[Update, Thursday, June 24, 10:10 AM]: I will be a guest on WGOW-FM (102.3) this morning at 11 AM. We will be discussing the aftermath of the Tonya Craft case.
(This is the second half of a letter I sent to Buzz Franklin last month.)
Let me now discuss the testimony of Sandra Lamb, mother of Accuser #1. First, she had an ex parte conversation with House two days before her testimony, yet no one notified the defense, as is required by the Rules of the Georgia State Bar. Second, while on the stand, she claimed (under oath) that her daughter, who is a child actress, had not received any acting lessons.
However, according to Raegan Lamb’s official on-line IMDb resume, that is not true. Here is what is says about her training:
• John Robert Powers, Atlanta, GA, Cold Read Techniques, Janet Milstein, 2005
• John Robert Powers, Atlanta, GA, Monologues, Janet Milstein, 2005
• John Robert Powers, Atlanta, GA, Scene Study, Kwietha Bolden, 2005
• John Robert Powers, Atlanta, GA, Commercials, Kwietha Bolden, 2005
Your prosecutors were successful in convincing House (who apparently needed no convincing) to keep this resume out of the evidence file so that the jury would not be made aware that Ms. Lamb did not tell the truth while under oath. I find it interesting that your prosecutors, whom you claim acted “ethically” and “honorably” throughout this whole case, were anxious to keep out this evidence which would cast doubt on one of their key witnesses. Unfortunately, such actions were the norm, not the exception, when it came to the performance of Mr. Arnt and Mr. Gregor.
I now would like to move to the issue of Laurie Evans, the CAC “therapist” who would be considered “ground zero” for the official accusations of child molestation against Ms. Craft. As you know, Evans interviewed Ms. Craft’s two children, her son and daughter. As you know further, Judge Marie Williams of Hamilton County, Tennessee, who was hearing arguments in the custody issue of the children between Ms. Craft and her ex-husband, Joal Henke, had strong doubts about Ms. Evans and finally issued a court order that said Ms. Evans was not to have ANY contact with the Henke children.
Yet, what happened? She engaged in contempt of court and continued to have contact, and your prosecutors continued to use her material uncritically. Don’t forget that Ms. Evans was diagnosed with PTSD and not considered to be competent to engage in the kind of evaluations and “therapy” she was performing with those children. Yet, your office continued to use her as an important figure in pushing this prosecution, even though her actions as pointed out by Judge Williams should have been a red flag.
As you know, prosecutors are supposed to exercise good judgment, as opposed to trying to “win at all costs,” and that means knowing where the red flags might be located. Unfortunately, with prosecutors Arnt and Gregor, a “red flag” seems to be exculpatory evidence, and they do their best to try to make sure that such evidence cannot be seen by a jury.
Let me ask you how you would like it if you or one of your loved ones were put on trial and the prosecution was pursuing a “win at all costs” strategy, and the Rights of the Accused were being eviscerated. I suspect you might howl a bit. I remember when Nifong was the subject of an investigation by the North Carolina State Bar and suddenly he remembered his precious rights, the same rights he ignored when he pursued the lacrosse players from Duke, and complained loudly that he was being treated unfairly.
Your prosecutors, Arnt and Gregor, certainly managed to draw attention to themselves. Despite the Bar Rules on “respecting the tribunal,” they managed to engage in activities meant to disrupt the proceedings and to throw off the defense when its lawyers were questioning witnesses. For example, on numerous occasions, the two of them rolled their eyes, shrugged their shoulders, made loud sighs, threw books and other materials on the table to make loud noises, they yelled at witnesses, demeaned them unnecessarily, and also tried to intimidate people in the courtroom.
As pointed out before, Gregor one day while court was in session literally dressed down Melydia Clewell of WRCB-TV in Chattanooga because he did not like some of her dispatches. I never have seen a prosecutor go after an individual reporter while in court and pretty much demand that he or she report the news the way the prosecutor wants it reported. This is what one calls naked intimidation, and that should be grounds for disciplining a prosecutor, not praising him.
A friend of mine, who has testified in more than 500 criminal trials as a nurse SANE, recently told me that in one session, an ADA simply rolled his eyes at the comments of the defense. The judge stopped the proceedings, dressed down the ADA for violating the decorum, and then fined him $500. Unfortunately, in the trial of Tonya Craft, a number of courtroom observers told me that Judge House was taking his cues from Arnt and Gregor, and while you are not responsible for the judge’s behavior, you do have a responsibility to make sure that your ADAs actually respect the proceedings and act in a civilized manner.
If you doubt what I am saying about the behavior of Arnt and Gregor, you might want to watch the many hours of video of courtroom procedures. Should that not convince you that your ADAs were misbehaving, I can produce a number of people who were in attendance at the trial who will sign sworn, notarized statements attesting to both the outright rudeness AND crudeness of your employees.
Because this letter is quite long, I would like to move quickly to the next topic, that being the prosecution’s treatment of the defense’s expert witnesses. As you recall, there were four witnesses, and I gave their names earlier in this letter. Let me deal, then, with the treatment of each of them.
First, and most important, these witnesses were not hacks. All four of them are highly respected, and they either are Ph.D.’s or M.D.’s and all of them are experienced expert witnesses. Second, your prosecutors chose to call each of them “whores of the court” and people who are “liars” for money. In other words, you called each of them liars, but only after they had testified.
This creates a huge problem for your office and for Georgia prosecutors. Let me explain. Dr. Nancy Aldridge is a highly-respected child specialist who literally “wrote the book” on questioning children who are suspected of being sexually abused. Furthermore, Dr. Aldridge almost always testifies for the prosecution in these kinds of cases, and only rarely does she testify for the defense.
