My point about Enron has been two-fold. First, the company was riding the crest of an easy credit regime that came from the Clinton administration and the Federal Reserve System, led by former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Second, the market exposed the fact that Enron's business practices could only work in such a regime, and as soon as the tech bubble burst in late 2000, Enron was doomed.
However, I don't see what happened as being criminal, and if the government really wants to pursue criminal charges, then Greenspan needs to be in the dock. Yes, I know this thinking is counter to what the government and the media claim, but remember that the government and most of the media wanted us to believe that Tonya Craft was a child molester and Chris Arnt is a hero. (I realize this is a non sequitur, but my larger point is that we should not take what government prosecutors say at face value, period.)[End Update]
[Update I, June 14, 2010, 9:30 AM]: Dr. Demosthenes Lorandos and Tonya Craft are scheduled to appear on "Larry King Live" tonight. Tune in, as they tell of the destruction of justice in the LMJC.[End Update]
Watching Chris Arnt run from WRCB-TV's diminutive Callie Starns last month after the arrogant, scorched earth, slash-and-burn tactics that he and his partner, Len Gregor, unsuccessfully used in their attempt to have Tonya Craft imprisoned for life led to my asking a simple question: Is this the conduct one would expect from someone who was named a "Super Lawyer" a few years ago?
Not only was Arnt the recipient of an award from the Georgia Prosecutors two years ago, in which he was feted (cough, cough) as the epitome of the "ethical" prosecutor, but he also was named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers Magazine. (No, I am not making up this one.)
A couple of years ago, the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia gave Arnt the J. Roger Thompson Award, and the council piled on the accolades. According to Pete Skandalakis, Basic Litigation Chairman and District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, Arnt is a wonderful and "ethical" prosecutor:
“This year’s recipient of the J. Roger Thompson Award possesses the character traits of the type of prosecutor we want to have in this state,” said Skandalakis. “He is a prosecutor dedicated to fairness and has a strong adherence to professionalism, ethics, and moral obligations. This year’s recipient of the J. Roger Thompson Award possesses the character traits of the type of prosecutor we want to have in this state,” said Skandalakis. “He is a prosecutor dedicated to fairness and has a strong adherence to professionalism, ethics, and moral obligations. He is the type of prosecutor we should all try to emulate.” (Emphasis mine)One does not know whether to laugh or cry when reading this kind of drivel, for if Christopher Arnt is the epitome of the "ethical" prosecutor in Georgia, then God save us from the unethical people. Here is a prosecutor who would stop at nothing to keep the truth from entering the courtroom, who lied to the jurors when he deliberately misrepresented Dr. Nancy Fajman's testimony during closing arguments, and he attacked Dr. Nancy Aldridge, calling her a "whore" and a "liar," despite the fact that Dr. Aldridge is recognized as one of the most respected expert witnesses in Georgia in the area of interviewing children suspected of being sexually abused.
(When cross-examining Dr. Aldridge, Arnt noted that he had taken part in the same conference at which Dr. Aldridge was making a presentation. I'm curious as to whether or not Arnt told conferees that Dr. Aldridge was a "whore" and a "liar" when making his own presentation, or if he held back on such labels. If he knew something about Dr. Aldridge that others did not know, it would seem that this paragon of ethics would have been duty-bound to alert others at the conference that Nancy Aldridge really was a fraud.)
Lest anyone think that I am being unfair to the sainted Christopher Arnt, I will lay out a number of Georgia rules for prosecutors that deal with ethical behavior, and then I will leave it to the reader to see whether this guy is an "ethical" "super lawyer," or just someone who has been allowed for years to play in his own sandbox that is the LMJC.
The first and most important standard for prosecutors in Georgia comes with the following:
RULE 3.8 SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTORFurthermore, the Rule states: A prosecutor has the responsibility of a minister of justice and not simply that of an advocate. I don't think anyone can say that applied to Arnt during the Tonya Craft trial, and I doubt Arnt ever has taken that rule seriously. Why do it? He is protected with immunity and by the judges and everyone else in the Georgia "justice" system, so why be ethical and honest when crime really does pay?
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;
(b) refrain from making any effort to prevent the accused from exercising a reasonable effort to obtain counsel;
(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or that mitigates the offense; (Emphasis mine)
But there is much, much more. Let us look at how Arnt performed under some other rules governing his performance. The first one is as follows:
RULE 3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNALThis is the same Chris Arnt who lied to the jurors (and the jurors afterward noted that Arnt lied), and he participated with Len Gregor in pursuing the false "hand rape" testimony that began with Sandra Lamb's daughter and spread to a number of other witnesses whom Arnt was coaching. Furthermore, Arnt was aggressive in keeping out exculpatory evidence, teaming up with his good friend, "judge" Brian House.
(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal;
(2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client;
(3) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or
(4) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures.
