Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hiding Evidence, or Making It Up As They Go Along?

Georgia is an open discovery state, which means that prosecutors have to turn over all evidence to the defense before trial. In other words, the Hollywood plot of the mysterious witness entering the courtroom to finalize state's evidence is something out of fiction.

Granted, because the charges against Tonya Craft are fiction, perhaps Chris Arnt and Len Gregor have a bit of Hollywood in them. Whether or not that is the case or if they simply are dishonest, they pulled a stunt these last two days that not only violated everything about discovery, but told us something about their own integrity, as well as the integrity of Judge Brian House, who is encouraging this farce.

It began Tuesday with the testimony of Suzi Thorne, who added the line that after she had asked one of the children all kinds of questions (and got nothing on video that pointed to criminal behavior by Ms. Craft), suddenly the child came to her desk and claimed that Ms. Craft had "put her hand" somewhere she should not have put it.

Now, as noted before, this was not put on video, nor did anyone write any notes. What is a prosecutor to do? What is a judge to do?

Not surprisingly, Arnt and Gregor found someone to corroborate the story, and "Judge" House put his stamp of approval on it. So, on Wednesday, it was "Detective" Tim Deal to the rescue. Yes, the deus ex machina that would save the day. It was Deal who heard and saw the entire exchange!

Well, there turns out to be a huge problem with this story. Here is what the Chattanoogan reported:
Referring to the memo recounting the incident where the alleged victim had made a disclosure of Ms. Craft touching her and ‘sticking her finger in her privates’ after leaving the camera room, Mr. Gregor asked the judge for a recess “in light of what you can imagine is coming.”

A video at the trial earlier Wednesday showed a young girl being interviewed who first did not make any allegations against the former teacher. However, after a break from questioning, she did.
According to whom? There were no notes WRITTEN AT THAT TIME, and Thorne's testimony clearly is perjured. But that is not all.

This material was not presented to the defense at discovery. That is right. The prosecution decided to claim that it both (a) provided all the material at discovery and (b) found this "new" piece of evidence. As anyone can see, (a) is mutually exclusive to (b).

In other words, the prosecution is playing a shell game, a "heads I win, tails you lose" contest that House is encouraging. This trial is a farce, a travesty, and, frankly, an abomination. We have the prosecution trying to make up stuff on the fly, witnesses committing perjury, and a judge trying to make rulings that paper over all of the holes in the prosecution's case.

Apparently, they can get away with this in Catoosa County, just as Michael Nifong got away with all sorts of tricks for nearly a year in the Duke Lacrosse Case. However, the case came tumbling down as the facts came out, and facts are stubborn things.

[Update]: An attorney has asked me a number of questions regarding Tim Deal's testimony today. They include:
  • What was the date of this so-called disclosure?
  • Would they have a male detective working with a female counselor to interview a young girl about so-called molestation by another female?
  • Do the records for the sheriff's department have Deal at the location where Thorne allegedly interviewed her on that date at that time?
  • Why did Deal's notes as given to the defense at discovery not include this alleged incident?
Unfortunately, there are many other questions people have, but my main one is this: Is Tim Deal telling the truth, or is this yet another example of Arnt and Gregor suborning perjury and House sustaining it? I think we know the answer to that question.


Anonymous said...

Tim Deal is a liar, plain and simple, wouldn't believe him about anything!!

Anonymous said...

It just gets better...Hey Tim, how did it feel when you were caught cheating on your former wife? You would think a detective would be smart enough to get rid of evidence such as your mistress' underwear.

Anonymous said...

Did everyone know that Cinderella is a fairy? I thought she was a woman. Kelli McDonald, apparently hopped up on her Prozac, made the wild claim in court yesterday when confronted by the defense in yet another story that conflicted with that of another witness.

And yes Kelli, Prozac is an antidepressant medicine. That according to the website of Eli Lily.

Anonymous said...

The Hollywood plot of the mystery witness entering the courtroom to turn the trial around is usually a defense witness.

Amanda said...

I have been looking at your blog a little and it is interesting. I had a hard time understanding this post, though. Would you mind clarifying what went wrong? Let me know if I got it right: a witness testified to something that they didn't tell the defense about in the first place and that was breaking the law? Is that right? I'm sorry for the confusion! Thanks so much!

THo said...

Could you or someone answer a couple of questions for me?
First of all, is there no higher power in the city than the judge? Since he was asked to remove himself from the case seeing how he represented ms. craft's ex-husband thru their divorce proceedings and he refused, does that mean no one, including defense atty's, have the power to do that?
And when he refused today when requested to strike yesterday's CAC witness because she didn't document it, no one can do anything?
Or when the mother of the child actor lied on the stand about there not being acting lessons, again, no one?
I don't get how this is all possible. Can you imagine the field day they would have with the defense if even ONE of these errors were on the defense side?
I'm just sayin'......

It's so frustrating!!!!! I can't even imagine how Ms. Craft must feel.

William L. Anderson said...

It was not breaking the law per se. Prosecutors are bound by the law to give all of their evidence to the defense so there will be no surprises and the defense can be able to answer anything (if possible) the prosecution presents.

In fact, during the questioning of Thorne, the prosecution did not ask her about this "incident" because they knew they had not provided it in discovery. She gave the information during her cross-examination by the defense.

Well, with their backs against the wall, the prosecution got Tim Deal to say he was there taking notes. Keep in mind that Thorne, who knows Deal, was unable to say who the police officer was at her office when the alleged "disclosure" happened.

In other words, the prosecution decided to pile another lie on top of the one told by Thorne in hopes that they could paper over the holes in their case.

