Friday, July 30, 2010

The LMJC Wrongful Prosecution of Eric Echols: Beyond Stupid and Into Outright Criminal Behavior

I would not keep coming back to the Eric Echols case, except that the utter lawlessness of the LMJC accompanying these baseless charges is both disgusting AND fascinating. Earlier this year, a friend of mine was on trial in federal court in Brooklyn in a high-profile case, and the defense was chewing up the prosecution in big gulps.

My friend would call or text me every day to tell me the day's events, and it was clear that unless the jury was sleeping or the judge was the Second Coming of Brian Outhouse, he was going to be acquitted. After a particularly good day (when the prosecutors especially were running into brick walls), I remarked to him that if it were not for the fact that the prosecutors were trying to throw him in prison for 40 years, he might be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

Fortunately, the judge and jury did their jobs and Ralph was a free man. Likewise, Eric Echols is not going to jail; he is not going on trial (which would be a real train wreck for the prosecution), and sooner or later this charade will come to an end. However, in the meantime, the guy is having to pay for legal help that he never should have had to hire and his life is on hold.

Now, had Mr. Echols done something wrong or had acted recklessly, that would be one thing. However, we do know from the transcripts of his interview with Jerry McDonald and from his confrontation with Sandra Lamb that he was a real professional and a guy who knows his way around in this business.

This is a case that has produced some, shall we say, interesting moments in Georgia jurisprudence, the latest caper being the four LMJC judges announcing (for no official reasons) that they had recused themselves from the case altogether. Coupled with the fact that Chris Arnt no longer is interested in personally prosecuting this case and has dumped it off on a lower-level ADA, and it is clear that this thing is not looking good for Buzz Franklin and his henchmen.

However, there is more, much more, and the documents I have in my possession demonstrate that, indeed, a felony was committed, but it was committed by Sandra Lamb, not Eric Echols. (Having committed perjury during the Tonya Craft trial and having assaulted Mr. Echols -- while using a racial slur -- on video, it looks as though Lamb is a one-woman crime wave in Catoosa County. Of course, this desperado apparently has an insurance policy when it comes to breaking the law.)

First, on July 27, 2009, Lamb filled out a complaint form against Mr. Echols that clearly did not reflect the events of that his visit to her place to deliver legal documents. What makes it even more interesting is that the form clearly states the following:
Under Georgia Code 16-10-71 False Swearing is a Felony!!!!!!! A person convicted of False Swearing can receive 1-5 years imprisonment and a fine of $1000.00.
Yet, no one can deny that "false swearing" is exactly what Lamb did, and she managed to demonstrate on a video that she was lying. Yet, the LMJC manages to pretend that did not happen.

Second, the judge at the hearing, R.V. Wells III (after which Mr. Echols was arrested on false felony charges of "interfering with a witness"), said that since Lamb did not have an attorney present, he would not be ruling in that case. However, in a telephone call (I have the recording in my files), Mr. Echols is told by the magistrate clerk that Wells already ruled on the hearing and the ruling was no warrant issued on Sandra Lamb and had issued a no contact order, something that clearly is contradictory to the SIGNED documents by Wells (that I also have in my possession).

It gets better. In the official Incident Report (Case Number 090700613), Lamb claims that she when she refused to receive the legal documents, she was acting under the advice of "Chris Arnt, an attorney friend of hers." That would be the same Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt who served as second chair in the Tonya Craft trial and lied throughout and suborned perjury.

However, if Lamb's contention is true, then Arnt stepped out of his role as a prosecutor and acted as a legal adviser in a private case, which means he loses prosecutorial immunity, and that also means that Eric Echols can sue him. In other words, if you want to know why the LMJC is holding onto this case, that is one reason. Arnt knows that if the charges are dismissed, he not only is likely to be facing a lawsuit, but almost surely will be turned into the Georgia State Bar for misconduct.

As you can see, this case is like the Energizer Bunny, in that it goes and goes and goes. However, because Tonya Craft and Eric Echols are determined people, and because they have the law on their side, they are proving to be formidable foes to the bad guys who run the LMJC. Stay tuned, as there promises to be MUCH more.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Perspectives on American Criminal Law

This week, I have tried to take a larger perspective on why we see so many instances of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, as we saw in the Tonya Craft case. This case did not happen in a vacuum, and it was the product of a number of developments that have been occurring for a long time. While her acquittal kept her from prison, in the long run so far it has solved no other problems, and it is these problems that need to be addressed.

In a recent article on U.S. law, The Economist presents a scathing picture of an incarceration and conviction system that is out of control, to put it mildly. The article begins with the arrest and imprisonment of a man who was accused of "smuggling orchids":
THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This came as a shock. He did indeed import flowers and sell them to other orchid-lovers. And it was true that his suppliers in Latin America were sometimes sloppy about their paperwork. In a shipment of many similar-looking plants, it was rare for each permit to match each orchid precisely.

In March 2004, five months after the raid, Mr Norris was indicted, handcuffed and thrown into a cell with a suspected murderer and two suspected drug-dealers. When told why he was there, “they thought it hilarious.” One asked: “What do you do with these things? Smoke ’em?”

Prosecutors described Mr Norris as the “kingpin” of an international smuggling ring. He was dumbfounded: his annual profits were never more than about $20,000. When prosecutors suggested that he should inform on other smugglers in return for a lighter sentence, he refused, insisting he knew nothing beyond hearsay.

He pleaded innocent. But an undercover federal agent had ordered some orchids from him, a few of which arrived without the correct papers. For this, he was charged with making a false statement to a government official, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Since he had communicated with his suppliers, he was charged with conspiracy, which also carries a potential five-year term.

As his legal bills exploded, Mr Norris reluctantly changed his plea to guilty, though he still protests his innocence. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison. After some time, he was released while his appeal was heard, but then put back inside. His health suffered: he has Parkinson’s disease, which was not helped by the strain of imprisonment. For bringing some prescription sleeping pills into prison, he was put in solitary confinement for 71 days. The prison was so crowded, however, that even in solitary he had two room-mates.
If this seems barbaric, it is because it is, yet I suspect that at least some readers here and certainly most prosecutors (and politicians) have no problem at all with what they have seen. In the last decade, Americans have become angrier and, frankly, darker in their outlook, and it is reflected in the use of torture and false imprisonment and outright abuse of the innocent. There is a streak of fairness in many Americans, but it is hidden by the sheer force of official misconduct.

An interview with now-pardoned Richard Paey, a wheelchair-bound man in Florida who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for "abusing" prescription medicine, reveals the extent of the abuse and the outright misconduct that is our "justice" system today. Here are some excerpts:
In October of this year (2007), Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a pardon for Richard Paey, a paraplegic with multiple sclerosis who had served nearly four years of a 25-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. Paey, who requires high-dose opioid therapy to treat pain brought on by his MS, a car accident, and a botched back surgery, was convicted of trafficking despite concessions from prosecutors that there was no evidence the painkillers in his possession were for anything other than his own use. When police came to arrest the wheel-chair bound Paey, they came with a full-on SWAT team, battering down the door and rushing into the home of the wheelchair-bound Paey, his optometrist wife, and their two schoolage children.

Prosecutors offered Paey a plea bargain, but he refused, insisting that he’d done nothing wrong, and that he shouldn’t have to plead guilty to a felony for treating his own pain. Paey was tried, convicted, and given a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence. While in prison, the state of Florida paid for a morphine pump that administered painkillers to Paey at rates higher than what the state convicted him of for possessing in the first place. (Emphasis mine)
reason: How were you treated by other inmates?

Paey: Very well, actually. That was one surprise. I’d almost call it a shock. People I would never have associated with—people I’d have been afraid of if I’d seen them in a free-world environment on the street, people with tattoos, crazy hair, and so on—as I got to know them, and was accepted as one of them, they treated me very well. I never had the fear of violence form any of the other inmates. In fact, something else happened. It was the opposite. I found I had more fear of some of the officers who worked in the system and engaged in behaviors that we’d like to think don’t go on in the prison system.

There was an old Cuban man I met when I was transferred to the facility in Lake Butler. When I arrived there, he was the first person I met. He told me the difference between the American prison system and the prison system in Cuba: He said that in Cuba they hit you, but they hit you in front of everybody. He said in America, they beat you behind the building, or in a private room where no one is looking. He’d been in both, and he said that was the difference.

reason: Were you ever beaten?

Paey: I was frequently verbally abused. The older inmates tell me the outright physical abuse has tapered down. As far as physical abuse, there was one time I was hit by an officer. I had been shipped out from Zephyr Hills to Butler after my interview with John Tierney [of the New York Times]. When I got there, they put me in solitary confinement. When I kept collapsing, they had a medical doctor examine me, and he had them move me out of solitary and into a hospital.

