A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted yet another dishonest caper of Buzz Franklin, the DA who insists that any time a person is on trial for a crime, it really is the STATE that needs to receive a "fair trial." (Forget about a person charged with something getting a "fair trial" in the LMJC, which is supposed to happen, but is about as elusive as Vanderbilt winning the national championship in football.)
To make matters more interesting, someone from the LMJC -- almost surely a person involved in "law enforcement" (which is an oxymoron if there ever was in North Georgia) -- continued to make a number of allegations against Joe Mowish in the comments section. When it was pointed out that none of what he said was true, and that he had offered no proof of his allegations, he then went on to rant that this blog was "anti-government."
(You see, according to the people who run the LMJC, if one does not support subornation of perjury, false charges, lying to juries, and various forms of official misconduct, then one is a danger to society. One not only is supposed to be utterly submissive when kneeling down before that citadel of mediocrity, "judge" brian outhouse, but one also must acknowledge the Great And Superior Wisdom from outhouse to the court bailiffs who do outhouse's dirty work.)
Since my original post, I have received a number of legal documents that demonstrate strongly that Mr. Mowish was not breaking the law, and that Buzz's entire show of force was legally questionable (which is about as gentle a word as I can use here) as one can imagine. This leads me to the larger question: Why RICO?
As I noted in the first post, RICO is based upon the creation of the fictitious crime of "racketeering." One does not "racketeer" anyone, not even on a tennis or racquetball court. Instead, "racketeering" is a "derivative crime" in which this purely contrived entry is composed of other smaller "crimes" that are rolled into one larger crime.
While the penalties for the smaller "crimes" generally are mild (in this case, both actions Buzz claimed happened were misdemeanors), RICO carries draconian penalties that give the authorities huge amounts of leverage when dealing with defendants. That is because the de facto standards for "proving" RICO violations are quite low, much lower than real "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" standards for normal crimes. In a real courtroom setting, the jurors actually are using the civil standards of "preponderance of the evidence," which means that prosecutors operate with huge advantages.
Why is that so? In Mr. Mowish's case, if Buzz were to charge him with misdemeanors, Mr. Mowish either could have a bench trial (with just a judge) or a jury trial, and either entity would have to determine that the evidence presented demonstrated that he was "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" of violating the law. If found guilty, Mr. Mowish either would pay a fine or serve a short jail sentence (or a combination of both).
(Again, I emphasize that the documents I have received point to the fact that Mr. Mowish did not violate the law and that the original misdemeanor counts cannot stand up to scrutiny.)
In a RICO trial, however, all that needs to be "prove" is "racketeering." In other words, the original law violations -- the misdemeanors -- do not have to be proven themselves. That's right. No matter what a prosecutor will tell you, one does not have to "prove" the underlying charges because the person is not on trial for them.
What generally happens is that prosecutors give evidence they claim shows that the defendant engaged in actions that violated the law, but the jurors do not have to engage the criminal "standard of proof" that those statutes were broken. The only "crime" to be "proven" is that of "racketeering," and because of the way that the laws are written, if a juror thinks that maybe the defendant violated the original laws, then that is all that is needed to "prove" the larger charge of "racketeering."
It is quite insidious, and that is why prosecutors at both state and federal levels love RICO. They are able to make really innocuous things morph into "racketeering," presenting the defendant as a mafioso or worse. People convicted can to go prison for 20 years or more simply for allegedly committing misdemeanors, as is the case here.
Notice that Buzz would not even try to "prove" the misdemeanor charges in a court of law. He knows he has no evidence so he is able to manipulate the law in order to create something that everyone involved in the case knows does not exist: a felony.
Buzz Franklin was elected DA of the LMJC in 1996, and since then, his office has conducted a virtual reign of terror. As we saw in the Tonya Craft trial, his underlings feel free to suborn perjury, to lie, to engage in activities that clearly are illegal, and to know no one can do anything about it.
Under Buzz Franklin, innocence and the truth are nothing but mere speed bumps on the way to conviction. All the while, the local press treats him as a hero and every lie he tells as Gospel Truth.
I have not lived in the LMJC since 1994 and must say that I am ashamed to have lived there at all, given what I am seeing in the courts. The "justice" system is the product of the people of North Georgia, and if this is the best that can be produced there, then God help everyone living in that district.
Yes, there are good, honest, and decent people there, including the jurors in Tonya's case. But I am afraid that the Buzz Franklins, the Tim Deals, the "Mommie Dearests" and their families, the Len Gregors, Chris Arnts, Alan Nortons, Phil Summers, "judge" brian outhouse, and the others simply have too much authority and power for good people to be able to live their lives in peace.
Furthermore, ministers (except for one who is a friend of mine and has been quite outspoken) and people at Covenant College -- the people with real influence in that district -- have chosen to ignore what is happening. Many of them operate on the belief that the only people charged with crimes there are guilty, and if people are innocent, well, that is THEIR problem, not ours. "Respectable" people don't get charged in the first place, and the most important thing is to be "respectable."
In many ways, this even is more tragic than just the misconduct. We have come to expect dishonesty in high places; unfortunately, people who could make a difference by showing some integrity and courage could do something but instead have decided to pretend that everything is fine.
Stand up for alleged child molesters? Oh, we can't do that! We are RESPECTABLE! Stand up for someone with video poker machines who is falsely charged? Why, video poker is bad and WE ARE RESPECTABLE!
Like Kevin Bacon's character at the end of "Animal House," they scream "All is well!" until they are trampled by the mob.
My next several posts will deal almost exclusively with the Michael Rasmussen case in Maryland. The abuse of power and police and prosecutorial misconduct in that case is classic, and the posts will take apart the charges, the people making them, and how this holocaust came about in the first place.