Even though I addressed "Buzzare" Franklin's attack on some local newscasters and me in a previous post, nonetheless as I re-read this press release, I realize that there is much, much more than his crying crocodile tears because a jury saw through the state's non-existent case against Tonya Craft.
For all of the attacks on the media (except Channel 9) for not kissing the posteriors of Len Gregor and Chris Arnt, the real target of his rant was those who will serve on future juries in the LMJD. Getting past the silly language, what we find is a naked attempt at juror intimidation, and that is illegal. (Granted, prosecutors in the LMJD and much of Georgia don't see the need to follow the law when they get to be the law themselves.)
Let us re-examine some of what Franklin said in order to take a closer look at what I mean. He first declares:
I was disappointed with the verdict in the Tonya Craft case. The State presented a strong and compelling case to support a conviction, however, the jury chose to acquit her and we must accept this decision. Unlike a defendant, the State has no right of appeal. However, we need not agree with the verdict.What is he doing? He is accusing the jury of not recognizing "strong and compelling" evidence, except that the "evidence" was not "strong and compelling" at all. Here is a supposedly seasoned prosecutor who cannot even recognize the difference between the truth and perjury, and that means he no longer is able to differentiate between truth and lies.
Let us look at his second attack on the jurors:
Child molesters rarely commit their crime in public. Child molesters rarely confess. Child molesters are rarely caught on tape. Child molesters rarely leave behind physical evidence. A jury must often make a choice between the testimony of an abused child and the alleged perpetrator. If a jury refuses to convict without videotapes, confession or physical evidence, it will be impossible to convict most child molesters.First, note that the jurors did NOT say afterward that they failed to convict because they had no videotaped "evidence" of Tonya Craft molesting children, nor did anyone say that they BASED his or her decision upon her looks. What "Buzzare" has done is to twist the words of some jurors to make it look as though they believed they were judges of a beauty contest.
It was particularly troubling in this case to hear statements attributed to some jurors that they looked at the defendant and decided she just didn't look like someone who would commit such a crime. We must necessarily base our cases on the evidence and not how a defendant looks. We do not simply prosecute those who fit the unsavory profile a juror might have.
Indeed, the Catoosa County News has an excellent article in which one of the jurors speaks plainly about his belief that Arnt was lying:
“That fella that closed things for them (lead prosecutor Chris Arnt), he lied about testimony, trying to confuse us…. and every one of us caught it too.”There was no talk of Ms. Craft's looks or anything that "Buzzare" claims in his press release. The jury looked at the evidence that was presented to them. Then he said this:
“That tall prosecutor (Len Gregor), he wanted it so bad, and he kept getting mad when something went different than the way he wanted it. The evidence just wasn’t there and they found it out the hard way.”Second, for all of the "compelling" evidence, it was not hard for jurors to see that the behavior of the children while describing unspeakable acts did not reflect the concern that someone who really had been molested would be demonstrating. Third, Arnt and Gregor constantly bullied the defense counsel and their witnesses.
I received a number of emails from people who attended the court sessions and to a person they wrote of the outright bullying and outlandish behavior of the prosecutors. One person gave this account to me:
I went to court yesterday to see if what everyone was saying was true. Not only was the behavior of the prosecution dead on...the judge was acting like an absolute jerk. I was shocked every time Gregor and Arnt would throw up their arms in disgust, throw their head back and at other times, act as if they would surely fall asleep if their hands were not propping their heads up. Gregor is so condescending to the defense attorneys and the defense witnesses.This kind of behavior went on day after day. Prosecution "expert" witnesses acted like spoiled children by rolling their eyes, giving smart-ass answers to legitimate questions, and then claiming to be proud that they never read any of the literature on their line of work. Furthermore, the "experts" for the prosecution either did not document their work at all, or did it poorly, and their "recovered memories" on the stand really crossed the line from shading the truth to outright lying.
But,..it got better. When a witness was on the stand, Gregor blurted out this line of questioning.
Gregor: So, has Tonya ever "stroked your boobs"? She emphatically said "NO!"
Gregor: So, are you saying Tonya has never stroked your boobs while sitting on your lap? She emphatically said "NO!"
Gregor: Has Tonya ever made reference to your boobs. The witness said, "At Tonya's wedding, I had on a dress that showed some cleavage...Tonya said to me (jokingly), Wow, you have really big Boobs!!!
Gregor says: "Are you sure that Tonya was not sitting on your lap, stroked your boobs and said, "Wow, I
don't ever need to get a boob job when I have these to play with !!!" The witness said "Absolutely NOT"
Then a little later, Gregor asked her, "Do you know what sound is made when a finger touches a vagina"
The witness looked mortified and shook her head NO...he repeats the question...the witness continues to shake her head NO in total disbelief that he is asking this question. Gregor then closes with the statement that "it doesn't make a noise and if the child doesn't say anything, NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW!!!"
There were so many objections by the defense during this questioning...but our "dishonorable" Judge House let the blood hound continue on.
He (Gregor) is so Crude and Inappropriate!!!
Yet, why does "Buzzare" insist that these witnesses were paragons of truth and that Dr. Nancy Aldridge, a defense expert who generally testifies for the prosecution and is one of the most respected expert witnesses in Georgia, was a "whore of the court" and a person who "lies for money"? The reason is simple, and he is sending a very strong message to jurors that will hear further child molestation cases in the LMJD.
What is the message? Is is this: From now on, there will be NO verdicts of "not guilty," no matter how ridiculous the prosecution's case might be. Let me be frank: Buzz Franklin is engaging in an overt campaign of intimidating jurors.
Why would he call out jurors who did their job? According to the standards for prosecutions of the American Bar Association, what he did clearly violates ALL ethical guidelines. Let us look at the following standard:
Standard 3-5.10 Comments by Prosecutor After VerdictBecause the Georgia standards are based upon the ABA guidelines, one can assume correctly that "Buzzare" also violated the state rules that govern his office. Prosecutors are NOT supposed to engage in any kind of juror intimidation, ever, yet that is exactly what Franklin is doing.
The prosecutor should not make public comments critical of a verdict, whether rendered by judge or jury.
Friday's press release clearly steps well beyond the bounds of all ethical guidelines and demonstrates further just why I believe the LMJD is pretty much a lawless entity. Judges don't seem to care about the law, and the conduct of Brian House was as bad as any I have seen in a judge during a trial.
In many states, prosecutors would be disciplined at the very least and perhaps disbarred at worst for making the statements that "Buzzare" made in his post-verdict press release. It is frightening to me that a prosecution believes himself to be so far above the law that he can intimidate jurors and tell them the following: If MY office says someone is guilty, you sure as heck had better vote guilty, or I will call you out following the verdict.
There is no other message. You have seen a public display of juror intimidation by an elected DA, and if he is permitted to get away with it, things only will become worse in Northwest Georgia, as there will be no justice at all in the "justice" system.