So I was sleeping in my bed at around one o’clock in the morning. The lights were on—the lights are always on—and the shift officers were conducting their “shake down”—which means they come in and go through all of your belongings to search for contraband. It seemed to come out of nowhere, he had a radio in his hand, and he swung it down as hard as he could and he hit my legs with it. If I could have gotten out of bed and hit him, I would have. He said to me, “I just wanted to see if you had feeling in your legs.” He saw the wheelchair next to my bed, and that the sheet was covering my legs.
...there are other kinds of abuse that you wouldn’t think about. There were only a handful of officers that were bad, but those few can really do a lot of harm. The kind of thing that goes on today is less noticeable, but it's damaging. Things like leaving the lights on 24 hours a day. I went more than 30 days in solitary where the lights were on the entire time. It was this callous indifference of a particular officer. And other things, like slamming the doors when they do security checks. They come by every hour and give your door a loud kick. When you’re inside a cell and someone comes by and gives that big iron door a kick once an hour, the sound just ricochets between your ears. So systematic sleep deprivation is common. I would see men go into solitary and when they came out weeks later, their hair would be completely gray.

This kind of thing was typical from the officers who weren’t happy with their work, or were looking to inflict additional punishment on inmates. Some of thought prison wasn’t enough for us, that part of their job responsibility was to inflict additional punishment on us.
reason: You mention getting transferred to Butler Lake, the maximum-security prison across the state, several hours further away from your family. That transfer happened shortly after your interview with John Tierney of the New York Times. Do you think the transfer was retaliation—punishment for talking to a journalist?

Paey: That’s what I was told. That’s what a friendly prison nurse told my wife after the interview. And just after the interview, one of the prison officers who was on good terms with me told me that the guard who sat in on my interview with Tierney had gone to his captain about writing me a disciplinary report—which is the first step toward sending someone to solitary. He said I had said thing in the interview that I shouldn’t have said, and that they were going to act on it. There are designated “transfer days” when they move inmates between facilities. About two weeks later, on a day not scheduled to be a transfer day, the sergeant came up to me at around midnight and told me to pack my things. I was being shipped out to Lake Butler. They had no explanation. I couldn’t decline the move. It wasn’t medical in nature.

The move was tough. The sun was up by the time they moved me. It was of those insufferable July days. The van they transfer you in has no air conditioning, and only the driver’s window opens, and only about an inch. So I’m dying in the back of the van, strapped down in my wheelchair in this suffocating heat, where you can’t move, and there’s no air circulating. I ended up falling over, and they had to drive back and do it all over. They ended up taking me an ambulance a few days later.

reason: You say you were put in solitary confinement at Lake Butler. Was that for your health—to keep you from other inmates? Or was that punishment, too?

Paey: Laughs. When I got up to Lake Butler, they didn’t know why I was there. They had no paperwork on my transfer. This is going to sound absurd. Even now I find it difficult to believe. But when my wife Linda began calling the Department of Corrections about my transfer, they told her that a particular doctor had ordered my transfer. Linda called this doctor, got her on the phone. The doctor looked at my transfer order and said, “I didn’t sign that. I don’t know who signed that. Somebody used my signature stamp to sign that. I had no part in this transfer.”

Now, what’s going on, here? I’m being moved out of my permanent camp, which is close to my home and family, I’m being moved to the Siberia of the Florida corrections system, and they put me in solitary confinement once I got there. And nobody knows who authorized it? And the doctor the paperwork says ordered it says she never ordered it? So where do you go from there? What do you do?

reason: And to be clear, this was punitive solitary confinement. You weren’t isolated in a medical ward.

Paey: This place looked like a bomb shelter. Solid cement walls, no windows. You get in through a small hatch. I was pushed inside, and that became my home until Linda’s calls persuaded the doctor to come and see me in August. One of the doctors told me the heat index in there was 105. There’s no air conditioning. I’m in a cell where there’s no air movement. To survive, you strip down to your boxers. You use sink water to soak rags and put them on the back of your neck. They feed you through a slot in the door. There are no bars, like in the movies. It’s all solid, cement walls and doors. That’s where I stayed for two weeks until I started passing out. After that, they moved me to the hospital.
Most people simply don't wish to deal with this, and it does seem that the juggernaut moves on even if citizens try to get in the way. As I noted in yesterday's post, there really is a "ruling class" mentality out there, made even stronger by the fact that government employees -- such as Chris Arnt, Len Gregor, and "judge" Brian Outhouse -- have "captured" the apparatus of the system. They don't "represent" the state; they ARE the state, and the people who supposedly oversee them will bend over backwards to ensure that they can do what they want without any interference from the mundanes who are not part of "Official Georgia."

What is the perspective? Look at the figures below, and you will get a sense of what I mean. This country incarcerates more people than any other and it also incarcerates the highest percentage of its population.



To be honest, I believe we should be ashamed of what we are seeing. It is one thing to lock up violent offenders who actually committed the crimes for which they were convicted. However, it is quite another to throw more than a million non-violent offenders plus the outright innocent into prison, but that is what we are doing, and the powers that be have no intention of stopping -- or being stopped by citizens who might protest this barbarism.

Given the mentality that exists in U.S. government today (at all levels), I am not surprised at the official brutality, a brutality that exists no matter who occupies the White House or Congress or even the U.S. Supreme Court. No, this is what happens when men like Gregor, Arnt, and Outhouse are given power and no accountability. They are part of a larger disease, and it is one for which there seems to be no cure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Larger Perspective on False Accusations: The "Ruling Class" Speaks

Anyone who follows the false accusation industry, be it false accusations for "child molestation" or for "rape" should be struck by what seems to be a disconnect. On the one hand, scientific analysis is as sophisticated as it ever has been, and DNA and forensic science certainly falls into the "sophisticated" category. Likewise, we are as knowledgeable in psychology as we ever have been and have advanced techniques for being able to understand the nature of interviews and whether or not they are producing false information.

Yet, at the same time, false accusations abound, and I mean abound. Look at the websites in which law firms and investigative agencies that abound on the Internet that deal in NOTHING but false accusations. It seems that no one has stepped back and asked what I think should be a simple question: Why are so many people falsely accused of "sex" crimes at a time when we should be able to ascertain between true and false charges?

During the Tonya Craft trial, I must admit I was dumbstruck by the absolute ignorance, coupled with arrogance, of the prosecutors, "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man," "Det." Tim "Dirty" Deal, and the so-called expert witnesses from the Children's Advocacy Center. After the trial, Ione Sells, the director of the CAC in Fort Oglethorpe, assured me that Dr. Nancy Aldridge and Dr. William Bernet were liars and charlatans, despite the fact that Sells is a nobody in this field and Bernet and Aldridge literally "wrote the book" on this kind of forensic interviewing.

This is not just stupidity, although I am ready to agree that Sells, the LMJC personnel in general, and the others at the CAC are not the brightest bulbs on the planet. Nonetheless, I have to say that it is more than just sheer stupidity and arrogance, given that CACs around the country are just as likely to encourage prosecutors to pursue false child molestation accusations, just as rogue Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners like Tara Levicy of the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case are ready to claim that certain women have been "raped" when, in fact, it is clear that no rape occurred.

No, there is a much larger aspect to this sorry tale, and it does not just involve stupidity and arrogance, although I will be the first to say that Deal, Arnt, Gregor, and Sells are both stupid and arrogant. However, they are stupid and arrogant people armed with the most fearsome weapons of all: the weapons of state power, and it is there that we begin.

Robert Higgs, one of my favorite economists and a chronicler of the present age who is on a level with H.L. Mencken, in my view, recently had an article in which he feted an essay by Angelo M. Codevilla, an emeritus professor of International Relations at Boston University, on what he calls "America's Ruling Class."

The essay itself is excellent and worth the read (and it is long), although I don't agree with all of what Prof. Codevilla writes, nonetheless I believe a lot of it is very accurate. In his description of the essay, Prof. Higgs writes:
Codevilla cuts immediately to the core: the United States today is divided into (a) a ruling class, which dominates the government at every level, the schools and universities, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and a great deal else, and (b) all of the rest of us, a heterogeneous agglomeration that Codevilla dubs the country class. The ruling class holds the lion’s share of the institutional power, but the country class encompasses perhaps two-thirds of the people.

Members of the two classes do not like one another. In particular, the ruling class views the rest of the population as composed of ignoramuses who are vicious, violent, racist, religious, irrational, unscientific, backward, generally ill-behaved, and incapable of living well without constant, detailed direction by our betters; and it views itself as perfectly qualified and entitled to pound us into better shape by the generous application of laws, taxes, subsidies, regulations, and unceasing declarations of its dedication to bringing the country—and indeed the entire world—out of its present darkness and into the light of the Brave New World it is busily engineering.

This class divide has little to do with rich versus poor or Democrat versus Republican. At its core, it has to do with the division between, on the one hand, those whose attitudes are attuned to the views endorsed by the ruling class (especially “political correctness”) and whose fortunes are linked directly or indirectly with government programs and, on the other hand, those whose outlooks and interests derive from and focus on private affairs, especially the traditional family, religion, and genuine private enterprise. Above all, as Codevilla makes plain, “for our ruling class, identity always trumps.” These people know they are superior in every way, and they are not shy about letting us know that they are. Arrogance might as well be their middle name.
What does this have to do with Tonya's case? Everything.

