Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eric Echols and the LMJC: How Deep Do the Prosecutors Want the Hole to Be for Themselves?

At last report, the bogus criminal charges against private investigator Eric Echols already were in a death spiral, given that none of the judges of the LMJC want to hear the case, yet Buzz Franklin apparently is determined to run his whole operation over a cliff. Now, I would have no problem watching a vehicle occupied by Buzz and his henchmen "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" driving to doom over, say, Insurance Bluff (a feature along the old Lula Lake Road on Lookout Mountain), but for Eric's sake, this farce needs to end: Now.

However, besides the fact that LMJC prosecutors openly would have to suborn perjury in order to put Mr. Echols on trial (not that perjury bothers Buzz and the Gang) and despite the little problem of having no cooperating witnesses, our Legal Eagles of the LMJC have run into yet another sticky little problem: the law. Yes, it seems that the Georgia Court of Appeals already has ruled on a similar case, and the outcome clearly presents an insurmountable barrier to the prosecutors.

First, it seems that "Alberto-Facebook" was not the first Georgia prosecutor to come up with the rather stupid idea of charging a private investigator in a child molestation case with "influencing a witness." No, someone in Forsyth County beat him to it, and had "Superlawyer" Arnt been paying attention (given the decision came down July 6, 2009, which was before he got the indictment against Mr. Echols), he might have realized that his cherished conviction was DOA.

Second, the appeals court in THE STATE v. DELABY, declared that the private investigator, Ronald Charles Delaby, was entitled "to an indictment perfect in form and substance." What that means is that the indictment needed to specify how the defendant had illegally "influenced" a witness.

Now, if the Delaby case seems to mirror that of Mr. Echols, that is because it does mirror it, and that is good news for Eric and, bad news for the LMJC. To further illuminate the situation, I quote from the decision itself:
Under Georgia law, an indictment that "states the offense in the terms and language of [the applicable Code section] or so plainly that the nature of the offense charged may easily be understood by the jury shall be deemed sufficiently technical and correct." OCGA § 17-7-54. The real test, therefore, [*3] is not whether the indictment could have been clearer, but whether it states the elements of the offense and "sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and, in case any other proceedings are taken against him for a similar offense, whether the record shows with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction." (Citations and punctuation omitted.) State v. English, 276 Ga. 343, 346 (2) (a) (578 SE2d 413) (2003). Thus, "[i]t is useful to remember that the purpose of the indictment is to allow defendant to prepare his defense intelligently and to protect him from double jeopardy."
If you think this spells doom for the prosecution's case, you are correct. If the indictment itself is fatally flawed, then there can be no charges.

Now, readers might ask, is Buzz Franklin so bone-headed that he might try to re-indict Mr. Echols? Anything is possible, I suppose, but Buzz and his Dishonest Duo would have a heck of a time putting together a nonexistent case under the glare of publicity. Furthermore, if their pants are down to their knees now, another foolish caper would put those pants around their ankles.

One would hope that there will be a "color of law" investigation by the FBI in this whole sorry affair. Furthermore, Mr. Echols will not be going away, and neither will this blog and a whole host of people.

I would urge readers who wish to do their duty as citizens to contact the FBI to help encourage officials to see through this sorry mess. The contact information for the Atlanta office of the FBI is:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
2635 Century Parkway N.E.,
Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: (404) 679-9000
E-mail: atlanta@ic.fbi.gov

Special Agent in Charge
Brian D. Lamkin

30 comments:

kbp said...

Contact the FBI?

Are we all giving up on the AG's office?

:)>

Abraham said...

For now all we know is that we need to campaign against Baker for Gov of GA.
He is not a good AG, as he has no regard for correcting problems within his own court system.
I will be at the trial of EE if it happens, and I do hope more show up for this than at Tonya's trial.
Even if Buzz manages to get a conviction, it will be interesting to see how the appeals court rules.
Maybe this will put the spotlight on the LMJC even more.
They need MORE news coverage...

Trish said...

Good article Bill and thanks for the address, I plan to write to them about several things going on in my county. By the way, my great-grandfather, Alfred E. Carter was Justice of the Peace in Catoosa County and died at the age of 87 while still active in his job. He died from injuries received in a car chase. I am sure he would be shocked and dismayed that those entrusted to protect the citizens of this county are in actuality the bad guys!!!

Anonymous said...

And he will assign it to the local agent who is a douche bag and in lmjc back pocket. Ya you...

KC Sprayberry said...

How very interesting Buzz Franklin is so willing to go forward with a case given that another exactly like it was overturned on appeal. Hmmm? Where have I heard about this action before? Oh yes. Tonya Craft, where they used tactics debunked after the 80's witch hunt child molestation trials. Gee! Do these guys ever learn? One might hope so, but evidence is overwhelmingly in the opposite direction. A letter to the FBI is a good start, but perhaps we should go higher and copy those letters to the director of the FBI in Washington DC. After all, information from concerned citizens watching a travesty of justice happening where the local agent works closely with and approves of the antics of the LMJC might get the attention needed. I said it before, folks around here just plain don't like it when those we consider from Yankeeland descending to see how we're mucking it up. It's time for a loud scream to use this weapon against those sworn to protect us in the legal system.

