Friday, December 30, 2011

My tribute to Siobhan Reynolds

The attractive, diminutive woman who drove into my driveway on the last Saturday in October hardly looked to be the person that federal authorities desperately were trying to find a way to throw into prison. Her lovely eyes had a sparkle in them, and she hardly looked to be a threat to the life and liberty of anyone.

Yet, here was a woman coming into my home who was being targeted by the feds because she had the audacity to openly question the Drug War in general and the government’s war on people taking pain medications and the doctors that prescribe them. There is one thing that federal prosecutors and judges hate, and that is anyone who openly says that they are doing something that is immoral is a threat that cannot be ignored.

Our visit was short, unfortunately, because of family business, and I would have loved for this visit to have gone on for hours. But, it ultimately ended, and she and her son got back into the car and drove to her home in Ohio. I never would see her again, as she died Christmas Eve in a small plane crash near Circleville, Ohio.

Even now, it is hard to believe she is gone, and for the many people she helped and befriended, their loss is incalculable. Siobhan Reynolds was a vital person in the lives of many because she was one of the few people in this country who was willing to stand up and openly support drug-based relief for the millions of people in the United States who suffer from debilitating pain.

Federal officials, and especially those whose careers are tied directly to the Drug War and to the prosecutions of doctors that write prescriptions for pain medications, would disagree with my assertions that Reynolds was a hero, and I am sure that more than a few of them are happy that she no longer lives. (And, no, I don’t believe that the feds were responsible for the crash, as it seems to have been an error by the pilot, who crashed short of the airport runway.)

Even though Reynolds had committed no crime (except for having the effrontery of publicly questioning the validity of a federal prosecutor’s case), she was the victim of an ongoing federal grand jury probe into her life and into a pain patient advocacy group, the Pain Relief Network, that she once ran and the feds forced into bankruptcy through vindictive fines. The worst thing about the government’s faux “investigation,” however, was that it was done under the color of “government secrecy” in which legal experts agreed that federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway utterly abused the grand jury process.

How she got to that point in her life where the government was trying to destroy her is an important story in itself, and one that I shall tell here. In the beginning, Siobhan Reynolds was not an activist and certainly not an activist who bravely would challenge federal prosecutors who are used to having no accountability at all, least of all from lowly citizens who might deem themselves “worthy” to question the veracity and tactics of those who abuse the law.

Reynolds had a husband, Sean, who had a serious health problem, a congenital connective tissue disorder that left him with debilitating pain in his joints. Like so many others in the USA who suffer from severe chronic pain, he was unable to receive adequate medical relief because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, not doctors, determine what is a “legitimate medical purpose” for prescribing of opioids for pain. However, Siobhan’s husband finally found a physician, Dr. William Hurwitz, a doctor in Northern Virginia, who was willing to write prescriptions for higher doses of pain-killers.

The higher doses worked, and for the first time in years, Siobhan’s husband was able to function at a much more normal level, but such satisfactory results were anathema to the nation’s drug warriors, and especially to U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty, the Religious Right federal prosecutor who might have publicly proclaimed his Christian beliefs, but did not carry them to his line of work.

I have detailed McNulty’s escapades in this earlier article, including what he did to Dr. Hurwitz, but the smarminess of what McNulty did bears repeating. First, in violation of the Rules of Conduct both of the Federal Bar and the Virginia Bar, McNulty made a number of inflammatory pre-trial statements about Dr. Hurwitz, likening him to a drug “kingpin,” and calling his office a “pill mill.” The Beltway media, of course, lapped up McNulty’s missives, thus ensuring that it would be almost impossible for Dr. Hurwitz to receive a fair trial. Radley Balko writes:
The judge acknowledged that Hurwitz ran a legitimate practice and had likely saved and improved the lives of countless people. His crime was not recognizing that some of his patients were addicts and dealers.
McNulty got his cherished conviction in federal court, but not before appealing to the DEA to withdraw the agency’s new policies on how doctors should determine doses for pain-killers. (The Hurwitz defense was going to use the new DEA policies to demonstrate he was operating within government guidelines, something the “win-at-all-costs” McNulty could not stand.)

(McNulty ultimately used this and other such cases to rocket his career to the number two position in the U.S. Department of Justice. He held that position until he was forced to resign after making “false statements” to Congress about the firing of a number of U.S. attorneys. Enjoying that legal double standard reserved for federal officials, McNulty did not have to endure any legal consequences for not telling the truth while under oath. Instead, he went to an international law firm and now is a very wealthy man.)

Dr. Hurwitz, his life and medical practice shattered, his family destroyed, and his future in prison, was not the only victim of McNulty’s viciousness. (While in prison, Dr. Hurwitz developed an eye disorder, and because of the lack of decent medical care provided for federal inmates, he became blind in one eye.) Patients suffering from chronic pain – people who at best McNulty considered to be “collateral damage” – found themselves in a desperate situation. The Hurwitz prosecution not only kept him from writing prescriptions, but other doctors did not want to experience the same fate and refused to adequately treat certain patients for pain.

One of the side effects of chronic pain is high blood pressure, and ultimately Siobhan’s husband succumbed to the pain and other effects and died. (When I introduced my wife to Siobhan, I said that Paul McNulty killed her husband – and I meant every word.) Reynolds did not go quietly, however, and started her organization, PRN, to help educate doctors about pain medications and also to serve as a resource for attorneys representing doctors being prosecuted for writing pain prescriptions that the government claimed “served no medical purpose.”

When someone challenges America’s prosecutorial police state, the authorities take notice, and Reynolds soon was in the feds’ sights. Keep in mind that Reynolds was trying to stay within the bounds of acceptable medical care and to be an advocate for people suffering chronic pain, but the feds were not interested in what might be true. Instead, they only were (and are) interested in throwing as many people into prison and destroying as many lives as possible, all while posing as the “good guys.”

In a recent article, Lew Rockwell accurately depicted what is going on with federal criminal law in which government agents can target whom they please and simply make the person disappear, all under “color of law.” He writes:
Today, every single citizen, no matter how free he or she may feel in daily life, is in reality a sitting duck. You can be made to disappear. There is essentially no way you can escape once the feds sweep you into their net. There is no justice. The total states of the past used to pretend to have trial-based convictions. The total state of the present doesn’t even bother. It just puts a sack over your head and takes you away.
Indeed, that is what happened to William Hurwitz and a large number of other doctors who committed the “crime” of believing their patients when they said they were in pain. There were no kickbacks for them, no under-the-table payments, no relations with drug dealers. And none of that matters.

McNulty and other federal prosecutors, with the help of federal judges who constantly have ruled in favor of the feds ever since the Progressive Era, have effectively destroyed the historical Anglo-American legal doctrine of mens rea, which is defined as: an element of criminal responsibility, a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent. Guilty knowledge and wilfulness. One can understand why a “win-at-all-costs” prosecutor would want mens rea eviscerated, as the elimination of this doctrine would mean that more individuals could be caught in the snare of a prosecutorial witch hunt.

(One of the ironies here is that although McNulty made sure that the mens rea standard did not apply to people he prosecuted, he was given a free pass after giving Congress false statements because he claimed he had been “out of the loop” and did not realize that some of his comments were false. In other words, “Mens rea for me, but not for thee.”)

To make matters worse, federal prosecutors have agitated for years for Congress and the courts to ensure that many laws are as vague as possible, so that a person would not have clear boundaries within which to act. For example, insider trading law has been written in an intentionally-confusing manner in which there is no “statutory definition” of insider trading. This is a plus for prosecutors because they can target people who never can be sure if they are breaking the law or not.

This means that federal juries are left in the unenviable position of having to determine whether or not the law was broken in the first place, something jurors simply are no equipped to do. In the situation of writing pain-medication prescriptions that, according to the government, “have no medical purpose,” there is no law or no outright policy that is clear, which leaves doctors always wondering if they are next to be prosecuted, and places prosecutors in the driver’s seat.

Federal prosecutors are free to demonize doctors publicly, call them “drug dealers” or operators of “pill mills,” and their statements NEVER are scrutinized in the mainstream media. The doctor is guilty even before the trial begins, and even if a physician is acquitted, federal agencies effectively can ruin the person’s reputation and career. Furthermore, as the federal Reign of Terror expands, doctors protect themselves by writing as few pain prescriptions as they can in hopes of avoiding the federal “Eye of Sauron.”

That thousands of people are unable to gain relief is of no consequence to federal officials, who are interested only in convicting as many people as possible, which then is a boost to careerist prosecutors and government agents. These are people who literally advance their own pay, benefits, and power upon the backs of doctors and their patients, and in the case of Siobhan’s husband, the results were fatal.

