If I were to have written a movie script about the Tonya Craft case, and added the contrived charges against Eric Echols, add in the "Mommie, Dearest" assault on Mr. Echols by Sandra Lamb, and throw in Buzz Franklin's attack on the jury after it rightfully acquitted Ms. Craft, I would have been laughed out of every producer's office. "No one," they would have told me, can engage in conduct THIS ridiculous.
No judge, the producers would claim, would use, "He's on cross" as a reason to shoot down defense objections, nor would anyone believe me if I had in the script something about a prosecutor screaming about "boobs" while cross-examining a defense witness. Throw in a judge who is reprimanded (and then we find she has failed to pay her dues to the Georgia State Bar for several years) along with witnesses who cannot even commit perjury with a straight face, and you have the makings of something from Alice-in-Wonderland.
Yet, what I have described -- and more -- seems to be the norm for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, and just when it could not get any more bizarre, well, it gets more bizarre. If the fact that prosecutor Chris Arnt actually believed he could manufacture a criminal case against Ms. Craft's private investigator, Eric Echols, is not strange in itself (demonstrating that Arnt believed he could make up the law as he went along), the fact that all four judges of the LMJC recused themselves from the Echols case ups the ante.
What makes this latest judicial caper so strange is that none of the judges gave a reason as to why they would refuse to hear this case. They just said they won't do it, throwing the whole thing into turmoil. Actually, there does not need to be turmoil, as what Franklin's office needs to do is to drop the charges ASAP.
(If the prosecutors of the LMJC were humiliated by the jury's acquittal of Ms. Craft, imagine what would be the case when the word gets out that the LMJC is bringing false charges against an African-American who clearly committed no crimes. Should they think Tonya's case put them under a microscope, continuing to pursue the charges against Mr. Echols would leave them with no cover at all, a prospect, frankly, that warms my heart.)
With Channel 3 (bless Melydia Clewell and Callie Starns) having dropped its latest bomb, a transcript of Mr. Echols' conversation with Jerry McDonald, the father of Child Accuser #2, more and more people are going to realize that Arnt had Mr. Echols arrested ONLY to keep him from doing any more investigations. Call it what you want, folks, but it smells like obstruction of justice to me.
No, even Lewis Carroll could not have come up with characters like Len "The Man" Gregor, "Facebook" Arnt, and "judge" Brian House, and he could not have imagined a script as weird as what has been the LMJC Show for the past few years. Furthermore, we are not even at the end of this farce, as I believe this while this cheap suit of a judicial district is going to unravel in real time.
Sit back and enjoy the show. Arnt, House, Gregor, "judge" Kristina Cook Graham, and "Buzzare" Franklin have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame, but now that fame is going to turn into unwanted notoriety, and there is no place for any of them to hide. Eric Echols is not going to be put on trial, is not going to be convicted, and is not going to jail.
I only wish that the real criminals that populate the offices of the LMJC could find themselves taking permanent residence in the Crowbar Motel. However, even as weird and unpredictable as this bad show has been these past few months, I doubt that such a happy ending can be written into the script, even if justice demands it.