William L. Anderson said...

To Tho:

Indeed, it is frustrating, for we are seeing a travesty of justice and a judge who clearly is trying to rig the proceedings. House is determined to engineer a conviction, even though he knows it would be overturned on appeal. What you are watching is corrupt justice in real time. There is no other way to describe what we are seeing, and it is ugly.

THo said...

Why is there no national media attention on this case??

William L. Anderson said...

My guess is that there are not enough variables in it. The national media does not like to get tangled in local courthouse politics, and unless there is a race/sex angle, they won't touch it.

Also, if she had 100 accusers, then they would cover it, but with three children, not a chance. Maybe just as well. The national media butchered the coverage of the Day Care Sex Hysteria cases and we know what they did regarding Duke Lacrosse.

Anonymous said...

When "the House" gave up his practice to be a judge. he had clients and previous clients, etc. to which he could not just throw out on their ear. I have heard that his building, his old clients and files, and his current clients and files were turned over to Mike Giglio - I also heard that Mike Giglio is Tonya Crafts ex-brother in law? Have you any way to check that? If so, the web is just more and more complicated and my personal conspiracy theory is being realized. Not sure how you could check on that though -- Weird though if the judge is buds with Tonya's ex-brother in law.

Anonymous said...

House and Giglio were former law partners. Don't know if he turned over all his records to Giglio or not, but that would be interesting to find out, as I know someone who was a client of House's.

Tim Deal wouldn't know the truth if it smacked him in the face and for him to suddenly have notes on what that child said off tape, is just an out and out lie. If he has any such notes, he wrote them the day before yesterday.

Please believe me, these people lie to get what they want. They withold evidence or delay turning it over to the defense for as long as possible. I know of a case, where it was over two years before they handed over all of the discovery to the defense and in this case they knew for over six months that they were going to have to dismiss it, but drug it out longer, just because they could. Never mind that a young man's life was on hold, never mind that he couldn't be with his family, never mind that his x-wife was engaging in parental alienation and he couldn't do anything with the case still pending. Never mind that this family spent a small fortune for attorneys to defend him on charges all based on lies. Never mind that now, 8 months after all charges were dropped that he can't get a judge in this joke of a system to hear his case against his x-wife regarding their children. Never mind that she lies to them and is doing all she can to make them hate their father and his family and to make her husband into their father. Never mind all that!!!

Anonymous said...

Did I hear it right this morning...Deal has been in the courtroom everyday to listen to the daily accounts even though he is a witness??????? Also, have I missed a parent being on the stand for the 3rd little girl????

Dan said...

@ Anon 7:50...

Yes, I was flabbergasted when I heard that!

Watch the WRCBtv video coverage last night. Their legal analyst, an ex-ADA, says that the "local tradition", in this judicial circuit, is to allow a single prosecution witness (apparently this is usually the lead investigator) to see and hear all prior testimony before he/she testifies.

This is apparently for the "orderly organization and presentation of the case, which was great when you are an assistant DA, but very irritating when you are defense counsel."

The reporter goes on to say there have been some cases that bring into question the fairness of this "tradition" and there is pending legislation to to attempt to codify it.

The defense (of course) does not enjoy a quid pro quo.

Amanda said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! I think I have a better understanding now.

Anonymous said...

Guess someone has to be in the courtroom to make sure all the lies that are told can be fixed by this witness!!!

Anonymous said...

I heard that the third child that testified was Tonya's own daughter. Has anyone else heard this?

Hysterical said...

Ahhhh...Now I see the Giglio name and know what it is attached too. I think the daughter of this person has been posting remarks in favor of prosecution on WRCB's facebook page....and i think she is the post on a previous topic here on this blog

Anonymous said...

As to your update about Deal's notes. Well I had same question drove down to court and watched this afternoon. Answer to the question... there are no notes " he destroys them after he dictates them" how convenient! And he has memory problems as to what may or may not have been on them or if there were any. And the jury, whew there is an empty trailer park in catoosa today ;)

Anonymous said...

I am shocked,saddened and disappointed to see Mike Giglio's name in this mess

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:45, I was afraid of that, seriously, seriously about the jury??

Anonymous said...

Who is over a judge in judicial system? Is the judge the highest power?

Anonymous said...

The 3rd child to testify is Tonya's daughter. I am not telling you anything that most people don't know. She has been brain washed by her dad and step-mom. I had to work with him at a local recreation once and he is a piece of work. It has always been a struggle between them since the divorce.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if anyone in the jury is known to either side of this case. Why wouldn't the jury be able to perceive the injustice of the allegations? I understand they are prevented from knowing that there were other children present who do not corroborate the allegations of the alleged victims, but the defense seems to be doing an excellent job of alluding to such circumstances as well as motives for a witch hunt such as Crafts abuse report on her ex husband and wife. Does anyone know anyone on this jury and if they are reasonable people?

THo said...

My question is, who picks the jury? If it is the atty's from both sides, the defender is not local but prosecution is. Therefore, they know who to pick, and if those people are as dirty as all the locals say, then who on the jury wants to cross them and give an innocent verdict for fear that could be them or a member of their family up there defending their life over a stupid traffic violation!!!
Is it at all possible the jury could give a fair verdict or are they most likely tainted or "owned?"

Anonymous said...

'melman|4.22.10 @ 9:50AM|#
husband's divorce lawyer is the judge, daughter who is now living with ex-husband suddenly remembers abuse, ambitious prosecutors

that's the night that the lights went out in georgia...'

now this guy hit the nail on the head!