Here are some more examples of "ethical" behavior by Chris "Super Lawyer" Arnt. First, the Georgia State Bar Rules:
RULE 3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSELAs we saw with the "hand rape" incident, Arnt did all of the things above, all the way to assisting with Det. Tim Deal's sudden "discovery" of a "missing" document in his files that was not in existence at discovery before the trial began. Furthermore, Arnt had Tonya Craft's private investigator, Eric Echols arrested simply to ensure that Echol's testimony could not be used at Ms. Craft's trial. Interestingly, Arnt's fingerprints were all over the false reports filed against Mr. Echols both by Sandra Lamb and Jerry McDonald. However, Christopher Arnt is an ETHICAL prosecutor, a man that all prosecutors should want to emulate.
A lawyer shall not:
(a) unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act;
(b) (1) falsify evidence;
(2) counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely;
(h) present, participate in presenting or threaten to present criminal charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter.
We go on. Here is the next rule:
RULE 3.5 IMPARTIALITY AND DECORUM OF THE TRIBUNALWhile I have no proof of ex parte meetings between Arnt and House, nonetheless people did contact me to tell me they believed that they saw these men together outside the courtroom talking. Furthermore, people who were in the courtroom have told me that House got nearly all of his cues from Arnt and Gregor.
A lawyer shall not, without regard to whether the lawyer represents a client in the matter:
(a) seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror or other official by means prohibited by law;
(b) communicate ex parte with such a person except as permitted by law; or
(c) engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.
We all know how Arnt and Gregor constantly engaged in the worst kind of courtroom behavior, objecting simply to be doing it, making catcalls, rolling their eyes, throwing books and other objects on the table while the defense was speaking to witnesses, making loud sighs, and generally acting like the spoiled brats that they are. Individuals who are familiar with courtroom decorum told me that what these men did was shocking, but Arnt is above all that, you see, because he is an ETHICAL prosecutor, a man that all prosecutors should want to emulate.
Here is the next one:
RULE 3.6 TRIAL PUBLICITYYes, this is the guy who gave us the Facebook comments disparaging both Ms. Craft and her attorneys, which breaks the rules. (Poor Arnt lied to Channel 9, claiming that his page was "hacked," which can only mean that someone else put up those comments. Given that prosecution witness Holly Kittle gave the post a "thumbs up," I suppose that someone fabricated that, too.)
(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a person would reasonably believe to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.
Then there was the claim that by defending herself, Ms. Craft was "acting guilty," which also breaks Rule 3.6, which makes me wonder how Arnt ever was able to prepare for trial, given he was spending so much time actively spitting in the face of the rules that govern his ethical conduct as a prosecutor. However, Christopher Arnt is an ETHICAL prosecutor, a man that all prosecutors should want to emulate.
Then there were Arnt's pre-trial comments to Channel 9 in which he claimed that Ms. Craft was trying to "poison" the jury pool because she was outspoken in her claims for innocence. In Arnt's words:
When you don't have evidence on your side, when you don't have truth on your side, you have to go out and try to poison the jury pool and that's the kind of stuff they're pulling.Yes, this came from a guy who presented perjured "evidence," and whose witnesses regularly lied on the stand in a manner so transparent that it was easy to demonstrate their lies. (Here is an example of a lie that Sandra Lamb told.) However, Christopher Arnt is an ETHICAL prosecutor, a man that all prosecutors should want to emulate.
As was declared when he received the Thompson Award: “He is a prosecutor dedicated to fairness and has a strong adherence to professionalism, ethics, and moral obligations. He is the type of prosecutor we should all try to emulate.” How did this guy get such a reputation for "fairness"?
The Christopher Arnt I saw on display during the entire Tonya Craft case was anything but a picture of ethics, professionalism, and morality. If anything, he was the antithesis of each of those things, and he seemed to be pretty darned proud of it. He not only lied and suborned perjury, but he used his authority to gain a false and dishonest indictment of Mr. Echols not because he actually believed Mr. Echols had committed any crimes, but because he wanted to get the guy and his evidence out of the picture.
Why? The less exculpatory evidence that Ms. Craft's attorneys could present at trial, the better the chance for this high-profile conviction. Yes, this is the act of an "ethical" prosecutor, a man whose actual legal skills seem to be lacking, as the only thing he really could do was to brutalize the opposition with the encouragement of an obviously-corrupt judge.
What I saw also opened my eyes to the reasons behind the LMJC's high (98 percent) conviction rate, and perhaps the reason that Arnt gained "Super Lawyer" status. The LMJC is very insular in its approach to "justice." It is OK to have Bobby Lee Cook as an attorney, because Cook is "one of the boys" and part of the local establishment, but it is NOT OK for someone to do like Ms. Craft: get attorneys from Atlanta and (Gasp!) Detroit.
