA evidence linking Guandique to Levy. And Guandique never confessed to police. Prosecutors hung their hopes in large part on a former cellmate of Guandique, Armando Morales, who testified that Guandique confided in him that he killed Levy.

Morales said Guandique was worried about being labeled a rapist by fellow inmates if word got out that he was a suspect in the Levy case. According to Morales, Guandique admitted killing Levy as part of an attempted robbery, but said he never raped her.

The government also presented testimony from two women who were attacked by Guandique in May and July of 2001 in Rock Creek Park. In both cases, Guandique attacked the women from behind while they jogged on isolated trails but ran off after each woman fought him off.

Defense attorneys said Morales' testimony couldn't be trusted. They also pointed to DNA from an unknown male that was found on Levy's black running tights. The DNA matched neither Guandique nor Condit, and the defense said it was powerful evidence that the wrong person was on trial. Prosecutors argued the DNA was the result of contamination during the testing process.
I'm sorry, but this is not "evidence" in any sense of the word. Unfortunately, the "journalists" covering this story did not try to find out what kind of deal was struck for Morales in exchange for his testimony.

Somehow, I doubt seriously that Morales simply testified out of his great concern for justice. Furthermore, this kind of testimony has a long and sordid history of being pure and unadulterated perjury, and while one cannot prove a negative, it is better not to introduce it at all unless a prosecutor can be 100 percent sure of its veracity.

Obviously, I cannot say that Guandique is innocent of the crime, but I can say that the evidence against him easily could have been evidence against anyone else that prosecutors chose to put on trial. There really was nothing specific to tie him directly to this murder other than very questionable testimony.

Why did prosecutor do it? First, there was a lot of pressure to "solve" the case, and American prosecutors today no longer care whether or not the person convicted actually committed the crime. No, they are way beyond that point; any warm body will do, just as long as there are no political ramifications for going after the wrong person.

Second, the courts are eager not only to "solve" cold cases, but also to allow in testimony that does not even fall into the "questionable" category. For all of the supposed sophistication of modern evidence gathering (as seen on TV), American courts today are quite primitive. Prosecutors, judges, and the compliant media are willing to let in outright lies or testimony that does not pass a smell test and then claim that brilliant sleuthing has "cracked" a case. It is a sign of the times, and the sign is sinister.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are celebrating our Thanksgiving at my parents' place on Lookout Mountain, and I am glad that the LMJC (where my parents live) is a bit safer than it was last year.

I'm also thankful that Tonya Craft is free, that Eric Echols no longer faces false charges, and that Tonya has some normalcy with her family.

I also am thankful that the monster, Chris Arnt, has seen his political ambitions damaged to the point where I doubt he could be elected dogcatcher.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Journalists, Privacy, Progressivism, and Subservience to the State

[Update, November 24, 11:30 AM]: Like Pavlov's dog salivating at the bell, the New York Times has weighed in on the TSA nonsense and, not surprisingly, claims that any opposition is just a right-wing plot by Congressional Republicans. Yes, the newspaper that gave us the Duke Lacrosse lies now claims that sexual assault and porn scanners are just fine if they are in an airport, and that little old ladies from Iowa really are a threat.

My response is here.[End Update]

As one who grew up reading the Chattanooga Times most of my life, I have come to understand the so-called Progressivist mindset which takes an out-and-out religious view of state power (or state power in the hands of the "right" people). While the newspaper itself claims to be secular, there is no doubt that over the years, it has promoted the Religion of the "Progressive" State and State Power both in its news columns and on the editorial page.

These days the old Times and Free Press now are owned by folks in Arkansas and the editorial pages are run by the old editors, but the Progressivism remains. I especially was curious to see how the editorial writers of the Times side of the TFP would handle the outright sexual assault that is occurring at the nation's airports.