(Not that Paul McNulty or any of his other prosecutorial minions cared what happened to Sean Reynolds or his widow and their child. These are people who enjoy inflicting trauma upon others and who love to exercise their absolute powers, knowing that no matter how dishonest or outrageous their conduct might be, they never have to fear being punished for their own lawbreaking, as the Congress and the federal courts have granted them “total immunity.”)

Reynolds was a godsend not only to patients and their families, but also to doctors and their loved ones who were watching the Paul McNultys of the world unjustly turn their lives upside down. She became involved in a number of such cases elsewhere in the country, helping some doctors to be acquitted and watching others lose at trial and go to prison.

Helping people defend themselves against federal prosecutors and vague laws is a sure way to attract the enmity of the State, and after she became involved in a case against a doctor and his wife in Kansas, the State struck back. U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway opened an “obstruction of justice” investigation against Reynolds, destroying the Pain Relief Network in the process. To make matters worse, Treadway was able to convince the courts (which don’t need much convincing when federal prosecutors wish to abuse innocent people) to make the entire process secret, including any statements from Reynolds herself.

Grand jury secrecy is supposed to protect people being investigated, but in this situation, Treadway was able to use secrecy to protect herself and to destroy Reynolds, and the courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that secrecy was fine with them, which a former federal prosecutor says is an utter abuse of the grand jury. The tactics worked, and not only was Siobhan forced to shut down the Pain Relief Network, but she also was facing the possibility of contrived criminal charges up until the moment of her death.

There are many things that we can learn from the life and death of Siobhan Reynolds. Surely one of the worst things is that in the United States of America, federal prosecutors nearly are invincible, not because of any good that they do, but rather because they have become a law unto themselves. We also have learned that the State bows to no one, and that right and wrong are not standards at all because the State always is right, even when it is wrong.

Yet, we also can know that in our midst, there are people who are willing to stand up and be counted, and Siobhan Reynolds was one of them. She was a great person and her legacy goes on even though she no longer walks among us. Hers is a legacy of integrity and courage and that is the best lesson of all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sad news: Siobhan Reynolds has been killed in a plane crash

One of my favorite people, Siobhan Reynolds, who was a voice of sanity in the insanity of the Drug War and especially the government's war on doctors and pain medications, has died in a plane crash. The account is here, and Radley Balko's tribute to her is here.

Siobhan and her son came by our place in Finzel two months ago for a brief visit. She was a most lovely woman and someone I admired greatly. This is a real blow, and I shall miss her very much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Martez Mitchell conviction shows what is wrong with federal criminal law

Former Tyner High School football star Martez Mitchell recently was convicted in federal court in Chattanooga for, according to The Chattanoogan, "drug trafficking and using a gun in connection with drug trafficking." He faces five years for each charge, and the sentences, according to federal law, must run consecutively.

While I doubt that most people will give this a second look, I read the article all the way through because I was curious about the second charge. Did he actually point a gun at someone during a drug trade? Was he uttering threats while waving a gun?

It turns out that the gun was in the house where he lived, and police and federal agents never demonstrated in court that he used the gun to facilitate the selling of marijuana. In other words, "using a gun in connection with drug trafficking," is one of those legal technicalities that the feds use when they want to pile up years in prison on someone.

I will put it another way: the law lies. It is one thing if a person uses a gun to threaten someone else with death in order to make that person hand over money or property or to do something else; it is quite another when the presence of a gun in another room is used as "proof" of "using a gun."

Unfortunately, federal law is full of such technicalities that empower federal prosecutors but undermine the Rule of Law. For example, if Joe were to sell a small amount of marijuana to an undercover officer, and Joe also had an unloaded gun locked in the trunk of his car nearby, the same "using a gun" charge also would be applied to him.

That is correct. Under federal law, one does not have to use a gun to be charged with using a gun. Just another example of how the government turns the law into a lie.

I also would like to say that the jurors should be ashamed of themselves for going along with such a bogus charge in the first place. I'm sure that Judge Curtis Collier explained how the law worked, but jurors did not have to listen to him, and they certainly did not have to listen to prosecutors.

As I see it, a "judge" who goes along with this kind of charade is not a judge at all, but rather is nothing more than a shill for bad federal rules. I don't know much about Collier, but this case does not give me any confidence in his dedication to justice.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New evidence for murder? Why do I have my doubts?

It seems as though the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit is gearing up for yet another trial in which prosecutors try to "prove" what they cannot prove honestly. They did it with Tonya Craft in 2010, they want to do it with James Combs, and now Dale Higgenbottom is in the dock.

The December 11 story in the Times-Free Press lays out the actual case in which Catoosa County authorities now are claiming that Higgenbottom murdered an infant named Christopher Breazeale in 1992. While I cannot claim to know if the charges are true, nonetheless the fact that Buzz Franklin's office is bringing them without revealing any new evidence is beyond troubling.

The first question I have, however, is this: Why does Vickie Scoggins have any say in this at all? This is the same Vickie Scoggins who swore up and down that the charges against Tonya Craft absolutely were true, the same Vickie Scoggins who worked closely with prosecutors Chris Arnt and Len Gregor and helped them to suborn perjury and went along with their lies.

Given the reprehensible and utterly dishonest conduct of Franklin's office all during the Craft case -- from before and during the trial -- one should question ANYTHING that these people do. Arnt could not even keep himself from lying to jurors in closing arguments, telling the Craft jury that Dr. Nancy Fajman had diagnosed injuries to one of the girls that had been caused by sexual abuse.

That Dr. Fajman had said exactly the opposite -- something that Arnt knew -- should tell us what we need to know about Buzz Franklin and people who work for him. Arnt and Gregor should have been disbarred for what they did during that trial and criminal charges filed against both of them. However, given that the "justice" system in the State of Georgia is run by, well, criminals, I guess that the Criminals In Charge decided to let criminal activity of their own get a free pass out of professional courtesy.

Now, neither Arnt nor Gregor will be prosecuting the Higgenbottom case. No, that has fallen to Alan Norton, who also is prosecuting the bogus case against James Combs. Because Norton works for Franklin and because he was the prosecutor against Eric Echols in which Norton was prepared to lie to jurors about what actually had occurred when Mr. Echols delivered some court papers to Sandra "Mommie Dearest" Lamb, I am not prepared to give him any benefit of the doubt. Which leads to my second question: Just what is this "new evidence" that Norton claims to have?

Let us keep some things in perspective here. First, "new evidence" with Franklin's people generally consists of those things the ancients once called lies. Remember the "new evidence" that Joal and Sarah Henke brought to the Craft trial? Yeah, both of them "just remembered" stuff that was 180 degrees from testimony they had given under oath a year before.

Gregor and Arnt were quick to use this "I just remembered" and "judge" brian outhouse was quick to give it his stamp of approval, even though all of them knew that the Henkes were lying. Observers in the courtroom were able to witness Arnt, Gregor, and outhouse commit a number of felonies by their bringing in the Henkes and their transparently dishonest testimony. Yes, suborning perjury in Georgia is a crime, although the authorities don't pursue it because if they did, there would be no prosecutors left to bring cases to trial in Georgia. Furthermore, because Gregor, Arnt, and outhouse had a number of illegal secret meetings before and during the trial to plan strategy, they participated in criminal conspiracy.

From what I can tell, Norton is going to have to fabricate something in the Higgenbottom case or suborn perjury. However, given that he works with Arnt and Gregor, I am sure that they have given him plenty of pointers on how to lie and break the law -- and not indict himself. According to the article in the TFP:
Alan Norton, a prosecutor from the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, said prosecutors are going to have to build their case by explaining what new evidence justifies bringing charges 19 years after the fact.

But he wouldn't say what new evidence they have.

Court documents filed by Higgenbottom's attorney say the state didn't preserve vital evidence -- X-ray photographs, original autopsy photographs and physical specimens -- and that the case is too cold to prosecute.

They also want to know why, if a caseworker had such strong suspicions about Christopher's death, the state waited 192 months to do anything about it.
Indeed, I also am suspicious. First, there are no "Perry Mason moments" in criminal court, even though outhouse tried to pull off something by letting in Joal Henke's "I just remembered" testimony and also allowing an obviously-fabricated document to be entered into evidence. If the prosecution has something, by law it MUST be shared with the defense, and that includes "new evidence."

Second, we are dealing with prosecutors and judges in North Georgia that long ago decided that they could make up the law as they go along, and that they had absolute power. Grand juries in that circuit will indict anything, as I doubt that anyone serving on those bodies actually has a clue about the law.

