While the "fig leaf" of an excuse is that the director is paid $82,000, but does not work five days a week, in reality, the commission has been investigating a friend of Speaker of the House David Ralston, something Ralston denies has anything to do with his actions:
The budget dispute, Ralston said, has nothing to do with the commission’s pursuit of charges against former Superior Court Judge Harry Doss of Blue Ridge — a longtime friend of his.So, in the name of "good government," the speaker is trying to gut a commission that actually engages in "good government" actions, but cannot do its job if the legislature further guts its funding. No doubt, Brian House is a happy camper.
Prosecution of Doss’s case is one of several delayed, perhaps indefinitely, by the JQC’s funding problems. He is charged with abusive behavior toward litigants and lawyers; intervening in matters outside his jurisdiction; taking months and sometimes years to make rulings; and buying laptops for his wife and son with public funds.
Doss resigned in December but refused the JQC’s request that he never seek judicial office again.
Ralston contacted Troutman Sanders last year looking for a lawyer to represent Doss. The speaker said he sought a referral because he didn’t have the expertise to handle a JQC matter.
[Update I, Thursday, June 3, 10:30 AM]: ABC's Nightline show last night had a segment on the Tonya Craft case, including an interview with her. As TV news stories go, it was pretty good, and it showed the segment during the trial in which Suzi Thorne allegedly committed perjury. (Not that she will be charged with the crime, given that the LMJC allows its own to commit felonies with impunity.)
I am glad they used that segment, as I still find it unbelievable that a person who is sworn to tell the truth can claim that she failed to memorialize what would have been the most important "disclosure" in the entire investigation: that the child of Sandra Lamb "just remembered" that Tonya Craft had penetrated her vagina with four fingers (and did not leave a mark -- an amazing feat of dexterity, should it have happened).
(I hope that future jurors reading this will take an extremely skeptical view when hearing testimony that is given by Ms. Thorne, Tim Deal, or anyone associated with the CAC or the Greenhouse, or testimony suborned by anyone from Buzz Franklin's office.)
As my researchers and I look over the huge amount of material from the Tonya Craft case, some things have become obvious:
- There was no sexual abuse of any kind involving Tonya Craft and the children-accusers;
- The "investigators" of the abuse from both the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, the DA's office, and the Children's Advocacy Center and the Greenhouse understood early on that there was no abuse, and it was their job to manufacture false charges;
- This was not the first time they had pulled off such a caper, but it was the first time that a defendant was able to put together a strong defense team to fight the charges.
In examining the reasons I believe these men should be disbarred, I have gone through the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, and especially rules that pertain to prosecutors. Some of the rules, if broken, are punishable only by reprimand, but others specify that disbarment is a possibility. With that in mind, I want to look at just the rules for which violation can result in disbarment.
I wish to begin with Rule 8.4: Misconduct. The rule states:
(a) It shall be a violation of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to:If a prosecutor violates Rule 8.4(a)(4), the maximum penalty is disbarment. Let me go on to look at Rule 3.3: Candor Toward the Tribunal. It states:
(1) violate or attempt to violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(2) be convicted of a felony;
(3) be convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude where the underlying conduct relates to the lawyer's fitness to practice law;
(4) engage in professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:The next is Rule 3.4: Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel:
(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.
A lawyer shall not:The next is Rule 3.5: Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal:
(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;
A lawyer shall not, without regard to whether the lawyer represents a client in the matter:In the May 17 complaint that Ms. Craft's attorneys sent to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, the attorneys alleged a number of actions that would fit into the categories specified by the rules that would have disbarment as a remedy. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that Arnt and Gregor regularly suborned perjury, encouraged Sandra Lamb to break the law in refusing to accept a lawful subpoena delivered by Eric Echols, and sought to influence jurors and potential jurors by their public statements.
(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.
The maximum penalty for a violation of part (a) of this Rule is disbarment. The maximum penalty for a violation of part (b) or part (c) of this Rule is a public reprimand.
Furthermore, when Buzz Franklin issued his public statement attacking the jury three days after the verdict, he clearly was involved in an act of intimidation not only of those who served on the Craft jury, but also future jurors in child sexual abuse cases. There can be no other reason for his statement, which should be grounds for disbarment.
I do not believe that Arnt and Gregor actually believed Ms. Craft was guilty of the things for which she was charged. It is interesting that during the defense portion of the trial, neither Arnt nor Gregor ever asked one substantive question in their cross-examination of defense witnesses. Instead, they bullied them, screamed, called one of the most respected prosecution witnesses in Georgia, Dr. Nancy Aldridge, a "whore of the court" and a "liar," yet did not give one scintilla of evidence to demonstrate why all of the other prosecutors in Georgia who have used Dr. Aldridge as an expert witnesses have knowingly suborned false testimony. After all, if Dr. Aldridge lied during the Craft trial, then she would lie whenever she was on the witness stand.
Over the next several weeks, my researchers and I will be going over trial documents to verify the ways that Arnt and Gregor violated Bar rules. Furthermore, I believe that their conduct in the Eric Echols case has been so egregious that these prosecutors might even be more vulnerable there than they are as a result of their attempt to bring false charges against Ms. Craft.
While another prosecutor is scheduled to bring the case against Mr. Echols, my researchers and I will put together a set of documents to send to the State Bar which will implicate whomever attempts to gain a wrongful conviction of Mr. Echols. If is it someone other than Arnt or Gregor, then he also is going to have to defend himself before the State Bar.
There is no doubt that we will be sending the State Bar a number of documents in which we will allege the LMJC prosecutors have committed acts that so dishonor their office that disbarment is the only just remedy. If there really were any justice in Georgia, these men would be facing criminal charges, but the blanket immunity that prosecutors enjoy (no matter how egregious and criminal their actual conduct might be) makes their having to meet the bar of justice to be impossible.