No paper excoriates the "gulf" between the wealthy and poor (except it champions George Soros, the billionaire champion of the hard left) more than the TFP, and no paper is more politically correct when it comes to the usual feminist canards of sexual assault and the intrusions of state power into private exchange. Here is an editorial page that professes to worship at the shrine of "good government" to a point that is utterly predictable.

So, I decided to do a search of its editorials to see if it had any editorial commentary on the airport assaults, and I will say that editors Harry Austin and Wes Hasden took exactly the stand I thought they would take. The editorial writers that are quick to demand that Americans' privacy be protected from "predatory" private enterprise suddenly declare that when we are bowing to the state, there is no privacy.

Even the title of its November 18 editorial is telling: "New, useful tools against terror." Yes, in order to fight "terror," the government must terrorize airline passengers. Furthermore, as readers will see in this editorial, literally EVERYTHING the government says is taken as absolute truth, and any dissension by mere mundanes is wrong and plays to terrorists. Don't take my word for it, as the opening paragraph says it all:
The U.S. government is required by law and by custom to balance the competing interests of public safety and individual privacy. The latest skirmish over the issue is taking place at the nation’s airports. The introduction of full-body scanners at many sites and the promise of more to come have prompted a noisy debate about the images produced by the machines. Privacy advocates call them invasive and demeaning. Federal officials say they are a necessary adjunct in the war on terror. On balance, the latter appear to have the stronger case.
Why is the government's case the "stronger" argument?
Scanner opponents, in fact, call the images a “virtual strip search.” That might be so, but the new technology also provides security personnel with an enhanced ability to detect items and materials that can be used by terrorists to destroy an aircraft in flight or otherwise create havoc. Many experts agree the new scanner might have helped detect the type of bomb concealed in the underwear of a would-be terrorist on a Detroit-bound flight last Christmas. That threat was not detected by screens in use then, but the bomber’s mission ultimately proved unsuccessful.
No, the "experts" can tell you that the so-called Underwear Bomber's apparatus would not have been detected by the porn scanners. Furthermore, the idea that travelers have to be humiliated by TSA goons because someone unsuccessfully tried to sneak a bomb in his underwear is becoming a tiresome mantra, but when a newspaper is promoting State Power, any mantra will do, I guess.

But, Austin and Hasden are not satisfied with giving us the "Underwear Bomber" line. No, there is much, much more:
The question, of course, is whether the utility of the machine outweighs the perceived or real intrusion of privacy the scanner images create. The TSA, mindful of the delicacy of the issues involved, has done as much as possible to minimize such dangers.

The image produced by the scanner, according to those who have viewed them, is detailed enough to detect various explosives, weapons, plastics, powders and other devices that can pose a threat. The outline, though, is vague and faces are blurred.

Moreover, the images are viewed by personnel at a distance from security stations where the scans are made. That makes it impossible to match a specific image with a particular person. Once viewed, scanned images are neither saved nor stored. That should provide a measure of comfort for those concerned about privacy. (Emphasis mine)
Yes, try telling that to the man whose urine bag was breached. Try telling that to the woman whose breasts were exposed by laughing TSA agents (none of whom were disciplined -- but the husband who complained was arrested).

For that matter, don't forget that TSA agents do not use "sterile" gloves, which means that it is very likely that they can spread infections (not that anyone at TSA would care). What I find ironic is that no one at the Times (which always is out front on supposed environmental and health matters) finds this to be a problem. Yes, the same newspaper that constantly is demanding new state "protections" against predatory private enterprise takes a powder when the state engages in unsafe health practices.

Let's be honest. The entire editorial is nothing more than a glorified TSA press release bolstered by the Religion of the Progressive State that characterizes most editorials on that page. In fact, much of what was in that press release -- er, editorial -- was not true. Images HAVE been saved. Furthermore, the newspaper that trumpets every perceived environmental and health threat (when it comes from private enterprise) suddenly parrots the government's line that the radiation coming from the porn scanners is "safe."