Anonymous said...

" Furthermore, if their pants are down to their knees now, another foolish caper would put those pants around their ankles."

Gee, thanks Bill, I so did not need that visual...

gonna go bleach my eyes

:)
Donna

Kaye said...

I was not able to attend any of Tonya Craft's trial in support of her, but I do have some vacation time saved up that I could use in Sept. You will have some company, Abraham, if this case goes to trial, because I, too, plan to support Mr. Echols by showing up for at least part of his trial.

Since all of the LMJC judges have recused themselves already on this case, does Mr. Echols' attorney even have a point of contact should he wish to file pretrial motions, etc? Seems rather strange not to have a judge lined up to hear this case this close in to a supposed trial date. I almost get the impression that Buzzie is participating in a stare-down contest with the public to see who blinks first when it comes to whether he plans to drop charges or not. Pathetic attempt on his part to try and save face. He should have dropped charges a long time ago with the airing of the transcripts, cell phone video, and the unwillingness of the witnesses to testify, which proves this case is nothing but a sham.

Tick, tock, Mr. Franklin.

kbp said...

KC & others,

Be sure to carbon copy reporters in the media all that you write to any government agencies.

They are not very intimidated by copies going to their bosses.

Anonymous said...

I'M this case won't be dropped because they cannot admit an error. Saving face, they would rather spend the taxpayers money than do so,

Lookout Spy said...

I recommend a CC to FBI's headquarters branch of the civil rights division at:

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530


Q. What are the differences between a civil and a criminal civil rights violation?


A. A criminal violation requires the use or threat of force. Other distinctions between criminal and civil cases brought by the Government are:

CRIMINAL CIVIL
Who is charged: Accused person Usually an organization
Standard of proof: Beyond a reasonable doubt Preponderance of evidence
Fact finder: Jury Judge
Victim: Identified individuals Individuals and/or representatives of a group or class
Remedy sought: Prison, fine, restitution, community service Correct policies and practices, relief for individuals
Govt's right to appeal: Very limited Yes

Criminal cases are investigated and prosecuted differently from civil cases. More and stronger evidence is needed to obtain a criminal conviction than to win a civil suit. Should the defendant be acquitted, the Government has no right of appeal. A federal criminal conviction also requires a unanimous decision by 12 jurors (or by a judge only if the defendant chooses not to have a jury). Civil cases are usually heard by a judge, but occasionally a jury will decide the case. Both criminal and civil cases can be resolved without a trial where both sides agree and with the concurrence of the judge; this is done by a plea agreement in a criminal case and by a consent decree in a civil suit. In criminal cases, judges must use the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in determining the defendant's punishment, whereas judges in civil suits may or may not adopt remedies as recommended by the Government when it wins.

Q. If there is no violence or threat of violence, whom should I contact?

A. If no violence is involved, complaints should be submitted in writing to the Civil Rights Division, where it will be forwarded to the appropriate Section for review. The Division's mailing address is:

Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

My own opinion is we are more likely to get an investigation from the Office of Inspector General for misuse of Federal funds. The FBI and OIG would perform a joint investigation is that case.

http://www.justice.gov/oig/FOIA/hotline.htm

http://www.justice.gov/crt/crmsec.php

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/color.htm

http://www.fbi.gov/hq.htm

This last link shows the extent law officers will go when they think they have been caught "pants down".

http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/press/2010_06_14.pdf

Lookout Spy said...

More on OIG: They do prosecute for comparatively small sums of money obtained through DOJ grant programs being misused.

http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/press/2009_11_10.pdf

http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/press/2009_08_17.pdf

Anonymous said...

The Craft custody hearing has been delayed indefinitely per Channel 3's website.

"In a letter sent to local media outlets Thursday morning, Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams gave no explanation for why the hearing will be delayed but did indicate evidentiary matters could be taken up before the court next Friday."

I have no idea what that means. here's the uRL for the story.

http://www.wrcbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12811971

KC Sprayberry said...

Welcome back, Lookout. We missed you. Never thought of the Office of the Inspector General. Good idea. Do you think they'd be interested in Tonya's trial, too. After all, I'm sure LMJC applied for and received funds for those people at CAC/Greenhouse to 'help' the children from the Mondale Act of 1974. Then again, there's all the investigations done by Tim Deal and the pre-trial and trial time for Arnt and Gregor. Goodness, they really raked it in!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, News Channel 9 was on as I was walking by and the reporter mentioned something about evidence being brought forth and that the custody case could be suspended indefinitely??? Did I hear this right? I mean I know they aren't the best news station but I would like to know the whole story.

kbp said...

Tonya Craft custody battle postponed
"Tonya Craft and her lawyers have requested more time to prepare for a hearing to fight for custody of her kids, a court employee said this morning..."

JD said...

Remember we had a poster yesterday say he had information about Joal and had given it to Tonya. I wasn't sure if the the person was legit, but maybe he does have some information that could really nail it down for Tonya, but she can't get it all together before the 22nd. In addition, I'm wondering if it is taking some time for her to deprogram her daughter from what Joal has told her. I was concerned the trial was going to be so close that it might not give Tonya the time needed to really bond with the girl enough for the judge to agree in favor of Tonya. Of course it also depends on how much time Tonya is given with her.

dmk said...