Think about the origins of the epidemic of false accusations of rape and child molestation: federal laws. The government requires state investigators to treat EVERY accusation, no matter how ridiculous or patently dishonest, as though it were true. Furthermore, Washington promises lots and lots of federal dollars to those state and local entities that prosecute these "crimes," and the promise of money alone is enough to drive false prosecutions.

But, as Prof. Codevilla's essay notes, there is much more. The modern "elites," whether they are prosecutors, part of non-profit organizations tied to government (like the CAC), or bureaucrats and politicians, have carved out privileges for themselves that do not apply to the rest of the Great Unwashed. While many of these "elites" pass themselves off as "experts" (and often are worshiped as such by the mainstream media), they are no more qualified to do their jobs than any person pulled off the streets.

Forget truth or even good science. Identity and protection by one's peers means everything; how else can men like Arnt and Gregor suborn perjury, yet be protected not only by "immunity" but also by all of the government agencies that are supposed to oversee them? Prof. Codevilla explains:
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can "write" your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was "inadvertent," and you can count on the Law School's dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that "closes" the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about "global warming" to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.
This is not necessarily about political parties, although the Democratic Party clearly is the party of choice for most "elites." For example, Arnt, Gregor, and Deal are Republicans, and on his Facebook page, Deal claims to be "pro-life" and a "Christian," yet he is willing to take part in fabricating documents during the trial, which would violate all norms of Christianity.

Why would Deal and the others do these things? They do them because they can. They are part of a sheltered ruling class, and they cannot be bothered with the truth or even doing right. Instead, they make their own rules and are protected by the laws that their peers create so that they can be shielded from accountability no matter how outrageous their conduct.

The thing that motivates people like Deal, Arnt, and Gregor, along with Sells and her CAC underlings, is power. They enjoy wielding it and they especially enjoy the fact that they can do whatever they want and not pay legal consequences for it. Heck, for the most part, they ARE the law. Notice that none of these people, including "judge" Brian Outhouse, are exactly elites in the academic or social sense. However, as Prof. Codevilla notes, the "ruling class" is not comprised of people with superior skills or intelligence, just people who have the "right" identity.

If one wonders why the feds and the Georgia authorities have not intervened in this case despite the numerous violations of federal and state law, I believe that Prof. Codevilla and Prof. Higgs have the answer. Justice in modern America is not about justice at all; it is becoming one class of people engaging in warfare against another class.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Own Path to the Tonya Craft Case -- and Beyond

Once upon a time, I pretty much was a law-and-order Republican. True, I had some libertarian tendencies, but when it came down to the vote, I generally went for the GOP. I bought into the "tough on crime" politicians, and I remember when I heard that there had been no convictions in the McMartin case, I thought the jury had made a big mistake.

In other words, I pretty much bought into what the authorities were telling me. If children were being sexually molested in droves, well, the law needed to get tough.

Then one night I watched an episode of PBS's show "Frontline," which dealt with the accusations of child molestation in the Little Rascals case in Edenton, North Carolina. At that point, the whole thing hit me: this was a farce, a total farce. I began to follow the case, including Bob Kelly's trial, and in the end he was convicted when three holdout jurors decided to vote "guilty," something that all three later admitted that they wish they had not done.

At the time, I was doing freelance writing for the Christian publication, World Magazine, and I asked publisher Joel Belz if I could go to Edenton to do an investigation. He turned me down, saying he did not want to be seen as "supporting child molesters." I have not written for World since, and Mr. Belz and I have had a strained relationship at best.

(It got worse after World in 2001 awarded then-Attorney General John Ashcroft with its "Daniel of the Year" award. Ashcroft presided over unwarranted federal expansion into our lives in a way that no AG, not even Janet Reno, had done, and his enthusiasm for state-sponsored executions left me cold. Ashcroft's penchant for expanding the reaches of federal criminal law also has convinced me that he was and is the enemy of individual liberty, and his harshness in going after people who really were not guilty of what historically could be called real crimes demonstrates his utter contempt for decent people. World's uncritical support for him pretty much cemented my break with the publication.)

During my grad school years at Auburn, I moved from Republican to outright libertarianism, and my association with the Ludwig von Mises Institute began in those years, and it continues. I received both an economic AND a political education there, and I keep on learning.

Because World was not interested in my taking a hard look at what clearly was an injustice, I had no forum from which to write. The Internet and Lew Rockwell's site (Lewrockwell.com) would change that when Crystal Mangum falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a party, I believed it was obvious from the start that she was lying.

Most of the mainstream media believed Mangum, but Lew let me go with my own instincts and go with it I did, writing nearly 70 articles on the case and coming to understand the power of the blogosphere. I was not the only "citizen-journalist" to jump on this, as historian and college professor K.C. Johnson with his Durham-in-Wonderland blog skewered prosecutor Michael Nifong's case and played a major role in the charges being dropped and Nifong being disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar.

In the spring of 2009, I started this blog, but it tended to be very unfocused, as it reflected my own interests and thoughts. Let me say, however, that Tonya's case really did help me focus this blog on something about which I am passionate: the increasing abuse of the law and of innocent people by the authorities. (My other blog, Krugman-in-Wonderland, focuses on economic analysis and policies and contrasts the viewpoints of modern statism and Keynesianism with Austrian Economics.)

There seems to be no shortage of such abuse in my old home judicial district where I lived off and on for more than 30 years. When I lived there, I was not aware of the utter abuse of innocent people by prosecutors, and the way that police and prosecution witnesses regularly lie under oath. (In other words, the law-and-order Republican in me could not see then what now has been obvious to me: the LMJC has been "captured" by the "bad guys.")

While Tonya has been acquitted, nonetheless other cases remain (along with Tonya's custody fight to gain back her children). There is the injustice done to Brad Wade, there is the Eric Echols case, and there are others as well, just in the LMJC. Furthermore, I won't concentrate just on the LMJC (although one could do that full-time, given the lawlessness of those entrusted with "protecting" the law in that district), as there are people all over this country being wrongfully accused and convicted.

In other words, there is work to be done. Thanks to all readers of this blog who have contributed and who have helped make this venture worthwhile.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The CAC and LMJC "Let's Celebrate Perjury" Party

The week of Tonya Craft's "not guilty" verdict also was a week of many parties. Of course, Tonya and the others got to party in the Big Apple while "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor had a pity party with their good friends at Channel 9.

But, there also was another party, what I like to call a "Let's Support Perjury" get-together for the Children's Advocacy Center, where the Willow Tree Farms hosted "Casino Night" so people could raise money to allow for even more wrongful charges against innocent people and more perjury. Yes, a most memorable party.

I must admit that in my circles, the notion of committing perjury would be anathema. If someone in our church lied under oath, he or she would be disciplined and likely excommunicated; at the Eastwood Church, perjurers are held in great honor. Likewise, they are proud of their lies at the CAC, and Perjury Central held a party to celebrate dishonesty.

Now, lest the people at Willow Tree Farms believe I am picking on them and holding them up to ridicule for hosting this wretched event, they are correct. I have no respect at all for people who celebrate lies and who raise money for people so they can commit more perjury and destroy innocent lives. As far as I am concerned, the Willow Tree Farms might as well host a party for Planned Parenthood and celebrate abortion on demand, as they would be less hypocritical and, frankly, less evil than they were that night of May 14.

First, let us not forget that after weeks of being told by "The Man" that Tonya Craft wore thongs everywhere, but at work, his partners-in-crime at the CAC were bragging about having a "Casino Night" fundraiser, complete with girls in...thongs. Yes, yes, after I showed the picture of our "thong girls" with "Elvis" (Can't you do any better than that, as this guy looks about as much as Elvis as I do), suddenly the "thong girls" were shown wearing pink leotards. Somehow, even the liars at the LMJC and the CAC realized that after Tonya's trial, thongs might be a bit much. (Take a gander at "The Man's" newest Facebook page image. Guess this guy is obsessed with females not wearing much clothing.)

Second, remember that this party was supposed to be a celebration of yet another innocent person thrown into prison. (Gee, I guess Tonya is sorry that she spoiled the Perjury Central party, but she had plans other than spending the rest of her life being incarcerated.) Instead, the people at the party claimed they were there "for the children," which is as believable as "The Man" claiming that he is an honest and decent human being.

Maybe people showed up to see the girls in thongs, and were gravely disappointed to see these ladies wearing pink leotards. However, if the prosecution had found a picture of Tonya wearing a pink leotard, I suspect "Alberto-Facebook," "The Man," and "judge" Outhouse would have salivated for the entire trial.