Of course, the TFP would not be complete without its "Worship the Obama administration -- or else" dictate:
If would-be airline passengers prefer not to be scanned, there is an alternative — what John Pistole, the TSA administrator, candidly admits is a more invasive patdown than those depicted on TV or in the movies. TSA agents will manually search an individual’s entire body, including breasts and groin. Those who don’t like the new scanners or the idea of full-body patdowns have another choice. They can travel by some means other than airplane. (Emphasis mine)
So, the TFP is on the record as endorsing what legally is sexual assault as an alternative, with the qualifier: If you don't like it, you don't have to fly.

So, we see the end game of Progressivism and its propagandists. It is this: State power is good. Submit. Private enterprise is evil. Government always protects you. And so on and on and on.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Praise of Judge Barry Steelman

[Update, Tuesday, November 23, 2:40 P<]: A Georgia judge has found Ron De Laby not guilty of felony witness intimidation. Ron is the person whose successful appeal of a wrongful indictment ultimately provided the legal basis for the quashing of the indictment against Eric Echols.

In the De Laby case, a private investigator was uncovering prosecutorial misconduct in a child molestation case in Forsythe County, and the prosecutors did what they did to Eric Echols: trump up false charges against him before he destroyed their case completely. The prosecutor was James Dunn, Chief ADA and primary instigator is Sandra Partridge, and the D.A. Is Penny Penn. These are dishonest, vindictive people and Partridge is especially bad, someone who is in the Chris Arnt and Len Gregor class.

Even though the original charges against Mr. De Laby were thrown out by an appeals court (which was the decision to which the judge in Mr. Echols' case referred), Dunn and Partridge re-indicted him on the SAME charges with the same information. In other words, they gave the courts the middle finger and did what they pleased.

Not surprisingly, the Georgia State Bar refuses to deal with these people who, according to the "watchdogs," are just "doing their jobs." [End Update]

As I watched the horror show that is the LMJC unfold last spring in "judge" Brian Outhouse's alleged courtroom, I realized that the LMJC is hopeless, absolutely hopeless. Outhouse and his handler, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt, were trying to rig a conviction against Tonya Craft, only to have a jury which I'm sure that prosecutors and Outhouse thought was "safe" to return a "not guilty" verdict against Ms. Craft.

This was corruption at its worst, although I fear that what we saw in that Georgia courtroom is going to become the norm in this country in the near future. However, there are people who do stand against the tide, people who refuse to go along with the "new order" that prosecutors wish to impose on all of us. Apparently, Judge Barry Steelman is one of those people.

In a speech given this past Monday, he told the Chattanooga Pachyderm Club that he wants to "get it right," not simply get it done as quickly as possible, and for that I applaud him. The Chattanoogan reported:
Judge Steelman said, "We try to expedite our dockets, but we want to get it done right rather than doing it quick."

He added, "It is very, very important when a person's liberty is at stake that we get it right."
It is hard to underestimate how important Judge Steelman's statement really is. Outhouse knew that Tonya Craft's liberty was at stake, and he did everything to keep exculpatory evidence from the jury, and also to let in "evidence" he knew either was false or, at best, terribly tainted.

Let me put it another way. Outhouse KNEW (or at least should have known) that Ms. Craft was innocent, yet he tried to rig a conviction -- and that is exactly what he did. Furthermore, the prosecutors and their gaggle of perjuring witnesses knew Ms. Craft was innocent, yet they went along with the whole show. The gulf between Outhouse and his LMJC pals and Judge Steelman is so wide and deep that the people might as well be on different planets.

Imagine Judge Steelman having heard the Craft case. Does anyone think he would have put up with the "Animal House" antics of Facebook-Cruisemaster and "The Man"? Would he have endorsed the "I just remembered" perjury from Joal and Sarah Henke? Would he have supported the document that was fabricated to bolster the "hand rape" allegations that appeared from nowhere?