I have no idea what happened in the death of Christopher Breazeale -- and neither do Vickie Scoggins nor Alan Norton. That is why I have no doubt that unless there really is "new evidence" and a real-live smoking gun, Norton and his people will make it up as they go along and hope that jurors in the case are not as wise to their tactics as were the Tonya Craft jurors.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Judge DID order prosecutors to give up exculpatory evidence in the Stevens trial

In a recent post and in an article in Lewrockwell.com, I noted that the special prosecutor had recommended that prosecutors NOT be charged with criminal contempt because the trial judge supposedly did not order prosecutors to turn over exculpatory material to the defense.

However, Jim Morhard, a former Senate Appropriations Committee chief of staff, writes in the Wall Street Journal that as someone who attended the trial regularly, he observed that "Judge (Emmet) Sullivan continually direct(ed) the prosecution to reveal exculpatory evidence to the defense after they had been caught repeatedly not doing so." In other words, Sullivan DID order the prosecutors to obey the law and prosecutors openly and arrogantly refused to do so.

Special Prosecutor Henry F. Schuelke III did leave open the possibility of charging the Stevens prosecutors with "obstruction of justice," but I doubt seriously that the Department of Justice (sic) will charge its own, especially since their actions paved the way for the Democrats to have the filibuster-proof 60 members in the U.S. Senate, which was crucial for President Barack Obama to push through much of his legislative agenda during a two-year window, including "Obamacare." With prosecutors doing important dirty work for the Democratic Party, I don't think that they will be punished for doing what prosecutors everywhere do.

Furthermore, if prosecutors in the Stevens case are charged with any crimes, one can bet that their defense will be based upon the "everybody does it" line, and a lot of outright criminal dirty laundry will be aired in the courtroom, and if there is anything government bureaucrats don't like, it is having their evil and illegal deeds exposed. No, I am sure that the DOJ will announce that while the prosecutors behaved badly and that they have been "punished" internally, the government believes that pursuing criminal charges will be "counterproductive" and that the individuals "have been punished enough" by having their reputations tarnished.

To put it another way, the government is going to argue that while its crack prosecution team broke the law like other "criminals" in this country, prosecutors are of a very sensitive and honest lot and simply shaming them is all that is needed. However, for those people who are not employed by the DO(In)J, you don't have the privilege of breaking the law and staying out of trouble. In fact, you don't even have to break the law in order to go to prison, as federal prosecutors are masters at taking legal actions and turning them in to "crimes."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yes, the feds have created a tyrannical prosecutorial state

When I was in journalism school about 40 years ago, I learned about the early American journalist John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of criminal libel in 1735 by a jury in Philadelphia. It was clear that Zenger had broken the law -- although a law that would be considered tyrannical -- but jurors decided to acquit him anyway to show their displeasure with the law and with the authorities that brought the charges.

The principle was jury nullification, and it has served Americans well for centuries. Juries in the North refused to convict people under the awful Fugitive Slave Law, and juries have nullified when they believed prosecutors were hounding someone for no good reason.

(Unfortunately, juries also have nullified for bad reasons such as the not guilty verdicts in the South during the Civil Rights Era when whites were accused of murdering blacks. Likewise, juries in Herrin, Illinois, refused to convict union workers who executed 22 non-union workers during a coal strike in 1922.)

Jury nullification, while controversial, IS legal but federal prosecutors in New York City now are going after a man who publicly endorses the practice by charging him with crimes and trying to imprison him. Like always, the feds demonstrate beyond a doubt that they are bullies that despise the Constitution and our rights.

The feds have charged Julian P. Heicklen, a 79-year-old retired chemistry professor from Penn State University, claiming he is violating laws against jury tampering. I must admit that this is a "creative" interpretation of the law that was written to keep people with vested interests in the outcome of a verdict from bribing or threatening jurors to vote in a certain way.

Heicklen has done nothing of the sort, but that does not stop federal prosecutors from trying to stretch the law into oblivion. One would hope that Judge Kimba Wood, who is hearing the case, will dismiss it, but Wood demonstrated without a doubt 20 years ago when sentencing Michael Milken for a series of non-crimes that she did not understand the law. Thus, I must admit I have no confidence in Wood doing anything but bow down to the will of federal prosecutors.

According to the New York Times, the activity in which Heicklen was involved consisted of standing
...on a plaza outside the United States Courthouse in Manhattan, holding a “Jury Info” sign and handing out brochures that advocate jury nullification, the controversial view that if jurors disagree with a law, they may ignore their oaths to follow it and may acquit a defendant who violated it.
He has not dealt with jurors individually nor has he tried to influence them in any particular case, which is exactly what the jury tampering laws were supposed to prohibit. By charging Heicklen, however, the feds are moving into new legal territory, yet another "creative legal theory" that federal prosecutors have loosed upon this country as they seek to criminalize legal behavior.

The federal prosecutors clearly are making things up as they go along. The NYT writes:
But now prosecutors are offering their first detailed explanation for why they charged Mr. Heicklen, arguing in a brief that his “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without Constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.”

“His speech is not protected by the First Amendment,” prosecutors wrote.

“No legal system could long survive,” they added, “if it gave every individual the option of disregarding with impunity any law which by his personal standard was judged morally untenable.”
Not only do federal prosecutors want to deny this man his right of free speech, but they also are seeking to deny him a jury trial:
Mr. Heicklen, who could face a six-month sentence if convicted, has asked for a jury trial. Ms. (Rebecca) Mermelstein (the lead federal prosecutor), opposing that demand, cited as one reason Mr. Heicklen’s ardent stance that juries should nullify. He would probably “urge a jury to do so in a case against him,” she wrote.
In other words, Heicklen should be denied his right to trial by jury because (horrors) a jury might acquit him. If the feds cannot have the results they want, then the Constitution and the very Rule of Law should be abandoned so that prosecutors can win.

The problem in this country is NOT jury nullification. No, the real problem is that juries too often are willing to defer to prosecutors because they believe that is what they are supposed to be doing, or they reach verdicts out of convenience.

When juries use their right of nullification to deal with what they believe to be a wrongful or malicious prosecution, they do so out of a sense of principle and belief in a Higher Law. That federal prosecutors are trying to destroy that right tells us that nothing scares the feds more than decent Americans acting out of the sense of right and wrong that government employees in the "justice" system abandoned long ago.

In American "justice," principle and right and wrong is seen as a foreign object in the bloodstream, something that government demands be eradicated at all costs. In the Heicklen case, we get a sense that prosecutors today are so emboldened and so protected that they will openly advocate people have their rights taken away -- in the name of "doing justice," of course.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Judges and Prosecutors: Law for thee, but not for me

The long-awaited report on prosecutorial misconduct in the case of the late Ted Stevens has been released and it unwittingly declares that federal bureaucrats -- and especially those at the U.S. Department of "Justice" (sic) -- are not required to obey the law if they are not specifically told they have to obey the law. Chew on that for a while, folks.

According to the New York Times:
...the 500-page report by the investigator, Henry F. Schuelke, recommends that none of the Justice Department officials involved in the case be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court because the judge who presided over the trial, Emmet G. Sullivan, of Federal District Court in Washington, did not issue an order specifically instructing prosecutors to obey the law by turning over any exculpatory evidence. (emphasis mine)
The report admitted the prosecution was “permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated his defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.” In other words, the Brady violations -- and these clearly fell into the Brady category -- were deliberate. Prosecutors wanted a conviction and were willing to lie to get it.

All of the prosecutors are regularly briefed during mandatory training about Brady requirements of turning over all exculpatory evidence and sharing files. As law school graduates, they also had Brady instruction in classes on criminal law. To put it another way, they did NOT have to be instructed in the requirements of Brady; they already knew, but chose NOT to obey.

This is breathtaking, but maybe I should not be surprised that Official Washington is so contemptuous of everyone else but themselves. The courts have ruled that you and I (if we are not government lawyers or judges) are required to know by heart every jot and tittle of the law, for the courts have declared, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

In this situation, however, they are not even saying that prosecutors were ignorant of the law. Instead, the judge who wrote the report is saying that because prosecutors were not reminded of what they already were supposed to know, they should not face criminal contempt charges.

What about the rest of us. Well, the courts have ruled that under federal law, the mens rea doctrine -- the people charged with crimes intended to break the law -- can be ignored, which means that you can I can go to prison for breaking laws we did not know existed AND even though we did not intend to break the law and might have thought we were obeying it.

Yet, prosecutors who knowingly lied and hid evidence, prosecutors who are regularly briefed and trained in the law, do not have to obey it, or at least do not have to worry about being charged with lawbreaking as long as a judge does not remind them of what they already know. This is the very definition of tyranny.

"Five Hebrew Love Songs" by the Salt Lake Choral Artists

This is an exquisite rendition of Eric Whitacre's "Five Hebrew Love Songs," sung by the Salt Lake Choral Artists. I think the piece speaks for itself.