Now, lest we think that everyone at the party had a long face (because they had been unsuccessful in doing that the CAC does best -- destroy innocent lives), think again. Holly "Thumbs Up" Kittle, who apparently must have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express in order to qualify to be a "forensic interviewer," was the photographer of the evening. However, although "Thumbs Up" was the one taking pictures, at least she had her own photo taken with Elvis and the former "Thong Girls."

It gets even better. In this picture, we have not only the former Thong Girls and Elvis, not to mention "Thumbs Up," but we also have Laurie Evans and some others I don't recognize but I am sure have played an important role in promoting Perjury Central:

Nonetheless, their smiles hid the disappointment at their lack of success of destroying an innocent life that week, but no doubt there are more opportunities to do evil at Perjury Central. Stay tuned. I am not going away.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part IV

In my final post on this series, I will lay out again how both the incentives provided in the sexual misconduct accusation machine and the attitudes of modern American prosecutors, along with a "Progressive" news media, have resulted in "witch hunts" and other examples of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct that have landed scores of innocent people into prison. Most "Progressives" love to think of themselves as intelligent and sophisticated, and not capable of repeatedly falling for the same nonsense, but the facts speak otherwise.

I suspect when Tonya Craft first started searching the Internet for information about being accused by child "welfare" agencies of child abuse and child molestation, she was stunned. So am I. There are thousands of websites out there including those run by lawyers and law firms, which means that there are a heck of a lot of people being charged with these crimes. For example, here is one with Dr. Demosthenes Lorandos explaining how to protect yourselves.

It is utterly tragic that Americans constantly have to be on the lookout to protect themselves against false child abuse/molestation charges, but thanks to the "Progressive" federal government, that is our lot in the 21st Century. What began with Walter Mondale's bid to "save the children" has turned into a legal hell that is comparable to the worst things that Stalin and Mao did to their people.

There are two things driving this holocaust of false allegations: (1) federal money, and (2) federal guidelines for states that want federal money. Of course, all of this was made possible by an ultra-expansionist view of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which "Progressives" believe is necessary for all sorts of good things to happen here.

Tracking the money is difficult, given that states and localities don't advertise how much money they receive from the federal government for each case in which authorities "determine" that someone was molested or abused. Obviously, we are dealing with a huge moral hazard, as the incentive to determine that children are abused or molested is huge because there really is no downside.

Why? The various state laws (which come from federal guidelines) proscribe punishment for people who do not report abuse that they allegedly see, but there are no legal punishments for making false allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct. Furthermore, once an allegation is made, no matter how transparently false it might be, nonetheless authorities MUST investigate the matter as though it were true.

(Tonya Craft is suing a number of individuals plus Catoosa County for the ordeal they put her through with lying and false allegations. However, people like Sandra Lamb, Sherri Wilson, Joal and Sarah Henke, and Suzi Thorne won't be facing any criminal charges, despite the fact that all of them openly committed perjury during their trial testimony. Likewise, the people of the Children's Advocacy Center don't have to worry about having to pay for their lies and criminal conduct by losing their freedom.)

By setting into motion a whole process that is based upon the assumption that all the allegations of abuse/molestation are true, the federal government guarantees that people will be falsely accused, and I can say with confidence that few people in the government really care. Since they know that THEY won't be accused, and that they can intervene to save their friends (even if those friends actually are guilty), they could care less about the innocent.

Making things worse, according to attorney Paul G. Stuckle, is the fact that most wrongly-accused people really believe that the police and child "protective" workers simply want the truth. He writes:
Rule No. 1: Nothing an accused can say or do will convince a childsaver (Child Protective Service, child advocacy prosecutor, police investigator) that the abuse did not occur. NOTHING!

Rule No. 2: Talking to Child Protective Services or the police investigator, or anyone without an attorney present is the single worst thing a wrongfully accused person can do.

Rule No. 3: In most cases an experienced attorney will not allow you to talk to Child Protective Services or the police or give a statement. The attorney knows whatever you say will be used against you.

The violation of the above three rules by those falsely accused is commonplace. An innocent person believes sanity will intervene at some point, and decides to cooperate fully with the police and Child Protective Services. The accused gives written statements and videotaped statements to CPS and the police. In addition, the accused talk on the phone to detectives and caseworkers. They talk in the investigators offices without knowing whether they are being recorded. They often talk themselves into a corner that is extremely difficult to ever get out of.

Unfortunately, Child Protective Services and the police are not interested in conducting a fair and thorough investigation. The accused who walks into the child advocacy center without an experienced attorney to “tell their side of things” or “clear this all up” is doing exactly what the authorities want. The child savers know what they are doing. At this meeting they will obtain real or implied admissions and circumstances presenting opportunity for abuse coming from the accused’s own mouth.
It gets worse. Continue reading to find exactly how these people work, and how they manipulate the conversation to where literally anyone can be falsely accused:
The Child Protective Service investigator will start off by asking questions that appear to be innocuous but are intentional set up questions. The investigator may ask an alleged perpetrator if they have ever given their child a bath or changed a diaper. The accused will answer “Yes” as that is a normal parental function. Then the investigator will move in for the kill. The next questions will focus on other instances in which the alleged perpetrator has touched the genital areas of the child.

For example, the investigator may ask if you have ever touched your child’s bottom or genital area. If the accused says “No”, the next question will be whether you have ever wiped your child’s bottom after changing a diaper. This will be followed by whether you have ever applied medicine or a lotion for diaper rash. After the accused says “Yes”, the investigator will become more aggressive. “Are you now are admitting to touching your child’s genital area?”. The accused, knowing that any contact was done without sexual intent and solely for personal hygiene reasons is confused. The accused may say, “No, not in the manner that you are describing”. The investigator will follow up by saying, “ Are you now denying touching your child’s genital area?” The follow up questions will be to establish opportunity for abuse, such as: “Are you ever alone with your child? Have you given baths while alone with the child? “ Applied medication to your child without any one else around ? What about the date of the allegation, isn’t it true that you were alone with your child at that time?”

The falsely accused now will face an official investigative report which will read like this:

Alleged perpetrator at first denied any sexual contact with child, but then after questioning admitted such contact. When this inconsistency was pointed out by the investigator, the perpetrator attempted to limit admission of contact by stating that same was done “only while giving baths and applying medications”. Investigator finds alleged perpetrators answers to be inconsistent, evasive, and untruthful.
After observing prosecutor Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt tell jurors that when Tonya Craft put medicine on the bottom of her daughter (when the child had a rash), that was a "bad touch," the previous section makes sense as to the attitudes of the police and prosecution. Now, I am sure that Arnt has done the same with his own children, but he is protected from such accusations, yet had authorities wanted to charge him with child molestation, they easily could have done it, using the same tactics that Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor used. However, we can be assured that Arnt and Gregor never will have to face the same tactics they use on other people.

The problem is that authorities have the incentive to charge people with molestation even if they know or strongly suspect that the charges are false. Remember, there is no downside for those who bring false charges, and there is money and fame, as the press will declare anyone who goes after evil child molesters to be "heroic." Furthermore, as we saw with Channel 9, which sent reporters to Tonya's neighborhood in order to scream, "A CHILD MOLESTER LIVES HERE!!" people accused are considered guilty until proven...guilty. Stuckle writes:
What should you do once an allegation has been made?

"I'm innocent. This is crazy. If I talk to them and explain it will go away." This is the initial feeling of the wrongfully accused. They have done nothing wrong and therefore there should be no adverse consequences. Those in authority will quickly recognize their innocence, the mistake, the overreaction, and it will all go away.

For the self-proclaimed child savers though, no mistakes are ever made. "Of course the accused will deny it. Who among us would admit to being a child molester? Children do not lie. Adults lie. Molesters lie. You are lying." This is the mind-set of those who will prosecute you. Child protective services caseworkers and prosecutors believe the case is over once the child makes an outcry of abuse and that outcry is subsequently substantiated during the videotaped interview. No other evidence is necessary for them to submit the case to a grand jury. No physical evidence of abuse. No medical evidence of abuse. Nothing.

Now they may try to get such evidence. However, in their minds a failure to obtain it does not undermine their conviction that abuse has occurred. Hymen still intact? Well the hymen does not have to be broken in order for abuse to occur, or for digital penetration. Lack of semen? Well, of course, this offense occurred over the course of years and the child did not make an outcry immediately after the incident. Lack of substantiating witnesses? No matter, molesters work behind closed doors, in private, when no one else is around to witness. Lack of criminal record for the accused? The accused is a child molester, he is interested in secretly abusing children, not in committing adult crimes. Has the accused pass a polygraph test? Those are not admissible because a savvy adult can manipulate such tests.
What one has to understand is that the views of the "child protectors" come from the "experts" and, of course, federal agencies, and the federal government NEVER is wrong (at least when the "correct" people are in charge). Thus, it is rare indeed that a person charged with child molestation does not go to prison, and I am sure that Ms. Craft understood that point, as well as did Arnt and Gregor, who were laughing and smirking at Ms. Craft when she came into the courtroom to hear the verdict. (Of course, the Dishonest Duo was in full pity party mode in the infamous Channel 9 love fest, and the smirks were gone from our heroes who claimed to have been victims of a vicious defense led by Tonya Craft and her ruthless attorneys.)