Somehow, I doubt that a man who wants to "get it right" would have kowtowed to prosecutors and let them run his courtroom in a high-profile trial. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if Judge Steelman actually permits exculpatory evidence to be shown to a jury, unlike Outhouse, who did everything he could to keep the truth out of that room and away from jurors.

I have no idea about the veracity of the other criminal court judges in Hamilton County, Tennessee. While I hope they have the same integrity as Judge Steelman has demonstrated, I simply cannot make that assessment without knowledge. My guess is that even on a bad day, the justice apparatus of Hamilton County would be infinitely better than the best day of a court in the LMJC.

There is something else to point out. Judge Steelman spoke to a Republican gathering, and Republicans always pride themselves on being "tough on crime," and all too often, "tough on crime" has translated into an outright assault on justice itself. I have no idea if Judge Steelman is a Republican or Democrat, and I really don't care; I do care about people in positions of power and authority doing what is right, even if what is right is unpopular.

I have received comments from people in the LMJC that they don't like my casting aspersions upon their conduct and how they do things in Northwest Georgia. All I can say is that if they are willing to put a man like "judge" Brian Outhouse into a black robe with their votes, and if the entire LMJC apparatus, from judges to bailiffs to people who clean courthouse bathrooms, was willing to participate in the outright corruption that was the Tonya Craft trial, then I really have nothing to say to those people who accept paychecks from that organization.

Yes, I know, there were and are people in that organization who have a moral compass, but they need to ask themselves why it is that the very, very worst got on top. And it is not just Tonya Craft. This judicial circuit has a horrible reputation and it is well-deserved.

So, let me ask the people of Northwest Georgia this question: Could Barry Steelman even be elected as a judge in the LMJC?

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Strange Case of Eric Echols, or the Anatomy of an Illegal Prosecution

I received a message this morning that a Georgia judge has quashed the criminal indictment against Eric Echols, which ends yet another sorry chapter in the discredited criminal case against Tonya Craft. While LMJC prosecutors have four years in which to re-indict Mr. Echols, they have a real problem and they know it: there is and was no basis for indictment, period.

Just because LMJC D.A. Buzz Franklin's pathetic minions have taken another shot does not mean I am dropping my scrutiny of his office and others in Northwest Georgia for this travesty. While Franklin and his "boss," ADA Chris Arnt (who really calls the shots in that office, and Franklin just does his bidding) most likely will respond with their usual "no comment" when handed their heads, in reality this is a huge blow to Arnt's political aspirations.

(I will deal with Arnt's ambitions in future posts, but suffice it to say that this guy had high hopes until he bent over to kiss the posteriors of Sandra Lamb, her father, Dewayne Wilson, and their friends. Sorry, fellow, bad choice. Call it a "bad touch.")

Let me now look at the case against Mr. Echols, or, more specifically, the non-case against him. His problems supposedly began with the "Mommie Dearest" incident when he served (legally) Sandra Lamb with some papers. In truth, Mr. Echols, a first-rate private investigator and an African-American, was quietly ripping up the guts of Arnt's case against Tonya Craft, and Arnt knew it.

If you have not seen the video of Sandra Lamb's 2009 racially-motivated assault on Mr. Echols, it is worth watching and can be seen here. In the video, Lamb then assaults Mr. Echols and calls him a "black bastard."

Legally, this is assault, and when accompanied by racial epithets is a hate crime under Georgia and federal law. However, given that Buzz Franklin and the LMJC are corrupt, prosecutors charged Mr. Echols with a crime. To compound matters, Sandra Lamb filed an assault charge against Mr. Echols, clearly lying on the police report, and then claiming that Arnt directed her actions.

Despite the fact that the sheet on which she made her accusation said that filing a false charge is a felony under Georgia law, Lamb filed charges against Mr. Echols that were contradicted by the video evidence. The way that Arnt and his friends reacted was to ignore the crimes that Lamb committed and charge Mr. Echols with felony witness tampering.