Have a wonderful week! I will post later.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Valerie Carlton Case...Again

In 2010, I wrote a number of posts regarding the false charges against Valerie Carlton in Harford County, Maryland, home of the infamous prosecutor Joseph Casilly, who once tried to have a man put into prison for 15 years because he had the audacity to film a cop sticking a gun in his face.

When faced with the reality that Carlton was not guilty of child molestation, Casilly suddenly dropped the charges (after holding Carlton in jail for 13 months), but kept a misdemeanor charge against her for "assaulting a prison guard." Unfortunately, she recently was arrested in New York, which is trying to extradite her to Maryland to stand trial for this misdemeanor.

The video of the alleged assault is shown in this link, but although the images that I saw were not very clear, it is clear that if anyone is being assaulted in this video, it is Carlton, not the guard. (I must admit that I was brought up in an era that men who physically attacked women -- and especially women smaller than them -- were considered to be utter scum. Today, police beat up women all the time and are called "heroes.")

This is a very, very disturbing case on many levels. First, Casilly piled up 28 felony charges against Carlton, having her held on $10 million bond, and then he suddenly dropped all of them, which tells me that he had no evidence at the beginning and simply lied to a judge and grand jury. Second, while she was in jail, Casilly made sure her child was taken away from her and put into foster care. The child then died while in foster care, and this account explains how Casilly made sure that the officials at the Harford County Detention Center furthered the psychological torture of this woman:
Valerie was informed of her baby's death while she was in jail, but the prosecutor arranged that the Chaplain was not permitted to perform this duty; instead it was done by an employee of the Sheriff's office who brutally announced that the baby was dead, and then had Valerie strapped into a medieval torture de!=vice, called a "restraint chair," so that she choked on her own mucus as she wept and tried to pray for her dead baby. The Sheriff's department claimed, in writing, that Valerie was "talking in tongues" because she was praying in Hebrew. An employee of the Sheriff's Department apparently told this nonsense to the ex-husband's family, who spread the rumor that Valerie was insane because of the way she responded to the death of her baby.
So, as you can see, this case is far from over. Once again, we see a prosecutor who knows he will face no sanctions in Maryland for his misconduct. We also see the system turned in its full fury against someone who is not a criminal.

Like it or not, this is the country in which we live, and from what I can see, Americans are quite happy to accept what is happening -- as long as it happens to someone else and not themselves.

Harvey Silverglate on the Thompson decision

Once again, the great Harvey Silverglate lays out the case in simple but eloquent prose, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court once again has ensured that prosecutors that flaunt the law, suborn perjury, hide evidence, and lie are protected by the pernicious doctrine of "absolute immunity."

This is an article worth reading.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My recent LRC article on the Penn State mess

Here is a piece I had on Lew Rockwell's site in which I criticize Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly. I don't expect agreement from readers, but nonetheless I do believe that Kelly has turned this thing into something out of control.

As I see it, there is no chance whatsoever of Sandusky being able to receive a fair trial (which I suspect was part of Kelly's plan), and by seeking questionable indictments and making inflammatory statements, she has made things much worse than they should have been.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jerry Sandusky: Why I believe police have a strong case against him

Last April, I posted about the investigation into retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of young boys. Last weekend, the other shoe dropped and police arrested Sandusky and charged him with sexual abuse:
Jerry Sandusky, 67, the Penn State defensive coordinator during two of the team’s national championship years before retiring in 1999, was arrested Saturday on charges of sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period.

Two top university officials — Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, and Tim Curley, the athletic director — were charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations, as required by state law.
This is the result of an investigation that has been going on for a long time. Furthermore, the investigators were not making outrageous statements (unlike what we saw in the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Tonya Craft Case, where in both situations, police and prosecutors lied and made up things as they went along), at least while the investigations were occurring.

Unfortunately, after the arrests, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly declared that Sandusky was: "a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys." She also declared about the two PSU officials:
It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury.
From what I can tell, the first statement violates the Rules of Conduct of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, Rule 3.8(e), while the second, with the word "allegedly," does not. The rule states:
...except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.
In other words, Jerry Sandusky is CHARGED with the crimes; he has not been convicted, and the AG cannot call him a "predator" outright. (Not that this matters, since as a matter of course, prosecutors rarely are punished for breaking Rules of Conduct from their various states, as they have seized control of the judicial system.)

Furthermore, as this Wall Street Journal article points out, neither Curly nor Schultz are what the law calls "first responders" to allegations of child molestation. In other words, claiming that they legally were responsible for reporting Sandusky is something that AG Kelly should NOT be saying, given that she actually is supposed to know Pennsylvania state law on these matters. (However, while you and I are legally supposed to know EVERY LAW in EVERY STATE and the federal government, as well as every single regulation, the courts have exempted judges, prosecutors, and the police from that requirement. I'm not kidding. In other words, we already have legalized tyranny.)

That is why Kelly had the men charged with perjury, as she knew she did not have a legal case against them, but she is going to claim they lied to the grand jury. Using those standards, she could have also charged PSU coach Joe Paterno with crimes, but in so doing would have put herself out on a limb, given Paterno's status not only as the winningest college football coach but also as someone known for following the rules.

As I said last April, the status of Penn State football and the status of the coaches at PSU has served as a braking mechanism for investigators, who usually are more likely to be charging ahead, making outrageous statements, and trying to coerce witnesses. They knew they could not do that in this situation and get away with it, which means they probably did a much more effective job than they normally might have done.

The case against Sandusky, as I noted in the title, seems pretty strong. These paragraphs alone tells me that there are more than just rumors:
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 1, 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant entered what should have been an empty football locker room. He was surprised to hear the showers running and noises he thought sounded like sexual activity, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury “finding of fact” released Saturday.

When he looked in the shower he saw what he estimated to be a 10-year-old boy, hands pressed up against the wall, “being subjected to anal intercourse,” by Jerry Sandusky, then 58 and Penn State’s former defensive coordinator. The grad assistant said both the boy and the coach saw him before he fled to his office where, distraught and stunned, the grad assistant telephoned his father, who instructed his son to flee the building.
This isn't Joal Henke testifying to something he "just remembered this morning" about something that clearly was a lie; this is a graduate assistant who probably had dreams of being a college coach allegedly witnessing something that not only was stunningly awful, but also would have been a potential roadblock to his being able to get a job in coaching ranks, given the expressed prohibitions of "ratting out" other coaches. As the article states, he told Paterno, who then says he told PSU athletic director Curly.

Was this the proper course of action? All of the articles (and they are legion), including ones here, here, and here, say that Paterno and Curly should have gone to the police immediately.

As noted earlier, the law is unclear. However, I would like to go a step further and say that given what we have seen in the past regarding how police and prosecutors deal with allegations of child molestation, I also would be hesitant to go to the police unless I knew for certain. There are too many instances in this country in which people who have talked to the police either find themselves in legal trouble or are framed by cops and prosecutors.

In Tonya Craft's situation, it is absolutely clear that Sandra Lamb and Dewayne Wilson worked hand-in-glove with Tim Deal and Chris Arnt to out-and-out frame Craft, and when those entrusted with enforcing the law are most likely to lie, then one cannot trust ANYONE in law enforcement to do the right thing. Let me repeat my point: Police and prosecutors in this country already have proven beyond a doubt that they are untrustworthy and are willing to frame innocent people, so going to the police about anything is a very risky thing.

For all of the chest beating about what Joe Paterno SHOULD have done, I would say that not one of the journalists or other pundits was in his shoes, and to say that he was "covering up" something this awful is not warranted. I have no idea what happened, and neither do they.

That being said, however, I do believe that the police and prosecutors have a strong case. When I first heard the rumors, I thought it might be a situation of parents and children wanting to extort money from Sandusky and his organization, The Second Mile. The account of the grad student, however, changes my opinion.

How this will turn out, I don't know. Journalists always rush to judgment and they always will. However, if the police and prosecutors have the case against Sandusky they claim, then this will have an inevitable conclusion of finding Sandusky guilty. As for Curly and Schultz, I don't know.

I will add this, however. Given that prosecutors -- and this includes Kelly -- often use witnesses they KNOW are lying (and never charged with perjury), it seems like overkill to me to charge these PSU officials with perjury. Prosecutors are willing to use perjury as a tool to help gain wrongful convictions -- that we know for a fact -- and for them to turn around and use it in this way simply is wrong.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another Texas injustice?

Texas is known as an enterprise-friendly state and rightly so, but God help anyone moving into that state that is arrested. As Radley Balko writes in the Huffington Post, prosecutors are trying to get Hank Skinner executed before the courts order them to test evidence that could exonerate him of murder.

This is a compelling story, and I think Radley gets it right. Texas prosecutors for years have been able to get away with the worst kind of misconduct (and never receive even a smidgen of punishment) over the years.