Few Americans wish to admit or even to contemplate that this country no longer has a "justice" system. It is an accusation and conviction machine that once in a long while produces an outcome that is semi-compatible with justice. We no longer can count on police and prosecutors to be honest, as I suspect most cops, most "child protection" agents, and most prosecutors would just as soon convict an innocent person as a guilty one, just as long as there is a conviction.

No free society can withstand the kind of assault on truth that has accompanied the Mondale Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the two Victims of Child Abuse acts. I suspect that we are left with three classes of people in this country: (1) those who have been accused of child molestation, (2) those who are going to be accused of child molestation, and (3) those who either make the accusations of child molestation against others or are protected from being charged because of their legal and political connections.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part III

In the past two posts, I have laid out some reasons why there seem to be so many "false positives" when it comes to child molestation charges in places like the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, or, to put it another way, innocent people are convicted of heinous crimes. The main reason, I believe is federal policy, and the way that it is implemented.

One of my main areas of historical study has been the "Progressive Movement" that began in this country in the late 19th Century and has been with us ever since. Academic historians trend to treat Progressives as always being the "good guys" who helped save us from the "ravages" of big business. In reality, "Progressives" believed that the U.S. Constitution, with its checks and balances, was outmoded for a modern, "scientific" society, and that people needed to be ruled by a strong executive (President of the United States) who, guided by "experts," would be able to make important decisions without having to consult Congress.

Some of the "accomplishments" of the "Progressives" included World War I (or at least this country's entry into it), complete with the near-nationalization of the U.S. economy during that time, Prohibition, and, indirectly, the Great Depression. (Lest anyone angrily object -- and that usually is the case -- I would urge readers to look at the writings of prominent "Progressives" like Herbert Croly, Margaret Sanger -- especially her writings about eugenics and black Americans -- and Walter Lippman, at least in his early days before he turned against the New Deal.)

An important legacy of "Progressivism" has been the empowering of the executive branch and especially the federal bureaucracies. With every social movement, including the attempts by the Barack Obama administration to vastly increase the power of federal agencies, Congress has empowered the bureaucracies, and in the past few decades, have given the "family and children" agencies literal life and death power over American families.

Anyone who has dealt with the various "child protection" or "child advocate" agencies can attest to the bullying techniques used by people who enjoy near-absolute power over the lives of others. From what I can see, people who enjoy bullying others often self-select into working for entities like CPS or the CAC or some other agency which has near-dictatorial powers over families. Furthermore, as I noted in my last post, the sets of incentives that govern the workers in these agencies, plus the procedures as outlined by Congress, guarantee that these entities will approach EVERY case as though the accused were guilty, no matter how specious the evidence.

Furthermore, as economist Murray N. Rothbard noted, we can expect to see a deterioration in the system of justice over time. Hans Hoppe, writing about Rothbard in 15 Great Austrian Economists, says:
In particular, Rothbard scorned the idea of a "limited" protective state as self-contradictory and incompatible with the promotion of social utility. Limited government always has the inherent tendency to become unlimited (totalitarian) government. Given the principle of government-judicial monopoly and the power to tax-any notion of restraining government power and safeguarding individual life and property is illusory. Under monopolistic auspices, the price of justice and protection will rise and the quality of justice and protection will fall. (Emphasis mine)
Indeed, in cases where "child protection" workers and the police work to accuse people of child molestation and other acts of sexual misconduct, Hoppe's interpretation of Rothbard holds fast. Unless one is prepared to spend upwards of a quarter-million dollars, an accused person almost certainly will go to prison, with guilt or innocence being irrelevant. That alone should bother the heck out of people associated with the system of "justice," but, to be honest, very few of them care at all.

So, for the various child "protection" agencies, we can see that the sets of incentives favor the assumption of guilt. The real problem comes, however, when people who operate with an assumption of guilt join with people in the actual "justice" system, where "innocent until proven guilty" supposedly rules.

At this point, we have to understand that "innocent until proven guilty" is inconsequential because prosecutors now run almost the entire "justice" apparatus. There almost are no checks and balances with prosecutors, and many judges themselves are former prosecutors who see their job as helping make sure that the accused are found guilty, no matter what the evidence. We saw this in all its ugliness at the Tonya Craft trial (although "judge" Brian Outhouse was just a garden-variety attorney before being elected to his present post) when it was clear that there was a tag team of prosecutors and the "judge" trying to rig the outcome.

Now, people should have been shocked at this, and certainly many were, although my numerous conversations and emails with the people at Channel 9 demonstrated to me that they were just fine with the travesty that was going on before them. (The news director of WTVC-TV intimated to me in an email that Ms. Craft very well could have been guilty, although one surely could not tell that from the "evidence" the prosecution threw at the jury.)

However, we have to understand that when we have a marriage of prosecutors who see all of this as a game that they are trying to "win," and "child protection" agencies that operate on the assumption that everyone (except themselves and prosecutors, of course) is a child molester, then it almost is impossible to get justice in a court of law when one is charged with something like this.

As I see it, this is a pretty logical outcome of what we call "Progressivism." Instead of having to depend upon the "messy" and "unprofessional" "innocent until proven guilty" system, we can have the "professional experts" determine for us who is guilty and who is not. (Not surprisingly, few people are "innocent," at least according to these so-called experts.)

Thus, when Tonya's jury actually saw through the nonsense, the "professionals" were outraged. District Attorney Buzz Franklin called out the jury (and I called out him), and the Dishonest Duo of "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" had their own pity party with (Who else?) Channel 9.

What were these guys saying? They were declaring that THEY were the "professionals," and they knew Tonya was guilty, so anyone who got in their way -- including those jurors who wickedly and recklessly insisted on looking at the evidence -- was a friend of child molesters. If you wish to understand the end result of "Progressivism" and the attitudes it has spawned, I give you Franklin's press release and the ADA's Channel 9 interview. This "we are the experts" mentality that helped launch two world wars and the Great Depression is alive and well, and even thriving, despite all the damage and millions of lives it has cost.

The average person really understands Lord Acton's statement: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, the "experts" never will understand it, because they really want us to believe that they are beyond corruption. Anyone who has been tossed into the maw of this country's "child protection" machine knows full well the horror of absolute power.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part II

The connection between economics and the study of accusations of rape and child sexual abuse might seem tenuous at best, but the current situation actually invites economic analysis. Why? Economist who look at public policies will examine the incentive structures that these policies create, and from there, it is relatively easy to analyze the behavior of the individuals who are part of that system.

Thus, as I noted yesterday, there are four federal acts that greatly have increased not only false accusations of sexual misconduct, but also have resulted in the imprisonment of perhaps thousands of innocent people, most of them men, but some females, too. For those people wrongly convicted, this has been a silent holocaust, and the damage it has done to the lives of families and especially children has been horrific.

How might a federal law contribute to false accusations? After all, I am sure that when then-Sen. Walter Mondale introduced his bill, he did not declare that what this country needed was an increase in the population of wrongly-convicted people, and that members of Congress eagerly agreed. No, Mondale saw that children were being abused, and he believed that if the federal government (using the U.S. Constitution's "Commerce Clause" as a hook) could rectify the situation by providing money to states and localities and also help "standardize" the process by which the authorities deal with these problems.

As a result of the Mondale Act and the two Victims of Child Abuse acts, a whole "child protection" network was set up, which includes Child Protective Services agencies in each state (CPS), the various Departments of Family and Children's Services (DEFACS), and the Children's Advocacy Centers. The law has given people who work for these agencies, and especially the CPS agencies, vast powers to seize children, take them out of homes, and put them into state foster care systems.

As the Rev. Dennis Austin has written, these laws almost guarantee abuse of the system, given the incentive structures that they have created:
Most states have what are called Child Protective Service Workers (CPS). These workers, along with law enforcement officers, investigate abuse reports. While the law enforcement officers have been trained to be objective, the CPS have not been and they even are called "validators" which raises a question to their role in an investigation. The CPS have authority to deny a parent the access to the children even if there is a court order which allows them to have visitation with the children. The CPS will send a child for an evaluation.

According to the Mondale Act, if an evaluator does not report suspected abuse and the child goes back to an abusive situation, the evaluator can be imprisoned. These evaluators are often either afraid of the consequences of imprisonment if they mistakenly place a child back in the home of an abuser or they may even be a validator as the CPS workers.

The indicators that these validators use to determine abuse are actually quite common behavior which even normal children sometimes exhibit. Some of these indicators include, bedwetting, acting out, nightmares, whining, temper tantrums, thumb-sucking, and compliant and fearful behavior. These validators often propitiate allegations of abuse because it puts food on their tables. It is their career and without such allegations, they could be without a job. Although this is a horrifying thought, this is a reason to ignore evidence that shows innocence and only present to the court "evidence" that substantiate the client's claims of abuse. (Emphasis mine)
To further understand how these incentive structures invite what we call "junk science" into a courtroom, one should examine how hypothesis testing works. In hypothesis testing, there is a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis.