It's really impossible to know what is going on from brief media stories like this, unless you know something firsthand from those directly involved. Short of that, then it's really just a shot in the dark as to what exactly is happening.

I'm an optimist, so I prefer to look at this as Tonya and her legal team are smart enough to want to get it as close to perfect as possible, and she has the fortitude to postpone just a little bit longer what is her heart's greatest desire if it means her chances for ultimate success will improve in even the slightest manner.

Another plus is this is really a chess game in a way, and from what we've heard about Joel, thinking with anything other than the little man downstairs isn't his strong suit. Given what he knows he has done, stuff like this has got to ratchet up the pressure and anxiety on him, so here's hoping he makes a rash, poorly thought out game changing mistake.

Anonymous said...

There is some more information on the delay posted at

http://www.catoosanews.com/view/full_story/8773725/article-Craft-custody-hearing-delayed-until-end-of-September?instance=home_news_1st_left

Per Clancy Covert: “A custody evaluation has also been taking place, and that evaluation would not have been completed by the scheduled hearing on the twenty-second.”

It appears that dmk's "optimist's assessment" was correct about lining up evidence as though this were a chess match. The other side is capable of telling any lie they can think of so such steps are necessary.

Mary Jane said...

Regarding the delay in the custody hearing, so long as it's not because the Henkes are playing more dirty tricks, it's all right, or what else can we say?

Anonymous said...

So, the kids get another two months with Henke's Auto and Brain Washing, Inc.

Anonymous said...

Apparently an guardian ad litem needs to make and assessment.

Anonymous said...

Bill, what I find interesting is the lack of form & substance in Tonya's indictment also. They didn't "line by line" explain each charge. Think about the one charge from her daughter's birth. Definitely interesting stuff right now.

I so wish they would drop the charges. I am so sick of my tax dollars being wasted!!!! Eric will kick butt no matter what & I will be in the court room if they go on with this mess.

Oh & I believed the poster from yesterday whole-heartedly about giving Tonya certain evidence. I think the "world class a-hole" is about to have all of his recent "fun times" exposed. Can't wait to watch him squirm like the snake he is. Piece of crap! Oh Sarah, whatcha gonna do? Is your brother still going to "support" you & Joal? Sick people!

Angie Granger said...

I pray the FBI will eventually get involved. I am blogging again on my blogpage. Thank you Bill for your continued support for my brother!!

PROTECT.MICHAEL.AND.GABRIEL said...

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=797860579&v=wall&story_fbid=138240786194652&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment_reply#!/pages/VOTE-NO-TO-RETAIN-LOOKOUT-MOUNTAIN-JUDICIAL-CIRCUIT-JUDGES-GEORGIA/138026049560201?v=wall&ref=ts

DO SOME RESEARCH ON ALL THE JUDGES IN TROUBLE IN GEORGIA IN THE LAST FEW YRS!!! PUT IN JUDGE GEORGIA AND THEN ADD THINGS LIKE ARREST OR FIRED OR CORRUPTION....and I called the FBI about the racketeering going on in LMJC and the fact that Van Pelt has Attorney Stagg for his election chairman and treasurer and yet still hears his cases and signs ex partes in secret. I told them that Van Pelt recused but he keeps an alert on Court House computers which I have photos of saying that EVERYTHING be sent to him...but he's recused, right? I advised them that DFACS won't act even when police saw signs of abuse because said lawyer is their attorney on retainer. There is so much incest that the corruption level is unbelievable because no one can fathom it in the USA. I told them that even though the children have been hit, threatened, strangled and put in the garage to sleep, etc. the "new" judge Jon Bowling Woods, is still acting under what Van Pelt says and even after the children told him last week they are being abused he won't rule on anything because Van Pelt is controlling behind the scenes! He did put an arrest warrant out to have the mother put in jail because we put up a billboard asking for laws in Georgia to be changed.

Do you know what the Dalton FBI agent said? He said he was friends with them all, too. At least he was honest...right? It is a nightmare.

L Owens said...

Mr. Anderson, I am sure you get many requests but I have something that I need to e-mail you about and have no way to contact you. If you could contact me I would so appreciate it.
Thanks, L. Owens

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anderson, I am going to leave you my e-mail address, not sure it would show up when I messaged you.
leahowens4ut@yahoo.com
I think you will find this information very interesting.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about anybody else going through nightmares in this district.

volfan69 said...

@anon 6:06
YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG. I care. I don't live where you do, but I care. What do you want me to do? I live in Soddy Daisy. Again, I care!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I should have said the media doesn't care about what is going on in this district. Thank you Volfan for caring.

eagle1 said...

I would not be surprised to see Joal try to get Tonya to drop the charges in the lawsuit against him, in exchange for custody of her own children.
This, would put her in a terrible personal situation, because of her love for the kids.
But if he does this it will indicate his love for money over the kids. A judge could see this as a reason to remove the kids from him.
I hope Tonya stays the course.
She needs the kids back, and he needs to PAY!