However, the "felony" apparently was recorded and when the recording and transcript of Mr. Echols' conversations with Jerry McDonald were made public, they also contradicted the substance of the charges. Furthermore, had this conversation been made available at the trial, it would have cast serious doubt on McDonald's crocodile tearful testimony that was replayed ad nauseum on television. So, what to do in the LMJC? Continue to run off the cliff, of course!

Once again, Chris Arnt's grand strategy crashed and burned just like everything else in the Tonya Craft case. Moreover, there is more work to do, as others in the LMJC are falsely charged, and compounding the problem is that there is not an honest person in a position of authority in the LMJC. Since we cannot appeal to the better side of people who don't have a better side, then the only other option is to expose the lies and the liars.

Congratulations to Mr. Echols, I guess. He finally can relax, but he also knows that the system of "justice" in Northwest Georgia is not in good hands. Not a good thing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Will Authorities in Hamilton County Ignore the Lawbreaking?

[Update, Friday, November 19, 11:45 AM]: According to the Twitter feeds, Joal Henke and Tonya Craft have reached a settlement, although the terms are not being made public. They have said they will tell the children of the decision, but the terms are confidential, having been reached after a lengthy in-chambers meeting this morning. [End Update]

At this writing, I have no idea how Judge Marie Williams will rule in Tonya Craft's custody case, some things have been established irrefutably: Joal and Sarah Henke conspired with Joal Henke's father to commit federal mortgage fraud, and Joal and Sarah Henke committed perjury. Both are crimes punishable by fines and prison.

Tonya's 30-day trial in Catoosa County established that she was not a child molester or a lawbreaker, but it also is clear that there was a lot of lawbreaking done by those who were accusing her, including the Henkes. Given the state of law in this country, I hardly am surprised when the innocent are charged with crimes while people who DO commit criminal acts are ignored.

I would not be beating this drum loudly if Joal and Sarah had not perjured themselves during Tonya Craft's trial in Catoosa County in an attempt to get Tonya out of the picture permanently with a life sentence. What they did was akin to an attempted murder, and their actions are not the kind of thing that one can or should ignore.

The Henkes and Mortgage Fraud

I first will look at the mortgage fraud, which Joal admitted under oath (although when Joal is under oath, it usually means he is lying). It is not hard to check the records, however, and if his father was the applicant for a VA loan, then we have prima facae evidence of fraud. I begin first with the federal statutes which are draconian:
By extending the federal fraud laws to cover mortgage fraud, FERA also increases the penalties faced by those charged for violating the law. Previously, a conviction for mortgage fraud may have resulted in no more than probation. Now, someone charged with mortgage fraud may face a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $1 million fine.

Additionally, the statute of limitations for bringing a mortgage fraud claim has been extended from 5 years to 10 years, giving the DOJ a much greater opportunity to build a successful case against someone accused of committing the crime.
In Henke's case, this would not be hard to investigate, since the paperwork is easily made available. If Joal's father claimed in the application that he was going to live in the house and then did not live there, he has committed fraud. Furthermore, under federal conspiracy laws, if Joal and Sarah were aware of what was going on, then they also broke federal law.

Tennessee law is not as strict, as the prison sentences run from 3-7 years. However, because the loan in question was a VA loan, most likely this case would be prosecuted by federal authorities.

The Henkes and Perjury

Tennessee law defines perjury in the following way:
...perjury occurs when a person, with intent to deceive:

• makes a false statement, under oath;
• makes a statement, under oath, that confirms the truth of a false statement previously made and the statement is required or authorized by law to be made under oath; or
• makes a false statement, not under oath, but on an official document required or authorized by law to be made under oath and stating on its face that a false statement is subject to the penalties of perjury. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-702 (2007).

"Oath" means a solemn and formal undertaking to tell the truth and includes an equivalent affirmation permitted by law as a substitute for an oath administered by a person authorized by law to take statements under oath. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-703 (2007).