And, if one is a judge in Texas, then that is a free pass to beat one's children. The moral of the story is this: do business in Texas, but you might not want to live there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

January 9, 2012: Our court date in Latvia

We have reached another milestone in our process to adopt Sintija into our family. The court hearing for the Latvian adoption will be held January 9, 2012, in Valka, which is a city on the Estonian border. (Yes, we expect that the Latvian winter, especially in a city above the latitude of Moscow, Russia, will be pretty harsh at that time of year. Kind of like Garrett County.)

If the court approves our adoption, then we will return to the USA with Sintija (who is with us now here in the USA), and then we wait until being notified to return to Latvia in order for Sintija to receive a permanent resident visa from the U.S. Embassy in Riga. After that, we can have the USA re-adoption, and then she legally will be part of our family.

Obviously, Sintija already is part of our family and, more important, part of our hearts.

Johanna will accompany Sintija on both trips to Latvia, and I will remain in the USA to be with our other children.

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Ilgi from Latvia

In celebration of Sintija's 13th birthday this past week, I am posting more songs from my favorite Latvian group, Ilgi. Sintija is doing very well, and all I can say is there are absolutely no doubts.

The first is "Labvakar, Rudzu Lauks" (Good Evening, Rye Field). There is a beautiful interlude with the Latvian instrument called the kokle at about 2:21.


The second is "Nesmejieti Jūs Ļautiņi," and I could not get a good translation from the Latvian, except that Jūs Ļautiņi means "You Folks."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Texas prosecutor (now a judge) enables a murderer to kill again (while pursuing the wrong suspect)

It is hard to describe Texas and its system of state-sponsored homicide and its out-of-control prosecutors except to say that prosecutors and judges in the Lone Star State must be taking lessons from Buzz Franklin, Chris "Cruisemaster" Arnt, Len "The Man-Racist" Gregor, and "judge" brian outhouse. However, a former prosecutor who now is a judge, not only engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, but his misconduct virtually guaranteed that a woman would be murdered.

The case centers around the wrongful conviction of a man for murder and, as this article in Forbes demonstrates, by deliberately (yes, deliberately, given the evidence) going after the wrong man, the prosecutor, Ken Anderson -- now Judge Ken Anderson -- made sure that the real murderer was not impeded, and two years later the killer struck again. The article notes:
AUSTIN, Texas -- Caitlin Baker was 3 when her mother, Debra, was beaten to death and left naked in bed in her Austin home. Although the pain of the loss has faded in the 23 years since, her anger that her mother's killer was never caught has not.

Less than two years before that January 1988 slaying, unbeknownst to all but a few people until recently, the mother of another woman bludgeoned to death in bed during an attack at her home about 15 miles away told an investigator that her 3-year-old grandson watched a "monster" do the killing, not his father, as police suspected. She urged him to pursue other leads, but her daughter's husband, Michael Morton, was instead convicted of murder and sentenced to life.
There is much more to this sickening story. In the original case that Anderson prosecuted, there was the usual aspect of the prosecution ignoring evidence that led to another killer. (Like the drunk looking for his keys under a street lamp instead of where he dropped them because the "light is better" under the lamp, Anderson was like most prosecutors in that he went for the easy conviction and the truth be damned.)

Anderson's misdeeds included hiding exculpatory evidence (a favorite tactic of prosecutors throughout this country) and lying (something prosecutors do all the time):
Investigations have been ongoing into the actions (or lack thereof) by the prosecutor in this case because there is reason to believe that evidence which would prove that Morton was innocent was withheld by the district attorney’s office of Williamson County.

The evidence withheld includes: (1) the eyewitness account of Morton’s young son, who said that the killer was not his father; (2) the victim’s Visa card found later at a store in San Antonio; (3) a cashed check, made out to the victim, with an apparent forged endorsement on the back where it was cashed almost two weeks after the homicide; and (4) the bandanna found at the crime scene with DNA evidence on it (which has been the basis of the vacated conviction).
Why did Anderson withhold this crucial evidence? Like any typical prosecutor, he wanted to win and knew that prosecutorial immunity protected him, and once he had focused upon Michael Morton, he wanted to do what he could to pound square pegs into round holes.

So, Morton went to prison where he sat there for 25 years until the courts ordered him to be free. However, this is not a typical story of "new evidence exonerates innocent man." No, it was a case of one of Anderson's successors, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley who, according to Time Magazine, is "a well-connected ally of Texas Governor Rick Perry" and "who fought tenaciously for six years to keep Morton behind bars."

I'll get back to the Bradley-Perry-Anderson show, but in the meantime, there is even more to this sickening story. Two years after the murder of Morton's wife, another woman, Debra Baker, was murdered in the same way that Morton's wife had been killed, a crime that police and prosecutors did not bother to solve. (Was it because in solving it, they would have been forced to take a hard look at the Morton case? I would not be surprised, given the depraved nature of police and prosecutors in this country today.)

Lest one think I am exaggerating, DNA evidence from both crime scenes implicate the same man:
New DNA testing linked the killings of Debra Baker and Christine Morton to another man with a prison record in several states. Police have not publicly identified the suspect, whom they are trying to locate, but his genetic links to both slayings led to Morton's release from prison last week after nearly 25 years behind bars, and his formal exoneration by an appeals court on Wednesday.
However, we are fortunate that Morton's attorneys were able to find the DNA, given the efforts of Rick Perry's allies, of Bradley and Anderson to suppress evidence. Again, the record shows:
In early 2005, Morton’s attorneys sought DNA testing on a blood-stained bandana found outside the Morton home on the day after the brutal murder, which took place on Aug. 13, 1986. Court records show that Bradley, who was appointed by Perry in 2001 and was not Morton’s original prosecutor, sought to prevent that testing from ever taking place and tried to limit its effect on the case.

At first, Bradley argued that testing the bandana would open the floodgates to an indeterminable amount of new evidence. “One has to wonder whether petitioner would file another motion at some future date seeking additional testing of even more items,” he wrote in October of 2005. In a 2009 filing, Bradley argued that the bandana was irrelevant because it was found “a football field’s length” from the Morton’s house, and that if any DNA testing did take place “it should not incorporate the possibility of a match of any DNA profile recovered from the bandana to a known offender.

District attorneys vary widely in their willingness to consider new evidence, but Bradley’s efforts make him an outlier. The Innocence Project says it has to fight a prosecutor’s objections to DNA testing in less than half of its cases, and most resistance dries up quickly. Death penalty opponents are particularly critical of prosecutors who resist DNA testing. Steve Hall, director of the StandDown Texas project, called Bradley’s behavior in the Morton case “abhorrent.”

Morton’s attorneys ultimately prevailed on the DNA issue in May 2010. A 2011 lab report showed that blood on the bandana matched Christine Morton’s DNA, and that DNA from a hair on the bandana matched that of a convicted felon in California, as well as DNA recovered at the site of a similar, unsolved murder of another Texas woman.

DNA wasn’t the only potentially exculpatory evidence that Bradley tried to wall off. Morton’s lawyers had long wondered about the original prosecutors’ decision not to seek testimony from the chief investigator in the case, Sgt. Don Wood of the Williamson County Sherriff’s office. But when they filed a Public Information Act request in 2008 to view Wood’s files, Bradley tried to block the release. TIME reviewed a flurry of correspondence about the records request between the Innocence Project, the sheriff’s office, and the Texas attorney general’s office. A 2008 letter from the AG to the sheriff’s office notes that, “The Williamson County District Attorney’s Office is a party to the litigation and has requested that the information be withheld.”

Again, when Morton’s attorneys ultimately prevailed, they found compelling evidence that their client was innocent: a transcript of a phone call in which Morton’s mother-in-law told Wood that Morton’s three-year-old son had witnessed a different man commit the murder, and a hand-written message to Wood dated August 15, 1986, showing that Christine’s credit card had been recovered at a jewelry store in San Antonio two days after the murder. With the new evidence he sought to block made public, Bradley capitulated and freed Morton last week.
This is depraved behavior from a man voted by Texas district attorneys several years ago as the "top prosecutor" in Texas. (If anything, it demonstrates just how dishonest and utterly depraved prosecutors and "law enforcement" in Texas really are.)

