In the De Laby case, a private investigator was uncovering prosecutorial misconduct in a child molestation case in Forsythe County, and the prosecutors did what they did to Eric Echols: trump up false charges against him before he destroyed their case completely. The prosecutor was James Dunn, Chief ADA and primary instigator is Sandra Partridge, and the D.A. Is Penny Penn. These are dishonest, vindictive people and Partridge is especially bad, someone who is in the Chris Arnt and Len Gregor class.
Even though the original charges against Mr. De Laby were thrown out by an appeals court (which was the decision to which the judge in Mr. Echols' case referred), Dunn and Partridge re-indicted him on the SAME charges with the same information. In other words, they gave the courts the middle finger and did what they pleased.
Not surprisingly, the Georgia State Bar refuses to deal with these people who, according to the "watchdogs," are just "doing their jobs." [End Update]
As I watched the horror show that is the LMJC unfold last spring in "judge" Brian Outhouse's alleged courtroom, I realized that the LMJC is hopeless, absolutely hopeless. Outhouse and his handler, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt, were trying to rig a conviction against Tonya Craft, only to have a jury which I'm sure that prosecutors and Outhouse thought was "safe" to return a "not guilty" verdict against Ms. Craft.
This was corruption at its worst, although I fear that what we saw in that Georgia courtroom is going to become the norm in this country in the near future. However, there are people who do stand against the tide, people who refuse to go along with the "new order" that prosecutors wish to impose on all of us. Apparently, Judge Barry Steelman is one of those people.
In a speech given this past Monday, he told the Chattanooga Pachyderm Club that he wants to "get it right," not simply get it done as quickly as possible, and for that I applaud him. The Chattanoogan reported:
Judge Steelman said, "We try to expedite our dockets, but we want to get it done right rather than doing it quick."It is hard to underestimate how important Judge Steelman's statement really is. Outhouse knew that Tonya Craft's liberty was at stake, and he did everything to keep exculpatory evidence from the jury, and also to let in "evidence" he knew either was false or, at best, terribly tainted.
He added, "It is very, very important when a person's liberty is at stake that we get it right."
Let me put it another way. Outhouse KNEW (or at least should have known) that Ms. Craft was innocent, yet he tried to rig a conviction -- and that is exactly what he did. Furthermore, the prosecutors and their gaggle of perjuring witnesses knew Ms. Craft was innocent, yet they went along with the whole show. The gulf between Outhouse and his LMJC pals and Judge Steelman is so wide and deep that the people might as well be on different planets.
Imagine Judge Steelman having heard the Craft case. Does anyone think he would have put up with the "Animal House" antics of Facebook-Cruisemaster and "The Man"? Would he have endorsed the "I just remembered" perjury from Joal and Sarah Henke? Would he have supported the document that was fabricated to bolster the "hand rape" allegations that appeared from nowhere?
Somehow, I doubt that a man who wants to "get it right" would have kowtowed to prosecutors and let them run his courtroom in a high-profile trial. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if Judge Steelman actually permits exculpatory evidence to be shown to a jury, unlike Outhouse, who did everything he could to keep the truth out of that room and away from jurors.
I have no idea about the veracity of the other criminal court judges in Hamilton County, Tennessee. While I hope they have the same integrity as Judge Steelman has demonstrated, I simply cannot make that assessment without knowledge. My guess is that even on a bad day, the justice apparatus of Hamilton County would be infinitely better than the best day of a court in the LMJC.
There is something else to point out. Judge Steelman spoke to a Republican gathering, and Republicans always pride themselves on being "tough on crime," and all too often, "tough on crime" has translated into an outright assault on justice itself. I have no idea if Judge Steelman is a Republican or Democrat, and I really don't care; I do care about people in positions of power and authority doing what is right, even if what is right is unpopular.
I have received comments from people in the LMJC that they don't like my casting aspersions upon their conduct and how they do things in Northwest Georgia. All I can say is that if they are willing to put a man like "judge" Brian Outhouse into a black robe with their votes, and if the entire LMJC apparatus, from judges to bailiffs to people who clean courthouse bathrooms, was willing to participate in the outright corruption that was the Tonya Craft trial, then I really have nothing to say to those people who accept paychecks from that organization.
Yes, I know, there were and are people in that organization who have a moral compass, but they need to ask themselves why it is that the very, very worst got on top. And it is not just Tonya Craft. This judicial circuit has a horrible reputation and it is well-deserved.
So, let me ask the people of Northwest Georgia this question: Could Barry Steelman even be elected as a judge in the LMJC?