Thus, by calling her a “whore of the court” and a “liar,” ADAs Arnt and Gregor have impugned the integrity of every prosecutor in Georgia and elsewhere who has used Dr. Aldridge’s testimony. If she really is a liar, as BOTH of your prosecutors loudly proclaimed on the record in court, then it would seem that her testimony should never be allowed in a court of law. This is more than just a PR problem, for what you are saying is that there are numerous people in Georgia prisons who have been wrongfully convicted because Dr. Aldridge’s testimony was key to their being found guilty.
Furthermore, because Dr. Aldridge was cited as an important authority in a Georgia Supreme Court decision upholding the conviction of someone, then that decision should be invalidated, according to your public statements regarding the actions of Arnt and Gregor. Please do not say that they made those assertions in “the heat of battle.” They were cold and calculated statements that were meant to tell jurors that Dr. Aldridge was committing perjury.
In fact, if you and your ADAs are so convinced that these four witnesses perjured themselves, then why don’t you have them arrested, charged, and put on trial? After all, if they are liars, and they lied to a jury, then you have all of the evidence you need to bring felony charges against them. That you would never even consider doing such a thing tells me that your ADAs figured that they could try to get away with lying themselves. (Ironically, one of the jurors said that all of the jurors believed that Arnt lied about previous testimony during his closing arguments.)
One question that people have asked me has been why your office has been so aggressive in pursuing this case. I believe that one of the main reasons that your office has prosecuted so many of these cases is that you receive lots of federal money through the Mondale Act. At the present time, I am engaged in research that looks at this relationship between certain kinds of prosecutions and the financial payout, and I have my suspicions that there will be a strong correlation. In other words, I don’t believe you have targeted so-called child molestation cases out of your love for children.
My last topic is the continued prosecution of Private Investigator Eric Echols, who was arrested for the trumped-up charge of “interfering with a witness” because he recorded Jerry McDonald, father of “accuser #2,” saying he had strong doubts about the veracity of your case. (Your prosecutors then threatened Mr. McDonald with “obstruction of justice” if he did not change his views.)
Unfortunately for you, Mr. Echols also has a video recording of being assaulted by Sandra Lamb while he was legally delivering a subpoena to her home. Furthermore, on that video, Ms. Lamb is recorded as calling him a “black bastard,” which gives a racial motive to her assault, as Mr. Echols is African-American. Your office ignored the fact that she both interfered with his legal duties and engaged in what would be classified as a “hate crime,” and I don’t believe that this failure of your office to do its legal duties here is an accident or just an oversight on your part. Instead, it seems to be part of the same pattern that characterized you and your ADAs all through the Craft case.
This has been a very long letter, and I believe I have made my points, and it is time to close. However, because of your public statement given on May 14, 2010, I will say emphatically that this episode is not over. You made very serious charges against me, and even though you did not mention my name, nonetheless I was the main blogger and you certainly were aiming your comments at least partially at me.
You said that I was part of a “shameless” defense strategy, except I was part of no strategy but my own. If you have proof that I was working at the direction of the defense, I sure would like to see it, although you would have to fabricate the evidence, and I know that your office never would fabricate anything like that.
Since you have no proof, perhaps you might want to understand that your comments are untrue and certainly need to be scrutinized by people who have authority over you. Your office brought transparently false charges against a woman, forcing her to be bankrupted and to lose everything in her effort to defend herself. Your ADAs brutalized her and all of the defense witnesses, referred to four very respected expert witnesses as “whores of the court” and “liars,” and engaged in brutal and disrupting behavior. Furthermore, they openly mimicked the defense attorneys in open court, which in most states would not be regarded as acceptable behavior.
Yet, you blame everyone else. You blame the jurors and imply that future juries had better “get it right.” You blame the media because not every media reporter acted like the people from Channel 9, and then you blame bloggers like me because you don’t like the First Amendment. Furthermore, you demonstrate remarkable ignorance about who is on trial during court proceedings (it is NOT the state, Mr. Franklin), and then act as though we should feel sorry for you because you did not get your cherished conviction.
As I see it, this case has been marked by prosecutorial misconduct at every turn. Before the trial, one of your ADAs was making nasty comments about the defense counsel on his Facebook page, and both of your prosecutors were trying desperately to keep out exculpatory material, and they also instructed police not to give any material to the defense. They also ordered a brutal police raid on the office of Dr. Ann Hazzard to seize records when, in fact, she would have given your office anything you had asked without the show of force. (I suspect you would not like a gang of police officers with guns drawn ransacking your office, and the fact you did it to a respected clinical psychologist demonstrates the lack of respect you have for the law and for other people.)
During the trial, your ADAs clearly suborned perjury, brutalized witnesses, intimidated spectators and news reporters, claimed that one of the most respected prosecution witnesses in the State of Georgia is a “whore of the court” and a “liar,” and after you lost your case, you blame jurors, the media, and people like me. Let’s face it, sir. Your record throughout this whole sorry affair has been abysmal, and so I hardly am surprised to see you closing the chapter with yet one more sorry pronouncement.
Would be that I had the kind of influence you attributed people like me, as well as to members of the local media. Furthermore, I only wish that you had the same ability to recognize a weak or even nonexistent criminal case against someone that many other people in the community – including 12 honest jurors – seemed to have done. My sense is that there are many people from the LMJC who were wrongfully convicted because you and your ADAs were able to roll over them in court, getting away with the same slimy tactics that were used against Tonya Craft. Thus, I will continue to investigate – and publicly criticize – you and your ADAs.
William L. Anderson