Perjury is basically lying under oath or on an official document. It is a Class A misdemeanor under normal circumstances. It is elevated to a Class E felony if committed on an application for a handgun carry permit or on a sexual offender registration form. Perjury can be aggravated under certain circumstances. According to Tennessee law, aggravated perjury (a Class D felony) is perjury plus:

• the false statement is made during or in connection with an official proceeding; and
• the false statement is material. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-703 (2007).
There is more:
"Material" means the statement, irrespective of its admissibility under the rules of evidence, could have affected the course or outcome of the official proceeding. "Official proceeding" means any type of administrative, executive, judicial, or legislative proceeding that is conducted before a public servant authorized by law to take statements under oath in that proceeding. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-701 (2007).

The main difference between perjury and aggravated perjury is the importance of the testimony. If the deceptive testimony could affect the outcome of the case, then the offense is aggravated perjury.
If the perjury is judged to be simple perjury, then it falls under the category of a misdemeanor in which a person serves a maximum of 11 months, 29 days. However, it the perjury is ruled to be "aggravated perjury" (in which the perjury could determine the outcome of a case), then it is a Class D felony with the following penalties:
Not less than two (2) years nor more than twelve (12) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless otherwise provided by statute
In reality, most prosecutors don't bring perjury charges, given that there is so much lying in the courts, but they will bring these charges in certain situations. Certainly in the Tonya Craft case, the perjury was what we call "material," that is, it potentially had an effect on the case's outcome.

We already know that Hamilton County DA Bill Cox is moving Heaven and Earth to prosecute teacher Stacy Swallows, yet Mr. Swallows harmed no one. I wonder, however, if Mr. Cox is going to ignore the felonious behavior that has gone on in the building where he works. My sense is that he will, which would say something about Mr. Cox's priorities.

Joal and Sarah won't have to worry about being prosecuted in Georgia, given that their perjury was suborned by prosecutors Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor. I don't know if they will be prosecuted in Tennessee, either, although any prosecutor who might want to investigate the mortgage fraud and perjury would find low-hanging fruit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Truth for Tonya and Truth for the Rest of Us, Too

As I write this post, Tonya Craft is preparing once again to take the stand in order to tell the rest of the world about the truth. As what happened more than six months ago in Catoosa County, her adversaries depended upon lies.

Six months ago, a jury believed her and set her free. Will Judge Marie Williams do the same?

During the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case more than four years ago, Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler urged then-Athletic Director Joe Alleva to look for the truth and not act rashly. Alleva answered with perhaps the most notorious statement in a case known for lies and notoriety: "It's not about the truth, anymore."

It's not about the truth. Think of the heartache and the acrimony and the outright personal destruction that could have been avoided had someone, somewhere, in an official position in the Duke case simply sought the truth. Think of what might NOT have transpired had Duke's administration and faculty demanded that the truth be told instead of running down the rabbit trail of Postmodern lies.

It certainly is not about the truth with Joal Henke and his wife Sarah. Both of them have been caught telling lie after lie, and right in front of Judge Williams. Tonya and her attorneys have documented time and again how Joal and Sarah openly and arrogantly violated the very court orders that Judge Williams set down.

One would hope that this would mean something not only to Judge Williams, but also to everyone else in the Hamilton County court system. One would hope that District Attorney Bill Cox, who apparently is pulling out all stops to throw a popular teacher in prison because he confronted a gang of kids who were out after hours, would take note that Joal and Sarah Henke are openly lying under oath in the very building where he works.

One would hope that anyone who sees what is at stake and has decision-making power can see that Joal Henke is a sociopath, and a serial liar and adulterer, and that such a person should not have primary care of children. One would hope that someone in a position to make decisions would understand that Joal and Sarah lied in a court of law in order to try to send a woman they knew was innocent of child molesting charges to prison, just to get her out of the picture and to destroy her life and to forever separate her from the children she loves.