Unfortunately, there is even more, and this deals in the infamous Cameron Todd Willingham execution in which it is strongly suspected that the State of Texas executed an innocent man:
At the same time that Bradley was showing his penchant for stonewalling evidence in the Morton case, Perry appointed him to another sensitive position. By 2009, several studies had been conducted suggesting that the 1991 house fire that killed Cameron Todd Willingham’s three daughters was not arson and that the experts who sealed Willingham’s conviction with testimony to the contrary had based their investigation on outdated techniques.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a state organization tasked with ensuring that forensic investigations adhere to the highest scientific standards, began reviewing the evidence. But in late September 2009, Perry fired three commission members, including its chairman, just days before they were scheduled to hear testimony from an outside arson expert who had determined that the evidence against Willingham was based on shoddy science. Perry chose Bradley to take over the commission, and he quickly cancelled the testimony, effectively burying the investigation.
Again, we are dealing with utter depravity and one of the people responsible for the State of Texas covering up its misdeeds is Rick Perry, who now wants to be President of the United States. A well-known Baptist minister recently endorsed Perry from his pulpit, and I have the sinking feeling that the minister is quite aware of the perfidy outlined in this post -- and could not give a damn.

Just like the churches in the LMJC that have helped enable people like "judge" brian outhouse and Len Gregor, we see that the churches in Texas are placing their stamp of approval upon behavior that in the Old Testament would have resulted in men like Bradley, Anderson, and Perry being stoned to death. And apparently, they want those anti-Christian "standards of justice" to be the standard for the USA. All I can say is God help us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our fund raising campaign to adopt 12 year old Sintija from Latvia. Sintija is with us now and is adjusting well to her new life as part of our family. While we can't adopt any more children, we want to continue to advocate for orphans to find their forever families. Please see our new fundraising campaign at The Point.

Bill and Johanna Anderson

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Eric Holder: Perjury for me -- but not for thee, Roger

Legendary Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens faces a retrial for perjury for allegedly lying to Congress during a hearing. The U.S. Department of Justice and Congress spared no expense to try to put him into prison after he testified that he had not used steroids. (During his first trial, the federal prosecutor brought in hearsay "evidence" that the judge already had ruled inadmissible, which led to a mistrial.)

Fast forward to this year. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who ultimately is responsible for the Clemens prosecution, told Congress last May that he only had heard of the infamous "Operation Fast and Furious" just a few weeks before. However, as this article demonstrates, Holder had been briefed about this program on a number of occasions during the summer of 2010.

So, assuming that both Clemens and Holder have lied under oath, which action was worst? If Clemens lied, it was about something he had ingested into his body that may have let him throw a baseball longer (and faster) than otherwise may have been the case. Operation Fast and Furious, on the other hand, resulted in scores of people being murdered, shot down with weapons that the government purposely made sure got into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.

From what I can tell, however, the government thinks that what Clemens allegedly did was much worse. Eric Holder will not face a second of scrutiny, as I am sure that the White House and the New York Times will come to his aid. In fact, the NYT recently had an article that tried to whitewash the whole thing, claiming that only Republicans were making any noise about the memos. Holder will not have to worry about being indicted (especially since prosecutors are not in the habit of indicting themselves). There are "two Americas," but they are not rich and poor; they are the Ruling Political Classes -- and everyone else.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nancy Grace: Flashing with the "stars"

Last August, I had some commentary about the execrable Nasty Nancy Grace being part of "Dancing with the Stars," and while I mused about someone "dancing with the Devil," no doubt, I had no idea that Her Nastiness also would engage in exhibitionism.

Despite the protestations that she "was not flashing anybody," the photo below (from the UK Daily Mail) shows that Grace was exposing more than just some cleavage.


I include this post not to show off any of the endowment of Her Nastiness, but rather to point out the obvious: despite being cited by appeals courts for lying in court, Grace is one of the most insufferable self-righteous characters on the tube. Had a female accused of a crime ever worn such a low-cut dress in public, Nasty Nancy (or maybe "Nansty") would have been all over her, claiming that the woman's wardrobe was "proof" that she was a criminal.

So, here we have Nansty wearing a dress that shows, well, a lot of stuff, claiming that what we are seeing is not what we are seeing and that she did not "flash" anyone when, clearly, this is the very definition of "flashing." Gee, Nasty Nancy Grace is lying again. Just shocking. Hoodathunkitt?!?!? (By the way, is it just me, or does Nasty Grace look like Miss Piggy -- with no insult intended toward Miss Piggy and the Muppets?)

This reminds me of the "fundraiser" that the LMJC had for the Children's Advocacy Center -- you know, the place that hires high school grads to do fake interviews of children and then claims they have "discovered evidence of child molestation" when, in fact, they have helped fabricate lies? Yeah, that place.

You will remember that prosecutors Chris "Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Thong Man" Gregor and the rest of the Children's Advocacy Center crowd was claiming that a tasteful photo of Tonya Craft in an evening dress was "proof" that she was "narcissistic" and, therefore, a child molester. During the trial, the announcement was made and the sponsors proudly put out a promotion photo of an Elvis impersonator and two "Vegas" women -- wearing thongs. It was the ultimate example of how the LMJC gives everyone else the middle finger.

(After I pointed out that the LMJC was using half-naked women in thongs to promote a fundraiser, the photo was quickly changed and the women suddenly were wearing pink leotards. Yeah, you can't make up this stuff.)

As I see it, this is more of the double standard that those involved with "law enforcement" are promoting. One set of rules for us, and another set of rules for them.

By the way, I doubt that Arnt, Gregor, Tim "Dirty" Deal, and Alan Norton will tell the attendees at the conference this week about those double standards. No, they will pose as people who "care" about the law, all the while crossing their fingers.

NOTE: If any readers attend the conference, please contact me so that I can prepare a report. Unfortunately, I am 600 miles away and cannot attend and listen to these "dynamic" speakers too people how to lie and get away with it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Northwest Georgia Conference on How to Commit Perjury (and get away with it)

Despite the fact that Northwest Georgia is one of the most heavily-churched areas in the nation (and it even features a Christian college, Covenant College), it also is a place where the police and judicial systems are so utterly corrupt that they are beyond any repair. And when dishonest people get together for a conference, well, things happen that fall into the category of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff."

On October 3 and 4, the Northwest Georgia Child Abuse Conference will be held at The Colonnade in Ringgold. Not surprisingly, the Usual Suspects will be there and three men who are experienced in suborning perjury and lying to juries will be featured speakers. If you love perjury, then you don't want to miss this conference that will tell you how to lie in court, make up outlandish stories, and pretend you are "saving children."

In fact, this conference is aptly named, for people who coach children to lie under oath and to give false testimony against their mothers and fathers and teachers indeed are child abusers. So, if you want a career in legal child abuse, then this is the place to start.

Because this conference is one big howler, featuring child abusers from all over the State of Georgia, I will concentrate upon just one session, and it is self-explanatory: Overcoming Defenses in Child Molestation Cases. The presenters? Chris Arnt, Len Gregor, and Alan Norton. (I guess Buzz Franklin could not make it, as he must be engaged in something else, like writing stupid press releases.)

I will include the conference blurb on this session, which you don't want to miss:
Child molestation cases are outside the norm for the average citizen. Defense attorneys often will take advantage of the general public’s misperceptions concerning such cases. The presentation will to teach those who investigate child molestations cases to be cognizant of such defenses and properly prepare with such defenses in mind.
In case one does not understand the language of these "professionals," here is an interpretation:
Prosecutors are desperate to keep exculpatory evidence out of child molestation trials, and they also are desperate to keep the defense from exposing prosecution lies. Given that fact, this session will teach budding prosecutors how to lie to jurors, how to get judges to make outrageous rulings in order to deny the defendant a fair trial, and it will give demonstrations on how to bully witnesses. Of extreme importance in this session will be a segment on how to employ the non sequitur when the defense starts blasting holes in your case, in hopes that jurors will buy into your diversion tactics.

This session also will include interview techniques if you lose so that when you are interviewed by the media, you can continue to lie, blame jurors, and try to push your view that no accused ever should be allowed any kind of defense. The prosecutors also will show you how to lie about the credentials, testimony, and qualifications of the defense expert witnesses, and of special importance is the segment on trying to convince jurors that your own "experts," most of whom have no credentials or field of relevant study (except for taking a five-day course), really are more qualified than the other experts who have spent their entire careers studying this material, and who have doctorates and often have engaged in extensive post-graduate study.

The final part of the session will involve how to make false comments to jurors, how to lie about the testimony of expert witnesses, and how to disrupt the work of the defense, all with help from friendly judges. The sum total of this session will be teaching attendees how to make sure that truth never enters the courtroom so that you can get wrongful convictions and boost your careers. Len Gregor also will give conferees a demonstration on how to run to one's car following a verdict of "not guilty" and hide one's face from the media by using a notebook.
Lest anyone think I am exaggerating, do the following comparison:

On the prosecution side, we had Suzi Thorne, who at the time was studying for an on-line college degree with Kaplan University, a for-profit diploma mill. According to Arnt, Gregor, and Norton, Thorne (who did attend a five-day training class) was eminently qualified to testify as an "expert" in child sexual abuse. Furthermore, despite the fact that Thorne never has written about child sexual abuse in any publication, and despite the fact that she never has read any publications in any reputable journal, professional or academic, on this subject, Arnt, Gregor, and Norton believe she is eminently qualified to testify.