Let's face it; the judges and prosecutors in the LMJC have the system so rigged that no member of the local bar would dare challenge anyone employed in that system. As all the players see it, the job of local attorneys is to appease the "gods" of Franklin by offering up their clients as a sacrifice in a plea deal, and should the client actually claim he or she is innocent and decide to go to trial, then for the lawyer is permitted only to put up token resistance so Arnt and Gregor can get their convictions and the counsel does not tick off prosecutors and judges.
The system "works" because judges and prosecutors run the system according to their rules and brutalize anyone who dares to think his or her client could be innocent of the charges. Let you think I am exaggerating, look at what happened during the Tonya Craft trial.
As observers tell me, long before the trial began, House pretty much was part of the prosecution team. His rulings always favored the prosecutors, and whatever they wanted -- from excluding exculpatory evidence to having a gag order that effectively only applied to the defense -- House gave it to them. Furthermore, House made no effort even to hide his disdain for those "out-of-town" attorneys and his solidarity with Arnt and Gregor.
(During Gregor's cross-examination of Dr. Ann Hazzard, he asked her if competent therapists could be found in North Georgia, and then wondered aloud why Ms. Craft had chosen Dr. Hazzard. Gregor obviously was trying to appeal to what he believed might be jury prejudices, but it seems that Gregor failed to point out to jurors that Judge Marie Williams in Tennessee had appointed Dr. Hazzard to interview Ms. Craft's children. Once again, we see this insularity and prejudice against "outsiders" that characterizes the LMJC system.)
To make matters worse, House teamed with Arnt and Gregor to have a "secret room" for the prosecution witnesses and their friends and supporters. While everyone else had their cellphones, water, food, and reading materials confiscated, and had to go through security procedures just to enter the courthouse, the "secret room" people had their phones and everything else they wanted, and entered the courthouse from a different entrance.
Obviously, this was worse than simple bad ethics. It was outright dishonesty, as the witnesses were permitted to get together before giving testimony, and even then they could not get their stories (or, more accurately, their lies) straight. Yes, this is the handiwork of an "ethical" prosecutor.
If Arnt's fellow Georgia prosecutors think he is the Standard Of Prosecutorial Greatness, then I only can imagine what the rest of the prosecutorial profession in that state is like. Unfortunately, these "ethical" people are protected by immunity, which means they can do what they want and not have to worry about being held accountable for their own lies and lawbreaking.
North Carolina prosecutors already had a bad reputation before Michael Nifong four years ago decided to up the ante, but even that group realized that they had to throw Nifong overboard before he took all of them down with him. One hopes that the fellow prosecutors of Arnt, Gregor, and Buzz Franklin will realize that if these people become the Poster Children for all prosecutors in the state, sooner or later Georgia prosecutors are going to their reputations plunk into the toilet.
10 Questions for Christopher Arnt
In the interest of "fairness" and "ethics," I have 10 questions to ask Mr. Arnt, and if he would like to respond (which I doubt he will), my email address is available through this blog.
1. Did you have any ex parte conversations with Brian House during and before the trial in which you discussed material in the trial, but did not report to the defense, as is required by your rules of conduct?
2. Did you get together socially either with House or any of the jurors during the trial?
3. Since you were the one who actively sought the indictment for Mr. Echols, why have you dumped off the case onto a less-experienced ADA instead of pursuing the case yourself?
4. Did you advise Jerry McDonald to make the statements that he made on the complaint, or did he make those obviously-false statements without any input at all from you?
5. Did you threaten Mr. McDonald with "obstruction of justice" if he refused to be part of the prosecution's "team" for the Tonya Craft case?
6. What discussions did you have with Len Gregor and others after Sandra Lamb's daughter claimed on the stand that she "disclosed" a vicious "hand rape" allegedly was done to her by Ms. Craft? If you discussed that situation with others, how did you decide to get around the fact that you never had that allegation in the discovery pages you gave to the prosecution?
7. When you had Suzi Thorne on direct (the "interviewer" who supposedly heard the "disclosure" of the alleged "hand rape"), why did not you not ask her about this development? Was it because in so asking, you openly would be suborning perjury, since you knew the entire alleged incident was false?
8. Why did you tell Channel 9 that your Facebook page was "hacked," when, in fact, all that was done was that someone had copied an image of the page with the comments that were on it? Are you claiming that you did NOT write those inflammatory comments, or are you claiming that those comments were "private," even though Facebook is a public page?
9. Since you accused all four expert witnesses for the defense, Dr. Aldridge, Dr. Fajman, Dr. Bernet, and Dr. Hazzard, of lying, are you planning on seeking indictments of them for perjury? If not, why not? Are you saying that people are permitted to commit felonies in your presence and you not report such felonies to the authorities? Does that not violate the ethics rules that govern your profession?
10. Did you go on a cruise within the past several years? How would you characterize your conduct on that cruise, and what might others who observed you say about your conduct?