According to the rules of scientific method, one should reject the null ONLY if there is a high degree of evidence that it should be rejected, with the evaluator then accepting the alternative hypothesis. In criminal court, the standard for conviction, is "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," and if one examines such standards from the standpoint of scientific method, one can say that the "null hypothesis" is the "assumption of innocence."

Defendants charged are supposed to be viewed as "innocent until proven guilty," and that standard exists precisely because our forebears from England wanted the "Rights of Englishmen" to govern the rules of the courts. People like William Blackstone demanded that the prosecution provide a very high standard of proof to keep innocent people from being convicted and thrown into prison or even executed. Thus, Blackstone famously declared, "Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted."

That system "worked" to a certain degree in Tonya Craft's case, as even though the prosecution worked with a corrupt judge to rig the proceedings, nonetheless the jury did not believe that "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" had met the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. However, the "child protection" agencies are governed by very different standards, and because of the incentive structures that CPS, DEFACS, and CAC workers face, it should not be surprising at all that they have become a veritable false accusation industry.

Note that the Mondale Act proscribes punishment for these workers if they fail to act when a child is in an abusive system, or if they misjudge a situation and unwittingly place a child in danger, they can be prosecuted and even imprisoned. Thus, it is in their interests to assume that ALL allegations of abuse are true until absolutely proven otherwise.

In scientific terms, this would mean that the null hypothesis is not "innocence," but rather guilt, and overturning that hypothesis is almost impossible because there is no punishment proscribed for "child protection" workers who assume guilt when, in fact, the alleged abuser is innocent. Furthermore, you see the entire "child protection" industry accepting the notion that since one cannot "prove a negative," someone who is accused always has to be seen as guilty.

It works like this. I cannot prove that I did NOT kill JFK. If I present my birth certificate which shows I was 10 years old and I say that I was in a classroom at Boothwyn School during the shooting in Dallas more than a thousand miles away, someone can claim that my birth certificate is forged and that I am lying when I say I was not in Dallas. (Someone can claim that I really was on the Grassy Knoll.) In other words, a determined person always will have a rejoinder to whatever I might claim.

One can see the problem when these kinds of "guilty and never proven innocent" standards are brought into a court of law, and the courts accept them. We are looking at a meat grinder in which innocent people generally don't have a chance of being acquitted. Furthermore, we see prosecutors -- people who have sworn to uphold the law and the fairness of the courts -- accepting these "always guilty" standards and teaming with judges to run a railroad.

One could see this standard at work with the interviews of the three children. When Stacy Long interviewed Sandra Lamb's daughter, and when Suzi Thorne interviewed Tonya's child, both interviewers already had decided that Tonya Craft had sexually abused these children, and it was their job to make sure that the children "disclosed" such information. Neither person cared how she got the "disclosures," just as long as she was successful in reaching that goal.

Both prosecutors also displayed the same mentality. For example, when "The Man" asked David Craft if he "heard anything" that would signal that Tonya was molesting a child in another room, Mr. Craft said he had not. Gregor responded that the sound of a child being molested was not loud.

So, let us translate according to Len "The Man" Gregor's hypothesis testing: (A) David Craft did not hear any noises, suspicious or otherwise coming from another room; (B) if Tonya was quietly molesting a child, then David probably would not have heard anything; therefore (C) Tonya was molesting children.

This is not exactly a high standard of proof, which supposedly is required in a court of law in the United States, and one can say that Gregor's attempt at hypothesis testing was disgracefully bad. We saw the judicial version of "junk science," and it is nothing less than tragic that cowards and bullies like "Alberto-Facebook,"The Man," and "judge" Brian Outhouse are permitted to run proceedings using these counterfeit methods that really are nothing more than devices to create kangaroo courts.

Unfortunately, I am just scratching the surface of the damage that these federal acts have created. I'll have more on this issue tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part I

Even before I became involved in the Tonya Craft case, I knew that the legal machinery that accuses and convicts people of false rape and child molestation charges was powerful. I did not know how powerful it really was.

The obvious question is: Why? Why is it that a parent seeking leverage in a custody case can accuse the other spouse of child molestation, and even if the accusations are transparently false, there still is a good chance the other person will be charged with felonies and most likely convicted?

Why is it that a woman can charge a man with rape or sexual assault and no matter how ridiculous or self-serving the accusation might be, the man has a good chance of going to prison, even if everything the prosecutors and accusing witnesses claim is a lie?

The reason is that the United States has undergone a revolution in how the law and the provisions to protect the accused are seen not only by the authorities, but by the law professionals themselves. Perhaps the following passage by Jason Wool in a law journal article says it best:
The essential question is whether the system should be more inclined to protect innocent defendants, sometimes at the expense of women who have been date raped, or whether the system should be designed to ensure that more women's complaints result in convictions at the expense of some innocent men.
[Maintaining the Presumption of Innocence in Date Rape Trials Through the Use Of Language Orders: State v. Safi and the Banning of the Word "Rape," 15 Wm. Mary J. of Women & L. 193 (Fall 2008).]

In other words, according to some advocates, innocence really should be no defense at all, and I can say that many American prosecutors, judges, and their allies today share in that view. The presumption of innocence not only is met with scorn, but if they had their way, I believe I can say with confidence that most (but not all) prosecutors in this country believe that if one is charged with a crime, then guilt should be assumed, and there really should be no trial at all, just a plea and then punishment.

Lest one think I am being harsh, this is what Wendy Murphy -- who gave commentary on the Tonya Craft case on NBC's "Today Show" and was portrayed as a "legal expert" -- declared when asked about the presumed innocence of the defendants in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case:
Stop with the presumption of innocence. It doesn't apply [at] Duke, as well as I'm really tired of people suggesting that you're somehow un-American if you don't respect the presumption of innocence, because you know what that sounds like to a victim? Presumption you're a liar.
One has to understand that the charges in the Duke case were unquestionably false, yet even afterward, Murphy continued to claim that the families of the accused had paid off Crystal Mangum (which would have been strange, given that Mangum said she wanted to pursue the charges, even after the North Carolina Attorney General declared them unfounded).

Murphy, however, is not a fringe character. She is a regular guest on TV talk shows and is close to Nancy Grace, whose guilt-assuming show on CNN reflects her attitude as a prosecutor who the federal courts declared to be "fast and loose with the facts." I would say that Murphy reflects the mainstream in American law today, or at least the mainstream among American prosecutors.

But it is not the Wendy Murphys who have brought about the sea change in U.S. law, especially in what we would call "sex crimes." It has been both the Congress and the federal bureaucracies that oversee the administration of federal law, and in the past few decades, federal officials have (purposely, I believe) changed the legal landscape to where the imprisonment of innocents is seen as nothing more than "collateral damage" in the crusade to make the country safe for women and children.

There are four laws that have done the most damage to the presumption of innocence, I believe. They are:
  • The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), also known as the Mondale Act of 1974;
  • The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, which gave millions of dollars to the Children's Advocacy Centers around the USA;
  • The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which made the federal government a major player in determining how states would prosecute alleged rape and sexual assault; 
  •  The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 2003, which continued the federal relationship with the various CACs.
    Not only did the federal government provide millions of dollars of funding for advocacy groups but it also set the procedures as to how local law enforcement was to respond to accusations of rape or sexual misconduct. Furthermore, the laws, with their mandated reporting procedures, practically guaranteed that there would follow an epidemic of false accusations.

    The Duke Lacrosse Case

    In the spring of 2006, an African-American stripper, Crystal Gail Mangum, accused three Duke University lacrosse players of beating and raping her at a party where she "danced." North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the charges in April 2007, declaring the players "innocent" (a rarity for prosecutors in any kind of criminal case) after his office did an extensive investigation.

    However, it was clear from the beginning that the charges were bogus, but they stuck for a number of reasons. First, the national media jumped upon the story and journalists threw all of their own prejudices (white on black, southern school, slavery, you name it) into their coverage and wanted the tale to be true. Second, the politics of Durham, Duke, blacks, and whites drove the "narrative," which turned out to be false.

    However, the third factor was the most important of all: the role of federal law in getting the wheels of the case turning. Mangum was found drunk in a car and was taken to a mental health facility called Durham Access. A nurse there improperly asked Mangum, "Were you raped?" (Interviewers are not supposed to ask those questions.)

    When Mangum answered that she was (she had not said anything about it before then), federal law mandated that she be taken to a medical facility where she would receive a rape exam either by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or other qualified medical professional. The SANE who would participate in the exam was a feminist ideologue named Tara Levicy, who later would lie and fabricate "evidence" to implicate the lacrosse players.

    (After the charges were dismissed, the three players and their families settled with Duke University and Duke University Medical Center -- Levicy's employer -- for a reported seven million dollars apiece. Levicy no longer is employed there, but still works as a nurse in New England.)