Furthermore, despite the fact that Thorne clearly committed perjury during the Tonya Craft trial (and there is no doubt about this), Arnt, Gregor, and Norton want people to believe that her testimony ALWAYS is true and perfect. Compare Thorne to a witness that Arnt, Gregor, and Norton claim is a "liar" and a "whore of the court," Dr. William Bernet of Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Bernet has his medical doctorate from Harvard University Medical School (which tends to have higher academic standards than Kaplan University's undergraduate program) and is widely published and widely respected in his profession. This is a man who has published in top journals and is asked to speak at conferences and sessions all over the world. (Yeah, he is not good enough to speak at the Northwest Georgia conference, but everyone knows that the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit is a world-class example of honest police, prosecutors, and judges.)

Lest one think I am exaggerating, let me remind readers of what Arnt and Gregor did during the Tonya Craft trial:
  • Arnt lied to jurors about the testimony of Dr. Nancy Fajman of Emory University, telling jurors that Fajman said she saw evidence of sexual abuse when, in fact, Fajman said she saw NO physical evidence of sexual abuse. All of the jurors caught this lie, and maybe Arnt will tell conferees how to do a better job of covering up lies;
  • Arnt and Gregor desperately tried to keep Dr. Fajman, Dr. Ann Hazard, Dr. Nancy Aldridge, and Dr. Bernet from testifying, and after their testimony, they told jurors that these were unqualified witnesses and that they were nothing but "liars" and "whores of the court" who lied for money. I am not kidding. They actually said that;
  • They regularly had ex parte meetings with "judge" brian house before and during the trial, and reported none of them to the defense, despite the requirement by the Code of Ethics of the Georgia State Bar, which means that these are people who believe they are not bound either by law or ethics.
When Tonya Craft came into the courtroom for the verdict, Arnt and Gregor stood to the side snickering at her and making snide remarks. (No doubt, their presentation also will include how act professionally during a trial while at the same time trying to emulate the members of Delta House from the movie "Animal House.") There is a reason that "judge" brian house turned ashen when he read the verdict and Arnt and Gregor ran from the courthouse instead of acting like mature adults and talking to the media.

No doubt, these men will share with conferees why it is important for prosecutors to act like spoiled children, and why it is so important that the courts of the LMJC perform like the courts of bastions of freedom and liberty like North Korea. They also will stress the importance of teaming with the judge in order to have a rigged trial, although they might claim afterward that the judge was a "pointy-headed liberal" who was too lax toward the defense. They will give techniques in making improper and prejudicial pre-trial statements to the media and maybe they might REALLY go to the Dark Side and give tips on how to contact jurors during the trial in order to intimidate them into voting guilty. (I'm just imagining the last point, but given that these men already have demonstrated that they have no problem in suborning perjury and openly violating the Rules of Ethics that supposedly govern their behavior, I doubt seriously that Chris Arnt and Len Gregor would frown upon anyone on the prosecution side illegally contacting jurors. Prosecutors elsewhere have done it and, if anything, these men have demonstrated that they are willing to engage in extreme prosecutorial misconduct.

Will they answer questions about the Tonya Craft trial? If they do, I'm sure they will spout the line that they have been giving everyone:
  • Craft was guilty and got away with it;
  •  Defense objections were frivolous, as all defense attorneys really should expect prosecutors to scream in the face of witnesses, yell about someone's "boobs," throw books down on the table while the defense is making its case;
  • The jurors were fooled by the idiot expert witnesses like Dr. Bernet and should have been impressed by experts like Holly "Roll Your Eyes and Make Noises" Kittle and Suzy "Perjury" Thorne;
  •  The jurors were too stupid to recognize that Arnt and Gregor are brilliant prosecutors and that when jurors all caught Arnt lying about Dr. Fajman's testimony (and all of the caught it), well, they were so stupid that they could not recognize that Dr. Fajman was speaking in code that only a brilliant guy like Arnt could understand;
  • The defense shamelessly carried on a campaign in the media and the blogosphere that prejudiced the case and "deprived the state of a 'fair trial'." This despite the fact that the defense operated under a gag order and the defense had NO contact with the "blogosphere," and that Tonya Craft was on trial, not the state, which is under the legal obligation to present a fair trial. (So much for the State of Georgia performing its obligations.)
What Arnt and Gregor and Norton won't tell the conferees is that some of the prosecution witnesses have admitted privately that they were lying, and that in the case of Sarah and Joal Henke, their testimony in trial conflicted 180 degrees from what they had testified under oath in depositions a year before. In other words, these men will tell conferees everything -- but the truth.

As an added attraction, Chris Arnt will give pointers on how to have fun on a cruise! Enjoy the conference!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who is this guy kidding?

In a recent op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal, James Kirchick, a contributor to The New Republic, deals with the recent statements of Shane Bauer after being released from an Iranian prison.

Now, I must admit that Bauer made statements following his release (Iran accused Bauer and two other American hikers in that region of being spies) that most Americans would not find agreeable, and Kirchick jumps on them heavily -- and with some justification:
On July 31, 2009, you're traversing a mountain trail in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. You're with one of your best friends and your girlfriend. Suddenly a group of Iranian border guards capture you, and the next thing you know you're in Tehran's infamous Evin prison accused of "illegal entry" and "espionage."

Your girlfriend is kept in solitary confinement and you can see her only for an hour each day. The Iranian government prevents you from contacting your family for almost a year, at which point they decide to let your mother visit you for two days at a Tehran hotel.

While your captors treat you humanely and provide three square meals a day, your Iranian co-prisoners aren't so lucky. Every night you hear their screams. Evin is the world's most notorious torture dungeon, where political dissidents (men and women) are routinely raped, beaten and subjected to all manner of physical and psychological abuse.

Ahmad Batebi, a student activist who spent 17 months in solitary confinement there, reports that guards kicked him in the teeth, dunked his head into a toilet "stopped up with feces," and whipped his back and testicles with a cable. When he tried to sleep, they slashed his arms with a knife and rubbed salt in the wounds.

As you sit in this hellhole, no less than the president of the United States takes up your cause, insisting that you "never worked for the United States government," that you're "simply open-minded and adventurous" and "represent the best of America and of the human spirit."

Following two years of strenuous work on the part of committed American diplomats, you are freed on $500,000 bail, paid by the billionaire Sultan of Oman. And what is the first thing you say upon your release?

"Two years in prison is too long and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran."
But, it is the next paragraph that I do find objectionable and, frankly, untrue: "Mr. Bauer didn't name any of the "political prisoners" allegedly held in America's jails—because there aren't any." He goes on:
The American justice system is far from perfect. But it is transparent, offers the right of appeal, and is routinely challenged by a free press and active civil society. Moreover, it doesn't imprison people for their political beliefs.
I wish that were true. I wish that there were real transparency, and I wish that the appeals courts actually took more time to examine convictions that have occurred in kangaroo courts.

For example, I suspect that Brad Wade and Brad Cooper would laugh at the notion that American courts were "transparent." Because prosecutors are immune from serious punishment for acts of blatant misconduct, hiding exculpatory evidence, lying, and suborning perjury (sorry, but disbarment is not serious compared to innocent people going to prison) we have seen U.S. courts -- state and federal -- turn into charnal houses for the innocent.

A recent article in the New York Times spelled out what has been happening:
After decades of new laws to toughen sentencing for criminals, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants and reduce the number of cases that go to trial, often by using the threat of more serious charges with mandatory sentences or other harsher penalties.

Some experts say the process has become coercive in many state and federal jurisdictions, forcing defendants to weigh their options based on the relative risks of facing a judge and jury rather than simple matters of guilt or innocence. In effect, prosecutors are giving defendants more reasons to avoid having their day in court.

“We now have an incredible concentration of power in the hands of prosecutors,” said Richard E. Myers II, a former assistant United States attorney who is now an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina. He said that so much influence now resides with prosecutors that “in the wrong hands, the criminal justice system can be held hostage.”
Furthermore, it is clear that many prosecutions in the USA are done for political purposes or to appeal to a political constituency. A couple of examples include the federal trials of the police officers in the Rodney King beating case in Los Angeles and of Limerick Nelson, who was acquitted in state court of stabbing a rabbinical student to death in Brooklyn.

In both cases, the defendants had been acquitted at the state level, and while the verdicts were unpopular, constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy should have been honored. Instead -- with approval of the courts -- the defendants were charged in federal court with different "crimes" for the same acts.

Not surprisingly, jurors got political message in both cases and the defendants were found guilty. The second time around, the system "got it right." It does not matter that in the process of "getting it right," courts and prosecutors destroyed one of the most important legal protections that anyone could have.

