And, if things cannot get any more bizarre in the LMJC, it turns out that "judge" Kristina Cook Connelly Graham let her State Bar membership status go "inactive," and it was officially inactive during the trial and wrongful conviction of Brad Wade in 2007. Whether or not this has any effect on his appeal, I don't know, but it does tell us something about the commitment of the LMJC "judges" to their jobs.
[Update I, Monday May 24, 4:15 PM]: Tonya Craft has filed a $25 million lawsuit against a number of people involved in accusing and trying her. The lawsuit is in federal court. Details are reported by WRCB-TV. The Chattanoogan also has a great story that is well-detailed.
So, Sheriff Phil Summers continues to claim that because he and his friends could not convince a jury to wrongfully convict Tonya Craft, that there is going to be a wave of child molestation all over Catoosa County and maybe the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. Like his friend Buzz Franklin and ADAs Chris "Facebook" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor, he actually seems to believe that people have not caught onto their rigged games.
The article in Sunday's Times-Free Press declares:
A highly publicized child molestation trial and weeks of acrimonious court proceedings could deter parents from bringing suspected abuse cases forward in the future, local officials said.First, had there been the proper scrutiny when Sandra Lamb and Joal Henke were making claims at the beginning, there would have been no trial. Second, the defense did what the defense should have been doing all along in the child molestation trials held in the LMJC: defend their clients instead of offering them up to the prosecution as so many sacrifices.
"I do have a concern about children that are victimized and the families coming forward in the future," Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers said. "Will they be willing to take a chance that their child will be put through the same scrutiny and the same process that we've just seen?"
Third, if Summers and his friends cannot tell the difference between authentic child molestation and something that has been trumped up by people looking to settle personal scores, with their accomplices at the Children's Advocacy Centers of Northwest Georgia helping to grease the skids by employing rigged "interviews," then I'd hate to see what would happen if someone actually committed a real crime in that district. Fourth, this pity party by Summers and company needs to end, because it is not over for them.
This evening, Channel 3 news is going to broadcast video footage of Sandra Lamb in which she will be shown committing a hate crime, complete with racial slurs against Eric Echols when he legally served a subpoena on her that she refused to take. (She claims that her "attorney friend" Chris Arnt told her not to accept it, and if that is true, then he told her not to obey the law.) Furthermore, people will see that she filed a police report against Mr. Echols that did not square with the events of the day.
Despite the fact that Summers is demanding that no one ever scrutinize any accusations of child molestation in Catoosa County, no matter what the facts of the case might be, it is important to do just that. What Summers really is saying is that he does not care if people are wrongly convicted and sent to prison, just as long as his office and his buddies can look as though they are "protecting" the LMJC from "child molesters," and as long as the district can get Mondale Act money.
I remember right after North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced he was dropping the rape charges against the Duke lacrosse players, the Usual Suspects claimed that women no longer would report they had been raped out of fear of not being believed. Right. In reality, the case had NO effect on the reporting of rape charges, false and true. Business went on as usual.
Likewise, what Summers is claiming is that no matter how flimsy the evidence and how dishonest the prosecution's case might be, a jury MUST ALWAYS convict if someone is charged with child molestation for fear that someone, somewhere, might get away with it. I hate to tell Summer and his partners-in-crime, Arnt, Gregor, and Franklin, that U.S. criminal law still allegedly is based upon protecting the rights of the accused.
Furthermore, the man who influenced U.S. law more than any other person, William Blackstone, once wrote that it was better that "20 guilty men go free than once innocent man convicted." Unfortunately, Summers and the gaggle of prosecutors and judges in the LMJC believe that wrongful convictions are just fine with them, and the more wrongful convictions, the better.
When I first started blogging on the Tonya Craft case, I thought it was an example of overzealous prosecution. Now that I have been intensely writing about this situation for more than six weeks, I realize that I have stumbled onto something that is much more sinister. Wrongful convictions in the LMJC are not the result of overzealousness; they are the result of prosecutors and police who actively target people, frame them, and then go into a self-pitying rage when a jury sees through their dishonesty.
Later today, viewers will see Sandra Lamb committing a criminal act, a crime that is so blatant that even though Summers and the Usual Suspects at Franklin's office will choose to ignore it, federal authorities may not. Furthermore, because Arnt, Gregor, and Franklin insist on pursuing non-existed criminal charges in a racially-motivated case against Mr. Echols, and because Gregor tried to appeal to a racist "Tonya-Craft-is-sleeping-with-a-black-man" line during Ms. Craft's trial, they practically have invited the U.S. Department of Justice to take a hard look at what is happening.
As I said in the title, this case is not over. It is not over for Mr. Echols, for Brad Wade, for a number of other falsely-accused people in the LMJC, and certainly not over for people who have had their fill of this dishonesty. This should be a most interesting week.