    One can see how federal policy set this disaster into motion, but this was not an isolated case, at least where the federal government and false accusations are concerned. In tomorrow's post, I will show how federal policies are driving false allegations of child abuse and molestation, and there is no end in sight to this American tragedy.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Arrest the Messenger! Georgia Prosecutors Go After Private Investigators

    Once upon a time, prosecutors claimed to be after the truth. Today, Georgia prosecutors are more likely to arrest the people telling the truth in order to keep them from telling a jury under oath that the information they have just might undermine the prosecution's case. Apparently, Eric Echols is not the only Georgia private investigator to be facing trumped-up charges.

    This is what the ancients once called obstruction of justice, but today, obstruction of justice is legal in Georgia -- as long as the prosecutors are the ones committing the crimes. Furthermore, the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit is not the only place in Georgia where prosecutors run amok and break the law.

    Forsyth County in Georgia is infamous for driving out all its black residents in 1912 after some black men were accused of rape, one of them being later murdered by a Forsyth mob. Today, the law perpetrates injustice of a different kind: pursuing fake child molestation cases, and then attempting to jail a private investigator who had helped uncover information the prosecution did not want the jury to hear.

    As I pointed out in a post last week, it seems that Chris "Alberto-Facebook" Arnt was not the first prosecutor to have a PI arrested in order to try to get him off a case. Forsyth ADA Sandra Partridge pulled off the same nonsense a couple years ago, having PI Ron De Laby arrested for the bogus charges of "intimidating a witness."

    You might remember that the courts threw out the indictment,but Partridge was not impressed by the law, so she re-indicted Mr. De Laby with the same counts, and that is where things stand. (Mr. De Laby has petitioned for a "speedy trial" before a judge, but so far nothing has happened.)

    In a recent conversation I had with Mr. De Laby, he said that an attorney elsewhere in Georgia was threatened with the same kinds of charges (in a similar case), and that this seems to be a strategy -- formal or informal, we don't know -- that Georgia prosecutors are using in order to keep PIs from looking into child molestation cases. In fact, according to Mr. De Laby, it is working, as PIs are refusing to take on these investigations.

    Should anyone be wondering if it is legal for prosecutors in Georgia to be doing this, the obvious answer is "no." However, because the Georgia State Bar so far has refused to discipline prosecutors not just for misconduct but also for outright law breaking, the foxes have overrun the hen house.

    In my private conversation with Mr. De Laby, he revealed a number of other things about Partridge and her actions that tell me that she is a legal soulmate of "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man." Partridge looks for child molestation cases, has the help of a local rogue Children's Advocacy Center, and gives juries the "Children never lie about these things" Big Lie, which, unfortunately, most of them swallow.

    The notion that anyone can "clean up" the justice system in Georgia is fancy at best, given the pervasive levels of corruption that apparently define the courts in that state. However, I believe that they have overplayed their hands by going after Mr. De Laby and Mr. Echols, and they are two men who both are highly principled AND who have integrity -- and they are motivated not only to beat the bogus charges against them, but to challenge dishonest prosecutors.

    Have prosecutors around Georgia been colluding on this strategy to try to head off people who might actually speak the truth in a Georgia criminal court? (Perish the thought that a Georgia prosecutor might have to listen to something that is true, versus the perjured testimony that has become the theme song of the state's DAs.)

    If we are looking at collusion, then we also are looking at crimes being committed. Not that it matters, given that Georgia's government anxiously protects its worst criminals.

    So stay tuned. We are not going away.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    “Contaminated Testimony”

    The blogger Kerwyn does not miss much when doing research, and during a conversation about our upcoming article in Reason Magazine, she and I went over transcripts of Suzie Thorne’s interview with Tonya Craft’s daughter at the Greenhouse on June 3, 2008, and she put together four items that apparently are closely related. The first was this paper written by Dr.Nancy E. Walker in 2002 that covers, among other things, “contaminated testimony” that often is the product when authorities investigate alleged child abuse/molestation. The other three items included Thorne’s “Who’s On First?” interview, Joal Henke’s April 23 testimony during Tonya’s trial, and telephone records of calls between Henke and other parents.

    As we look over the materials in our possession, there is one thing that is front-and-center: the authorities had decided beforehand that they were going to find a way to charge Tonya Craft with child molestation. They had no real evidence of such, but it is absolutely clear that the police, the parents, and the “investigators” from the Children’s Advocacy Centers that they were going to find whatever they needed.

    Such “investigations” are doomed from the start, should the supposed goal of an investigation be to find the truth. However, if the people guiding the investigation from the start have decided beforehand what the outcome is going to be, then “truth” is whatever they want it to be, and that is what we saw in the Tonya Craft case.

    “It didn’t fit their theory”

    When Dr. Nancy Aldridge testified for the defense, on May 3, she was asked about the interviewing techniques of the children, especially from Thorne and Stacy Long. At best, Dr. Aldridge note, they were “inappropriate” at best and misleading at worse. The interviewers broke all of the rules of forensic interviewing. In looking at what Dr. Aldridge said and what Dr. Walker wrote in her paper, the following things should be avoided if the goal of the interviewer is to wish to get at the truth:
    •  The interviews should not be long, and there needs to be a lag of several days between interviews. The “rule of thumb” is five minutes for each of the child’s years. Thus, a six-year-old child would be interviewed at the maximum for 30 minutes;
    • Interviewers should not ask the same questions repeatedly to a young child, as it sends the message that the child is giving the “wrong” answer; 
    • An interview of a child should not be an interrogation, and the child should not be asked “leading,” “inappropriate,” or “suggestive” questions that either plant an idea in the child’s mind or attempts to do so; 
    • Parents should not be asking their children investigative questions or be trying to plant ideas in their minds about alleged incidents;
    • The interviewer should conduct the proceedings with an "open mind," as opposed to demonstrating a bias from the start.
          Dr. Walker writes regarding these kinds of tactics that violate protocols:
          An interviewer who completes an assessment using faulty or problematic techniques risks having the evidence thrown out of court -- and appropriately so. No interview is perfect, of course, and interview evidence should not be ruled inadmissible simply because of a few harmless errors. Instead, courts should use standards for evaluating the probative value of forensic interviews. These standards will assist the court in ruling on the admissibility of the interview evidence and in determining the weight to be accorded that evidence.
          Anyone who followed the Tonya Craft case knows that the CAC/Greenhouse interviewers failed to follow any of the protocols. In fact, when the defense asked Stacy Long about suggestive questioning, she laughed and replied, “So what?” In fact, not one CAC interviewer even admitted to reading any of the current or relevant literature and Thorne told the defense she was not aware of the infamous McMartin case, which more than any other event was responsible for clinical psychologists to find ways of properly interviewing young children in these types of situations.

          (I recently spoke to Ione Sells, director of the CAC in Fort Oglethorpe, and I was surprised at her arrogance and her belief that her organization really did not have to play by the rules. When I asked about Dr. Aldridge, she hinted to me that she believed that Dr. Aldridge lied on the stand, and when I reminded her that Dr. Aldridge mostly had testified for the prosecution, Sells replied, "She has not testified for the prosecution since 2007." The whole thing reminded me of the scene in the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” in which the character played by Humphrey Bogart asks bandits claiming to be Federales to show their badges. One bandit replies: “Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges.”)

          As for the interview process, a review of the transcripts of interviews that Long and Thorne had with Sandra Lamb’s daughter and Tonya Craft’s daughter demonstrate a number of conclusive things:
          • The interviews were quite long and involved, and Lamb’s daughter was interviewed twice in the same day, morning and afternoon; 
          • Both Long and Thorne repeatedly asked the same question, with Thorne asking the Lamb child 16 times, “Is there anything else?"
          • Long, after a break, came back that afternoon and asked the Lamb child about Tonya giving the child a bath. No one had brought up baths, and certainly not the girl. However, once it became clear that the girl received affirmation for saying what the adults wanted her to say, she went along. As for the questioning of Tonya’s daughter by Thorne, it is clear, absolutely clear, that this was not an interview; it was an interrogation, and this fact is obvious just from a reading of the transcript. For example, on a number of occasions, when the child said something that disagreed with Thorne’s line of questioning, Thorne would ask, “No?” in a way that clearly indicated that the child was giving the wrong answer. 
          • Numerous times during the interviews of both the Lamb child and Tonya’s daughter, the children would say that they got answers from parents, the Lamb girl her mother and Tonya’s child, her father, Joal Henke. Furthermore, during his trial testimony, Henke denies having told his daughter that Tonya “had lied to the police,” even though the girl stated firmly that she had received that notion from her father. To make matters worse, the phone records show conclusively that Sandra Lamb and Joal Henke had numerous phone calls clustered around the dates of the interviews, and that on several occasions, the parents would call the police or the CAC to say that the children “had more to tell.” 
          • It absolutely is clear that Long and Thorne were doing everything to steer the children into making sexual abuse accusations against Tonya. They did not even have a “theory” about Tonya Craft’s guilt; to them, it already was an established fact, and it was their job to manipulate the children into making the accusations they wanted to hear.
                (It should also be pointed out that Thorne wore an earpiece during her interviews which allowed her to receive instructions from the police, who were observing the proceedings. This also is considered a major breach of protocol in the interviewing of children, and one CAC director from another state expressed horror at what was done when Kerwyn spoke to her.)