At the founding of this country, the law followed the natural rights views of the great English jurist William Blackstone, and the bedrock of criminal law was "mens rea, or Latin for "a guilty mind." Intent was a big portion of the law, and prosecutors were not to pursue criminal charges unless they also could prove that an individual intended to commit a crime, and did not just ignorantly run afoul of some arbitrary rules.

That situation no longer exists, as the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out in a stunning article:
For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a "guilty mind."

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

As a result, what once might have been considered simply a mistake is now sometimes punishable by jail time.
The paper then takes the case of Wade Martin in Alaska:
When the police came to Wade Martin's home in Sitka, Alaska, in 2003, he says he had no idea why. Under an exemption to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, coastal Native Alaskans such as Mr. Martin are allowed to trap and hunt species that others can't. That included the 10 sea otters he had recently sold for $50 apiece.

Mr. Martin, 50 years old, readily admitted making the sale. "Then, they told me the buyer wasn't a native," he recalls.

The law requires that animals sold to non-Native Alaskans be converted into handicrafts. He knew the law, Mr. Martin said, and he had thought the buyer was Native Alaskan.

He pleaded guilty in 2008. The government didn't have to prove he knew his conduct was illegal, his lawyer told him. They merely had to show he had made the sale.
The article gives a number of other cases in which conduct by individuals that they never even thought might violate the law led either to prison time or criminal convictions and probation. Why does this happen? It happens because American prosecutors have become all-powerful. Lew Rockwell writes:
Those raised on a steady diet of courtroom television shows believe that they are true to the way justice is meted out. This is completely naive. Trials in federal criminal cases are rare. Nine in ten cases are settled in pleas like the above case. Only 3 percent of the cases go to trial. Among those that go to trial, the defendant wins once in every 212 times.

What this means is that there is no way out for the accused. The prosecutors have all the power. Not even the judge has discretion because lawmakers have mostly taken that liberality away in the name of cracking down on crime. This happened all through the 1980s and 1990s, and the prosecutorial dictatorship has entrenched itself to become the norm since 2001. For the last ten years, the police state has had free rein.

It was not "liberals" or "conservatives" who did this. It was both parties acting with massive support of the American public, as tyrants in the public sector licked their chops. This was a result of security-minded madness, and even now hardly anyone cares.
He continues:
Today, every single citizen, no matter how free he or she may feel in daily life, is in reality a sitting duck. You can be made to disappear. There is essentially no way you can escape once the feds sweep you into their net. There is no justice. The total states of the past used to pretend to have trial-based convictions. The total state of the present doesn’t even bother. It just puts a sack over your head and takes you away.
When Rockwell writes that we now are in a police state, he is not using hyperbole. The USA IS a police state. It has by far the highest number of people incarcerated (more than two million) of any country in the world and a fourth of the entire world's prison population.

People are expected not only to know all of the laws that are passed (the courts have ruled that "ignorance of the law is no excuse") and the ONLY people who are not punished for ignorance of the law are police, prosecutors, and judges. I am not kidding.

Thus, we often see prosecutions made for political -- yes, political -- reasons. Why did Michael Nifong pursue rape charges against the three Duke students he knew were innocent of any crimes? Because he wanted to win an election, and he knew that his actions, no matter how outrageous, were popular with a number of political constituencies, including the "Progressive" crowd at the New York Times, which supported him until his case utterly fell apart.

And Rockwell is correct that all of this is a prescription for tyranny, the very kind of tyranny that Kirchick claims does not exist in the USA, only in rogue countries like Iran. How did this come about? It is very simple: Progressives, including people like Herbert Croly, who founded The New Republic, believed that individuals should not have protections against State power because a society could "progress" only if the State could advance the agendas of the intelligentsia without interference from "obsolete" documents like the U.S. Constitution.

Thus, most of the rights that were guaranteed (not granted, as Progressives like to claim) by the Constitution now either have been breached or have disappeared altogether. We literally are at the mercy of police, prosecutors, and judges, who are free to frame whom they like and unless one can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars quickly, people who are targeted pretty much disappear.

None of this excuses what Iran did to the three hikers, nor does it explain or justify everything that Bauer told the media. For that matter, many of the same leftist groups with whom Bauer is associated have been front-and-center in the destruction of rights in this country.

Iran is governed by a rogue and cruel regime and I have no use for people who engage in torture, beatings, and imprisonment of people simply for their political or religious beliefs. However, we really should not kid ourselves that Americans are above acting like the Iranians. From the CIA renditions to Guantanamo to the daily abuses of the law and outright decency that prosecutors commit while they are "just doing their jobs," people in this country who legally operate without boundaries also are capable of cruelty and outright murder.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lynn Blanchard outlines the police misconduct in the Brad Cooper case

The wrongful conviction of Brad Cooper for the murder of his wife -- and I have no doubt that it was wrongful -- is testament to the corruption of police and prosecutors in North Carolina. When someone trots out the "they disbarred Mike Nifong" line, keep in mind that Nifong not only acted unethically, but he also acted criminally, yet there was no investigation of this erstwhile felon.

It always has been my contention that when it comes to police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, the authorities will toss out a bone in order to make it look as though they are "doing something" about the lies and corruption. That is what was done in the Duke Lacrosse Case, and now that the State Bar has Nifong's trophy on their wall, the members are free to look the other way when it comes to outright criminal behavior on behalf of prosecutors.

Lynn Blanchard had done a heroic job in pointing out the massive misconduct and outright lying that was part and parcel to the Cooper case. From the police to the judge (who is a former cop and prosecutor, so he knows all of the tricks and is anxious to remain in the club). Her latest post outlines the police misconduct in the case, and I would urge you to read it.

I list two sections below:
Fabricated evidence/shoes: The police and prosecutors put a great deal of focus on shoes in this case. In all three cases the facts were misrepresented. First, Detective Young claimed to have found two right shoes, implying that while hastily cleaning up the crime scene, Brad grabbed two left shoes by mistake and disposed of them. During the trial there was a LOT of discussion about the “missing” two left shoes and honestly, it does sound good if you believe someone is guilty. However, the truth is that the two right shoes were different sizes, different styles, were not even Nancy’s current size and they were not even found in the house! There were a ton of shoes scattered all throughout the Cooper’s home and Young “found” the mismatched shoes on a shelf in the garage. Clearly this was fabricated evidence and the prosecutors had no problem using it at the trial. They made sure they highlighted this in closing.

Then throughout the trial they referred to Brad’s missing shoes, the pair he was wearing in the Harris Teeter video. It was their theory that he disposed of the body right before that trip and that is the significance of the “missing” shoes. The site where the body was found was extremely muddy and if Brad had been there in those shoes, mud would have been in the car, on his shoes and on the floor in the HT video. It was not. Detective Young testified that he never asked Brad for the shoes, it’s not in any of his notes that he ever searched for the shoes and the shoes were not even included in the initial search warrant. They were included in a search warrant right after his arrest, over three months later. Yet, the prosecutors went on and on about Brad’s “missing” shoes. I can’t think of any reason why they neglected to find and examine those shoes in those first days of the investigation. They had the HT video on July 12th.

Finally, there’s Nancy’s missing Sauconys. Brad told Young on 7/13 that Nancy had 3 pairs of running shoes. One pair was never found and that is obviously the pair she wore that morning when she left to go running. Police found the receipt for those shoes at the Athlete’s Foot store. Brad told police that Nancy purchased her running shoes there. They tried to determine if Nancy possibly returned that pair of shoes. Young testified that the store was unable to determine whether or not the shoes had been returned. That was a lie that was revealed in further testimony when he read his signed statement about the store verifying that the shoes had never been returned at that store. Why would the police detective feel compelled to lie on the stand if the investigation was honest? Again, the prosecutors ran with this and stated to the jury that Nancy’s only running shoes were in the home.

“The bed did not appear to have been slept in” - Detective Daniels had this written in his notes on 7/12, referring to Nancy’s bed. But the bed did look slept in. Photos displayed during the trial confirmed this. When asked, officer Hayes testified that it looked as if someone sat in it. When the defense attorney asked Daniels about the bed, he testified that he first wrote the note that the bed didn’t look slept in, sat in the bed, did not document that he sat in it, then took a photo of the bed. It is simply unbelievable. The bedding would later be sent to SBI for bodily fluid and fiber analysis and Daniels didn’t bother to inform SBI that he had contaminated it by sitting on it. Please watch trial summary part 2 for testimony on this.
So, Brad Cooper is in prison while a murderer runs free. THAT is justice in North Carolina. I have come to believe that cops and prosecutors pretty much don't care if they get the "right" person, just as long as they get SOMEONE.