One would hope that even though the courts of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit are not about the truth, that the people who make decisions in Hamilton County do care about the truth. One would hope that Judge Williams and others are willing to send men like "judge" Brian Outhouse, Len "The Man" Gregor, and Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt a message that their lies are not welcome in Tennessee.

One would hope that Judge Williams and others in the system would understand that if they permit Joal and Sarah Henke to get away with lying -- and telling transparent lies at that -- then they are sending a message to everyone else that taking an oath to tell the truth in a Hamilton County court means absolutely nothing.

One would hope that someone, somewhere would be willing to say: It IS about the truth, now and in the future. That is what is at stake in Judge Marie Williams' courtroom, and nothing else. It is not about custody; it is about the truth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Times-Free Press' Disgraceful Portrayal

I guess Joan Garrett of the Times-Free Press must be burning up the line with John Madewell of Channel 9, as her account of the Tuesday hearing paints a picture of a delusional and vengeful Tonya Craft throwing mud at her ex-husband and his wife in an attempt to take her children out of a loving, nurturing home. I guess this truly misleading article is what Todd Foster meant when he said in taking the top position at the paper that the TFP would be going after "sacred cows."

So, the TFP apparently thinks that Ms. Craft is a "sacred cow" that needs to be attacked. Conversely, Garrett and Foster try to portray a couple of perjurers -- Joal and Sarah Henke -- as wonderful, loving parents who just want what is best for their children. Thus, it is time to deconstruct this piece, which is every bit as disgusting as what Channel 9 did all through the Tonya Craft criminal trial last spring.

As I read through this piece, it strikes me that Garrett has managed to turn it into a "food fight" of "he said, she said" that makes up much of the sordid world of custody battles. Her article basically says that it is Joal's and Sarah's word against Tonya's -- as though there were no other documents in the case, and the current circuit court testimony is the only evidence available.

The story's bias is evident in its headline: "Craft's children doing fine, testimony in custody dispute shows." Granted, Garrett did not write the headline, but I believe it reflects the story. Keep in mind that the testimony did not "show" anything; some people testified who said they believed that the children were "doing fine," but there was no proof.

(From what I can see, Garrett does not need proof that the kids are OK, as she takes the word of a serial liar and adulterer and that of his friends. On the other hand, I doubt Tonya ever could "prove" her innocence to Garrett.)

The first paragraph demonstrates right away where this story is headed:
Tonya Craft's five-week trial on child molestation charges dredged up sordid, intimate details about her and her ex-husband's private lives, but some witnesses testifying in the couple's custody case say all the nastiness has not affected their children.
First, the spring trial produced real-live evidence against Joal for his serial adultery, but there was no proof actually given against Tonya except for Len Gregor's accusations of her wearing a thong and Joal's patently dishonest "I just remembered" testimony in which he claimed she had a lesbian affair with Jennifer Sullivan.

But the most telling paragraph is farther down in the story, when Garrett writes:
In a $25 million federal lawsuit filed against her accusers, Craft claims her ex-husband, the entire Catoosa County government and child therapists conspired to bring a false case against her by manipulating the children who accused her.
Most important, the lawsuit uses "conspiracy," but in the legal sense under federal law. Catoosa County is a defendant because Det. Tim Deal, who is being sued, is a Catoosa County employee. Nowhere in the suit does Ms. Craft claim that "the entire Catoosa County government and child therapists" were conspiring together, as though they had a huge meeting in a big auditorium and hatched out a dastardly plot.

Instead, under federal "conspiracy" laws, when people involved in lawbreaking have any kind of meeting at all, it is considered part of a "conspiracy." Yes, it is a very loose definition, but that's federal law for you.

Garrett goes on:
But during nearly three hours of questioning Tuesday, Henke said he never instigated nor drove the criminal case to court.

While making the children available for interviews and court appearances and also responding to subpoenas himself, he never spoke with his children about the allegation against their mother, he testified in court.

