As the child molestation trial of James Combs approaches, I still am thinking back to House's performance in the Tonya Craft trial. There is good reason that House had an ashen expression when he discovered the jury's verdict, as the jurors were openly declaring that House's best efforts to rig an illegal conviction were wrong, unjust, and his actions demonstrated that his judgeship is fraudulent.
Why do I write about House more than a year after the Craft trial? I do it because he still is on the bench, bilking Georgia taxpayers for six-figures, and tag teaming with dishonest prosecutors like Chris Arnt to screw over innocent people. Let us revisit some of the things he did in that case that demonstrate beyond any doubt at all that he tried to rig a conviction.
- He consistently refused to permit Tonya Craft's defense to admit exculpatory evidence even though the evidence was legitimate and documented. For example, after Sandra Lamb told the court that her daughter had not received acting lessons, House refused to let the defense enter the online IMDb resume of the child, despite the fact that it was a public link that anyone could look up on the web.
- He permitted the admission of a forged document that Tim Deal created during the trial, a document that was not in his or any other files before the trial began. The prosecution had created a huge hole with the "hand rape" allegations and Deal had to cover for them. Do I believe that House knew the document was forged? Absolutely. I have no doubt at all.
- He permitted Joal and Sarah Henke to give "I just remembered" testimony that was perjury on its face, and the testimony directly contradicted earlier sworn testimony that both had given a year before.
- According to media representatives who were keeping count, he sustained 90 percent of the prosecution's objections and only 10 percent of the objections from the defense.
- He permitted prosecutors Arnt and Len Gregor to yell, make catcalls, throw books down on the table, scream at defense witnesses, verbally attack the defense team, and harass Craft all during the trial. Any attempt by the defense to protest this action was met with a personal attack from House himself who refused to discharge the ethical duties of his office.*
- He had a long conversation with Sandra Lamb a few days before she testified, yet he did not report this illegal ex parte conversation to the defense. During the trial, a number of people contacted me to say that they saw House meeting with prosecutors on several occasions after court had ended for the day. One observer told me about seeing House and the prosecutors leave the courtroom together and enter a room adjacent to the courtroom. I have no doubt that he, Arnt and Gregor had illegal strategy sessions together, none of which were reported to the defense as required by Georgia's rules of ethics for judges.
- All during the trial, he and the prosecutors (especially Arnt) had pre-worked signals in which House would look at Arnt, who then would signal to House what his next move should be. (More than one observer told this to me.)
- Jurors after the trial said that one thing that really bothered them was the obvious prejudice that House showed against the defense and in favor of the prosecution.
- During a break in the trial, House spoke to a court employee and vilified both Craft and the defense in private conversation, not knowing that it was being recorded. While that recording has not been released, nonetheless, the incident demonstrated House's lack of integrity.
Yes, there are good judges out there, but the number of honest men and women wearing the black robes is dwindling. Furthermore, when the good ones retire, they are replaced by people like Brian House.
As the conflagration known as World War I began, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey declared, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time." I must admit to believing the same about this country and our system of "justice." Americans once prized justice, but like so many things that have been good about this country, that also is in our past, not our present and certainly not our future.
*Here are some things that the Georgia Judicial Code of Ethics includes. Compare this code with House's conduct and you will see that no one in authority in Georgia actually believes in these things, as those in power hold that living by the rules does not apply to them.
Judges Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary.
An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. Judges shall participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe such standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.
Judges Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Their Activities.
A. Judges shall respect and comply with the law* and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
B. Judges shall not allow their family, social, political or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. Judges shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor should they convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence them. Judges should not testify voluntarily as character witnesses. (House also has done that in a recent divorce/custody case)
Judges Shall Perform the Duties of Their Office Impartially and Diligently
On ex parte meetings, the Georgia code declares:
Judges shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law*. Judges shall not initiate or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to them outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending proceeding, except that:
(a) where circumstances require, ex parte communications for scheduling, where administrative purposes or emergencies that do not deal with substantive matters or issues on the merits are authorized; provided:
(i) the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication, and
(ii) the judge makes provision promptly to notify all other parties of the substance of the ex parte communication and allows an opportunity to respond.
None of those things held during the trial. Instead, House was engaged in strategy sessions and his personal conversation with Lamb before her testimony demonstrated beyond a doubt that not only was he Lamb's sock puppet, but that he has absolutely NO RESPECT for the law and for the codes that supposedly are to govern his conduct.
Yet, Brian House will continue as a judge, and I would not be surprised if the voters of the LMJC were to return this sorry person back to office for another four years in the 2012 elections. One hopes otherwise, but I cannot say I have much confidence in the political choices that Americans make.