                Thus, anything that did not fit the “Tonya Did It Theory” was discarded or hidden, which was why prosecutors fought so hard to have every scrap of exculpatory evidence excluded from Ms. Craft’s trial. The testimony was, in the terms of clinical psychologists well versed in these matters, “contaminated.” It also explains why “judge” Brian House had one set of rules for the prosecution and another, more draconian, for the defense.

                While defense attorney Dr. Demosthenes Lorandos was questioning Dr. Aldridge, he noted that Lamb’s daughter had said in an interview that her mother told her where she was “touched.” When asked why the police, CAC interviewers, and prosecution did not take a hard look at that statement and recognize the red flags it had sent up, Dr. Aldridge replied, “It didn’t fit with their theory.”

                I have seen police and prosecutors do this before, and with tragic results. The infamous Duke Lacrosse Case is defined by the dishonest means that former (and now disbarred) prosecutor Michael Nifong used to hide exculpatory evidence.

                At least no one went to prison in the Duke case. In Larimer County, Colorado, Tim Masters was convicted in 1999 of a murder he did not commit because police and prosecutors became convinced he was the killer and were willing to lie to prove it. Masters’ subsequent exoneration cost Fort Collins nearly $10 million in settlements and the lead detective in the case recently was indicted on eight counts of felony perjury for his false testimony in Masters’ trial.

                The real tragedy here – and for the numerous cases like this nationwide – is that the authorities in so many situations no longer care about the truth. They have decided upon their own “truth,” and it does not matter whether the facts fit the situation. People in the United States go to prison now because the authorities either are too ignorant or too craven, or both, and for every Tonya Craft who goes free, many more are wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

                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

                Wednesday, July 14, 2010

                Who Is Joal Henke?

                When police and prosecutors attempt to frame someone for alleged child molestation, they need a lot of help. First, they need help from the "professionals" who conduct interviews with allegedly molested children. Second, they need help from the children, especially if it becomes clear to the child that telling lies will "please" the adults in their lives.

                Third, they need help from outside parties who are more than willing to lie, something that prosecution witnesses in the Tonya Craft trial did in spades. In fact, lies defined much of the prosecution testimony. From the "hand rape" allegations that magically appeared in obviously fabricated documents to Sandra Lamb's denials that her daughter had received acting lessons to the false claim under oath by another witness that Tonya had NOT co-signed her power bill (to show a change of address) when "judge" Outhouse saw the document in front of him (which he refused to permit to be entered into evidence), the prosecution witnesses constituted a near parade of perjurers.

                If one had to give an award for the Biggest Liar in the Tonya Craft Trial, it would be a tossup, given that the LMJC has turned into Perjury Central, but I think that Joal Henke certainly should be given consideration for First Prize. After all, here is a guy who describes himself as a "world class athlete," so I am sure that Henke would cherish being at the top of the list, given his ultra-competitive nature.

                Because Henke's character is at issue in the continuing custody battle between Tonya Craft and her ex-husband, I believe that it is appropriate to re-visit Joal's performance in court when he was called to testify against his former spouse. Because the ramifications of his testimony were deadly serious, I believe that one cannot scrutinize his words or his character enough, and that is what I intend to do in this post.

                Joal Henke is someone who is not easily shamed. For example, when Tonya was suing him for divorce several years ago, he denied her claims that he was having affairs with other women until he was confronted with strong evidence of him engaging in adultery. He had a "change of heart" when he realized he was caught.

                Interestingly, when confronted with that material on the witness stand during Tonya's trial, he claimed to not have been aware that there was evidence of his adultery. That, of course, was perjury, but it was a minor instance to some of the other things he did while under oath.

                Henke's greatest "I just remembered" feat of perjury, however, came with his allegation during his April 23 testimony when he claimed that on the way to court that morning, he had "recalled" an alleged "lesbian" incident involving Tonya and a friend of hers. (That and other whoppers are included in this media link from WRCB-TV for that day.)

                First, one does not "just remember" something like what he had described. Such an event would be the kind that he would have told police and prosecutors up front. Second, it also tells us about the prosecutors and "judge" Outhouse that they would have let Henke enter this testimony in the first place, and that from the trial testimony, "Alberto-Facebook" clearly was anxious to make sure Joal made the allegations.

                There was more. As the following exchange demonstrates, when Henke was caught in a lie, he claimed that it had to be a "typo." (I am not making up this point.)
                Dad answers to inconsistencies in his statement, "I don't have a lot of experience with this"

                Dad says he didn't include in statement that daughter was allegedly molested because authorities had not interviewed daughter yet.

                Dad testifies what is in statement he gave is not true. Says it may be a typo.

                Dad in statement says he was called by parents of "several" small girls about alleged abuse. Says today just parents of one girl.
                Here is another jewel:
                Dad says before allegations he barely knew parents of other accusers. Says, "that wasn't a circle I was welcomed into"

                Phone records show dad talked to a mom of another alleged girl for 120 minutes.
                Then there is this:
                Dad says calls between him and other parents did not include details of the case.

                Over 9 months records show dad talked to mom of other alleged victim more than 80 times, more than 200 mins total.
                All of these are indications of what the ancients once called a "conspiracy," and that certainly falls under the legal standards set by federal law. Furthermore, I have not yet even dealt with the lies told by Joal's current wife Sarah Bass Henke, when she denied under oath on April 23 that she had shaved her own pubic hairs while showering with Tonya's daughter. (Bass Henke already had admitted to Dr. Ann Hazzard to having shaved while the child was in the shower with her, but because she was in the courtroom of "judge" Brian Outhouse and being questioned by the Dishonest Duo of "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man," she knew that lying was permissible and even encouraged.)

                For those readers not familiar with Henke, let us just say that he has some of the same characteristics of a former President of the United States who actively seeks sex from lots of women to whom he is not married. (No, he is NOT a "world-class athlete" under any circumstances. The only "world-class athlete" from Chattanooga is Phoebe Wright, who also is a person of much better character than is Henke.)

                In fact, at one time his nickname was "Homewrecker," and I don't think that received that name from being in the building demolition business. No, Henke does not demolish buildings; he demolishes the lives of innocent people.

                There are a few more things to add. First, he and Sarah are members of Eastwood Church, and I was told that at a recent hearing, Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles, who goes to Eastwood, sat in support of the Henkes. In other words, a man running for elective office, a person who is in a position of trust in county government, is supporting perjurers. I remember Knowles from my time in Chattanooga years ago, and always thought him to be a nice person.

                However, if he is going to publicly support perjurers, I only hope he does not win any more elections. Voters need to make a statement that lying under oath in a court of law is not acceptable and that elected officials should not openly condone perjury.

                Of course, what can one say about a church where its "respected" members commit perjury and lie in order to promote false charges against another person? Furthermore, what can one say when conviction of those false charges would have resulted in Tonya Craft going to prison for the rest of her life?

                The Bible (which the people at Eastwood claim to believe) says some serious things about lying and false testimony. (The church's website claims to "place people above...man-made rules - whether they are cultural, traditional, or religious." I guess they consider the Ten Commandments to fall under the "man-made rules" category, and probably consider Proverbs 6:16-19 to be "man-made" as well.)

                So, we have people who worship on Sunday, and commit serious crimes on other days, and no one at their church seems to bat an eye. We have Joal Henke's employer, Keller Williams Realty, willing to have a person on the staff who cannot be trusted in a legal situation. For that matter, Joal's current wife, Sarah, is a nurse at Parkridge Medical Center, and trust, truth, and the willingness to document accurately and truthfully are vital in that business, yet she could not even tell the truth about something to which she had admitted earlier because she was trying to have another person thrown into prison on charges that everyone knew were false.

                Furthermore, like Joal, she "suddenly remembered" Tonya's daughter having "red" areas around her vagina, with the child waking up in the middle of the night claiming that "it hurts." Under cross-examination, Henke admitted that she had not told anyone in authority about this alleged situation, and never had mentioned it in any interviews with police, social workers, or in a deposition.

                So, there it is: perjury on the record. And this is someone who signs medical records and attests to their truthfulness.

                So, when you see Joal Henke and Sarah Bass Henke appear in court for the custody hearing (scheduled next week), know what kind of people they really are, and know that they are not people who can be trusted. Both of them were willing to lie to send an innocent woman to prison for the rest of her life, and they would do it again tomorrow if they believed they could get away with it.

                I will add one more thing. I have the trial transcripts of both Joal and Sarah and have read them. There is much more I could have said in this post regarding their lack of truthfulness when testifying under oath.