"It wasn't mine to stop," he said. "This wasn't about me. I was concerned with anything that would be of danger to my children. I reacted with the best I knew to do at that time, which was cooperation."

As much as he hated it, when his children had questions or were upset about the case, he said he told them they had to talk with a professional therapist.

"We sheltered them from the news. We sheltered them from the media. We avoided that. They didn't see computers, television," he said.

Now, he said he wants Craft to be involved in the children's lives but doesn't want her to be more involved than he is.
Apparently, Garrett has read nothing of the depositions and trial testimony. She says nothing of the numerous hours that Henke spent talking to people like Sandra Lamb and the Wilsons, who were driving the whole case. She says nothing about all of the times that Henke denied Tonya and her parents visitation rights -- and that, too, is part of the record, even if the Garrett wants to ignore it.

The "professional therapist" of whom he speaks is Laurie Evans, who was so notorious in this case that not even the prosecution -- which openly suborned perjury -- was willing to put her on the stand as a prosecution witness. (The defense subpoenaed her as a hostile witness, and she proved to put on quite a spectacle on the stand.) It was Evans who managed to get Tonya's daughter to claim that not only had Tonya molested her, but that Tonya's mother also got in on the act, something that not even the prosecution was willing to swallow.

Garrett's biased account continued with this gem:
At times during Henke's cross-examination Tuesday, one of Craft's attorney's, Scott King, became so animated and aggressive, Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams told him he had to calm down.

"We are going to switch examiners if you can't keep it together," Williams told King.
It would have been instructive to the readers to understand just why Scott King was zeroing in on Joal Henke, but Garrett ignored something that was very, very important.

Henke, as I noted in my earlier post, claimed under oath that Tonya had failed to take the children to the doctor (even for "baby care" visits) for three years, which he wanted the court to believe was "proof" of neglect.

Scott King, however, was ready and had the medical records of the children in front of him and he had Joal read the dates of the visits. You see, the official record demonstrated beyond a doubt that Henke was lying, and when Henke pretended that he was having a hard time reading those records, Scott King became aggressive in his questioning, and who could blame him? That was when Judge Marie Williams cautioned Mr. King.

Unfortunately, Garrett tried to portray Mr. King as an out-of-control lawyer attacking a loving and caring father who simply was standing up against an alleged child molester. In other words, Garrett deliberately presented a false picture of what was happening.

At this point, I admit that I have passionate feelings about this case, but those feelings are rooted in the facts of what happened. I'm angry about it because prosecutors knowingly brought false charges, prosecution witnesses committed perjury with full knowledge and encouragement of prosecutors and the judge, and the judge tried to rig a conviction.

Don't trust my word on this point. Read the material yourself. Read the depositions, the interviews with the children, the police reports, trial transcripts, news stories, and the literature on false accusations. Read Sandra Lamb's statement regarding Eric Echols, and then watch the video of her encounter with Mr. Echols and then try to reconcile the two; It cannot be done.

My point is that I don't believe in Tonya's innocence because she is attractive or because of personal relationships. I believed in her innocence long before I ever met her or talked to her. All it took was a look at the record, and I understood.

Unfortunately, Joan Garrett is not one of those people who apparently has looked at anything. In reading the article today, I get the sense that she believes that maybe, just maybe, it was a situation of Tonya Craft "beating the rap." In her view, Ms. Craft definitely is not a sympathetic character, but rather just another lowlife trying to manipulate the system to get her kids.

Yes, I know that reporters are busy (and so am I and so is everyone else), but for Garrett to give the account she did is unconscionable. If she claims that she is not familiar with the depositions and trial testimony, then perhaps she should give the trial coverage to someone who is familiar with the material. But whatever the reason, be it ignorance or malice, Garrett and the TFP have proven that they are trying their best to rival Channel 9 for the Slimy Coverage Award in this case.