When I last left Buzz Franklin last May, he was crying in his beer about having lost his opportunity to have Tonya Craft wrongly convicted of child molestation, and by blaming the news media (read that Melydia Clewell and Callie Starnes of WRCB-TV, and Kevin West of WGOW) and the "blogosphere" (read that me) for creating "an environment hostile to the State's ability to receive a fair trial and portrayed the victims and their families in a false and negative light."
I'd like to say that was b.s., but at least the bull can produce useful fertilizer, so I should not dignify Buzz's words in such a way. However, Buzz is not resting and now has decided to back off pursuing some ill-advised child molestations cases and, instead, pursue an ill-advised gambling/RICO case. Unfortunately, like in Tonya's case and the illegal arrest of Eric Echols, Buzz not only has decided the law does not apply in the LMJC, but his actions raise much larger questions.
The case in point is the January 4 indictment of Joseph A. Mohwish of Norcross, Georgia, on "the offense of Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" of Georgia (yeah, there is state RICO, too) for maintaining "an interest in a commercial gambling enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity" by having a couple places in Walker County that had video poker machines. Keep in mind that running a gambling operation in Georgia is a misdemeanor, but by appealing to the stupidity of Walker County grand jurors and a really evil state law, Buzz is able to take two alleged misdemeanors and roll them into a felony.
(This is like taking two speeding tickets and making them a "pattern of racketeering," which not only is morally reprehensible, but demonstrates the depraved nature of prosecutors who will misuse the law in this way.)
What Buzz has done might even be legal except for the fact that Mr. Mohwish had a permit to give the proceeds to a charity (Michigan Barber College, an African-American charity) and he stuck to the law. Furthermore, Mr. Mohwish has a Georgia Supreme Court decision that says that the non-cash redemption procedures and the other things tied to Georgia statutes in another case made the operation legal. If Mr. Mohwish went according to the law as the Georgia Supreme Court saw it (and the records indicate that he did, from what I can tell), then case law even precludes Franklin from seeking an indictment in the first place.
None of this surprises me. During the Tonya Craft trial, we saw Buzz's people involved with suborning perjury, lying to jurors, manufacturing false evidence, and generally engaging in all-around evil to try to get a conviction. Since the Georgia State Bar has declared that such actions fall into the "they're just doing their jobs" and the fact that prosecutors don't indict themselves, I am sure that Franklin, Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man-Racist" Gregor believe that they, along with Sheriff Phil Summers, "judge" brian outhouse, and Det. Tim "Dirty" Deal are invulnerable. Indeed, in that jurisdiction, they ARE invulnerable because in North Georgia, those who are supposed to enforce the law have become major lawbreakers. There is nothing we can do but to point out this fact, given that no one in a position of authority in Georgia or the U.S. Department of Justice will do anything about it.
But, there is something else about this heavy-handed indictment against Mr. Mohwish that leaves me puzzled, and that is the simply question of "Why"? Why would Franklin go to such great lengths to shut down a couple of legal and very small Walker County operations?
As a trained economist who took a graduate field in regulation and industrial organization, I have written a lot about what economists call "Capture Theory." This is a theory of regulation that says that regulators over time tend to be "captured" by the entities that they regulate.
Now, places like Catoosa County do not have a vast army of regulators, and much of the local regulation is done by law enforcement personnel. Furthermore, we know that illegal operations from meth labs to prostitution and drug rings exist in Catoosa County, as they do in all rural areas, and we know that at least in some places in this country, law enforcement officers (including prosecutors) have been in cahoots with the criminal rings that they supposedly are trying to shut down.
One of the aspects of "Capture Theory" is that the "regulators" will try to impose costs upon competitors of "favored" firms, which is what we often saw in formerly regulated industries such as trucking, airlines, and telecommunications. For that matter, when Rudy Giuliani (who was the U.S. attorney for Manhattan and Southern New York) went after Michael Milken and Drexel Lambert in the late 1980s, we know that he was backed by established Wall Street firms that did not like competing with upstarts like Milken and Drexel.
I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Mohwish's operations were seen as competitors of other entities that have video poker (and perhaps illegal video poker outfits). The world of video poker is well beyond me; while I am addicted to playing Hearts on my computer, nonetheless I cannot imagine standing in a store and playing video poker for hours on end.
Thus, I cannot say that any illegal video poker outfits exist in the LMJC, including Catoosa County, and I would not know one if I walked into it. Furthermore, I tend not to frequent truck stops and convenience stores in that area, even when I am visiting my family on Lookout Mountain. So, anything I say is just theorizing and nothing else.
However, given what we do know about the state of law enforcement in the LMJC, and given the fact that outhouse, Arnt, Gregor, Summers, and Deal were willing to flout or break the law and/or judicial and Georgia Bar ethics, I would not be surprised at anything these people do. Is the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Mohwish a warning to any potential competitors of potential illegal gambling operations in Catoosa County or elsewhere in the LMJC that competition won't be tolerated?
I don't know, and am not qualified to answer this question. However, given the facts that Mr. Mohwish seems to have been operating within the bounds of the law and that Franklin has used the felony RICO statutes to go after him, I cannot help but be suspicious.
As I have written before, the LMJC is an utterly lawless operation. It is a judicial district of dishonest and law-breaking prosecutors, cops who spit on the law, and judges who flout their duties and the laws that supposedly guide them. If there is more to the Mohwish indictment than meets the eye, I would not be surprised. Not in the least.
I have written extensively (with Candice E. Jackson) on the federal RICO statutes here and here. The RICO "crimes" are fictitious entities, derived from other supposed illegal acts. The statutes are yet another abominable legacy of the Richard Nixon administration.